September 30, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 33 Days to Go -- Breitweiser barnstorms w/ Edwards (D-NC), Sy Hersh on the Draft, another father of a fallen US soldier denounces Bush, Niger Green Cake, Halliburton, Soros

At least one more US soldier has been killed in Iraq.
For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges
Reich...There are 33 days to go until the Electoral
Uprising...Forget about asking your fellow citizens if
they are better off than four years ago? The answer,
of course, is NO. Forget about even asking your fellow
citizens if they are safer than they were four years
ago. Again, the answer, of course, is NO. Now you
should ask "Can you really afford four more years of
the Bush abomination? Can you really afford four more
years of the most illegitimate, corrupt and
incompetent regime in modern American history? Can
this Republic afford four more years of this failed
regime -- economically, environmentally,
strategically, militarily? Can the world afford four
more years of the Bush abomination?"
Here are six stories that should dominate the
airwaves and capture headlines above the fold, but
they won't. (You should not have to read about Halliburton and Cheney in Le Monde.) The Triad ( i.e. the Bush cabal itself,
its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party
and their sponsors, in the US regimestream news
media)will make sure of that…Please read them and
share them with others. Please vote and encourage
others to vote. And, please, remember that the
USregimestream news media does not want to inform you
about this presidential campaign, it wants to
DISinform you…FRODO LIVES!

Matthew Mosk, Washington Post: On Tuesday, the
33-year-old New Jersey widow was stumping in swing
states with Democratic vice presidential candidate
John Edwards for the second day in a row. It's here
that Breitweiser's fresh face and emotional story are
becoming an integral part of an effort to convince
"security moms" that the Democratic ticket of Sen.
John F. Kerry (Mass.) and Edwards can make them safer
and that four more years with President Bush is
dangerous.
Wearing her husband's wedding band, the only evidence
of his life to be recovered at Ground Zero,
Breitweiser said she steeled herself to hit the
campaign trail this week with Edwards, a North
Carolina senator. She fought back a fear of flying
born out of the World Trade Center disaster and
overcame her jitters about public speaking to become a
blunt instrument of attack against a president she
once supported.
"I would love to have heard President Bush and the
Republicans in Congress say, 'Here's what we'll do
better.' But they didn't do that. They circled the
wagons, they stonewalled, they blocked, they
foot-dragged," she said in an interview aboard the
Edwards campaign plane...
Joining the partisan fray was not part of any original
plan by Breitweiser or others in the core group of
victims' relatives that became outspoken advocates for
action in Washington over the course of three years.
They saw value, in fact, in remaining politically
neutral, Breitweiser said.
But the political season has seen that goal trumped by
partisan passions among the families. At a Republican
National Convention awash in Sept. 11 imagery,
delegates heard from Tara Stockpile, widow of a New
York City firefighter; Debra Burlingame, sister of the
captain of the American Airlines plane that crashed
into the Pentagon; and Deena Burnett, the wife of a
passenger of the United Airlines flight that crashed
into a field in Pennsylvania. "We know that what those
passengers did prevented the airline from hitting the
intended target," Burnett said to thunderous applause.
Breitweiser said she hopes the partisan efforts do not
become an unsettling force within a victims' group
that has been fairly cohesive. But she said watching
the way Republicans handled the issue at their
convention convinced her that she should raise her
profile, no matter the consequence.
"I know in my heart that this is what needs to be
done," Breitweiser said, clenching her jaw. "I have a
5-year-old that lost her father and thinks a dad is an
image in a photo. She has no idea that a dad is
supposed to be real and hug you. I want to know that
she's going to be safer. That when she grows up, she's
not going to die because of payback for a bad foreign
policy."

Rob Zaleski, Capitol Times (Madison, WI): Sixteen
months have passed since Kirk Straseskie of Beaver
Dam, a 23-year-old U.S. Marine infantry sergeant,
became the first Wisconsin fatality in the Iraq war...
Since then, 20 other Wisconsin soldiers have died in
Iraq, the most recent being 21-year-old Marine Cpl.
Adrian Soltau of Milwaukee, who was killed in an
explosion Sept. 13. And while all those deaths were
duly noted in the media, one gets the sense that many
Americans have grown indifferent to what's happening
in that chaotic region. Either that, or they don't
want to face the unsettling possibility that, 30 years
after Vietnam, we're once again trapped in a no-win
situation.
John Straseskie, the father of Kirk Straseskie, senses
it, too.
"I don't think Bush has a clue what he's doing over
there," the 52-year-old retired Beaver Dam resident
said in a phone interview this week. And Straseskie
suspects things will just continue to deteriorate
because, he maintains, the president and his advisers
can't seem to comprehend one simple fact.
"Anytime you have guerrilla-type warfare going on, you
kill a lot of innocent people - and that just feeds
the guerillas," he says. "And there's gonna come a
time when we're running with our tails tucked between
our legs just to get out of there."He's angry,
Straseskie says, "because more and more innocent
soldiers are dying in a war that we had no business
starting in the first place." And he's disillusioned,
he says, because many Americans apparently agree with
Bush's contention that the war was worth fighting
because we captured Saddam Hussein - who, according to
the president, was a major terrorist threat...
Asked what he'd ask Bush if he - not Jim Lehrer - were
moderating Thursday night's televised debate,
Straseskie says, "I'd ask him, 'Don't you think you're
rather vain and full of bluster when you say that -
with all the information we have now - we were
justified in going into Iraq? Without enough allied
support to even try to get the job done?' "

Raw Story, www.bluelemur.com: Seymour Hersh, the dean
of American investigative journalism, was in top form
Tuesday when he addressed a lunch gathering hosted by
the American Society of Magazine Editors. The prolific
New Yorker writer shared his gloomy views on the
current administration and the prospects for stability
in Iraq with a crowd that included Elle editor in
chief Roberta Myers, Playboy editor in chief Chris
Napolitano and Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker. “The
question I keep thinking about is how did eight or
nine neocons, utopians, take control of the
government?” Hersh said by way of warm-up. He
predicted that President Bush would be forced to
reinstate the draft in a hypothetical second term,
said the Pentagon had failed to account for billions
of dollars, and called the abuses at Camp X-Ray in
Guantanamo Bay “much worse than Abu Ghraib.”

Raw Story, www.bluelemur.com: Salon, the online
magazine, acquired an advance copy of the 60 Minutes
broadcast that was originally slated to be aired
during Dan Rather’s troubled broadcast about Bush’s
Guard fiasco. After CBS cancelled the show, which was
to air how forged documents (of all things) led the
U.S. into Iraq, Salon decided they had a
responsibility to report on it. Here are a few
excerpts from that report by Mary Jacoby, which can be
read (get a day-pass if you’re not subscribed) here.
The importance that CBS placed on the report was
evident by its unusual length: It was slated to run a
full half hour, double the usual 15 minutes of a
single segment. Although months of reporting went into
the production, CBS abruptly decided that it would be
“inappropriate to air the report so close to the
presidential election,” in the words of a statement
that network spokeswoman Kelli Edwards gave the New
York Times…
“Two years ago, Americans heard some frightening words
from President Bush and his closest advisers,” Bradley
said in his introduction of the now-shelved report.
“Saddam Hussein, they said, could soon have a nuclear
bomb. Of course, we now know that wasn’t true.” Not
only did Saddam not have a nuclear program, Bradley
said, but “he hadn’t for more than ten years. How
could the Bush administration be so wrong about
something so important?”

Eric Leser, Le Monde: The last two weeks, John Kerry has been launching
direct attacks against American Vice President Dick
Cheney and his ties to Halliburton, the world's second
largest oil services group. "While Halliburton
increases its over-billing and its waste thanks to the
no-bid contract it's gotten, Dick Cheney continues to
receive compensation from his former company," he
accused. "When I am president, I'll put a stop to such
practices."
In a television spot, the Democratic candidate
returns to the accusation: "Halliburton earned
billions with a discretionary contract in Iraq. What
did we get? A bill for 200 billion dollars." According
to his advisors, undecided voters are sensitive to
ethics questions about the ties between government and
big companies.
What has become the Halliburton "Affair" goes back
to November 2002. A group constituted within the
Pentagon to prepare Iraq's economic future in the
event of war asked the company to study a plan for
refurbishing the country's oil industry for which it
paid $1.9 million dollars. March 8, 2003, the American
land army chose Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a
Halliburton subsidiary specialized in public works and
logistics, to repair Iraqi oil structures along the
lines defined by the mother company three months
earlier. The contract was assigned as the result of a
discretionary procedure without bids or competition.
A March 5, 2003 email from the regional director
of the Corps of Engineers, Stephen Browning, suggests
that assignment of the contract was "coordinated" with
Dick Cheney's office. This contract proved to be great
business. Its value went from 71.3 million dollars in
March to 2.5 billion dollars in December 2003. The
administration revealed its existence at the end of
March 2003 and described its purpose as extinguishing
oil well fires. Later, the administration acknowledged
that the contract had an altogether different scope
and committed to making it temporary. Two new
contracts were assigned, this time after a competitive
process, on January 16, 2004, one for 800 million
dollars to the California company Parsons and another
for 1.2 billion dollars to... Halliburton.
There is no formal proof that Dick Cheney played a
role in the contracts' assignment to Halliburton.
However, the administration and Dick Cheney's office
have contradicted one another several times about the
way Halliburton gained the contract. This company,
moreover, is the object of several legal proceedings.
They concern bribes paid in Nigeria, over-billing in
Iraq for everything from gasoline to canned soda for
the soldiers, and illegal sales to Iran when Dick
Cheney was CEO. In this last matter, a Houston, Texas
Grand Jury could proceed to indictments in the coming
months.

George Soros, www.georgesoros.com: Immediately after
9/11 there was a spontaneous outpouring of sympathy
for us worldwide. It has given way to an equally
widespread resentment. There are many more people
willing to risk their lives to kill Americans than
there were on September 11 and our security, far from
improving as President Bush claims, is deteriorating.
I am afraid that we have entered a vicious circle of
escalating violence where our fears and their rage
feed on each other. It is not a process that is likely
to end any time soon. If we re-elect President Bush we
are telling the world that we approve his policies -
and we shall be at war for a long time to come.
I realize that what I am saying is bound to be
unpopular. We are in the grip of a collective
misconception induced by the trauma of 9/11, and
fostered by the Bush administration. No politician
could say it and hope to get elected. That is why I
feel obliged to speak out. There is a widespread
belief that President Bush is making us safe. The
opposite is true. President Bush failed to finish off
bin Laden when he was cornered in Afghanistan because
he was gearing up to attack Iraq. And the invasion of
Iraq bred more people willing to risk their lives
against Americans than we are able to kill -
generating the vicious circle I am talking about.
President Bush likes to insist that the terrorists
hate us for what we are - a freedom loving people -
not what we do. Well, he is wrong on that. He also
claims that the torture scenes at Abu Graib prison
were the work of a few bad apples. He is wrong on that
too. They were part of a system of dealing with
detainees put in place by Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld and our troops in Iraq are paying the price.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)


Sept. 11 Widow Joins Campaign
Families of Victims Bring Their Passion and Grief to
Partisan Fray

By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 29, 2004; Page A20

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 28 -- Before Sept. 11, 2001, all
Kristen Breitweiser wanted in the way of worldly
responsibility was to tend to her garden and care for
her infant daughter, Caroline.

"After watching my husband get murdered on live
worldwide television," she said, everything changed.

Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards
listens to Kristen Breitweiser, 33, of Middletown,
N.J., whose husband died in the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks on the World Trade Center, at a stop in
Manchester, N.H. She was helping Democrats in swing
states. (Jim Cole -- AP)

On Tuesday, the 33-year-old New Jersey widow was
stumping in swing states with Democratic vice
presidential candidate John Edwards for the second day
in a row. It's here that Breitweiser's fresh face and
emotional story are becoming an integral part of an
effort to convince "security moms" that the Democratic
ticket of Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) and Edwards can
make them safer and that four more years with
President Bush is dangerous.

Wearing her husband's wedding band, the only evidence
of his life to be recovered at Ground Zero,
Breitweiser said she steeled herself to hit the
campaign trail this week with Edwards, a North
Carolina senator. She fought back a fear of flying
born out of the World Trade Center disaster and
overcame her jitters about public speaking to become a
blunt instrument of attack against a president she
once supported.

"I would love to have heard President Bush and the
Republicans in Congress say, 'Here's what we'll do
better.' But they didn't do that. They circled the
wagons, they stonewalled, they blocked, they
foot-dragged," she said in an interview aboard the
Edwards campaign plane.

Before large, sympathetic crowds here, as well as in
Iowa and New Hampshire, she offered a blistering
account of the obstacles she says she faced during a
three-year battle to start the nation toward a new
intelligence system. Her presentation is raw with
anger and grief, and it registered strongly with the
Democratic loyalists. At a town hall meeting, under a
hot midday sun in downtown Manchester's Victory Park,
she moved museum volunteer Fran Gordon, 84, to tell
Edwards: "You should put her on a TV commercial.
People need to hear her."

On the rope line later, as Edwards shook hands,
Breitweiser was swamped. Jane Ryan, 54, of Hollis,
Maine, begged her to stick with the campaign. "They
need you," Ryan said. "You are so powerful."

Joining the partisan fray was not part of any original
plan by Breitweiser or others in the core group of
victims' relatives that became outspoken advocates for
action in Washington over the course of three years.
They saw value, in fact, in remaining politically
neutral, Breitweiser said.

But the political season has seen that goal trumped by
partisan passions among the families. At a Republican
National Convention awash in Sept. 11 imagery,
delegates heard from Tara Stockpile, widow of a New
York City firefighter; Debra Burlingame, sister of the
captain of the American Airlines plane that crashed
into the Pentagon; and Deena Burnett, the wife of a
passenger of the United Airlines flight that crashed
into a field in Pennsylvania. "We know that what those
passengers did prevented the airline from hitting the
intended target," Burnett said to thunderous applause.


Breitweiser said she hopes the partisan efforts do not
become an unsettling force within a victims' group
that has been fairly cohesive. But she said watching
the way Republicans handled the issue at their
convention convinced her that she should raise her
profile, no matter the consequence.

"I know in my heart that this is what needs to be
done," Breitweiser said, clenching her jaw. "I have a
5-year-old that lost her father and thinks a dad is an
image in a photo. She has no idea that a dad is
supposed to be real and hug you. I want to know that
she's going to be safer. That when she grows up, she's
not going to die because of payback for a bad foreign
policy."


http://www.madison.com/tct/opinion/column/zaleski/index.php?ntid=11274

Rob Zaleski: Soldier's dad: Bush blunder cost son his
life

By Rob Zaleski
September 29, 2004

About Rob
Rob Zaleski is a 32-year veteran of the news business.
His columns appear every Monday and Wednesday in the
Communities section.

Barbara and John Straseskie of Beaver Dam listen as a
joint resolution is read in the state Assembly last
year honoring their son, Marine Sgt. Kirk Straseskie,
who died in Iraq while trying to save friends from
drowning. (File photo)


Sixteen months have passed since Kirk Straseskie of
Beaver Dam, a 23-year-old U.S. Marine infantry
sergeant, became the first Wisconsin fatality in the
Iraq war.


That story, you may recall, received widespread play -
partly because it brought the war into Wisconsin
living rooms, and partly because of the heroic nature
of his death. A former star athlete at Beaver Dam High
School, Straseskie drowned after jumping into a canal
while attempting to rescue a downed helicopter crew.

Since then, 20 other Wisconsin soldiers have died in
Iraq, the most recent being 21-year-old Marine Cpl.
Adrian Soltau of Milwaukee, who was killed in an
explosion Sept. 13. And while all those deaths were
duly noted in the media, one gets the sense that many
Americans have grown indifferent to what's happening
in that chaotic region. Either that, or they don't
want to face the unsettling possibility that, 30 years
after Vietnam, we're once again trapped in a no-win
situation.

John Straseskie, the father of Kirk Straseskie, senses
it, too.

"I don't think Bush has a clue what he's doing over
there," the 52-year-old retired Beaver Dam resident
said in a phone interview this week.And Straseskie
suspects things will just continue to deteriorate
because, he maintains, the president and his advisers
can't seem to comprehend one simple fact.

"Anytime you have guerrilla-type warfare going on, you
kill a lot of innocent people - and that just feeds
the guerillas," he says. "And there's gonna come a
time when we're running with our tails tucked between
our legs just to get out of there."

It should be noted that this isn't the first time
Straseskie has voiced his opposition to the war.
Though he originally supported the idea - like the
vast majority of Americans, he says, "I believed this
stuff about weapons of mass destruction and all the
other horse bleep" - Straseskie publicly criticized
Bush shortly after learning of his son's death in May
2003. (Another of his sons, Ryan, also was deployed in
the Persian Gulf with the Wisconsin National Guard,
but returned home early this summer.)

"He put our troops over there to finish what his dad
didn't do," Straseskie said at the time.

Sixteen months later, those feelings appear to have
intensified.

He's angry, Straseskie says, "because more and more
innocent soldiers are dying in a war that we had no
business starting in the first place." And he's
disillusioned, he says, because many Americans
apparently agree with Bush's contention that the war
was worth fighting because we captured Saddam Hussein
- who, according to the president, was a major
terrorist threat.

"But how many Iraqis were involved in Sept. 11? None
that I'm aware of," Straseskie counters. And yet, he
says, "people still buy this stuff."

Having said all that, Straseskie acknowledges there's
still a chance the United States "could turn this
around" and says people shouldn't be surprised if the
draft is revived and the war is expanded early next
year - particularly if Bush is re-elected.

But in his own view, there's only one sensible option
at this point.

"I think we should get out and let the Iraqis fight
their own battles," he says.

Besides, "I think if you look at the region as a
whole, they don't want democracy over there. Not their
current leaders anyway. Because if they get democracy,
they'll lose their power."

Asked what he'd ask Bush if he - not Jim Lehrer - were
moderating Thursday night's televised debate,
Straseskie says, "I'd ask him, 'Don't you think you're
rather vain and full of bluster when you say that -
with all the information we have now - we were
justified in going into Iraq? Without enough allied
support to even try to get the job done?' "

But Straseskie says he knows Bush wouldn't answer
truthfully - one, because he's not about to admit he
made such a catastrophic blunder; and two, because to
admit as much could very well cost him the election.

And, frankly, that's been the toughest thing to accept
over the last 16 months, Straseskie says. The
likelihood that his son - and 1,052 other Americans -
gave his life in a war that in the long run "probably
isn't going to solve a thing."

Yes, the initial shock of Kirk's death has worn off,
Straseskie says.

"But you never really get over it. Especially at
holidays and birthdays. You look around and realize
your son's not there.

"It's like an open sore."

E-mail: rzaleski@madison.com

Published: 10:38 AM 9/29/04


http://www.bluelemur.com/index.php?p=310

9/29/2004
Hersh predicts return of military draft
Filed under: General— site admin @ 10:37 am Email This
Raw Story latest: Buchanan endorses Kerry on Iraq;
ABC, NBC, CBS ban F9/11 ads; Qaeda-linked group
endorses Bush re-election

By Raw Story

Seymour Hersh, the non plus ultra of investigative
journalism (most recently responsible for bringing the
Abu Ghraib scandal to light) presaged that the U.S.
military draft would return at the American Society of
Magazine Editors Tuesday. This blurb was printed (in
all places) on the Women’s Wear Daily website.

DARK PROPHET: Seymour Hersh, the dean of American
investigative journalism, was in top form Tuesday when
he addressed a lunch gathering hosted by the American
Society of Magazine Editors. The prolific New Yorker
writer shared his gloomy views on the current
administration and the prospects for stability in Iraq
with a crowd that included Elle editor in chief
Roberta Myers, Playboy editor in chief Chris
Napolitano and Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker. “The
question I keep thinking about is how did eight or
nine neocons, utopians, take control of the
government?” Hersh said by way of warm-up. He
predicted that President Bush would be forced to
reinstate the draft in a hypothetical second term,
said the Pentagon had failed to account for billions
of dollars, and called the abuses at Camp X-Ray in
Guantanamo Bay “much worse than Abu Ghraib.” He also
had choice words for Henry Kissinger (“At least you
knew there was some rationality somewhere. There isn’t
with these guys.”) And as for Bill Clinton (“I admire
Clinton — he was the first president since World War
II to bomb white people.”) By the time Hersh declared,
“The insurgency is us, baby,” most listeners were all
but ready to take the advice he claimed to give anyone
who asks: “Sell short and buy some property in Tuscany

http://www.bluelemur.com/index.php?p=311

9/29/2004
Salon acquires the 60 Minutes that never was
Filed under: General— site admin @ 11:49 am Email This
Raw Story latest: Buchanan endorses Kerry on Iraq;
ABC, NBC, CBS ban F9/11 ads; Qaeda-linked group
endorses Bush re-election

By Raw Story

Salon, the online magazine, acquired an advance copy
of the 60 Minutes broadcast that was originally slated
to be aired during Dan Rather’s troubled broadcast
about Bush’s Guard fiasco. After CBS cancelled the
show, which was to air how forged documents (of all
things) led the U.S. into Iraq, Salon decided they had
a responsibility to report on it. Here are a few
excerpts from that report by Mary Jacoby, which can be
read (get a day-pass if you’re not subscribed) here.

The importance that CBS placed on the report was
evident by its unusual length: It was slated to run a
full half hour, double the usual 15 minutes of a
single segment. Although months of reporting went into
the production, CBS abruptly decided that it would be
“inappropriate to air the report so close to the
presidential election,” in the words of a statement
that network spokeswoman Kelli Edwards gave the New
York Times…

The report contains little new information, but it is
powerfully, coherently and credibly reported. It
features the first on-camera interview with Elisabetta
Burba, the Italian journalist who received the fake
Niger documents in 2002 and passed them on to the U.S.
embassy in Rome. Burba tells how she traveled to Niger
and concluded that Iraq could not have purchased
uranium from the tightly controlled French-run mines
in Niger and that therefore the documents must have
been faked…

That broadcast raises the question of whether the
right-wing government of Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi had helped manufacture evidence that his
ally, Bush, could use to persuade Americans to support
an invasion. Burba passed on the documents to the U.S.
embassy in Rome at the instruction of her editor at
Panorama, a news magazine owned by Berlusconi. An
alternative theory, floated in corners of the
conspiracy-minded European press, is that Martino was
working for the antiwar French, who hoped to discredit
the Bush administration by getting American officials
to swallow obviously forged documents.

Whatever the case, the CBS producers apparently
decided to concentrate on what could be nailed down:
the Bush administration had, either intentionally or
with breathtaking credulity, relied on patently false
intelligence to make the case for invading Iraq.

“Two years ago, Americans heard some frightening words
from President Bush and his closest advisers,” Bradley
said in his introduction of the now-shelved report.
“Saddam Hussein, they said, could soon have a nuclear
bomb. Of course, we now know that wasn’t true.” Not
only did Saddam not have a nuclear program, Bradley
said, but “he hadn’t for more than ten years. How
could the Bush administration be so wrong about
something so important?”

The answer, Bradley was to have told viewers, “has a
lot to do with a single piece of evidence: A set of
documents that appear to prove Saddam was secretly
buying uranium ore.” The mysterious surfacing of the
forged Niger documents, Bradley said, helped “explain
why President Bush and his cabinet delivered the
frightening message we all heard in the early autumn
two years ago.” The broadcast then cut to video clips
of Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice making public statements with eerily
similar wording:

“We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to
acquire nuclear weapons,” Cheney said in an address to
the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Cut to Rumsfeld: “We do
now know that Saddam Hussein has been actively and
persistently” pursuing nukes.” Then, Rice on a
television talk show, insisted: “We do know that he is
actively pursuing a nuclear weapon.”

…Cut to Bush: “We cannot wait for the final proof, the
smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom
cloud.” The expression on Bush’s face as he speaks
portentously was a look of concern. Yet, had the
segment aired, the viewer would have understood that
the president was not telling the truth.

By showing the video clips in rapid succession, the
television piece conveyed, in a manner beyond the
printed word, how deliberate and practiced was the
administration’s sense of urgency…

Bradley then interviews an expert from the U.N.
International Atomic Energy Agency, who tells him
laughingly that it took only about two hours of Google
searches for his staff to figure out the documents
were fraudulent.

Then-CIA director George Tenet warns the White House
not to let Bush use the discredited Niger information
in his speeches. “That might have been the end of it,
but it wasn’t,” Bradley says. Cut to Bush delivering
the fateful 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union
address: “The British government has learned that
Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities
of uranium from Africa

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/093004H.shtml

The Democratic Candidate Wants to Turn the
"Halliburton Affair" into a Dick Cheney Scandal
By Eric Leser
Le Monde

Tuesday 28 September 2004

The last two weeks, John Kerry has been launching
direct attacks against American Vice President Dick
Cheney and his ties to Halliburton, the world's second
largest oil services group. "While Halliburton
increases its over-billing and its waste thanks to the
no-bid contract it's gotten, Dick Cheney continues to
receive compensation from his former company," he
accused. "When I am president, I'll put a stop to such
practices."

In a television spot, the Democratic candidate
returns to the accusation: "Halliburton earned
billions with a discretionary contract in Iraq. What
did we get? A bill for 200 billion dollars." According
to his advisors, undecided voters are sensitive to
ethics questions about the ties between government and
big companies.

Dick Cheney was Halliburton's CEO from October
1995 to August 2000. He continues to receive
compensation from the company to the tune of $147,579
dollars in 2001, $162, 392 in 2002 and $178,437 in
2003. These sums are deferred salary payments
according to a contract signed in 1998, two years
before Mr. Cheney became a Vice Presidential
candidate. Such practices are common among American
business leaders. They allow them to receive salary
after retirement and so to pay fewer taxes. At the
same time, Mr. Cheney also took out an insurance
policy that guaranteed his receipt of compensation
even if Halliburton went bankrupt or did poorly.
Moreover, he placed the purchase options for the
433,000 shares of Halliburton he had into a charitable
trust.

What has become the Halliburton "Affair" goes back
to November 2002. A group constituted within the
Pentagon to prepare Iraq's economic future in the
event of war asked the company to study a plan for
refurbishing the country's oil industry for which it
paid $1.9 million dollars. March 8, 2003, the American
land army chose Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a
Halliburton subsidiary specialized in public works and
logistics, to repair Iraqi oil structures along the
lines defined by the mother company three months
earlier. The contract was assigned as the result of a
discretionary procedure without bids or competition.

A March 5, 2003 email from the regional director
of the Corps of Engineers, Stephen Browning, suggests
that assignment of the contract was "coordinated" with
Dick Cheney's office. This contract proved to be great
business. Its value went from 71.3 million dollars in
March to 2.5 billion dollars in December 2003. The
administration revealed its existence at the end of
March 2003 and described its purpose as extinguishing
oil well fires. Later, the administration acknowledged
that the contract had an altogether different scope
and committed to making it temporary. Two new
contracts were assigned, this time after a competitive
process, on January 16, 2004, one for 800 million
dollars to the California company Parsons and another
for 1.2 billion dollars to... Halliburton.

Legal Proceedings

There is no formal proof that Dick Cheney played a
role in the contracts' assignment to Halliburton.
However, the administration and Dick Cheney's office
have contradicted one another several times about the
way Halliburton gained the contract. This company,
moreover, is the object of several legal proceedings.
They concern bribes paid in Nigeria, over-billing in
Iraq for everything from gasoline to canned soda for
the soldiers, and illegal sales to Iran when Dick
Cheney was CEO. In this last matter, a Houston, Texas
Grand Jury could proceed to indictments in the coming
months.

An incontestable fact, Halliburton has gone from
the rank of 19th supplier to the American army in 2002
to first in 2003, with a turnover of 4.2 billion
dollars, most of which comes from a contract KBR
walked away with to general indifference in December
2001. That contract is for supplying the army with
food and the maintenance of American troops abroad -
consequently today for the 150,000 soldiers in the
Gulf and 20,000 in Afghanistan. By May, it would have
brought in 5.6 billion dollars.

"Vicious Campaign"

Paradoxically, in spite of these contracts,
Halliburton and its KBR subsidiary even more so, are
not doing well. Last week, during a meeting with
investors in New York, David Lesar, Halliburton's
Chairman of the Board, grieved to see his company the
target of a "vicious campaign." He reminded everyone
that 45 of the group's employees have been killed in
Iraq.

Halliburton itself is not doing well. The company
reported a loss of 762 million dollars on construction
of an oil platform off the coast of Brazil. Now
Halliburton today is thinking about separation from
its KBR subsidiary, hoping that would allow it to get
rid of all its problems and concentrate on oil
services, its main calling.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

KBR in Bankruptcy Court

At the heart of Halliburton, it's KBR that
obtained Iraqi contracts, that is being prosecuted for
its activities in Nigeria and in Iran, and which finds
itself under the protection of the bankruptcy law
since the beginning of the year following hundreds of
suits from former employee asbestos victims. To put an
end to the suits, Halliburton agreed in December 2003
to a legal settlement by which it pays 4.2 billion
dollars to its subsidiaries DII Industries and KBR's
former employees who had been exposed to asbestos dust
during the seventies.

The transaction forced KBR to file for bankruptcy.
When the company, which counts 83,000 employees in 43
countries, gets out of bankruptcy court protection, it
will be to be sold.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/093004D.shtml


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Translation: t r u t h o u t French language
correspondent Leslie Thatcher.


Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush
By George Soros
George Soros.com

Tuesday 28 September 2004

Prepared text of speech delivered September 28, 2004,
National Press Club, Washington, DC.
This is the most important election of my
lifetime. I have never been heavily involved in
partisan politics but these are not normal times.
President Bush is endangering our safety, hurting our
vital interests and undermining American values. That
is why I am sending you this message. I have been
demonized by the Bush campaign but I hope you will
give me a hearing.

President Bush ran on the platform of a "humble"
foreign policy in 2000. If we re-elect him now, we
endorse the Bush doctrine of preemptive action and the
invasion of Iraq, and we will have to live with the
consequences. As I shall try to show, we are facing a
vicious circle of escalating violence with no end in
sight. But if we repudiate the Bush policies at the
polls, we shall have a better chance to regain the
respect and support of the world and to break the
vicious circle.

I grew up in Hungary, lived through fascism and
the Holocaust, and then had a foretaste of communism.
I learned at an early age how important it is what
kind of government prevails. I chose America as my
home because I value freedom and democracy, civil
liberties and an open society.

When I had made more money than I needed for
myself and my family, I set up a foundation to promote
the values and principles of a free and open society.
I started in South Africa in 1979 and established a
foundation in my native country, Hungary, in 1984 when
it was still under communist rule. China, Poland and
the Soviet Union followed in 1987. After the Berlin
Wall fell in 1989, I established foundations in
practically all the countries of the former Soviet
empire and later in other parts of the world and in
the United States. These foundations today spend about
450 million dollars a year to promote democracy and
open society around the world.

When George W. Bush was elected president, and
particularly after September 11, I saw that the values
and principles of open society needed to be defended
at home. September 11 led to a suspension of the
critical process so essential to a democracy - a full
and fair discussion of the issues. President Bush
silenced all criticism by calling it unpatriotic. When
he said that "either you are with us, or you are with
the terrorists," I heard alarm bells ringing. I am
afraid that he is leading us in a very dangerous
direction. We are losing the values that have made
America great.

The destruction of the twin towers of the World
Trade Center was such a horrendous event that it
required a strong response. But the President
committed a fundamental error in thinking: the fact
that the terrorists are manifestly evil does not make
whatever counter-actions we take automatically good.
What we do to combat terrorism may also be wrong.
Recognizing that we may be wrong is the foundation of
an open society. President Bush admits no doubt and
does not base his decisions on a careful weighing of
reality. For 18 months after 9/11 he managed to
suppress all dissent. That is how he could lead the
nation so far in the wrong direction.

President Bush inadvertently played right into the
hands of bin Laden. The invasion of Afghanistan was
justified: that was where bin Laden lived and al Qaeda
had its training camps. The invasion of Iraq was not
similarly justified. It was President Bush's
unintended gift to bin Laden.

War and occupation create innocent victims. We
count the body bags of American soldiers; there have
been more than 1000 in Iraq. The rest of the world
also looks at the Iraqis who get killed daily. There
have been 20 times more. Some were trying to kill our
soldiers; far too many were totally innocent,
including many women and children. Every innocent
death helps the terrorists' cause by stirring anger
against America and bringing them potential recruits.

Immediately after 9/11 there was a spontaneous
outpouring of sympathy for us worldwide. It has given
way to an equally widespread resentment. There are
many more people willing to risk their lives to kill
Americans than there were on September 11 and our
security, far from improving as President Bush claims,
is deteriorating. I am afraid that we have entered a
vicious circle of escalating violence where our fears
and their rage feed on each other. It is not a process
that is likely to end any time soon. If we re-elect
President Bush we are telling the world that we
approve his policies - and we shall be at war for a
long time to come.

I realize that what I am saying is bound to be
unpopular. We are in the grip of a collective
misconception induced by the trauma of 9/11, and
fostered by the Bush administration. No politician
could say it and hope to get elected. That is why I
feel obliged to speak out. There is a widespread
belief that President Bush is making us safe. The
opposite is true. President Bush failed to finish off
bin Laden when he was cornered in Afghanistan because
he was gearing up to attack Iraq. And the invasion of
Iraq bred more people willing to risk their lives
against Americans than we are able to kill -
generating the vicious circle I am talking about.

President Bush likes to insist that the terrorists
hate us for what we are - a freedom loving people -
not what we do. Well, he is wrong on that. He also
claims that the torture scenes at Abu Graib prison
were the work of a few bad apples. He is wrong on that
too. They were part of a system of dealing with
detainees put in place by Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld and our troops in Iraq are paying the price.

How could President Bush convince people that he
is good for our security, better than John Kerry? By
building on the fears generated by the collapse of the
twin towers and fostering a sense of danger. At a time
of peril, people rally around the flag and President
Bush has exploited this. His campaign is based on the
assumption that people do not really care about the
truth and they will believe practically anything if it
is repeated often enough, particularly by a President
at a time of war. There must be something wrong with
us if we fall for it. For instance, some 40% of the
people still believe that Saddam Hussein was connected
with 9/11 - although it is now definitely established
by the 9/11 Commission, set up by the President and
chaired by a Republican, that there was no connection.
I want to shout from the roof tops: "Wake up America.
Don't you realize that we are being misled?"

President Bush has used 9/11 to further his own
agenda which has very little to do with fighting
terrorism. There was an influential group within the
Bush administration led by Vice President Dick Cheney
that was itching to invade Iraq long before 9/11. The
terrorist attack gave them their chance. If you need a
tangible proof why President Bush does not deserve to
be re-elected, consider Iraq.

The war in Iraq was misconceived from start to
finish - if it has a finish. It is a war of choice,
not necessity, in spite of what President Bush says.
The arms inspections and sanctions were working. In
response to American pressure, the United Nations had
finally agreed on a strong stand. As long as the
inspectors were on the ground, Saddam Hussein could
not possibly pose a threat to our security. We could
have declared victory but President Bush insisted on
going to war.

We went to war on false pretences. The real
reasons for going into Iraq have not been revealed to
this day. The weapons of mass destruction could not be
found, and the connection with al Qaeda could not be
established. President Bush then claimed that we went
to war to liberate the people of Iraq. All my
experience in fostering democracy and open society has
taught me that democracy cannot be imposed by military
means. And, Iraq would be the last place I would chose
for an experiment in introducing democracy - as the
current chaos demonstrates.

Of course, Saddam was a tyrant, and of course
Iraqis - and the rest of the world - can rejoice to be
rid of him. But Iraqis now hate the American
occupation. We stood idly by while Baghdad was
ransacked. As the occupying power, we had an
obligation to maintain law and order, but we failed to
live up to it. If we had cared about the people of
Iraq we should have had more troops available for the
occupation than we needed for the invasion. We should
have provided protection not only for the oil ministry
but also the other ministries, museums and hospitals.
Baghdad and the country's other cities were destroyed
after we occupied them. When we encountered
resistance, we employed methods that alienated and
humiliated the population. The way we invaded homes,
and the way we treated prisoners generated resentment
and rage. Public opinion condemns us worldwide.

The number of flipflops and missteps committed by
the Bush administration in Iraq far exceeds anything
John Kerry can be accused of. First we dissolved the
Iraqi army, then we tried to reconstitute it. First we
tried to eliminate the Baathists, then we turned to
them for help. First we installed General Jay Garner
to run the country, then we gave it to Paul Bremer and
when the insurgency became intractable, we installed
an Iraqi government. The man we chose was a protégé of
the CIA with the reputation of a strong man - a far
cry from democracy. First we attacked Falluja over the
objections of the Marine commander on the ground, then
pulled them out when the assault was half-way through,
again over his objections. "Once you commit, you got
to stay committed," he said publicly. More recently,
we started bombing Falluja again.

The Bush campaign is trying to put a favorable
spin on it, but the situation in Iraq is dire. Much of
the Western part of the country has been ceded to the
insurgents. Even the so-called Green Zone (a small
enclave in the center of Baghdad where Americans live
and work) is subject to mortar attacks. The prospects
of holding free and fair elections in January are fast
receding and civil war looms. President Bush received
a somber intelligence evaluation in July but he has
kept it under wraps and failed to level with the
electorate.

Bush's war in Iraq has done untold damage to the
United States. It has impaired our military power and
undermined the morale of our armed forces. Before the
invasion of Iraq, we could project overwhelming power
in any part of the world. We cannot do so any more
because we are bogged down in Iraq. Afghanistan is
slipping from our control. North Korea, Iran, Pakistan
and other countries are pursuing nuclear programs with
renewed vigor and many other problems remain
unattended.

By invading Iraq without a second UN resolution,
we violated international law. By mistreating and even
torturing prisoners, we violated the Geneva
conventions. President Bush has boasted that we do not
need a permission slip from the international
community, but our actions have endangered our
security - particularly the security of our troops.

Our troops were trained to project overwhelming
power. They were not trained for occupation duties.
Having to fight an insurgency saps their morale. Many
of our troops return from Iraq with severe trauma and
other psychological disorders. Sadly, many are also
physically injured. After Iraq, it will be difficult
to recruit people for the armed forces and we may have
to resort to conscription.

There are many other policies for which the Bush
administration can be criticized but none are as
important as Iraq. Iraq has cost us nearly 200 billion
dollars - an enormous sum. It could have been used
much better elsewhere. The costs are going to mount
because it was much easier to get into Iraq than it
will be to get out of there. President Bush has been
taunting John Kerry to explain how he would do things
differently in Iraq. John Kerry has responded that he
would have done everything differently and he would be
in a better position to extricate us than the man who
got us in there. But it won't be easy for him either,
because we are caught in a quagmire.

It is a quagmire that many predicted. I predicted
it in my book, The Bubble of American Supremacy. I was
not alone: top military and diplomatic experts
desperately warned the President not to invade Iraq.
But he ignored their experienced advice. He suppressed
the critical process. The discussion about Iraq
remains stilted even during this presidential campaign
because of the notion that any criticism of our
Commander-in-Chief puts our troops at risk. But this
is Bush's war, and he ought to be held responsible for
it. It's the wrong war, fought the wrong way. Step
back for a moment from the cacophony of the election
campaign and reflect: who got us into this mess? In
spite of his Texas swagger, George W. Bush does not
qualify to serve as our Commander-in-Chief.

There is a lot more to be said on the subject and
I have said it in my book, The Bubble of American
Supremacy, now available in paperback. I hope you will
read it. You can download the chapter on the Iraqi
quagmire free from George Soros.com.

If you find my arguments worth considering, please
share this message with your friends.

I would welcome your comments at George Soros.com.
I am eager to engage in a critical discussion because
the stakes are so high.

-------

Posted by richard at 03:47 PM

September 29, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 34 Days to Go -- "WORM SIGN!" NINE stories that verify the promised Electoral Uprsing is coming...

There are 34 days to go until the national referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the _resident, the VICE _resident AND their full partners,i.e., the shameless pollsters, craven propapunditgandists, complicit news room editors, mercenary producers, besotted anchormen and corporate overlords of the US regimestream news media...Here are NINE important stories. These stories are powerful evidence of the Electoral Uprising coming at the Ballot Box on November 2, and of how the Triad ( i.e. the Bush cabal itself, its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party and their sponsors, in the US regimestream news media) will try to thwart it…Please read them and share them with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote. And, please, remember that the USregimestream news media does not want to inform you about this presidential campaign, it wants to DISinform you…

Agence France Press: Billionaire financier George Soros announced that he was traveling to dozens of US cities and will be mailing two million brochures to voters, trying to convince them to vote against the re-election of President George W. Bush.
Five weeks ahead of the November 2 US presidential vote, Soros, a Hungarian born US citizen, also announced he was launching an website (www.GeorgeSoros.com) where he promises to answer questions by undecided voters.
He said he was running two-page ads in several US newspapers on Wednesday.
"I am eager to reach Republicans who might vote for Bush out of party loyalty," Soros said at a Washington press conference. "I also intend to reach out to the business community, especially among the traditional conservatives."
According to Soros there are many Republicans "who are quite distressed about the policies of this administration."

Editors & Publishers: On the eve of the Vote for Change tour, which has sparked controversy in newsrooms where reporters have been ordered not to attend the pro-Kerry fundraisers, Bruce Springsteen, one of the stars of the concerts, has a few words for the press.
In a wide ranging interview in the just-published Oct. 14 issue of Rolling Stone, Springsteen says, "The press has let the country down. It's taken a very amoral stand, in that essential issues are often portrayed as simply one side says this and the other side says that....The job of the press is to tell the truth without fear or favor. We have to get back to that standard."
Overall, while there has been some great reporting in the press, it has fallen far short, Springsteen tells Rolling Stone founder Jann S. Wenner: "Real news is the news we need to protect our freedoms. You get tabloid news, you get blood-and-guts news, you get news shot through with a self-glorifying façade of patriotism, but people have to sift too much for the news that we need to protect our freedoms....The loss of some of the soberness and seriousness of those institutions has had a devastating effect upon people's ability to respond to the events of the day."
He also knocks the media for allowing the White House to get away with the "disgraceful" policy of refusing "to allow photographs of the flag-draped coffins of the returning dead."

KENNETH CHANG, New York Times: While Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and other rock stars sing on a "Vote for Change" concert tour, another disgruntled group - this one of scientists - will crisscross the well-worn landscape of battleground states over the next month, giving lectures that will argue that the Bush administration has ignored and misused science.
The group, Scientists and Engineers for Change, another addition to the flood of so-called 527 advocacy groups that have filled this year's election discourse, announced its existence and plans yesterday in a telephone news conference. At least 25 scientists will give talks in 10 contested states: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Among the headlining lecturers are 10 Nobel Prize winners, including Dr. Douglas D. Osheroff, a professor of physics at Stanford; Dr. Peter C. Agre, a professor of biological chemistry at Johns Hopkins; and Dr. Harold Varmus, former director of the National Institutes of Health…
At the news conference, Dr. Vinton G. Cerf, one of the architects of the Internet in the 1960's and 1970's and current chairman of Icann, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said, "Science counts, and it has not counted sufficiently in this administration."
Dr. Cerf said he was a registered Republican, but that he joined the group "in the hope that we bring debate, science and technology, into the political debate so that the electorate understands the importance that it has in our society."
Dr. Cerf said the United States was "at risk of losing the edge" in technology because the Bush administration was cutting basic research budgets at the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

JOHN EISENHOWER , Union Leader: THE Presidential election to be held this coming Nov. 2 will be one of extraordinary importance to the future of our nation. The outcome will determine whether this country will continue on the same path it has followed for the last 3½ years or whether it will return to a set of core domestic and foreign policy values that have been at the heart of what has made this country great.
ow more than ever, we voters will have to make cool judgments, unencumbered by habits of the past. Experts tell us that we tend to vote as our parents did or as we “always have.” We remained loyal to party labels. We cannot afford that luxury in the election of 2004. There are times when we must break with the past, and I believe this is one of them.
As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration’s decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.
The fact is that today’s “Republican” Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today’s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.
Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others. America, though recognized as the leader of the community of nations, has always acted as a part of it, not as a maverick separate from that community and at times insulting towards it. Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.

Reuters: The newspaper in President Bush's adopted hometown of Crawford threw its support on Tuesday behind Bush's Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry.
The weekly Lone Star Iconoclast criticized Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and for turning budget surpluses into record deficits. The editorial also criticized Bush's proposals on Social Security and Medicare.
"The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda," the newspaper said in its editorial. "Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry."

Robert Tanner, Associated Press: New voters are flooding local election offices with paperwork, registering in significantly higher numbers than four years ago as attention to the presidential election runs high and an array of activist groups recruit would-be voters who could prove critical come Nov. 2.
Cleveland has seen nearly twice as many new voters register so far as compared with 2000; Philadelphia is having its biggest boom in new voters in 20 years; and counties are bringing in temporary workers and employees from other agencies to help process all the new registration forms.
Some examples, from interviews with state and county officials across the country:
- New registered voters in Miami-Dade County, a crucial Florida county in 2000, grew by 65 percent through mid-September, compared with 2000.
- New registered voters jumped nearly 150 percent in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) in Ohio, one of the most hard-fought states this year.
And that's with weeks left until registration deadlines fall, beginning in October.
Oklahoma officials said they had 16,000 new Republican registrations, 15,000 new Democrats and 3,500 new independents. In Oregon, where new registrations grew by 4 percent from January through Sept. 1, Democrats outregistered Republicans two-to-one.

Mark Naymik and Julie Carr Smyth, Plain Dealer: The result is a flood of new registrations and address changes in the biggest counties, nearly double the number submitted in 2000 that voter advocates worry will lead to confusion and lost votes on Election Day. The scramble is expected to intensify this week, as the Oct. 4 registration deadline nears.
"We think this will be the sleeper issue in this election," says Kay Maxwell, national president of the League of Women Voters. "Plenty of people can fall through the cracks."
Any Election Day confusion could be most worrisome for Democrats: The New York Times reports today that the bulk of new registrations in Ohio have been in heavily Democratic areas.
Election boards across the state have hired extra staff members, extended working hours, or both. Some boards are processing cards 24 hours a day.
"It's like Florida 2000, only before the election," said Dan Tokaji, an election-law specialist and assistant law professor at Ohio State University.
The big counties seem to have it worst.
At Cuyahoga County's elections board, Ohio's largest, about 20,000 cards sat in small bins last week, waiting to be checked and entered into computers. Director Michael Vu said the board will spend about $175,000 on extra workers to process the cards. He expected to eliminate the backlog over the weekend.
John Williams, Hamilton County's elections director, said the Cincinnati area's backlog was still about 5,000 last week - down from 14,000.
"This is an election unlike anything 30-year pros have seen," he said.

Jim Bebbington and Laura Bischoff, Dayton Daily News: Voters-rights advocates are criticizing two recent decisions by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell that they say will unfairly limit some people's ability to vote Nov. 2.
Blackwell's office has told county boards of elections to follow strictly two provisions in Ohio election law:
• One requires Ohio voter registration cards be printed on thick, 80-pound stock paper.
• The other ordered boards to strictly interpret the rules regarding provisional ballots, the ones cast by voters who move before the election but are still registered in Ohio.
The paper-stock issue is frustrating Montgomery County Board of Elections officials, who have a backlog of registrations to complete. If they get an Ohio voter registration card on paper thinner than required, they are mailing a new card out to the voter. But if they still have the backlog by the registration deadline, Oct. 4, voters will not have another chance to get their correct paperwork in, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Montgomery County board.
"There is just no reason to use 80-pound paper," Harsman said.

Andrew Gumbel, Independent: What makes the troubles facing the two men particularly sinister is that they are declared Kerry supporters, with the power to bring in hundreds if not thousands of votes for the Democratic Party. The investigations are being conducted by the state police, known as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which reports directly to Governor Jeb Bush, brother of President George Bush.
The Republicans, naturally, deny the investigations are politically motivated. But even they acknowledge that a chill has spread through Orlando's overwhelmingly Democratic black voting community after a flurry of unannounced visits by armed state police to at least 52 homes whose mostly elderly residents had signed up for an absentee ballot with Mr Thomas's help.
The Republicans have been hard put to explain what exactly the two men have done wrong. The media has aired official allegations ranging from vote fraud to campaign finance irregularities to racketeering, but no charges have been brought, despite exhaustive investigations. A grand jury examining allegations concerning the firefighters' union concluded that no laws had been broken, which has not deterred the FDLE from pursuing the case.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040928/ts_alt_afp/us_vote_soros&cid=1506&ncid=2043

Billionaire George Soros intensifies his anti-Bush campaign

Tue Sep 28, 2:45 PM ET U.S. National - AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Billionaire financier George Soros announced that he was traveling to dozens of US cities and will be mailing two million brochures to voters, trying to convince them to vote against the re-election of President George W. Bush (news - web sites).


Five weeks ahead of the November 2 US presidential vote, Soros, a Hungarian born US citizen, also announced he was launching an website (www.GeorgeSoros.com) where he promises to answer questions by undecided voters.


He said he was running two-page ads in several US newspapers on Wednesday.


"I am eager to reach Republicans who might vote for Bush out of party loyalty," Soros said at a Washington press conference. "I also intend to reach out to the business community, especially among the traditional conservatives."


According to Soros there are many Republicans "who are quite distressed about the policies of this administration."


Soros said he was willing to spend "between 2 and 3 million (dollars) on this campaign," adding that if he increases the amount he will announce it later.


Republican House of Representative speaker Dennis Hastert recently suggested in a television interview that Soros may be making his billions off illegal-drug related activities. Soros wrote to Hastert demanding an apology.


"There is no way to avoid a smear campaign," said Soros. "It's in full swing. All I can do is get my message out and try to have people listen," he said.

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000642981

On Eve of Big Tour, Springsteen Says Press Has 'Let The Country Down'

By E&P Staff

Published: September 27, 2004 8:00 PM EDT
NEW YORK On the eve of the Vote for Change tour, which has sparked controversy in newsrooms where reporters have been ordered not to attend the pro-Kerry fundraisers, Bruce Springsteen, one of the stars of the concerts, has a few words for the press.

In a wide ranging interview in the just-published Oct. 14 issue of Rolling Stone, Springsteen says, "The press has let the country down. It's taken a very amoral stand, in that essential issues are often portrayed as simply one side says this and the other side says that....The job of the press is to tell the truth without fear or favor. We have to get back to that standard."

Most of his criticism, however, is aimed at TV coverage, and he reveals that as "a dedicated" New York Times reader he has gained "enormous sustenance" from columnists Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman.

The problem, according to Springsteen, is that "Fox News and the Republican right have intimidated the press into an incredible self-consciousness about appearing objective and backed them into a corner of sorts where they have ceded some of their responsibility and righteous power." In this regard, he finds The Washington Post and The New York Times admitting mistakes in their initial reporting about Iraq "very revealing."

Overall, while there has been some great reporting in the press, it has fallen far short, Springsteen tells Rolling Stone founder Jann S. Wenner: "Real news is the news we need to protect our freedoms. You get tabloid news, you get blood-and-guts news, you get news shot through with a self-glorifying façade of patriotism, but people have to sift too much for the news that we need to protect our freedoms....The loss of some of the soberness and seriousness of those institutions has had a devastating effect upon people's ability to respond to the events of the day."

But Springsteen mainly aims barbs at cable news, mocking the "enormous amount of Fox impersonators among what you previously thought were relatively sane media outlets across the cable channels."

He also knocks the media for allowing the White House to get away with the "disgraceful" policy of refusing "to allow photographs of the flag-draped coffins of the return
ing dead."

Even the scripted political conventions deserved more coverage than they got, especially since they were often upstaged by reality TV shows. "No matter how staged they are," Springsteen says, "I think they're a little more important than people eating bugs," although he hastens to add, "If you want to watch people eating bugs, that's fine, I can understand that, too."

________________________________________
E&P Staff (letters@editorandpublisher.com) .

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/28/politics/campaign/28policy.html?ex=buzzflash
28, 2004
SCIENCE
Scientists Begin a Campaign to Oppose President's Policies
By KENNETH CHANG


hile Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and other rock stars sing on a "Vote for Change" concert tour, another disgruntled group - this one of scientists - will crisscross the well-worn landscape of battleground states over the next month, giving lectures that will argue that the Bush administration has ignored and misused science.
The group, Scientists and Engineers for Change, another addition to the flood of so-called 527 advocacy groups that have filled this year's election discourse, announced its existence and plans yesterday in a telephone news conference. At least 25 scientists will give talks in 10 contested states: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Among the headlining lecturers are 10 Nobel Prize winners, including Dr. Douglas D. Osheroff, a professor of physics at Stanford; Dr. Peter C. Agre, a professor of biological chemistry at Johns Hopkins; and Dr. Harold Varmus, former director of the National Institutes of Health.
Compared with more prominent 527's, like MoveOn PAC and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the scientists' group will operate on a modest budget of $100,000, which will mainly pay for lecturers' travel expenses.
The group has no direct ties to the campaign of Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, but 9 members were among 48 Nobel laureates who signed a June 21 letter endorsing Mr. Kerry. Several of the scientists have also signed a statement from the Union of Concerned Scientists that accuses the Bush administration of manipulating scientific findings to support its policies. The union opposes the administration on numerous issues, including the environment and energy.
At the news conference, Dr. Vinton G. Cerf, one of the architects of the Internet in the 1960's and 1970's and current chairman of Icann, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said, "Science counts, and it has not counted sufficiently in this administration."
Dr. Cerf said he was a registered Republican, but that he joined the group "in the hope that we bring debate, science and technology, into the political debate so that the electorate understands the importance that it has in our society."
Dr. Cerf said the United States was "at risk of losing the edge" in technology because the Bush administration was cutting basic research budgets at the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Robert Hopkins, a spokesman for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, disputed that opinion. "I don't know where their accounting is coming from," Mr. Hopkins said. "The president has been a strong and generous supporter of science, increasing federal R&D budgets 44 percent to a record $132 billion."
The administration's policies on energy and global warming prompted Dr. Osheroff to take part. "I am not a Democrat and I have never played a significant role in politics," he said. "We must begin to address climate change now. To do so, we must have an administration that listens to the scientific community, not one that manipulates and minimizes scientific input."
Dr. Osheroff, who is scheduled to give the first lecture tonight at the University of Oregon, said he did not plan to explicitly urge his audience to vote for Mr. Kerry.
"At the end of my talk,'' he said, "I think people hopefully will be convinced that this administration is not doing an adequate job, that they're just not listening to scientists on these issues, that it's basically business as usual. I think people can decide how important that issue is, by themselves."
Dr. Cerf interjected: "Well, actually, Doug, let's be honest about this. The name of this group is Scientists and Engineers for Change. Now, what do you imagine we want to change?"

http://www.theunionleader.com/articles_showa.html?article=44657

Columns - September 28, 2004

Another View:
Why I will vote for John Kerry for President
By JOHN EISENHOWER
Guest Commentary

THE Presidential election to be held this coming Nov. 2 will be one of extraordinary importance to the future of our nation. The outcome will determine whether this country will continue on the same path it has followed for the last 3½ years or whether it will return to a set of core domestic and foreign policy values that have been at the heart of what has made this country great.

Now more than ever, we voters will have to make cool judgments, unencumbered by habits of the past. Experts tell us that we tend to vote as our parents did or as we “always have.” We remained loyal to party labels. We cannot afford that luxury in the election of 2004. There are times when we must break with the past, and I believe this is one of them.

As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration’s decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.

The fact is that today’s “Republican” Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today’s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.

Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others. America, though recognized as the leader of the community of nations, has always acted as a part of it, not as a maverick separate from that community and at times insulting towards it. Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.

In the Middle East crisis of 1991, President George H.W. Bush marshaled world opinion through the United Nations before employing military force to free Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. Through negotiation he arranged for the action to be financed by all the industrialized nations, not just the United States. When Kuwait had been freed, President George H. W. Bush stayed within the United Nations mandate, aware of the dangers of occupying an entire nation.

Today many people are rightly concerned about our precious individual freedoms, our privacy, the basis of our democracy. Of course we must fight terrorism, but have we irresponsibly gone overboard in doing so? I wonder. In 1960, President Eisenhower told the Republican convention, “If ever we put any other value above (our) liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both.” I would appreciate hearing such warnings from the Republican Party of today.

The Republican Party I used to know placed heavy emphasis on fiscal responsibility, which included balancing the budget whenever the state of the economy allowed it to do so. The Eisenhower administration accomplished that difficult task three times during its eight years in office. It did not attain that remarkable achievement by cutting taxes for the rich. Republicans disliked taxes, of course, but the party accepted them as a necessary means of keep the nation’s financial structure sound.

The Republicans used to be deeply concerned for the middle class and small business. Today’s Republican leadership, while not solely accountable for the loss of American jobs, encourages it with its tax code and heads us in the direction of a society of very rich and very poor.

Sen. Kerry, in whom I am willing to place my trust, has demonstrated that he is courageous, sober, competent, and concerned with fighting the dangers associated with the widening socio-economic gap in this country. I will vote for him enthusiastically.

I celebrate, along with other Americans, the diversity of opinion in this country. But let it be based on careful thought. I urge everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, to avoid voting for a ticket merely because it carries the label of the party of one’s parents or of our own ingrained habits.

John Eisenhower, son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, served on the White House staff between October 1958 and the end of the Eisenhower administration. From 1961 to 1964 he assisted his father in writing “The White House Years,” his Presidential memoirs. He served as American ambassador to Belgium between 1969 and 1971. He is the author of nine books, largely on military subjects.

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http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?kn?type=politicsNews&storyID=6356211

Bush's Hometown Newspaper Endorses Kerry
Tue Sep 28, 2004 01:19 PM ET

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - The newspaper in President Bush's adopted hometown of Crawford threw its support on Tuesday behind Bush's Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry.
The weekly Lone Star Iconoclast criticized Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and for turning budget surpluses into record deficits. The editorial also criticized Bush's proposals on Social Security and Medicare.

"The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda," the newspaper said in its editorial. "Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry."

It urged "Texans not to rate the candidate by his hometown or even his political party, but instead by where he intends to take the country."

Bush spends many of his weekends and holidays at his Crawford, Texas, ranch.

The Iconoclast's publisher and editor-in-chief, W. Leon Smith, said the newspaper is sent to Bush's ranch each week. "But I don't know if he reads it," Smith said.

The Kerry campaign welcomed the endorsement in an email to reporters.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-4519775,00.html

Flood of New Voters Signing Up

Tuesday September 28, 2004 10:31 AM


By ROBERT TANNER

AP National Writer

New voters are flooding local election offices with paperwork, registering in significantly higher numbers than four years ago as attention to the presidential election runs high and an array of activist groups recruit would-be voters who could prove critical come Nov. 2.

Cleveland has seen nearly twice as many new voters register so far as compared with 2000; Philadelphia is having its biggest boom in new voters in 20 years; and counties are bringing in temporary workers and employees from other agencies to help process all the new registration forms.

Nationwide figures aren't yet available, but anecdotal evidence shows an upswing in many places, often urban but some rural. Some wonder whether the new voters - some of whom sign up at the insistence of workers paid by get-out-the-vote organizations - will actually make it to the polls on Election Day, but few dispute the registration boom.

``We're swamped,'' said Bob Lee, who oversees voter registration in Philadelphia. ``It seems like everybody and their little group is out there trying to register people.''

Some examples, from interviews with state and county officials across the country:

- New registered voters in Miami-Dade County, a crucial Florida county in 2000, grew by 65 percent through mid-September, compared with 2000.

- New registered voters jumped nearly 150 percent in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) in Ohio, one of the most hard-fought states this year.

And that's with weeks left until registration deadlines fall, beginning in October.

Curtis Gans at the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate said a clear national picture won't emerge until more applications are processed next month. And Kay Maxwell of the League of Women Voters cautioned that some years that promise a boom in new voters turn out to be duds on Election Day. The danger is that new voters may not be as committed to showing up at the polls as longtime voters.

``Turning people out to vote is tougher than getting them to register,'' said Doug Lewis, who works with local election officials as head of The Election Center, a nonprofit group.

Rural areas, which trend conservative and Republican, aren't necessarily reporting the same growth as urban, more liberal and Democratic strongholds: Brazos County, Texas, hasn't beaten its 2000 numbers so far, though officials said applications are now rolling in. The state of Oklahoma, however, saw new registrations in July and August increase by 60 percent compared with four years ago.

Oklahoma officials said they had 16,000 new Republican registrations, 15,000 new Democrats and 3,500 new independents. In Oregon, where new registrations grew by 4 percent from January through Sept. 1, Democrats outregistered Republicans two-to-one.

Lewis and others say that no matter what the partisan breakdown, the registration boom is real - driven by a swarm of organizations such as Smack Down Your Vote (a professional wrestling-connected campaign), Hip-Hop Team Vote, traditional groups like the League of Women Voters; party-aligned groups such as America Coming Together, made up of deep-pocketed Democrats; and many, many more.

``There seem to be hundreds of them,'' Maxwell said.

The groups' focus is on states where the vote was close in 2000, but even in several states where the election isn't as competitive, officials say they are seeing new voters register in higher numbers. Officials in El Paso County, Texas, Maryland's Montgomery County, a suburb of Washington, D.C., and California's Los Angeles County said registration numbers are on pace to be higher than 2000.

In many jurisdictions, administrators complain that the crush of new registrations is overloading staff.

Clerks have hired extra workers in West Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. Philadelphia borrowed employees from other city agencies and started working overtime two months earlier than the usual post-Labor Day push.

In Greenbrier County, W.Va., deputy clerk Gail White said she's never seen so many people register in her 10 years working elections, and despite extra staff she's still behind on processing new and absentee voters. ``I get them all typed up, and the next thing I know, here comes another pile,'' she said.

The reasons seem clear - groups on all sides were energized by the close election of 2000, which proved to doubters that a handful of votes can swing an election. In 2000, 9 percent of voters, roughly 9.5 million people, said that was their first time casting a ballot, according to AP exit polls.

``It's the high-growth areas, the suburban and exurban areas in those battleground states,'' said Scott Stanzel of the Bush-Cheney campaign. ``There are opportunities there because there are so many new residents to register.''

The GOP has launched a volunteer, precinct-by-precinct effort in swing states, with separate help from a Republican-aligned group, the Progress for America Voter Fund.

Democrats, who've consistently made turnout efforts the foundation of their campaigns, are devoting huge amounts of resources, too. America Coming Together focuses solely on registering and turning out voters.

The McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law has boosted efforts, too. It cut off unlimited ``soft'' money to the parties, diverting some of that cash to community-based groups.

In Missouri, the result is that what used to be a mostly volunteer-driven voter-registration effort by the Missouri Citizen Education Fund has blossomed into a bigger, paid-staff operation, said executive director John Hickey. Funds jumped from a few thousand dollars a year to $250,000.

Focused on poor, black neighborhoods in St. Louis, mid-Missouri and rural areas, his staff went from registering a few thousand new voters in 2000 to at least 50,000 so far this year, Hickey said. In 2000, George W. Bush won the state by less than 80,000 votes.

^---

On the Net:

Federal Elections Commission voting turnout site: http://www.fec.gov/elections.html

http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/1096191056165960.xml

Election boards overwhelmed
New registrations straining resources
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Mark Naymik and Julie Carr Smyth
Plain Dealer Reporters
For the armies of canvassers registering Ohio voters, citizen interest this election year is a dream come true. But to election boards across the state, inundated with tens of thousands of new registration cards, it's turning into a nightmare.

So crucial is the Buckeye State in this year's presidential campaign that groups from the Republican Party in tiny Brown County to the national mobilization effort America Coming Together are stepping over each other to locate every unregistered Ohioan.

"Ohio's the subject of such a national focus that we're almost drowning each other," said Josh Gildrie, state coordinator for the New Voters Project. "It's absolutely amazing what's going on."

The result is a flood of new registrations and address changes in the biggest counties, nearly double the number submitted in 2000 that voter advocates worry will lead to confusion and lost votes on Election Day. The scramble is expected to intensify this week, as the Oct. 4 registration deadline nears.

"We think this will be the sleeper issue in this election," says Kay Maxwell, national president of the League of Women Voters. "Plenty of people can fall through the cracks."

Any Election Day confusion could be most worrisome for Democrats: The New York Times reports today that the bulk of new registrations in Ohio have been in heavily Democratic areas.

Election boards across the state have hired extra staff members, extended working hours, or both. Some boards are processing cards 24 hours a day.

"It's like Florida 2000, only before the election," said Dan Tokaji, an election-law specialist and assistant law professor at Ohio State University.

The big counties seem to have it worst.

At Cuyahoga County's elections board, Ohio's largest, about 20,000 cards sat in small bins last week, waiting to be checked and entered into computers. Director Michael Vu said the board will spend about $175,000 on extra workers to process the cards. He expected to eliminate the backlog over the weekend.

John Williams, Hamilton County's elections director, said the Cincinnati area's backlog was still about 5,000 last week - down from 14,000.

"This is an election unlike anything 30-year pros have seen," he said.

Judy Gallo, head of the Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition, said backlogs cut into the time that boards have to correct mistakes made by voters, canvassers or election employees.

Confusion about where to vote on Election Day could force more people to use the controversial "provisional ballots" - the special ballots given to voters who go to the wrong polling places.

That is worrisome to voting-rights advocates because an Ohio law, which continues to be challenged, could result in many provisional ballots being tossed. Provisional ballots will be issued only to voters who, after giving their address, appear to be in the correct precinct but don't show up in registration rolls.

Voting-rights groups had hoped that Ohio would be more liberal about accepting ballots from voters in the wrong precincts. Poor communication with new voters, they say, will jeopardize the votes of thousands of Ohioans who may not know what precinct they are in.

If errors on registration forms aren't fixed by Oct. 4, some new registrants may find themselves confused - or, worse yet, ineligible to vote - because of the processing delays, said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Dan Trevas.

"How do you vote if you're a first-time voter and you've never been told where your polling place is?" Trevas asked. "Do you just go around looking for American flags stuck in the ground?"

Normally, elections boards quickly alert new voters of mistakes or missing information by mail, giving them a chance to return a corrected card. This year, boards have flagged hundreds of cards with errors that voters don't yet know about.

Some cards confirming a person's registration and directing them to a new polling place have been delayed by the backlog.

"Our biggest concern is that so many people haven't received a confirmation card, leaving them wondering if their registration is valid," Gallo said.

Dennis Lieberman, the Democratic Party chairman in Montgomery County, said surveys show that most of the new voters appear to be Democrats. Volunteers have called a significant number of the 25,000 newly registered voters in Montgomery County, and three-quarters have identified themselves as Democrats.

"On newly registered voters, if we can get them to the polls, it is a big asset for Democrats," he said.

The New York Times found that in Democratic areas of Ohio - primarily low-income and minority neighborhoods - new registrations from January through July rose 250 percent from the same period in 2000. In comparison, the Times reports today, registrations increased just 25 percent in Republican areas.

The Times surveyed 60 ZIP codes mostly in the core of big cities like Cleveland, Dayton, Columbus and Youngstown, where people voted two to one or better against President Bush four years ago. New registrations in those ZIP codes have tripled since 2000, to 63,000 from 17,000.

Democrats in the state legislature have blamed Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a Republican, for contributing to the backlog of more recent registrations. They say he has issued too many last-minute orders, some of which appear to conflict with each other, to county boards and has not adequately informed citizens how to properly register.

Believing that more new voters will be Democrats than Republicans, State Sen. Teresa Fedor, a Toledo Democrat, accused Blackwell of politicking.

"Blackwell's provisional voting directive is off the mark and amounts to nothing more than cooking the vote," she told reporters last week.

Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for Blackwell, said the secretary's directives have sought to clarify concerns raised by the presidential campaigns, political parties and advocacy groups.

"If you look at the directives, we've liberalized standards," he said. "We're steering toward voter enfranchisement and the even-handed administration of Ohio election law."

Some local election officials say voter groups bear responsibility for the registration backlog because they have turned in too many cards that are duplicates or incomplete, forcing the boards to track down the voters.

In Cuyahoga County, for instance, Project Vote and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, worked together to submit the most cards. But they also produced the highest percentage - about 15 percent - of incomplete cards.

Candy Roberts, ACORN's voter registration coordinator, said the organization had problems at first but tightened its procedures to reduce errors and possible fraud.

"We can't tell when we meet someone on the street if they're not being honest with us," she said.

Republicans have been critical of Project Vote, ACORN and other groups that pay canvassers to register voters, many in Democratic-leaning areas.

Jason Mauk, a spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, said sloppy work by the groups has overloaded election boards. He also said the barrage of cards has opened the door to fraud.

"Our concern is that cases of fraud will slip through," he said. "This could raise challenges to ballots and wreak havoc on Election Day."

Meridith Imwalle, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Secretaries of State, said voter registrations are at unprecedented levels around the nation. But despite the hassles, elections officials strive to increase participation, she said.

"As long as people are getting in by the deadline, they'll be processed and I think everything will run smoothly," she said.

To reach these Plain Dealer reporters:

jsmyth@plaind.com, 1-800-228-8272

mnaymik@plaind.com, 216-999-4849

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/092904W.shtml
Ohio Secretary of State Blocks New Voter Registrations
By Jim Bebbington and Laura Bischoff
Dayton Daily News
Tuesday 28 September 2004
Boards of elections told to strictly follow two provisions.
Dayton - Voters-rights advocates are criticizing two recent decisions by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell that they say will unfairly limit some people's ability to vote Nov. 2.
Blackwell's office has told county boards of elections to follow strictly two provisions in Ohio election law:
• One requires Ohio voter registration cards be printed on thick, 80-pound stock paper.
• The other ordered boards to strictly interpret the rules regarding provisional ballots, the ones cast by voters who move before the election but are still registered in Ohio.
The paper-stock issue is frustrating Montgomery County Board of Elections officials, who have a backlog of registrations to complete. If they get an Ohio voter registration card on paper thinner than required, they are mailing a new card out to the voter. But if they still have the backlog by the registration deadline, Oct. 4, voters will not have another chance to get their correct paperwork in, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Montgomery County board.
"There is just no reason to use 80-pound paper," Harsman said.
In Montgomery County there is a backlog of around 4,000 registrations, Harsman said. A few hundred could be affected by this provision, he said.
Cuyahoga County board of elections officials are ignoring the edict because they have already had an avalanche of new registrations submitted on forms printed on newsprint in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.
"We don't have a micrometer at each desk to check the weight of the paper," said Michael Vu, director of the Cuyahoga County Board.
Blackwell's office has given the Cuyahoga board a special dispensation to accept the newsprint registration forms. The requirement is because the forms are designed to be mailed like post-cards and must be thick enough to survive mechanical sorters at the U.S. Post Office, according to Blackwell's spokesman Carlo LoParo.
"Our directive stands and it is specifically in place to protect new registrants to make sure the forms are not destroyed," LoParo said.
Confusing the matter further is a national registration form available off the Internet at the federal Elections Assistance Agency. That form must be accepted by Ohio boards regardless of what it is printed on, Blackwell has said.
The heavy-weight paper was a requirement when the cards were kept for years, were used to keep track of when a person voted, and were the main way to check signatures to combat voter fraud and verify petitions. But many boards, including both Montgomery and Cuyahoga, scan the signatures into a computer database and no longer record voting history on the cards.
The League of Women Voters of Ohio on Thursday called on Blackwell to clarify his position. League national president Kay Maxwell said she knows of no other states that are requiring the 80-pound paper stock for voter registration cards. "This is the first I've heard of it," she said on Thursday in Columbus.
The other directive forbids poll workers from giving a provisional ballot unless the person can prove they live in that precinct. Peg Rosenfield, spokeswoman for the league, said she interprets federal to be less restrictive. Rosenfield says people who show up at the wrong precinct should be given a ballot and allowed to vote on the non-local races.
-------
Jump to TO Features for Wednesday September 29, 2004


http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=566037

Politics and sleaze envelop Orlando
As the presidential campaign approaches its showdown, the Republicans in the state run by George Bush's brother are up to their tricks again. Andrew Gumbel reports from the heart of Florida
27 September 2004
In Orlando, the Florida home of Disneyworld and a vital political battleground, the campaign for the November presidential election is getting sly, nasty and very, very personal. Normally, at this stage of the proceedings, Ezzie Thomas, a well-known character on the predominantly African-American west side of town, would be out chatting to the people, registering them to vote before the 4 October deadline and helping them with absentee ballots if they do not think they will have time to make it to the polls on election day. But the 73-year-old Mr Thomas, an affable ladies' man, is staying out of public view for fear of exacerbating what is already a highly controversial - and highly political - criminal investigation of his election-related activities.
A similarly low profile is being taken by Steve Clelland, the head of the local firefighters' union. Last week, he did not even dare attend a local appearance by John Kerry, the candidate he is supporting for President, in case it added to the legal troubles facing his own organisation. The firefighters are also subject to a criminal investigation, the chief allegation - for which no evidence has been produced - being that they colluded with City Hall to set up an illegal slush fund for political campaigning.
What makes the troubles facing the two men particularly sinister is that they are declared Kerry supporters, with the power to bring in hundreds if not thousands of votes for the Democratic Party. The investigations are being conducted by the state police, known as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which reports directly to Governor Jeb Bush, brother of President George Bush.
The Republicans, naturally, deny the investigations are politically motivated. But even they acknowledge that a chill has spread through Orlando's overwhelmingly Democratic black voting community after a flurry of unannounced visits by armed state police to at least 52 homes whose mostly elderly residents had signed up for an absentee ballot with Mr Thomas's help.
The Republicans have been hard put to explain what exactly the two men have done wrong. The media has aired official allegations ranging from vote fraud to campaign finance irregularities to racketeering, but no charges have been brought, despite exhaustive investigations. A grand jury examining allegations concerning the firefighters' union concluded that no laws had been broken, which has not deterred the FDLE from pursuing the case.
It is impossible to understand what is going on without considering the broader political picture. Orlando is slap-bang in the middle of the so-called "I-4 corridor", the line of Florida cities running along Interstate Highway 4 from Daytona Beach on the Atlantic coast to Tampa Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. The I-4 corridor is regarded as the hinge on which the outcome of the presidential election in Florida will swing, and Orlando - with surrounding Orange County - is considered the corridor's bellwether city.
So this is the key swing city in the key swing region of the key swing state that will determine whether or not George Bush wins another four years in the White House. Little wonder passions are getting heated. Given the unholy electoral mess Florida produced in 2000, and given the state's sordid history of vote fraud and systematic disenfranchisement, especially of black voters, both parties find themselves voicing the suspicion that the other side will try to steal Florida if only they can figure out how. "It's a blood sport," said Joe Egan, a prominent Orlando lawyer who represents both Mr Thomas and the firefighters.
One added wrinkle is that Orlando's mayor, Buddy Dyer, is one of only two prominent Democratic public officials along the I-4 corridor. Clearly, if he is discredited, the Democrats will be deprived of a vital figurehead in the run-up to 2 November. As it turns out, he is directly implicated in both of the FDLE's investigations. The intrigue began with Mr Dyer's election last March. It was a two-round election, but Mr Dyer finished with just over the 50 per cent threshold needed to avoid a run-off. His closest opponent, a Republican called Ken Mulvaney, cried foul, saying the 234-vote margin putting Mr Dyer over the threshold was fraudulent.
Since Mr Mulvaney's campaign manager was a prominent local talk-radio host called Doug Guetzloe, his allegations had a wide airing. But most of them, if not all, were demonstrably untrue. Mr Guetzloe claimed illegal absentee votes had been faxed into the elections supervisor's office, but the office accepts only originals. He also said people had been paid for their votes, but offered no evidence of this.
The greatest suspicion fell on Ezzie Thomas, because he had personally witnessed applications for 270 absentee ballots, a figure big enough to force a run-off election if it could be shown the votes were fraudulent. The city attorney's office cross-checked the signatures on the absentee ballots with the original application forms and concluded they were valid. Intriguingly, the FDLE did the same thing and stated, in a letter written to the state attorney in Orlando in May, that there was "no basis to support the allegations" and that the case should be considered closed.
"They've been trying to explain away that letter ever since," said one senior city employee who did not wish to be identified. Something caused the FDLE to chDISange its mind, because in early June uniformed officers began knocking on doors and asking threatening questions of dozens of black voters who had been in contact with Mr Thomas. Several said the FDLE officers took off their jackets and exposed their firearms while questioning them. In at least one case, the officer crossed his legs and tapped a 9mm pistol sitting in an ankle holster while he asked detailed questions about the interviewee's reasons for voting absentee. (Absentee voting is a choice under Florida law, so one can wonder about the line of questioning.)
"I felt threatened, embarrassed and like I was being accused of being a criminal," one interviewee, Willie Thomas, wrote in a statement. Many others told Joe Egan later that they no longer wanted to vote absentee because they felt it was somehow illegal.
Although the FDLE's public statements have been less than transparent, it appears to have relied on a paragraph in the Florida statute books which says it is illegal to receive or offer "something of value" for absentee ballots. Mr Thomas and his organisation, the Orlando Voters' League, have not been accused of paying for votes, but they have acknowledged paying the 37-cent postage for some people's absentee ballots. Mr Thomas, who received $10,000 from the Dyer campaign for his get-out-the-vote efforts, has also acknowledged paying his volunteers between $100 and $150 for petrol and other expenses over the campaign season.
The allegations seem particularly absurd because such practices are absolutely par for the course for both parties. "A 37-cent postage stamp is a very interesting definition of racketeering," Mr Egan said. "Now, it's well known that most absentee ballots come out of the white community ... I seriously doubt the police would behave in the same way in a white community."
As it happens, Mr Thomas had been been hired before by Republican candidates to perform exactly the same services he provided for Mr Dyer, without falling foul of the law. Among his past clients are two names with particular resonance in the 2004 presidential race. One is Mel Martinez, the Bush administration's outgoing Housing Secretary who is now running for the Florida Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Democrat, Bob Graham. (Mr Thomas helped Mr Martinez run for chair of the Orange County commission a few years ago.) And the other is Glenda Hood, who was mayor of Orlando for 12 years before being appointed Jeb Bush's Secretary of State, the office responsible for running Florida's elections.
And Mayor Hood, not Mayor Dyer, allowed the firefighters' union to spend up to $40,000 a year in city funds on political activities. In those days, the firefighters were considered allies of the Republican establishment in Orange County and had endorsed George Bush for President in 2000. But Mr Clelland and his members were deeply disappointed by the White House's failure to follow through on promises to put an extra 100,000 firefighters on American streets and update their equipment. So, in early June, they joined a statewide union vote endorsing Mr Kerry for President in 2004.
Days later, the FDLE, with television cameras in tow, raided City Hall, seized several computers and announced that the union and its so-called "leave bank" were being investigated. The beefy Mr Clelland said he was scared to death in his interview with the FDLE supervisor in Orlando and was told he might be slung into jail if he insisted on having his lawyer present. He duly asked Mr Egan to leave the room.
Like the black absentee voters, Mr Clelland also noticed the officer tapping the 9mm pistol in his ankle holster as he let loose his barrage of questions. "You would think these investigators were going after John Gotti [the late Mafia don]," he said bitterly. "Their actions have gutted this organisation locally." After the grand jury ruled that the union leave bank was legal, Mayor Dyer asked Florida's attorney general for a ruling to get the FDLE off their backs. But Mayor Dyer's bad luck was that he had run for the office of attorney general in 2002, and his successful Republican opponent, Charlie Crist, was not about to cut him any slack. Mr Crist has refused to offer an opinion either way.
Such is the incestuous nature of politics in Orlando, and in Florida generally, all of it poisoned further by the governor being the President's brother. Mayor Hood was regarded as a consensus-building moderate for much of her time in Orlando, but became more ideological on such issues as gay rights and abortion as she cast around for a new job. Most Democrats believe that, as Secretary of State and as a direct appointee of the governor, her mandate is not to guarantee a free and fair electoral process so much as to do everything in her power to clinch a Bush victory, much as her notorious predecessor, Katherine Harris, did in 2000.
Orlando is also in a state of major flux. For years, the big citrus farmers, as well as the land developers who came in Disneyworld's wake, made it a reliable Republican stronghold. Then an influx of low-wage service workers, including a growing tide of immigrants from Puerto Rico, changed its complexion.
The Republicans were shocked when Al Gore beat George Bush in Orange County in the presidential race in 2000, and vowed not to be taken by surprise again. The party identified the Puerto Ricans - many from middle-class backgrounds back home - as the key constituency and set to work to win over as many as possible.
The Democrats try to attract the Puerto Ricans with bread-and-butter social justice issues (an increase in the minimum wage, better health care, and so on), but the Republicans have appealed to their aspirations to material self-betterment as well as their generally conservative views on social issues such as homosexuality and abortion.
Although the demographics still favour the Democrats in November, the Republicans, by common consent, have done an excellent organising job, keeping particularly close tabs on Orlando's Spanish-language churches. The ballot in Orange County will have Hispanic Republicans running in every state and local race from US Senate (Mr Martinez) to county commissioner, and more than a few of them are likely to win. That could have a positive knock-on effect for President Bush.
With workers from both parties rushing to register as many voters as possible while there is still time, the race remains nerve-rackingly close, close enough that the votes controlled by Ezzie Thomas and the firefighters might just make the crucial difference.


©2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd. All rights reserved

Posted by richard at 11:55 AM

September 28, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 35 Days to Go -- Corporatist news media pro-Bush bias, Virginia is in play, Teresa Heinz Kerry feirce in Colorado

There are only 35 days to go until the national
referendum on the CHARACTER, CREDIBILITY and
COMPETENCE of the _resident, the VICE _resident AND
their full partners,i.e., the shameless pollsters,
craven propapunditgandists, complicit news room
editors, mercenary producers, besotted anchormen and
corporate overlords of the US regimestream news
media...Yes, it's the Media, Stupid...And yes, they -- the Triad of the Bush cabal itself, its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party and the US regimstream news media -- will try to steal
it again. But remember, in 2000, the Corporatist Media
delivered the deep fix, but Gore still prevailed. In
the end, they had to rely on Jeb and K. Harris, who
were caught with their hands in the ballot box, and
had to be rescued by a 5-4 Supreme InJustice vote.
They cannot afford to do it that way again, and they
did not have enough time to overcome the information
security experts who blew the whistle on black box
voting and slowed down the Deibolic take over of the
electoral process. To steal it this time, if YOU turn
out to VOTE, the triad would have to rely on the
complicity of US federal law enforcement, US
intelligence community and the US military. And,
frankly, the LNS does not believe they can rely on
them. They serve the US Constitution, not the
Traid..Over one thousand US soldiers have been killed
in a foolish, ill-planned and unnecessary war in Iraq,
the US federal budget has been plunged into over four
hundred of billions of dollars of debt because of TWO
foolish, ill-conceived and unnecessary tax cuts, we
have lost four years we did not have to squander in
the struggle against global warming...The question is
no longer "are you better off than you were four years
ago?" or even "are you safer than you were four years
ago?" The question now is "can you afford four more
years of this imbecilic regime -- strategically,
militarily, economically, environmentally,
constitutionally?" They have succeeded in jailing
Martha Stewart, and preventing Cat Stevens from
entering the country. Meanwhile, Osama Bin Laden,
Mullah Omar and the Egyptian are still at large, and
Kenny Boy, although indicted, has yet to feel justice
or re-pay a dime...Can you afford four more years of
this imbecilic regime --strategically, militarily,
economically, environmentally, constitutionally? The
question must be asked not only of your fellow US
taxpayers, and of the US families whose sons,
daughters, wives and husbands will sacrifice their
lives in the Mega-Mogadishu that these neo-con wet
dreamers have whipped up, the question must also be
asked of the Power Elite itself. Can the
military-industrial-entertainment complex really
afford four more years of this imbecilic regime --
strategically, militarily, economically,
environmentally, constitutionally? Think about
it....What does the Mafia do when a boss gets out of
control and draws unwanted attention to the scene?
Yes, the Bush cabal has become bad for business...But
the US regimestream news media, at least until this
point, has, in large part, been a full partner along
with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary
formerluy-known-as-the-Republican-Party in a Triad of
shared special interest (e.g. oil, weapons, media,
pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) Here are four very
important news items. They should dominate the air
waves and demand headlines above the fold. But they
won't. Please read them and share them with others.
Please vote and encourage others to vote. Please
remember that the US regimestream news media,
particularly the major network and cable news
organizations, does not want to inform you about this
presidential campaign, it wants to DISinform you. It's
the Media, Stupid...There is an Electoral Uprising
coming on November 2nd at the Ballot Box...FRODO
LIVES!

Paul Krugman, NY Times: Let's face it: whatever
happens in Thursday's debate, cable news will proclaim
President Bush the winner. This will reflect the
political bias so evident during the party
conventions. It will also reflect the undoubted fact
that Mr. Bush does a pretty good Clint Eastwood
imitation.
But what will the print media do? Let's hope they
don't do what they did four years ago.
Interviews with focus groups just after the first 2000
debate showed Al Gore with a slight edge. Post-debate
analysis should have widened that edge. After all,
during the debate, Mr. Bush told one whopper after
another - about his budget plans, about his
prescription drug proposal and more. The fact-checking
in the next day's papers should have been devastating.
But as Adam Clymer pointed out yesterday on the Op-Ed
page of The Times, front-page coverage of the 2000
debates emphasized not what the candidates said but
their "body language." After the debate, the lead
stories said a lot about Mr. Gore's sighs, but nothing
about Mr. Bush's lies. And even the fact-checking
pieces "buried inside the newspaper" were, as Mr.
Clymer delicately puts it, "constrained by an effort
to balance one candidate's big mistakes" - that is,
Mr. Bush's lies - "against the other's minor errors."

Benjamin Wallace-Wells, Washington Monthly: The
strangest thing about states is that they actually
have characteristics...And people who move to Virginia
from neighboring North Carolina or West Virginia
believe that they have traded up in the world, to a
state that's more prosperous and classy, the heart of
the Southern establishment.
It is this cultural difference that explains one of
the mysteries of the current presidential race: John
Kerry, the Massachusetts Yankee, is doing rather well
here. He launched his campaign at Norfolk Naval base
with an aircraft carrier in the background, and went
on to crush Sen. John Edwards, a native from North
Carolina, in the state's March primary. Most observers
had thought that if Kerry stood any chance in the
South, it would be in Tennessee, Arkansas, and
Louisiana – the states which Clinton won and Gore came
closest to taking. But soon after he became his
party's presumptive nominee, a strange pattern kept
popping up in the polls: In Virginia, not considered a
swing-state, Kerry stayed close behind President Bush.

Stranger, www.takebackthemedia.com: Well, here we are. We're a little less than two months out from Election Day, and the corporate media is filling people's heads with misinformation and worthless, trivial matters that aren't worth the time spent thinking about them. Rather than talking about the fact that Bush plans to cut funding for Homeland Security if he's returned to office or talking about how Iraq is circling the drain at this very moment as a result of the Bush administration's utter incompetence, CNN and the rest give 5 hurricane reports an hour, when they're not (still!) talking about Laci Peterson or Martha Stewart.
The Republican party and corporate media have snuggled in together for the duration of the campaign. You could see it in the saturation coverage that the cable nets gave to the fatally flawed polls that Time and Newsweek reported in the days after the RNC convention in New York, which gave Bush an 11-point lead that was simply never there. You could see it in the wall-to-wall coverage they gave to the Swift Boat Liars for Bush - nearly two weeks' worth of repeating charges that were shaky to begin with and stood up to about five minutes of scrutiny.
That the cable news nets have taken leave from the facts in order to prop up the Bush administration is, in the 3 years after the September 11 attacks, a given. Every utterance by Bush is given equal weight and treated like the Sermon on the Mount, while Kerry's blistering attacks on Bush and Cheney get mere seconds of coverage. The shrieking-head programs on Fox and MSNBC now don't even bother with the true liberal viewpoint, content with instead having a conservative and a certified right-wing loon provide the 'debate' - which in most instances consists of debating whether George W. Bush is great or really, really great.
This web site is edging up on being two years old, and we've always advocated taking back the media through action alerts and other ways of letting corporate media know we're watching them. Well, the realization has dawned that the media may just be too far gone to get a handle on at tis point, and the only thing that will reverse the media's slide into terminal mediocrity is putting John Kerry into the White House and hoping like hell that he installs a bulldog as chairman of the FCC. It's going to take a lot of legislation and maybe even prosecution to return the media to a form which will guarantee even minimal levels of fairness and balance. The Fairness Doctrine must be brought back in order to afford a public platform that disseminates more than GOP talking points, and the Justice Department may have to 'Ma Bell' the media conglomerates in order to return media outlets back to local, community-oriented programming. It's going to take a lot of heavy lifting, a lot of subpoenas, maybe some invocation of RICO statutes. There is the distinct possibility that only a part of what needs to be done will be accomplished in John Kerry's first term, and it may even take longer than two terms to get the media's house in order. And that means that there's only one short-term course of action that will make any difference.
Turn it off. Turn it all off.

Associated Press: A group of 600 Democrats crowded the 4H Auditorium at the State Fairgrounds Friday hoping to see for themselves whether presidential candidate John Kerry's wife was as outspoken and sharp-tongued as some have described her.
Teresa Heinz Kerry delivered for her supporters when she talked back to a heckler who implied her husband's a flip-flopper.
During a question and answer session, a young man demanded to know why Kerry voted to give Bush authority to attack Iraq but voted against an $87 billion appropriation bill to support the war effort there.
"Is that the kind of thing he would do as president?," the man asked.
Heinz Kerry sharply asked the man whether he had read the legislation that was voted on.
When he said no, she told him that Kerry had supported $60 billion in military appropriations for Iraq, but would not vote for the full $87 billion because he considered it a "blank check." Kerry was one of 11 Democrats to vote against the bill.
"And we knew they'd already given Haliburton millions in no-bid contracts," she snapped, referring to the company formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney.
"If you want to say (Kerry) flip-flopped, just say so, don't try to hide," Heinz Kerry scolded.
The young man responsed with chanting "Four more years!" as he walked out of the auditorium. The partisan crowd's cheer of "Six more weeks!" quickly drowned him out.


Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/28/opinion/28krugman.html

OP-ED COLUMNIST
Swagger vs. Substance
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: September 28, 2004


Let's face it: whatever happens in Thursday's debate,
cable news will proclaim President Bush the winner.
This will reflect the political bias so evident during
the party conventions. It will also reflect the
undoubted fact that Mr. Bush does a pretty good Clint
Eastwood imitation.

But what will the print media do? Let's hope they
don't do what they did four years ago.

Interviews with focus groups just after the first 2000
debate showed Al Gore with a slight edge. Post-debate
analysis should have widened that edge. After all,
during the debate, Mr. Bush told one whopper after
another - about his budget plans, about his
prescription drug proposal and more. The fact-checking
in the next day's papers should have been devastating.

But as Adam Clymer pointed out yesterday on the Op-Ed
page of The Times, front-page coverage of the 2000
debates emphasized not what the candidates said but
their "body language." After the debate, the lead
stories said a lot about Mr. Gore's sighs, but nothing
about Mr. Bush's lies. And even the fact-checking
pieces "buried inside the newspaper" were, as Mr.
Clymer delicately puts it, "constrained by an effort
to balance one candidate's big mistakes" - that is,
Mr. Bush's lies - "against the other's minor errors."

The result of this emphasis on the candidates' acting
skills rather than their substance was that after a
few days, Mr. Bush's defeat in the debate had been
spun into a victory.

This time, the first debate will be about foreign
policy, an area where Mr. Bush ought to be extremely
vulnerable. After all, his grandiose promises to rid
the world of evildoers have all come to naught.

Exhibit A is, of course, Osama bin Laden, whom Mr.
Bush promised to get "dead or alive," then dropped
from his speeches after a botched operation at Tora
Bora let him get away. And it's not just bin Laden:
most analysts believe that Al Qaeda, which might have
been crushed if Mr. Bush hadn't diverted resources and
attention to the war in Iraq, is as dangerous as ever.

There's also North Korea, which Mr. Bush declared part
of the "axis of evil," then ignored when its regime
started building nuclear weapons. Recently, when a
reporter asked Mr. Bush about reports that North Korea
has half a dozen bombs, he simply shrugged.

Most important, of course, is Iraq, an unnecessary
war, which - after initial boasts of victory - has
turned into an even worse disaster than the war's
opponents expected.

The Kerry campaign is making hay over Mr. Bush's
famous flight-suit stunt, but for me, Mr. Bush's worst
moment came two months later, when he declared: "There
are some who feel like the conditions are such that
they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on."
When they really did come on, he blinked: U.S. forces
- obviously under instructions to hold down casualties
at least until November - have ceded much of Iraq to
the insurgents.

During the debate, Mr. Bush will try to cover for this
dismal record with swagger, and with attacks on his
opponent. Will the press play Karl Rove's game by, as
Mr. Clymer puts it, confusing political coverage with
drama criticism, or will it do its job and check the
candidates' facts?

There have been some encouraging signs lately. There
was a disturbing interlude in which many news
organizations seemed to accept false claims that Iraq
had calmed down after the transfer of sovereignty. But
now, as the violence escalates, they seem willing to
ask hard questions about Mr. Bush's fantasy version of
the situation in Iraq. For example, a recent Reuters
analysis pointed out that independent sources
contradict his assertions about everything "from
police training and reconstruction to preparations for
January elections."

Mr. Bush is also getting less of a free ride than he
used to when he smears his opponent. Last week, after
Mr. Bush declared that Mr. Kerry "would prefer the
dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to the situation in
Iraq today," The Associated Press pointed out that
this "twisted his rival's words" - and then quoted
what John Kerry actually said.

Nonetheless, on Thursday night there will be a
temptation to revert to drama criticism - to emphasize
how the candidates looked and acted, and push analysis
of what they said, and whether it was true, to the
inside pages. With so much at stake, the public
deserves better.


http://www.alternet.org/election04/19993/

Why Virginia Is Tilting Toward Kerry
By Benjamin Wallace-Wells, Washington Monthly
Posted on September 27, 2004, Printed on September 28,
2004
http://www.alternet.org/story/19993/
The strangest thing about states is that they actually
have characteristics. Start on the bank of a river,
sweep down over thousands of square miles of American
turf, farms, suburbs, and cities, and stop at a line
of longitude; it's not exactly a likely method for
creating a unique culture. And yet somehow, again and
again, it does. Vermont is only split from New
Hampshire by a skinny river and a line slapped on a
map, but its culture is completely distinct, organic
spinach versus the Old Man of the Mountain. Residents
of Massachusetts think Rhode Islanders are parochial,
and Iowans think Kansans are hopeless hicks. And
people who move to Virginia from neighboring North
Carolina or West Virginia believe that they have
traded up in the world, to a state that's more
prosperous and classy, the heart of the Southern
establishment.

It is this cultural difference that explains one of
the mysteries of the current presidential race: John
Kerry, the Massachusetts Yankee, is doing rather well
here. He launched his campaign at Norfolk Naval base
with an aircraft carrier in the background, and went
on to crush Sen. John Edwards, a native from North
Carolina, in the state's March primary. Most observers
had thought that if Kerry stood any chance in the
South, it would be in Tennessee, Arkansas, and
Louisiana – the states which Clinton won and Gore came
closest to taking. But soon after he became his
party's presumptive nominee, a strange pattern kept
popping up in the polls: In Virginia, not considered a
swing-state, Kerry stayed close behind President Bush.
State Republicans called it a mere blip, complained
that the race was still young, and grumbled when local
papers called them up to ask whether Bush might lose
the state come November. Political scientists and
pollsters mostly agreed that a Virginia win would be a
long-shot for the man from Massachusetts. But by the
eve of the Democratic convention in late July, Kerry
and Bush were in a statistical dead-heat, and while
Kerry's campaign chose to pull its Television
advertising from Louisiana and Arkansas, it kept
buying ads in Virginia. Six months ago, Larry Sabato,
the esteemed University of Virginia political
scientist, told reporters that Kerry was a dead duck
in the state. Now, he tells me, Virginia is still
Bush's to lose – but Bush may very well lose it.


A win for Kerry in Virginia, or even a competitive
finish here, would qualify as fairly stunning
political news. Virginia is commonly thought of as the
seat of the South, a place of countless shrines to
Confederate warriors, the home of Jerry Falwell, Pat
Robertson, and the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign
headquarters. Virginia did not go for either Clinton
or Carter, both Southern Dems. In fact, it hasn't
voted for any Democratic presidential candidate since
1964 and has long been the most reliably Republican
state in the South.

But drive around Virginia, like I did early last
month, and you realize pretty quickly that those same
qualities that distinguish the Old Dominion from the
rest of the South also help explain the surprising
buoyancy of Kerry's candidacy. Put simply, Virginia is
the Massachusetts of the South. Both states pride
themselves on the lead roles they played in the
nation's founding. Colonial Williamsburg, Mount
Vernon, and Monticello are as revered locally as are
Plymouth Rock, Old North Church, and Bunker Hill. Both
states have long maritime traditions and booming
high-tech suburbs. Both have cultures that admire good
government, revere brave public service, trust leading
families to run things, and generally eschew
ideological zealotry and radicalism.

All these attributes can be seen in the kind of
individuals who win statewide office in both places.
Virginia's senior U.S. senator, John Warner, is a GOP
version of Kerry: well-born, courtly, hardworking, a
party man but with an independent streak, and a
decorated Navy veteran. Warner refused to endorse
Oliver North, the Republican candidate for the state's
other Senate seat in 1994 because North was too
radically conservative. And Virginia's current
governor Mark Warner, is a Democratic version of
Massachusetts' GOP governor Mitt Romney: competent,
ideologically moderate, and a successful business
entrepreneur. This centrist Chamber of Commerce
sensibility, which helped make Virginia reliably
Republican long before the less genteel parts of the
South, is what's now helping shift the state towards
Kerry's column this fall.

Giraffes & Presbyterians

If there is a center of the establishment in this
establishmentarian commonwealth, it very well may be
the Second Presbyterian Church in downtown Richmond,
the state capitol. On a recent furnace-hot Sunday
morning, the church looked like I imagine it must have
during the 1950s: pinched, wealthy white faces in
seersucker and bright, flowered dresses, an earnest,
well-meaning sermon about the Rich Fool, the little
blond kids scampering around, frequently censored. The
whole thing looked like a Ralph Lauren catalogue.

After services in the church's dainty library, I met
Hugh Gouldthorpe, an energetic, red-faced man in his
50s with a fringe of curly, mildly eccentric hair, a
senior vice president at Owens & Minor, the nation's
largest medical supply company. "Whatever the
equivalent of a yellow-dog Democrat is, where you vote
for the Republican Party just every time, that's what
I am," he told me. He laughs a lot. Hugh has published
a pair of management books, I've Always Looked up to
Giraffes and How to Feed Giraffes, about how to
develop talented managers "who rise above the crowd,"
and he is wearing an orange silk tie with giraffe
patterns on it and a giraffe pin in his lapel. (You
imagine the church's missionaries in Malawi, stopping
off at the game preserve's gift-shop, catching sight
of some giraffe tchotchkes and thinking, "Oh my, this
would be perfect for Hugh!"). Hugh hasn't made up his
mind yet about who to vote for in November, but, he
says, this is the first time ever that he might go
either way.

The problem, for this man who describes himself as an
"all-around civic leader," is Kerry seems the more
leaderly candidate.

"When Bush came in, the business community thought
they could trust him, they thought it would be like
Reagan, a real leader," Hugh said. "But this hasn't
been that kind of leadership." Everywhere you go in
Richmond, and elsewhere in Virginia, you hear hints of
similar, parallel shifts. Don Owens, a tax attorney,
is voting for the Democratic presidential candidate
for the first time in his life because Bush has been
"untrustworthy," and because of the deficits. Ken
Powell, an investment banker, says his whole firm,
ever-Republican, is wavering, a change he calls
monumental: "They look at the deficits and health care
and education problems and, for the first time,
they're not sure the Republicans are going to hand
over a better country to their children."

Democrats are pushing that case in Loudoun County, the
seat of Virginia's 10th congressional district, on the
expanding western edge of the Washington suburbs. It
is a jaw-dropping wealthy territory, horse country
that has long been overwhelmingly Republican, but the
outward push of migrants from the city and the vast,
high-tech campuses that have grown up around Dulles
airport have changed the cultural composition: The
district gave Gore 46 percent of the vote in 2000,
more than those given a Democrat in recent memory. The
slow erosion of GOP support in exurban neighborhoods
is happening all over the country, including south of
the Mason-Dixon line. But nowhere else in the South is
this phenomenon more likely to have electoral
consequences than in Virginia.

The Wrong Blue Blood

This year, for the first time in four election cycles,
the long-serving Republican incumbent, Frank Wolf, has
a Democratic challenger, a Harvard-trained,
37-year-old former investment banker named James
Socas. The candidate has a laid-back, boosterish,
youth-soccer-coach demeanor and a snapshot-ready,
three-children family; his wife is named Devereux.
It's not that Socas looks as if he's stepped out of a
Norman Rockwell painting; rather, he's updated it for
the 21st-century suburbs. He speaks with passion about
religion and deficits, his eyebrows curving darkly
downward whenever he mentions budget imbalances; had
he run 15 years ago, he would have been a solid Main
Street Republican. But that breed barely exists
anymore, and Socas is trying to woo people like him –
Christian-inflected, deficit-hawk businessmen – over
to the Democrats. His campaign headquarters are in the
basement of his gorgeous, sprawling, must-be-$3
million home, and so in order to get to the phone
bank, the volunteers who show up early on Saturday
morning have got to step over a wheelbarrow-sized
basket teeming with dozens of shoes belonging to
Socas's kids.

When we met in his living room, Socas had just
returned from the national Democratic convention where
he spoke at 4:13 p.m. on Wednesday: not that big an
audience, but "my kids got to watch me on C-Span,
which was nice." The case he made in Boston, and is
repeating on the trail, Socas says, is a fairly simple
one: "I don't have to ask voters to abandon the
Republicans, I just have to explain how the
Republicans have abandoned them, how they've decided
to run to the right and their squandering the legacy
we leave for our children."

The same poor-stewardship case plays remarkably well
in less tony parts of the state, such as the gritty
strip-malled districts of Virginia Beach. This is Navy
country, and the man organizing it is Michael Steven
Myers, who grew up here as a barracks brat son of a
Naval officer. Myers (who joined the Marines) is the
kind of red-state manly-man Vietnam vet who shows up
in Country-and-Western songs; speaking with a
stranger, he moves without warning from macho talk to
an almost uncomfortable emotional intimacy, telling me
vividly how two weeks ago in a park, he started
weeping for his platoon sergeant who died in Vietnam.
Once, half a generation ago, Myers ran for Congress as
a libertarian-tinged independent in Idaho,
black-helicopter country, he got precisely 18 votes.
After his wife died two years ago, he moved back to
his home state of Virginia and, after his first-ever
registration as a Democrat, has now, improbably,
immersed himself in the Kerry campaign. Late nights,
he corners drunk old vets at fried-chicken joints and
harangues them about what Bush has done to their
benefits. He said he's converted a few: "There's a lot
of guys who have told me, Mike, there's no way I'm
going for your guy, but I can't vote for Bush." Then
Myers is off on a long spiel about a play he's written
about the horrors of combat. You quickly learn to
tolerate these spells, wait for him to wind his way
back to the wavering Republican voters. Eventually he
does. "It's leadership," he told me. "That's the
reason everyone here voted for Bush in 2000. Even the
Republicans, they tell me they know they ain't getting
it now."

© 2004 Independent Media Institute. All rights
reserved.
View this story online at:
http://www.alternet.org/story/19993/


http://web.takebackthemedia.com/geeklog/public_html/article.php?story=20040916070023934

Cable news is useless. TURN IT OFF.
Thursday, September 16 2004 @ 07:00 AM GMT
Contributed by: Stranger Well, here we are. We're a
little less than two months out from Election Day, and
the corporate media is filling people's heads with
misinformation and worthless, trivial matters that
aren't worth the time spent thinking about them.
Rather than talking about the fact that Bush plans to
cut funding for Homeland Security if he's returned to
office or talking about how Iraq is circling the drain
at this very moment as a result of the Bush
administration's utter incompetence, CNN and the rest
give 5 hurricane reports an hour, when they're not
(still!) talking about Laci Peterson or Martha
Stewart.

The Republican party and corporate media have snuggled
in together for the duration of the campaign. You
could see it in the saturation coverage that the cable
nets gave to the fatally flawed polls that Time and
Newsweek reported in the days after the RNC convention
in New York, which gave Bush an 11-point lead that was
simply never there. You could see it in the
wall-to-wall coverage they gave to the Swift Boat
Liars for Bush - nearly two weeks' worth of repeating
charges that were shaky to begin with and stood up to
about five minutes of scrutiny.

You can see it in the debacle surrounding CBS' 60
Minutes II report on Bush's desertion from the Texas
Air National Guard. Somehow, after claims of forgery
were made, the story for the cable nets became the
forged documents rather than the legitimiate and
explosive story they contained. To this day, rumors
run rampant and charges are hurled that somehow the
Democrats and the Kerry campaign are behind the memos,
and nary a word is whispered about the fact that Bush
disobeyed a direct order from a superior officer, was
busted down to flying trainer aircraft, and ultimately
grounded from pilot duties. Nothing is said about the
numerous gaps in Bush's record, which move him past
AWOL status and firmly into deserter territory. These
are facts - but for some reason, the cable news
networks are more interested in talking about IBM
Selectric typewriters and proportional spacing.

That the cable news nets have taken leave from the
facts in order to prop up the Bush administration is,
in the 3 years after the September 11 attacks, a
given. Every utterance by Bush is given equal weight
and treated like the Sermon on the Mount, while
Kerry's blistering attacks on Bush and Cheney get mere
seconds of coverage. The shrieking-head programs on
Fox and MSNBC now don't even bother with the true
liberal viewpoint, content with instead having a
conservative and a certified right-wing loon provide
the 'debate' - which in most instances consists of
debating whether George W. Bush is great or really,
really great.

This web site is edging up on being two years old, and
we've always advocated taking back the media through
action alerts and other ways of letting corporate
media know we're watching them. Well, the realization
has dawned that the media may just be too far gone to
get a handle on at tis point, and the only thing that
will reverse the media's slide into terminal
mediocrity is putting John Kerry into the White House
and hoping like hell that he installs a bulldog as
chairman of the FCC. It's going to take a lot of
legislation and maybe even prosecution to return the
media to a form which will guarantee even minimal
levels of fairness and balance. The Fairness Doctrine
must be brought back in order to afford a public
platform that disseminates more than GOP talking
points, and the Justice Department may have to 'Ma
Bell' the media conglomerates in order to return media
outlets back to local, community-oriented programming.
It's going to take a lot of heavy lifting, a lot of
subpoenas, maybe some invocation of RICO statutes.
There is the distinct possibility that only a part of
what needs to be done will be accomplished in John
Kerry's first term, and it may even take longer than
two terms to get the media's house in order. And that
means that there's only one short-term course of
action that will make any difference.

Turn it off. Turn it all off.

Let's face facts here. Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity
are not going to change the formula which has given
them whatever success they have on TV (and even their
'success' must be measured carefully - on O'Reilly's
best day, he still gets his ass kicked by reruns of
cop shows on the commercial networks). They will
continue their incessant liberal-bashing, because it's
a formula that works. And CNN will continue trying to
peel off some of Fox' audience, blissfully ignorant of
the fact that Fox viewers still call them the 'Clinton
News Network.' And MSNBC will present White House
shills all day long (with the notable exception of
Keith Olbermann's excellent 'Countdown'), and they'll
accept their puny audiences and toe the Bush line.

So let them. Kerry/Edwards have all but shut out the
cable news reporters, instead giving press
availability to local media outlets. They're adapting
a strategy that was cooked up by the White House when
they 'moved past the filter' to take their spin on the
Iraq war to regional and local media outlets (they've
abandoned the concept, probably realizing that there's
no way to spin Iraq positively at this point). The
result is that they're building their constituency
from the ground up, without the help of the cable
networks.

And we should follow their lead. CNN and MSNBC can't
draw flies, and Fox is only #1 because they attract
slightly less horrible ratings numbers. When we turn
them all off, we could starve them. Their viewership
numbers at this point are so horrible, that even
losing a couple of thousand people could wipe them off
the ratings charts altogether.

We can do this. If the cable networks will not present
the least bit of balance in their coverage, all we
have to do is shut them off and we can make them cease
to exist as far as the Neilsens are concerned.

I was going to close with a rant on just turning off
your TV, but someone already said it better back in
the day when George W. Bush was still getting smashed
and doing lines down in Texas. Paddy Chayevsky's
character Howard Beale says it all in the brilliant
Network:

We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true! But you
people sit there day after day, night after night, all
ages, colors, creeds - we're all you know. You're
beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning
here. You're beginning to think that the tube is
reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do
whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube,
you eat like the tube, you raise your children like
the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass
madness. You maniacs. In God's name, you people are
the real thing. We are the illusion. So turn off your
television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off
right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them
off right in the middle of this sentence I am speaking
to you now. Turn them off!"


link to this


Crowd cheers after Heinz Kerry rebuts heckler
posted by: Dan Viens (Web Producer)
Created: 9/25/2004 12:54 PM MDT - Updated: 9/25/2004
12:54 PM MDT


http://9news.com/acm_news.aspx?OSGNAME=KUSA&IKOBJECTID=36f146a1-0abe-421a-018e-f62f7c8edb48&TEMPLATEID=0c76dce6-ac1f-02d8-0047-c589c01ca7bf

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) - A group of 600 Democrats crowded
the 4H Auditorium at the State Fairgrounds Friday
hoping to see for themselves whether presidential
candidate John Kerry's wife was as outspoken and
sharp-tongued as some have described her.

Teresa Heinz Kerry delivered for her supporters when
she talked back to a heckler who implied her husband's
a flip-flopper.

During a question and answer session, a young man
demanded to know why Kerry voted to give Bush
authority to attack Iraq but voted against an $87
billion appropriation bill to support the war effort
there.

"Is that the kind of thing he would do as president?,"
the man asked.

Heinz Kerry sharply asked the man whether he had read
the legislation that was voted on.

When he said no, she told him that Kerry had supported
$60 billion in military appropriations for Iraq, but
would not vote for the full $87 billion because he
considered it a "blank check." Kerry was one of 11
Democrats to vote against the bill.

"And we knew they'd already given Haliburton millions
in no-bid contracts," she snapped, referring to the
company formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney.

"If you want to say (Kerry) flip-flopped, just say so,
don't try to hide," Heinz Kerry scolded.

The young man responsed with chanting "Four more
years!" as he walked out of the auditorium. The
partisan crowd's cheer of "Six more weeks!" quickly
drowned him out.

Roberto Costales of Canon City liked the way she dealt
with her heckler.

"Did you notice how she handled that one guy? I bet
she doesn't back down from anybody," he laughed.

In appearances here and before a crowd of 1,700 in
Fort Collins, Heinz Kerry echoed her husband's views
about terrorism, national security, crime, health care
and education.

She said the United States needs a different approach
in the world.

"The way we live in peace in a family, in a marriage,
in the world, is not by threatening people, is not by
showing off your muscles. It's by listening, by giving
a hand sometimes, by being intelligent, by being open
and by setting high standards," she said at the CSU
rally.

In Pueblo, Heinz Kerry sounded a similar theme,
criticizing the Bush administration for sending
warning signals to Iran about developing nuclear
weapons.

"There are about 50 countries in the world that have
the capability to build nuclear weapons. Are we going
to attack them all?" she said.

Gina Maggrett, of Pueblo, liked what she heard.

"(She's portrayed) as this caustic person but I
thought she was really warm and intelligent. A lovely
person," she said.

more headlines >

(Copyright by The Associated Press. All Rights
Reserved.)

Posted by richard at 12:43 PM

September 27, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 36 Days to Go -- D-Voter Reg. Up 250% in OH, Jimmy Carter on Fraudida II, SeeBS CEO reveals pro-Bush BIAS, Big Media Lie on JFK's Iraq stand, MM launches "Slacker Uprising" barnstorm

There are only 36 days to go until the national
referendum on the CHARACTER, CREDIBILITY and
COMPETENCE of the _resident, the VICE _resident AND
their full partners, the shameless pollsters, craven
propapunditgandists, complicit news room editors,
mercenary producers, besotted anchormen and corporate
overlords of the US regimestream news media...Yes,
it's the Media, Stupid...The corporatist media
monopolies who beat the drums of war during the ramp-up to the invasion of Iraq, instead of asking why, how and for what, are now working as hard as they can to skew public opinion toward their protectors in the
White House, by under-reporting dismal economic news and the daily death tolls of US soldiers in Iraq, while deliberately distorting the public statements and policy positions of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta)...Over one thousand US soldiers have died in a foolish, ill-planned and unnecessary war in Iraq, the Bush national insecurity team is GUILTY of pre-9/11
negligence and post-9/11 incompetence.
The US federal budget surplus has been squandered on
TWO foolish, ill-timed and unnecessary tax cuts skewed
toward the wealthiest few. The Bush doodoo economics
team, as LNS Foreign Correspondent Dunston Woods has
dubbed them, has plunged us into hundreds of billions
of dollars in federal deficit and a multi-trillion
dollar national debt.
With unprecedented ferocity and frequency, FOUR
hurricanes have devasted Fraudida. Scientists studying
Global Warming predicted such severe weather three
years ago. But we have lost four years we did not have
to lose in the struggle to come to grips with its
impact, because the _resident has denied its reality
as vehemently as he has denied the true costs of his
foolish military adventure and his obscene tax cuts...
Forget about asking your fellow citizens if they are
safer or better off than they were four years ago (of
course, the answer is no), instead, ask them can we
afford four more years --strategically, militarily,
economically, environmentally, constitutionally?
The US regimestream news media, at least until this
point, has, in large part, been a full partner along
with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary
formerluy-known-as-the-Republican-Party
in a Triad of shared special interest (e.g. oil,
weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) Here
are five very important news items. They should
dominate the air waves and demand headlines above the
fold. But they won't. Please read them and share them
with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote.
Please remember that the US regimestream news media,
particularly the major network and cable news
organizations, does not want to inform you about this
presidential campaign, it wants to DISinform you. It's
the Media, Stupid...There is an Electoral Uprising
coming on November 2nd at the Ballot Box...FRODO
LIVES!

Ford Fessenden, New York Times: A sweeping voter
registration campaign in heavily Democratic areas has
added tens of thousands of new voters to the rolls in
the swing states of Ohio and Florida, a surge that has
far exceeded the efforts of Republicans in both
states, a review of registration data shows.
The analysis by The New York Times of
county-by-county data shows that in Democratic areas
of Ohio - primarily low-income and minority
neighborhoods - new registrations since January have
risen 250 percent over the same period in 2000. In
comparison, new registrations have increased just 25
percent in Republican areas. A similar pattern is
apparent in Florida: in the strongest Democratic
areas, the pace of new registration is 60 percent
higher than in 2000, while it has risen just 12
percent in the heaviest Republican areas.

Jimmy Carter, Washington Post: Four years ago, the top
election official, Florida Secretary of State
Katherine Harris, was also the co-chair of the
Bush-Cheney state campaign committee. The same strong
bias has become evident in her successor, Glenda Hood,
who was a highly partisan elector for George W. Bush
in 2000. Several thousand ballots of African Americans
were thrown out on technicalities in 2000, and a
fumbling attempt has been made recently to disqualify
22,000 African Americans (likely Democrats), but only
61 Hispanics (likely Republicans), as alleged felons.
The top election official has also played a leading
role in qualifying Ralph Nader as a candidate, knowing
that two-thirds of his votes in the previous election
came at the expense of Al Gore. She ordered Nader's
name be included on absentee ballots even before the
state Supreme Court ruled on the controversial issue.
Florida's governor, Jeb Bush, naturally a strong
supporter of his brother, has taken no steps to
correct these departures from principles of fair and
equal treatment or to prevent them in the future.
It is unconscionable to perpetuate fraudulent or
biased electoral practices in any nation. It is
especially objectionable among us Americans, who have
prided ourselves on setting a global example for pure
democracy. With reforms unlikely at this late stage of
the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to
focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious
process in Florida.

Asian Wall Street Journal: The chairman of the
entertainment giant Viacom [which owns CBS] said the
reason was simple: Republican values are what U.S.
companies need. Speaking to some of America's and
Asia's top executives gathered for Forbes magazine's
annual Global CEO Conference, Mr. Redstone declared:
"I look at the election from what's good for Viacom. I
vote for what's good for Viacom. I vote, today,
Viacom.
"I don't want to denigrate Kerry," he went on, "but
from a Viacom standpoint, the election of a Republican
administration is a better deal. Because the
Republican administration has stood for many things we
believe in, deregulation and so on. The Democrats are
not bad people. . . . But from a Viacom standpoint, we
believe the election of a Republican administration is
better for our company."

www.dailyhowler.com: Hopeless. Quintanilla plays the
actual tape of Kerry saying he would have “voted for
the authority.” But even as he plays the actual tape
of this statement, Quintanilla describes a different
statement. Viewers are told that Kerry “admitted” that
he’d “still support the war.”
Here are the two statements in question. And no—they
aren’t the same thing:
KERRY: I would have voted for the authority.
QUINTANILLA: Kerry said he would still support the
war.
No, those two statements aren’t equivalent—especially
since Kerry immediately listed major things he didn’t
support about the way the war was conducted.
Quintanilla looks great on camera. But in a nation of
300 million souls, how can it be that important
players at our greatest news orgs have such weak
logical skills? More specifically, how hard can it be
for TV scribes to repeat basic things that a candidate
says? In this case, it should have been easy to start
with what Kerry said—that he would have voted for the
authority—and go from there to an account of what he
seems to have meant by his statement. But no! Kerry
said “authority” three separate times. But Quintanilla
had a better word—war.
But then, your hapless press corps has offered this
paraphrase ever since Kerry’s August 9 statement. Yes,
we think Kerry’s statement was somewhat inept. But it
isn’t hard to repeat what he said. Why can’t the
gorgeous lads and ladies of your national press corps
just do it?
Lazy; inept; uninvolved, unaware—your press corps
dozes its way toward election. They draw nice
salaries; have nice summer homes; and very much like
to get out to the Hamptons. Do they care about matters
that transform your lives? When it comes to events
which transformed this election,
third-time’s-the-charm seems to be the great rule that
prevails at the slumbering Times. Are you really
surprised that you have to come here for the dope on
John O’Neill’s kooky book?

Michael Moore, www.michaelmoore.com: Tomorrow I begin
a little 20-state, 60-city tour to try and convince
the fed-up, the burned-out, and the Nader-impaired to
leave the house for just a half-hour on November 2nd
and mark an "X" in a box (or punch a chad or touch a
screen) so that America and the world can be saved...
So, having nothing better to do for the next month
(and eager to visit such swinging states as Iowa!
Ohio! Arkansas!), I have decided to go to every
battleground state in the country and do whatever it
takes to get out the vote. I will do your laundry, I
will clean your house, I will give you a year's supply
of beer nuts if you will commit to me to go to the
polls on Tuesday, November 2.
I'm calling it "The Slacker Uprising Tour", a
coast-to-coast effort to bring the non-voting majority
out of hibernation and kick some political butt. My
goal is to get as many of the 100 million non-voters
in America as I can to give voting a try -- just this
once. I want at least 56% of all eligible voters to
vote and thus set a modern-day turnout record...
I, the original slacker -- I, who have endured all
sorts of attacks for my slacker demeanor -- yes I am
coming to an arena or stadium just outside your dorm
room (or that little space off the furnace room where
your parents still let you stay, rent-free). Why
arenas and stadiums? Because there are so many of us
-- AND they serve beer and chips. From the Sun Dome to
the Key Arena, from the Patriot Center to the Del Mar
Race Track, I will be there and I will bring prizes
and presents and clean underwear for all in need.
Before I arrive, I have arranged for free screenings
of "Fahrenheit 9/11" in each city. When I get there I
will have with me dozens of voter registrars who will
register new (or recently transplanted) voters (please
check here for voter registration deadlines -- they
are fast approaching in most states in the next 10
days!). Absentee ballot applications will also be
available. And the good people of Move-On, ACT and
other groups will be present at each of my appearances
to sign up volunteers to get out the vote on election
day.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/092704K.shtml

A Big Increase of New Voters in Swing States
By Ford Fessenden
The New York Times

Sunday 26 September 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A sweeping voter registration
campaign in heavily Democratic areas has added tens of
thousands of new voters to the rolls in the swing
states of Ohio and Florida, a surge that has far
exceeded the efforts of Republicans in both states, a
review of registration data shows.

The analysis by The New York Times of
county-by-county data shows that in Democratic areas
of Ohio - primarily low-income and minority
neighborhoods - new registrations since January have
risen 250 percent over the same period in 2000. In
comparison, new registrations have increased just 25
percent in Republican areas. A similar pattern is
apparent in Florida: in the strongest Democratic
areas, the pace of new registration is 60 percent
higher than in 2000, while it has risen just 12
percent in the heaviest Republican areas.

While comparable data could not be obtained for
other swing states, similar registration drives have
been mounted in them as well, and party officials on
both sides say record numbers of new voters are being
registered nationwide. This largely hidden but deadly
earnest battle is widely believed by campaign
professionals and political scientists to be
potentially decisive in the presidential election.

"We know it's going on, and it's a very encouraging
sign," said Steve Elmendorf, deputy campaign manager
for Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential
nominee. The new voters, Mr. Elmendorf said, "could
very much be the difference."

A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee,
Christine Iverson, declined to comment on The Times's
findings and said she did not believe Republicans were
lagging in the registration battle. "We're very
confident that we have a ground game that's as good as
the Democrats', and better," she said.

The precise impact of the swell in registration is
difficult to predict, as there is no reliable gauge of
how many of these new voters will actually vote. Some
experts, though, say that the spike has not been
accurately captured by political polls and could
confound prognostications in closely contested states.

What is clear is that each side has deployed huge
numbers of workers and devoted millions of dollars to
the effort. Much of it is being directed by civil
rights and community groups, as well as soft-money
organizations allied with the Democrats. One such
Democratic umbrella group, America Votes, says its
constituents - labor unions, trial lawyers,
environmental groups, community organizations - will
spend $300 million on registration and turnout in
swing states, a sum that dwarfs the $150 million in
public financing the two candidates together will
receive for the entire fall campaign.

The registration drives are just the first step in a
campaign by each side to get more Americans to vote by
using personal contact. As registration winds down,
with early October cutoffs in many states, efforts
will shift to staying in touch through Election Day
with repeated phone calls and visits, and, on Nov. 2,
ferrying people to the polls.

In Ohio - no Republican presidential candidate has
ever been elected without carrying the state - the
campaign has been especially exhaustive. Canvassers
ride public transportation, visit coin laundries, and
trudge the sidewalks and parking lots at the job
centers, housing agencies and community colleges.

In Columbus, Akume Green has haunted the Franklin
County Courthouse for months, working the sidewalk
between the entrance and the nearby bus stop. Ms.
Green says she has signed up more than 700 voters
since March here and elsewhere in the city. But it is
getting harder to do so, she said. On a recent day,
the first 12 people she asked said they had already
registered.

"I get about 30 new voters or changes of address in
six hours," said Ms. Green, who was hired by Project
Vote, the nonpartisan arm of the Association of
Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn. "I
used to get 16 in 45 minutes, but now everyone's
registered."

Studies have shown that calling voters and showing
up at their houses before and on Election Day
substantially increases turnout - and is cheaper per
vote than buying a television advertisement.
Republicans used the strategy with great success in
the 2002 elections.

But Donald P. Green, a professor of political
science at Yale who has conducted many of those
studies, said there was no reliable way to tell how
many new voters would turn out at the polls,
especially those from lower-income areas.

"Do you get 30 percent, or do you get 70 percent?"
Professor Green said. "To the extent that these new
voters are on the radar screen of groups that have the
kind of resources these groups have at their disposal,
they might well turn out."

Steve Rosenthal, the chief executive of Americans
Coming Together, or ACT, a soft-money group that is
trying to register Democrats, said he believed they
would. "I think what's happening on the streets, below
the radar, is what's going to make the big difference
on Election Day," said Mr. Rosenthal, who said his
organization and the other groups would register two
and a half million new Democratic voters nationwide.

But Republican officials say they remain confident
that their voters will prove easier to get to the
polls. "It would scare me if we weren't doing our own
thing," said Joanne Davidson, the regional chairwoman
of the Bush campaign in four Midwestern states
including Ohio, of the wave of new Democrats. "We know
how to turn out voters."

Ms. Green is typical of the army of registrars who
have been working the streets here, some of them since
last September. Their persistence has produced
results. Franklin County had 650,000 registered voters
in the 2000 election. "Now we're over 800,000," said
Matt Damschroder, the director of the Board of
Elections. "If you look at the pure census numbers,
you'd think we are close to registering the entire
voting-age population."

Project Vote says it has registered 147,000 new
voters in Ohio. Americans Coming Together said that,
together with allied groups that are part of America
Votes, it had registered 300,000 new voters. America
Votes and ACT are openly Democratic, although they
cannot legally coordinate with the party or the Kerry
campaign.

Republican officials say they think the paid workers
who are registering low-income voters are sloppy, and
are skeptical of the number of voters they claim to
have registered, saying many are duplicates and
changes of address. Mr. Damschroder said he had to
throw out many of the cards he got because the voters
were already registered. "One woman had signed a card
three different times," with three different groups,
he said.

Prosecutors in Columbus have filed criminal charges
against an Acorn registrar, saying that he filed a
false registration form and forged a signature.
Officials for the group say they fired the worker and
instituted a quality checking system before the
prosecutors acted.

Nevertheless, an examination of county registration
records shows that the groups have added thousands of
new Democrats to the rolls and have far outnumbered
new registrations in Republican areas. In a
300-square-block area east of the courthouse in
downtown Columbus that voted nine to one against Mr.
Bush in 2000, for instance, 3,000 new voters have
registered this year. That is three times as many as
in each of the last two presidential election years.
The number of registered voters in the area is up 18
percent since January.

By comparison, in a prosperous area north of
downtown with a similar number of voters who are
overwhelmingly Republican, just 1,100 new voters have
been added this year, increasing registration rolls by
7 percent.

These numbers are similar across Ohio. The Times
examined registration from Jan. 1 to July 31 in a
sample of counties that included seven of the state's
nine largest, along with some smaller rural and
suburban counties. Voters do not give a party
affiliation when they register in Ohio, but The Times
looked at the voting history of ZIP codes to gauge the
political inclinations of the new voters.

In rock-ribbed Republican areas - 103 ZIP codes,
many of them rural and suburban areas, that voted by
two to one or better for George W. Bush in 2000 -
35,000 new voters have registered, a substantial
increase over the 28,000 that registered in those
areas in the first seven months of 2000. The Ohio
Republican party said it was pleased with the results.

"It's not easy work, but we go door to door in
strong Republican precincts, making sure everyone is
registered," said Chris McNulty, the state party
chairman.

But in heavily Democratic areas - 60 ZIP codes
mostly in the core of big cities like Cleveland,
Dayton, Columbus and Youngstown that voted two to one
or better against Mr. Bush - new registrations have
more than tripled over 2000, to 63,000 from 17,000.

In Florida, where The Times was able to analyze data
from 60 of the state's 67 counties, new registrations
this year also are running far ahead of the 2000 pace,
with Republican areas trailing Democratic ones. In the
150 ZIP codes that voted most heavily for Mr. Bush,
96,000 new voters have registered this year, up from
86,000 in 2000, an increase of about 12 percent.

But in the heaviest of Democratic areas, 110 ZIP
codes that gave two-thirds or more of their votes to
Al Gore, new registrations have increased to 125, 000
from 77,000, a jump of more than 60 percent.

In Duval County, where a confusing ballot design in
2000 helped disqualify thousands of ballots in black
precincts, new registrations by black voters are up
150 percent over the pace of 2000.

"We're using guerrilla tactics to get into the malls
and sign up voters before the security guards chase us
off," said Adam Broad, 40, an organizer in Duval
County with the Florida Consumer Action Network
Foundation, one of dozens of community groups
registering in Florida.

The groups are building nationwide databases of
voters and have committed millions of dollars for
continued contact with them before and on Election
Day.

"If every Democrat showed up at the polls, you'd
win, no question," said James Koehler, a precinct
organizer in Columbus working for MoveOn.org, another
soft-money group. Mr. Koehler said MoveOn hoped to
have a volunteer in every precinct to call neighbors
on Nov. 2.

But intensive voter contact and turnout are exactly
what the Republicans believe they do best. Their plan
calls for the same kind of sophisticated targeting,
and a last-minute push for turnout called a 72-hour
strategy, the plan Republicans used in 2002 to
overwhelm incumbent Democrats like former Senator Max
Cleland in Georgia.

Even before Election Day, the new voters may be
having an impact on the campaign, because they may not
be accurately reflected in the political polls.

"The people who are new voters are disengaged;
they're less likely to respond to a poll question,"
said Philip Klinkner, a government professor at
Hamilton College.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/092804W.shtml

Still Seeking a Fair Florida Vote
By Jimmy Carter
The Washington Post

Monday 27 September 2004

After the debacle in Florida four years ago, former
president Gerald Ford and I were asked to lead a
blue-ribbon commission to recommend changes in the
American electoral process. After months of concerted
effort by a dedicated and bipartisan group of experts,
we presented unanimous recommendations to the
president and Congress. The government responded with
the Help America Vote Act of October 2002.
Unfortunately, however, many of the act's key
provisions have not been implemented because of
inadequate funding or political disputes.

The disturbing fact is that a repetition of the
problems of 2000 now seems likely, even as many other
nations are conducting elections that are
internationally certified to be transparent, honest
and fair.

The Carter Center has monitored more than 50
elections, all of them held under contentious,
troubled or dangerous conditions. When I describe
these activities, either in the United States or in
foreign forums, the almost inevitable questions are:
"Why don't you observe the election in Florida?" and
"How do you explain the serious problems with
elections there?"

The answer to the first question is that we can
monitor only about five elections each year, and
meeting crucial needs in other nations is our top
priority. (Our most recent ones were in Venezuela and
Indonesia, and the next will be in Mozambique.) A
partial answer to the other question is that some
basic international requirements for a fair election
are missing in Florida.

The most significant of these requirements are:

A nonpartisan electoral commission or a trusted and
nonpartisan official who will be responsible for
organizing and conducting the electoral process
before, during and after the actual voting takes
place. Although rarely perfect in their objectivity,
such top administrators are at least subject to public
scrutiny and responsible for the integrity of their
decisions. Florida voting officials have proved to be
highly partisan, brazenly violating a basic need for
an unbiased and universally trusted authority to
manage all elements of the electoral process.


Uniformity in voting procedures, so that all citizens,
regardless of their social or financial status, have
equal assurance that their votes are cast in the same
way and will be tabulated with equal accuracy. Modern
technology is already in use that makes electronic
voting possible, with accurate and almost immediate
tabulation and with paper ballot printouts so all
voters can have confidence in the integrity of the
process. There is no reason these proven techniques,
used overseas and in some U.S. states, could not be
used in Florida.

It was obvious that in 2000 these basic standards
were not met in Florida, and there are disturbing
signs that once again, as we prepare for a
presidential election, some of the state's leading
officials hold strong political biases that prevent
necessary reforms.

Four years ago, the top election official, Florida
Secretary of State Katherine Harris, was also the
co-chair of the Bush-Cheney state campaign committee.
The same strong bias has become evident in her
successor, Glenda Hood, who was a highly partisan
elector for George W. Bush in 2000. Several thousand
ballots of African Americans were thrown out on
technicalities in 2000, and a fumbling attempt has
been made recently to disqualify 22,000 African
Americans (likely Democrats), but only 61 Hispanics
(likely Republicans), as alleged felons.

The top election official has also played a leading
role in qualifying Ralph Nader as a candidate, knowing
that two-thirds of his votes in the previous election
came at the expense of Al Gore. She ordered Nader's
name be included on absentee ballots even before the
state Supreme Court ruled on the controversial issue.

Florida's governor, Jeb Bush, naturally a strong
supporter of his brother, has taken no steps to
correct these departures from principles of fair and
equal treatment or to prevent them in the future.

It is unconscionable to perpetuate fraudulent or
biased electoral practices in any nation. It is
especially objectionable among us Americans, who have
prided ourselves on setting a global example for pure
democracy. With reforms unlikely at this late stage of
the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to
focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious
process in Florida.

-------

Former president Carter is chairman of the Carter
Center in Atlanta.


http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005669

REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Guess Who's a GOP Booster?
The CEO of CBS's parent company endorses President
Bush.

Friday, September 24, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

From The Asian Wall Street Journal

With the scandal at CBS still festering, questions are
being raised about whether a felony was committed when
the network broadcast apparently forged memos in an
attempt to discredit George W. Bush. Yesterday, the
chairman of CBS's parent company chose Hong Kong as a
place to drop a little bomb. Sumner Redstone, who
calls himself a "liberal Democrat," said he's
supporting President Bush.

The chairman of the entertainment giant Viacom said
the reason was simple: Republican values are what U.S.
companies need. Speaking to some of America's and
Asia's top executives gathered for Forbes magazine's
annual Global CEO Conference, Mr. Redstone declared:
"I look at the election from what's good for Viacom. I
vote for what's good for Viacom. I vote, today,
Viacom.

"I don't want to denigrate Kerry," he went on, "but
from a Viacom standpoint, the election of a Republican
administration is a better deal. Because the
Republican administration has stood for many things we
believe in, deregulation and so on. The Democrats are
not bad people. . . . But from a Viacom standpoint, we
believe the election of a Republican administration is
better for our company."

Sharing the stage with Mr. Redstone was Steve Forbes,
CEO, president and editor in chief of Forbes and a
former Republican presidential aspirant, who quipped:
"Obviously you're a very enlightened CEO."

Mr. Redstone's unexpected declaration came at a time
when an unwelcome spotlight is directed at him and his
board because of the CBS airing of what everyone now
believes was a fake memo alleging that Mr. Bush
shirked his duties three decades ago in the Texas Air
National Guard. On Tuesday, Republican National
Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie alleged a leftist bias
at Viacom. While it was well known that Mary Mapes,
the producer who did most of the reporting on the
memos, is a liberal, and that anchorman Dan Rather,
has always been much tougher on Republicans, the
Viacom board had heretofore remained in the
background.
Mr. Gillespie said, "This demonstrates a serious lack
of judgment separate and apart from the lack of
judgment demonstrated in running a report based on
discredited documents. Did this producer's own
political viewpoint cloud her judgment? Is CBS News's
decision to neither suspend nor release the producer
in question a result of judgment clouded by Viacom and
CBS owner Sumner Redstone's role as a Kerry
fundraiser, or Viacom President Tom Freston's public
support of John Kerry for President?"

Mr. Redstone's office immediately went into overdrive,
denying on Wednesday that he's a raised funds for the
Democratic presidential nominee. Then came yesterday's
"I vote Republican" vow in Hong Kong.

It was all the more surprising because the Boston-born
Mr. Redstone was co-chairman of Edmund Muskie's
presidential campaign in 1972. He's also a close
friend of the other Massachusetts senator, Ted
Kennedy. Monday's New York Sun, quoting the Federal
Election Commission, said that since 1998 Mr. Redstone
had given $50,000 to the Democratic Party. He's also
donated the maximum $2,000 to the Kerry campaign,
after supporting Al Gore in 2000.

In his book, "A Passion to Win," Mr. Redstone wrote,
"From my early days I have considered myself a liberal
Democrat. . . . I had no respect for Nixon. . . . My
efforts on Senator Muskie's behalf apparently landed
me on Nixon's notorious 'enemies list.' I took that as
a badge of honor."
Of his 13-member board, two are former cabinet members
for Democratic presidents. It is this board that will
ponder what to do about the Rather-Mapes-CBS mess. The
bombshell from Hong Kong will not come as welcome news
to those responsible for "memogate."


http://www.dailyhowler.com

REPEAT AFTER KERRY: How weak are the press corps’
analytical skills? If Kerry loses, his August 9
statement about Iraq will likely be seen as a campaign
turning-point. That was the statement Kerry made at
the Grand Canyon, when he said that—well, let’s put
the Q-and-A on the record. On the September 12 Meet
the Press, Tim Russert finally provided the actual
text of the question Kerry was asked. (In real time,
the text of the question was missing in action. See
THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/12/04). We can now present the
full Q-and-A. This exchange has hurt Kerry badly:

QUESTION (8/9/04): The president last week challenged
you to answer yes or no to the question of whether if,
knowing what you know now, you would still have voted
to go to war? Are you going to take that challenge up?
KERRY: I’m ready for any challenge, and I'll answer it
directly. Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I
believe it is the right authority for a president to
have, but I would have used that authority, as I have
said throughout this campaign, effectively. I would
have done this very differently from the way President
Bush has. And my question to President Bush is, Why
did he rush to war without a plan to win the peace?
Why did he rush to war on faulty intelligence and not
do the hard work necessary to give America the truth?
Why did he mislead America about how he would go to
war? Why has he not brought other countries to the
table in order to support American troops in the way
that we deserve and relieve a pressure from the
American people?

To this day, that’s the fullest transcript of this
exchange available in the Nexis records. We don’t know
if Kerry’s response ended there. We don’t know what
the next question was.
But what did Kerry say that day? He said that, knowing
what he knows now, he “would have voted for the
authority”—for the authorization to go to war if
necessary. But he “would have done this very
differently from the way President Bush has,” he said.
Specifically, he implied that Bush “rushed to war
without a plan to win the peace” and failed to “bring
other countries to the table in order to support
American troops in the way that we deserve.”

We think that’s a slightly odd statement, although
Kerry has fleshed it out since then. He has said that
it was good for Bush to have “the authority” because
that gave him the clout to go to the UN and force Iraq
to allow inspections. Of course, if Kerry knew then
what he knows now, it’s unclear why those inspections
would have been necessary. If our country actually had
books about public logic, this Q-and-A would go in the
chapter that explains why pols shouldn’t answer
hypothetical questions.

But if Kerry’s answer was slightly odd, it shouldn’t
be hard to relate. It shouldn’t be hard to repeat what
Kerry said. But then, of course, we have to deal with
handsome members of the national press corps! NBC’s
Carl Quintanilla is quite telegenic. But he made a
hopeless (if typical) presentation last night about
this crucial statement by Kerry. On Hardball,
Quintanilla described relations between the two
hopefuls and the press:

QUINTANILLA (9/24/04): Candidates try to forge a bond
with their traveling press, but Kerry's been more
distant since his last press conference in August,
when he was challenged and admitted he'd still support
the war even knowing there were no weapons of mass
destruction.
KERRY (videotape from August 9): Yes, I would have
voted for the authority.
QUINTANILLA: The president has given fewer than half
the number of campaign trail Q and A’s as his father,
because reporters questions can be tough, even
hostile, and throw candidates off message.

Hopeless. Quintanilla plays the actual tape of Kerry
saying he would have “voted for the authority.” But
even as he plays the actual tape of this statement,
Quintanilla describes a different statement. Viewers
are told that Kerry “admitted” that he’d “still
support the war.”
Here are the two statements in question. And no—they
aren’t the same thing:

KERRY: I would have voted for the authority.
QUINTANILLA: Kerry said he would still support the
war.
No, those two statements aren’t equivalent—especially
since Kerry immediately listed major things he didn’t
support about the way the war was conducted.
Quintanilla looks great on camera. But in a nation of
300 million souls, how can it be that important
players at our greatest news orgs have such weak
logical skills? More specifically, how hard can it be
for TV scribes to repeat basic things that a candidate
says? In this case, it should have been easy to start
with what Kerry said—that he would have voted for the
authority—and go from there to an account of what he
seems to have meant by his statement. But no! Kerry
said “authority” three separate times. But Quintanilla
had a better word—war.

But then, your hapless press corps has offered this
paraphrase ever since Kerry’s August 9 statement. Yes,
we think Kerry’s statement was somewhat inept. But it
isn’t hard to repeat what he said. Why can’t the
gorgeous lads and ladies of your national press corps
just do it?

BUT WHO WILL CORRECT THE CORRECTIONS: In this
morning’s column, Nicholas Kristof corrects a
correction from last Wednesday’s column. It concerns a
matter we noted this week—the error he made in last
Saturday’s column about Kerry’s Bronze Star award:

KRISTOF (9/25/04): Aargh. My last column ended with a
jet-lagged correction that repeated the error it was
meant to fix. William Rood saw John Kerry's Silver
Star incident, not the Bronze Star episode. Mea culpa
squared.
So you can keep track of all the action, here is
Kristof’s original text, and his first failed attempt
at correction:

KRISTOF (9/18/04): Did Mr. Kerry deserve his Bronze
Star? Yes. The Swift Boat Veterans claim that he was
not facing enemy fire when he rescued a Green Beret,
Jim Rassmann, but that is contradicted by those who
were there, like William Rood and Mr. Rassmann (a
Republican). In fact, Mr. Rassmann recommended Mr.
Kerry for a Silver Star.
KRISTOF (9/22/04): In the spirit of taking a tough
look at one's own shortcomings: on Saturday, I
referred to William Rood as a witness for Mr. Kerry's
Silver Star incident. It was the Bronze Star episode
that he saw. Mea culpa.

Kristof’s original column was wrong about Rood, as was
his first attempt at correction. Third time apparently
being the charm, the Times gets this fact right today.

We say that “the Times” gets the fact right today
because we want to move beyond Kristof. Anyone can
compose a mistaken correction the way he did on
Wednesday. But might we note an obvious fact?
Presumably, someone other than Kristof himself reads
the text of his twice-weekly columns. With that in
mind, let’s note the terminal laziness the Times seems
to have brought to the crucial matters involved in
this piece.

Last Saturday, Kristof was writing, a month too late,
about matters that may have decided this election. And
since the Swift Boat Vets have actually challenged a
very small number of medal awards—only three events
are in real dispute—it was unimpressive when Kristof
bungled the facts about two of those incidents (link
below). But it wasn’t just Kristof who seemed to be
dozing when it came to these crucial matters.
Kristof’s editor also failed to notice that he had
this basic fact wrong about Rood. And that editor also
failed to notice the bungling of the gentleman’s first
correction.

As noted, Kristof’s problems went beyond Rood. As
we’ve noted, he bungled another aspect of the Bronze
Star matter and he bungled the first Purple Heart
event too (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/22/04). But we
think it’s instructive that neither he nor his editor
noticed the gentleman’s two-time bungling RE Rood. The
Swift Boat Veterans have transformed this race; the
charges they lodged have been deeply important. But
does your celebrity press corps really care? Even when
he was trying to challenge the Vets, Chris Matthews
was plainly unaware of the simplest facts, and no one
at the New York Times seems to give a big enough damn
to get clear on these simple facts either.

Lazy; inept; uninvolved, unaware—your press corps
dozes its way toward election. They draw nice
salaries; have nice summer homes; and very much like
to get out to the Hamptons. Do they care about matters
that transform your lives? When it comes to events
which transformed this election,
third-time’s-the-charm seems to be the great rule that
prevails at the slumbering Times. Are you really
surprised that you have to come here for the dope on
John O’Neill’s kooky book?


http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php?messageDate=2004-09-25

Saturday, September 25th, 2004
Michael Moore On Tour; Slackers of the World, Unite!


9/25/04

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow I begin a little 20-state, 60-city tour to
try and convince the fed-up, the burned-out, and the
Nader-impaired to leave the house for just a half-hour
on November 2nd and mark an "X" in a box (or punch a
chad or touch a screen) so that America and the world
can be saved. (I don't mean "saved" as in all workers
will henceforth control the means of production.
That's, um, going to take a few more years.)

What I'm asking is that our fellow Americans, as the
collective landlord of a public housing project at
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., take just a few minutes to
evict the tenant who is currently wrecking the place
(not to mention what he's doing to the rest of the
neighborhood). After all, isn't this one of the
coolest things about a democracy, getting to give some
payback to those in power? "YOU'RE FIRED!" Oooh, that
feels good -- especially if the recipient of the pink
slip is someone who wants to send your kid off to war.


So, having nothing better to do for the next month
(and eager to visit such swinging states as Iowa!
Ohio! Arkansas!), I have decided to go to every
battleground state in the country and do whatever it
takes to get out the vote. I will do your laundry, I
will clean your house, I will give you a year's supply
of beer nuts if you will commit to me to go to the
polls on Tuesday, November 2.

I'm calling it "The Slacker Uprising Tour", a
coast-to-coast effort to bring the non-voting majority
out of hibernation and kick some political butt. My
goal is to get as many of the 100 million non-voters
in America as I can to give voting a try -- just this
once. I want at least 56% of all eligible voters to
vote and thus set a modern-day turnout record.

I'm putting out the red alert call to slackers
everywhere to help me lead this revolt. I want
everyone in their teens and twenties who exist from
one packet of Ramen noodles to the next bag of
Tostitos to take your fully-justified cynicism and
toss it like a Molotov right into the middle of this
election. As "non-voters" you have been written off.
But if only a few thousand of you vote, it could make
all the difference. You literally hold all the power
in your hands. That's even cooler than holding a TV
remote.

I, the original slacker -- I, who have endured all
sorts of attacks for my slacker demeanor -- yes I am
coming to an arena or stadium just outside your dorm
room (or that little space off the furnace room where
your parents still let you stay, rent-free). Why
arenas and stadiums? Because there are so many of us
-- AND they serve beer and chips. From the Sun Dome to
the Key Arena, from the Patriot Center to the Del Mar
Race Track, I will be there and I will bring prizes
and presents and clean underwear for all in need.

Before I arrive, I have arranged for free screenings
of "Fahrenheit 9/11" in each city. When I get there I
will have with me dozens of voter registrars who will
register new (or recently transplanted) voters (please
check here for voter registration deadlines -- they
are fast approaching in most states in the next 10
days!). Absentee ballot applications will also be
available. And the good people of Move-On, ACT and
other groups will be present at each of my appearances
to sign up volunteers to get out the vote on election
day.

Details of where I will be appearing will be available
in your local media. Many venues, due to advance word
already out there, have "sold out" (at most stops,
students get in for free and community people pay a
nominal fee -- usually $5 -- to cover costs). Again,
check your local media to find out the times and dates
and how to get advance tickets.

A partial list of the cities I'm visiting includes:
Seattle, Big Rapids (MI), Mt. Pleasant (MI), Tucson,
Dearborn, Phoenix, East Lansing, Detroit, Ann Arbor,
Albuquerque, Toledo, Columbus (OH), Ames (IA),
Cleveland, Fairmont (WV), Pittsburgh, Philadelphia,
Bethlehem (PA), Fairfax (VA), Carlyle (PA), State
College (PA), Minneapolis, Gainesville, Nashville,
Miami, Memphis, Orlando, Salem (OR), Jacksonville,
Tampa, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Madison,
Green Bay, Las Vegas, Reno, Denver, and, of course,
Tallahassee, Florida. Others will be posted later.

While on the road, I will try to keep my blog
up-to-date and post some pictures we take in each
city. The three campuses on the tour which register
the most students to vote (or who have the most
non-voters committing to me to vote) will receive a
special scholarship from us at the end of the tour.

Thanks, in advance, to everyone out there who is
working hard during this election. I know it will make
a difference.

Let's leave no non-voter behind.

Yours,

Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com
www.michaelmoore.com/takeaction/vote/

P.S. Good news! This current weekend our distributor
has added an astounding 600+ new theaters to the list
of those still showing "Fahrenheit 9/11." This is
highly unusual for a film entering it's fourth month
of release, but the demand has been strong to bring it
back in many areas and our wonderful distributors have
responded. This is a perfect time to either see it
again on the big screen or take a friend who hasn't
seen it, as it won't be around in theaters for long.
The DVD and home video come out October 5!

Posted by richard at 02:59 PM

September 26, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 37 Days to Go -- Nixon EPA Chief Blast Bush, MM on Bush's Iraq Flip-Flops, SeeBS limps off into the weeds, E.L. Doctorow on Bush's Moral Bankruptcy

Five more US soldiers have died in Iraq. For what? The
neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. There are
only 37 days to go until the national referendum on
the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the
_resident and the VICE _resident.
Over one thousand US soldiers have died in a foolish,
ill-planned and unnecessary war in Iraq, the Bush
national insecurity team is GUILTY of pre-9/11
negligence and post-9/11 incompetence.
The US federal budget surplus has been squandered on
TWO foolish, ill-timed and unnecessary tax cuts skewed
toward the wealthiest few. The Bush doodoo economics
team, as LNS Foreign Correspondent Dunston Woods has
dubbed them, has plunged us into hundreds of billions
of dollars in federal deficit and a multi-trillion
dollar national debt.
With unprecedented ferocity and frequency, FOUR hurricanes have devasted Fraudida. Scientists studying Global Warming predicted such severe weather three years ago. But we have lost four years we did not have to lose in the struggle to come to grips with its impact, because the _resident has denied its reality as vehemently as he has denied the true costs of his foolish military adventure and his obscene tax cuts...
Forget about asking your fellow citizens if they are
safer or better off than they were four years ago (of
course, the answer is no), instead, ask them can we
afford four more years --strategically, militarily,
economically, environmentally, constitutionally?
The US regimestream news media, at least until this
point, has, in large part, been a full partner along
with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary
formerluy-known-as-the-Republican-Party
in a Triad of shared special interest (e.g. oil,
weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) Here
are four very important news items. They should
dominate the air waves and demand headlines above the
fold. But they won't. Please read them and share them
with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote.
Please remember that the US regimestream news media,
particularly the major network and cable news
organizations, does not want to inform you about this
presidential campaign, it wants to DISinform you. It's
the Media, Stupid...

Bill Novak, Capitol Times: Russell Train is so
disappointed in President Bush's environmental record
that the staunch Republican, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency's second leader 30 years ago, is
casting his vote in November for Democrat John Kerry.
Train, 84, EPA administrator under Presidents Nixon
and Ford from 1973 to 77, was in Madison Tuesday in
support of Environment2004, an organization trying to
end what it calls the anti-environmental agenda of the
Bush administration.
A Washington insider for more than half a century,
Train said the Bush administration's performance is a
radical rollback of environmental rules to benefit
special interests.

Michael Moore, www.michaelmoore.com: Dear Mr. Bush,
I am so confused. Where exactly do you stand on the
issue of Iraq? You, your Dad, Rummy, Condi, Colin, and
Wolfie -- you have all changed your minds so many
times, I am out of breath just trying to keep up with
you!
Which of these 10 positions that you, your family and
your cabinet have taken over the years represents your
CURRENT thinking...
I know you hate the words "flip" and "flop," so I
won't use them both on you. In fact, I'll use just
one: Flop. That is what you are. A huge, colossal
flop. The war is a flop, your advisors and the
"intelligence" they gave you is a flop, and now we are
all a flop to the rest of the world. Flop. Flop. Flop.
And you have the audacity to criticize John Kerry with
what you call the "many positions" he has taken on
Iraq. By my count, he has taken only one: He believed
you. That was his position. You told him and the rest
of congress that Saddam had WMDs. So he -- and the
vast majority of Americans, even those who didn't vote
for you -- believed you. You see, Americans, like John
Kerry, want to live in a country where they can
believe their president.
That was the one, single position John Kerry took. He
didn't support the war, he supported YOU. And YOU let
him and this great country down. And that is why tens
of millions can't wait to get to the polls on Election
Day -- to remove a major, catastrophic flop from our
dear, beloved White House -- to stop all the flipping
you and your men have done, flipping us and the rest
of the world off.
We can't take another minute of it.

Associated Press: CBS News has shelved a "60 Minutes"
report on the rationale for war in Iraq (news - web
sites) because it would be "inappropriate" to air it
so close to the presidential election, the network
said on Saturday.
The report on weapons of mass destruction was set to
air on Sept. 8 but was put off in favor of a story on
President Bush (news - web sites)'s National Guard
service. The Guard story was discredited because it
relied on documents impugning Bush's service that were
apparently fake.
CBS News spokeswoman Kelli Edwards would not elaborate
on why the timing of the Iraq report was considered
inappropriate.

E.L. Doctorow, East Hampton Star: The president we get
is the country we get. With each president the nation
is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our
malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws
but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and
invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast
in his image. The trouble they get into and get us
into, is his characteristic trouble.
Finally, the media amplify his character into our
moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky,
the conditions that prevail. How can we sustain
ourselves as the United States of America given the
stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally
insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of
this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of
such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.madison.com/tct/news/images/index.php?ntid=10685&ntpid=1

EPA's chief under Nixon rips Bush on environment
Says he will vote for Kerry
By Bill Novak
September 23, 2004

Russell Train is so disappointed in President Bush's
environmental record that the staunch Republican, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's second leader
30 years ago, is casting his vote in November for
Democrat John Kerry.


Train, 84, EPA administrator under Presidents Nixon
and Ford from 1973 to 77, was in Madison Tuesday in
support of Environment2004, an organization trying to
end what it calls the anti-environmental agenda of the
Bush administration.

A Washington insider for more than half a century,
Train said the Bush administration's performance is a
radical rollback of environmental rules to benefit
special interests.

The administration's reversal of a finding that
mercury is a hazardous pollutant is one of 400
rollbacks of environmental protections cited by
Enviroment2004, and Train said the reversal is the
reason he's switched parties this presidential
election.

"Almost anybody's policy would be better than George
Bush," Train said in an interview with The Capital
Times Wednesday. "Kerry's environmental record in
Congress is extremely good."




Ironically, Train was awarded the presidential Medal
of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in America,
from the first President George Bush in 1991.

A major issue for environmentalists in the 2004
presidential campaign is to get the candidates and the
public to think about the environment in a time when
other issues, such as Iraq, terrorism and the economy,
are on the front burners, relegating clean air and
water policies to the back pages.

"The environment ought to be front and center, but
neither candidate has raised this as an issue," Train
said. "The administration has gotten away with an
awful lot because public attention is somewhere else."

Train ran the EPA during the golden age of
environmental policy. Nixon signed the National
Environmental Policy Act in January of 1970, then
devoted a good third of his State of the Union address
two weeks later to the environment.

"He (Nixon) said the environmental cause is as
fundamental as life itself," Train said.

Nixon's sentiments have apparently fallen on deaf ears
in the current Republican administration.

"One thing that's troubled me about this
administration is with the process involving
appointments," he said. "The undersecretary for
forestry policy came from the lobbying group for the
timber industry - that's just unconscionable."

Also troubling Train is the administration's meddling
into the rules and regulations of the EPA, an
independent agency in the executive branch of the
federal government.

"This White House has never hesitated to inject itself
into the regulatory rule-making by the EPA," Train
said. "That is very improper. When I was EPA
administrator for four years, I can recall not one
example of the White House telling me how a rule
should be. It just didn't happen."

In visits to New Hampshire, Washington state,
Pittsburgh and Minnesota on behalf of Environment2004,
Train was dismayed by the lack of interest in the
environment today. Why isn't the public paying
attention anymore?

"In the '60s and '70s people really felt threatened
with the big oil spills and pollution," he siad.
"Those issues were pretty well taken care of, the air
is pretty good, the water is pretty good, so people
feel relaxed about the environment.

"Also, we have a new generation that hasn't grown up
with a sense of environmental threat, and third,
there's so damned much else on the agenda, Iraq,
terrorism, jobs, the public is beset with."

E-mail: bnovak@madison.com


Published: 10:56 AM 9/23/04


http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php?messageDate=2004-09-22

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004
Mr. Bush and His 10 Ever-Changing Different Positions
on Iraq: "A flip and a flop and now just a flop."


9/22/04

Dear Mr. Bush,

I am so confused. Where exactly do you stand on the
issue of Iraq? You, your Dad, Rummy, Condi, Colin, and
Wolfie -- you have all changed your minds so many
times, I am out of breath just trying to keep up with
you!

Which of these 10 positions that you, your family and
your cabinet have taken over the years represents your
CURRENT thinking:

1983-88: WE LOVE SADDAM. On December 19, 1983, Donald
Rumsfeld was sent by your dad and Mr. Reagan to go and
have a friendly meeting with Saddam Hussein, the
dictator of Iraq. Rummy looked so happy in the
picture. Just twelve days after this visit, Saddam
gassed thousands of Iranian troops. Your dad and Rummy
seemed pretty happy with the results because ‘The
Donald R.’ went back to have another chummy hang-out
with Saddam’s right-hand man, Tariq Aziz, just four
months later. All of this resulted in the U.S.
providing credits and loans to Iraq that enabled
Saddam to buy billions of dollars worth of weapons and
chemical agents. The Washington Post reported that
your dad and Reagan let it be known to their Arab
allies that the Reagan/Bush administration wanted Iraq
to win its war with Iran and anyone who helped Saddam
accomplish this was a friend of ours.

1990: WE HATE SADDAM. In 1990, when Saddam invaded
Kuwait, your dad and his defense secretary, Dick
Cheney, decided they didn't like Saddam anymore so
they attacked Iraq and returned Kuwait to its rightful
dictators.

1991: WE WANT SADDAM TO LIVE. After the war, your dad
and Cheney and Colin Powell told the Shiites to rise
up against Saddam and we would support them. So they
rose up. But then we changed our minds. When the
Shiites rose up against Saddam, the Bush inner circle
changed its mind and decided NOT to help the Shiites.
Thus, they were massacred by Saddam.

1998: WE WANT SADDAM TO DIE. In 1998, Rumsfeld,
Wolfowitz and others, as part of the Project for the
New American Century, wrote an open letter to
President Clinton insisting he invade and topple
Saddam Hussein.

2000: WE DON'T BELIEVE IN WAR AND NATION BUILDING.
Just three years later, during your debate with Al
Gore in the 2000 election, when asked by the moderator
Jim Lehrer where you stood when it came to using force
for regime change, you turned out to be a downright
pacifist:

“I--I would take the use of force very seriously. I
would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can
be all things to all people in the world. I think
we've got to be very careful when we commit our
troops. The vice president [Al Gore] and I have a
disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in
nation building. I--I would be very careful about
using our troops as nation builders. I believe the
role of the military is to fight and win war and,
therefore, prevent war from happening in the first
place. And so I take my--I take my--my responsibility
seriously.” --October 3, 2000

2001 (early): WE DON'T BELIEVE SADDAM IS A THREAT.
When you took office in 2001, you sent your Secretary
of State, Colin Powell, and your National Security
Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, in front of the cameras to
assure the American people they need not worry about
Saddam Hussein. Here is what they said:


Powell: “We should constantly be reviewing our
policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to
make sure that they have directed that purpose. That
purpose is every bit as important now as it was 10
years ago when we began it. And frankly, they have
worked. He has not developed any significant
capability with respect to weapons of mass
destruction. He is unable to project conventional
power against his neighbors.” --February 24, 2001


Rice: “But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there,
let's remember that his country is divided, in effect.
He does not control the northern part of his country.
We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces
have not been rebuilt.” --July 29, 2001

2001 (late): WE BELIEVE SADDAM IS GOING TO KILL US!
Just a few months later, in the hours and days after
the 9/11 tragedy, you had no interest in going after
Osama bin Laden. You wanted only to bomb Iraq and kill
Saddam and you then told all of America we were under
imminent threat because weapons of mass destruction
were coming our way. You led the American people to
believe that Saddam had something to do with Osama and
9/11. Without the UN's sanction, you broke
international law and invaded Iraq.

2003: WE DON’T BELIEVE SADDAM IS GOING TO KILL US.
After no WMDs were found, you changed your mind about
why you said we needed to invade, coming up with a
brand new after-the-fact reason -- we started this war
so we could have regime change, liberate Iraq and give
the Iraqis democracy!

2003: “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” Yes, everyone saw you
say it -- in costume, no less!

2004: OOPS. MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED! Now you call the
Iraq invasion a "catastrophic success." That's what
you called it this month. Over a thousand U.S.
soldiers have died, Iraq is in a state of total chaos
where no one is safe, and you have no clue how to get
us out of there.

Mr. Bush, please tell us -- when will you change your
mind again?

I know you hate the words "flip" and "flop," so I
won't use them both on you. In fact, I'll use just
one: Flop. That is what you are. A huge, colossal
flop. The war is a flop, your advisors and the
"intelligence" they gave you is a flop, and now we are
all a flop to the rest of the world. Flop. Flop. Flop.


And you have the audacity to criticize John Kerry with
what you call the "many positions" he has taken on
Iraq. By my count, he has taken only one: He believed
you. That was his position. You told him and the rest
of congress that Saddam had WMDs. So he -- and the
vast majority of Americans, even those who didn't vote
for you -- believed you. You see, Americans, like John
Kerry, want to live in a country where they can
believe their president.

That was the one, single position John Kerry took. He
didn't support the war, he supported YOU. And YOU let
him and this great country down. And that is why tens
of millions can't wait to get to the polls on Election
Day -- to remove a major, catastrophic flop from our
dear, beloved White House -- to stop all the flipping
you and your men have done, flipping us and the rest
of the world off.

We can't take another minute of it.

Yours,

Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com


http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CBS_BUSH?SITE=NYSTA&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

CBS Nixes '60 Minutes' Story on Iraq War

Sat Sep 25, 7:42 PM ET

NEW YORK - CBS News has shelved a "60 Minutes" report
on the rationale for war in Iraq (news - web sites)
because it would be "inappropriate" to air it so close
to the presidential election, the network said on
Saturday.
The report on weapons of mass destruction was set to
air on Sept. 8 but was put off in favor of a story on
President Bush (news - web sites)'s National Guard
service. The Guard story was discredited because it
relied on documents impugning Bush's service that were
apparently fake.
CBS News spokeswoman Kelli Edwards would not elaborate
on why the timing of the Iraq report was considered
inappropriate.
The report, with Ed Bradley as the correspondent, has
long been in the works. Originally scheduled for June,
it was first put off because of new developments,
Edwards said.
CBS said no other reports on the presidential election
have been affected.
The network last week appointed former U.S. Attorney
General Dick Thornburgh and retired Associated Press
chief executive Louis Boccardi to investigate what
went wrong with the National Guard report and
recommend changes.
The controversy has put CBS News officials squarely on
the fire line, particularly anchor Dan Rather, who
narrated the National Guard report.
Meanwhile, the network announced that Rather would
anchor the network's coverage of all three
presidential debates, starting Sept. 30.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GUESTWORDS: By E.L. Doctorow

The Unfeeling President
I fault this president for not knowing what death is.
He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who
wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day
in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives
of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He
knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war
not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the
cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He
hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the
press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass
destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at
rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to
the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and
waving, triumphal, a he-man.

He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should
mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech
written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak
of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate
sacrifice for their country.

But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he
dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the
depths of his being because he has no capacity for it.
He does not feel a personal responsibility for the
1,000 dead young men and women who wanted to be what
they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers
and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to
the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of
familial relationships and the inconsolable
remembrance of aborted life . . . they come to his
desk as a political liability, which is why the press
is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their
coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret
and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his
reason for going to war was, as he knew,
unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that
his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of
his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not
regret that, rather than controlling terrorism, his
war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for
the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this
war of his choice.

He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind
to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those
who knew those costs. He did not understand that you
do not go to war when it is one of the options but
when it is the only option; you go not because you
want to but because you have to.

Yet this president knew it would be difficult for
Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign
dictator. He knew that much. This president and his
supporters would seem to have a mind for only one
thing -- to take power, to remain in power, and to use
that power for the sake of themselves and their
friends.

A war will do that as well as anything. You become a
wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent
becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his
knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the
church with the grieving parents and wives and
children. He is the president who does not feel. He
does not feel for the families of the dead, he does
not feel for the 35 million of us who live in poverty,
he does not feel for the 40 percent who cannot afford
health insurance, he does not feel for the miners
whose lungs are turning black or for the working
people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime
at time-and-a-half to pay their bills - it is amazing
for how many people in this country this president
does not feel.

But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all
sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest 1 percent of
the population of their tax burden for the sake of the
rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we
breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is
decreasing the quality of air in coal mines to save
the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving
workers of their time-and-a-half benefits for overtime
because this is actually a way to honor them by
raising them into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with
reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when
just what he and his party are doing to our democracy
is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of
this. I remember the millions of people here and
around the world who marched against the war. It was
extraordinary, that spontaneous aroused oversoul of
alarm and protest that transcended national borders.
Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only
war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars
all over he world most of the time.

But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding
of millions of people that America was ceding its role
as the last best hope of mankind. It was their
perception that the classic archetype of democracy was
morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic
republic in history was turning its back on the
future, using its extraordinary power and standing not
to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations
but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that
originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now
extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by
no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each
president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is
the artificer of our malleable national soul. He
proposes not only the laws but the kinds of
lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our
responses. The people he appoints are cast in his
image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is
his characteristic trouble.

Finally, the media amplify his character into our
moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky,
the conditions that prevail. How can we sustain
ourselves as the United States of America given the
stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally
insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of
this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of
such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.


The novelist E.L. Doctorow has a house in Sag Harbor.


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Posted by richard at 11:17 AM

September 25, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 38 Days to Go -- JFK rips Bush again, SeeBS and Niger Green Cake, US Military Families fight Bush, 9/11 and the Media, Global Warming

There are only 38 days to go until the national
referendum on the CHARACTER, COMPETENCE and
CREDIBILITY of the _resident and the VICE _resident.
Over one thousand US soldiers have died in a foolish,
ill-planned and unnecessary war in Iraq, the Bush
national insecurity team is GUILTY of pre-9/11
negligence and post-9/11 incompetence, the US federal
budget surplus has been squandered on TWO foolish,
ill-timed and unnecessary tax cuts skewed toward the
wealthiest few, the Bush vodoo economics team has
plunged us into hundreds of billions of dollars in
federal deficit and a multi-trillion dollar nationa
debt, forget about asking your fellow citizens if they
are safer or better off than they were four years ago
(of course, the answer is no), instead, ask them can
we afford four more years --strategically militarily
economically environmentally constitutionally?
The US regimestream news media, at least until this
point, has, in large part, been a full partner along
with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary
formerluy-known-as-the-Republican-Party
in a Triad of shared special interest (e.g. oil,
weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) Here
are five very important news items. They should
dominate the air waves and demand headlines above the
fold. But they won't. Please read them and share them
with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote.
Please remember that the US regimestream news media,
particularly the major network and cable news
organizations, does not want to inform you about this
presidential campaign, it wants to DISinform you...

Lois Romano, Washington Post: "The invasion of Iraq
was a profound diversion from the battle against our
greatest enemy -- al Qaeda," Kerry said. "The
president's misjudgment, miscalculation and
mismanagement . . . all make the war on terror harder
to win. George Bush made Saddam Hussein the priority.
I would have made Osama bin Laden the priority."
Kerry's comments at Temple, reinforced later at a
rally of 20,000 at the University of Pennsylvania,
included a six-point plan that campaign officials said
is designed to contrast his proposals with those of
the president's and to demonstrate that foreign policy
is a strength of Kerry's.
The Democratic nominee promised to destroy terrorist
networks by going after their arms and financing; to
revamp and enhance the intelligence apparatus to
ferret them out; to build up an overstretched military
by 40,000 troops; to support Middle Eastern
democracies; and to increase funding for homeland
security and for more intense cargo inspections at
ports and other points of entry.
"The Bush administration is spending more in Iraq in
four days than they've spent protecting our ports for
all of the last three years," Kerry charged.
Kerry assailed Bush for alienating longtime U.S.
allies, pledging as he has before to rebuild global
relationships. "I have news for President Bush: Just
because you can't do something doesn't mean it can't
be done," Kerry said. "It can be. My friends, it's not
George Bush's style that keeps our allies from
helping. It's his judgment."

Michael Ishikoff, Mark Hosenball, Newsweek: In its
rush to air its now discredited story about President
George W. Bush's National Guard service, CBS bumped
another sensitive piece slated for the same "60
Minutes" broadcast: a half-hour segment about how the
U.S. government was snookered by forged documents
purporting to show Iraqi efforts to purchase uranium
from Niger...
A team of "60 Minutes" correspondents and consulting
reporters spent more than six months investigating the
Niger uranium documents fraud, CBS sources tell
Newsweek. The group landed the first ever on-camera
interview with Elisabetta Burba, the Italian
journalist who first obtained the phony documents, as
well as her elusive source, Rocco Martino, a
mysterious Roman businessman with longstanding ties to
European intelligence agencies.
Although the edited piece never ended up identifying
Martino by name, the story, narrated by "60 Minutes"
correspondent Ed Bradley, asked tough questions about
how the White House came to embrace the fraudulent
documents and why administration officials chose to
include a 16-word reference to the questionable
uranium purchase in President Bush's 2003 State of the
Union speech.
But just hours before the piece was set to air on the
evening of Sept. 8, the reporters and producers on the
CBS team were stunned to learn the story was being
scrapped to make room for a seemingly sensational
story about new documents showing that Bush ignored a
direct order to take a flight physical while serving
in the National Guard more than 30 years ago...
"This is like living in a Kafka novel," said Joshua
Micah Marshall, a Washington Monthly contributing
writer and a Web blogger who had been collaborating
with "60 Minutes" producers on the uranium story.
"Here we had a very important, well-reported story
about forged documents that helped lead the country to
war. And then it gets bumped by another story that
relied on forged documents."

Hank Kalet, Dispatches, South Brunswick Post: She
never expected to be speaking at Rutgers and elsewhere
about her views, never expected to find herself being
forcibly removed from a Republican Party political
rally in Hamilton after shouting a question at first
lady Laura Bush.
And she certainly never expected the kind of
insensitive treatment she received from the crowd.
But, then again, she never expected her son to die
in a dubious foreign war.
Yes. I said dubious. The war in Iraq was a war of
choice, not a war of necessity, a war sold to the
American public with a mixture of bad intelligence and
bad faith. And 1,000 Americans and tens of thousands
of Iraqis have paid the ultimate price.
Ms. Niederer's 24-year-old son Army 1st Lt. Seth
Dvorin, a graduate of South Brunswick High School, was
among those killed. Lt. Dvorin was serving in Iraq
with the 10th Mountain Division, Battery B, 3rd
Battalion, 62nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment when a
makeshift bomb exploded as he was conducting a
counter-explosive mission, Army officials said after
his death in February.
Ms. Niederer, who now lives in Hopewell, believes
her son did not have to die, that he and the
1,030-plus American soldiers who have died in Iraq
since the war began a year and a half ago were victims
of bad faith on the part of the Bush administration.
She has become active in the anti-war group Military
Families Speak Out and has made numerous speeches
around the area — including at Rutgers, her son's alma
mater — criticizing President George W. Bush and the
war in Iraq.

www.mediamatters.org: While the media has focused in
recent months on issues such as whether Senator John
Kerry took fire while saving the life of a fellow
swift boat crew member more than 30 years ago and
whether President George W. Bush's commanding officer
wrote memos bearing his name, an issue of at least
equal importance -- whether the Bush administration
lied to the 9-11 Commission and to the American people
about the events of September 11 -- has been almost
completely ignored. *
In fact, were reporters to devote anything approaching
the time and energy consumed by the disputed CBS memos
to the 9-11 Commission's conclusions, they would find
strong evidence that the administration has misled the
country regarding one of the most catastrophic days in
our country's history. In a review of the 9-11
Commission report in The New York Review of Books,
regular contributor Elizabeth Drew noted several
examples of Bush administration distortions and
apparent lies, of which the report provides strong
evidence. Following are two of the most flagrant.
Bush administration officials said no one could
predict terrorists would use airplanes as missiles
As Slate.com has reported, several prominent Bush
administration officials have asserted that there was
no way the government could have known that terrorists
would attempt to hijack airplanes and crash them into
buildings, as they did at the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. In May 2002,
national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said: "I
don't think anyone could have predicted that these
people would take an airplane and slam it into the
World Trade Center"; then-White House Press Secretary
Ari Fleischer echoed Rice's remarks: "Never did we
imagine what would take place on September 11 where
people use those airplanes as missiles and weapons."
In her testimony before the 9-11 Commission, though,
Rice retreated from her remarks, stating, "I probably
should have said, 'I could not have imagined'" such an
occurrence, but she only conceded that she couldn't
promise that there "might not have been a report here
or a report there that reached somebody in our midst."
USA Today reported a similar remark by President Bush
on April 18: "Nobody in our government, at least, and
I don't think the prior government, could envision
flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive
scale." CNN noted on March 24 that Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld told the Commission: "I knew
of no intelligence during the six-plus months leading
up to September 11 to indicate terrorists would hijack
commercial airlines, use them as missiles to fly into
the Pentagon or the World Trade Center towers."
However, as the 9-11 Commission report documented,
such a "possibility was imaginable, and imagined,"
citing an August 1999 Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) Civil Aviation Security intelligence office
report that warned on the potential of a "suicide
hijacking operation," and that the North American
Aerospace Defense Command had "developed exercises to
counter such a threat." The commission reported that
an August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Briefing
entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.,"
which was received by Bush, stated that although the
FBI had "not been able to corroborate" a 1998 report
that Osama bin Laden was seeking to "hijack a US
aircraft," "FBI information since that time
indicate[d] patterns of suspicious activity in this
country consistent with preparations for hijackings or
other types of attacks, including recent surveillance
of federal buildings in New York."
Just weeks before 9-11, the Commission report also
noted, the Central Intelligence Agency warned British
and French officials of "'subjects involved in
suspicious 747 flight training' that described [Al
Qaeda operative Zacarias] Moussaoui as a possible
'suicide hijacker.'" And the week before the terrorist
attacks, a Minneapolis FBI agent told the FAA that
Moussaoui was "an Islamic extremist preparing for some
future act in furtherance of radical fundamentalist
goals" related to flight training he had received. The
commission also documented that on August 23, 2001,
then-Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet
"was briefed about the Moussaoui case in a briefing
titled 'Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly.'"

Reuters: Some of Antarctica's glaciers are melting
faster than snow can replace them, enough to raise sea
levels measurably, scientists reported on Friday.
Measurements of glaciers flowing into the Amundsen
Sea, on the Pacific Ocean side of Antarctica, show
they are melting much faster than in recent years and
could break up.
And they contain more ice than was previously
estimated, meaning they could raise sea level by more
than predicted, the international team of researchers
writes in the journal Science.
"The ... Amundsen Sea glaciers contain enough ice to
raise sea level by 1.3 meters (4 feet)," the
researchers wrote in their report.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/092504I.shtml

The Story that Didn't Run
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
Newsweek

Wednesday 22 September 2004

Here's the piece that '60 Minutes' killed for its
report on the Bush Guard documents.
In its rush to air its now discredited story about
President George W. Bush's National Guard service, CBS
bumped another sensitive piece slated for the same "60
Minutes" broadcast: a half-hour segment about how the
U.S. government was snookered by forged documents
purporting to show Iraqi efforts to purchase uranium
from Niger.

The journalistic juggling at CBS provides an
ironic counterpoint to the furor over apparently bogus
documents involving Bush's National Guard service. One
unexpected consequence of the network's decision was
to wipe out a chance-at least for the moment-for
greater public scrutiny of a more consequential
forgery that played a role in building the Bush
administration's case to invade Iraq.

A team of "60 Minutes" correspondents and
consulting reporters spent more than six months
investigating the Niger uranium documents fraud, CBS
sources tell Newsweek. The group landed the first ever
on-camera interview with Elisabetta Burba, the Italian
journalist who first obtained the phony documents, as
well as her elusive source, Rocco Martino, a
mysterious Roman businessman with longstanding ties to
European intelligence agencies.

Although the edited piece never ended up
identifying Martino by name, the story, narrated by
"60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley, asked tough
questions about how the White House came to embrace
the fraudulent documents and why administration
officials chose to include a 16-word reference to the
questionable uranium purchase in President Bush's 2003
State of the Union speech.

But just hours before the piece was set to air on
the evening of Sept. 8, the reporters and producers on
the CBS team were stunned to learn the story was being
scrapped to make room for a seemingly sensational
story about new documents showing that Bush ignored a
direct order to take a flight physical while serving
in the National Guard more than 30 years ago.

The story has since created a journalistic and
political firestorm, resulting in a colossal
embarrassment for CBS. This week, the network
concluded that its principle source for the documents,
a disgruntled former Guard official and Democratic
partisan named Bill Burkett, had lied about where he
got the material. CBS anchor Dan Rather publicly
apologized for broadcasting the faulty report. Today,
CBS named a two-person team comprised of former U.S.
Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former Associated
Press chief Louis Boccardi to investigate the
network's handling of the story. .

"This is like living in a Kafka novel," said
Joshua Micah Marshall, a Washington Monthly
contributing writer and a Web blogger who had been
collaborating with "60 Minutes" producers on the
uranium story. "Here we had a very important,
well-reported story about forged documents that helped
lead the country to war. And then it gets bumped by
another story that relied on forged documents."

Some CBS reporters, as well as one of the
network's key sources, fear that the Niger uranium
story may never run, at least not any time soon, on
the grounds that the network can now not credibly air
a report questioning how the Bush administration could
have gotten taken in by phony documents. The network
would "be a laughingstock," said one source intimately
familiar with the story.

Although acknowledging that it was "frustrating"
to have his story bounced, David Gelber, the lead CBS
producer on the Niger piece, said he has been told the
segment will still air some time soon, perhaps as
early as next week. "Obviously, everybody at CBS is
holding their breath these days. I'm assuming the
story is going to run until I'm told differently."

The delay of the CBS report comes at a time when
there have been significant new developments in the
case-although virtually none of them have been
reported in the United States. According to Italian
and British press reports, Martino-the Rome middleman
at the center of the case-was questioned last week by
an Italian investigating magistrate for two hours
about the circumstances surrounding his acquisition of
the documents. Martino could not be reached for
comment, but his lawyer is reportedly planning a press
conference in the next few days.

Burba, the Italian journalist, confirmed to
Newsweek this week that Martino is the previously
mysterious "Mr. X" who contacted her with the
potentially explosive documents in early October
2002-just as Congress was debating whether to
authorize President Bush to wage war against Iraq. The
documents, consisting of telexes, letters and
contracts, purported to show that Iraq had negotiated
an agreement to purchase 500 tons of "yellowcake
uranium from Niger, material that could be used to
make a nuclear bomb. (A U.S. intelligence official
told Newsweek that Martino is in fact believed to have
been the distributor of the documents.)

Burba-under instructions from her editor at
Panarama, a newsmagazine owned by Italian Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi-then provided the documents
to the U.S. Embassy in Rome in an effort to
authenticate them. The embassy soon passed the
material on to Washington where some Bush
administration officials viewed it as hard evidence to
support its case that Saddam Hussein's regime was
actively engaged in a program to assemble nuclear
weapons.

But the Niger component of the White House case
for war quickly imploded. Asked for evidence to
support President Bush's contention in his State of
the Union speech that Iraq was seeking uranium from
Africa, the administration turned over the Niger
documents to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Within two hours, using the Google search engine, IAEA
officials in Vienna determined the documents to be a
crude forgery. At the urging of Sen. Jay Rockefeller,
vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee,
the FBI launched an investigation into the Niger
documents in an effort to determine if the United
States government had been duped by a deliberate
"disinformation" campaign organized by a foreign
intelligence agency or others with a political agenda
relating to Iraq.

So far, the bureau appears to have made little
progress in unraveling the case. "The senator is
frustrated by the slow pace of the investigation,"
said Wendy Morigi, the press secretary for Senator
Rockefeller, who was recently briefed on the status of
the FBI probe.

One striking aspect of the FBI's investigation is
that, at least as of this week, Martino has told
associates he has never even been interviewed by the
bureau-despite the fact that he was publicly
identified by the Financial Times of London as the
source of the documents more than six weeks ago and
was subsequently flown to New York City by CBS to be
interviewed for the "60 Minutes" report.

A U.S. law-enforcement official said the FBI is
seeking to interview Martino, but has not yet received
permission to do so from the Italian government. The
official declined to comment on other aspects of the
investigation.

The case has taken on additional intrigue because
of mounting indications that Martino has longstanding
relationships with European intelligence agencies.
Martino recently told the Sunday Times of London that
he had previously worked for SISMI, the Italian
military-intelligence agency, a potentially noteworthy
part of his resume given that the conservative Italian
government of Berlasconi was a strong supporter of the
Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. A French
government official told Newsweek that Martino also
had a relationship with French intelligence agencies.
But the French official rejected suggestions from U.S.
and British officials that French intelligence may
have played a role in creating the documents in order
to embarrass Bush and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair. The French never disseminated the documents
because they could not establish their authenticity,
the French official said.

Martino has told Burba and others that he obtained
the phony documents from an Italian woman who worked
in the Niger Embassy in Rome. He was in turn put in
touch with the woman by yet another middleman who,
according to Burba's account, had directed Martino to
provide the documents to "the Egyptians." Some press
reports have suggested the still unidentified
middleman who put Martino in touch with his Niger
Embassy source was in fact a SISMI officer himself.

Burba, who has twice been interviewed by the FBI
but never gave up Martino's name, said she had been
cooperating with the CBS team on the story in hopes of
getting to the bottom of the matter. But now, with the
"60 Minutes" broadcast postponed, she is no longer
confident that can ever happen. Meanwhile, she said
she is fed up with Martino who has "lied" to her and
provided contradictory accounts to other journalists.

"I'm disappointed," she told Newsweek. "In this
story, you don't know who's lying and who's telling
the truth. The sources have been both discredited and
discredited themselves."

-------
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48716-2004Sep24.html?referrer=email


washingtonpost.com
Kerry Blasts Iraq 'Diversion'
Challenger Says War Has Hurt the Fight Against Al
Qaeda
By Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 25, 2004; Page A01


PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 24 -- John F. Kerry detailed his
plan for combating terrorism Friday and insisted that
the nation is no safer after the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks because President Bush took his "eye off the
ball."

In a harsh assessment of his rival's policies, Kerry
told an audience at Temple University that Iraq has
become a haven for terrorists, and he drew a sharp
distinction between the war on terrorism and the war
in Iraq to differentiate his policies from those of
the president.

"The invasion of Iraq was a profound diversion from
the battle against our greatest enemy -- al Qaeda,"
Kerry said. "The president's misjudgment,
miscalculation and mismanagement . . . all make the
war on terror harder to win. George Bush made Saddam
Hussein the priority. I would have made Osama bin
Laden the priority."

Kerry's comments at Temple, reinforced later at a
rally of 20,000 at the University of Pennsylvania,
included a six-point plan that campaign officials said
is designed to contrast his proposals with those of
the president's and to demonstrate that foreign policy
is a strength of Kerry's.

The Democratic nominee promised to destroy terrorist
networks by going after their arms and financing; to
revamp and enhance the intelligence apparatus to
ferret them out; to build up an overstretched military
by 40,000 troops; to support Middle Eastern
democracies; and to increase funding for homeland
security and for more intense cargo inspections at
ports and other points of entry.

"The Bush administration is spending more in Iraq in
four days than they've spent protecting our ports for
all of the last three years," Kerry charged.

Kerry assailed Bush for alienating longtime U.S.
allies, pledging as he has before to rebuild global
relationships. "I have news for President Bush: Just
because you can't do something doesn't mean it can't
be done," Kerry said. "It can be. My friends, it's not
George Bush's style that keeps our allies from
helping. It's his judgment."

Before Kerry even finished his speech Friday morning,
the Bush-Cheney campaign sent out e-mails accusing him
of both copying Bush's policies and of distorting his
record.

"John Kerry's repackaged proposals embrace initiatives
that the President is already implementing, even as he
cynically attacks the President," campaign spokesman
Steve Schmidt said in a statement. "John Kerry called
Saddam Hussein a 'terrorist' before, but now he is
taking the opposite position and claiming that the
removal of Saddam Hussein has left the world 'less
secure.' "

Vice President Cheney weighed in from Lafayette, La.,
telling supporters: "John Kerry is trying to tear down
and trash all the good that has been accomplished."

Kerry's comments came at the end of a week when his
campaign switched its strategy of focusing heavily on
domestic issues and aggressively attacked Bush's Iraq
policies, portraying them as arrogant, misplaced and
extremist.

"Drawing these sharp contrasts with Bush on Iraq is
very important, because this is a fundamentally
important issue," senior adviser Mike McCurry said.
"It is the heart of the question about George Bush: Is
he capable of seeing mistakes and fixing them so we
can get them right?" Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr.
(D-Del.), who accompanied Kerry on Friday, told
reporters that Kerry felt "liberated" to make the case
against Bush on foreign policy.

Kerry's campaign Friday unveiled a second ad on Iraq
in two days, this one turning Bush's words on him. The
30-second spot, to air during Sunday talk shows, shows
Bush during a Rose Garden news conference saying, "I
saw a poll that said the 'right-track, wrong-track' in
Iraq was better than here in America."

"The right track?" the narrator asks. "Americans are
being kidnapped, held hostage, even beheaded. Over a
thousand American soldiers have died. And George Bush
has no plan to get us out of Iraq."

Although Kerry had previously made many of the points
in Friday's speech, it was the first time he presented
an anti-terrorism plan in such a comprehensive way.

Anthony H. Cordesman, a senior national security
analyst at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, who said he is not endorsing either
candidate's approach, said Kerry's speech amounted to
"a wish list of any measure that anybody has proposed
without seeing whether they are cost-effective."

He gave Kerry credit for addressing the growing Muslim
resentment of the United States and the need for debt
relief in Middle East countries. But he said the Bush
administration has already been undertaking many of
Kerry's proposals, such as expanding the CIA's
clandestine service and the military's Special Forces
units.

"I have the impression," Cordesman said, "that
somebody assembled all the possibilities that would
have a rhetoric impact and crammed them into a
speech."

One area in which Kerry worked to set himself apart
from Bush was on Saudi Arabia, saying the
administration has not held it accountable for
financing al Qaeda terrorism.

"As president, I will do what President Bush has not:
I will hold the Saudis accountable. Since 9/11, there
have been no public prosecutions in Saudi Arabia, and
few elsewhere, of terrorist financiers," Kerry said.

Bush and others in the administration say that they
have put significant pressure on the Saudis, and that
the Saudis have become more aggressive in arresting al
Qaeda members living in the country and in closing
down religious-based contributions to the organization
and its affiliates.

Kerry also said that at U.S. ports, he would increase
the budgets for "the most promising cargo inspection
programs" by 600 percent. A spokesman said Kerry was
referring to two widely applauded programs run by the
Department of Homeland Security to increase
surveillance of incoming containers in foreign ports
such as Hong Kong, and to work with U.S. importers to
tighten their security. Both programs have been
severely understaffed, experts said.

Stephen E. Flynn, a retired Coast Guard official and
author of a homeland security book called "America the
Vulnerable," said Kerry's proposal makes sense because
it would result in tighter security without delaying
the flow of goods: "I applaud any effort to bolster
the resources going to these two important programs."

Staff writers Dana Priest and John Mintz in Washington
contributed to this report.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=12988666&BRD=1091&PAG=461&dept_id=

DISPATCHES: Unlikely activist takes on war in Iraq




By: Hank Kalet , Managing Editor 09/23/2004




DISPATCHES By Hank Kalet: Mother of soldier killed in
Iraq speaks out against President Bush and dubious
war.

Sue Niederer never expected to find herself on the
nightly news.
She never expected to be speaking at Rutgers and
elsewhere about her views, never expected to find
herself being forcibly removed from a Republican Party
political rally in Hamilton after shouting a question
at first lady Laura Bush.
And she certainly never expected the kind of
insensitive treatment she received from the crowd.
But, then again, she never expected her son to die
in a dubious foreign war.
Yes. I said dubious. The war in Iraq was a war of
choice, not a war of necessity, a war sold to the
American public with a mixture of bad intelligence and
bad faith. And 1,000 Americans and tens of thousands
of Iraqis have paid the ultimate price.
Ms. Niederer's 24-year-old son Army 1st Lt. Seth
Dvorin, a graduate of South Brunswick High School, was
among those killed. Lt. Dvorin was serving in Iraq
with the 10th Mountain Division, Battery B, 3rd
Battalion, 62nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment when a
makeshift bomb exploded as he was conducting a
counter-explosive mission, Army officials said after
his death in February.
Ms. Niederer, who now lives in Hopewell, believes
her son did not have to die, that he and the
1,030-plus American soldiers who have died in Iraq
since the war began a year and a half ago were victims
of bad faith on the part of the Bush administration.
She has become active in the anti-war group Military
Families Speak Out and has made numerous speeches
around the area — including at Rutgers, her son's alma
mater — criticizing President George W. Bush and the
war in Iraq.
Reading the letters on the Military Families Speak
Out Web site (www.mfso.org) is a painful experience.
They tell of dislocation and alienation, of extreme
worry verging on terror, of not being able to watch
the news or read the newspaper because each time they
hear of an American casualty they fear it will be a
son, a daughter, a cousin, a husband, wife, brother or
sister. The letters are bitter and angry and demand
the president be brought to account.
Ms. Niederer joined Military Families Speak Out as
a way of connecting with others who are feeling the
same things she has been feeling, and to speak out
against the war.
"I don't have any vendetta," she said by phone on
Tuesday night. "I just want these kids back."
Ms. Niederer sees her activism as a mission, as a
way of carrying out her son's commitment to the men
with whom he served.
"It was my son's last words before he went back to
Iraq," she said. "I asked him if he wanted to go back
to Iraq and he said he didn't. He said he thought it
was useless. We weren't going to win a war on
terrorism or war on religion. It was just a guerilla
war."
So she asked him why he felt he had to go.
"He said he had 18 men under him and he must bring
them home safely," she said.
Of those original 18 soldiers, three have died and
two were badly wounded.
"I'm just carrying out his wishes and his memory by
trying to bring the men home safely and alive," she
said. "It was his wish."
That sense of mission brought her to Hamilton on
Sept. 16, where Mrs. Bush was speaking at a rally and
fund-raiser on behalf of the president's re-election
campaign.
According to reports from several news
organizations, Ms. Niederer sat silently at the speech
until Mrs. Bush began talking of the troops abroad.
That's when she stood up and confronted the first
lady. She was wearing a T-shirt with her son's photo
and the words "President Bush, you killed my son"
across the front.
She came with a simple question: "When are yours
going to serve?" referring to the Bush twins. She got
no answer.
That should not be surprising, since the American
public has yet to get a straight answer from the
president or his minions as to why we are fighting and
why our young men are dying half way around the globe.
Each rationale has melted under real scrutiny, only to
be replaced with another. The elusive weapons of mass
destruction gave way to fictional links to al-Qaida,
which in turn gave way to the noble-sounding goal of
liberating the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein. Now the
Iraqis are fighting to liberate themselves from us and
our soldiers are dying with increasing frequency.
According to CNN.com, 58 Americans have died so far
this month and 181 have died since Iraqis were handed
back autonomy.
"It has ... become increasingly clear that
America's military presence continues to serve as a
catalyst and rallying cry for a growing number of
disaffected Iraqi citizens," The Nation wrote in a
recent editorial.
And yet the president continues to view this crisis
with rose-colored glasses, extolling a growing
democracy that just does not seem to exist, continues
to blame outside influences for what nearly every
observer inside Iraq agrees is a homegrown resistance.
It is time that someone in authority admitted that
this war has been a terrible, deadly mistake and made
real plans to bring our troops home so other mothers
do not have to feel the pain that Sue Niederer has
felt.
Hank Kalet is managing editor of the South Brunswick
Post and The Cranbury Press. E-mail him by clicking
here.

©PACKETONLINE News Classifieds Entertainment Business
- Princeton and Central New Jersey 2004

http://mediamatters.org/items/200409240007

Media looked past 9-11 Commission documentation of
Bush administration fabrications

While the media has focused in recent months on issues
such as whether Senator John Kerry took fire while
saving the life of a fellow swift boat crew member
more than 30 years ago and whether President George W.
Bush's commanding officer wrote memos bearing his
name, an issue of at least equal importance -- whether
the Bush administration lied to the 9-11 Commission
and to the American people about the events of
September 11 -- has been almost completely ignored. *

In fact, were reporters to devote anything approaching
the time and energy consumed by the disputed CBS memos
to the 9-11 Commission's conclusions, they would find
strong evidence that the administration has misled the
country regarding one of the most catastrophic days in
our country's history. In a review of the 9-11
Commission report in The New York Review of Books,
regular contributor Elizabeth Drew noted several
examples of Bush administration distortions and
apparent lies, of which the report provides strong
evidence. Following are two of the most flagrant.

Bush administration officials said no one could
predict terrorists would use airplanes as missiles

As Slate.com has reported, several prominent Bush
administration officials have asserted that there was
no way the government could have known that terrorists
would attempt to hijack airplanes and crash them into
buildings, as they did at the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. In May 2002,
national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said: "I
don't think anyone could have predicted that these
people would take an airplane and slam it into the
World Trade Center"; then-White House Press Secretary
Ari Fleischer echoed Rice's remarks: "Never did we
imagine what would take place on September 11 where
people use those airplanes as missiles and weapons."

In her testimony before the 9-11 Commission, though,
Rice retreated from her remarks, stating, "I probably
should have said, 'I could not have imagined'" such an
occurrence, but she only conceded that she couldn't
promise that there "might not have been a report here
or a report there that reached somebody in our midst."
USA Today reported a similar remark by President Bush
on April 18: "Nobody in our government, at least, and
I don't think the prior government, could envision
flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive
scale." CNN noted on March 24 that Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld told the Commission: "I knew
of no intelligence during the six-plus months leading
up to September 11 to indicate terrorists would hijack
commercial airlines, use them as missiles to fly into
the Pentagon or the World Trade Center towers."

However, as the 9-11 Commission report documented,
such a "possibility was imaginable, and imagined,"
citing an August 1999 Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) Civil Aviation Security intelligence office
report that warned on the potential of a "suicide
hijacking operation," and that the North American
Aerospace Defense Command had "developed exercises to
counter such a threat." The commission reported that
an August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Briefing
entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.,"
which was received by Bush, stated that although the
FBI had "not been able to corroborate" a 1998 report
that Osama bin Laden was seeking to "hijack a US
aircraft," "FBI information since that time
indicate[d] patterns of suspicious activity in this
country consistent with preparations for hijackings or
other types of attacks, including recent surveillance
of federal buildings in New York."

Just weeks before 9-11, the Commission report also
noted, the Central Intelligence Agency warned British
and French officials of "'subjects involved in
suspicious 747 flight training' that described [Al
Qaeda operative Zacarias] Moussaoui as a possible
'suicide hijacker.'" And the week before the terrorist
attacks, a Minneapolis FBI agent told the FAA that
Moussaoui was "an Islamic extremist preparing for some
future act in furtherance of radical fundamentalist
goals" related to flight training he had received. The
commission also documented that on August 23, 2001,
then-Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet
"was briefed about the Moussaoui case in a briefing
titled 'Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly.'"

The Bush administration's claims of ignorance are cast
into even greater doubt by a report that a
hypothetical event resembling the actual events of
September 11 was the subject of a military training
exercise less than a year before 9-11. As United Press
International documented, on October 24, 2000, the
Pentagon ran a "mass casualty exercise, which
simulated crisis response in a scenario where a
hijacked aircraft crashed into the Pentagon."

Cheney and Bush claimed Cheney received Bush's
approval to shoot down hijacked planes on 9-11

Both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney
have maintained, and testified to the 9-11 Commission,
that the order to shoot down airplanes hijacked by Al
Qaeda on the morning of September 11 was authorized by
the president himself. But the commission's report
indicated that the commission found no evidence to
support such a claim based on the review of an array
of documentary sources from that day.

The report noted Bush and Cheney's account of the
events in question: Cheney "stated that he called the
President to discuss the rules of engagement" for
shooting down the hijacked airplanes if they would not
divert their path on the morning of September 11,
Cheney "said the President signed off on that
concept," and "[t]he President said he remembered such
a conversation."

But the commission found "no documentary evidence for
this call." The report includes a caveat that "the
relevant sources are incomplete," but does not say
specifically what information the commission lacked.
The commission cited the following sources in reaching
its conclusion that there was no evidence for Bush and
Cheney's claim: "(1) phone logs of the White House
switchboard; (2) notes of Lewis Libby [Cheney's chief
of staff], Mrs. [Lynne] Cheney, and Ari Fleischer; (3)
the tape (and then transcript) of the air threat
conference call; and (4) Secret Service and White
House Situation Room logs, as well as four separate
White House Military Office logs (the PEOC Watch Log,
the PEOC Shelter Log, the Communications Log, and the
9-11 Log)."

The report then noted that after Cheney twice ordered
the "authorization to engage," he called President
Bush to obtain authorization at the behest of White
House deputy chief of staff Joshua Bolten. According
to the report, Bolten wanted Cheney to "confirm the
engage order" and "make sure the President was told"
Cheney had executed it, and Bolten "said he had not
heard any prior discussion on the subject with the
President." The hijacked planes crashed before the
authorization order was put into effect.

Drew, in her New York Review of Books review, noted
that in response to the commission's suggestion that
Cheney made the order without Bush's authorization,
"the White House reacted in a lengthy letter to the
commission ... propos[ing] substitute language that
portrayed the President's performance that morning in
a more positive light." And, she wrote that Cheney
"made a vehement phone call to the chairman, Thomas
Kean, and vice-chairman, Lee Hamilton, protesting the
staff report's implication that he had taken charge
and ordered the planes shot down." Despite the
protests by the White House, Drew noted, the
commission's report maintained an account of the
events that suggests Cheney, not Bush, made the order.

* An MMFA LexisNexis database search on September 24
of the "All News" directory for media coverage --
after the 9-11 Commission report's July 22 release --
of Bush administration assertions that were
contradicted by the evidence amassed in the report
produced minimal results. Relevant results were
defined as articles that note the inconsistencies
between the Bush administration accounts and the 9-11
Commission report findings:

A search for "rice and predict! and airplane and slam
and world trade center and date is after July 20,
2004" produced six relevant results.

A search for "Fleischer and imagine and airplanes as
missiles and date is after July 20, 2004" produced
zero relevant results.

A search for "rice and I could not have imagined and
date is after July 20, 2004" produced zero relevant
results.

A search for "Bush and envision flying airplanes into
buildings and date is after July 20, 2004" produced
zero relevant results.

A search for "9/11 Commission and imaginable and
imagined and date is after July 20, 2004" produced
zero relevant results.

A search for "cheney and (shoot /20 plane or airplane)
or (rules of engagement) or (9/11 commission and
documentary evidence and call) and date is after july
20, 2004" produced two relevant results.

— A.S. & M.K.

Posted to the web on Friday September 24, 2004 at 3:09
PM EST

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http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/09/24/environment.glaciers.reut/index.html

Report: Antarctica glaciers are thinning

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Some of Antarctica's glaciers
are melting faster than snow can replace them, enough
to raise sea levels measurably, scientists reported on
Friday.

Measurements of glaciers flowing into the Amundsen
Sea, on the Pacific Ocean side of Antarctica, show
they are melting much faster than in recent years and
could break up.

And they contain more ice than was previously
estimated, meaning they could raise sea level by more
than predicted, the international team of researchers
writes in the journal Science.

"The ... Amundsen Sea glaciers contain enough ice to
raise sea level by 1.3 meters (4 feet)," the
researchers wrote in their report.

"Our measurements show them collectively to be 60
percent out of balance, sufficient to raise sea level
by 0.24 mm (nearly 0.01 inch) per year," they added.

And as the surrounding ice shelves melt -- which they
are doing -- this process will speed up, the
researchers said.

"The ice shelves act like a cork and slow down the
flow of the glacier," said Bob Thomas of the NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility
in Virginia.

Theirs is the second report this week to warn of
rapidly melting glaciers in Antarctica.

On Tuesday a team at NASA and the University of
Colorado reported that the 2002 breakup of the Larsen
B ice shelf on the other side of the continent had
accelerated the breakup of glaciers into the Weddell
Sea.

Many teams of researchers are keeping a close eye on
parts of Antarctica that are steadily melting.

Large ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula
disintegrated in 1995 and 2002 as a result of climate
warming. But these floating ice shelves did not affect
sea level as they melted.

Glaciers, however, are another story. They rest on
land and when they slide off into the water they
instantly affect sea level.

"The rates of glacier change remain relatively small
at present," said Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who worked on
Friday's study.

"But the potential exists for these glaciers to
increase global sea level by more than one meter (3
feet). The time scale over which this will take place
depends on how much faster the glaciers can flow,
which we do not know at present."

The measurements also show the glaciers are thicker
than once believed. This means more melting and more
rapid melting, Thomas said.

"Our measurements show an increase in glacier thinning
rates that affects not only the mouth of the glacier,
but also 60 miles (100 km) to 190 miles (300 km)
inland," Thomas said in a statement.

The researchers from NASA, the Centro de Estudios
Cientificos in Chile, the University of Kansas and
Ohio State University wrote their estimates based on
satellite data and measurements from a Chilean P-3
aircraft equipped with NASA sensors.

Experts say that overall sea levels around the world
are going up by about 1.8 mm or 0.07 inch a year.
About half of this comes from melting ice in glaciers.

The melting into the Amundsen sea is now more than the
previous amount from all of Antarctica and more than
the estimated contribution from Greenland, the
researchers said.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved.This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,
or redistributed.





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Posted by richard at 02:41 AM

September 24, 2004

Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 39 Days to Go -- JFK hits hard on Bush terrror blunders, DeLay scandal HIDDEN by Corporatist Media, Theresa expect Osama's "capture, " Klinghoffer's murder, Pentagon vote supression foiled

There are only 39 days to go until the national
referendum on the COMPETENCE, CHARACTER and
CREDIBILITY of the _resident and the VICE
_resident...The botched, bungled, mis-named "war on
terrorism" is not the strength of the Bush
abomination, it is the SHAME of the Bush
abomination...There is an Electoral Uprising
coming...Do not be disceived, discouraged or confused
by the US regimestream news media, with its cooked
polls and craven propapunditgandists...There is an
Electoral Uprising coming in November 2004. It will
include many life-long Reublicans from US military
families in Red States, it will include many patrios
of diverse political view points...The US regimestream
news media, at least until this point, has, in large
part, been a full partner along with the Bush Cabal
and its wholly-owned-subsidiary
formerluy-known-as-the-Republican-Party
in a Triad of shared special interest (e.g. oil,
weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) Here
are five very important news items. They should
dominate the air waves and demand headlines above the
fold. But they won't. Please read them and share them
with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote.
Please remember that the US regimestream news media
does not want to inform you about this presidential
campaign, it wants to DISinform you...


Mary Dalrymple, Associated Press: "The invasion of
Iraq was a profound diversion from the battle against
our greatest enemy, al-Qaida," Kerry said in a speech
at Temple University. "There's just no question about
it. The president's misjudgment, miscalculation and
mismanagement of the war in Iraq all make the war on
terror harder to win."
Kerry said Iraq has become a haven for terrorists
since the war, and he offered a detailed strategy to
contain terrorism while drawing a sharp distinction
between his and the president's views on national
security.
"George Bush made Saddam Hussein the priority. I
would have made Osama bin Laden the priority," Kerry
said. "I will finish the job in Iraq and I will
refocus our energies on the real war on terror."

www.democrats.com: SPEAK UP AMERICA! Networks Black
Out Story of Tom Delay Group Fraud Case
The networks spend DAYS giving big chunks of news time
to unsubstantiated, often "anonymous" slams against
Kerry or to dubious documents that could hurt Bush.
But they did not give ONE SINGLE MINUTE to a fraud
case involving one of the most powerful men in
Washington, Tom Delay. As Media Matters reports: "On
September 21, three top aides to U.S. House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) were indicted on charges of
illegally raising political funds from corporations in
2002. Major newspapers carried the story, some of them
on the front page....Yet ABC World News Tonight, CBS
Evening News, and NBC Nightly News failed to report
the indictments on September 21 and on September 22."
Once again, the Networks are deceiving the public,
hiding info about the Republican Party, while
systematically seeking to undermine the Democrats.
This amounts to attempted subversion of the American
political process. Contact these corporations and
DEMAND JUSTICE

Mike Sunnucks, Business Journal of Phoenix: In regard
to the hunt for terror leader Osama Bin Laden, Heinz
Kerry said she could see the al-Qaida chief being
caught before the November election.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he appeared in the next
month," said Heinz Kerry, alluding to a possible
capture by United States and allied forces before
election day.
The spouse of Democratic presidential candidate John
Kerry also hit President Bush on Iraq, saying it
should not be equated with anti-terrorism efforts and
that the current administration chose to create a
"hotbed for terrorism" in Iraq when dictator Saddam
Hussein did not pose an immediate threat. Heinz Kerry
also said she agrees with her husband that a military
draft may be reinstated under Bush.
She said she was embarrassed to receive tax cuts
advocated by Bush and supports her husband's efforts
to roll them back for higher incomes and use those
funds for education, health care and deficit
reduction.

Sidney Blumenthal, Salon: In his stump speech,
repeated word for word across the country, Bush says
that he invaded Iraq because of "the lesson of
September the 11th." WMD go unmentioned; now the only
reason Bush offers is Saddam Hussein as an agent of
terrorism. "He was a sworn enemy of the United States
of America; he had ties to terrorist networks. Do you
remember Abu Nidal? He's the guy that killed Leon
Klinghoffer. Leon Klinghoffer was murdered because of
his religion. Abu Nidal was in Baghdad, as was his
organization."
The period of Klinghoffer's murder in 1985 on the
Achille Lauro by Abu Abbas, in fact, coincided with
the period of U.S. courtship of Saddam, marked by the
celebrated visits of Donald Rumsfeld, then Middle East
envoy. The United States actively collaborated with
Iraq in intelligence exchanges and materially
supported Saddam in his decade-long war with Iran
(which ended in 1988), including authorizing the sale
of biological agents for Saddam's laboratories, a
diversification of his WMD capability.

Jennifer Joan Lee, International Herald Tribune: The
U.S. Defense Department changed its explanation
Wednesday for problems faced by certain overseas
Americans attempting to access the government Web site
for voters abroad, saying that an Internet security
block imposed several years ago had been left in place
inadvertently.
The block, which had prevented some U.S. citizens
abroad from accessing www.fvap.gov, the site of the
Federal Voting Assistance Program, as the Nov. 2
election nears, has now been lifted, a Pentagon
spokesman said.
Tim Madden, spokesman for the Defense Department task
force that oversees the Pentagon's computer networks,
declined to specify the reason for the block.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&e=3&u=/ap/20040924/ap_on_el_pr/kerry

Kerry Faults Bush for Pursuing Saddam

2 hours, 50 minutes ago

By MARY DALRYMPLE, Associated Press Writer

PHILADELPHIA - Democratic presidential candidate John
Kerry (news - web sites) faulted President Bush (news
- web sites) on Friday for pursuing Saddam Hussein
(news - web sites) instead of Sept. 11 mastermind
Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), a choice Kerry
contended had made defeating terrorism more difficult.

"The invasion of Iraq (news - web sites) was a
profound diversion from the battle against our
greatest enemy, al-Qaida," Kerry said in a speech at
Temple University. "There's just no question about it.
The president's misjudgment, miscalculation and
mismanagement of the war in Iraq all make the war on
terror harder to win."

Kerry said Iraq has become a haven for terrorists
since the war, and he offered a detailed strategy to
contain terrorism while drawing a sharp distinction
between his and the president's views on national
security.

"George Bush (news - web sites) made Saddam Hussein
the priority. I would have made Osama bin Laden the
priority," Kerry said. "I will finish the job in Iraq
and I will refocus our energies on the real war on
terror."

The Democrat's campaign also rolled out a new ad in
which it uses Bush's words to criticize the incumbent.
The spot shows Bush during a Rose Garden news
conference saying, "I saw a poll that said the 'right
track-wrong track' in Iraq was better than here in
America."


The ad continues: "The right track? Americans are
being kidnapped, held hostage, even beheaded. Over a
thousand American soldiers have died. And George Bush
has no plan to get us out of Iraq."


While campaigning Friday in Lafayette, La., Vice
President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) countered the
Democratic criticism, telling supporters, "John Kerry
is trying to tear down and trash all the good that has
been accomplished."


A day earlier, Kerry told The Columbus Dispatch that
the president's actions in Iraq and elsewhere show
Bush masquerading as a mainstream conservative while
pursuing extremist policies.


"I don't view these people as conservatives," Kerry
said. "I actually view them as extreme, and I think
their policies have been extreme, and that extends all
the way to Iraq, where this president, in my judgment,
diverted the real war on terror — which was Osama bin
Laden and al-Qaida — and almost obsessively moved to
deal with Iraq in a way that weakened our nation,
overextended our armed forces, cost us $200 billion
and created a breach in our oldest alliances."


Kerry also mentioned a blurring line between the
separation of church and state and the growth of
federal budget deficits.


To douse the spread of terrorism, Kerry proposed
policies aimed at denying individuals and groups the
ability to organize and attack. Kerry said he would
build a better military and intelligence apparatus to
go after enemies, deny terrorists weapons and
financing, move against worldwide terrorist havens and
recruitment centers, and promote freedom and democracy
in Muslim nations.


The Bush-Cheney campaign said the president is already
following that course. "He is copying the president's
plan at the same time he is attacking the president,"
said spokesman Steve Schmidt.


Kerry has repeatedly argued that the war in Iraq has
distracted attention and resources from the pursuit of
terrorists, including bin Laden.


The Bush-Cheney campaign said Kerry has held
conflicting positions on that point. They point to
instances where Kerry said the former Iraqi leader
acted like a terrorist and said that the war on
terrorism should be seen as an operation bigger than
the conflict in Afghanistan (news - web sites).


Kerry visited the Pennsylvania battleground before a
quick trip home to Boston and then several days spent
preparing for the presidential debates. Kerry told the
Dispatch that he has to present himself "clearly,
forcefully to the American people with a clear set of
priorities."


"I think a lot of people will tune in," he said.
"There are undecideds. A lot of folks will try to
measure our character and our vision, so I think it's
an important moment."


___


SPEAK UP AMERICA! Networks Black Out Story of Tom
Delay Group Fraud Case
The networks spend DAYS giving big chunks of news time
to unsubstantiated, often "anonymous" slams against
Kerry or to dubious documents that could hurt Bush.
But they did not give ONE SINGLE MINUTE to a fraud
case involving one of the most powerful men in
Washington, Tom Delay. As Media Matters reports: "On
September 21, three top aides to U.S. House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) were indicted on charges of
illegally raising political funds from corporations in
2002. Major newspapers carried the story, some of them
on the front page....Yet ABC World News Tonight, CBS
Evening News, and NBC Nightly News failed to report
the indictments on September 21 and on September 22."
Once again, the Networks are deceiving the public,
hiding info about the Republican Party, while
systematically seeking to undermine the Democrats.
This amounts to attempted subversion of the American
political process. Contact these corporations and
DEMAND JUSTICE

http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=36732

Ethics Coalition: Texas Indictments Make DeLay Ethics
Investigation More Urgent

9/22/2004 3:47:00 PM


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To: National Desk

Contact: Mark Glaze, 202-271-0982, Melanie Sloan,
202-588-5565, both of the Congressional Ethics
Coalition

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The
Congressional Ethics Coalition, an ideologically
diverse coalition of eight leading government reform
organizations, released the following statement
regarding the indictment of several top aides to House
Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The Coalition is working
for meaningful reform of congressional ethics
oversight rules.

The coalition members are the Campaign Legal Center,
the Center for Responsive Politics, Citizens for
Responsibility and Ethics in Government, Common Cause,
Democracy 21, Judicial Watch, Public Campaign and
Public Citizen.

---

"The indictment of three top aides to House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) makes it even more urgent
for the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether
Mr. DeLay played a role in allegedly illegal
fundraising by committees he directly controlled.

"The Ethics Committee has a clear responsibility to
investigate whether Mr. DeLay violated ethics rules in
the course of his leadership of TRMPAC and ARMPAC,
both of which are the subject of the criminal
indictments announced yesterday in Texas.

"The aides charged included the director of Texans for
a Republican Majority and two key fundraisers for the
committee, which Mr. DeLay helped create and on whose
advisory board he served. The executive director of
Mr. DeLays own PAC, Americans for a Republican
Majority, was also charged.

"If these charges do not persuade the Ethics Committee
that there is sufficient evidence to at least open an
investigation into the pending DeLay matter, it is
almost impossible to imagine what would.

"If the Ethics Committee chooses to ignore the
indictment of three individuals serving at the
pleasure of Mr. DeLay and directly reporting to him,
then it is clear that the Committee has abdicated its
constitutional responsibility to enforce ethical
standards in the House.

"Earlier this week, Ethics Committee Chairman Joel
Hefley (R- Colo.) and ranking member Rep. Alan
Mollohan (D-W.V.) -- apparently unable to agree on how
to address allegations of improper fundraising by Mr.
DeLay -- said that they would ask the full committee
to decide whether to open an investigation. Pushing
that decision off to the 10-member committee sets up
the likelihood the members will deadlock on a 5-to-5
vote, which would result in the matter being dropped
entirely.

"Once again, we strongly urge the House Ethics
Committee to open an inquiry into the allegations in
the complaint brought by Rep. Chris Bell (D-Texas)
against Mr. DeLay. Anything else would be
irresponsible conduct by the Committee and would
require the full House to take action to override the
Committee."

http://www.usnewswire.com/

-0-

/© 2004 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2004/09/20/daily58.html?page=2

The Business Journal of Phoenix - September 23, 2004
http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2004/09/20/daily58.html

LATEST NEWS
1:48 PM MST Thursday
Heinz Kerry helps Democrats raise $1M at Phoenix event
Mike Sunnucks
The Business Journal
Arizona Democrats raked in more than $1 million
Wednesday night at a fund-raiser headlined by Teresa
Heinz Kerry.

Heinz Kerry criticized the Bush administration on tax
cuts, Iraq and the war on terrorism at the event,
which was held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.

In regard to the hunt for terror leader Osama Bin
Laden, Heinz Kerry said she could see the al-Qaida
chief being caught before the November election.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he appeared in the next
month," said Heinz Kerry, alluding to a possible
capture by United States and allied forces before
election day.

The spouse of Democratic presidential candidate John
Kerry also hit President Bush on Iraq, saying it
should not be equated with anti-terrorism efforts and
that the current administration chose to create a
"hotbed for terrorism" in Iraq when dictator Saddam
Hussein did not pose an immediate threat. Heinz Kerry
also said she agrees with her husband that a military
draft may be reinstated under Bush.

She said she was embarrassed to receive tax cuts
advocated by Bush and supports her husband's efforts
to roll them back for higher incomes and use those
funds for education, health care and deficit
reduction.

Bush Southwestern campaign spokesman Danny Diaz hit
the Kerry campaign on both the Iraq and draft issues.
Diaz said the Kerry camp is "irresponsible" for
bringing up the draft issue and contends the Democrat
is doing it for political gain.

Diaz also criticized Kerry for shifting positions on
Iraq on the campaign trail after voting to authorize
military action in 2002.

"Arizonans need a president they can count on, a
leader who knows what he believes, and after reading
the morning's paper, doesn't shift his stance to
accommodate the opposition," Diaz said.

The Biltmore event was the largest single fund-raising
event by state Democrats, displaying the prowess on
that front by state party chairman Jim Pederson and
Gov. Janet Napolitano.

Several of the main sponsors of the fund-raiser
included groups that often clash with business
interests.

That list includes the Arizona Trial Lawyers
Association, Arizona AFL-CIO, United Food and
Commercial Workers Union and the American Federation
of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Business interests view litigation reforms to reduce
class action and frivolous lawsuits as a top issue in
Bush's favor.

Groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and
National Federation of Independent Business are not
pleased with Kerry's pick of North Carolina Sen. John
Edwards, a former trial lawyer and opponent of
business-backed tort reform, as his running mate.

Kerry also has not backed business efforts on
litigation reforms. Bush supports tort reforms.

Pederson, a Valley shopping center developer, has made
fund-raising a top priority as Democratic state
chairman. That includes making significant
contributions himself and reaching out with Napolitano
to moderate business executives.

Democratic spokeswoman Sarah Rosen said none of the
money for the $1 million Wednesday event came from
Pederson.

Pederson is expected to challenge GOP U.S. Sen. Jon
Kyl in 2006.

There were some business lobbyists at the Heinz Kerry
event, including officials and lobbyists from Pinnacle
West Capital Corp., Wells Fargo Bank and the Home
Builders Association of Arizona.

The event was held the same day it was announced the
Kerry campaign was nixing plans to run homestretch ads
in Arizona. Kerry's team had planned to begin running
ads again on local stations in Phoenix and Tucson but
has opted not to, bolstering GOP confidence.

Recent Arizona polls show Bush leading Kerry in the
state by 6 to 11 percentage points.

Kerry Arizona campaign spokeswoman Sue Walitsky said
Arizona voters still will see national cable ads, and
the state still is a priority in terms of grassroots
efforts.

"There is no surrender here," Walitsky said.

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Bob Fannin said the
Biltmore fund-raiser will end up going to other
battleground states and not Arizona.

"The Arizona Democratic Party has become little more
than an ATM for the national Democrats," said Fannin.
"Democrats have realized that Napolitano's election
and Jim Pederson's soft money are not enough to save
the Kerry campaign in Arizona."

© 2004 American City Business Journals Inc.

Web reprint information


All contents of this site © American City Business
Journals Inc. All rights reserved.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/092404J.shtml

The Bubble Boy
By Sidney Blumenthal
Salon.com

Thursday 23 September 2004

Bush lives in a world immune from the realities of
Iraq.
The news is grim, but the president is
"optimistic." The intelligence is sobering, but he
tosses aside "pessimistic predictions." His opponent
says he has "no credibility," but the president
replies that it is his rival who is "twisting in the
wind." The secretary general of the United Nations
speaks of the "rule of law," but Bush talks before a
mute General Assembly of "a new definition of
security." Between the rhetoric and the reality lies
the campaign.

A reliable source who has just returned after
assessing the facts on the ground for U.S.
intelligence services told me that in Iraq, U.S.
commanders have plans for this week and the next, but
that there is "no overarching strategy." The New York
Times reports an offensive is in the works to capture
the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah - after the
election. In the meantime, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and
other al-Qaida-linked terrorists operate from there at
will, as they have for more than a year. The president
speaks of new Iraqi security forces, but not even half
of the U.S. personnel have been assigned to the
headquarters of the Multinational Security Transition
Command.

Bush's vision of the liberation of Iraq as the
restaging of the liberation of France - justified by
his unearthing of Saddam Hussein's fearful weapons of
mass destruction; paid for by the flow of cheap oil;
and leading to the establishment of democracy, regime
change in Iran and Syria, and the quiescence of
stunned Palestinians - has melted before harsh facts.
But reality cannot be permitted to obscure the image.
The liberation is "succeeding," he insists, and only
pessimists cannot see it.

In July, the CIA delivered to the president a new
National Intelligence Estimate that details three
gloomy scenarios of the future of Iraq ranging up to
civil war. Perhaps it was his reading of the NIE that
prompted Bush to remark in August that the war on
terrorism could not be won, a judgment he swiftly
reversed. But at the United Nations, Bush held a press
conference at which he rebuffed the latest
intelligence: "The CIA laid out a - several scenarios
that said life could be lousy, life could be OK, life
could be better. And they were just guessing as to
what the conditions might be like."

With that, Bush explained that for him
intelligence is not to be used to inform decision
making but to be accepted or rejected to advance an
ideological and political agenda. His dismissal is an
affirmation of the politicization and corruption of
intelligence that rationalized the war.

In his stump speech, repeated word for word across
the country, Bush says that he invaded Iraq because of
"the lesson of September the 11th." WMD go
unmentioned; now the only reason Bush offers is Saddam
Hussein as an agent of terrorism. "He was a sworn
enemy of the United States of America; he had ties to
terrorist networks. Do you remember Abu Nidal? He's
the guy that killed Leon Klinghoffer. Leon Klinghoffer
was murdered because of his religion. Abu Nidal was in
Baghdad, as was his organization."

The period of Klinghoffer's murder in 1985 on the
Achille Lauro by Abu Abbas, in fact, coincided with
the period of U.S. courtship of Saddam, marked by the
celebrated visits of Donald Rumsfeld, then Middle East
envoy. The United States actively collaborated with
Iraq in intelligence exchanges and materially
supported Saddam in his decade-long war with Iran
(which ended in 1988), including authorizing the sale
of biological agents for Saddam's laboratories, a
diversification of his WMD capability.

The reason was not out of idealism but necessity:
the threat of an expansive, Iranian-controlled Shiite
fundamentalism to the entire Gulf.

The policy of courting Saddam continued until his
invasion of Kuwait. But the policy of realpolitik
prevailed when U.S. forces held back from capturing
Baghdad for larger geostrategic reasons. The first
Bush administration grasped that in potential future
wars after the Cold War, the United States required ad
hoc coalitions to share the military burden and
financial cost. Going to Baghdad would have violated
the U.N.-sanctioning resolution that gave legitimacy
to the first Gulf War as well as created a nightmare
of "Lebanonization," as then-Secretary of State James
Baker called it.

Realism prevailed; Saddam's power was subdued and
drastically reduced. It was the greatest
accomplishment of the first President Bush. When he
honored the U.N. resolution, the credibility of the
United States in the region was enormously enhanced,
enabling serious movement on the languishing Middle
East peace process. Now the second President Bush has
undone the foundation of his father's work, which was
built upon by President Clinton.

The success of Bush's campaign depends on the
containment of any contrary perception of reality. He
must evade, deny and suppress it. His true opponent is
not his Democratic foe - called unpatriotic and the
candidate of al-Qaida by the vice president - but
events. Bush's latest vision is his shield against
them. He invokes the power of positive thinking, as
taught by Emile Coue, guru of cheerful auto-suggestion
in the giddy 1920s, before the crash, who urged mental
improvement through the constant repetition of "Every
day in every way I am getting better and better."

It was during this era of illusion that T.S. Eliot
wrote "The Hollow Men": Between the idea / And the
reality / Between the motion / And the act / Falls the
Shadow."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior
advisor to President Clinton and the author of "The
Clinton Wars," is writing a column for Salon and the
Guardian of London.


http://www.iht.com/articles/540149.html

Pentagon lifts block on voter site
Jennifer Joan Lee/IHT IHT
Thursday, September 23, 2004


PARIS The U.S. Defense Department changed its
explanation Wednesday for problems faced by certain
overseas Americans attempting to access the government
Web site for voters abroad, saying that an Internet
security block imposed several years ago had been left
in place inadvertently.

The block, which had prevented some U.S. citizens
abroad from accessing www.fvap.gov, the site of the
Federal Voting Assistance Program, as the Nov. 2
election nears, has now been lifted, a Pentagon
spokesman said.

Tim Madden, spokesman for the Defense Department task
force that oversees the Pentagon's computer networks,
declined to specify the reason for the block.

Earlier, a Pentagon official indicated that the block
had been imposed to thwart hackers, but Madden would
not comment on this.

He insisted, however, that the Pentagon had not been
not blocking the Federal Voting Assistance Program's
site.

Earlier Wednesday, three members of Congress wrote to
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warning that the
block could result in "the potential
disenfranchisement of millions of overseas Americans"
and urging him to restore access to the site.

News that access to the voting assistance site was
restricted, first reported in the International Herald
Tribune on Monday, infuriated both Democrats and
Republicans.

Both parties want to see a maximum number of voters
abroad register in time to vote in November.

"We've sent a man to the moon, so we should also be
able to safeguard our voter assistance Web sites
without disenfranchising patriotic, tax-paying,
law-abiding Americans," said Representative Carolyn
Maloney, Democrat of New York, one of the three who
wrote to Rumsfeld.

The chairman of Republicans Abroad Europe, Robert
Pingeon, said he did not believe the block had been
politically motivated.

"But I certainly think they could have done a better
job explaining the situation," he said. "The blocks
may have a legitimate reason, but they also complicate
the lives of people trying to register to vote."

According to overseas voter advocates, the block
prevented users of major Internet service providers in
many countries, including Australia, Britain Canada,
China, Czech Republic, France India and Japan, from
accessing www.fvap.gov.

Some users of Wanadoo.fr, a French provider that had
been blocked, said Wednesday that they were now able
to access the site.

Madden, the spokesman for the Pentagon's Joint Task
Force-Global Network Operations, said that the block
had been left in place "inadvertently."

"That block should not have continued past a certain
date," he said. "For technical reasons, that block was
not lifted when it was directed to be lifted." He
declined to elaborate.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program, which was set
up to help American servicemen and civilians overseas
take part in elections, is under the aegis of the
Defense Department.

Madden said the Pentagon computer task force employed
a strategy known as "defense in depth" - "layering
network defenses so that they complement, support and
validate each other.

Blocks, firewalls and antivirus software are only some
of those measures."

He said that "one device within the Department of
Defense" had maintained the block that prevented
certain Internet service providers from accessing the
voting assistance site.

The department's Global Information Grid involves
13,000 different networks and 3.5 million individual
computers, he said.

Madden declined to say when the block was originally
imposed. But Maloney, the Democratic congresswoman,
indicated that it may have been in place when the last
presidential election took place, in 2000.

"It's my understanding that this was a problem four
years ago, they knew it was a problem, and they still
haven't managed to fix it so that Americans overseas
can access the Web site," she said, before the
Pentagon indicated that the block had been lifted.

International Herald Tribune

Copyright © 2004 The International Herald Tribune |
www.iht.com



Posted by richard at 03:02 PM

September 23, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 40 Days to Go -- Vote Fraud in Ohio, Draft, US military families against Bush, Contra drug figure smears JFK, 9/11

At least three more US soldiers died in Iraq today.
For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges
Reich...There are only 40 days to go until the
national referendum on the CHARACTER, COMPETENCE and
CREDIBILITY of the _resident and the VICE
_resident...Do not be deceived by the US regimestream
news media's cooked polls and craven
propapunditgandists. There is an Electoral Uprising
coming in November 2004. The US regimestream news
media, at least until this point, has, in large part,
been a full partner along with the Bush Cabal and its
wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerluy-known-as-the-Republican-Party
in a Triad of shared special interest (e.g. oil,
weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) Here
are five very important news items from Ohio, West
Virginia and Fraudida. They should dominate the air
waves and demand headlines above the fold. But they
won't. Please read them and share them with others.
Please vote and encourage others to vote. Please
remember that the US regimestream news media does not
want to inform you about this presidential campaign,
it wants to DISinform you...

Bob Fitrakis, Free Press: Whether Kerry or Bush wins
in Ohio may well depend on how many voters are
disenfranchised in the state’s three largest counties:
Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton. Respectively these
three counties contain the Democratically rich big
three-C cities Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. The
voter rolls are under unprecedented scrutiny and
irregularities abound.
In Hamilton County, home of the Republican Taft family
dynasty, the Board of Elections moved some 105,000
voters from active to inactive status within the last
four years. By contrast, Franklin County has not moved
any voters to inactive status, and doesn’t intend to
until 2006 because a computer transfer glitch wiped
out federal election voting histories. Matthew
Damschroder, Director of the Franklin County Board of
Elections, told the Free Press that under law a county
“may” cancel a person’s voter registration if that
person hasn’t voted in the last two federal elections.
But, the counties are not required to do so.

Charleston Gazette Editorial: Alarm is spreading that
President Bush may seek a military draft, or mobilize
more of the National Guard and Army Reserve, to obtain
enough combat troops to wage his bogged-down Iraq war.

Two bills pending in Congress would launch a new
draft for all young Americans ages 18 to 26, both male
and female, with no college exemption. Also, a new
border agreement with Canada is designed to prevent
young Americans from fleeing northward to elude the
draft.
When Democratic vice presidential nominee John
Edwards spoke in Parkersburg last week, he vowed:
“There will be no draft when John Kerry is president.”
His declaration drew a standing ovation from the
crowd...
Amid all this wrangling, it’s overwhelmingly clear
that Bush’s war is draining America of thousands of
young people and billions of dollars — and the nation
is forced to meet both needs.
Tragically, the war is a waste. There never was a
necessity for it. Bush’s far-right political clique
planned to attack Iraq, even before he attained the
White House. The 9/11 terrorist strike provided a
“cover” — a surge of patriotism that Bush manipulated
into justification for war against Iraq. All his
pretexts for the invasion turned out to be false.

Agence France Press: Democratic challenger John Kerry
(news - web sites) has gained new foot soldiers in his
battle to unseat Republican President George W. Bush
(news - web sites): eight mothers and wives of US
soldiers who will campaign for Kerry in seven
battleground states.
The women, whose husbands or sons have been deployed
in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web
sites), will march across 5,600 kilometers (3,480
miles) in less than 10 days, starting off in Wisconsin
and West Virginia on Tuesday, six weeks before the
November 2 election.

Bob Norman, Miami New Times: It's a familiar -- and
absolutely untenable -- refrain from the Reagan and
Bush administrations that continues to this day: The
narcotics ties to the contra operation were a
politically motivated myth. Vice President Dick
Cheney, who was then a congressman, played a key role
in the disinformation campaign. He led the effort to
squelch various Iran-contra investigations, especially
when it came to drug allegations. And George W. Bush?
Well, he seems to have no qualms about Iran-contra,
since he has hired several of the scandal's central
figures -- including Elliott Abrams, Otto Reich, and
John Negroponte -- to serve under him.
Though it has been largely ignored, this historic
battle between Kerry and the Bush family not only
provides a revelatory subtext to this election but
also indicates how much the two men running for
president dislike each other.
History clearly favors Kerry's side -- and he may even
have been right about that $10 million in cartel
money. Rodriguez, at the time, was the government's
key man in El Salvador, where he was conducting
counterinsurgency missions against leftist rebels. But
his main job was the contra operation. He claims to
this day that he wasn't paid for his efforts, a
contention about as shaky as H.W.'s famous excuse that
he was "out of the loop" on the contra affair.
Rodriguez also worked in Honduras, where the contras
trained in the mountains, and at another shipping
point in Costa Rica (which has been repeatedly tied to
the drug trade).

Chris Gardner, University of South Florida Oracle: Former CIA agent Ray McGovern went over what he considers the failures of the intelligence community and current administration over the past few years. He
has 27 years of experience as a CIA analyst to draw
upon and has dealt with every administration from
Kennedy to Bush Sr...
He also criticized the 9/11 Commission's final report,
saying the committee was comprised of political
extremists who couldn't reach a consensus.
"It wasn't a bipartisan commission; it was more like a
bipolar commission," McGovern said. "To say that no
one could prevent 9/11 was a bold-faced lie. It
basically let the president and everyone responsible
off the hook."
He went on to talk about the faulty intelligence
attorney general John Ashcroft used when he announced
that terrorist attacks may occur before or around
election time, saying that elections might have to be
postponed if the United States is attacked.
"There might be a real or staged terrorist attack in
order to postpone the elections," McGovern said. "This
might seem outlandish; I hope it is."
He mentioned how the Bush administration wanted to
involve the country with the war in Iraq for certain
reasons other than fear of weapons of mass
destruction, which was just a more media-friendly
explanation for the war.
"I have initials for why I think we went to war in
Iraq," McGovern said. "O.I.L. O-I-L, O is for oil, I
is for Israel and L is for logistics, as in when we
have Iraq we have a foothold and a number of bases
strategically placed in the Middle East so we can be
in control over there and also to protect Israel."
Next he brought up civil liberties in the United
States and how they have declined in the past few
years.
"I used to say when I was a kid growing up when
someone told me not to do something, 'It's a free
country,'" McGovern said. "I ask you to think about it
now."

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2004/953

Bob Fitrakis

Presidential Election at Risk: Ohio's electoral system
riddled with flaws
September 20, 2004

Whether Kerry or Bush wins in Ohio may well depend on
how many voters are disenfranchised in the state’s
three largest counties: Cuyahoga, Franklin and
Hamilton. Respectively these three counties contain
the Democratically rich big three-C cities Cleveland,
Columbus and Cincinnati. The voter rolls are under
unprecedented scrutiny and irregularities abound.

In Hamilton County, home of the Republican Taft family
dynasty, the Board of Elections moved some 105,000
voters from active to inactive status within the last
four years. By contrast, Franklin County has not moved
any voters to inactive status, and doesn’t intend to
until 2006 because a computer transfer glitch wiped
out federal election voting histories. Matthew
Damschroder, Director of the Franklin County Board of
Elections, told the Free Press that under law a county
“may” cancel a person’s voter registration if that
person hasn’t voted in the last two federal elections.
But, the counties are not required to do so.

“It’s a ‘may’ not a ‘shall.’ It’s up to the discretion
of the county Board of Elections. We have chosen not
to participate in widespread cancellations during this
presidential election,” Damschroder said. He concedes
that many Cincinnati voters may be unaware that their
voting status had been canceled, a surprising
admission from a conservative Republican. Unless these
Hamilton County voters re-register by October 4, many
in Cincinnati’s urban center, they will show up at the
polls and be barred from voting.

The Prison Reform Advocacy Center in Cincinnati issued
an August report entitled, “The Disenfranchisement of
the Re-Enfranchised” documenting in detail widespread
confusion over the voting rights of former felons.
Hamilton County again stands out as the key county for
eliminating eligible voters. The study found that the
Hamilton County Board of Elections erroneously
“requires felons who attempt to register by mail to
attach ‘documentation restoring voting rights.’”
Hamilton County practices are at odds with Ohio law,
which allows felons to vote as long they are not
incarcerated or in prison, even if they are on parole
or in a halfway house. There are more than 34,000
ex-offenders in Ohio who are currently under some form
of corrections supervision who are eligible to vote,
and many don’t know it. Political science studies
indicate that the vast majority of former felons tend
to vote Democratic.

Hamilton was one of twenty counties where Board of
Elections officials incorrectly stated the law in the
survey. The Prison Reform Advocacy Center report found
that only 44% of formerly incarcerated individuals in
the Cincinnati Adult Parole Authority Office knew they
had the right to vote. In Cleveland the rate was 77%
and in Columbus 71% knew they could register to vote.

Following the survey, Damschroder sent out 3500
letters to former felons in the Franklin County
stating, “The purpose of this letter is to notify you
that your voter registration status has been canceled
due to your conviction and incarceration, …” He
included people charged with felonies dating back to
the year 1998. Damschroder told the Free Press that he
normally only sends out between 2-300 such letters a
year, but he was following directives from Ohio’s
Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.
Why Blackwell would issue such directives remains a
mystery.

Damschroder admitted that there were some problems
with the wording of the letter, and he never intended
to cancel re-registered or confused former felons. He
claims the letter was merely to advise the felons that
the voter registration deadline is October 4, 2004.

One registered voter who received Damschroder’s letter
was Mark A. Woodford, who has never been convicted of
a felony. Woodford was convicted of a misdemeanor in
1998. He voted Republican that November. In 2003,
while living in the conservative haven of Westerville,
Ohio, home of former Republican Congressman John
Kasich, Woodford cast his ballot for Republican
candidates. This year for the first time, Woodford
voted in the Democratic primary. He told the Free
Press, “I thought at the time, I wonder if they’ll
cancel my registration because I’m a Democrat now.”

Damschroder offers another explanation: “Back in the
late nineties when Virginia Barney was Clerk of the
Common Pleas Court, she forwarded felony arrest
records instead of just the convictions. So if
somebody plead to a misdemeanor often they were
incorrectly entered as a felon.”

Damschroder told the Free Press that Woodford, now
legally registered at a new Columbus address and no
longer residing at his parent’s address where he was
canceled, was “incorrectly sent a letter because
computers at the Board of Elections didn’t merge two
files.”

In Ohio’s dead even presidential election, something
as small as computer glitches at the major
metropolitan area’s Board of Elections could easily
swing the vote. To solve bureaucratic error and
computer mistakes, Ohio uses the provisional ballot.
Provisional ballots allow voters who are improperly
barred from voting due to a registration error, to
cast their ballot on Election Day while the Board of
Elections straightens out the problem.

On September 14, Project Vote announced that 150,555
new low-income and minority voters were registered in
Ohio. Many of these likely Democratic voters are in
the Cleveland area and an ongoing battle has developed
between Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones
and the politically ambitious Blackwell, both African
American. The same week Ohio newspapers headlined the
fact that the Ohio economy was the worst in the
nation, having lost nearly 12,000 jobs in August
alone.

Following Project Vote’s announcement, Blackwell
issued statewide directives severely restricting the
use of provisional ballots and instructing precinct
voting judges to give state or federal provisional
ballots only to persons who appear to have a voting
residence in that particular precinct. This narrow use
of the provisional ballot with over 150,000 new
minority and low-income voters, may well swing Ohio’s
election results for Bush.

Rep. Tubbs Jones immediately attacked Blackwell’s
orders as an attempt “to seek to disenfranchise the
people of the state of Ohio.”

The Congresswoman points out that with the re-drawing
of the Congressional districts following the 2000
census and the Republican Party’s elimination over the
past few years of many inner city precincts, many
voters will be showing up at the wrong precinct.

She said that “provisional ballot is a mechanism that
was put in place to take individual discretion out of
the voting process. Poll workers should not be put in
the position to determine who votes and who does not
vote.” Rep. Tubbs Jones argues that Blackwell’s
directives are contrary to the spirit in which the
Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was enacted and contrary
to the position that he previously took in the Ohio
primary.

In the 2000 Florida election, investigative reporter
Gregory Palast reported that an estimated 600,000
voters who registered by the deadline were not
properly processed. An additional 58,000 non-felons
were barred from voting incorrectly because they had a
same or similar name as a felon or the same date of
birth as a felon. Gore supporters point out that these
registration errors disproportionately occur in
heavily Democratic urban areas.

The nonpartisan Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections
(CASE) posted a letter to its website addressed to
Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell noting “with
great concern” Blackwell’s recent actions “regarding
the interpretation of provisional ballots.” The CASE
letter cites a recent Cleveland study indicating “that
up to 35,000 Ohio voters could be turned away from the
polls on November 2 because of registration errors.”
That same study found “that more than 1 in 20
registrations and changes of address were compromised
because of either clerical or voter errors.” This 5%
error factor could be lowered to less than 1% with
proper training of election officials.

CASE is demanding that the Secretary of State send out
new directives telling all newly registered voters and
re-registers that: “If you recently registered, filed
a name change or a change of address and you have NOT
yet received a confirmation notice in the mail, you
must act immediately. Call your County Board of
Elections to check that you are registered. If not,
you must re-register by October 4 at your local
library or Board of Elections office.”

The CASE letter calls any attempt to disenfranchise
Ohio voters “at the last minute … unethical and
cruel.”

With numerous voter registration organizations
canvassing Ohio and growing concern of voting
irregularities, various plans for poll watching are
emerging.

But Damschroder points out that Ohio’s law on poll
watching is “archaic,” with all challenges over voter
eligibility being decided on the spot at the local
voting precinct by election officials hired for
Election Day only. The only people allowed to
challenge under Ohio law are those certified eleven
days in advance by political parties or a slate of
five candidates. The certified challengers must
produce an ID and swear an oath, according to
Damschroder. Add to this the fact that the HAVA bill
allows for challenges to first-time voters to produce
state photo IDs.

The Free Press has learned that Franklin County
election officials are considering a wide contingent
of actions including arrests if the certified election
challengers attempt to challenge all new voters and
hold up the voting process. The election may rest on
how many Democratic election challengers show up to
advocate for urban center new voters versus how many
Republican election challengers show up to question
new voters.

The former state President of League of Women’s Voters
Sue Shidaker wrote the Secretary of State’s office
concerned that many newly registered voters in
Cuyahoga County have not as yet received their voter
registration cards. “…They are re-registering and
trying numerous phone calls to get help – taped
messages and no live help in many instances. …They’re
just beginning to learn how to be responsible, voting
citizens and need our help, not our hindrance,”
Shidaker said.

With Bush and Kerry in a virtual dead heat in Ohio,
and no Republican candidate having won the presidency
without winning Ohio’s electoral votes, the
disenfranchisement of more than 177,500 new voters,
ex-felons, canceled inactive voters and other victims
of bureaucratic bungling and election irregularities
may well decide who governs our nation, and the fate
of the Earth.

--
Bob Fitrakis is the Editor of the Free Press
(freepress.org), a political science professor, an
attorney, and co-author with Harvey Wasserman of
George W. Bush vs. the Superpower of Peace. He served
as an international observer for the national
elections in El Salvador.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/092304Y.shtml

Draft?
The Charleston Gazette

Wednesday 22 September 2004

Bush’s war needs troops.
Alarm is spreading that President Bush may seek a
military draft, or mobilize more of the National Guard
and Army Reserve, to obtain enough combat troops to
wage his bogged-down Iraq war.

Two bills pending in Congress would launch a new
draft for all young Americans ages 18 to 26, both male
and female, with no college exemption. Also, a new
border agreement with Canada is designed to prevent
young Americans from fleeing northward to elude the
draft.

When Democratic vice presidential nominee John
Edwards spoke in Parkersburg last week, he vowed:
“There will be no draft when John Kerry is president.”
His declaration drew a standing ovation from the
crowd.

Meanwhile, President Bush, campaigning in
Missouri, promised that there will be no draft. He
said improving military pay, housing and medical care
will attract enough recruits to supply the needed
fighting forces.

However, Bush plans a sneaky “backdoor draft,”
Democrats Kerry and Edwards allege. Speaking Friday in
Albuquerque, Kerry said Bush secretly intends a major
Guard and Reserve mobilization just after the Nov. 2
election. Kerry charged:

“He won’t tell us what congressional leaders are
now saying: that this administration is planning yet
another substantial call-up of reservists and Guard
units immediately after the election. Hide it from the
people, then make the move.”

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a Marine veteran of
Vietnam, said Pentagon insiders told him of the
mobilization plan. A White House spokesman ridiculed
the allegation.

Amid all this wrangling, it’s overwhelmingly clear
that Bush’s war is draining America of thousands of
young people and billions of dollars — and the nation
is forced to meet both needs.

Tragically, the war is a waste. There never was a
necessity for it. Bush’s far-right political clique
planned to attack Iraq, even before he attained the
White House. The 9/11 terrorist strike provided a
“cover” — a surge of patriotism that Bush manipulated
into justification for war against Iraq. All his
pretexts for the invasion turned out to be false.

Although he declared “Mission Accomplished” last
year, the fighting grows constantly uglier and more
expensive. More than 1,000 young Americans have been
killed. Bush needs more and more replacements.

Before the Nov. 2 election, he should tell the
American people candidly how many more young soldiers
he plans to order into combat — and how he will obtain
them.


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040920/ts_alt_afp/us_vote_iraq_military&cid=1506&ncid=1473


Group of US soldiers' wives to campaign for Kerry

Mon Sep 20, 4:52 PM ET Add U.S. National - AFP to My
Yahoo!


WASHINGTON (AFP) - Democratic challenger John Kerry
(news - web sites) has gained new foot soldiers in his
battle to unseat Republican President George W. Bush
(news - web sites): eight mothers and wives of US
soldiers who will campaign for Kerry in seven
battleground states.

The women, whose husbands or sons have been deployed
in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web
sites), will march across 5,600 kilometers (3,480
miles) in less than 10 days, starting off in Wisconsin
and West Virginia on Tuesday, six weeks before the
November 2 election.


Laura Bertsch's husband just returned from Iraq, but
the 27-year-old recent university graduate will go on
her own mission before joining her husband in Ohio.


"He deserves the best leader," Bertsch told a news
conference in Washington.


Pat Heineman's 20-year-old son, her only child, had to
interrupt his university studies to spend one year in
Afghanistan.


"He joined the reserves to pay for college but also to
serve his country," the 49-year-old graphic designer
from Virginia said. "I trust John Kerry to take care
of our troops, I trust his judgment and his
integrity."


Nita Martin, a registered Republican from the
voter-rich state of Pennsylvania, will cross party
lines and vote for Kerry in November. Her two sons
were deployed to Iraq.


"My fear is there is no plan to complete the mission"
in Iraq, Martin said. "He got us in a quagmire."

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2004-09-23/metro.html


Contra Campaign
John Kerry once took a shot at Miami's Felix Rodriguez
for his part in the Iran-contra scandal. Now the Bush
family friend is shooting back.
BY BOB NORMAN
bob.norman@newtimesbpb.com

The life of Felix I. Rodriguez provides a tour through
the dark heart of America. From the Bay of Pigs fiasco
to Vietnam to the El Salvador death squads to the
Iran-contra scandal, the Cuban exile and
self-described "CIA hero" was there. His most famous
assassination mission came in 1967, when he led the
Bolivian army group that captured and summarily
executed leftist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
He's worked closely with right-wing terrorists, and
some of his associates were involved in the Watergate
break-in. Given his background, it's not surprising
his name has surfaced in numerous JFK conspiracy
theories as well.
Now retired in North Miami-Dade near Barry University,
Rodriguez, who says his CIA career was always fueled
by a hope to unseat Fidel Castro, also has special
relationships with both of this year's presidential
candidates. George W. Bush sends him a White House
Christmas card each year. The president's father
counts Rodriguez as an old friend; Bush Sr. worked
with him during the mid-Eighties, when Rodriguez ran
the operation to arm the Nicaraguan contras for the
Reagan administration.

Democratic nominee John Kerry, though, isn't so cozy
with Rodriguez. In 1986 the then-rookie senator formed
a committee to investigate Iran-contra. The so-called
Kerry Committee alleged that Rodriguez had helped
steer $10 million from the notorious Medellín cocaine
cartel to the contras. The committee concluded that
trafficking was rampant in the rebels' effort.

Rodriguez ,who now leads Brigade 2506, the Bayh of
Pigs veterans' group squared off with Kerry during a
closed congressional hearing. He told the
Massachusetts senator point-blank that the allegation
was a damned lie and, for good measure, added that he
had no respect for him.

That was some seventeen years ago, but Rodriguez's
hatred for Kerry -- and his closeness to the Bush
family -- has driven Rodriguez from the CIA shadows
onto the open political stage. He's railed against
Kerry on Cuban radio and in the October edition of
Soldier of Fortune magazine. He also jumped at the
chance to join the Vietnam Veterans for Truth, an
anti-Kerry group that invited Rodriguez to speak at a
nationally televised September 12 rally at the
Capitol.

At the sparsely attended event, the storied spook
began with some words on Vietnam, where he flew
assassination and assault missions (and flights with
CIA-backed Air America, which has been tied to the
heroin trade). He portrayed his time there as if he
were dropping food and medicine from his combat
helicopter. "I never saw any atrocities that Senator
Kerry claims we did in Vietnam," Rodriguez told the
gathering in his thick accent. "We helped the
Vietnamese people."

Then he turned his attention to Central America,
referring to Kerry's accusation and noting that his
nemesis ultimately backed off the allegation against
him. "That was one more lie from Senator Kerry," he
triumphantly said.

But who, really, is lying? Rodriguez maintains he saw
no hint of drug trafficking while he was helping to
run the contra operation in El Salvador and Honduras.
"I never saw any indication of that at all -- it was
all a great fabrication," he said during a telephone
interview last week. "That all came from Senator
Kerry's committee. It came from those people that
didn't want to help the Nicaraguan resistance, people
like Kerry, who wanted to hurt Vice President Bush,
who was going to win the presidency."

It's a familiar -- and absolutely untenable -- refrain
from the Reagan and Bush administrations that
continues to this day: The narcotics ties to the
contra operation were a politically motivated myth.
Vice President Dick Cheney, who was then a
congressman, played a key role in the disinformation
campaign. He led the effort to squelch various
Iran-contra investigations, especially when it came to
drug allegations. And George W. Bush? Well, he seems
to have no qualms about Iran-contra, since he has
hired several of the scandal's central figures --
including Elliott Abrams, Otto Reich, and John
Negroponte -- to serve under him.

Though it has been largely ignored, this historic
battle between Kerry and the Bush family not only
provides a revelatory subtext to this election but
also indicates how much the two men running for
president dislike each other.

History clearly favors Kerry's side -- and he may even
have been right about that $10 million in cartel
money. Rodriguez, at the time, was the government's
key man in El Salvador, where he was conducting
counterinsurgency missions against leftist rebels. But
his main job was the contra operation. He claims to
this day that he wasn't paid for his efforts, a
contention about as shaky as H.W.'s famous excuse that
he was "out of the loop" on the contra affair.
Rodriguez also worked in Honduras, where the contras
trained in the mountains, and at another shipping
point in Costa Rica (which has been repeatedly tied to
the drug trade).

The allegation against Rodriguez came from Medellín
cartel accountant and convicted money launderer Ramon
Milian-Rodriguez, who met with Felix Rodriguez in 1985
while he was out on bail on federal drug charges in
Miami. Milian told the Kerry Committee that Rodriguez
solicited the cash from the cartel and that it was
later channeled to the contras. The cartel, he said,
hoped the contribution would bring it "good will" from
U.S. authorities. At the same time he was implicating
the CIA operative, Milian was adamant that Felix
Rodriguez had the American government's interest at
heart and never kept a dime of the proceeds.

Rodriguez admits the meeting took place but insists it
concerned only an offer from the money launderer to
help set up the Nicaraguan government in a cocaine
sting. In 1988 Milian failed a lie detector test on
the subject, and Kerry retracted the allegation.

Rodriguez then had every right to gloat, but in 1991
the accusation resurfaced. Medellín cartel cofounder
Carlos Lehder, while testifying for the U.S.
government against deposed Panamanian President Manuel
Noriega, admitted that his organization had indeed
given $10 million to the contras. Lehder, then a
federal witness working with U.S. prosecutors, had no
known motive to lie.

In light of that information, I asked Rodriguez if he
was absolutely sure the contra operation didn't
receive the drug money. "I don't think it did," he
said, losing his resolute tone. "They always say the
same shit. Where did the money go to if they did?
Every single penny that went into the contras was
accounted for."

While it's open to debate just how meticulously the
contras kept their ledgers, there have been other
indications that Rodriguez's operation may have been
involved in drug smuggling. In 1984 Rodriguez's
business partner, international arms dealer Gerald
Latchinian, was arrested in a conspiracy to smuggle
$10 million in cocaine to finance a plot to
assassinate Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordova.
(He was later convicted.) While Rodriguez was never
tied to the crime, Latchinian argued that it was
connected to the CIA.

Rodriguez's agency-trained compatriot, fellow Cuban
exile Frank Castro, was deeply involved in both drug
smuggling and the contra effort, according to the CIA.
And in 1989 a drug pilot named Mike Tolliver alleged
on a CBS news show that he ran guns to Honduras for
the contras and that, while there, his plane was
loaded with marijuana for a return flight to Homestead
Air Force Base. He identified Rodriguez as his boss.

Perhaps the most damning allegation against Rodriguez
comes from former Drug Enforcement Administration
agent Celerino Castillo, a decorated Vietnam vet who
was stationed in Central America during Iran-contra.
While working for the DEA, Castillo says he became
aware of drug trafficking at San Salvador's Ilopango
air base, where Rodriguez was organizing the contra
supply effort. The DEA agent has testified in Congress
and recounted in his well-documented book,
Powderburns, how the airport hangars controlled by
Rodriguez and other government operatives were used by
drug traffickers. "The only reason Felix wasn't
arrested is because he knew where all the bodies were
buried in the Iran-contra operation," says Castillo,
who is now a substitute high school teacher living in
Texas.

Castillo recounts that in 1986 he met then-Vice
President Bush at an ambassador's party in Guatemala.
"I told him there was something funny going on at
Ilopango," he says. "And he just smiled and walked
away."

While Bush Sr. avoided the truth about Iran-contra,
Castillo has worked for years to expose it and, in so
doing, has researched Rodriguez's life -- from Cuba to
Vietnam to El Salvador. He's come to the conclusion
that the Cuban exile is no hero. "He's always been a
terrorist, just like Osama bin Laden and all the
terrorists we've made in the past," he says.

Unflinching words, but Rodriguez has indeed been tied
to known terrorists, most notably Luis Posada
Carriles, a CIA-trained operative who worked closely
with Rodriguez after his 1985 escape from a Venezuelan
jail, where he served nine years for his role in the
downing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 civilians.
Rodriguez admits he worked with Carriles on the contra
effort but says his friend wasn't convicted of
anything. He proffers that Fidel Castro may have blown
up the jetliner to "get rid of" Cuban military
officials on board who were plotting against the
dictator.

But that far-fetched theory doesn't explain the Havana
hotel bombings that Carriles has acknowledged
committing, or his recent incarceration in Panama for
planning to blow up Castro at a political conference
(his recent pardon made international news).

"I don't endorse or support bombings," Rodriguez says.
"I believe it kills innocent people, and that is not
the way to do it. That will backfire."

Rodriguez says he doesn't know why Castillo has made
the allegations against him. He insists he watched
every contra supply plane land, refuel, and take off
from Ilopango and that there were never any drugs
onboard. "What I understand from the guys I asked at
DEA was that they fired [Castillo] for making all
kinds of allegations about Ilopango," he says. "He was
fired for incompetence. If any of his allegations had
a grain of truth, the Iran-contra committee would have
brought it up. They looked at everything with a
toothbrush."

(Castillo actually retired from the DEA -- under
pressure from higher-ups regarding his whistleblowing
-- in 1992. He collects a pension from the agency.)

The Iran-contra Committee, which carried more weight
than Kerry's subcommittee, was, in reality, famously
unconcerned with the narcotics allegations.
Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh, who conducted the
criminal investigation, never even interviewed
Castillo. Later, after reporter Gary Webb's
well-researched 1996 "Dark Alliance" series in the San
Jose Mercury News showed clear ties between the
contras and the Los Angeles crack trade, a Justice
Department investigation indeed found the "seed of
truth" in Castillo's allegations but didn't bother to
make a real case.

As for the media, they can only look back at the time
with shame. The press -- led by the New York Times,
Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times -- tried to
discredit Webb. Though the papers dutifully reported
many of the salient facts, they never conveyed the big
picture and, in the end, let the perpetrators of one
of the greatest scandals in American history go
largely unpunished.

Other than Soldier of Fortune, only the conservative
Website NewsMax.comhas brought up Iran-contra in the
context of the presidential election. In a July
article, the Website portrayed Rodriguez as a "wholly
innocent freedom loving patriot" who was blindsided by
the unscrupulous, CIA-hating senator.

It may be just the beginning. Rodriguez says he'll
vigorously oppose Kerry until election day, continuing
his work with the anti-Kerry veterans' group, which is
ideologically aligned with the similarly named Swift
Boat Veterans for Truth, and exposing the terrible
injustice done to him by the Democratic nominee. "He
will tell you one thing, then he will tell you another
thing," Rodriguez says of Kerry. "He is a complete
liar."

We all know that Rodriguez can fight with the best of
them, but what about Kerry? His Florida campaign
communications director, Matt Miller, didn't respond
to the question. Former DEA man Castillo, who counts
his vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980 as one of the worst
mistakes of his life, isn't sure. And he believes Bush
II -- who has already led the country into a
nightmarish war using false pretenses -- will cook
scandals to make Iran-contra pale in comparison if
elected to a second term.

"They say Kerry is a liar, that he lied about Felix
Rodriguez, who is a hero and patriot," Castillo says.
"Bush and Cheney know how to fight. Cheney says, öGo
fuck yourself.' I am so upset because Kerry won't take
the gloves off. It's like he's idling. If he doesn't
fight now, will he ever fight for us?"


miaminewtimes.com | originally published: September
23, 2004

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0922-01.htm

Published on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 by the
University of South Florida Oracle
Former CIA Agent Says Bush to Blame for 9/11
by Chris Gardner

Former CIA agent Ray McGovern went over what he
considers the failures of the intelligence community
and current administration over the past few years. He
has 27 years of experience as a CIA analyst to draw
upon and has dealt with every administration from
Kennedy to Bush Sr.

"It's difficult for people to learn the truth about
things like Iraq," said McGovern, a member of the
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS),
which is comprised of more than 40 former employees of
agencies such as the CIA, the Defense Intelligence
Agency, Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence
and Research, Army Intelligence, the FBI and the
National Security Agency.


Ray McGovern, who spent 27 years as a CIA analyst,
tells an audience of about 50 at the USF Library on
Tuesday that preventable intelligence failures and
questionable priorities led to the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks. (Oracle Photo/Victor Griley)

"We have hundreds of years worth of experience in
government service and intelligence to draw on so we
feel a civic responsibility to do our best to spread
as much truth as we can this fall," McGovern said.

He began his lecture by describing the CIA. He
explained that the agency is supposed to be the one
place in government with no political agenda, and
could be very disastrous if it obtains one.

McGovern told a story about CIA officials who gave
false information about enemy troop numbers in Vietnam
to President Johnson. The lie led to a surprise of
U.S. forces by the Tet Offensive in 1968. In this war
of attrition, the agency wanted to make it look like
the United States was doing better than it really was,
McGovern said.

"Picture the Vietnam Memorial in Washington; it's a
big 'V' shape. Now picture it with just one side of
the 'V'. It might have been that way if some people
had told the truth," McGovern said.

He also criticized the 9/11 Commission's final report,
saying the committee was comprised of political
extremists who couldn't reach a consensus.

"It wasn't a bipartisan commission; it was more like a
bipolar commission," McGovern said. "To say that no
one could prevent 9/11 was a bold-faced lie. It
basically let the president and everyone responsible
off the hook."

He went on to talk about the faulty intelligence
attorney general John Ashcroft used when he announced
that terrorist attacks may occur before or around
election time, saying that elections might have to be
postponed if the United States is attacked.

"There might be a real or staged terrorist attack in
order to postpone the elections," McGovern said. "This
might seem outlandish; I hope it is."

He mentioned how the Bush administration wanted to
involve the country with the war in Iraq for certain
reasons other than fear of weapons of mass
destruction, which was just a more media-friendly
explanation for the war.

"I have initials for why I think we went to war in
Iraq," McGovern said. "O.I.L. O-I-L, O is for oil, I
is for Israel and L is for logistics, as in when we
have Iraq we have a foothold and a number of bases
strategically placed in the Middle East so we can be
in control over there and also to protect Israel."

Next he brought up civil liberties in the United
States and how they have declined in the past few
years.

"I used to say when I was a kid growing up when
someone told me not to do something, 'It's a free
country,'" McGovern said. "I ask you to think about it
now."

In the audience was Nahla al-Arian, wife of imprisoned
former professor Sami al-Arian. She explained to
McGovern how she and her husband came to America to be
free and described their current situation. Then she
asked him why the government would target Palestinian
activists.

His initial response was just, "I'm sorry," then he
paused to collect his thoughts and said that things
like that come all the way from the top down.

McGovern had a speaking engagement at the University
of Florida later in the afternoon, and will also be
lecturing at UCF soon on his and the VIPS's quest to
spread the truth.

"No one has a corner on the truth. We don't have a
corner on the truth, but it is certain that Fox News
does not," McGovern said. "That most people get their
'news' from Fox News is extremely troubling."

Copyright © 2004 University of South Florida

###


Posted by richard at 03:16 PM

September 22, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 41 Days to Go -- Bush bounce evaporates, US military on Fahrenheit 911, Homeland Insecurity, CBS Hit was Dirty Tricks Op, Is McCain setting Bush up?

There are 41 days to go until the national referendum
on the CHARACTER, CREDIBILITY and COMPETENCE of the
_resident and the VICE _resident. They are presiding
over the final days of a failed regime. The Bush
abomination's economic policy has squandered an
unprecendented surplus and supplanted it with an
unprecedented budget deficit. The current issue of
National Geographic is devoted to the very REAL and
DEVASTATING impact of Global Warming. We have lost
four years we could not afford to lose in coming to
grips with this and other burning national security
issues (e.g., nuclear proliferation and AIDS in
Africa) because of the Bush abomination's radical flat
earth ideology. The Bush abomination's foreign policy
has divided our friends, and united our enemies. The
odds on either the _resident or the
shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair winning
the Nobel Peace Prize are LITERALLY 10,000 to 1, the
same odds given for Milosevic, who is in jail at the
Hague and on trial for war crimes. Yesterday's the
_resident delivered his fourth and hopefully final
address to the UN General Assembly. It was a
chillingly quiet chamber. The *only* applause was for
the end of the speech. The _resident's address was
preceded by another diplomatic (i.e. veiled) but
principled and unmistakable denunciation of the Bush
abomination's illegal war in Iraq. Yesterday, in
Miami, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) thundered,
"The President really has no credibility at this
point." Yes. The Three Stooges Reich, which allowed
Osama bin Laden to escape in Tora Bora, has tried,
convicted and sentenced Martha Stewart to prison, and
diverted a plane, detained and denied entry to Cat
Steven...What would America look like after four more
years of the Bush abomination? What would the world
look like? Do not be deceived by the US regimestream
news media's cooked polls and craven
propapunditgandists. There is an Electoral Uprising
coming in November 2004. The US regimestream news
media, at least until this point, has, in large part,
been a full partner along with the Bush Cabal and its
wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerluy-known-as-the-Republican-Party
in a Triad of shared special interest (e.g. oil,
weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) Here
are four very important news items. They should
dominate the air waves and demand headlines above the
fold. But they won't. Please read them and share them
with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote.
Please remember that the US regimestream news media
does not want to inform you about this presidential
campaign, it wants to DISinform you...

www.harrisinteractive.com: President Bush’s ratings
have slipped to 45 percent positive and 54 percent
negative, the lowest ratings of his presidency,
according to a new Harris Poll. These numbers compare
to 50 percent positive, 49 percent negative in June
and 48 percent positive, 51 percent negative in
August. This downward trend no doubt helps to explain
why the lead which the president enjoyed over Senator
Kerry immediately after the Republican convention in
New York – the so-called “convention bounce” – has now
disappeared.

Ann Scott Tyson, Christian Science Monitor: Washington
- Inside dusty, barricaded camps around Iraq, groups
of American troops in between missions are gathering
around screens to view an unlikely choice from the US
box office: "Fahrenheit 9-11," Michael Moore's
controversial documentary attacking the
commander-in-chief.
"Everyone's watching it," says a Marine corporal
at an outpost in Ramadi that is mortared by insurgents
daily. "It's shaping a lot of people's image of Bush."
The film's prevalence is one sign of a discernible
countercurrent among US troops in Iraq - those who
blame President Bush for entangling them in what they
see as a misguided war. Conventional wisdom holds that
the troops are staunchly pro-Bush, and many are. But
bitterness over long, dangerous deployments is
producing, at a minimum, pockets of support for
Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry, in part because
he's seen as likely to withdraw American forces from
Iraq more quickly.

Rick Hind and David Halperin, New York Times: While
President Bush continues to make terrorism and
domestic security the centerpiece of his campaign, he
has made little mention of one of the most urgent
threats to our safety: the risk that terrorists could
cause thousands, even millions, of deaths by
sabotaging one of the 15,000 industrial chemical
plants across the United States...
As The Wall Street Journal disclosed last month,
Homeland Security tried to reduce the threat of
catastrophic attack with the stroke of a pen. The
department announced that the number of plants that
threatened more than 1,000 people was actually only
4,391, and the number that endangered more than a
million people was not 123 but two.
Mr. Ridge has set in motion plans to install security
cameras at chemical plants in seven states - but not
in some high-threat states like Florida, Ohio and
Minnesota. Although the department visits plants and
offers advice, unlike the E.P.A., it doesn't have the
power to enforce security measures and relies instead
on voluntary efforts by the industry. Without
enforceable requirements, chemical firms will remain
reluctant to put sufficient safeguards in place, for
fear that their competitors will scrimp on security
and thus be able to undercut them on price.
Industry groups have lobbied intensely against the
Corzine legislation. While reluctant to invest in
plant safety, some of these companies and their
executives have found the resources to help pay for
the Republican campaign.
For the Bush administration, it seems, homeland
security is critical except when it conflicts with the
wishes of supporters who own chemical plants.

Terry McAuliffe, Democratic National Committee: “In
today’s New York Post, Roger Stone, who became
associated with political ‘dirty tricks’ while working
for Nixon, refused to deny that he was the source the
CBS documents.
“Will Ed Gillespie or the White House admit today what
they know about Mr. Stone’s relationship with these
forged documents? Will they unequivocally rule out Mr.
Stone’s involvement? Or for that matter, others with a
known history of dirty tricks, such as Karl Rove or
Ralph Reed?”

David Corn, The Nation: The McCain-Bush face-off has
been one of the most-watched soap operas in
Washington. Now it appears that when McCain hit the
campaign trail for Bush this summer, the conflict was
not ultimately resolved. A few more twists and turns
could come, and in this relationship, McCain at the
moment has more power. (Remember McCain's home state
of Arizona could end up being a key state on November
2.) With his recent comments, McCain has essentially
called out the administration and undermined Bush's
spin. If McCain continues to talk so candidly, he will
be serving as a wingman for Kerry. Is this calculation
or coincidence? Revenge being served out of a
deep-freezer? McCain likes to promote his reputation
as a straight-talker, but next time I see him in a
green room, I'm not going to bother asking him to
answer the question. Let him do what he's gotta
do--especially if it's personal. Anyway, who would
want to know the end of this melodrama before the
final page?

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=496

President Bush’s Ratings Slip to Lowest Level of His
Presidency, According to Latest Harris Poll
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – September 17, 2004 – President
Bush’s ratings have slipped to 45 percent positive and
54 percent negative, the lowest ratings of his
presidency, according to a new Harris Poll. These
numbers compare to 50 percent positive, 49 percent
negative in June and 48 percent positive, 51 percent
negative in August. This downward trend no doubt helps
to explain why the lead which the president enjoyed
over Senator Kerry immediately after the Republican
convention in New York – the so-called “convention
bounce” – has now disappeared.

This is one of the results of a Harris Poll of 1,018
U.S. adults surveyed by telephone by Harris
Interactive® between September 9 and 13, 2004.

This survey also tracked the ratings of other
government leaders and of both parties in Congress.
Some of the other findings are:

Vice President Dick Cheney’s ratings – 40 percent
positive, 54 percent negative – have not changed since
August.
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s ratings are down to
63 percent positive, 32 percent negative from 69
percent to 27 percent in August, but he is still by
far the most popular member of the administration.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s ratings are
down very slightly to 43 percent positive, 50 percent
negative. This is the first time his negative ratings
have touched 50 percent.
Attorney General John Ashcroft’s ratings – at 40
percent positive, 49 percent negative – are also down
slightly since August, and his negative ratings have
never been this high before.
The best news for Republicans in this poll is probably
the fact that Republicans in Congress continue to
receive somewhat better (or, more accurately, “less
bad”) ratings, 38 percent positive and 56 percent
negative, than the Democrats in Congress, 34 percent
positive, 60 percent negative.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/092204C.shtml

Strident Minority: Anti-Bush U.S. Troops in Iraq
By Ann Scott Tyson
The Christian Science Monitor

Tuesday 21 September 2004

Though military personnel lean conservative, some
vocally support Kerry - or at least a strategy for
swift withdrawal.
Washington - Inside dusty, barricaded camps around
Iraq, groups of American troops in between missions
are gathering around screens to view an unlikely
choice from the US box office: "Fahrenheit 9-11,"
Michael Moore's controversial documentary attacking
the commander-in-chief.

"Everyone's watching it," says a Marine corporal
at an outpost in Ramadi that is mortared by insurgents
daily. "It's shaping a lot of people's image of Bush."


The film's prevalence is one sign of a discernible
countercurrent among US troops in Iraq - those who
blame President Bush for entangling them in what they
see as a misguided war. Conventional wisdom holds that
the troops are staunchly pro-Bush, and many are. But
bitterness over long, dangerous deployments is
producing, at a minimum, pockets of support for
Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry, in part because
he's seen as likely to withdraw American forces from
Iraq more quickly.

"[For] 9 out of 10 of the people I talk to, it
wouldn't matter who ran against Bush - they'd vote for
them," said a US soldier in the southern city of
Najaf, seeking out a reporter to make his views known.
"People are so fed up with Iraq, and fed up with
Bush."

With only three weeks until an Oct. 11 deadline
set for hundreds of thousands of US troops abroad to
mail in absentee ballots, this segment of the military
vote is important - symbolically, as a reflection on
Bush as a wartime commander, and politically, as
absentee ballots could end up tipping the balance in
closely contested states.

It is difficult to gauge the extent of
disaffection with Bush, which emerged in interviews in
June and July with ground forces in central, northern,
and southern Iraq. No scientific polls exist on the
political leanings of currently deployed troops,
military experts and officials say.

To be sure, broader surveys of US military
personnel and their spouses in recent years indicate
they are more likely to be conservative and Republican
than the US civilian population - but not
overwhelmingly so.

A Military Times survey last December of 933
subscribers, about 30 percent of whom had deployed for
the Iraq war, found that 56 percent considered
themselves Republican - about the same percentage who
approved of Bush's handling of Iraq. Half of those
responding were officers, who as a group tend to be
more conservative than their enlisted counterparts.

Among officers, who represent roughly 15 percent
of today's 1.4 million active duty military personnel,
there are about eight Republicans for every Democrat,
according to a 1999 survey by Duke University
political scientist Peter Feaver. Enlisted personnel,
however - a disproportionate number of whom are
minorities, a population that tends to lean Democratic
- are more evenly split. Professor Feaver estimates
that about one third of enlisted troops are
Republicans, one third Democrats, and the rest
independents, with the latter group growing.

Pockets of Ambivalence

"The military continues to be a Bush stronghold,
but it's not a stranglehold," Feaver says. Three
factors make the military vote more in play for
Democrats this year than in 2000, he says: the Iraq
war, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's tense
relationship with the Army, and Bush's limited ability
as an incumbent to make sweeping promises akin to
Senator Kerry's pledge to add 40,000 new troops and
relieve an overstretched force.

"The military as a whole supports the Iraq war,"
Mr. Feaver says, noting a historical tendency of
troops to back the commander in chief in wartime. "But
you can go across the military and find pockets where
they are more ambivalent," he says, especially among
the National Guard and Reserve. "The war has not gone
as swimmingly as they thought, and that has caused
disaffection.

Whether representing pockets of opposition to Bush
or something bigger, soldiers and marines on Iraq's
front lines can be impassioned in their criticism. One
Marine officer in Ramadi who had lost several men said
he was thinking about throwing his medals over the
White House wall.

"Nobody I know wants Bush," says an enlisted
soldier in Najaf, adding, "This whole war was based on
lies." Like several others interviewed, his animosity
centered on a belief that the war lacked a clear
purpose even as it took a tremendous toll on US
troops, many of whom are in Iraq involuntarily under
"stop loss" orders that keep them in the service for
months beyond their scheduled exit in order to keep
units together during deployments.

"There's no clear definition of why we came here,"
says Army Spc. Nathan Swink, of Quincy, Ill. "First
they said they have WMD and nuclear weapons, then it
was to get Saddam Hussein out of office, and then to
rebuild Iraq. I want to fight for my nation and for my
family, to protect the United States against enemies
foreign and domestic, not to protect Iraqi civilians
or deal with Sadr's militia," he said.

Specialist Swink, who comes from a family of both
Democrats and Republicans, plans to vote for Kerry.
"Kerry protested the war in Vietnam. He is the one to
end this stuff, to lead to our exit of Iraq," he said.


'We Shouldn't be Here'

Other US troops expressed feelings of guilt over
killing Iraqis in a war they believe is unjust.

"We shouldn't be here," said one Marine
infantryman bluntly. "There was no reason for invading
this country in the first place. We just came here and
[angered people] and killed a lot of innocent people,"
said the marine, who has seen regular combat in
Ramadi. "I don't enjoy killing women and children,
it's not my thing."

As with his comrades, the marine accepted some of
the most controversial claims of "Fahrenheit 9/11,"
which critics have called biased. "Bush didn't want to
attack [Osama] Bin Laden because he was doing business
with Bin Laden's family," he said.

Another marine, Sgt. Christopher Wallace of
Pataskala, Ohio, agreed that the film was making an
impression on troops. "Marines nowadays want to know
stuff. They want to be informed, because we'll be
voting out here soon," he said. " 'Fahrenheit 9/11'
opened our eyes to things we hadn't seen before." But,
he added after a pause, "We still have full faith and
confidence in our commander-in-chief. And if John
Kerry is elected, he will be our commander in chief."

Getting Out the Military Vote

No matter whom they choose for president, US
troops in even the most remote bases in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and elsewhere overseas are more likely
than in 2000 to have an opportunity to vote - and have
their votes counted - thanks to a major push by the
Pentagon to speed and postmark their ballots. The
Pentagon is now expediting ballots for all 1.4 million
active-duty military personnel and their 1.3 million
voting-age dependents, as well as 3.7 million US
civilians living abroad.

"We wrote out a plan of attack on how we are going
to address these issues this election year," says Maj.
Lonnie Hammack, the lead postal officer for US Central
Command, an area covering the Middle East, Central
Asia, and North Africa, where more than 225,000 troops
and Defense Department personnel serve.

The military has added manpower, flights, and
postmark-validating equipment, and given priority to
moving ballots - by Humvee or helicopter if necessary
- even to far-flung outposts such as those on the
Syrian and Pakistani border and Djibouti.

Meanwhile, voting-assistance officers in every
military unit are reminding troops to vote, as are
posters, e-mails, and newspaper and television
announcements. Voting booths are also set up at
deployment centers in the United States.

"We've had almost 100 percent contact," says Col.
Darrell Jones, director of manpower and personnel for
Central Command, and 200,000 federal postcard ballot
applications have been shipped.

"We encourage our people to vote, not for a
certain candidate, but to exercise that right," he
said, noting that was especially important as the US
military is "out there promoting fledgling democracy
in these regions." Many of the younger troops may be
voting for the first time, he added.

-------

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/22/opinion/22halperin.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

September 22, 2004
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Lots of Chemicals, Little Reaction
By RICK HIND and DAVID HALPERIN

Washington — While President Bush continues to make
terrorism and domestic security the centerpiece of his
campaign, he has made little mention of one of the
most urgent threats to our safety: the risk that
terrorists could cause thousands, even millions, of
deaths by sabotaging one of the 15,000 industrial
chemical plants across the United States.

The dangers from chemical plant mishaps are clear.
According to data compiled by Greenpeace
International, the 1984 accident at an Union Carbide
insecticide plant in Bhopal, India, has caused 20,000
deaths and injuries to 200,000 people. A terrorist
group could cause even greater harm by entering a
plant in the United States and setting off an
explosion that produces a deadly gas cloud.

The administration knows the dangers. Soon after the
9/11 attacks, Senator Jon Corzine, Democrat of New
Jersey, highlighted the issue with legislation
requiring chemical plants to enhance security and use
safer chemicals and technologies when feasible. (Such
safer substitutes are widely available.)

A study by the Army surgeon general, conducted soon
after 9/11, found that up to 2.4 million people could
be killed or wounded by a terrorist attack on a single
chemical plant. In February 2003, the government's
National Infrastructure Protection Center warned that
chemical plants in the United States could be Qaeda
targets. Investigations by The Pittsburgh
Tribune-Review and the CBS program "60 Minutes" have
highlighted lax or nonexistent security at chemical
plants, with gates unlocked or wide open and chemical
tanks unguarded.

The Environmental Protection Agency under Christie
Whitman did its part to evaluate the threat,
identifying 123 chemical facilities where an accident
or attack could threaten more than a million people,
and 7,605 plants that threatened more than 1,000
people. The agency determined that it could use the
Clean Air Act to compel chemical plants to increase
security.

Following the Corzine approach, the agency also
planned to promote the use of less hazardous
chemicals. But the Bush administration overruled the
initiative, and in December the president announced
that chemical security was now the province of the new
Department of Homeland Security, under Secretary Tom
Ridge.

As The Wall Street Journal disclosed last month,
Homeland Security tried to reduce the threat of
catastrophic attack with the stroke of a pen. The
department announced that the number of plants that
threatened more than 1,000 people was actually only
4,391, and the number that endangered more than a
million people was not 123 but two.

Mr. Ridge has set in motion plans to install security
cameras at chemical plants in seven states - but not
in some high-threat states like Florida, Ohio and
Minnesota. Although the department visits plants and
offers advice, unlike the E.P.A., it doesn't have the
power to enforce security measures and relies instead
on voluntary efforts by the industry. Without
enforceable requirements, chemical firms will remain
reluctant to put sufficient safeguards in place, for
fear that their competitors will scrimp on security
and thus be able to undercut them on price.

Industry groups have lobbied intensely against the
Corzine legislation. While reluctant to invest in
plant safety, some of these companies and their
executives have found the resources to help pay for
the Republican campaign.

For the Bush administration, it seems, homeland
security is critical except when it conflicts with the
wishes of supporters who own chemical plants.


Rick Hind is legislative director of Greenpeace's
toxics campaign. David Halperin, a lawyer, has served
on the staffs of the National Security Council and the
Senate Intelligence Committee.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home |
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http://www.democrats.org/news/200409210001.html

Sep 21, 2004

McAuliffe: Will GOP Answer If They Know Whether Stone,
Others Had Involvement With CBS Documents?
Washington, D.C. - In response to false Republican
accusations regarding the CBS documents, Democratic
National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe issued
this statement:

“In today’s New York Post, Roger Stone, who became
associated with political ‘dirty tricks’ while working
for Nixon, refused to deny that he was the source the
CBS documents.

“Will Ed Gillespie or the White House admit today what
they know about Mr. Stone’s relationship with these
forged documents? Will they unequivocally rule out Mr.
Stone’s involvement? Or for that matter, others with a
known history of dirty tricks, such as Karl Rove or
Ralph Reed?”

http://www.thenation.com/capitalgames/index.mhtml?bid=3&pid=1833

McCain: The October Surprise?
09/20/2004 @ 1:05pm
E-mail this Post
Will John McCain be the October Surprise?

Months ago, when the Republican senator who is often
dubbed a maverick finally started campaigning with
George W. Bush--after news reports noted that John
Kerry had delicately discussed with McCain the idea of
McCain becoming Kerry's running mate--the question
asked by political commentators (and cable talk show
consumers) was, what does McCain want? Did he want to
make peace with the GOP establishment so he could run
for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008
(when he would be 72 years old)? Was he looking to be
secretary of defense? Was he hoping that Bush would
bounce Dick Cheney and put McCain on the ticket?

The obvious answer was that McCain was just yielding
to the overwhelming Ds-and-Rs dynamic of Washington's
binary culture. In his case, the issue was whether
McCain was a Republican or not. And if he did want to
continue being a GOPer in good standing, then he had
to do right by the Family. (Think The Sopranos.) That
meant putting aside the resentment and anger he must
have felt toward the Bush clan, which--take your
pick--ran or countenanced an ugly and vicious campaign
against McCain in the South Carolina primary in 2000
that included questioning McCain's commitment to
veterans and spreading rumors that McCain had been
brainwashed in a Vietnamese prison camp, that his
adopted daughter was a love-child he had had with a
prostitute, and that his wife was a junkie. So this
year McCain sucked it up and hit the trail for Bush,
even as the Bush brigade was mounting the same sort of
trash-and-slash attack against McCain's colleague,
John Kerry. At least, McCain could point to the war in
Iraq as a point of agreement with Bush. Though McCain,
according to a McCain adviser, has not accepted the
neoconservatives' argument (adopted by Bush) that the
Iraq war is necessary as an initial step in remaking
the region, he believed that because Saddam Hussein
posed a possible threat and was such a tyrant he
needed "to be taken out."

But maybe there was another reason beyond loyalty to
the party and to the commander-in-chief why McCain
saddled up with Bush. Perhaps he wanted to get near
enough to knife Bush--metaphorically speaking, of
course. As in, keep your friends close and your
enemies closer. (Think The Godfather.)

Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, McCain whacked Bush on
Iraq. He accused Bush of making "serious mistakes
after the initial successes by not having enough
troops there on the ground, by allowing the looting,
by not securing the borders. There was a number of
things that we did. Most of it can be traced back to
not having sufficient numbers of troops there." When
he said "we," McCain actually meant Bush, Dick Cheney,
Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleezza Rice.
He noted that the Bush administration has allowed
insurgents to establish sanctuaries--such as in
Falluja--where anti-American rebels or terrorists can
be trained and harbored. McCain, saying he still
supports the US mission in Iraq, was making a serious
charge: that Bush and his gang have screwed things up
tremendously.

Anchor Chris Wallace then asked what seemed to be a
Bush-friendly question: "Some have suggested that what
we're seeing, to use a Vietnam analogy, is kind of a
rolling Tet offensive to try to break the will of the
American and Iraqi people and to play a role in
defeating President Bush. Do you think that's what's
going on?"

While other GOPers have tried to make such a point to
shore up support for Bush among potential voters,
McCain would not. "I don't think they're interested so
much," he replied, "in defeating President Bush."

*********

When you're done reading this article,visit David
Corn's WEBLOG at www.davidcorn.com. Read recent
entries on a top military commander claiming Iraq is
lost, the Kerry campaign's lag on analogies, Bush's
most recent campaign-trail fibs, and the never-ending
flap over Bush's Air National Guard service and those
CBS memos.

********

McCain challenged Bush's assertion that progress is
under way in Iraq, noting "the situation has obviously
been somewhat deteriorating, to say the least." Bush,
he remarked, "is not being "as straight as maybe we'd
like to see." McCain called for the declassification
of the recent National Intelligence Estimate that
raised the possibility of civil war in Iraq. "The
key," said McCain, who urged more extensive US
military action in Iraq, is to "recognize those
mistakes, correct those mistakes, and prevail." He
added, "I'd like to see more of an overall plan
articulated by the president."

McCain's remarks were not what a consultant would call
politically useful to the fellow whom McCain is
supposedly trying to help get reelected. These
comments came the day before John Kerry was to give a
major speech blistering Bush for mistakes and
miscalculations in Iraq. McCain--as well as Republican
Senators Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar, who on other
talk shows each said the administration's handling of
postwar Iraq has been incompetent--softened up Bush
for Kerry's blows. But McCain's words, given his
standing in the media, hit the hardest.

Earlier this month, an editor at The Nation, dreaming
of magic-bullet scenarios, asked me whether Secretary
of State Colin Powell might break with Bush in October
and swing the election to Kerry. Not a chance I said,
read this. Powell is completely in the tank for the
Bush crew, enabling the neocons. But McCain--now he
might cause further difficult for his "good friend" in
the White House in the final weeks of the election.

The Bush campaign eagerly embraced McCain early in the
summer when Bush was slipping in the polls due to the
mess in Iraq. So when McCain (rather than Kerry) says
Bush hasn't articulated a plan for Iraq, can the White
House dismiss this serious statement? It sure cannot
be pooh-poohed by Bush's mouthpieces as partisan
rhetoric. Might such a remark cause Bushies to wonder
whether McCain infiltrated the Bush campaign in order
to better zing the man whose lieutenants once bitterly
and scurrilously attacked McCain's family and
questioned McCain's loyalty to veterans?

The McCain-Bush face-off has been one of the
most-watched soap operas in Washington. Now it appears
that when McCain hit the campaign trail for Bush this
summer, the conflict was not ultimately resolved. A
few more twists and turns could come, and in this
relationship, McCain at the moment has more power.
(Remember McCain's home state of Arizona could end up
being a key state on November 2.) With his recent
comments, McCain has essentially called out the
administration and undermined Bush's spin. If McCain
continues to talk so candidly, he will be serving as a
wingman for Kerry. Is this calculation or coincidence?
Revenge being served out of a deep-freezer? McCain
likes to promote his reputation as a straight-talker,
but next time I see him in a green room, I'm not going
to bother asking him to answer the question. Let him
do what he's gotta do--especially if it's personal.
Anyway, who would want to know the end of this
melodrama before the final page?

********

DON'T FORGET ABOUT DAVID CORN'S BOOK, The Lies of
George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception
(Crown Publishers). A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! An
UPDATED and EXPANDED EDITION is NOW AVAILABLE in
PAPERBACK. The Washington Post says, "This is a fierce
polemic, but it is based on an immense amount of
research....[I]t does present a serious case for the
president's partisans to answer....Readers can hardly
avoid drawing...troubling conclusions from Corn's
painstaking indictment." The Los Angeles Times says,
"David Corn's The Lies of George W. Bush is as
hard-hitting an attack as has been leveled against the
current president. He compares what Bush said with the
known facts of a given situation and ends up making a
persuasive case." The Library Journal says, "Corn
chronicles to devastating effect the lies, falsehoods,
and misrepresentations....Corn has painstakingly
unearthed a bill of particulars against the president
that is as damaging as it is thorough." And GEORGE W.
BUSH SAYS, "I'd like to tell you I've read [ The Lies
of George W. Bush], but that'd be a lie."

For more information and a sample, go to
www.davidcorn.com. And see his WEBLOG there.

_______________________________________________
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Website: http://www.mindspace.org/liberation-news-service/
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Posted by richard at 09:32 AM

September 21, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 42 Days to Go -- 9/11, Media, Kitty Kelly, Theft of the Election, Michael Moore

There are 42 days to go until the national referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the _resident and the VICE _resident...Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) appeared on David Letterman's show last night, and hung out for through two commercial breaks...It was a poignant act of resistance by Letterman and SeeBS. JFK and Letterman talked at length, and in a serious way, about the war in Iraq and the failed administration in the White House...,JFK taunted and baited the _resident...Associated Press: Besides reading his "Top 10" list, Kerry also poked fun at the tedious debate negotiations between the rival campaigns that ended in agreement Monday. Kerry said he wanted running mate John Edwards to stand in the vice presidential debate, but Cheney wanted to sit. "We compromised and now George Bush is going to sit on Dick Cheney's lap," he said...Kerry's "Top 10 Bush Tax Proposals" are:
10. No estate tax for families with at least two U.S. presidents.
9. W-2 Form is now Dubya-2 Form.
8. Under the simplified tax code, your refund check goes directly to Halliburton.
7. The reduced earned income tax credit is so unfair, it just makes me want to tear out my lustrous, finely groomed hair.
6. Attorney General (John) Ashcroft gets to write off the entire U.S. Constitution.
5. Texas Rangers can take a business loss for trading Sammy Sosa.
4. Eliminate all income taxes; just ask Teresa (Heinz Kerry) to cover the whole damn thing.
3. Cheney can claim Bush as a dependent.
2. Hundred-dollar penalty if you pronounce it "nuclear" instead of "nucular."
1. George W. Bush gets a deduction for mortgaging our entire future.
Here are five very important LNS selections. Please read them and share them with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote. Please remember that the US regimestream news media does not want to inform you about this presidential campaign, it wants to DISinform you...There is an Electoral Uprising coming at the Ballot Box in November...

Jennifer Barrett Ozols, Newsweek: Kristen Breitweiser supported George W. Bush in 2000. This year, she’s endorsing his opponent. She is certainly not the only woman in America to change her mind about whom she plans to vote for this election, but Breitweiser is no ordinary voter. The New Jersey lawyer-turned-stay-at-home-mom has taken on an increasingly prominent role since September 11. After her husband, Ron, a vice president at Fiduciary Trust, was killed in the World Trade Center, she joined three other widows from her state as activists demanding a full investigation into the 2001 attacks. The group, who call themselves "The Jersey Girls,” have since testified before Congress, met with administration officials, and lobbied successfully for the creation of the 9/11 Commission to look into intelligence failures leading up to the 2001 attacks.
Now Breitweiser has volunteered to join John Kerry’s campaign, speaking out in support of the Democratic challenger across the nation—even agreeing, for the first time since 9/11, to fly on an airplane to get the word out. This Tuesday, she and four other 9/11 widows, along with a survivor of the Pentagon attacks, held a press conference to endorse Kerry. As they described it, their reasons for speaking out are twofold: anger at the war on Iraq and a growing frustration with an administration they accuse of obstructing the investigation into intelligence failures. NEWSWEEK’s Jennifer Barrett Ozols spoke with Breitweiser about her decision and her new role in the White House race. Excerpts:
NEWSWEEK: You supported Bush in 2000. Why are you changing your vote this year?
Kristen Breitweiser: The predominant reason is because I don’t feel President Bush has done everything he could do to make us safer in the three years since 9/11. I’ve personally spent the last three years fighting to try to fix the problems that plague our intelligence apparatus, so we would not be so vulnerable to Al Qaeda the next time around. And during the three years, our largest adversary was the administration. Because of that, I can’t in good conscience vote for President Bush.
The second largest reason is the war in Iraq. We have lost more than a thousand soldiers in Iraq, thousands have been wounded—Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. The net result is that we are more vulnerable to terrorism because Al Qaeda has increased [its] recruitment there, the hatred and animosity toward Americans has increased, worldwide support for Americans has decreased … If President Bush is in office for another four years, I shudder to think of how many other wars unrelated to terrorism he’ll take us into.
Was there a particular moment that triggered your decision to speak out in favor of Kerry?
For me, it was the [Republican National Convention] … At the convention, 9/11 was spoken about constantly and I thought, where was this interest, this passion, this fervor for the last three years when we [9/11 widows] were begging and pleading and screaming to get 9/11 issues addressed by this administration? They wanted nothing to do with it, and then there’s a convention where that’s all they’re talking about: 9/11. I can [also] give you a laundry list of other things that could have been done by this administration in the past three years that were not done. That’s upsetting to me.

William Rivers Pitt., www.truthout.org: The American mainstream television news media, in whole and in part, has catastrophically failed the American people and is singularly responsible for the untimely deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people...
The decision by the mainstream television news media to get into bed with the very entities they are supposed to stand watchdog against has been a mortal one. Once it becomes acceptable to get your reporting from Defense Department and military spin-doctors, without doing any work on your own, the game is over. What started with the Gulf War as a new 'reporting' technique has become an institutionalized process of standing as mouthpiece for those who deserve the strongest scrutiny.
The White House and Defense Department boys know this, and exploited it ruthlessly in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration sought to capitalize on the tragedy by using it as an excuse to invade Iraq, something the power-pitchers in the administration had wanted for more than a decade. A shadowy and little-known media consulting company called The Rendon Group got a $100,000-a-month contract from the Pentagon right after the attacks. The Rendon Group was getting paid to offer media strategy advice. Or, in other words, propaganda.
The Rendon Group has been around a long time, and stands at the center of the media's failure to report accurately on the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Rendon Group has received close to $200 million from the Pentagon and CIA over the last several years to spread anti-Hussein propaganda far and wide. One of the first steps they took was to create in 1992, out of absolute thin air, the Iraqi National Congress. The Iraqi National Congress, and its most famous spokesperson Ahmad Chalabi, are entirely the creation of a media strategy company doing the bidding of the United States government.

www.mediamatters.org: The Republican National Committee (RNC)'s public relations firm, Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, sent a memo to conservative media outlets instructing them not to give airtime to Kitty Kelley, author of The Family: The Real Story Of the Bush Dynasty (Doubleday, September 14). And according to The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, White House communications director Dan Bartlett also discouraged news outlets from covering the book. Media Matters for America tracked mentions of Kelley and her book, as well as her personal appearances, during the week of the book's release (September 13-17) on the four major cable news networks: CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC. The only network on which Kelley did not appear in person is FOX News Channel.

Anne-Marie Cusac, The Progressive: What if Republican shenanigans tip the election? Many members of the media are looking at the dangers voting machines may pose to the integrity of the national election. Others are wondering whether voters may be disenfranchised by use of faulty felon lists, as happened in Florida in 2000. But there is another danger: Republicans may use a variety of tactics to suppress the vote of racial minorities in swing states. These tactics could determine control of the White House or the Senate.
In August, the Zogby International poll raised the number of battleground states from sixteen to twenty. In those states, notes John Zogby, "the pounding has been relentless."
Zogby was referring to negative ads, but the sanctity of the vote is also taking a pounding. In some states, Republicans are threatening to conduct widespread vote challenges in heavily minority areas. In others, recent events suggest that poll workers may wrongly turn away voters. In still others, new laws passed or enforced by Republicans have erected hurdles to trip up the minority vote. And on Election Day itself, say advocates, Republicans may direct numerous tricks at Democratic districts in an effort to confuse or frighten voters.
Here's a rundown of what's happening in several swing states...

[The LNS disagrees with M.M.'s assessment of JFK but M.M. is entitled to his opinion uncensured. He is one of the heroes of the Republic...]

Michael Moore, www.michaelmoore.com: My friends, it is time for a reality check.
1. The polls are wrong. They are all over the map like diarrhea. On Friday, one poll had Bush 13 points ahead -- and another poll had them both tied. There are three reasons why the polls are b.s.: One, they are polling "likely voters." "Likely" means those who have consistently voted in the past few elections. So that cuts out young people who are voting for the first time and a ton of non-voters who are definitely going to vote in THIS election. Second, they are not polling people who use their cell phone as their primary phone. Again, that means they are not talking to young people. Finally, most of the polls are weighted with too many Republicans, as pollster John Zogby revealed last week. You are being snookered if you believe any of these polls.
2. Kerry has brought in the Clinton A-team. Instead of shunning Clinton (as Gore did), Kerry has decided to not make that mistake.
3. Traveling around the country, as I've been doing, I gotta tell ya, there is a hell of a lot of unrest out there. Much of it is not being captured by the mainstream press. But it is simmering and it is real. Do not let those well-produced Bush rallies of angry white people scare you. Turn off the TV! (Except Jon Stewart and Bill Moyers -- everything else is just a sugar-coated lie).
4. Conventional wisdom says if the election is decided on "9/11" (the fear of terrorism), Bush wins. But if it is decided on the job we are doing in Iraq, then Bush loses. And folks, that "job," you might have noticed, has descended into the third level of a hell we used to call Vietnam. There is no way out. It is a full-blown mess of a quagmire and the body bags will sadly only mount higher. Regardless of what Kerry meant by his original war vote, he ain't the one who sent those kids to their deaths -- and Mr. and Mrs. Middle America knows it. Had Bush bothered to show up when he was in the "service" he might have somewhat of a clue as to how to recognize an immoral war that cannot be "won." All he has delivered to Iraq was that plasticized turkey last Thanksgiving. It is this failure of monumental proportions that is going to cook his goose come this November.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)


MSNBC.com
‘He Can Make Us Safe’
A prominent 9/11 widow—and former Republican—explains why she now wants Kerry to win the White House race

WEB EXCLUSIVE
By Jennifer Barrett Ozols
Newsweek
Updated: 4:21 p.m. ET Sept. 17, 2004


Sept. 17 - Kristen Breitweiser supported George W. Bush in 2000. This year, she’s endorsing his opponent. She is certainly not the only woman in America to change her mind about whom she plans to vote for this election, but Breitweiser is no ordinary voter. The New Jersey lawyer-turned-stay-at-home-mom has taken on an increasingly prominent role since September 11. After her husband, Ron, a vice president at Fiduciary Trust, was killed in the World Trade Center, she joined three other widows from her state as activists demanding a full investigation into the 2001 attacks. The group, who call themselves "The Jersey Girls,” have since testified before Congress, met with administration officials, and lobbied successfully for the creation of the 9/11 Commission to look into intelligence failures leading up to the 2001 attacks.

Now Breitweiser has volunteered to join John Kerry’s campaign, speaking out in support of the Democratic challenger across the nation—even agreeing, for the first time since 9/11, to fly on an airplane to get the word out. This Tuesday, she and four other 9/11 widows, along with a survivor of the Pentagon attacks, held a press conference to endorse Kerry. As they described it, their reasons for speaking out are twofold: anger at the war on Iraq and a growing frustration with an administration they accuse of obstructing the investigation into intelligence failures. NEWSWEEK’s Jennifer Barrett Ozols spoke with Breitweiser about her decision and her new role in the White House race. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: You supported Bush in 2000. Why are you changing your vote this year?
Kristen Breitweiser: The predominant reason is because I don’t feel President Bush has done everything he could do to make us safer in the three years since 9/11. I’ve personally spent the last three years fighting to try to fix the problems that plague our intelligence apparatus, so we would not be so vulnerable to Al Qaeda the next time around. And during the three years, our largest adversary was the administration. Because of that, I can’t in good conscience vote for President Bush.

The second largest reason is the war in Iraq. We have lost more than a thousand soldiers in Iraq, thousands have been wounded—Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. The net result is that we are more vulnerable to terrorism because Al Qaeda has increased [its] recruitment there, the hatred and animosity toward Americans has increased, worldwide support for Americans has decreased … If President Bush is in office for another four years, I shudder to think of how many other wars unrelated to terrorism he’ll take us into.

Was there a particular moment that triggered your decision to speak out in favor of Kerry?
For me, it was the [Republican National Convention] … At the convention, 9/11 was spoken about constantly and I thought, where was this interest, this passion, this fervor for the last three years when we [9/11 widows] were begging and pleading and screaming to get 9/11 issues addressed by this administration? They wanted nothing to do with it, and then there’s a convention where that’s all they’re talking about: 9/11. I can [also] give you a laundry list of other things that could have been done by this administration in the past three years that were not done. That’s upsetting to me.

Can you give some examples?
Border security. The 9/11 Commission found that border security is in very bad shape. We’re less secure with regard to border safety than we were. That would take a simple reallocation of funds and for whatever reason it hasn’t been done. There are harder things to do, too, like the reorganization of the intelligence community. I understand that’s a concept that has been out there for 15 years and couldn’t get accomplished. But my God, if 9/11—the largest intelligence failure in U.S. history—was not enough to awaken President Bush to the need to reorganize the intelligence community, I don’t know what is.

What role will you have in the Kerry campaign?
I want to be able to talk to people across the country and make them understand that homeland security must be a priority and explain to them why, in the last four years, homeland security was not a priority. Bush is constantly saying national security is a priority, but where is the proof?

Did the Kerry campaign approach you?
No, I called the Kerry campaign and said we [the group of 9/11 widows] want to support John Kerry and do what we need to do to get the word out. Because we feel like he can make us safe.

You say you encountered initial resistance from the administration regarding the creation of a 9/11 commission. Why was that?
Well, the first argument was that we were a nation at war and we couldn’t spare the vital resources. But if we had established a commission sooner to investigate, as we did with Pearl Harbor, we might not have gone to Iraq because we might have learned that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

In your opinion, what needs to be done now to improve our national security?
Obviously, I’d like to see the 9/11 Commission recommendations thoughtfully put into legislation, which would entail a reorganization of our intelligence committee to better fight terrorism and groups like Al Qaeda specifically. And I would like to know that our transportation system—whether it be subways, buses or planes—are a serious part of our homeland security plan. Borders, nuclear plants, water plants are all vulnerable. Also, I’m a lawyer, and I know that our judicial system needs to be set up so we can successfully prosecute the terrorists. It’s not now. We need to make sure detainees’ rights aren’t being violated, [that] prisoners aren’t being abused. We need to dry up those money lines [to terrorist groups]. We have not made the efforts there.

How hopeful are you that all the 9/11 Commission recommendations will be implemented?
I truly feel the only way the 9/11 Commission recommendations will be implemented with the spirit and intent of what the commission wanted is if Kerry is elected.

Did you ever imagine you would be campaigning for Kerry or playing such a public role?
No, I am a very private person; I am a mom. Now I am a single mom. But what is so motivating for me is the amount of people who have contacted me to say thank you or to say, I feel the same way, I am scared. They ask me, why aren’t we fixing border security and looking into alternative energy sources to oil? That is what keeps you going … We have spent three years being very engaged in this because we feel we have to be. I would love nothing better then to have spent the last three years instead knowing we are safe. I think it’s sad that homeland security is even an issue in this election. I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now if we had addressed this earlier.

© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6030699/site/newsweek/

Your Media is Killing You
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Tuesday 21 September 2004

The American mainstream television news media, in whole and in part, has catastrophically failed the American people and is singularly responsible for the untimely deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people.

The trajectory of this plunge is easy to chart. The 1980s saw unprecedented deregulation of the rules pertaining to the ownership of media outlets. Thus began the combination and consolidation of dozens of differing viewpoints under the iron control of a few massive corporations. The many voices became one voice, and a dullard's voice at that.

The opening year of the 1990s saw the push towards our first war in Iraq. Rather than hold to basic standards set by Edward R. Murrow and the other giants of journalism - see it for yourself, do the legwork, because the American people deserve to know what is happening - the mainstream television news media decided their best course was to allow themselves to be hand-fed by the Pentagon. No footage, no reports, no news whatsoever would be released to the public without first passing through Defense Department screeners. The American people learned from this that war looks like a video game, that death is remote, that victory is a simple matter of pushing a button.

After surrendering their integrity to governmental and military entities which lie as a matter of course, the mainstream television news media learned with the trial of O.J. Simpson the simple truth espoused by H.L. Mencken: "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." Day after day, for sixteen months, every television was filled around the clock with soap-opera entertainment passing itself off as news. The American people, deprived of substantive information about the world around them, learned that real news is only about celebrities.

Then came the greatest entertainment-as-news extravaganza of all time: The Monica Lewinski scandal and the impeachment of a President who lied about sex. As an athlete will lose muscle tone if he stays away from the gym or the playing field, so did the intellectual muscles of the media atrophy after years of avoiding the basic efforts required in their field. Why run a scoop down about the war if I can just publish this Pentagon-prepared battle assessment? Why investigate Whitewater and the death of Vince Foster when I can just regurgitate this fax I just got from the Republican National Committee's media headquarters? If I can just get in front of the camera with a salacious bit of gossip, I can become an anchor. For many 'journalists,' the inflated nonsense of the impeachment was their "White Bronco."

Meanwhile, during the period beginning with the O.J. trial and concluding with the impeachment extravaganza, the Taliban was taking control of Afghanistan in the wake left by the completion of our anti-Soviet policies in that nation. A man named Osama bin Laden was preparing to attack anything and everything American he could get close to. UNSCOM weapons inspectors under Scott Ritter were taking Iraq's chemical and biological warfare capabilities apart literally brick by brick, and the sanctions against that nation, which were killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, were also reducing Saddam Hussein's conventional arsenal to a large collection of formidable paperweights.

One threat was on the rise, another was on the wane, but this is boring stuff compared to ill-fitting leather gloves and a stained blue dress. The American people were never provided the full scope of the security issues facing their country, because the television news media they relied upon didn't want to put in the work. Often, when then-President Clinton acted to address these security issues, he was accused of "wagging the dog," i.e. manufacturing unimportant threats to obscure the really important stuff, like whether or not he purchased gifts for Lewinski at the Big Dog store on Nantucket.

Think of these points - media laziness, media complicity with the powers-that-be, media obsession with fantastically unimportant gossip and tabloidism - and then remember those tall buildings in New York collapsing to the ground. Perhaps the 'journalists' involved could have been focusing on other things before that dark day?

Sunday night's episode of the CBS News program '60 Minutes' had a long, detailed and graphic expose on the fighting that recently took place in Najaf and Fallujah. All of the commercials for the program, however, focused on the '60 Minutes' interview with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. It was a clever bit of sleight-of-hand; by now, Americans have been well-trained to spurn whatever tiny molecules of substantive news that might somehow blunder across their screens, because the truly important stuff has more to do with who is sleeping with J-Lo and how Ben feels about it.

Sports is, of course, the champion distraction. Listen to any sports talk radio show; if the American people could rattle off housing or budget statistics, if they could quote from memory the casualty statistics from Operation Iraqi Freedom, the way they can tell you in half a second how many doubles Manny Ramirez hit in his rookie season, half-bright loafers like George W. Bush would never have a prayer in American politics. Perhaps CBS knew this. Millions of viewers made time to watch Belichick, and were treated to a bloody and terrifying and accurate view of the Iraq occupation that has been thoroughly, completely and utterly absent.

For more than two years now, this column space has been dedicated to describing, with all truth and verified data in hand, the mess an invasion of Iraq would create. This column was among the first to declare that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that any alleged connection between Osama bin Laden and the government of Iraq was laughable on its face, that democracy was a pipe dream in Iraq, that we would not be greeted as liberators, and that any military action in Iraq based upon these unfounded claims would result in a destabilized Middle East, a world filled with furious former allies, and an ocean of blood spilled by American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

All of this has come to pass.

How is it that little truthout.org, with its limited resources and small staff, got it right time and again while ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN and Fox - with their massive financial resources and their huge pool of reporters - got it so totally and continuously wrong? The answer comes in two parts.

The first part is the degree to which these nationally broadcast news stations have become compromised by the corporations that own them. The ownership of the media is key to understanding the process. Take the example of General Electric, owners of NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. This company is one of the largest defense contractors in America; they get paid every time we go to war, and yet we somehow believe they will tell us the truth of war, even though it affects their profit margin. Such thinking is folly.

Take the example of AOL/TimeWarner, owner of CNN. This company lives and dies by the 'outsourcing' of American technological jobs overseas, where labor is cheaper. Do you think they will tell a straight story about the economy with so much on the line? Such thinking is folly, and never mind the fact that AOL/TimeWarner's largest investor is a Saudi. So much for the truth about who really supports Osama bin Laden and international terrorism. So much for the truth about what really happened on September 11, and why.

The decision by the mainstream television news media to get into bed with the very entities they are supposed to stand watchdog against has been a mortal one. Once it becomes acceptable to get your reporting from Defense Department and military spin-doctors, without doing any work on your own, the game is over. What started with the Gulf War as a new 'reporting' technique has become an institutionalized process of standing as mouthpiece for those who deserve the strongest scrutiny.

The White House and Defense Department boys know this, and exploited it ruthlessly in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration sought to capitalize on the tragedy by using it as an excuse to invade Iraq, something the power-pitchers in the administration had wanted for more than a decade. A shadowy and little-known media consulting company called The Rendon Group got a $100,000-a-month contract from the Pentagon right after the attacks. The Rendon Group was getting paid to offer media strategy advice. Or, in other words, propaganda.

The Rendon Group has been around a long time, and stands at the center of the media's failure to report accurately on the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Rendon Group has received close to $200 million from the Pentagon and CIA over the last several years to spread anti-Hussein propaganda far and wide. One of the first steps they took was to create in 1992, out of absolute thin air, the Iraqi National Congress. The Iraqi National Congress, and its most famous spokesperson Ahmad Chalabi, are entirely the creation of a media strategy company doing the bidding of the United States government.

Since 1992, the Iraqi National Congress has become accepted completely by the mainstream news media as a legitimate group. They were embraced by the American Congress under Newt Gingrich and given hundreds of millions of dollars. They were, with the help of the aforementioned Congress, the driving force behind the passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act in 1998, an Act which made the removal of Saddam Hussein a matter of American law. All this for a group made out of nothing by what amounts to a media consulting company.

The post-9/11 money paid to the Rendon Group returned handsome dividends for the investment. Rendon creation Ahmad Chalabi, who has since been accused of giving vital national security secrets to Iran, arranged an interview between Judith Millerof the New York Times and an Iraqi defector named Adnan Ishan Saeed al-Haidieri. al-Haidieri claimed to have personal knowledge of the vast and growing stockpiles of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Miller, thinking Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress were worthy sources, believed al-Haidieri and printed an exclusive report on the threat posed by Iraq in the Times.

Time and a little legwork has since exposed al-Haidieri as a total fraud, but Rendon's propaganda got out there; as the New York Times goes, so goes the rest of the mainstream media. Miller's report, released in 2001, created a landslide push towards war, and allowed George W. Bush to sell the American people a frightening and utterly inaccurate portrait of why war was necessary, and necessary now.

Companies like The Rendon Group are a bellweather for exactly how depraved our journalistic institutions have become. Millions of dollars in government contracts are there for the taking by anyone who wants to scam the media with bogus stories. The media is more than happy to oblige, because it relieves them of having to put the necessary work in. Meanwhile, stories that might negatively affect the parent companies go by the boards, and everyone is happy.

Well, almost everyone is happy. The families of 1,033 American soldiers who have died in Iraq aren't happy. The families of the 17,000 or so American soldiers who have been 'medically evacuated' from Iraq for things like missing legs and faces aren't happy. The families of the 20,000 or so civilians killed in the invasion of Iraq aren't happy, and a lot of them are taking their unhappiness to the streets with grenades and rifles so they can make more American families unhappy by killing American soldiers.

Don't look to the mainstream television news media for an apology or a reversal of course anytime soon. They can't report the truth now. To do so would expose them as the incompetent lapdogs they have become, and as anyone who has ever screwed up at work knows, the hardest person to face after a grievous error is the person you find in the mirror.

The second part of the answer to that question - How is it that little truthout.org got it right time and again while the entire mainstream television news media got it wrong? - is simplicity itself.

We put in the work. We did the research in triplicate. We talked to the people who knew the score. We took the time. We cared. We understood that September 11 did not require us to click our heels and say "Yes sir!" to whatever balderdash Mr. Bush and his crew spouted. Quite completely the opposite is true. We understood that September 11 made it more important than ever for us to be very, very good at what we do.

The American mainstream television news media, in whole and in part, has catastrophically failed the American people and is singularly responsible for the untimely deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. It is not too late for them to reverse course, to take again the simple rules and requirements espoused by Murrow and Mencken and place them at the forefront of their institutional mission. Nothing less than the basic stability of our republic is at stake.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and international bestseller of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'

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RNC's p.r. firm urged conservative media to ignore Kelley's Bush book; FOX the only cable network not to host author

The Republican National Committee (RNC)'s public relations firm, Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, sent a memo to conservative media outlets instructing them not to give airtime to Kitty Kelley, author of The Family: The Real Story Of the Bush Dynasty (Doubleday, September 14). And according to The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, White House communications director Dan Bartlett also discouraged news outlets from covering the book. Media Matters for America tracked mentions of Kelley and her book, as well as her personal appearances, during the week of the book's release (September 13-17) on the four major cable news networks: CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC. The only network on which Kelley did not appear in person is FOX News Channel.

As of September 17, Kelley had personally appeared for three interviews on CNN (NewsNight with Aaron Brown, American Morning, and Lou Dobbs Tonight), one interview on MSNBC (Hardball with Chris Matthews), and one interview on CNBC (Capital Report). In addition, several news programs on CNBC, CNN, and MSNBC aired clips of Kelley's interviews on NewsNight and on NBC's Today show. FOX News Channel, meanwhile, did not air or schedule a single interview with Kelley.

While Kelley has not appeared on the network, FOX News Channel hosts have made negative references to her on their programs. Brit Hume labeled Kelley a "gossip" [Special Report with Brit Hume, September 9]; Sean Hannity claimed Kelley was "discredited" and expressed outrage that the Today show would devote three days to her [Hannity & Colmes, September 15]; and Bill O'Reilly disparaged The New York Times for publishing a review of "the Kelley dirt" and the media in general for "giving huge exposure to Kitty Kelley's hatchet job on the Bush family" [The O'Reilly Factor, September 15]. O'Reilly solicited input from viewers and listeners on whether or not he should interview Kelley on his show. On September 14, O'Reilly reported that "50,000 Factor viewers and listeners voted down Ms. Kelley in a billoreilly.com poll. So we canceled her appearance here." O'Reilly said: "I just didn't want to get down there in the muck."

U.S. News & World Report's September 14 "U.S. News Bulletin" reported that Shirley & Banister Public Affairs sent a memorandum to conservative media outlets discouraging them from giving Kelley airtime:

"New Media" Urged To Ignore Kitty Kelley And Her Book.

Conservative talk radio, TV and print outlets are being urged to ignore Kelley, author of The Family: The Real Story Of the Bush Dynasty. "Don't give Kitty Kelley air time," says a memo from the conservative and influential PR firm Shirley & Banister Public Affairs. The memo was sent as NBC's Today Show was set to interview Kelley over three days.

Shirley & Banister Public Affairs is a public relations and government affairs firm founded by Craig Shirley, a longtime Republican activist. Shirley & Banister's client list is a virtual Who's Who of Republican and conservative organizations, including the RNC, the Cato Institute, Citizens United, The Club for Growth, The Federalist Society, The Gingrich Group, The Heritage Foundation, and the National Rifle Association. Shirley's clients have also included discredited right-wing authors Gary Aldrich and Ann Coulter.

— A.F. & M.J.

Posted to the web on Monday September 20, 2004 at 12:34 PM EST

Counted Out

By Anne-Marie Cusac, The Progressive. Posted September 20, 2004.


What if Republican shenanigans tip the election? Many members of the media are looking at the dangers voting machines may pose to the integrity of the national election. Others are wondering whether voters may be disenfranchised by use of faulty felon lists, as happened in Florida in 2000. But there is another danger: Republicans may use a variety of tactics to suppress the vote of racial minorities in swing states. These tactics could determine control of the White House or the Senate.

In August, the Zogby International poll raised the number of battleground states from sixteen to twenty. In those states, notes John Zogby, "the pounding has been relentless."

Zogby was referring to negative ads, but the sanctity of the vote is also taking a pounding. In some states, Republicans are threatening to conduct widespread vote challenges in heavily minority areas. In others, recent events suggest that poll workers may wrongly turn away voters. In still others, new laws passed or enforced by Republicans have erected hurdles to trip up the minority vote. And on Election Day itself, say advocates, Republicans may direct numerous tricks at Democratic districts in an effort to confuse or frighten voters.

Here's a rundown of what's happening in several swing states.

Arizona

On the ballot in Arizona this November is a Republican-authored referendum called Protect Arizona Now or Proposition 200, which would do several things, including requiring proof of citizenship for anyone registering to vote. Steve Gallardo, a Democratic state legislator from Arizona, worries about what some supporters of that initiative might do. "There's a lot of rumors... that they want to stand out in front of polling places and report voters-anyone they feel is here illegally and is voting in our elections," he says. "Our fear is they're going to intimidate Arizona citizens, U.S. citizens who are brown-skinned. Imagine going up to the poll and seeing a man standing there with a gun and asking if you're a citizen. Are you not going to turn away?"

The Arizona attorney general's office acknowledges that it has heard similar rumors.

Does Protect Arizona Now plan to make an appearance at the polls? "I really don't know what we're going to do," says Kathy McKee, the founder of Protect Arizona Now. She says she's worried about fraud.

"In our state, a person can register to vote from a computer in their home, mail in their registration, and they have not shown their face in public, much less their identity," says McKee. Lots of people, she says, are "coming across our borders illegally and getting jobs, which is a felony. Why would they hesitate to vote?" McKee and other Protect Arizona Now members say that voter fraud is already high in the state and is bound to rise in the close election. The voter registration drives targeting the state have piqued their anger. "There are several groups from around the country that have just besieged Arizona," says McKee. "Project Vote Smart, which really disappointed me. The infamous Southwest Voter Registration Project, Moving America Forward, New American Freedom Summer, the Urban Institute. They have been in this state only targeting Hispanic voters. That's the most racist thing I've ever heard."

On September 7, primary day, two gentlemen came to Tucson Precinct 30, says a poll worker there named Ross (who does not want his last name mentioned). "They were both very intimidating and forceful looking," he says. "They said they were checking polls to see if illegal aliens were voting. They said their organization's name was Truth in Action." The men, says Ross, told him they believed that "Mexicans are coming to vote because it's really easy."

"They were making the runs on all kinds of polls," says Aurora Duron, AFL-CIO Tucson coordinator of the My Vote-My Right Campaign.

Russ Dove is editor of tianews.com, the website of Truth in Action, which supports Protect Arizona Now. He says he visited five polls on September 7. As a door-to-door campaigner for Proposition 200, Dove says he heard "verbal evidence from individuals on the street who said, 'Yes, illegal immigrants are voting.' " Dove says he is "bent on discovering" how many are doing so.

On the day I contact Dove, he is a little out of sorts. The AFL-CIO, he says, has accused him of intimidating voters. "Why would someone who supports the Constitution and wants to exercise his rights as a citizen intimidate U.S. citizens?" he asks. "What they're saying is that they know there are illegals voting."

On primary day, Dove says he sported "a black T-shirt with 'U.S. Constitutional Enforcement' on the back" and the image of a badge on the front. "I wear a tool belt," he says. On primary day, that belt carried tools, a camera, and a video recorder. Dove says he used the camera to take "some photographs of the polling places." He used the video recorder to film "all the conversations I had." Dove says that more people want to monitor polls in November. "After the AFL-CIO threw their fit," he says, people started wanting to get involved. "They said, 'Let's get the T-shirts printed up and let's go," he says.

"The only people we will bother are people who are in violation of the law," says Dove. For instance, if he sees "a busload of Hispanic individuals who didn't speak English and who voted," he plans to follow that bus to make sure they aren't voting more than once.

Florida

The state that started it all in 2000 is no stranger to controversy this election. In July, The Miami Herald revealed that the state issued faulty felon purge lists containing the names of 48,000 people it said were ineligible to vote. Among these were 2,100 who actually were eligible voters. Many of these people were African American Democrats. The list of 48,000 also contained only sixty-one Hispanic names. (Because of Florida's large Cuban population, the Hispanic vote in Florida is predominantly Republican. The Florida African American vote, on the other hand, tends to be heavily Democratic.)

In mid-August, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert revealed that the state was investigating get-out-the-vote drives among blacks in Orlando by sending armed police officers into the homes of citizens who had filed absentee ballots. Most of these citizens were African American, and many were elderly.

And in Florida's late August primary, representatives from People for the American Way saw poll workers turn back registered voters who neglected to bring their IDs. "Under Florida law," noted The New York Times, "registered voters can vote without showing identification."

But there's a lot more going on in the state, according to Alma Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the Voter Protection Coalition in Florida and special counsel to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "We keep hoping that they've learned from 2000," but early indications are that they haven't, she says. "When some of our members have gone to early voting or to register to vote, they're being asked if they're citizens of the United States." Gonzalez says she has heard from "about half a dozen people, all of them in South Florida," who approached the polls as part of the early election only to be asked their citizenship. And it's not poll watchers who are asking, says Gonzalez. It's "the poll workers, the duly deputized election officials."

Registered voters, Gonzalez points out, have already attested to their citizenship in their registration forms. "They cannot ask you your citizenship at the polling place. It's unlawful," says Gonzalez. "When that question is asked of you" based on your skin color or the fact that you have an accent, "it is not intended to ensure that you're complying with the law. It's intended to suppress voters." And, even though public attention to the faulty felon voter purge lists led the Florida government to say belatedly that it would not use them this time, the word has traveled slowly. "We are still getting reports from people when they go to vote in different parts of the state," says Gonzalez. "Apparently, there are still inaccuracies."

Then there's the provisional ballot crisis. In Florida in 2000, many people who attempted to vote found that they were not on the rolls, even though they had registered. This is the reasoning behind the provisional ballot requirement in the federal Help America Vote Act. If a voter is wrongly removed from the rolls in the future, he or she should be able to file a provisional ballot. Most states interpret this part of the act as allowing provisional ballots as long as the voter files them in the correct county. Florida is a little different. Rather than the correct county, voters must submit their provisional ballots to the correct precinct. "This will disenfranchise thousands and thousands of voters," says Gonzalez.

So the AFL-CIO is suing Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, along with two election supervisors from areas of Florida that have seen some of the largest population increases, and some of the most marked changes in precinct lines. The precinct requirements "impermissibly abridge the right to vote," the AFL says.

How intentional is all this on the part of Florida officials? "They're all intentional," Gonzalez says. "People didn't do these things in their sleep." Then she qualifies the point, saying the real question is, are they intentionally trying to suppress voter turnout? "I'm not going to make that allegation," she says. "I know what the result is." And, she points out, under the Voting Rights Act, the issue is not whether you intended to disenfranchise people, but what is the result. "These election schemes and the conduct of these officials are undermining" the rights of people to vote.

Michigan

Michigan is the state that Jon Greenbaum, director of the Voting Rights Project for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, mentions as a potential trouble spot. On July 16, the Detroit Free Press quoted John Pappageorge, a Republican state representative from Troy, Michigan, who said, "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election cycle." Detroit is 83 percent African American.

Pappageorge later told the Associated Press that he was not advocating suppression of the black vote but that "you get it [the Detroit vote] down with a good message."

Cecelie Counts, AFL-CIO director of civil, human, and women's rights, says she thinks Pappageorge was acknowledging the truth the first time around. "That is the political reality in most of these swing states," she says. Democrats "can't win Ohio or Michigan or Pennsylvania without the African American vote, without a tremendous African American vote." And, she says, by using census numbers, Republican strategists "can pinpoint places" where minority voters are likely to influence an election. "They know it's Detroit. They know it's Kansas City and St. Louis. They know it's Las Vegas."

In late April, the Republican Party of Michigan announced that it hoped to recruit 1,000 poll watchers to monitor elections. The party told the Detroit Free Press that it planned to assign 300 of those to Oakland County, home of Pontiac, which is heavily minority. Why? The Republicans claimed that they had evidence that some people there had voted up to four times under different names. But even Republican Oakland County Clerk G. William Caddell doubted the allegation. "Last night was the first I'd heard of any problems," Caddell told the paper. "I want to be a good party person, but I haven't heard about this, and none of my local clerks have reported problems."

"We know there is going to be an aggressive effort to have poll watchers" across the country, including in Pontiac, says Greenbaum. "A poll watcher can be very intimidating." He says poll workers can confront voters with questions like, "What's your name?" or "What are you doing here?" or imply that the voters shouldn't be voting.

At issue is whether the poll watchers "are making accusations" that are based on real reasons or whether they're trying to slow down the lines "and impede voters, so less polling gets done," says Greenbaum.

Michigan is no stranger to aggressive poll watchers. In the 1999 election, a group calling itself Citizens for a Better Hamtramck went to the polling centers in Hamtramck, Michigan, and approached people who appeared to be Arab. "As people were standing outside waiting to vote, this group took it upon itself to ask people to prove they were citizens," says Laila Al-Qatami, communications director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "They were asking voters to step aside and say an oath of citizenship, even if they were capable of producing a U.S. passport." The group, says Al-Qatami, humiliated people, prohibited people from entering and voting and broke the law. The U.S. government filed a lawsuit that claimed violations of the Voting Rights Act. As part of an agreement resolving the suit, the U.S. Justice Department sent election monitors to Hamtramck between 2000 and 2003.

Missouri

The secretary of state of Missouri, Matt Blunt, is running for governor on the Republican Party ticket. "This gentleman has a vested interest in suppressing the black voter turnout in this state," says John Hickey, executive director of the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition.

"That is a ridiculous statement," says Spence Jackson, spokesperson for Blunt. "It is directly because of Matt Blunt's leadership that we have provisional balloting in our state." Because of Blunt, says Jackson, "thousands of voters have been given the opportunity to vote when they otherwise would not have had it." Provisional ballots allow voters who lack IDs, or whose names don't appear on the rolls, to cast votes. But the version Blunt introduced, concedes Jackson, requires that voters file any provisional ballots in the correct precinct-a demand that prompted a lawsuit from the Democratic Party and some citizens of Kansas City.

The suit claims that the new federal Help America Vote Act supersedes the older state law. It also alleges that toll-free help lines were so jammed during the August primary that many voters were unable to find out their correct polling site.

Other ominous problems cropped up that day. "In Democratic districts, which also happened to be predominantly African American, there were polls that opened late, like 10 a.m. instead of 7 a.m., which is a real problem for working people," says Counts of the AFL-CIO. "The hours weren't extended during the evening." Counts also says that "people who showed up without ID were turned away from the polls and not given /provisional ballots," even though that's what the law required.

The ID requirement, says Hickey, is a new law aimed at the black vote. It requires voters "to present the picture ID, unless the election official recognizes you." Where are they going to recognize you? asks Hickey. In small towns and rural areas, which, he points out, are majority white. In urban areas, says Hickey, it's more likely that poll workers won't recognize you, especially in areas that are poor and where people move frequently. "That means you need a picture ID in the city and not the country. The city's black. The country's white."

The new law amounts to "a sophisticated effort to suppress the vote," says Hickey. And he says the Republicans have given thought to this strategy. "OK, if we can shave off 1,000 black votes here and 500 black votes there, that's how" we're going to win. "It is disproportionately excluding poor and minority voters, and that is exactly why the Republicans passed that law after they took over the legislature."

Nevada

In late August, Gary Peck, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada, met with the registrars from the Reno and Las Vegas areas. Peck says the registrar of Washoe County, which includes Reno, "noted that he had received calls" from people identifying themselves as members of the Republican Party. These Republicans, according to Peck, said "they intended to be out at polling places to challenge voters."

The registrar of Washoe County is Daniel Burk. "An official of the Republican Party" came to his office one day with a small group, he says. The official asked how to launch a "full-scale program for challenging voters who come to the polls." Burk says he informed the Republicans that vote challenges should be used narrowly, when one voter with personal knowledge of another calls attention to a problem.

"One said, 'Well, we were thinking of a wider scale use of it. We were thinking of challenging lots of voters,' " says Burk. It was the way they looked at each other, he says. "I began to wonder, what are they up to? I just told them I wouldn't tolerate it. The process isn't designed for one party challenging another."

Burk worked as a registrar in Oregon for eighteen years before he came to his position in Nevada seven years ago. "I have never in all those twenty-five years had a person challenge another person," he says.

The revelations, says Peck, are "consistent with reports people are getting all around the country. Republicans have a national strategy of going out and challenging voters" come November 2. "Our concerns are utterly nonpartisan," says Peck. "It's the integrity and fairness of the election." Although Nevada law does allow for voter challenges when a challenger has personal information about a voter's citizenship or place of residence, "it becomes problematic when people are using this strategically, in a partisan way." For instance, he says, "it would certainly be improper if they picked out the names of Latinos."

Juventino Camarena, a field representative for the Painters Union, is registering voters and keeping an eye out on voter protection issues as part of the My Vote-My Right campaign of the AFL-CIO. He is worried. "The people have been thinking what happened in Florida couldn't happen in Nevada," Camarena says. "Now, we're seeing little tactics here and little tactics there. There are all kinds of ways to confuse a person so bad that he takes it to his heart that it's so difficult, and I'm doing it for what? I've seen it in Mexico since I was a little kid. That's why I took it to heart to stop it. They're suppressing the right of the voter."

New Mexico

In August, a group comprised mostly of Republicans filed a suit claiming that people who were registering for the first time through a third party voter registration group, such as ACORN, should have to show IDs when they voted. The group said it was worried about voter fraud. Democrats said the Republicans were trying to disenfranchise voters.

"The plaintiffs are not able to demonstrate any fraud whatsoever," Luis Stelzner, an attorney, said while arguing against the ID requirement, according to the Associated Press. "The only thing we've heard from them is a vague fear of fraud." (Two plaintiffs in the suit who said that they were concerned about voter registration fraud admitted that they knew of no instances of the crime.) On September 7, Robert Thompson, a state district judge, refused to issue an injunction to force people to show IDs at the polls. "The eleventh-hour request by the plaintiffs creates a risk of substantially disrupting the public voting process, which far outweighs any potential harm to the plaintiffs," wrote Thompson in his decision.

The fraud allegations may be the least of the problems. Reyna Juarez, the administrative director of Revisioning New Mexico, a social justice organization connected to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, says that in 2000 her organization received reports that the immigration patrol showed up near some New Mexican polling sites. "Down south, they have the migra trucks that sit outside and scare people away," she says. "Not necessarily right outside the polls but in the neighborhood of the polls, so you see these enormous lime-green trucks."

South Dakota

South Dakota is hardly a swing state in the common sense, since George W. Bush is set to win here by a landslide. But the state is seeing a rough Senatorial race. The Republicans have targeted Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle for removal. And one tool is a new law that requires all voters to show ID at the polls and get all absentee ballots notarized.

During the 2002 election, Democratic Senator Tim Johnson won his seat by only 524 votes. He had strong Native American support. Republicans weren't happy about that. "In South Dakota, the common tactic is to allege voter fraud," particularly when the Democrats win, says Bryan Sells, staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. "Usually it's called 'Indian voter fraud.' In fact, I can't recall a case of someone alleging 'non-Indian voter fraud.' The idea is, whether true or not, you create the sense" that Native American voters are not to be trusted.

After investigating fifty charges of fraud following that 2002 election, State Attorney General Mark Barnett, a Republican, said, "There was no widespread fraud and the election results are valid. No one stole the election."

Nonetheless, Republicans introduced legislation that Sells characterizes as "voter suppression." The legislation requires South Dakotans to show a picture ID in order to vote or else write up an affidavit. And, if they vote by absentee ballot, they need to get it notarized. The legislation, he says, will make it "harder to vote at the polls, harder to register, and harder to vote by absentee ballot," especially for people on reservations. "I don't know if you've ever been to a reservation, but there aren't a lot of notaries around."

Among Native Americans in South Dakota, there is a widespread belief that the legislation is aimed at them. "They decided, we got to do something to slow down the Indian vote," says Alfred Bone Shirt, a plaintiff in one of the five recent voting rights lawsuits the ACLU has filed in the state. "The bottom line of it all is racism." Jesse Clausen, who has been active in many voter registration drives, puts it another way. "In the summer of 2003, the South Dakota State Senate passed new laws to keep Native American people from voting," Clausen says. "Indian people living in poverty might have higher priority on other things than spending $8 to get their driver's license." Clausen points out that many people on the reservations don't have cars.

During a special election held on June 1, the effect of the new law on the Native American vote started to show. "People would go in and say, 'Well, I don't have an ID,' and [poll workers] would let it be known that if they didn't have an ID, they should turn around and leave," says Clausen.

Poll workers weren't supposed to do that. According to the law, they were supposed to give voters who lacked IDs an affidavit. Once signed, the affidavit would allow people to vote. Jason Schulte, executive director of the Democratic Party of South Dakota, says that, "mostly on or near reservations," people who forgot to bring their IDs "were not told about the affidavit scenario." Daschle himself says he "heard from countless voters who experienced difficulty when attempting to vote."

"Indians were disproportionately affected by the ID requirement," says Sells, adding that there were just more hurdles for Native Americans to leap.

Is this intentional on the part of the Republicans? Sells doesn't hesitate. "Yeah," he says. "In South Dakota, anyway. I don't for a minute suggest that Republicans have the suppression market cornered, but that's how it operates in South Dakota."

Additional efforts to suppress the vote are bound to happen in the last week of the campaign and on Election Day itself. Then, it will be almost impossible to remedy the situation.

Jim Gardner, communications director for the Missouri Democratic Party, describes some of the tactics that he says have happened in his state during past elections: "Videotaping people as they're coming into the polling place. Parking near a polling place in a Crown Victoria with a couple of guys in dark suits.... A whisper campaign that everyone trying to vote who has outstanding traffic tickets will be arrested." Gardner, who says the party had reports of such occurrences in 2000, says the Missouri Democrats have also heard stories in past elections of people handing out flyers in Democratic precincts that say, "Don't forget to vote on Wednesday, November 4," when the election is Tuesday, November 3.

If groups start trying to suppress the vote a month out from the election, says Greenbaum of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, "it gives people like us plenty of opportunity to react." Whereas, if voter suppression happens just before or the day of the election, "it's actually more likely to be effective." Greenbaum's organization faxed me a series of signs that have appeared in Democratic precincts on or near election day. One sign, which appeared in Baltimore in 2002, is entirely in capital letters. "URGENT NOTICE," it reads. "COME OUT TO VOTE ON NOVEMBER 6th. BEFORE YOU COME TO VOTE MAKE SURE YOU PAY YOUR

- PARKING TICKETS

- MOTOR VEHICLE TICKETS

- OVERDUE RENT

AND MOST IMPORTANT

ANY WARRANTS"

A second sign, this one from 1996, uses a tiny font to inform prospective voters that they may get into trouble when they walk into the booth. "Thanks to advances in computer technology Voting Machines can now be equipped with computers inside. The computers can be connected to a phone line to Federal State, and Local government agencies to instantly check if a voter is:


A NON-CITIZEN


Wanted on Criminal or Traffic Warrants or Parole or Probation violations
Is behind on child support payments
Is cheating on Welfare, Food Stamps, AFDC, Section 8 or Medicaid by earning money 'off the books'
Has defaulted on government-backed student loans
Has failed to file income taxes for two or more years."

In late August, People for the American Way and the NAACP released a report entitled, "The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today." "In every national American election since Reconstruction, every election since the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965, voters-particularly African American voters and other minorities-have faced calculated and determined efforts at intimidation and suppression," says the report. However, it describes recent voter suppression tactics as "more subtle, cynical, and creative" than "the poll taxes, literacy tests, and physical violence of the Jim Crow era."

Jim Crow is still casting a very long shadow.

Anne-Marie Cusac is an investigative reporter at The Progressive.


Mike's Words : Mike's Message
Monday, September 20th, 2004
Put Away Your Hankies...a message from Michael Moore


9/20/04

Dear Friends,

Enough of the handwringing! Enough of the doomsaying! Do I have to come there and personally calm you down? Stop with all the defeatism, OK? Bush IS a goner -- IF we all just quit our whining and bellyaching and stop shaking like a bunch of nervous ninnies. Geez, this is embarrassing! The Republicans are laughing at us. Do you ever see them cry, "Oh, it's all over! We are finished! Bush can't win! Waaaaaa!"

Hell no. It's never over for them until the last ballot is shredded. They are never finished -- they just keeping moving forward like sharks that never sleep, always pushing, pulling, kicking, blocking, lying.

They are relentless and that is why we secretly admire them -- they just simply never, ever give up. Only 30% of the country calls itself "Republican," yet the Republicans own it all -- the White House, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and the majority of the governorships. How do you think they've been able to pull that off considering they are a minority? It's because they eat you and me and every other liberal for breakfast and then spend the rest of the day wreaking havoc on the planet.

Look at us -- what a bunch of crybabies. Bush gets a bounce after his convention and you would have thought the Germans had run through Poland again. The Bushies are coming, the Bushies are coming! Yes, they caught Kerry asleep on the Swift Boat thing. Yes, they found the frequency in Dan Rather and ran with it. Suddenly it's like, "THE END IS NEAR! THE SKY IS FALLING!"

No, it is not. If I hear one more person tell me how lousy a candidate Kerry is and how he can't win... Dammit, of COURSE he's a lousy candidate -- he's a Democrat, for heavens sake! That party is so pathetic, they even lose the elections they win! What were you expecting, Bruce Springsteen heading up the ticket? Bruce would make a helluva president, but guys like him don't run -- and neither do you or I. People like Kerry run.

Yes, OF COURSE any of us would have run a better, smarter, kick-ass campaign. Of course we would have smacked each and every one of those phony swifty boaty bastards down. But WE are not running for president -- Kerry is. So quit complaining and work with what we have. Oprah just gave 300 women a... Pontiac! Did you see any of them frowning and moaning and screaming, "Oh God, NOT a friggin' Pontiac!" Of course not, they were happy. The Pontiacs all had four wheels, an engine and a gas pedal. You want more than that, well, I can't help you. I had a Pontiac once and it lasted a good year. And it was a VERY good year.

My friends, it is time for a reality check.

1. The polls are wrong. They are all over the map like diarrhea. On Friday, one poll had Bush 13 points ahead -- and another poll had them both tied. There are three reasons why the polls are b.s.: One, they are polling "likely voters." "Likely" means those who have consistently voted in the past few elections. So that cuts out young people who are voting for the first time and a ton of non-voters who are definitely going to vote in THIS election. Second, they are not polling people who use their cell phone as their primary phone. Again, that means they are not talking to young people. Finally, most of the polls are weighted with too many Republicans, as pollster John Zogby revealed last week. You are being snookered if you believe any of these polls.

2. Kerry has brought in the Clinton A-team. Instead of shunning Clinton (as Gore did), Kerry has decided to not make that mistake.

3. Traveling around the country, as I've been doing, I gotta tell ya, there is a hell of a lot of unrest out there. Much of it is not being captured by the mainstream press. But it is simmering and it is real. Do not let those well-produced Bush rallies of angry white people scare you. Turn off the TV! (Except Jon Stewart and Bill Moyers -- everything else is just a sugar-coated lie).

4. Conventional wisdom says if the election is decided on "9/11" (the fear of terrorism), Bush wins. But if it is decided on the job we are doing in Iraq, then Bush loses. And folks, that "job," you might have noticed, has descended into the third level of a hell we used to call Vietnam. There is no way out. It is a full-blown mess of a quagmire and the body bags will sadly only mount higher. Regardless of what Kerry meant by his original war vote, he ain't the one who sent those kids to their deaths -- and Mr. and Mrs. Middle America knows it. Had Bush bothered to show up when he was in the "service" he might have somewhat of a clue as to how to recognize an immoral war that cannot be "won." All he has delivered to Iraq was that plasticized turkey last Thanksgiving. It is this failure of monumental proportions that is going to cook his goose come this November.

So, do not despair. All is not over. Far from it. The Bush people need you to believe that it is over. They need you to slump back into your easy chair and feel that sick pain in your gut as you contemplate another four years of George W. Bush. They need you to wish we had a candidate who didn't windsurf and who was just as smart as we were when WE knew Bush was lying about WMD and Saddam planning 9/11. It's like Karl Rove is hypnotizing you -- "Kerry voted for the war...Kerry voted for the war...Kerrrrrryyy vooootted fooooor theeee warrrrrrrrrr..."

Yes...Yes...Yesssss....He did! HE DID! No sense in fighting now...what I need is sleep...sleeep...sleeeeeeppppp...

WAKE UP! The majority are with us! More than half of all Americans are pro-choice, want stronger environmental laws, are appalled that assault weapons are back on the street -- and 54% now believe the war is wrong. YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO CONVINCE THEM OF ANY OF THIS -- YOU JUST HAVE TO GIVE THEM A RAY OF HOPE AND A RIDE TO THE POLLS. CAN YOU DO THAT? WILL YOU DO THAT?

Just for me, please? Buck up. The country is almost back in our hands. Not another negative word until Nov. 3rd! Then you can bitch all you want about how you wish Kerry was still that long-haired kid who once had the courage to stand up for something. Personally, I think that kid is still inside him. Instead of the wailing and gnashing of your teeth, why not hold out a hand to him and help the inner soldier/protester come out and defeat the forces of evil we now so desperately face. Do we have any other choice?

Yours,

Michael Moore
www.michaelmoore.com
mmflint@aol.com

Posted by richard at 06:40 PM

September 20, 2004

Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 43 Days to Go -- Youth vote, Al Qaeda's endorsement, aWOL, Iraq, Global Warming

There are 43 days to go until the national referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the _resident and the VICE _resident. Sadly, the US regimestream news media, in particular, the major network and cable news organizations, as well as the WASHPS and the NYTwits, are not just failing to provide you with substantive coverage and insightful commentary, they are COMPLICIT, they are full partners in a Triad of shared special interest (oil, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) along with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-tahe-Republican-Party, they are carrying Rove's filthy water...Here are five very important LNS selections. Please read them, and share them with others. There is an Electoral Uprising coming in November. Please vote and encourage others to vote. There are two kinds of polls, the cooked ones they broadcast to cultivate despair, disbelief and disinformation among us, and the real ones they study in their war room. The real ones are making them very nervous. Please remember that the US regimstream news media does not want to inform you about this election or the choice it offers you, it wants to DISinform you...There is an Electoral Uprising coming at the Ballot Box in 43 days..."Fear no darkness."

Martha Irvine, Associated Press: Officials in several other battleground states — New Mexico, Ohio and Florida among them — see clear signs that more young people are interested in this election. And some election experts believe that polls of "likely voters" often miss young people because the population is so mobile...
In Wisconsin, the New Voters Project claims to have registered more than 109,000 young people — numbers election officials say they have "no reason to doubt."
Officials at Rock the Vote — a nationwide campaign aimed at young people — say they expect registration numbers to surge as deadlines in many states approach. In the first two weeks of September alone, more than 163,000 people filled out and downloaded registration forms from Rock the Vote's Web site. Hans Riemer, the organization's Washington, D.C., director, says that in the past week as many as 20,000 people a day used the site to register.

Reuters: Britain’s ambassador to Italy described President Bush as “the best recruiting sergeant” for al-Qaida, Italian media reported on Monday.
The comment, made at a closed-door conference at the weekend, was denounced by one leading Italian newspaper editor, who issued an open letter snubbing the veteran ambassador, Sir Ivor Roberts.
Roberts was quoted as telling an annual Anglo-Italian gathering in Tuscany, “If anyone is ready to celebrate the eventual re-election of Bush, it’s al-Qaida.”
Corriere della Sera newspaper said Roberts also told the meeting of British and Italian policy-makers, “Bush is al-Qaida’s best recruiting sergeant.”

Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), www.johnkerry.com: “One clear sign of weakness and failed leadership is when a politician stoops to the politics of fear. In the last twenty-four hours Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House, has joined the fear mongering choir. Last night, he said something to the effect that Al Qaeda wants John Kerry to be President of the United States. Let me say this in the simplest possible terms: when John Kerry is President of the United States, we will find Al Qaeda where they are and crush them before they can do damage to the American people.
“Over and over, this president and his cronies have taken one of our nation’s greatest tragedies and used it as part of a cheap political ploy. With their words, they seek to divide us and they dishonor the fallen. They want to scare the American people but they will pay a price in November.
“None of us should be surprised by this, because just two or three weeks ago we heard what Dick Cheney said about this. He said that if you don't vote for him and George Bush come November and there is another terrorist attack, then it's your fault.
“The truth is that this statement by Dick Cheney was not an accident. It was calculated and it was calculated to divide us on one of the most critical issues to our country, keeping the American people safe and secure. It was un-American. The President of the United States should say it was un-American.”

James Moore, www.buzzflash.com: The available evidence is still pointing in the direction of deceit and the smoke machine fueled by the CBS memos cannot hide that fact. The president continues to refuse to allow uncontrolled access to his microfilmed documents at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis or the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver and the hard copy file is incomplete. People who know the truth about the president’s time in the Texas Air National Guard are angry that the cover up of his failings has been so effective. And now there are suspicions that the individuals who have long sought after the truth may have succumbed to the power of fighting a well-told lie with another; not so well-told. If this has happened, much more than just CBS’ future is at risk.
Reports that one of the controversial documents was faxed from a Kinko’s in Abilene are interpreted as evidence of the involvement of Lt. Col. (Ret.) Bill Burkett. Burkett, who has never concealed his anger at Mr. Bush, lives less than a half hour from the Kinko’s location. After appearing with me for an interview on Real Time with Bill Maher, Burkett, his wife, and a colleague of mine discussed politics over dinner. I had been talking to Burkett for over a year, gathering information and trying to corroborate a story he had told me and one other reporter about a purging of George W. Bush’s hard copy file at the Texas National Guard headquarters on Camp Mabry in Austin. Neither then, nor now, did Burkett attempt to hide his disdain for President Bush.
“I don’t know how he’s doing this,” Burkett said. “He says whatever he wants. It has nothing to do with the truth. And people are letting him get away with it. He’s just lying. Over and over again. About his past. About Iraq. You name it."
CBS and Rather may have to admit mistakes. And then make corrections. Why don’t we demand the same thing of our president? Maybe there are no big lies and small lies. There are just lies. And they all must be atoned for. We know the ones that belong to George W. Bush. And if we don’t hold him accountable, eventually, we the people will end up paying for his debts and his sins.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta): With us today is a remarkable group of women who lost loved ones on September 11th … and whose support I am honored to have. Not only did they suffer an unbearable loss – they helped us learn the lessons of that terrible time by insisting on the creation of the 9/11 Commission. I ask them to stand. And I thank them on behalf of our country -- and I pledge to them and to you that I will implement the 9-11 recommendations...
In June, the President declared, “The Iraqi people have their country back.” Just last week, he told us: “This country is headed toward democracy… Freedom is on the march.”
But the administration’s own official intelligence estimate, given to the President last July, tells a very different story.
According to press reports, the intelligence estimate totally contradicts what the President is saying to the American people.
So do the facts on the ground...
The first and most fundamental mistake was the President’s failure to tell the truth to the American people.
He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war. And he failed to tell the truth about the burden this war would impose on our soldiers and our citizens.
By one count, the President offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded.
His two main rationales – weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection – have been proved false… by the President’s own weapons inspectors… and by the 9/11 Commission. Just last week, Secretary of State Powell acknowledged the facts. Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the earth is flat.
The President also failed to level with the American people about what it would take to prevail in Iraq.
He didn’t tell us that well over 100,000 troops would be needed, for years, not months. He didn’t tell us that he wouldn’t take the time to assemble a broad and strong coalition of allies. He didn’t tell us that the cost would exceed $200 billion. He didn’t tell us that even after paying such a heavy price, success was far from assured...
This President’s failure to tell the truth to us before the war has been exceeded by fundamental errors of judgment during and after the war.
The President now admits to “miscalculations” in Iraq.
That is one of the greatest understatements in recent American history. His were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures of judgment – and judgment is what we look for in a president.
This is all the more stunning because we’re not talking about 20/20 hindsight. Before the war, before he chose to go to war, bi-partisan Congressional hearings… major outside studies… and even some in the administration itself… predicted virtually every problem we now face in Iraq.
This President was in denial. He hitched his wagon to the ideologues who surround him, filtering out those who disagreed, including leaders of his own party and the uniformed military. The result is a long litany of misjudgments with terrible consequences.
The administration told us we’d be greeted as liberators. They were wrong.
They told us not to worry about looting or the sorry state of Iraq’s infrastructure. They were wrong.
They told us we had enough troops to provide security and stability, defeat the insurgents, guard the borders and secure the arms depots. They were wrong.
They told us we could rely on exiles like Ahmed Chalabi to build political legitimacy. They were wrong.
They told us we would quickly restore an Iraqi civil service to run the country and a police force and army to secure it. They were wrong.
In Iraq, this administration has consistently over-promised and under-performed. This policy has been plagued by a lack of planning, an absence of candor, arrogance and outright incompetence. And the President has held no one accountable, including himself.
In fact, the only officials who lost their jobs over Iraq were the ones who told the truth.
On May 1 of last year, President Bush stood in front of a now infamous banner that read “Mission Accomplished.” He declared to the American people: “In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” In fact, the worst part of the war was just beginning, with the greatest number of American casualties still to come. The president misled, miscalculated, and mismanaged every aspect of this undertaking and he has made the achievement of our objective – a stable Iraq, secure within its borders, with a representative government, harder to achieve.
In Iraq, this administration’s record is filled with bad predictions, inaccurate cost estimates, deceptive statements and errors of judgment of historic proportions.
At every critical juncture in Iraq, and in the war on terrorism, the President has made the wrong choice. I have a plan to make America stronger.
The President often says that in a post 9-11 world, we can’t hesitate to act. I agree. But we should not act just for the sake of acting. I believe we have to act wisely and responsibly.
George Bush has no strategy for Iraq. I do.

Baltimore Sun: An International group of scientists studying global warming predicted in 2001 a sharp increase in melting of glaciers and polar ice, heat waves and related deaths, severe storms and flooding, and drought and wildfires, as well as substantially altered patterns of species migration.
Three years later, it can be reported all of that and more has happened - with stunning and record speed. The latest fearful evidence storming in from the Gulf of Mexico goes by the name of Ivan, the fourth major hurricane of a season that usually doesn't produce so many and still has 21Ú2 months to go.
Japan has been hit this year by seven typhoons, the most since record-keeping began in 1951, and the worst floods in decades have killed more than 400 people in China. In Europe, 19,000 people succumbed last year to a heat wave that was one of the deadliest of the decade.
This is only the beginning, experts agree. Even those who contend climate change is a natural cyclical phenomenon expect the cycle to last decades or more.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)


http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040920/ap_on_el_pr/young_voters_battleground_2

More Young People Registering to Vote

Mon Sep 20, 7:49 AM ET

By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National Writer

Voter registration drives aimed at young people are turning 18- to 24-year-olds into an important variable in the presidential election, especially in decisive battleground states such as Michigan — where nearly 100,000 young people have registered in recent months — and Wisconsin, where the numbers are even higher.

They are the nation's newest swing voters, with polls showing their support for the major candidates has vacillated in recent months. A Harvard University poll found that, in a five-month period, 19 percent of young potential voters changed their minds about whom they'd support.

"It's a big population of fluid voters, and they're largely unknown," says Ivan Frishberg, outreach and communications coordinator for the nonprofit New Voters Project, which has registered tens of thousands of young people across the country.


Take Kristin Wilson, a 23-year-old in Perrysburg, Ohio, and her 18-year-old sister, Kellyn, a freshman at Ohio State University. Both have registered to vote, but neither identifies as Republican or Democrat and both are taking their time deciding who to vote for.


"I think people underestimate people our age," Kellyn says. "And they shouldn't."


The candidates have made some attempts to reach out to college students and other young people. The Bush campaign has a Web log that includes "Barbara and Jenna's journal," detailing the president's daughters' campaign exploits. Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites), who made a campus tour last spring, recently appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."


And the political parties are using volunteers and paid canvassers to register young voters and get them to the polls. But the attempts can sometimes fall flat.


"Some of it feels very awkward to young people — like the candidates are trying too hard," says Jane Eisner, author of the new book "Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in Our Democracy."


Other times, young people feel ignored, says Stephen Lucas, a high school junior in Leechburg, Pa.


"I haven't heard any serious talk about college tuition, or even people our age mentioned," says Lucas, who works with a group called Freedom's Answer to get upperclassmen interested in voting.


It's still anybody's guess how many young people have registered in his state, another thought to be a toss-up. Michigan is one of the few that has compiled registration numbers by age.


Officials in several other battleground states — New Mexico, Ohio and Florida among them — see clear signs that more young people are interested in this election. And some election experts believe that polls of "likely voters" often miss young people because the population is so mobile.


In Wisconsin, the New Voters Project claims to have registered more than 109,000 young people — numbers election officials say they have "no reason to doubt."


"It's been an incredible undertaking," says Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the State Board of Elections in Wisconsin, a state Al Gore (news - web sites) won by less than 6,000 votes in 2000.


Officials at Rock the Vote — a nationwide campaign aimed at young people — say they expect registration numbers to surge as deadlines in many states approach. In the first two weeks of September alone, more than 163,000 people filled out and downloaded registration forms from Rock the Vote's Web site. Hans Riemer, the organization's Washington, D.C., director, says that in the past week as many as 20,000 people a day used the site to register.


At that rate, he says Rock the Vote's registration numbers may surpass those from 1992 — a year when young voter turnout topped 50 percent for the first and only time since 1972.


One political scientist says he's particularly interested to see what happens this time in Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, where voters can register on Election Day. Data has shown that young people are particularly likely to take advantage of same-day registration.

"It leaves the door open for a surprising outcome," says Donald Green, a political scientist at Yale University and co-author of "Get Out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout."

Stephanie Camargo, a recent graduate of the University of Florida who opted not to vote in 2000, says she'll be one of those young people who gets to the polls Nov. 2. She has many motivators — from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the war in Iraq (news - web sites) (where she has a cousin fighting), to peers who are still looking for jobs.

"Before I thought of politics as a game," says Camargo, 22, who's registered in Broward County, Fla. "Now I realize you have to play the game if you want to make a difference."

___

On the Net:

http://www.rockthevote.org

http://www.freedomsanswer.org

___

Martha Irvine is a national writer specializing in coverage of people in their 20s and younger. She can be reached at mirvine(at)ap.org



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6052073/

MSNBC.com
U.K. envoy: Bush the best recruiter for al-Qaida
Italian media report ambassador's remarks at private conference

Reuters
Updated: 7:22 a.m. ET Sept. 20, 2004


ROME - Britain’s ambassador to Italy described President Bush as “the best recruiting sergeant” for al-Qaida, Italian media reported on Monday.

The comment, made at a closed-door conference at the weekend, was denounced by one leading Italian newspaper editor, who issued an open letter snubbing the veteran ambassador, Sir Ivor Roberts.

Roberts was quoted as telling an annual Anglo-Italian gathering in Tuscany, “If anyone is ready to celebrate the eventual re-election of Bush, it’s al-Qaida.”

Corriere della Sera newspaper said Roberts also told the meeting of British and Italian policy-makers, “Bush is al-Qaida’s best recruiting sergeant.”

The British embassy in Rome declined to comment about the remarks, saying the Tuscan conference had been covered by the so-called Chatham House Rules, which means that anything said by delegates should remain off the record.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair along with Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have been Bush’s strongest allies in Europe.

Conservative furor
Giuliano Ferrara, outspoken editor of the conservative Il Foglio broadsheet, wrote an open letter saying he would boycott a previously scheduled dinner with the ambassador on Monday.

“The dinner unfortunately would be a complete waste of time and a grotesque hypocrisy,” he said.

Ferrara added that he would prefer to have supper with the French ambassador to Italy “who loyally represents in Rome Mr. Jacques Chirac.”

Ferrara is a fervent supporter of the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Roberts was British ambassador to Yugoslavia in the mid-1990s, helping negotiations between the international community and Yugoslav authorities. He then served as British ambassador to Ireland before his Italian posting.

Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6052073/

Statement by John Edwards on Republican Fear Mongering
Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards today made the following statement in response to Dennis Hastert’s comments last night that Al Qaeda wants John Kerry to be elected:

“One clear sign of weakness and failed leadership is when a politician stoops to the politics of fear. In the last twenty-four hours Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House, has joined the fear mongering choir. Last night, he said something to the effect that Al Qaeda wants John Kerry to be President of the United States. Let me say this in the simplest possible terms: when John Kerry is President of the United States, we will find Al Qaeda where they are and crush them before they can do damage to the American people.

“Over and over, this president and his cronies have taken one of our nation’s greatest tragedies and used it as part of a cheap political ploy. With their words, they seek to divide us and they dishonor the fallen. They want to scare the American people but they will pay a price in November.

“None of us should be surprised by this, because just two or three weeks ago we heard what Dick Cheney said about this. He said that if you don't vote for him and George Bush come November and there is another terrorist attack, then it's your fault.

“The truth is that this statement by Dick Cheney was not an accident. It was calculated and it was calculated to divide us on one of the most critical issues to our country, keeping the American people safe and secure. It was un-American. The President of the United States should say it was un-American.”

http://blog.johnkerry.com/rapidresponse/

Posted on September 19, 2004 at 03:49 PM
Election 2004 | Entry link | Comments (0)

Statement from John Edwards on Despicable Republican Tactics
Senator John Edwards issued the following statement today based on reports that the Republican National Committee sent campaign mail into West Virginia claiming that the Bible will be banned if Democrats are elected in November:

“Republicans always say they want to have a values debate but lying and spreading hate were not the values I learned growing up in a small town in North Carolina where the Bible was the most important book my home. George Bush and Dick Cheney should be appalled by these despicable mailings. They should condemn this practice immediately and tell everyone associated with their campaign to never use tactics like this again. The American people deserve better.”

Posted on September 18, 2004 at 03:58 PM

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BUZZFLASH REPORT Monday September 20, 2004 at 9:27:14 AM


James C. Moore, Co-Author of "Bush's Brain" and an Expert on Karl Rove and Bush's National Guard Lies, Speculates on the CBS Memos. Are They True Fabrications?
A BuzzFlash Exclusive.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY

September 20, 2004

Men of Destiny

“It is one thing to show a man that
he is in error, and another to put
him in possession of the truth.”
John Locke

By James C. Moore, Co-Author of "Bush's Brain" and Author of "Bush's War for Reelection"

Liars are not supposed to last. Eventually, their fabrications can be expected to collapse and all of the sickness they have spread is cured by truth and righteousness. Most of the time that’s what happens. But there is a new perception in the American political process and it is a threat to candidates and our democracy. Lying has become an acceptable tactic. And the immorality of lying is no longer a reason to dismiss it as an effective tool. When voters are not paying attention, lying works. But it still creates casualties and they are beginning to accumulate in the controversy surrounding CBS and the George W. Bush National Guard memos.

In the cascade of events that has led CBS News into trouble, the first lie actually belongs to the President of the United States. No one any longer has doubt that there are records missing from the president’s Military Personnel Records Jacket. Huge gaps of service time are simply unaccounted for. Also, there is no commander’s report or counseling statement, which is required by guard regulations, to explain the grounding of Lt. Bush. Oddly, not one journalist has ever asked the president why he did not show up for his flight physical. His spokesman, Dan Bartlett, has been able to explain away the controversy by saying the physical was “a formality because he was no longer flying.” That’s not true, of course, because pilots are not allowed to decide on their own they no longer want to fly. Instead of addressing that matter, though, the White House consistently claims, “The president got an honorable discharge and is proud of his service in the National Guard.”

The available evidence is still pointing in the direction of deceit and the smoke machine fueled by the CBS memos cannot hide that fact. The president continues to refuse to allow uncontrolled access to his microfilmed documents at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis or the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver and the hard copy file is incomplete. People who know the truth about the president’s time in the Texas Air National Guard are angry that the cover up of his failings has been so effective. And now there are suspicions that the individuals who have long sought after the truth may have succumbed to the power of fighting a well-told lie with another; not so well-told. If this has happened, much more than just CBS’ future is at risk.

Reports that one of the controversial documents was faxed from a Kinko’s in Abilene are interpreted as evidence of the involvement of Lt. Col. (Ret.) Bill Burkett. Burkett, who has never concealed his anger at Mr. Bush, lives less than a half hour from the Kinko’s location. After appearing with me for an interview on Real Time with Bill Maher, Burkett, his wife, and a colleague of mine discussed politics over dinner. I had been talking to Burkett for over a year, gathering information and trying to corroborate a story he had told me and one other reporter about a purging of George W. Bush’s hard copy file at the Texas National Guard headquarters on Camp Mabry in Austin. Neither then, nor now, did Burkett attempt to hide his disdain for President Bush.

“I don’t know how he’s doing this,” Burkett said. “He says whatever he wants. It has nothing to do with the truth. And people are letting him get away with it. He’s just lying. Over and over again. About his past. About Iraq. You name it.”

I had included Burkett’s story in my new book, which was just being released at the time of our interview with Maher. What he had detailed, with unfailing repetition, was consistent with what I knew to be the facts based upon the released Bush file and dozens of other interviews I had conducted over the years. Burkett’s reputation was also considered impeccable by a number of people I had interviewed both on and off the record. Even the Chief Warrant Officer, George Conn, who later discounted Burkett’s version of events, described him as an honorable man who never opened his mouth without speaking the truth. Besides, Burkett was in the midst of a retirement on the edge of the Chihuahua Desert, enjoying time with his wife and their grandchildren. But his health was failing. He suffered neural and muscular problems as a result of a virus he said he had contracted on a military mission in Panama. Bill Burkett did not seem a likely candidate to make up stories and take on the White House.

Burkett told me that he had witnessed hard copy documents being dumped out of Bush’s file and into a wastebasket. According to his memory, there were “retirement points” and pay sheets in the trash and he had a moment to “lightly rummage” through them as two other officers stepped away to talk. The officer Burkett claimed was doing the cleansing of the Bush file, Gen. John Scribner, has denied the story as has Conn, who had asked Burkett to go for a walk that evening and took him on a circuitous route to the building where Scribner was allegedly going through the file. In 1997, when this was supposed to have occurred, Bush was preparing to run for re-election as governor and was prepping a presidential campaign. Cleaning up a hard copy file and then controlling access to the microfilmed record was a simple method for hiding the facts. Bill Burkett either had a fanciful imagination or his unfettered access to senior officers in the Texas Guard had serendipitously put him a few right places at all the wrong times.

Burkett, who is subject to seizures as a result of his virus and has begun to need a cane to walk, is not the only officer within the Texas Guard who is angered at President Bush. At least a dozen commanders, some of them still within the guard, are mad over the lack of adequate funding and essential training. They blame former Texas Governor Bush and his successor, Rick Perry. Burkett had been hired to fix those failings. But he never got the chance. He was brought into the Texas Guard by recommendations from former Republican Governor Bill Clements and Jim Francis, one of the president’s closest friends and most prolific fund-raisers. Burkett’s job was to develop a plan to make the guard’s training and equipment more relevant to modern missions against enemies like terrorists. His years of work and recommendations, however, were never implemented and the governor is said to have turned down millions of dollars in federal money to pay for improvements when it was offered by the Clinton administration.

No one understood the decision to not upgrade the guard until Bush ran for president. In his first policy speech, given at the Citadel, candidate Bush told the assembled cadets, “If the commander-in-chief were today call upon all of our armed forces to defend America, at least one full division would be unable to answer that call.” The only “full division” that was incapacitated at the time of that speech was the Texas National Guard. The governor of Texas is the only governor in the country who has command of a full division. It struck Texas Guard commanders then, even some who supported Bush, that they had been used as a political ploy and their lousy training and equipment was part of a plan. Burkett’s complaints, and those of others, had already resulted in a Texas legislative investigation. Nothing changed, though, and a few years later stories of “ghost soldiers,” men kept on rosters after they had quit in order maintain federal funding, began to leak into the media. Burkett also related the purging incident to USA Today but the paper’s editors failed to publish it until my book was released in early 2004.

The disgust over all of this may have reached its flashpoint this summer when the Texas 56th Brigade Combat Team was called to active duty and sent to Iraq. The grumblings were the same. Not enough armored equipment. Outdated weaponry. No tactical training relevant to the conflict. An insufficient amount of body armor. One former officer threatened to hold a news conference and confront Mr. Bush and the governor of Texas. A president, who had avoided combat in Vietnam by getting into the guard and then had walked away four years into a six year hitch, was sending them into a deadly war without training or appropriate weaponry. Their anger was understandable.

The emotion was further exacerbated by political context. The same president that had avoided combat was allowing his re-election campaign to attack a candidate who had volunteered to go to the war, a man who had shed blood and had been awarded medals. Even Texas Guard soldiers that follow orders, regardless of the politics of their commanders, had now reached the end of their tolerance. And at least one of these individuals was probably angry enough to manufacture documents. The men accusing Kerry were using lies to destroy his military reputation and ruin his candidacy so why not use lies to fight back? It was faulty and dangerous rationale, if it were deployed. And it has frightening implications for American democracy.

Burkett gets named as the primary suspect because of his profile. When his friend George Conn failed to confirm the file purging story for the Boston Globe, a number of journalists tended to discredit everything Burkett said. Conn, who works as a civilian employee of the U.S. Army in Germany, has college age children and a wife who reportedly works for a large Republican law firm in Dallas, could have reasonably been expected to choose his family over Burkett. Burkett told me he understood Conn’s actions and probably would have done the same thing. The White House, meanwhile, is working very diligently on connecting the CBS Killian memos, if they are fabrications, to Burkett. Strategically, the political intent is transparent: he’s discredited so if the memos are his they are also discredited. Burkett’s personal medical files were leaked to reporters and it is now public knowledge that he had a nervous breakdown while fighting the virus he contracted in Panama. One skeptic has suggested that the use of the term “billet” in one of the documents is telling because it is an Army and not an Air Force term and Burkett’s background is not Air National Guard. And, of course, there is the Kinko’s fax.

If Burkett is suspect, though, so is Karl Rove. Admittedly, this is a five-cushion bank shot if it does involve Rove. But such things are no longer considered impossible when looking at his political machinations. Every campaign he runs seems to have well-timed distractions. In 2000, just before his inarticulate client was to debate Al Gore, a tape of Mr. Bush’s training ended up in the Gore campaign’s mailbox. Reporters wrote about this discovery and overwhelmed issues and debate coverage with the unraveling mystery. An employee of Mark McKinnon, Bush’s media expert, was later implicated in the scandal but nobody ever proved Rove wasn’t pulling strings. Of course, it was strictly coincidental when Rove’s office was found bugged in 1986, the day of a critical debate between another one of his inarticulate candidates and an incumbent governor. That mystery overwhelmed debate coverage and implicated the democratic opponent. I remember standing with other reporters outside of Rove’s building after his news conference to announce the revelation he was bugged. We all laughed about how amateurish it all appeared. And then we realized he had us because we had to report it straight; not the way we perceived the facts. When the FBI file was finally made public, it showed the bug on Rove’s wall had a battery with a life span of only six hours and just 15 minutes of it had been expended. Rove did it. But there are probably too many people who would have had to have been in on the fraud for him to make phony documents surface in CBS’s hands.

So, Rove, it turns out, might just be both lucky and good. His deceptive behavior through the years, involving everything from Swift Boat veterans to faux environmental groups made up of Bush donors, is not a sufficient rationale for others to enter lying into the political process. Nothing is. But that appears to be what has resulted from the persistent string of lies about the president’s time in the National Guard, should the CBS memos be proven false. Some of the good guys may not be the good guys any more. They may have become like their enemies. And in the process, they gave Rove what he needs to win. There is truth, however, in the fake memos. Witnesses, including commander Killian’s secretary, have said Lt. Bush defied an order to take his flight physical. The White House has not refuted what is in the memos. It has only attacked the legitimacy of the documents themselves. Republican congressional leaders, who asked no questions about faulty intelligence leading to the war with Iraq, are suddenly demanding investigations and hearings on the failings of CBS. Burkett told the Washington Post to not be so confident the Killian memos were forgeries. What does he know that he isn’t saying? Yet. Is it possible they are flawed transcriptions of real memos and the originals are being protected? And how would he know? Or does he know?

This has all worked very well for the Bush campaign. Reporters worried about the veracity of the Killian memos have not yet asked the president if he failed to obey a direct order to take his physical. And that’s a fair question, regardless of who wrote the Killian documents. Lt. Bush missed a physical and there has never been an explanation beyond Dan Bartlett’s lame argument of “formality.” This most glaring lie in the president’s resume, his time in the Texas Air National Guard, avoids intelligent scrutiny because memos raising the issue appear dubious.

The bonus for Rove is that Dan Rather is enduring greater evaluation than the President of the United States. The CBS anchor, who rode to the top of his profession on the crest of great national events like Hurricane Carla, the Kennedy assassination, the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, and Watergate, has long been vilified by the right. If Rather and his talented producer Mary Mapes did not bring proper skepticism to their analysis of the documents, they will likely pay a dear professional price. And John Kerry, who ran a positive convention and ignored the Swift Boat attacks while the GOP spat vitriol, can also be expected to pay a price for bad advice and a lack of political diligence. No toll, however, has ever been exacted on the life and political career of George W. Bush. The magnitude of his lies and mistakes far outweighs any possible transgression by CBS or those who might have fabricated the Killian memos. If they get caught, they suffer. Mr. Bush has been proved both wrong and deceptive and has danced into a lead in the polls through our collective American delusion. We punish the anchorman and praise the president.

CBS and Rather may have to admit mistakes. And then make corrections. Why don’t we demand the same thing of our president? Maybe there are no big lies and small lies. There are just lies. And they all must be atoned for. We know the ones that belong to George W. Bush. And if we don’t hold him accountable, eventually, we the people will end up paying for his debts and his sins.

A BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/speeches/spc_2004_0920.html

Speech at New York University
Remarks of John Kerry
For Immediate Release

Bush's Catastrophic Failures in Iraq
Congressional Republicans Admit What Bush Hides
Kerry Leads, Bush Follows on Iraq Policy
Winning The Peace In Iraq


New York, NY - I am honored to be here at New York University -- one of the great urban universities, not just in New York, but in the world. You have set a high standard for global dialogue and I hope to live up to that tradition today.

This election is about choices. The most important choices a President makes are about protecting America… at home and around the world. A president’s first obligation is to make America safer, stronger and truer to our ideals.

Only a few blocks from here, three years ago, the events of September 11 reminded every American of that obligation. That day brought to our shores the defining struggle of our times: the struggle between freedom and radical fundamentalism. And it made clear that our most important task is to fight… and to win… the war on terrorism.

With us today is a remarkable group of women who lost loved ones on September 11th … and whose support I am honored to have. Not only did they suffer an unbearable loss – they helped us learn the lessons of that terrible time by insisting on the creation of the 9/11 Commission. I ask them to stand. And I thank them on behalf of our country -- and I pledge to them and to you that I will implement the 9-11 recommendations.

In fighting the war on terrorism, my principles are straight forward. The terrorists are beyond reason. We must destroy them. As president, I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat our enemies. But billions of people around the world yearning for a better life are open to America’s ideals. We must reach them.

To win, America must be strong. And America must be smart. The greatest threat we face is the possibility Al Qaeda or other terrorists will get their hands on a nuclear weapon.

To prevent that from happening, we must call on the totality of America’s strength. Strong alliances, to help us stop the world’s most lethal weapons from falling into the most dangerous hands. A powerful military, transformed to meet the new threats of terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And all of America’s power – our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, the appeal of our values – each of which is critical to making America more secure and preventing a new generation of terrorists from emerging.

National security is a central issue in this campaign. We owe it to the American people to have a real debate about the choices President Bush has made… and the choices I would make… to fight and win the war on terror.

That means we must have a great honest national debate on Iraq. The President claims it is the centerpiece of his war on terror. In fact, Iraq was a profound diversion from that war and the battle against our greatest enemy, Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. Invading Iraq has created a crisis of historic proportions and, if we do not change course, there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight.

This month, we passed a cruel milestone: more than 1,000 Americans lost in Iraq. Their sacrifice reminds us that Iraq remains, overwhelmingly, an American burden. Nearly 90 percent of the troops – and nearly 90 percent of the casualties – are American. Despite the President’s claims, this is not a grand coalition.

Our troops have served with extraordinary bravery, skill and resolve. Their service humbles all of us. When I speak to them… when I look into the eyes of their families, I know this: we owe them the truth about what we have asked them to do… and what is still to be done.

In June, the President declared, “The Iraqi people have their country back.” Just last week, he told us: “This country is headed toward democracy… Freedom is on the march.”

But the administration’s own official intelligence estimate, given to the President last July, tells a very different story.

According to press reports, the intelligence estimate totally contradicts what the President is saying to the American people.

So do the facts on the ground.

Security is deteriorating, for us and for the Iraqis.

42 Americans died in Iraq in June -- the month before the handover. But 54 died in July…66 in August… and already 54 halfway through September.

And more than 1,100 Americans were wounded in August – more than in any other month since the invasion.

We are fighting a growing insurgency in an ever widening war-zone. In March, insurgents attacked our forces 700 times. In August, they attacked 2,700 times – a 400% increase.

Falluja…Ramadi… Samarra … even parts of Baghdad – are now “no go zones”… breeding grounds for terrorists who are free to plot and launch attacks against our soldiers. The radical Shi’a cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, who’s accused of complicity in the murder of Americans, holds more sway in the suburbs of Baghdad.

Violence against Iraqis… from bombings to kidnappings to intimidation … is on the rise.

Basic living conditions are also deteriorating.

Residents of Baghdad are suffering electricity blackouts lasting up to 14 hours a day.

Raw sewage fills the streets, rising above the hubcaps of our Humvees. Children wade through garbage on their way to school.

Unemployment is over 50 percent. Insurgents are able to find plenty of people willing to take $150 for tossing grenades at passing U.S. convoys.

Yes, there has been some progress, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our soldiers and civilians in Iraq. Schools, shops and hospitals have been opened. In parts of Iraq, normalcy actually prevails.

But most Iraqis have lost faith in our ability to deliver meaningful improvements to their lives. So they’re sitting on the fence… instead of siding with us against the insurgents.

That is the truth. The truth that the Commander in Chief owes to our troops and the American people.

It is never easy to discuss what has gone wrong while our troops are in constant danger. But it’s essential if we want to correct our course and do what’s right for our troops instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

I know this dilemma first-hand. After serving in war, I returned home to offer my own personal voice of dissent. I did so because I believed strongly that we owed it those risking their lives to speak truth to power. We still do.

Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.

The President has said that he “miscalculated” in Iraq and that it was a “catastrophic success.” In fact, the President has made a series of catastrophic decisions … from the beginning … in Iraq. At every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn and led us in the wrong direction.

The first and most fundamental mistake was the President’s failure to tell the truth to the American people.

He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war. And he failed to tell the truth about the burden this war would impose on our soldiers and our citizens.

By one count, the President offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded.

His two main rationales – weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection – have been proved false… by the President’s own weapons inspectors… and by the 9/11 Commission. Just last week, Secretary of State Powell acknowledged the facts. Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the earth is flat.

The President also failed to level with the American people about what it would take to prevail in Iraq.

He didn’t tell us that well over 100,000 troops would be needed, for years, not months. He didn’t tell us that he wouldn’t take the time to assemble a broad and strong coalition of allies. He didn’t tell us that the cost would exceed $200 billion. He didn’t tell us that even after paying such a heavy price, success was far from assured.

And America will pay an even heavier price for the President’s lack of candor.

At home, the American people are less likely to trust this administration if it needs to summon their support to meet real and pressing threats to our security.

Abroad, other countries will be reluctant to follow America when we seek to rally them against a common menace -- as they are today. Our credibility in the world has plummeted.

In the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy sent former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Europe to build support. Acheson explained the situation to French President de Gaulle. Then he offered to show him highly classified satellite photos, as proof. De Gaulle waved the photos away, saying: “The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me.”

How many world leaders have that same trust in America’s president, today?

This President’s failure to tell the truth to us before the war has been exceeded by fundamental errors of judgment during and after the war.

The President now admits to “miscalculations” in Iraq.

That is one of the greatest understatements in recent American history. His were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures of judgment – and judgment is what we look for in a president.

This is all the more stunning because we’re not talking about 20/20 hindsight. Before the war, before he chose to go to war, bi-partisan Congressional hearings… major outside studies… and even some in the administration itself… predicted virtually every problem we now face in Iraq.

This President was in denial. He hitched his wagon to the ideologues who surround him, filtering out those who disagreed, including leaders of his own party and the uniformed military. The result is a long litany of misjudgments with terrible consequences.

The administration told us we’d be greeted as liberators. They were wrong.

They told us not to worry about looting or the sorry state of Iraq’s infrastructure. They were wrong.

They told us we had enough troops to provide security and stability, defeat the insurgents, guard the borders and secure the arms depots. They were wrong.

They told us we could rely on exiles like Ahmed Chalabi to build political legitimacy. They were wrong.

They told us we would quickly restore an Iraqi civil service to run the country and a police force and army to secure it. They were wrong.

In Iraq, this administration has consistently over-promised and under-performed. This policy has been plagued by a lack of planning, an absence of candor, arrogance and outright incompetence. And the President has held no one accountable, including himself.

In fact, the only officials who lost their jobs over Iraq were the ones who told the truth.

General Shinseki said it would take several hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq. He was retired. Economic adviser Larry Lindsey said that Iraq would cost as much as $200 billion. He was fired. After the successful entry into Baghdad, George Bush was offered help from the UN -- and he rejected it. He even prohibited any nation from participating in reconstruction efforts that wasn’t part of the original coalition – pushing reluctant countries even farther away. As we continue to fight this war almost alone, it is hard to estimate how costly that arrogant decision was. Can anyone seriously say this President has handled Iraq in a way that makes us stronger in the war on terrorism?

By any measure, the answer is no. Nuclear dangers have mounted across the globe. The international terrorist club has expanded. Radicalism in the Middle East is on the rise. We have divided our friends and united our enemies. And our standing in the world is at an all time low.

Think about it for a minute. Consider where we were… and where we are. After the events of September 11, we had an opportunity to bring our country and the world together in the struggle against the terrorists. On September 12th, headlines in newspapers abroad declared “we are all Americans now.” But through his policy in Iraq, the President squandered that moment and rather than isolating the terrorists, left America isolated from the world.

We now know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and posed no imminent threat to our security. It had not, as the Vice President claimed, “reconstituted nuclear weapons.”

The President’s policy in Iraq took our attention and resources away from other, more serious threats to America.

Threats like North Korea, which actually has weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear arsenal, and is building more under this President’s watch…

… The emerging nuclear danger from Iran…

… The tons and kilotons of unsecured chemical and nuclear weapons in Russia…

… And the increasing instability in Afghanistan.

Today, warlords again control much of that country, the Taliban is regrouping, opium production is at an all time high and the Al Qaeda leadership still plots and plans, not only there but in 60 other nations. Instead of using U.S. forces, we relied on the warlords to capture Osama bin Laden when he was cornered in the mountains. He slipped away. We then diverted our focus and forces from the hunt for those responsible for September 11th in order invade Iraq.

We know Iraq played no part in September 11 and had no operational ties to Al Qaeda.

The President’s policy in Iraq precipitated the very problem he said he was trying to prevent. Secretary of State Powell admits that Iraq was not a magnet for international terrorists before the war. Now it is, and they are operating against our troops. Iraq is becoming a sanctuary for a new generation of terrorists who someday could hit the United States.

We know that while Iraq was a source of friction, it was not previously a source of serious disagreement with our allies in Europe and countries in the Muslim world.

The President’s policy in Iraq divided our oldest alliance and sent our standing in the Muslim world into free fall. Three years after 9/11, even in many moderate Muslim countries like Jordan, Morocco and Turkey, Osama bin Laden is more popular than the United States of America.

Let me put it plainly: The President’s policy in Iraq has not strengthened our national security. It has weakened it.

Two years ago, Congress was right to give the President the authority to use force to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. This President… any President… would have needed the threat of force to act effectively. This President misused that authority.

The power entrusted to the President gave him a strong hand to play in the international community. The idea was simple. We would get the weapons inspectors back in to verify whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And we would convince the world to speak with one voice to Saddam: disarm or be disarmed.

A month before the war, President Bush told the nation: “If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is possible. We will plan carefully. We will act with the full power of the United States military. We will act with allies at our side and we will prevail.” He said that military action wasn’t “unavoidable.”

Instead, the President rushed to war without letting the weapons inspectors finish their work. He went without a broad and deep coalition of allies. He acted without making sure our troops had enough body armor. And he plunged ahead without understanding or preparing for the consequences of the post-war. None of which I would have done.

Yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way. How can he possibly be serious? Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to Al Qaeda, the United States should have invaded Iraq? My answer is no – because a Commander-in-Chief’s first responsibility is to make a wise and responsible decision to keep America safe.

Now the president, in looking for a new reason, tries to hang his hat on the “capability” to acquire weapons. But that was not the reason given to the nation; it was not the reason Congress voted on; it’s not a reason, it’s an excuse. Thirty-five to forty countries have greater capability to build a nuclear bomb than Iraq did in 2003. Is President Bush saying we should invade them?

I would have concentrated our power and resources on defeating global terrorism and capturing or killing Osama bin Laden. I would have tightened the noose and continued to pressure and isolate Saddam Hussein – who was weak and getting weaker -- so that he would pose no threat to the region or America.

The President’s insistence that he would do the same thing all over again in Iraq is a clear warning for the future. And it makes the choice in this election clear: more of the same with President Bush or a new direction that makes our troops and America safer. It is time, at long last, to ask the questions and insist on the answers from the Commander-in-Chief about his serious misjudgments and what they tell us about his administration and the President himself. If George W. Bush is re-elected, he will cling to the same failed policies in Iraq -- and he will repeat, somewhere else, the same reckless mistakes that have made America less secure than we can or should be.

In Iraq, we have a mess on our hands. But we cannot throw up our hands. We cannot afford to see Iraq become a permanent source of terror that will endanger America’s security for years to come.

All across this country people ask me what we should do now. Every step of the way, from the time I first spoke about this in the Senate, I have set out specific recommendations about how we should and should not proceed. But over and over, when this administration has been presented with a reasonable alternative, they have rejected it and gone their own way. This is stubborn incompetence.

Five months ago, in Fulton, Missouri, I said that the President was close to his last chance to get it right. Every day, this President makes it more difficult to deal with Iraq – harder than it was five months ago, harder than it was a year ago. It is time to recognize what is – and what is not – happening in Iraq today. And we must act with urgency.

Just this weekend, a leading Republican, Chuck Hagel, said we’re “in deep trouble in Iraq … it doesn’t add up … to a pretty picture [and] … we’re going to have to look at a recalibration of our policy.” Republican leaders like Dick Lugar and John McCain have offered similar assessments.

We need to turn the page and make a fresh start in Iraq.

First, the President has to get the promised international support so our men and women in uniform don’t have to go it alone. It is late; the President must respond by moving this week to gain and regain international support.

Last spring, after too many months of resistance and delay, the President finally went back to the U.N. which passed Resolution 1546. It was the right thing to do – but it was late.

That resolution calls on U.N. members to help in Iraq by providing troops… trainers for Iraq’s security forces… a special brigade to protect the U.N. mission… more financial assistance… and real debt relief.

Three months later, not a single country has answered that call. And the president acts as if it doesn’t matter.

And of the $13 billion previously pledged to Iraq by other countries, only $1.2 billion has been delivered.

The President should convene a summit meeting of the world’s major powers and Iraq’s neighbors, this week, in New York, where many leaders will attend the U.N. General Assembly. He should insist that they make good on that U.N. resolution. He should offer potential troop contributors specific, but critical roles, in training Iraqi security personnel and securing Iraq’s borders. He should give other countries a stake in Iraq’s future by encouraging them to help develop Iraq’s oil resources and by letting them bid on contracts instead of locking them out of the reconstruction process.

This will be difficult. I and others have repeatedly recommended this from the very beginning. Delay has made only made it harder. After insulting allies and shredding alliances, this President may not have the trust and confidence to bring others to our side in Iraq. But we cannot hope to succeed unless we rebuild and lead strong alliances so that other nations share the burden with us. That is the only way to succeed.

Second, the President must get serious about training Iraqi security forces.

Last February, Secretary Rumsfeld claimed that more than 210,000 Iraqis were in uniform. Two weeks ago, he admitted that claim was exaggerated by more than 50 percent. Iraq, he said, now has 95,000 trained security forces.

But guess what? Neither number bears any relationship to the truth. For example, just 5,000 Iraqi soldiers have been fully trained, by the administration’s own minimal standards. And of the 35,000 police now in uniform, not one has completed a 24-week field-training program. Is it any wonder that Iraqi security forces can’t stop the insurgency or provide basic law and order?

The President should urgently expand the security forces training program inside and outside Iraq. He should strengthen the vetting of recruits, double classroom training time, and require follow-on field training. He should recruit thousands of qualified trainers from our allies, especially those who have no troops in Iraq. He should press our NATO allies to open training centers in their countries. And he should stop misleading the American people with phony, inflated numbers.

Third, the President must carry out a reconstruction plan that finally brings tangible benefits to the Iraqi people.

Last week, the administration admitted that its plan was a failure when it asked Congress for permission to radically revise spending priorities in Iraq. It took 17 months for them to understand that security is a priority … 17 months to figure out that boosting oil production is critical … 17 months to conclude that an Iraqi with a job is less likely to shoot at our soldiers.

One year ago, the administration asked for and received $18 billion to help the Iraqis and relieve the conditions that contribute to the insurgency. Today, less than a $1 billion of those funds have actually been spent. I said at the time that we had to rethink our policies and set standards of accountability. Now we’re paying the price.

Now, the President should look at the whole reconstruction package…draw up a list of high visibility, quick impact projects… and cut through the red tape. He should use more Iraqi contractors and workers, instead of big corporations like Halliburton. He should stop paying companies under investigation for fraud or corruption. And he should fire the civilians in the Pentagon responsible for mismanaging the reconstruction effort.

Fourth, the President must take immediate, urgent, essential steps to guarantee the promised elections can be held next year.

Credible elections are key to producing an Iraqi government that enjoys the support of the Iraqi people and an assembly to write a Constitution that yields a viable power sharing arrangement.

Because Iraqis have no experience holding free and fair elections, the President agreed six months ago that the U.N. must play a central role. Yet today, just four months before Iraqis are supposed to go to the polls, the U.N. Secretary General and administration officials themselves say the elections are in grave doubt. Because the security situation is so bad… and because not a single country has offered troops to protect the U.N. elections mission… the U.N. has less than 25 percent of the staff it needs in Iraq to get the job done.

The President should recruit troops from our friends and allies for a U.N. protection force. This won’t be easy. But even countries that refused to put boots on the ground in Iraq should still help protect the U.N. We should also intensify the training of Iraqis to manage and guard the polling places that need to be opened. Otherwise, U.S forces would end up bearing those burdens alone.

If the President would move in this direction … if he would bring in more help from other countries to provide resources and forces … train the Iraqis to provide their own security …develop a reconstruction plan that brings real benefits to the Iraqi people … and take the steps necessary to hold credible elections next year … we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years.

This is what has to be done. This is what I would do as President today. But we cannot afford to wait until January. President Bush owes it to the American people to tell the truth and put Iraq on the right track. Even more, he owes it to our troops and their families, whose sacrifice is a testament to the best of America.

The principles that should guide American policy in Iraq now and in the future are clear: We must make Iraq the world’s responsibility, because the world has a stake in the outcome and others should share the burden. We must effectively train Iraqis, because they should be responsible for their own security. We must move forward with reconstruction, because that’s essential to stop the spread of terror. And we must help Iraqis achieve a viable government, because it’s up to them to run their own country. That’s the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

On May 1 of last year, President Bush stood in front of a now infamous banner that read “Mission Accomplished.” He declared to the American people: “In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” In fact, the worst part of the war was just beginning, with the greatest number of American casualties still to come. The president misled, miscalculated, and mismanaged every aspect of this undertaking and he has made the achievement of our objective – a stable Iraq, secure within its borders, with a representative government, harder to achieve.

In Iraq, this administration’s record is filled with bad predictions, inaccurate cost estimates, deceptive statements and errors of judgment of historic proportions.

At every critical juncture in Iraq, and in the war on terrorism, the President has made the wrong choice. I have a plan to make America stronger.

The President often says that in a post 9-11 world, we can’t hesitate to act. I agree. But we should not act just for the sake of acting. I believe we have to act wisely and responsibly.

George Bush has no strategy for Iraq. I do.

George Bush has not told the truth to the American people about why we went to war and how the war is going. I have and I will continue to do so.

I believe the invasion of Iraq has made us less secure and weaker in the war against terrorism. I have a plan to fight a smarter, more effective war on terror – and make us safer.

Today, because of George Bush’s policy in Iraq, the world is a more dangerous place for America and Americans.

If you share my conviction that we can not go on as we are …that we can make America stronger and safer than it is… then November 2 is your chance to speak... and to be heard. It is not a question of staying the course, but of changing the course.

I’m convinced that with the right leadership, we can create a fresh start and move more effectively to accomplish our goals. Our troops have served with extraordinary courage and commitment. For their sake, and America’s sake, we must get this right. We must do everything in our power to complete the mission and make America stronger at home and respected again in the world.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/091904G.shtml

Global Warming Will Spawn More Ivans
The Baltimore Sun | Editorial

Thursday 16 September 2004

Climate change leading to hurricanes.
An International group of scientists studying global warming predicted in 2001 a sharp increase in melting of glaciers and polar ice, heat waves and related deaths, severe storms and flooding, and drought and wildfires, as well as substantially altered patterns of species migration.

Three years later, it can be reported all of that and more has happened - with stunning and record speed. The latest fearful evidence storming in from the Gulf of Mexico goes by the name of Ivan, the fourth major hurricane of a season that usually doesn't produce so many and still has 21Ú2 months to go.

Japan has been hit this year by seven typhoons, the most since record-keeping began in 1951, and the worst floods in decades have killed more than 400 people in China. In Europe, 19,000 people succumbed last year to a heat wave that was one of the deadliest of the decade.

This is only the beginning, experts agree. Even those who contend climate change is a natural cyclical phenomenon expect the cycle to last decades or more.

But conceding Mother Nature's contribution to these extreme weather events makes it all the more important for humans to take whatever steps they can to minimize the damage.

"It is a huge issue, and time is running out," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday in trying to goad his Group of Eight peers, including President Bush, into getting serious about reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that appear to be accelerating global warming by trapping heat from the sun.

Blair has also set his sights on China and India, the two giant nations whose rapidly expanding economies could easily wreak havoc on the global environment over the next few decades.

But China and India can't be expected to impose the emission controls and other steps required to curb greenhouse gases unless the United States leads the way.

Sens. John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, leading champions of capping emissions on utilities and other industrial sources, are scheduled to resume their crusade today at a Senate hearing on the impact of climate change.

All those in Ivan's path will be able to answer the question firsthand - the lives lost, the houses flattened or flooded, the property destroyed, the families separated and routines disrupted. New Orleans, the below-sea-level delta queen that has been flirting with disaster for years, could finally be overwhelmed by it.

Would Ivan have happened without human influence on global warming? Perhaps. But with the climate already heating up, it's foolish to imagine that we shouldn't take what precautions we can.

If we have to learn to live with global warming, it's time to at least try to control the thermostat a bit.

-------

Jump to TO Features for Sunday September 19, 2004


Posted by richard at 03:25 PM

September 19, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 44 Days to Go -- REAL News on US Military Family Protests, Chalabi, SCOTUS, The Economy and Black Box Voting

There are 44 days to go until the national referendum on the CHARACTER, CREDIBILITY and COMPETENCE of the _resident and the VICE _resident. The central theme of this referendum is SECURITY: National Security, Economic Security, Environmental Security, etc. Are you and those who love safer today than you were four years ago? No. Well, here is some clarity for you. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) says he will get the troops out of Iraq by the end of his first term, Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) says there will be no draft in the Kerry administration...The Bush abomination's economic policies have squandered an unprecedented surplus and replaced it with an unprecedented deficit...We have lost four years we did not have time to lose in the international struggle against the quickening REALITY of Global Warming, as well as Nuclear Proliferation, AIDS in Africa and other vital national security issuess...And if you need more incentive, whoever wins this election will probably appoint at least three US Supreme Court justices, including a Chief Justice...There is an Electoral Uprising coming against the Bush Cabal, its
wholly-owmed-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party AND their sponsors in the US regimestream news media. This unholy Triad of shared special interest (i.e. oil, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacoo, etc.)is going to be dealt a defeat on Nov. 2. There is an Electoral Uprising coming...Here are SEVEN very important stories that should dominate the air waves and command headlines above the fold, but they won't...Please read them and share them with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote. And, please, remember that the US regimestream news media does not want to inform you about this presidential campaign, it wants to DISinform you...

Diane Davis Santoriello, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Now my son is dead. How did he die? According to the Army, he was killed on Aug. 13 in western Iraq when an IED -- an "improvised explosive device" -- detonated near his vehicle. According to me, he was killed by the arrogance and ineptitude of George W. Bush aided by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld...
Did our men and women in harm's way have what they needed? No.
Did we have enough tanks on the ground? No.
Could we supply parts as they were needed? No.
This Bush team could be on a poster for the old axiom: People don't plan to fail -- they fail to plan.
Their actions tarnished the reputation and honor of the United States. We are supposed to be better than other countries because we believe in individual rights.
The Abu Ghraib scandal not only tarnished our reputation, but has put all of servicepeople in jeopardy for decades to come. If we could abuse prisoners, what country will honor the Geneva Conventions when it comes to U.S. troops? The January 2002 memo by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales about the treatment of prisoners scares me. He wrote that because "the war against terrorism is a new kind of war," it "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." In my mind, this memo is Bush's Watergate. I do not understand how people who claim they believe in the ideals of our Founding Fathers can ignore this.
My son voted for Bush. If he were alive, would he be voting for him again? I am not sure. His wife and I avoided political discussions with him before and during his deployment. He would have never talked badly about the president, because you do not criticize your commander in chief.
But I sensed frustration in his letters. When he came home, I would have talked to him about it. I can't ask him now. Now I speak for him.
John Kerry was not my first choice for president, but I believe he has demonstrated a willingness to be open-minded. He knows that changing your position is not a character flaw, but a character plus. I believe he is the only person capable of getting the rest of the world to help us clean up the mess created by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld...

Norman Solomon: The big media themes about the 2004 presidential campaign have reveled in vague rhetoric and flimsy controversies. But little attention has focused on a matter of profound importance: Whoever wins the race for the White House will be in a position to slant the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court for decades to come...
Vacancies are very likely during the next presidential term. Rehnquist, 79, is expected to step down. So is Sandra Day O'Connor, 74, a swing vote on abortion and other issues that divide the court in close votes. Also apt to retire soon is 84-year-old John Paul Stevens, who usually votes with the more liberal justices. "The names of possible Bush or Kerry appointees already are circulating in legal circles," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in August, "and there is virtually no overlap between the lists."
There should be no doubt about the kind of Supreme Court nominee that President Bush would want. "In general what he's going to look for is the most conservative Court of Appeals judge out there who is young," says David M. O'Brien, a professor of government who has written a book about the Supreme Court. "Those are the top two priorities."
Bush has made clear his intention to select replacements akin to hard-right Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Writing in the Washington Times on Sept. 14, conservative attorney Bruce Fein predicts that "the winner of the impending presidential sweepstakes will likely appoint from one to three new justices." He foresees that if Bush wins on Election Day and the seats held by O'Connor and Stevens become vacant, "constitutional decrees in pivotal areas concerning presidential war powers, church-state relations, freedom of speech, the death penalty, the powers of the police and prosecutors, racial, ethnic and gender discrimination and private property will display a markedly more conservative hue."
Some political agendas benefit from the claim that the Supreme Court's 1973 abortion-rights decision, Roe v. Wade, is not in jeopardy. But as Michael Dorf, a law professor at Columbia University, wrote this summer, "three justices -- Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas -- remain committed to overturning Roe. Meanwhile, two of the Court's three oldest members -- justices Stevens and O'Connor -- are part of the six-justice majority for recognizing a constitutional right to abortion. Should President Bush have the opportunity to name anti-Roe successors to these two justices -- or to any two or more of the six justices who oppose overturning Roe -- there is little reason to doubt that he would seize it. The result would be a Supreme Court majority for eliminating the constitutional right to abortion."

Arthur I. Blaustein, Los Angeles Times: Here's the Economic Sweepstakes Quiz. The rules are simple. Guess which president since World War II did best on these eight most generally accepted measures of good management of the nation's economy. You can choose among six Republicans — Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Bushes 41 and 43 — and five Democrats — Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Clinton. Which president produced:
1. The highest growth in the gross domestic product?
2. The highest growth in jobs?
3. The biggest increase in personal disposable income after taxes?
4. The highest growth in industrial production?
5. The highest growth in hourly wages?
6. The lowest misery index (inflation plus unemployment)?
7. The lowest inflation?
8. The largest reduction in the deficit?
The answers are:
1-Truman; 2-Clinton; 3-Johnson; 4-Kennedy; 5-Johnson; 6-Truman; 7-Truman; 8-Clinton.
In other words, Democratic presidents trounced Republicans eight out of eight.
If this isn't enough to destroy the perception that the economy has performed better under Republicans, then let's include stock market performance under Democrats. The Dow Jones Industrial Average during the 20th century rose an average of 7.3% a year under Republican presidents. Under Democrats, it jumped 10.3%, a whopping 41% gain for investors. During George W. Bush's first three years as president, the stock market declined 4%.
Moreover, since World War II, the national debt increased on average by 3.7% a year under Democratic administrations, compared with 9.1% when Republicans occupied the Oval Office. During the same period, Democratic presidents oversaw on average an unemployment rate of 4.8%. For Republicans, it was 6.3%.
That's the historical record. What about current policies?
The Clinton administration presided over the longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history. The national debt fell dramatically, the industrial sector boomed, wages grew and more Americans found jobs. In contrast, the Bush administration has presided over the weakest job-creation cycle since the Great Depression, record household debt, the highest-ever bankruptcy rate and a substantial increase of those who live in poverty.
Kerry maintains that government has the responsibility to keep the economy on the right track. Toward that end, he has pledged to reduce the national debt and budget deficit. He would help the middle class and working poor by maintaining current benefit levels and eligibility for the earned income tax credit. Kerry has also promised to restore tax progressivity and fairness by rolling back Bush's giveaways to taxpayers earning more than $200,000 annually. And the Massachusetts senator wants to make significant investments in healthcare, education, affordable housing and the environment.
The president, by contrast, has emerged as little more than a supply-sider in the mold of his father, George H.W. Bush, and his father's former boss, Reagan. The results demonstrate why supply-side policies are sometimes called "trickle-down" economics. Corporate profits have soared 57.5% during the Bush administration, while workers' wages and benefits have increased a minuscule 1.57%.

Mary Jacoby, Salon, interviews Seymour Hersh: I think these guys in their naiveté and single-mindedness have been so completely manipulated by - not the Israelis - but the Iranians. The Iranians always wanted us in. I think there's a lot of evidence that Iran had much to do with [Ahmed] Chalabi's disinformation [about nonexistent Iraqi WMD]. I think there were people in the CIA who suspected this all along, but of course they couldn't get their view in. I think the Senate Intelligence Committee's report's a joke, the idea this CIA was misleading the president. They get some analysts in and say, "Were you pressured?" And they all say, "No, excuse me?" Is that how you do an investigation? The truth of the matter is, there was tremendous pressure put on the analysts [to produce reports that bolstered the case for war]. It's not as if anybody issued a diktat. But everybody understood what to do.
Talk about the ...
Wait. You're missing something now. The Iranian stuff. I think Iran probably had more to do with Chalabi's information than people know.
We know that Chalabi had Iranian agents on his payroll.
Yeah, but, well, he admits to that. He had a villa in Tehran. But basically I think Iran was very interested in getting us involved. We get knocked down a peg; they become the big boys on the block.
Are you working on this now?
Yeah, I'm thinking about it. I'm reporting on it. But I'm not working on it. I'm just - it's too cosmic.
Was Chalabi the conduit?
I think Chalabi thought he could handle the Iranians. They were helping him all along with disinformation and documents he could give to the White House. Don't forget, once the neocons decided to go to Iraq in the face of all evidence, they were like a super-reverse suction machine, and anything in the world that furthered the argument that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction was hot. I call it stove-piping, because it's a technical work of art. But it was much more than that. It was anything - vavoom! - into the president's [office]. It was so amateurish, it was comical. How hard was it to get some crapola into the White House about WMD without the CIA looking at it?

New York Times Editorial: Many computer scientists insist that electronic voting machines will be trustworthy only when they produce paper receipts that can be audited. But supporters of electronic voting have long argued that doing so would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Nevada proved the naysayers wrong this month, running the first statewide election in which electronic voting machines produced paper records of votes cast. Election officials across the country now have no excuse not to provide systems that voters can trust.
There is a growing body of evidence indicating that electronic voting machines are vulnerable to tampering and to software glitches that can skew the vote totals. The best safeguard is a voter-verifiable paper trail, receipts that are printed out during the voting process. Voters can view the receipts to check them against the choices they made on the computer screens. Each receipt remains under glass and, after the vote is cast, falls into a locked box. The receipts can be used in a recount or an audit to check the accuracy of the machine tallies.

Eric Alterman, The Nation: Four years ago, Ralph Nader justified his third-party campaign on the grounds that the two parties represented nothing more than "Tweedledum and Tweedledee." As Americans die by the thousand in Iraq, the budget deficit explodes thanks to a tax cut targeting the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, the Justice Department demands women's private medical records from abortion clinics, and polluters are given carte blanche to despoil the earth and poison our children, the devastating evidence of Nader's myopia is everywhere around us.
Recall also that four years ago, Nader professed to want to help build the Green Party into a genuinely progressive alternative to what he termed the corporate-dominated "duopoly." But Nader was no more truthful about his commitment to party-building than George W. Bush was when he decried "nation-building." Today, Nader's party allies consist mainly of the motley far-right collection of Republicans who fund his campaign and collect his signatures, and the remains of the nativist Reform Party, late of Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign.

Michael Daly, New York Daily News: As politicians make grand speeches supporting our troops, families of our wounded soldiers are being told they soon will no longer receive the modest government stipend that helps them leave job and home to stay at their loved one's hospital bedside.
The majority of the 3,974 seriously wounded soldiers are young, and few earn more than $1,600 a month, tops. Their families are often of limited means and have a hard enough time keeping up with their bills. Family members forfeit wages and risk losing their jobs altogether as they help their soldier recover.
"None of these kids left a Park Ave. townhouse to go fight," observed one Army combat officer.
With exactly that in mind, the stipend was established in April 2003, just as the war in Iraq commenced. It lapses Sept. 30.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04262/381101.stm

First Person: For whom did my son die in Iraq?
Saturday, September 18, 2004

By Diane Davis Santoriello

For the last year and a half, the pain in my gut screamed at my head write about this war, speak out against the war! But my aching heart said, "You can't undermine your son's confidence in what he is doing." Memories of people scorning and smearing Vietnam vets ran rampant through my mind. You see, my son, 1st Lt. Neil Anthony Santoriello Jr., was living his dream. He had fulfilled his dream of becoming a military officer. I thought he was fulfilling his destiny of being a man of purpose, compassion and justice working to make the world a better place.

Diane Davis Santoriello lives in Penn Hills (dianesantoriello@hotmail.com).

Now my son is dead. How did he die? According to the Army, he was killed on Aug. 13 in western Iraq when an IED -- an "improvised explosive device" -- detonated near his vehicle. According to me, he was killed by the arrogance and ineptitude of George W. Bush aided by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

I hear people talk about how well-bred John Kerry and Bush were. What constitutes good breeding? What constitutes good character? My father taught me that when you make a mistake the first thing you do is own up to it and the second thing you do is fix it. Bush made mistakes. Did he own up to them right away? No, he waited until recently and admitted to miscalculations.

What Bush needed to do a year or more ago was to go to the United Nations with his hat in his hand and say, "We made a mistake. We thought we were doing the right thing, but now we have a mess that we can't handle. But now we are mired in a country that must be made stable; we don't have the right kind of troops on the ground to do the job right. You folks have the people and the Iraqi people will trust you. Will you help us fix this mistake?"

My son compulsively planned everything. For every Boy Scout outing, every ski trip, he was prepared for any eventuality.

This presidential administration ignored experts who told them that they could win the war, but winning the peace presented the challenge. Did they prepare for that? Of course not -- they were too arrogant to change their direction even as the insurgency increased.

Did our men and women in harm's way have what they needed? No.

Did we have enough tanks on the ground? No.

Could we supply parts as they were needed? No.

This Bush team could be on a poster for the old axiom: People don't plan to fail -- they fail to plan.

Their actions tarnished the reputation and honor of the United States. We are supposed to be better than other countries because we believe in individual rights.

The Abu Ghraib scandal not only tarnished our reputation, but has put all of servicepeople in jeopardy for decades to come. If we could abuse prisoners, what country will honor the Geneva Conventions when it comes to U.S. troops? The January 2002 memo by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales about the treatment of prisoners scares me. He wrote that because "the war against terrorism is a new kind of war," it "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." In my mind, this memo is Bush's Watergate. I do not understand how people who claim they believe in the ideals of our Founding Fathers can ignore this.

My son voted for Bush. If he were alive, would he be voting for him again? I am not sure. His wife and I avoided political discussions with him before and during his deployment. He would have never talked badly about the president, because you do not criticize your commander in chief.

But I sensed frustration in his letters. When he came home, I would have talked to him about it. I can't ask him now. Now I speak for him.

He worried about his men, his stateside friends set to deploy next month. I did not speak out against the war earlier and for this I am angry with myself. My son, a man of incredible honor, died from the actions of dishonorable men. I cannot bring him back. But I speak out now to protect the people still serving, to try to restore honor to our country.

John Kerry was not my first choice for president, but I believe he has demonstrated a willingness to be open-minded. He knows that changing your position is not a character flaw, but a character plus. I believe he is the only person capable of getting the rest of the world to help us clean up the mess created by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the administration's other Iraq

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/092004X.shtml

Missing: A Media Focus on the Supreme Court
By Norman Solomon
CommonDreams.org

Friday 17 September 2004

The big media themes about the 2004 presidential campaign have reveled in vague rhetoric and flimsy controversies. But little attention has focused on a matter of profound importance: Whoever wins the race for the White House will be in a position to slant the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court for decades to come.

Justices on the top court tend to stick around for a long time. Seven of the current nine were there a dozen years ago. William Rehnquist, who was elevated to chief justice by President Reagan, originally got to the Supreme Court when President Nixon appointed him a third of a century ago. The last four justices to retire had been on the high court for an average of 28 years.

Vacancies are very likely during the next presidential term. Rehnquist, 79, is expected to step down. So is Sandra Day O'Connor, 74, a swing vote on abortion and other issues that divide the court in close votes. Also apt to retire soon is 84-year-old John Paul Stevens, who usually votes with the more liberal justices. "The names of possible Bush or Kerry appointees already are circulating in legal circles," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in August, "and there is virtually no overlap between the lists."

There should be no doubt about the kind of Supreme Court nominee that President Bush would want. "In general what he's going to look for is the most conservative Court of Appeals judge out there who is young," says David M. O'Brien, a professor of government who has written a book about the Supreme Court. "Those are the top two priorities."

Bush has made clear his intention to select replacements akin to hard-right Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Writing in the Washington Times on Sept. 14, conservative attorney Bruce Fein predicts that "the winner of the impending presidential sweepstakes will likely appoint from one to three new justices." He foresees that if Bush wins on Election Day and the seats held by O'Connor and Stevens become vacant, "constitutional decrees in pivotal areas concerning presidential war powers, church-state relations, freedom of speech, the death penalty, the powers of the police and prosecutors, racial, ethnic and gender discrimination and private property will display a markedly more conservative hue."

Some political agendas benefit from the claim that the Supreme Court's 1973 abortion-rights decision, Roe v. Wade, is not in jeopardy. But as Michael Dorf, a law professor at Columbia University, wrote this summer, "three justices -- Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas -- remain committed to overturning Roe. Meanwhile, two of the Court's three oldest members -- justices Stevens and O'Connor -- are part of the six-justice majority for recognizing a constitutional right to abortion. Should President Bush have the opportunity to name anti-Roe successors to these two justices -- or to any two or more of the six justices who oppose overturning Roe -- there is little reason to doubt that he would seize it. The result would be a Supreme Court majority for eliminating the constitutional right to abortion."

Though Bush and Kerry are inclined to understate the importance of potential new Supreme Court picks as they try to attract swing voters, Professor Dorf is unequivocal: "A Bush victory will greatly increase the likelihood that Congress and the state legislatures will be able to ban most abortions at some point in the next four years. In contrast, a Kerry victory will almost surely preserve the status quo of legal abortion prior to the third trimester of pregnancy."

Already, Bush's impacts on the judiciary have been appreciable. Like the members of the Supreme Court, the federal judges on appeals and district court benches are appointed for life -- and in less than four years, Bush has chosen almost a quarter of all those judges nationwide.

Dahlia Lithwick, a legal analyst with Slate, notes that "Bush has already had a chance to massively reshape the lower federal bench. He's now filled 200 seats" -- with judges who'll have far-reaching effects. "He has certainly put a lot of people onto the federal bench who have sort of litmus tests on issues like abortion, on issues like civil rights. And I think we are going to see -- in the far future, but not today -- the fallout of a massive, massive influx of quite conservative jurists who've been put on the bench in the last four years."

As opponents of abortion rights, civil liberties, gay rights and other such causes work to gain a second term for George W. Bush, they try not to stir up a mass-media ruckus that might light a fire under progressives about the future of the Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary. Likewise, those on the left who don't want to back Kerry even in swing states are inclined to dodge, or fog over, what hangs in the balance. Kerry is hardly a champion of a progressive legal system, but the contrast between his centrist orientation and the right-wing extremism of the Bush-Cheney regime should be obvious. It's too easy to opt for imagined purity while others will predictably have to deal with very dire consequences.

"The popular constituency of the Bush people, a large part of it, is the extremist fundamentalist religious sector in the country, which is huge," Noam Chomsky said in a recent interview with David Barsamian. "There is nothing like it in any other industrial country. And they have to keep throwing them red meat to keep them in line. While they're shafting them in their economic and social policies, you've got to make them think you're doing something for them. And throwing red meat to that constituency is very dangerous for the world, because it means violence and aggression, but also for the country, because it means harming civil liberties in a serious way. The Kerry people don't have that constituency. They would like to have it, but they're never going to appeal to it much. They have to appeal somehow to working people, women, minorities, and others, and that makes a difference."

Chomsky added: "These may not look like huge differences, but they translate into quite big effects for the lives of people. Anyone who says 'I don't care if Bush gets elected' is basically telling poor and working people in the country, 'I don't care if your lives are destroyed. I don't care whether you are going to have a little money to help your disabled mother. I just don't care, because from my elevated point of view I don't see much difference between them.' That's a way of saying, 'Pay no attention to me, because I don't care about you.' Apart from its being wrong, it's a recipe for disaster if you're hoping to ever develop a popular movement and a political alternative."

Norman Solomon is co-author, with Reese Erlich, of "Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You." His columns and other writings can be found at normansolomon.com.

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http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-op-blaustein19sep19,1,5188096.story
THE ECONOMY
Who's Better in the Driver's Seat?
Under Democratic presidents, the engine hums along
By Arthur I. Blaustein
Arthur Blaustein was chairman of the President's National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity during the Carter administration. He is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where

September 19, 2004

BERKELEY — A businessman who voted for President Bush four years ago and Bill Clinton in 1996 told me that John F. Kerry's social-program goals "seem good, but I'm worried the Democrats can't manage the economy as well [as Republicans], and they'll get into my wallet." Many voters agree, according to pollsters. But are Republicans better economic managers than Democrats?

Since we entered an entirely new phase of presidential politics 25 years ago, this question has become harder to answer in a full and open manner. Today's campaign imperatives are who can raise the most money and package the most attractive media image, not who can best demonstrate competence and capacity to govern. But fortunately, we don't have to depend on campaign slogans or advertising bucks to frame the debate. We can look to the record.

Here's the Economic Sweepstakes Quiz. The rules are simple. Guess which president since World War II did best on these eight most generally accepted measures of good management of the nation's economy. You can choose among six Republicans — Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Bushes 41 and 43 — and five Democrats — Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Clinton. Which president produced:

1. The highest growth in the gross domestic product?

2. The highest growth in jobs?

3. The biggest increase in personal disposable income after taxes?

4. The highest growth in industrial production?

5. The highest growth in hourly wages?

6. The lowest misery index (inflation plus unemployment)?

7. The lowest inflation?

8. The largest reduction in the deficit?

The answers are:

1-Truman; 2-Clinton; 3-Johnson; 4-Kennedy; 5-Johnson; 6-Truman; 7-Truman; 8-Clinton.

In other words, Democratic presidents trounced Republicans eight out of eight.

If this isn't enough to destroy the perception that the economy has performed better under Republicans, then let's include stock market performance under Democrats. The Dow Jones Industrial Average during the 20th century rose an average of 7.3% a year under Republican presidents. Under Democrats, it jumped 10.3%, a whopping 41% gain for investors. During George W. Bush's first three years as president, the stock market declined 4%.

Moreover, since World War II, the national debt increased on average by 3.7% a year under Democratic administrations, compared with 9.1% when Republicans occupied the Oval Office. During the same period, Democratic presidents oversaw on average an unemployment rate of 4.8%. For Republicans, it was 6.3%.

That's the historical record. What about current policies?

The Clinton administration presided over the longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history. The national debt fell dramatically, the industrial sector boomed, wages grew and more Americans found jobs. In contrast, the Bush administration has presided over the weakest job-creation cycle since the Great Depression, record household debt, the highest-ever bankruptcy rate and a substantial increase of those who live in poverty.

Kerry maintains that government has the responsibility to keep the economy on the right track. Toward that end, he has pledged to reduce the national debt and budget deficit. He would help the middle class and working poor by maintaining current benefit levels and eligibility for the earned income tax credit. Kerry has also promised to restore tax progressivity and fairness by rolling back Bush's giveaways to taxpayers earning more than $200,000 annually. And the Massachusetts senator wants to make significant investments in healthcare, education, affordable housing and the environment.

The president, by contrast, has emerged as little more than a supply-sider in the mold of his father, George H.W. Bush, and his father's former boss, Reagan. The results demonstrate why supply-side policies are sometimes called "trickle-down" economics. Corporate profits have soared 57.5% during the Bush administration, while workers' wages and benefits have increased a minuscule 1.57%.

In less than a year and a half, the Bush administration's sweeping tax cuts, passed by Congress in 2001, wiped out the federal government's 10-year projected budget surplus of $1.6 trillion. In 2000, the budget surplus was $236 billion. Three years later, the surplus had turned into a deficit of $375 billion.

Because Bush believes the free market will solve America's economic problems, he wants to gradually privatize Social Security and Medicare. To finance current government spending — after having given the wealthiest 1% of Americans 43% of the tax cuts — Bush is borrowing more heavily from the Social Security trust fund than any previous president. At the same time, the Treasury owes billions to foreign investors who buy Treasury bonds, and thus subsidize the national debt, which has soared by 29%, to $7.3 trillion.

Bush's solution to the recovering economy's still-uneven job creation is more tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and corporations. The cost of these tax breaks plus his proposed spending initiatives is estimated to be $3 trillion over a decade. In denying the tax cut's role in the nation's current budgetary problems — and placing the blame instead on Sept. 11 and corporate malfeasance — the administration is being dishonest with the public.

During the 2000 campaign, Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney, bragged about their MBA and CEO credentials, respectively. We've learned what that means: fudging, manipulating, wheedling government contracts and favors, and, in general, working the system for all it's worth. Bush and Cheney were schooled in a corporate culture that believes success involves exploiting the government, the economy and the environment.

They now practice that culture in the White House. To them, the national treasury seems little more than a personal piggy bank to reward their corporate friends and largest campaign contributors.

We don't need more quick-fix schemes or lopsided tax cuts. Four more years of Reaganomics II could land us on the economic endangered nations' list. Ballooning deficits and private debt could strangle the economy for the next generation, and all but the wealthiest would have a tough time making ends meet.

Kerry understands these realities and has demonstrated a willingness to confront them with candor, fairness and vision. We need an administration that understands and believes in coherent, comprehensive and equitable policies that promote sustainable economic growth — and, on that count, Democrats have the winning record.


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Seymour Hersh's Alternative History of Bush's War
By Mary Jacoby
Salon.com

Saturday 18 September 2004

The crack investigative reporter tells Salon about a disastrous battle the U.S. brass hushed up, the frightening True Believers in the White House, and how Iran, not Israel, may have manipulated us into war.


Seymour Hersh
(Photo: Michael Schmelling / AP Photo)

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Seymour Hersh has written more than two dozen stories for the New Yorker magazine on the secret machinations of the Bush administration in what the White House calls the "war on terrorism." His revelations, including an investigation of a group of neoconservatives at the Pentagon who set up their own special intelligence unit to press the case for invading Iraq, have consistently broken news.

Arguably his most important scoop came last spring, when the legendary investigative reporter received the now infamous photos of prisoner abuse by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, Iraq, as well as the explosive report on the abuse by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba. The story Hersh published in the New Yorker, followed by a report by CBS's "60 Minutes," created an international scandal for the Bush administration and led to congressional hearings.

In a new book, "Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib," Hersh expands upon his work in the New Yorker to contribute new insights and revelations. He discloses how a CIA analyst's report on abuses against captured Taliban prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, made its way to the White House in 2002, putting National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on notice two years before the Abu Ghraib scandal that human rights violations were taking place in U.S.-run prisons abroad.

In March 2002, Hersh writes, a military action against al-Qaida, known as Operation Anaconda, was botched in Afghanistan's mountainous border with Pakistan. Billed at the time as a success story by the Pentagon, it was in fact a debacle, plagued by squabbling between the services, bad military planning and avoidable deaths of American soldiers, as well as the escape of key al-Qaida leaders, likely including Osama bin Laden.

Hersh's story is well known. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1969 exposé of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, in which American soldiers killed more than 500 civilians. He is the author of eight books, including 1983's "The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House." And, since 1998, he's been a staff writer for the New Yorker

I visited with Hersh this week in his tiny, unadorned two-room office in downtown Washington, where he works amid a whirring fax machine, a constantly ringing phone and delivery men knocking on the door with packages. A map of the world, slightly off-kilter, is taped to the wall behind his desk, which is piled high with papers.

He speaks quickly, answering questions before the sentences can be completed, and hopscotches through conversational topics, as if everything's a race against time. "I have some Brazilians coming in. You know, just to talk about ... wait! Turn it off for a second," he says, gesturing at my recorder. He shares with me a lead he's working on. He flashes me a look at an intriguing document before stealing it away. "OK, let's talk about the book. I've gone over the top here. I'm not pimping anymore. I'm now a full-fledged whore, with red paint," he says, pretending to smear rouge on his cheeks. He loosens his tie. "Let's get on with it!"

What is new in the book, and what is based on your published work?

I'd say about 35 percent of the opening material on Abu Ghraib is new, maybe about 15,000 words, altogether about, I don't know what percentage. Maybe about a third, maybe a little less, is either new or revised or significantly changed. But the bulk of the book is the articles I did, put in a different form and combined in a different way by a very competent editor of mine. This book was edited by the New Yorker and fact-checked by the New Yorker. Everything that is new in the book was fact-checked by the New Yorker.

Who was the editor?

Her name is Amy Davidson. She's a senior editor, and she's great. A man named John Bennet, who is a wonderful editor, was my editor for the first couple of years, and then Amy came on because John's good that way. John is very avuncular, and he wants other people to start editing significant stuff, because among other things, he's always stuck with the big pieces. It was fact-checked by the same people, and the publisher paid for it. And Remnick, to his everlasting credit, David Remnick the editor, agreed that even though there's a very good story at the beginning - the whole Condi Rice meeting issue - he said publish it in your book and go make some money. It was sort of nice of them. It reflects well on the New Yorker. His point was, your being out there reflects well on the New Yorker. We all fight for making a living.

To talk about the new revelations ...

Let me tell you the one I like the most; aside from the obvious stuff about Abu Ghraib, there was a story I didn't write two years ago about Operation Anaconda. I didn't write it because, oh, a lot of complicated reasons. One, it was very hostile to our soldiers, and the military, and General [Tommy] Franks, and [Major Gen. Frank] Hagenbeck, a very nasty story. And then secondly, there was bad blood between the Marine Corps, and General Franks, and CentComm and the Air Force, and it just didn't, uh ... it's one of those stories. The real reason in a funny way is that even though my sources were angry in talking about it, it's one of the stories they really would have regretted, because you're talking about internecine warfare among the services. It's about boys ... anyway.

They would have regretted it?

They would have regretted talking to me about that. In there is an account of the Marines insisting that General Franks sign an MOU, a memorandum of understanding, of how the Marines would be used. We're talking about in combat, this kind of war going on between the services. And, you know, I probably guess it was the right decision, because I had to do obviously an alternate history of the war. And obviously there were certain people talking to me. People on the inside know what's going on. And so, I probably agree it was OK to do it. But I felt bad when I saw [former Gen. Wesley] Clark later. I had talked to Clark about the story at the time. Then two years later I ran into him when he was running for president, or right before, and he said, "Whatever happened to that story?" I said, "Well, I just decided not to write it." And he said, "Well, you should have. It's your job."

He's an amazingly straight guy. A difficult guy. "You should have." He basically told me, "Punk kid. You didn't know what you were doing." I also respect him because ...

Let's talk about some of these revelations.

Oh, so that was the one I liked the most.

But why didn't you write it at the time? You thought it would be too hostile?

No! There was, you know, it was a tough story about troops running from the battlefield, you know; it was just a tough story. [Hersh is referring to the lost battle of Anaconda.] I was writing a lot of other tough stories, and, uh ... it just didn't work. Let's put it that way.

Isn't that what a lot of the mainstream press get accused of - certainly not you - but holding back important information out of sensitivity for the feelings of the nation?

Ain't none of us perfect. It just seemed at the time, some of the people who were talking to me at the time, it would cause a big stink, and some of the Marines who were talking to me would not talk anymore. I also know, in order to do the story right, I would have had to go find some of the guys who were in the mission ... There was a lot of reporting to do, and I don't know, I just didn't do it.

But now you've gone back and revisited it in the book?

Oh yeah. Give me the book. I'll show you right where it is. So I'm not backing off. It was a story that should have been written. Of course I should have written it.

Let's talk about this anecdote about Vice President Cheney saying there would be no resignations [over the Abu Ghraib scandal]. Your publisher emphasized this in the press release, and I wanted to know ...

Now, wait a minute. Are you asking about a press release? Excuse me. That's like asking me about a headline.

Just tell me why you feel it's important.

What? Tell me why I feel it's important that Cheney called up?

What does it reveal?

It's more complicated than you think. For one thing, it reveals that they're all as one. The notion that they're going to fire [Donald] Rumsfeld, as people actually entertained, is comical. After 9/11 he gets in this swaggering mode and says we're going to smoke those terrorists out of their snake holes. And then it's clear there's prisoner abuse and torture going on. But does Cheney call up and say, "Oh, my God! What's going on over there, Don? What kind of craziness are you doing to those prisoners? This is devastating to our campaign. What's going on?" I don't hear that. What I hear is, "Let's all pull together and get past it." Very interesting.

You're an expert on Henry Kissinger. Is there someone who ...

I'm an expert on the side of Henry Kissinger that lied like most people breathed.

Is there someone who is the Henry Kissinger in this administration?

Oh, believe me, I pray for one [clasps his hands and looks beseechingly upward]. Wouldn't it be great if the reality was that they were lying about WMD, and they really didn't believe that democracy would come when they invaded Iraq, and you could go to war with 5,000 troops, a few special forces, a few bombs and a lot of American flags, and Iraq would fold, Saddam would be driven out, a new Baath Party would emerge that's moderate? Democracy would flow like water out of a fountain. These guys believe it. They believe WMD. There's no fallback with these guys. These guys are utopians. They're like Trotskyites. They believe in permanent revolution. They really believe. They believe that they could go in with few forces. They believed that once they went in it would happen quick. Iran would get the message. What they call occupied Lebanon would get the lesson. Even the Saudis would change.

They thought it would happen quickly?

Very quickly. I don't have any empirical basis for it, but if I had to bet, the plan was to go right into Syria. That's why the fourth division was hanging for so long in the desert out there right on the border with Syria. In the early days of the war, before this government figured out how much trouble they were in - which took them a long time - they would drive practice runs, somebody told me. Again, I'm just saying what was told to me; this is not something I reported, but I was told pretty reliably, they were doing practice runs that amounted to the distance from the border to Damascus. It's my belief always - again this is not empirical, it's sort of my heuristic view - that the real reason [Paul] Wolfowitz and others were mad at [Gen. Eric] Shinseki when he testified before the war about [the need for] 200 or 300 troops - it wasn't about the numbers - was, "Didn't he get it? What had he been listening to in the tank? Didn't we explain to him in the tank what we told the chiefs? This is the way it's going to be. Didn't he understand what it's all about?" He didn't get it. He hadn't understood what they meant. This was all going to fall down. It was all going to be peaches and cream. And Shinseki just didn't get it! It wasn't about the numbers. He wasn't a member of the clan. He didn't join the utopia crowd.

You've answered one of my questions. Let's elaborate on it. Clearly there's very little that's, well, in touch with reality in these policies.

Ha, ha, ha. It's so easy for you to say that!

But it's not so clear actually. Many Americans ...

I think I used actually ... I'll get you this word [grabs book from my lap and begins flipping through it] ... there was a "fantastical" quality to the White House's deliberations. Fantastical. That was the phrase I used.

Yes, I read that. And that was my next question. With Kissinger, there were lies, and he knew exactly what he was doing ...

Yes, one of his aides was assigned - literally assigned on one of the secret flights they made to China - to keep track of the lies, who knew what. I think they used to describe it as keeping track of what statements were made, but essentially it was who was being told what, because so many different people were being told different things. But these guys, do you realize how much better off we would be if they really were cynical, and they really were lying about it, because, yes, behind the invasion would be something real, like support for Israel or oil. But it's not! It's not about oil. It's about utopia. I guess you could call it idealism. But it's idealism that's dead wrong. It's like one of the far-right Christian credos. It's a faith-based policy. Only it wasn't a religious faith. It was the faith that democracy would flourish.

So you don't think that this is some Machiavellian, cynical, manipulative ...

I used to pray it was! We'd be in better shape. Is there anything worse than idealism that doesn't conform to reality? You have an unrealistic policy.

It seems that they are very selective not only about what kind of information they present to the public but even in what they decide to believe in themselves.

I think these guys in their naiveté and single-mindedness have been so completely manipulated by - not the Israelis - but the Iranians. The Iranians always wanted us in. I think there's a lot of evidence that Iran had much to do with [Ahmed] Chalabi's disinformation [about nonexistent Iraqi WMD]. I think there were people in the CIA who suspected this all along, but of course they couldn't get their view in. I think the Senate Intelligence Committee's report's a joke, the idea this CIA was misleading the president. They get some analysts in and say, "Were you pressured?" And they all say, "No, excuse me?" Is that how you do an investigation? The truth of the matter is, there was tremendous pressure put on the analysts [to produce reports that bolstered the case for war]. It's not as if anybody issued a diktat. But everybody understood what to do.

Talk about the ...

Wait. You're missing something now. The Iranian stuff. I think Iran probably had more to do with Chalabi's information than people know.

We know that Chalabi had Iranian agents on his payroll.

Yeah, but, well, he admits to that. He had a villa in Tehran. But basically I think Iran was very interested in getting us involved. We get knocked down a peg; they become the big boys on the block.

Are you working on this now?

Yeah, I'm thinking about it. I'm reporting on it. But I'm not working on it. I'm just - it's too cosmic.

Was Chalabi the conduit?

I think Chalabi thought he could handle the Iranians. They were helping him all along with disinformation and documents he could give to the White House. Don't forget, once the neocons decided to go to Iraq in the face of all evidence, they were like a super-reverse suction machine, and anything in the world that furthered the argument that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction was hot. I call it stove-piping, because it's a technical work of art. But it was much more than that. It was anything - vavoom! - into the president's [office]. It was so amateurish, it was comical. How hard was it to get some crapola into the White House about WMD without the CIA looking at it?

Do you have any idea of the origin of the forged Niger documents that Bush cited in his January 2003 State of the Union address as proof that Iraq was seeking uranium to make nuclear weapons?

I don't really know. I know that they think it was an inside job. And my idea is that there were people in the government who knew that you could give these guys [the neoconservatives] anything, and within three days, if it said the right thing, there would be a principals meeting [of the senior foreign policy officials] at the White House on it. And one idea would be to get them in a position where they really walked on their dongs, in a way. Give them some bad stuff. They'd have a big meeting about it and [the neocons] would finally be exposed as ludicrous. Nobody anticipated that [the forged documents] would end up in the State of the Union address. I mean, it's beyond belief. I don't believe in these conspiracy theories, about [Michael] Ledeen [a neocon operative] and these things. He's too smart for that. Because it was designed to be caught.

Do you think the responsibility for Abu Ghraib goes directly up to Rumsfeld?

I think they [Rumsfeld and senior administration officials] had a chance in the fall of 2002 to set the limits, and they chose not to. I don't think the CIA analyst who did the report was very explicit in his written document about the abuses. That isn't the way to get ahead. But he certainly told his peers there was a real mess there, so they know it. All she [Rice] had to do was put the word out there. The chain of command is very responsive. If you put out the word that you're not going to tolerate this crap, it's not going to happen. But that's not the word they put out.

Nobody would have countenanced in his right mind Abu Ghraib. But then again, if you think a bunch of kids from West Virginia understood the way to the soul of an Arab man is to take off his clothes and photograph him ... they didn't know that. Somebody told it to them. And that's the thing about the military. In loco parentis. They have an obligation to take our children and protect them, not only from land mines but from doing stupid things that could land them in jail.

The book is filled with reporting that shows how newspapers either got it wrong, or simply accepted the official version of events. What do you think of the performance of the main newspapers people look to as sources of information?

Well, so here I am, I'm busy trying to peddle a book and you're asking me to commit self-immolation! (Laughs). Well, all I'll say is, it speaks for itself.

"Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib"
By Seymour M. Hersh
HarperCollins
416 pages
Nonfiction

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/18/opinion/18sat2.html?ex=1096511651&ei=1&en=9fea3eeb78a68461

They Said It Couldn't Be Done

Published: September 18, 2004


Many computer scientists insist that electronic voting machines will be trustworthy only when they produce paper receipts that can be audited. But supporters of electronic voting have long argued that doing so would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Nevada proved the naysayers wrong this month, running the first statewide election in which electronic voting machines produced paper records of votes cast. Election officials across the country now have no excuse not to provide systems that voters can trust.

There is a growing body of evidence indicating that electronic voting machines are vulnerable to tampering and to software glitches that can skew the vote totals. The best safeguard is a voter-verifiable paper trail, receipts that are printed out during the voting process. Voters can view the receipts to check them against the choices they made on the computer screens. Each receipt remains under glass and, after the vote is cast, falls into a locked box. The receipts can be used in a recount or an audit to check the accuracy of the machine tallies.

The main argument against voter-verifiable paper trails is that they are impractical. At a May meeting of the federal Election Assistance Commission, and again at the National Association of State Election Directors' summer conference, local election officials denounced the campaign for voter-verifiable paper records. At both events, critics waved a receipt about three feet long, saying one that big would be needed for Los Angeles County's lengthy ballot.

But Nevada's secretary of state, Dean Heller, has always believed that paper records are practical, and this month he proved it. Primary voters across the state cast votes on machines that printed out paper records, and none of the nightmarish possibilities came to pass. The poll workers had no trouble with the technology. And election officials had spare machines and printers on hand in the few cases when printers jammed or had other mechanical problems.

Conditions in Nevada favored success. The turnout was light, and the ballot was short enough that the receipt was only about five inches long. But there is no reason to believe that paper trails could not work in any election. Alfred Charles, a vice president of Sequoia Voting Systems, which made the machines used in Nevada, says that if the receipts are done properly, listing only the candidates and referendum choices that the voter actually selects, length should not be a problem, and it is unlikely that even Los Angeles County would require anything like three-foot-long paper receipts.

Even if Nevada's approach - attaching printers to touch-screen machines - had failed, there would still be other ways to provide a paper record. Probably the best solution is the optical scan system used now in many jurisdictions, where voters mark paper ballots that are then read by computers. In optical scan systems, the paper ballots the voters fill out can be retained and used as a check against the machines' tallies.

Nevada has taken the lead on paper trails not only in its own elections, but also in Congress. Its senators - John Ensign, a Republican, and Harry Reid, a Democrat - have co-sponsored the bipartisan Voting Integrity and Verification Act, one of a number of pending bills that would require that all electronic voting machines produce voter-verifiable paper trails. Congress should pass such legislation right away so all Americans can have the same confidence in their elections as Nevadans now have.

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the liberal media by Eric Alterman

Bush's Useful Idiot
[from the October 4, 2004 issue]

Four years ago, Ralph Nader justified his third-party campaign on the grounds that the two parties represented nothing more than "Tweedledum and Tweedledee." As Americans die by the thousand in Iraq, the budget deficit explodes thanks to a tax cut targeting the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, the Justice Department demands women's private medical records from abortion clinics, and polluters are given carte blanche to despoil the earth and poison our children, the devastating evidence of Nader's myopia is everywhere around us.

Recall also that four years ago, Nader professed to want to help build the Green Party into a genuinely progressive alternative to what he termed the corporate-dominated "duopoly." But Nader was no more truthful about his commitment to party-building than George W. Bush was when he decried "nation-building." Today, Nader's party allies consist mainly of the motley far-right collection of Republicans who fund his campaign and collect his signatures, and the remains of the nativist Reform Party, late of Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign.

It's true that Nader once represented an important progressive voice in American politics; then again, so did Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz and Christopher Hitchens. While Nader continues to employ the same rhetoric as before, this speaks merely to his personal self-delusion and shameless demagoguery. He also appears to be a rather brazen liar. "We have not been accepting signatures obtained through organized Republican Party efforts in the three or four states where we have learned of such activity," he insisted in a September Washington Post op-ed. In fact, as the Detroit Free Press reported a day earlier, 45,000 of the 50,500 petition signatures submitted on Nader's behalf in Michigan were indeed submitted by Republicans. (Meanwhile, in Florida, Nader's ballot access lawyer is one Kenneth Sukhia, who just happened to represent Bush in that state's 2000 recount.)

While Nader, with characteristic obliviousness, refuses to accept any responsibility for the horrors of the Bush Administration, Ronnie Dugger, who presented Nader four years ago at the Green Party convention, admits, "We, the Nader people, certainly put Bush close enough electorally for the Supreme Court to seize the presidency for him." Giving up on talking sense to Nader personally, many of his big-name 2000 supporters have joined together to oppose his current candidacy. Among the seventy-four members of the "113-person Nader 2000 Citizens Committee" who've signed a statement urging support for Kerry/Edwards in all swing states this year are: Phil Donahue, Jim Hightower, Susan Sarandon, Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Howard Zinn and Cornel West. Indeed, Nader is without a single high-profile supporter anywhere this time around. And he has added to his list of enemies what he terms the "liberal intelligentsia": those he defines as concerned with his issues but willing to accept "the least worst option."

Four years ago, writing in these pages about Nader's "nascent leftist movement," I pointed out that it enjoyed "virtually no support among African-Americans, Latinos or Asian-Americans. It has no support among organized feminist groups, organized gay rights groups or mainstream environmental groups. To top it all off, it has no support in the national union movement. So Nader and company are building a nonblack, non-Latino, non-Asian, nonfeminist, nonenvironmentalist, nongay, non-working people's left: Now that really would be quite an achievement." I could have added Jews, too.

Today Nader has managed to top even that accomplishment. This time he is actively hated by the leaders of the dispossessed to whom he professes his allegiance. On June 22, for instance, Nader met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in a session that ended with shouting, cursing and several members walking out in a state of fury. When it was over, Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee told CNN, "This is the most historic election of our lifetime, and it is a life-or-death matter for the vulnerable people we represent. For that reason, we can't sacrifice their vulnerability for the efforts being made by Mr. Nader."

Pragmatic concerns carried no weight in what was essentially a Leninist campaign in 2000, based as it was on Nader's belief that things needed to get much worse before they could begin to get better. When Nader claimed a Bush victory would help energize groups like the Sierra Club, its leader, Carl Pope, loudly told him, No thanks. When I debated Cornel West and Frances Fox Piven before a large audience at NYU, our introductions were preceded by a plea from graduate student union organizers to support their efforts to elicit decent pay and conditions. I tried to point out that those students who supported both Nader and the union might wish to concern themselves with the makeup of the presidentially appointed National Labor Relations Board. Well, in July of this year, the graduate students who stuck with Nader got what they apparently wanted. The Bush-controlled NLRB voted to reverse an earlier decision and deny all American graduate students the right to bargain collectively.

Despite all of this, as I write, Nader is actually polling higher than the 2.74 percent of Americans who provided the votes for his 2000 kamikaze mission--high enough to tip key swing states toward the single worst President in American history. What in God's name will convince Nader's remaining supporters to abandon his lemminglike march? It's hard to imagine what kind of logic will resonate with people who define themselves as leftists and yet remain unmoved by the sight of George Bush and Dick Cheney lying us into war, John Ashcroft attempting to criminalize dissent and Donald Rumsfeld rationalizing rape and torture.

If anyone has any ideas, let's hear them, please, and fast. In the meantime, can the media please stop assuming that this Republican-funded, nativist-supported and Bush/Cheney-enabling campaign is somehow deserving of the label "liberal"? Are our problems not large enough that we must also be saddled with the sins of our enemies?

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/col/story/232224p-199435c.html

New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
Soldiers' kin pay a high price

Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

As politicians make grand speeches supporting our troops, families of our wounded soldiers are being told they soon will no longer receive the modest government stipend that helps them leave job and home to stay at their loved one's hospital bedside.
The majority of the 3,974 seriously wounded soldiers are young, and few earn more than $1,600 a month, tops. Their families are often of limited means and have a hard enough time keeping up with their bills. Family members forfeit wages and risk losing their jobs altogether as they help their soldier recover.

"None of these kids left a Park Ave. townhouse to go fight," observed one Army combat officer.

With exactly that in mind, the stipend was established in April 2003, just as the war in Iraq commenced. It lapses Sept. 30.

"I think nobody expected the war to last that long," an Army medical official said.

Surprise, surprise. A provision making the stipend permanent, Section 632 of HR4200, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, is languishing in Congress as if it were not a crime to compound the anxieties of wounded heroes.

A House Armed Services Committee spokesman said HR4200 was "in conference" and suggested any current benefits to wounded soldiers would only "technically" expire and "go on as has been." Those who disagree include the Department of Defense, which allowed, "it appears there will be a gap in payment of per diem."

Meanwhile, a nation in a multibillion-dollar war will be saving the $51 a day plus lodging expenses now accorded the mother of 23-year-old Spec. Ken Comstock of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Light Infantry, New York Army National Guard. He is at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, recovering from a head wound he suffered in Iraq. His most recent surgery involved an ear-to-ear incision and shifting tissue to stop drainage from his skull.

"He's now in a seven- to 10-day waiting period to make sure nothing else is leaking," said his mother, Bonnie Comstock of upstate New York.

The mother has been able to remain at his side thanks to a patient employer and the stipend. She has observed his reaction whenever she prepares to leave the room.

"He gives this bewildered look: 'What? Where are you going?'" the mother said.

Her son would then point to the wall clock above the sink on the other side of the room. She would have no trouble understanding the message.

"When are you coming back? How long are you going to be?"

He would hold up one finger then another.

"One hour? Two Hours?"

She would step out only long enough to get something to eat or send an E-mail. Each time she returned, she would see anew what her presence means to him.

"He's my firstborn," she said yesterday. "It's that bond."

She was notified Aug. 23 that her son had been wounded. She flew to the hospital in Germany where he was first treated and accompanied him on the flight to Andrews Air Force base on Labor Day weekend. She has now been away from her job as a restaurant manager for three weeks.

"I don't want to lose my job, and I don't want to leave my son here alone," Comstock said.

She certainly could not afford to commute, and she had used the single trip the Army provides each parent of a wounded soldier.

"They said, 'One trip. That's it,'" the mother said.

And as if all that were not enough, the hospital's family assistance office informed her she would soon be losing her stipend.

"I'm like, 'What do you mean?'" Comstock recalled.

The family assistance people, who seem as kind as anybody, suggested she call her congressman.

"I said, 'My son was seriously wounded in Iraq and now you're telling me I have to call somebody to ask for food and lodging?'" she recalled.

While the mother spent another day with her wounded firstborn, a columnist called the office of Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), the House Armed Services Committee's ranking minority member. A spokeswoman was unable to predict when the bill reinstating the stipend would become law.

"They've just started," she said. "Hopefully, before they adjourn in October, but your guess is as good as mine."


Posted by richard at 12:41 PM

September 18, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 45 Days to Go -- Seven Stories from the REAL Headlines

There are 45 days to go until the national referendum on the CHARACTER, CREDIBILITY and COMPETENCE of the _resident and the VICE _resident...Here's what a real headline, heralding a real story written by real journalists, in a real big city newspaper looks like: "US Death Toll in Iraq at least 52 This Month." Here's what a real lead to a real story by real journalists looks like: "Iraqi insurgents pressed their assault on U.S. and allied forces Thursday as two Americans and a Briton were kidnapped from their Baghdad house and three Marines were killed, bringing the number of U.S. military deaths in the country this month to at least 52. The brazen abduction of the employees of a Middle East-based construction firm continued a violent week that has left more than 200 Iraqis dead, and it followed a similar kidnapping of two Italian women from their office 10 days ago." Kudos to Los Angeles Times, and to Ashraf Khalil and Patrick J. McDonnell. MEANWHILE...We are two weeks out from Labor Day, and the quick fix to the Deep Fix is unraveling...The _resident didn't get a bounce from the brown shirt convention in NYC -- indeed, he was losing ground because of the purple heart band-aids and Zell Miller (D-Phillip Morris) -- so the US regimestream news media delivered a fabricated bounce cooked up by its shameless pollsters (Gallup, in particular)and spun by its craven propapunditgansists...But, as we said, the quick fix to the Deep Fix is unraveling. Yes, it is unraveling under the withering attacks of Kerry-Edwards and the irreversible momentum of events in Iraq, the Economy, etc. Something is SINKING IN for the US electorate, something about the _resident's foolish military adventure and the Mega-Mogadishu it has created for our military, yes, something is SINKING IN...And despite the despicable spinning of NotBeSeen's Tom Brokaw, who said that the Iraqi insurgents are trying to influence the US presidential campaign (remember to look up his salary in the LNS searchable database), the US electorate is turning against the Bush Cabal, its wholly-owmed-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party AND their sponsors in the US regimestream news media. This unholy Triad of shared special interest (i.e. oil, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacoo, etc.) is going to be dealt a defeat on Nov. 2. There is an Electoral Uprising coming...Here are SEVEN very important stories that should dominate the air waves and command headlines above the fold, but they won't...Please read them and share them with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote. And, please, remember that the US regimestream news media does not want to inform you about this presidential campaign, it wants to DISinform you...

Columbia Journalism Review Campaign Desk: There's a history here; the same wild variance in September polls took place during the 2000 presidential campaign. In that year, Gallup showed Al Gore leading by 10 percentage points on September 20, yet losing by 13 percentage points on October 26 -- a stunning 23-point shift in 36 days. (Meanwhile, polls commissioned by Fox and by Reuters/MSNBC on those same days showed statistical ties -- which, of course, pretty well mirrored what happened on election day.)
There were a few outlets that showed a willingness to recognize that competing and wildly divergent poll results had been released on the same day, like the Associated Press and CNN, which ran a story headlined "Latest Presidential Polls Vary Widely."
So whom do you believe today -- Pew, which portrays a dead heat, or Gallup, which shows Bush pulling away smartly? Our suggestion is to treat the polls as what they are -- snapshots, not predictions, and snapshots taken by different cameras with different focus, shutter speeds, refraction and lens angles.
That's the story that you don't read or hear from the news organizations that commission the polls in question -- and at this point, they all ought to be in question. It's much simpler for newspapers to offer up raw numbers rather than to explain the intricacies of any given poll or trying to explain why one poll differs so wildly from another. Horse race numbers create easily digestible storylines, after all, and storylines, it is thought, keep people interested and sell papers.
Besides, relying on a poll to, in effect, do your reporting for you, instead of relying on said poll to put your reporting in perspective, is the easy way out. The new Gallup poll, with its disputed methodology, should not rate a banner headline in one of the nation's most widely read newspapers; readers in search of an accurate take on the state of the race deserve better.

www.mediamatters.org: According to analysis released September 14 by Media Tenor International (an independent and nonpartisan research organization), ABC, CBS, FOX News Channel, and NBC evening news reports on Senator John Kerry's military service far outnumbered reports on other topics relating to President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. The analysis surveyed the period of August 1 through August 29; the "other topics" included campaigning and campaign strategy; foreign and domestic policy; personality; and terrorism.

www.fair.org: In the past week, a handful of stories have cast doubt on whether George W. Bush fulfilled his National Guard obligations 30 years ago. Reports by the Associated Press (9/7/04), Boston Globe (9/8/04) and U.S. News & World Report (9/20/04) have all raised new questions about Bush's military service. Though each of these stories has been accompanied by significant official documentation, developments in the investigations by AP, U.S. News and the Boston Globe have been largely sidetracked by the fixation on questions about the authenticity of documents aired on CBS on September 8...Instead of asking the White House tough questions about the well-documented information contained in these reports, media have focused almost exclusively on the claims and counter-claims made about the Killian memos-- as if the discrepancies over Bush's service record stand or fall based on this one set of disputed documents. It's the equivalent of covering the sideshow and ignoring the center ring.

Associated Press: A woman wearing a T-shirt with the words "President Bush (news - web sites) You Killed My Son" and a picture of a soldier killed in Iraq (news - web sites) was detained Thursday after she interrupted a campaign speech by first lady Laura Bush.
Police escorted Sue Niederer, of Hopewell, N.J., from a rally at a firehouse after she demanded to know why her son, Army 1st Lt. Seth Dvorin, 24, was killed in Iraq. Dvorin died in February while trying to disarm a bomb.
As shouts of "Four More Years" subsided, Niederer, standing in the middle of a crowd of some 700, continued to shout about the killing of her son. Local police escorted her from the event, handcuffed her and put her in the back of a police van.

Democratic National Committee: In response to news reports of a New Jersey woman, whose son was killed while serving in Iraq and who after attempting to ask First Lady Laura Bush a question at a campaign event was arrested, put in a police wagon, and taken to jail, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe issued this statement:
"George W. Bush has cultivated a culture in which a grieving mother in New Jersey gets arrested for asking a question at a Bush campaign event. It’s the same culture that allows an Alabama woman to be fired for expressing her beliefs with a John Kerry bumper sticker on her car. You ask a question they don’t want to answer and they arrest you. You express a belief that they disagree with and you get fired.

David J. Sirota and Jonathan Baskin, American Progress: As Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush, Cheney helped lead a multinational coalition against Iraq and was one of the architects of a post-war economic embargo designed to choke off funds to the country. He insisted the world should “maintain sanctions, at least of some kind,” so Saddam Hussein could not “rebuild the military force he’s used against his neighbors.”
But less than six years later, as a private businessman, Cheney apparently had more important interests than preventing Hussein from rebuilding his army. While he claimed during the 2000 campaign that, as CEO of Halliburton, he had “imposed a ‘firm policy’ against trading with Iraq,” confidential UN records show that, from the first half of 1997 to the summer of 2000, Halliburton held stakes in two firms that sold more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq while Cheney was in charge. Halliburton acquired its interest in both firms while Cheney was at the helm, and continued doing business through them until just months before Cheney was named George W. Bush’s running mate.
Perhaps even more troubling, at the same time Cheney was doing business with Iraq, he launched a public broadside against sanctions laws designed to cut off funds to regimes like Iran, which the State Department listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. In 1998, Cheney traveled to Kuala Lumpur to attack his own country's terrorism policies for being too strict. Under the headline, “Former US Defence Secretary Says Iran-Libya Sanctions Act ‘Wrong,’” the Malaysian News Agency reported that Cheney “hit out at his government" and said sanctions on terrorist countries were "ineffective, did not provide the desired results and [were] a bad policy.”
Two years later, Cheney traveled to another country to demand America weaken restrictions on doing business with Iran’s petroleum industry, despite Clinton administration warnings that Iranian oil revenues could be used to fund terrorism. “We're kept out of [Iran] primarily by our own government, which has made a decision that U.S. firms should not be allowed to invest significantly in Iran,” he told an oil conference in Canada. “I think that's a mistake.”
Now new reports suggest Cheney’s desire to do business with Iran may have amounted to more than words. Details of Halliburton’s activities in Iran have been investigated by the Treasury Department and were recently forwarded to the U.S. attorney in Houston. Such an action is taken only after Treasury finds evidence of ‘serious and willful violations’ of sanctions laws. Halliburton already admits one of its subsidiaries “performs between $30 [million] and $40 million annually in oilfield service work in Iran.”

Ray McGovern, www.truthout.org: "Have they all drunk the Kool-Aid?" asked a former CIA colleague, referring to the stampede to appoint a new director and radically restructure the intelligence community. The Kool-Aid allusion was to the "group-think" that led disciples of self-anointed "messiah" Jim Jones to mass suicide via poisoned Kool-Aid in 1978...
Goss co-authored an opinion piece in The Tampa Tribune on March 8, claiming that in the 1990s Sen. John Kerry "was leading efforts in Congress to dismantle the nation's intelligence capabilities." And in June, Goss interrupted debate on the House floor by displaying a sign with a 1977 quote from Kerry that called for cuts in the intelligence budget. These antics raise legitimate concerns with respect to Goss's ability to be nonpartisan.
Even more troubling to veteran intelligence analysts is the way Goss' prepared statement parroted the president's rhetoric to the effect that terrorists "are committed to the destruction of our economy and our way of life" - boilerplate that merits as much credence as the now thoroughly discredited pre-war claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

James Wolcott, www.jameswolcott.com: So far I have watched four cable news interviews with Kitty Kelley, author of The Evil Clampetts. And here is what I have learned about her book.
Not much.
The interviewers are all working off of the same talking points, the tone and thrust of their questioning so similar it's as if they all received the same fax from the Republican National Committee...
The worst interviews were on CNN. Aaron Brown fretted over the methodology and wondered why Kelley focused on the Bushes, since so many privileged families such as the Kennedys and the Rockefellers get away with all sorts of behavior without having to pay the price most people do--why pick on them?
Kelley smartly retorted that the Bushes have paid less price than most (what she didn't say, and could have, was two assassinations of Kennedy brothers was worse than anything the Bushes have had to endure)... Brown at least wasn't a snitty little twit, like the CNN interviewer this morning whose name, I believe, is Heidi Hairdo. From the outset her tone was brisk, assistant district-attorneyish, and yet schoolgirlishly naive, as when she couldn't understand why anyone would be "afraid" of the Bushes and Kelley laughed in snorting disbelief, as if she had to explain the facts of life to Miss Snippy.
Heidi Hairdo, like some of the other interviewers, seem to keep up an invisible cordon sanitarire, a starchy, disdainful discomfort at having to share the set with an author so disreputable and, oh dear, tacky. This from people who fawn over every narcissistic piece of Hollywood horseflesh making the rounds to promote their latest lousy movie.
What's clear is that the news media are uncomfortable with someone investigating the arrogant and disturbing patterns of behavior in the Bush dynasty. They can't ignore Kitty Kelley, but they want to keep her in her litter box. But she's a tiny tigress, and will not be contained.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.campaigndesk.org/

September 17, 2004
Hidden Angle
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

On the way to work this morning, we picked up one of New York's free papers, Metro, and discovered the headline, "Poll Says Bush, Kerry Tied." Once at the office, we clicked over to USA Today, only to see the cover story, headlined "Bush Clear Leader in Poll." Readers of both publications could be forgiven for being confused. And their confusion would only continue if they read on: "The boost Bush received from the Republican convention has increased rather than dissipated," USA Today exclaimed. No, declared the AP story in Metro, in reality Bush's post-convention bounce had all but evaporated between September 8 and September 14.

The poll referenced by Metro, which showed a statistical tie, came from the Pew Research Center, which just three days earlier had released a different poll showing Bush with a 15-point lead among likely voters. (Meantime, a Harris poll taken in between the two Pew efforts showed a slim Kerry lead, and argued the "'convention bounce' has now disappeared.") The poll featured in USA Today showing a huge Bush lead comes from Gallup.

There's a history here; the same wild variance in September polls took place during the 2000 presidential campaign. In that year, Gallup showed Al Gore leading by 10 percentage points on September 20, yet losing by 13 percentage points on October 26 -- a stunning 23-point shift in 36 days. (Meanwhile, polls commissioned by Fox and by Reuters/MSNBC on those same days showed statistical ties -- which, of course, pretty well mirrored what happened on election day.)

USA Today regularly commissions polls from Gallup, though they didn't commission this most recent one, erroneous media reports notwithstanding. The paper still gave the poll prominent play, however; according to Susan Page, who wrote the story, "we felt very comfortable comparing it to previous polls because it used the same methodology" as other polls that the paper had commissioned this year. Though the story does mention the contrasting Pew poll in the seventh paragraph, the lede, like the headline, presents the Gallup poll results as largely beyond question, asserting that the poll heralds "the first statistically significant edge either candidate has held this year."

There were a few outlets that showed a willingness to recognize that competing and wildly divergent poll results had been released on the same day, like the Associated Press and CNN, which ran a story headlined "Latest Presidential Polls Vary Widely."

So whom do you believe today -- Pew, which portrays a dead heat, or Gallup, which shows Bush pulling away smartly? Our suggestion is to treat the polls as what they are -- snapshots, not predictions, and snapshots taken by different cameras with different focus, shutter speeds, refraction and lens angles.

That's the story that you don't read or hear from the news organizations that commission the polls in question -- and at this point, they all ought to be in question. It's much simpler for newspapers to offer up raw numbers rather than to explain the intricacies of any given poll or trying to explain why one poll differs so wildly from another. Horse race numbers create easily digestible storylines, after all, and storylines, it is thought, keep people interested and sell papers.

Besides, relying on a poll to, in effect, do your reporting for you, instead of relying on said poll to put your reporting in perspective, is the easy way out. The new Gallup poll, with its disputed methodology, should not rate a banner headline in one of the nation's most widely read newspapers; readers in search of an accurate take on the state of the race deserve better.

--Brian Montopoli

Posted 09/17/04 at 04:33 PM
Go to comments

http://mediamatters.org/items/200409170002

Media Tenor report: Negative reports on Kerry's military service dominated TV news in weeks between Dem, GOP conventions

According to analysis released September 14 by Media Tenor International (an independent and nonpartisan research organization), ABC, CBS, FOX News Channel, and NBC evening news reports on Senator John Kerry's military service far outnumbered reports on other topics relating to President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. The analysis surveyed the period of August 1 through August 29; the "other topics" included campaigning and campaign strategy; foreign and domestic policy; personality; and terrorism.

Media Tenor also found that, while negative statements about Kerry's military service significantly outnumbered positive statements on both the network evening news programs and on FOX News Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume -- by a margin of more than two to one -- FOX News Channel's negative statements outnumbered those of the networks by 462 to 252.

In addition, Media Tenor tracked the number of anonymous sources cited in statements about Kerry's military service; the report revealed that Hume cited anonymous sources in twelve negative statements, compared with a total of four anonymously sourced negative statements on the three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC).

— N.C.

Posted to the web on Friday September 17, 2004 at 10:43 AM EST

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http://www.fair.org/press-releases/cbs-bush-documents.html

FAIR Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting 112 W. 27th Street New York, NY 10001
MEDIA ADVISORY:
Media Should Probe Bigger Questions About Bush's Record

September 14, 2004

In the past week, a handful of stories have cast doubt on whether George W. Bush fulfilled his National Guard obligations 30 years ago. Reports by the Associated Press (9/7/04), Boston Globe (9/8/04) and U.S. News & World Report (9/20/04) have all raised new questions about Bush's military service. Though each of these stories has been accompanied by significant official documentation, developments in the investigations by AP, U.S. News and the Boston Globe have been largely sidetracked by the fixation on questions about the authenticity of documents aired on CBS on September 8.

Weighing the credibility of evidence is an essential function of journalism. Experts have weighed in on both sides on the authenticity of CBS's so-called Killian memos (New York Times, 9/14/04; Washington Post, 9/14/04); efforts to establish the origin of those documents should continue. However, news outlets that focus on this tangent of the National Guard story to the exclusion of the unchallenged new evidence that has recently emerged are neglecting another essential journalistic task: holding powerful people and politicians accountable.

In the wake of the stories scrutinizing Bush's stateside service during the Vietnam era, it's hard to imagine a better situation for the White House than to have the press corps ignore a range of evidence raising questions about Bush's fulfillment of his obligations while obsessing singularly on one set of documents from one story.

A review of some of the information uncovered in recent news reports:

The September 7 Associated Press story, based on new records the White House had long maintained didn't exist, debunked a Bush assertion that he'd skipped his flight physical because the jet he was trained on was becoming obsolete. According to AP, Bush's unit continued to fly the same jets for two years after the missed physical.

The September 8 Boston Globe expose concluded that Bush failed in his military obligations by missing months of duty in Alabama and in Boston. As the Globe revealed, Bush had signed contracts on two separate occasions swearing to meet minimum Guard requirements on penalty of being called up to active duty. According to the military experts consulted by the Globe, Bush's Guard attendance was so bad "his superiors could have disciplined him or ordered him to active duty in 1972, 1973 or 1974."

U.S News & World Report (9/20/04) reviewed National Guard regulations and reported that the White House has been using "an inappropriate-- and less stringent-- Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty." The magazine noted that Bush committed to attend at least "44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year" when he signed up for the Guard, but that Bush's own records "show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period." The magazine explains that even by using the White House's preferred methodology for measuring Bush's service, he still fell short of those minimum requirements.

An NBC Nightly News segment (9/9/04) played a clip of Bush being interviewed in 1988, acknowledging that favoritism sometimes played a part in getting into the National Guard. While he had said that he didn't think that happened in his case, he did voice his approval of the practice: "If you want to go in the National Guard, I guess sometimes people made calls. I don't see anything wrong with it." (He continued with a remark that could be taken as an insult to the men and women who did face combat during the war: ''They probably should have called the National Guard up in those days. Maybe we'd have done better in Vietnam.")
Even CBS's September 8 broadcasts, the subject of so much scrutiny, included important information beyond what is contained in the disputed memos. On the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes II that night, CBS featured Ben Barnes, the former speaker of the Texas legislature, describing how he used his political influence to help a young George W. Bush bypass a waiting list and secure a coveted position in the Guard. In addition, the CBS stories also featured an interview with Robert Strong, a former colleague of Bush's commander, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, the purported author of the disputed documents. Strong described the pressure Bush's commander was working under: "He was trying to deal with a volatile political situation, dealing with the son of an ambassador and a former congressman.... And I just saw him in an impossible situation. I felt very, very sorry because he was between a rock and a hard place."

Instead of asking the White House tough questions about the well-documented information contained in these reports, media have focused almost exclusively on the claims and counter-claims made about the Killian memos-- as if the discrepancies over Bush's service record stand or fall based on this one set of disputed documents. It's the equivalent of covering the sideshow and ignoring the center ring.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you'd like to encourage the media to follow up on these stories, you can find contact information on FAIR's website:
http://www.fair.org/media-contact-list.html


http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040917/ap_on_el_pr/laura_bush_protester_5

Woman Disrupts Laura Bush Speech in N.J.

Thu Sep 16, 8:10 PM ET

By JOHN P. McALPIN, Associated Press Writer

HAMILTON, N.J. - A woman wearing a T-shirt with the words "President Bush (news - web sites) You Killed My Son" and a picture of a soldier killed in Iraq (news - web sites) was detained Thursday after she interrupted a campaign speech by first lady Laura Bush.
Police escorted Sue Niederer, of Hopewell, N.J., from a rally at a firehouse after she demanded to know why her son, Army 1st Lt. Seth Dvorin, 24, was killed in Iraq. Dvorin died in February while trying to disarm a bomb.

As shouts of "Four More Years" subsided, Niederer, standing in the middle of a crowd of some 700, continued to shout about the killing of her son. Local police escorted her from the event, handcuffed her and put her in the back of a police van.

Niederer was later charged with defiant trespass and released.


The first lady continued speaking, touting her husband's record on the economy, health care and the war on terror to those attending the rally in this suburban community of 90,000 people near Trenton.


She made several references to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and said that many in New Jersey, including some in neighborhoods near the firehouse, lost family members that day.


"Too many people here had a loved one that went to work in New York that day," Bush said. "It's for our country, it's for our children, our grandchildren that we do the hard work of confronting terror."
Sep 17, 2004

http://www.democrats.org/news/200409170002.html

McAuliffe: Gold Star Mother's Arrest Emblematic of Bush's Disrespect of the Military
Washington, D.C. – In response to news reports of a New Jersey woman, whose son was killed while serving in Iraq and who after attempting to ask First Lady Laura Bush a question at a campaign event was arrested, put in a police wagon, and taken to jail, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe issued this statement:

"George W. Bush has cultivated a culture in which a grieving mother in New Jersey gets arrested for asking a question at a Bush campaign event. It’s the same culture that allows an Alabama woman to be fired for expressing her beliefs with a John Kerry bumper sticker on her car. You ask a question they don’t want to answer and they arrest you. You express a belief that they disagree with and you get fired.

"This is not the way we treat anyone, and especially not the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice -– families who deserve our respect, our thanks, and our empathy. Unfortunately, this incident is emblematic of the way the President disrespects our military, our veterans, and their families. America can do better, and with John Kerry we will."


http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040918/ap_on_el_pr/kerry_navy_awards_6

http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=8498

The Greed Factor
Sanctions against rogue regimes would have been abandoned if Dick Cheney had had his way.
By David J. Sirota and Jonathan Baskin
Web Exclusive: 09.15.04

Print Friendly | Email Article

In 1992, the Republican Party launched a vicious assault against Bill Clinton for traveling overseas and speaking out against his country’s foreign policy during the Vietnam War. It was the beginning of a strategy to demean the national-security credentials of the Democratic Party. Now, twelve years later, Vice President Dick Cheney has updated the tactic, hammering those who question George W. Bush’s prosecution of the war on terror and impugning John Kerry’s commitment to national security. His rhetoric has been so vitriolic, he actually suggested last week that a Kerry presidency would mean "we will get hit again" by terrorists.

Beyond blatantly mischaracterizing Democrats’ positions on defense, these shameless attacks serve to distract from the vice president’s own proclivity for undermining American foreign policy. The record shows that over the last decade, Cheney was willing first to do business with countries on the U.S. government’s terror list, then to travel abroad and condemn U.S. counter-terrorism policy when it got in his way. In the process, Cheney proved repeatedly he could be trusted to put Halliburton’s bottom line ahead of his country’s national security.

As Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush, Cheney helped lead a multinational coalition against Iraq and was one of the architects of a post-war economic embargo designed to choke off funds to the country. He insisted the world should “maintain sanctions, at least of some kind,” so Saddam Hussein could not “rebuild the military force he’s used against his neighbors.”

But less than six years later, as a private businessman, Cheney apparently had more important interests than preventing Hussein from rebuilding his army. While he claimed during the 2000 campaign that, as CEO of Halliburton, he had “imposed a ‘firm policy’ against trading with Iraq,” confidential UN records show that, from the first half of 1997 to the summer of 2000, Halliburton held stakes in two firms that sold more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq while Cheney was in charge. Halliburton acquired its interest in both firms while Cheney was at the helm, and continued doing business through them until just months before Cheney was named George W. Bush’s running mate.

Perhaps even more troubling, at the same time Cheney was doing business with Iraq, he launched a public broadside against sanctions laws designed to cut off funds to regimes like Iran, which the State Department listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. In 1998, Cheney traveled to Kuala Lumpur to attack his own country's terrorism policies for being too strict. Under the headline, “Former US Defence Secretary Says Iran-Libya Sanctions Act ‘Wrong,’” the Malaysian News Agency reported that Cheney “hit out at his government" and said sanctions on terrorist countries were "ineffective, did not provide the desired results and [were] a bad policy.”

Two years later, Cheney traveled to another country to demand America weaken restrictions on doing business with Iran’s petroleum industry, despite Clinton administration warnings that Iranian oil revenues could be used to fund terrorism. “We're kept out of [Iran] primarily by our own government, which has made a decision that U.S. firms should not be allowed to invest significantly in Iran,” he told an oil conference in Canada. “I think that's a mistake.”

Now new reports suggest Cheney’s desire to do business with Iran may have amounted to more than words. Details of Halliburton’s activities in Iran have been investigated by the Treasury Department and were recently forwarded to the U.S. attorney in Houston. Such an action is taken only after Treasury finds evidence of ‘serious and willful violations’ of sanctions laws. Halliburton already admits one of its subsidiaries “performs between $30 [million] and $40 million annually in oilfield service work in Iran.”

Why is this record important in the current presidential debate? Because as Cheney barnstorms around the country touting the Bush administration’s record, his years at Halliburton indicate he is willing to put other priorities before America’s national security. Even as Iran built ties to terrorists and worked to develop a nuclear weapon, Cheney insisted corporations must do “business in countries that may have policies that the U.S. does not like.” His reasoning? “The good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratic regimes friendly to the United States.”

Such comments contrast sharply with the Republicans’ message at their national convention. Far from embodying lofty ideals of “freedom” and “democracy,” Cheney’s record depicts a man governed by greed. As the election nears, that poses an important question to all Americans: Are we really comfortable with this person -- and this ideology -- shaping U.S. policy in an age of global terror?

David Sirota is the Director of Strategic Communications at the American Progress Action Fund. Jonathan Baskin is the Fund’s research assistant.

Copyright © 2004 by The American Prospect, Inc. Preferred Citation: David J. Sirota, "The Greed Factor", The American Prospect Online, Sep 15, 2004. This article may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author. Direct questions about permissions to permissions@prospect.org.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/091804D.shtml

Gossing over the Record
By Ray McGovern
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 17 September 2004

"Have they all drunk the Kool-Aid?" asked a former CIA colleague, referring to the stampede to appoint a new director and radically restructure the intelligence community. The Kool-Aid allusion was to the "group-think" that led disciples of self-anointed "messiah" Jim Jones to mass suicide via poisoned Kool-Aid in 1978.

Attorney General John Ashcroft warned on May 26 that the government has "credible intelligence from multiple sources that Al Qaeda plans an attack on the United States" before the November election. Yet the president and Congress have picked this very time - as our intelligence and security forces are ordered to battle stations - to create mammoth distraction and uncertainty among those on whom we rely for our safety.

As my colleague put it: "It just doesn't parse. Besides, if nominee Porter Goss, R-Fla., becomes CIA director and the president does not win re-election, Goss has but six weeks before becoming a lame duck. And then still further disruption and uncertainty would be in store for an intelligence community that yearns in vain for stability."

I reminded my friend that this is not about stability, efficiency or preparedness. The current hyperactivity is driven by politics, and experience has shown that politics and intelligence reform are a noxious mix.

In the light of 9/11 and the debacle in Iraq, no politician wishes to risk being seen as putting the brakes on intelligence reform.
In this highly charged atmosphere the Republican-led Senate would confirm Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau, were the president to nominate him.
As one wag put it referring to Goss, a bird in the hand is worth it for Bush. Even if the president is reelected, he cannot be sure he will have so docile a Senate next year.
Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., recently commented: "Porter is a team player...and will probably defer to what the president wants." Which, of course, is a very large part of the problem - as so dramatically illustrated by the sycophancy of former CIA Director George Tenet.
"The Record is the Record"
With those words, Mr. Goss tried to deflect questioning at his nomination hearing on Sept. 14. Okay, we'll bite. Let's look at that record.

On June 19, 1997, The Washington Post reported:

"The House Intelligence Committee criticized U.S. intelligence agencies for having 'limited analytical capabilities...an uncertain commitment and capability to collect human intelligence...a lack of analytic depth and expertise...and a lack of foreign language skills and limited in-country familiarity.' The panel's sharply written report on the fiscal 1998 intelligence authorization bill carried more weight than usual because for the first time it was chaired by a former C.I.A. operations officer, Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.)."

Goss chaired that committee for more than seven years, overseeing (overlooking?) a steady decline in all of those areas. The fact that during that period he did not use the committee's power of the purse and its watchdog prerogative to ensure that those deficiencies were corrected gives a hollow ring to his current assertion, "I can make that happen." Instead of doing so as head of the intelligence committee, Goss spent seven years cheering for the CIA - which he still affectionately calls his "alma mater" - until last June when the signals from the White House changed and he stunned everyone by abruptly becoming its harshest critic.

To their credit, Sens. Levin, Durbin and DeWine asked tough questions of Goss during Monday's hearing and found him entirely unresponsive.

Politics and Reform Don't Mix
Mr. Goss also lacks what is demonstrably a sine qua non qualification for a Director of Central Intelligence - experience managing a large, highly complex organization.

Moreover, the job for which he has been nominated requires the kind of nonpartisan approach that is alien to anyone who has functioned for very long in the highly politicized ether of the U.S. Congress - again, as the tenure of George Tenet, who made his mark serving Senators, so amply demonstrated.

Goss co-authored an opinion piece in The Tampa Tribune on March 8, claiming that in the 1990s Sen. John Kerry "was leading efforts in Congress to dismantle the nation's intelligence capabilities." And in June, Goss interrupted debate on the House floor by displaying a sign with a 1977 quote from Kerry that called for cuts in the intelligence budget. These antics raise legitimate concerns with respect to Goss's ability to be nonpartisan.

Even more troubling to veteran intelligence analysts is the way Goss' prepared statement parroted the president's rhetoric to the effect that terrorists "are committed to the destruction of our economy and our way of life" - boilerplate that merits as much credence as the now thoroughly discredited pre-war claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The situation is much more complex than that. If Mr. Goss believes what he said, he has not read the definitive work on "why they hate us," CIA analyst Michael Scheuer's recent book Imperial Hubris . And if he doesn't grasp this complexity, how can he convey it to the leaders relying on his counsel?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Ray McGovern - a CIA analyst for 27 years from the administrations of John F. Kennedy to George H. W. Bush - has written "A Compromised C.I.A.: What Can Be Done?", a chapter in "Patriotism, Democracy and Common Sense", published this month by the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation. The chapter includes a detailed discussion of the qualities needed in a CIA director. McGovern is a member of the steering group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and a member of the Truth-Telling Coalition.

This article first appeared at TomPaine.com

http://jameswolcott.com/archives/2004/09/kitkat_club.php

James Wolcott is a VANITY FAIR contributing editor
« Fall Migration | JamesWolcott.com | Wedding Belle »
Kit-Kat Club
Posted by James Wolcott
So far I have watched four cable news interviews with Kitty Kelley, author of The Evil Clampetts. And here is what I have learned about her book.

Not much.

The interviewers are all working off of the same talking points, the tone and thrust of their questioning so similar it's as if they all received the same fax from the Republican National Committee.

Normally when an author comes on to talk about a book as big and ambitious, the questioning is general before it moves to the specific. Normally, the average harried host would ask, "What made you decide to write about the Bushes? Who is the most interesting of the Bush family? Who is the most dangerous? What is the biggest public misconception about them?"

Etc.

But with Kelley, the questioning is super-specific, skeptical, and suspicious from the outset, keys in on the same hotspots from interview to interview (coke at Camp David, his refusal to take a flight physical, Laura's reputed past as a distribution point on campus for wacky weed), and cuts her answers short whenever she begins to dilate on the Bush modus operandi.

They grill her on sources, their authenticity, whether she spoke to that person directly or relied on hearsay. And in the interviews I've seen, Kelley has been cucumber-cool and composed, going up to the brink of the available evidence and no further, refusing to back down from her claims of Dubya's drug use, and more than holding her own.

The hypocrisy of the cable newsers reeks to low hell.

For years they've been hyping and peddling every variety of fishy speculation and brazen assertion about the Clintons, Vince Foster, Monica, Gary Condit-Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson, this rape case, that abduction case; they've rolled out the ratty carpet for every Swift Boat slob; and now, now, they decide to get loftily anal.

The worst interviews were on CNN. Aaron Brown fretted over the methodology and wondered why Kelley focused on the Bushes, since so many privileged families such as the Kennedys and the Rockefellers get away with all sorts of behavior without having to pay the price most people do--why pick on them?

Kelley smartly retorted that the Bushes have paid less price than most (what she didn't say, and could have, was two assassinations of Kennedy brothers was worse than anything the Bushes have had to endure). He was also troubled that she was implying Bush skipped his flight physical because of drug use, to which she said it was a logical inference and all Bush had to do was release the appropriate records.

Brown at least wasn't a snitty little twit, like the CNN interviewer this morning whose name, I believe, is Heidi Hairdo. From the outset her tone was brisk, assistant district-attorneyish, and yet schoolgirlishly naive, as when she couldn't understand why anyone would be "afraid" of the Bushes and Kelley laughed in snorting disbelief, as if she had to explain the facts of life to Miss Snippy.

Heidi Hairdo, like some of the other interviewers, seem to keep up an invisible cordon sanitarire, a starchy, disdainful discomfort at having to share the set with an author so disreputable and, oh dear, tacky. This from people who fawn over every narcissistic piece of Hollywood horseflesh making the rounds to promote their latest lousy movie.

What's clear is that the news media are uncomfortable with someone investigating the arrogant and disturbing patterns of behavior in the Bush dynasty. They can't ignore Kitty Kelley, but they want to keep her in her litter box. But she's a tiny tigress, and will not be contained.

09.15.04 12:30PM


Posted by richard at 01:39 PM

September 17, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 46 Days to Go -- Nine EXPLOSIVE News Stories

Three more US Marines died in Iraq today. For what?
The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. There
are 46 days to go until the national referendum on the
CHARACTER, COMPETENCY and CREDIBILITY of the _resident
and the VICE _resident...Truth is a river. It flows
forward. It does not turn back on itself. And as
Heraclitus said, "you cannot step into the same river
twice." The deep fix is unraveling in the onrushing of
this river...The truth of this presidential campaign
is flowing toward an Electoral Uprising at the Ballot
Box...Here are NINE important news stories that should
dominate the air waves and headlines above the fold,
but won't, because the US regimestream news media is a
full partner in a Triad of shared special interest
(oil, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco,
etc.)with the Bush Cabal and
its-wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party...
Please read them and share them with others. Please vote and
encourage others to vote. And, please, remember that
the US regimestream news media, with its shameless
pollsters and craven propapunditgandists, does not
want to inform you about this campaign, it wants to
DISinform you about it...

Mary Dalrymple, Associated Press: Democratic Sen. John
Kerry on Friday accused the Bush administration of
hiding a plan to mobilize more National Guard and
Reserve troops after the election while glossing over
a worsening conflict in Iraq.
"He won't tell us what congressional leaders are now
saying, that this administration is planning yet
another substantial call-up of reservists and Guard
units immediately after the election," Kerry said.
"Hide it from people through the election, then make
the move."
While Bush has been campaigning as the best candidate
to deter terrorists and protect the nation, his
presidential rival portrayed him as out of touch with
a serious and dangerous situation in Iraq.
"With all due respect to the president, has he turned
on the evening news lately? Does he read the
newspapers?" Kerry said. "Does he really know what's
happening? Is he talking about the same war that the
rest of us are talking about?"

Daily Kos: It is pathetic and unacceptable for a
"non-partisan" polling firm to be produce the outlying
poll in favor of Bush in fourteen of its last sixteen
polls. The odds of this happening at random are around
one in 14,000. Considering those odds, the far more
likely explanation for all these outliers is that
Gallup's polling methodology is inherently structured
in favor of Bush. Whether or not it is intentional, I
do not know. However, I do know that Gallup's polls
are connected to the largest news outlets in America
of any poll, both in terms of print (USA Today is the
largest circulation newspaper in the country) and
cable news (CNN has more viewers than Fox, they just
watch for shorter periods of time). I also know that
sensational headlines sell. I further know that
Gallup's chairman is a Republican donor.

Democratic National Committee: Democratic National
Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe formally
launched Operation Fortunate Son today unveiling a new
DNC video which will be on the DNC website and will be
shown in battleground states. McAuliffe also announced
that veterans would be taking part in more than 30
Operation Fortunate Son events in 21 states this week
calling on George W. Bush to answer specific questions
about his National Guard service.
As George W. Bush continues to rely heavily on the men
and women serving in the Armed Forces today, thanks to
his failed foreign policies, he has no business lying
to them about fulfilling his own duty," said
McAuliffe. "It is time for this 'fortunate son' to
come clean with the American people."
The Operation Fortunate Son video traces Bush’s lies
about his service during Vietnam and focuses on the
importance of Bush, as President, telling the truth to
the American people now.

USA Today: A federal judge has ordered the Pentagon to
find and make public by next week any unreleased files
about President Bush's Vietnam-era Air National Guard
service to resolve a Freedom of Information Act
lawsuit filed by The Associated Press.
U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. handed down the
order late Wednesday in New York. The AP lawsuit
already has led to the disclosure of previously
unreleased flight logs from Bush's days piloting
F-102A fighters and other jets.

Associated Press/CNN: A business school professor who
taught George W. Bush at Harvard University in the
early 1970s says the future president told him that
family friends had pulled strings to get him into the
Texas Air National Guard.
Yoshi Tsurumi, in his first on-camera interview on the
subject, told CNN that Bush confided in him during an
after-class hallway conversation during the 1973-74
school year.
"He admitted to me that to avoid the Vietnam draft, he
had his dad -- he said 'Dad's friends' -- skip him
through the long waiting list to get him into the
Texas National Guard," Tsurumi said. "He thought that
was a smart thing to do."
"What I couldn't stand -- and I told him -- he was all
for the U.S. to continue with the Vietnam War. That
means he was all for other people, Americans, to keep
on fighting and dying."

Russ Baker, The Nation: Growing evidence suggests that
George W. Bush abruptly left his Texas Air National
Guard unit in 1972 for substantive reasons pertaining
to his inability to continue piloting a fighter jet.
A months-long investigation, which includes
examination of hundreds of government-released
documents, interviews with former Guard members and
officials, military experts and Bush associates,
points toward the conclusion that Bush's personal
behavior was causing alarm among his superior officers
and would ultimately lead to his fleeing the state to
avoid a physical exam he might have had difficulty
passing. His failure to complete a physical exam
became the official reason for his subsequent
suspension from flying status.

David Brock, Media Matters: The media's fixation on
the controversy over the authenticity of memos exposed
by CBS's 60 Minutes has enabled conservative members
of the media to discount the serious questions
regarding President George W. Bush's National Guard
service. The media's focus on the memos has enabled
conservatives to dodge questions raised by the strong
evidence indicating that strings were pulled on Bush's
behalf in the National Guard; that he did not meet his
service obligations; and, most importantly, that he
has repeatedly lied about his service. As recently as
February 8, Bush told NBC Meet the Press host Tim
Russert: "I did my duty."

JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press: Billionaire
philanthropist George Soros has asked the House ethics
committee to investigate House Speaker Dennis Hastert
over comments suggesting that Soros could be receiving
money from illegal drug groups.
"This kind of insinuation — that a private United
States citizen was in league with drug cartels and may
be receiving funds derived from criminal activity —
has no place in public discourse," Soros wrote Tuesday
to the chair and top Democrat on the panel, Reps. Joel
Hefley, R-Col., and Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va.

Agence France Press: Writer Kitty Kelley has accused
the White House of putting pressure on her and the US
media over the new biography on the family of
President George W. Bush.
"The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty",
which alleges that Bush took cocaine at Camp David
when his father was president, became an instant
best-seller after its publication this week. But it
has been strongly condemned by the presidency.
Kelley said she interviewed 988 people for the book.
"If it's in the book, it's corroborated," she said.
"There is a lot I left out the book."
Kelley said Sharon Bush's publicist has "corroborated
everything".
"But I am not really surprised that she is backing off
because this is a very powerful family. Sharon said
over that lunch that she was afraid of the Bushes."
Kelley went on: "I really do think they are the most
powerful in America, the most powerful family in the
world."
She denied she had a political agenda explaining that
the book was started in 2000. "I personally come from
a large Republican family. My father voted for both
Bushes."

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&e=3&u=/ap/20040917/ap_on_el_pr/kerry

Kerry Accuses Bush of Hiding Troops Plan

1 hour, 49 minutes ago

By MARY DALRYMPLE, Associated Press Writer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Democratic Sen. John Kerry (news -
web sites) on Friday accused the Bush administration
of hiding a plan to mobilize more National Guard and
Reserve troops after the election while glossing over
a worsening conflict in Iraq (news - web sites).

"He won't tell us what congressional leaders are now
saying, that this administration is planning yet
another substantial call-up of reservists and Guard
units immediately after the election," Kerry said.
"Hide it from people through the election, then make
the move."

The Bush campaign called the allegation of a secret
plan "completely irresponsible ... false and
ridiculous." The Pentagon (news - web sites) said
troop replacements would include some from National
Guard and Reserve units and those expected to be sent
to Iraq had been notified.

While Bush has been campaigning as the best candidate
to deter terrorists and protect the nation, his
presidential rival portrayed him as out of touch with
a serious and dangerous situation in Iraq.

"With all due respect to the president, has he turned
on the evening news lately? Does he read the
newspapers?" Kerry said. "Does he really know what's
happening? Is he talking about the same war that the
rest of us are talking about?"


Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record) of
Pennsylvania, top Democrat on the House Appropriations
Defense Subcommittee and a former Marine who served in
Vietnam, said he had learned through conversations
with Pentagon officials that beginning in November,
"the Bush administration plans to call up large
numbers of the military Guard and Reserves, to include
plans that they previously had put off to call up the
Individual Ready Reserve."


Other Democrats joined Kerry in a chorus trying to
drown out Bush's message on Iraq.


"It's clear that this administration didn't know what
it was getting into, or else they grossly
misrepresented the facts to the American people," said
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. "In
either case, staying the course is not an option."


Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record) of
Massachusetts, campaigning for Kerry in Pennsylvania,
said that in spite of bleak national intelligence
estimates on Iraq, Bush still "goes out
misrepresenting and distorting the progress that's
being made over there."


Kerry said the president was avoiding hard truths
about casualties, new insurgencies and troop
shortages. "He won't tell us that, day by day, we're
running out of soldiers and that we're now resorted to
a backdoor draft of our reservists and our National
Guard."


The Bush campaign denied the assertion about secret
plans.


"John Kerry's conspiracy theory of a secret troop
deployment is completely irresponsible," said
spokesman Steve Schmidt. "John Kerry didn't launch
this attack when he spoke to the National Guard
because he knows they know it is false and
ridiculous."


White House spokesman Scott McClellan said of Kerry:
"He's struggling to explain his incoherent positions
on Iraq. He's engaging in baseless attacks."


At the Pentagon, Lt. Col. Chris Rodney said, "There is
no force increase that is expected."


The Army is on target to rotate into Iraq the same
number of soldiers who will be leaving over the next
six months, and all National Guard and Reserve units
that are expected to be mobilized for the next
rotation have been notified, the spokesman said.


Kerry's campaign also intensified its criticism of
Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) and
defense contractor Halliburton, the company Cheney
used to lead, as an aspect of the administration's
management of the war.


"Dick Cheney's old company, Halliburton, has profited
from the mess in Iraq at the expense of American
troops and taxpayers," Kerry said.


In a new television ad, which went on the air Friday
in Oregon and other battleground states, the Democrat
suggests that Cheney has conflicts of interest
stemming from money he received from Halliburton under
a deferred compensation agreement.

The ad also contends that Halliburton wasted taxpayer
money, in contracts awarded without competitive
bidding, that could have been better used at home.
Several investigations have found evidence of
overcharging or raised questions about the company's
performance.

The Bush-Cheney campaign denied any conflicts of
interest existed for Cheney, saying that deferred
compensation agreements aren't uncommon and that the
vice president has no influence on contracts awarded
to his former employer.

A new radio ad running in New Hampshire and Florida
says "the Saudi royal family appreciates the support"
when Americans fill up their tanks at gas stations.
"Who does the royal family support? George W. Bush and
Dick Cheney."
Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press. All rights
reserved. The information contained in the AP News
report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or
redistributed without the prior written authority of
The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2004 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
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http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/9/17/04339/5885

DailyKos: The level of Gallup's polling corruption
over the past three months is staggering and needs to
be exposed.

Gallup, even without their new poll, is without
question the top outlying polling organization in this
election. Since they began doing state polls on the
2004 campaign, one twelve occasions Gallup has had a
poll in the field for at least one day when at least
one other non-partisan polling firm has had a poll in
the field. On eleven of those twelve occasions,
Gallup's results where the most pro-Bush of the other
non-partisan operations. On the other occasion, Gallup
was actually the pro-Kerry outlier: (source)
(* = three way trial heat):

Diaries :: Chris Bowers's diary ::

Florida, 7/19-7/22
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 50 46 7/22
M-D* 48 46 7/21
Zogby* 48.5 48.4 7/23
IA 46 46 7/20
LAT 45 45 7/21
R2000 44 49 7/19

Florida, 8/20-8/22
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup* 48 46 8/22
Zogby* 49.0 49.6 8/21

Minnesota, 9/11-9/14
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 48 46 9/14
M-D 46 45 9/14
Star 41 50 9/13

Missouri, 9/3-9/6
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 55 41 9/6
Rasm 48 42 9/3
Zogby* 48.5 48.9 9/3

North Carolina, 7/9-7/11
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 54 39 7/11
R2000 49 44 7/10-4

Ohio, 9/4-7
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 52 43 9/7
SUSA 50 47 9/8

Ohio, 8/13-9/15
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 45 47 8/15
Cincy 46 48 8/11-7

Ohio, 7/19-7/22
Bush Kerry Date
CD 47 44 7/23
Zogby 48.1 46.8 7/23
ARG 45 47 7/22
Gallup 45 51 7/22

Pennsylvania, 9/4-9/7
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 48 47 9/7
Rasm 46 48 9/6-8
SUSA 47 49 9/7-9

Pennsylvania, 8/23-8/26
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 48 47 8/26
Rasm 45 49 8/26

Washington, 9/3-9/6
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup* 44 52 9/6
Zogby* 44.2 52.7 9/3

Wisconsin, 9/9-9/12
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 52 44 9/12
Rasm 49 47 9/12No other polling outfit, not even
Zogby or Strategic Vision, is even close to being in
favor of one candidate in state polls as frequently as
Gallup has favored Bush during this election. Even the
one time Gallup favored Kerry, it was still an
outlier.
Looking at national polls, one finds almost exactly
the same story. Since late July, Gallup has, save
once, been the outlying poll. Here's how the last four
Gallup national polls stack up against other
non-partisan polls taken during the same time period
(source):

National, 7/30-8/1
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 51 47 8/1
ARG 46 49 8/1
Rasm 45 48 8/2
CBS 43 49 8/1
News 44 52 7/30

National, 8/23-9/25
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 50 47 8/25
LAT 49 46 8/24
Rasm 46 46 8/24-6
Time 46 46 8/24-6
Fox 44 45 8/25

National, 9/3-9/5
Bush Kerry Date
News 54 43 9/3
Gallup 52 45 9/5
Rasm 47.6 46.5 9/5

National, 9/13-9/15
Bush Kerry Date
Gallup 54 40 9/15
Rasm 49.3 44.7 9/15
Econ 47 46 9/15
Pew 46 46 9/14
Harris 47 48 9/13

This last one is the most profound outlier of any
national poll this year, leaving Newsweek and Time in
the dust (maybe that is what they were trying to
accomplish). Then again, maybe they aren't leaving
Time in the dust, since CNN and Time are affiliated
news organizations and frequently do joint polls.
It is pathetic and unacceptable for a "non-partisan"
polling firm to be produce the outlying poll in favor
of Bush in fourteen of its last sixteen polls. The
odds of this happening at random are around one in
14,000. Considering those odds, the far more likely
explanation for all these outliers is that Gallup's
polling methodology is inherently structured in favor
of Bush. Whether or not it is intentional, I do not
know. However, I do know that Gallup's polls are
connected to the largest news outlets in America of
any poll, both in terms of print (USA Today is the
largest circulation newspaper in the country) and
cable news (CNN has more viewers than Fox, they just
watch for shorter periods of time). I also know that
sensational headlines sell. I further know that
Gallup's chairman is a Republican donor.

This is a shameful state for the oldest and most
respected polling organiztion in the country. Shame on
you Gallup. Let USA Today know that Gallup always
favors Bush by large margins, and that we have the
numbrs to prove it.

http://www.democrats.org/news/200409140004.html

Sep 14, 2004

DNC Unveils New Video at Launch of Operation:
Fortunate Son
OFS Includes More Than 30 Events in 21 States

Washington, DC - Democratic National Committee (DNC)
Chairman Terry McAuliffe formally launched Operation
Fortunate Son today unveiling a new DNC video which
will be on the DNC website and will be shown in
battleground states. McAuliffe also announced that
veterans would be taking part in more than 30
Operation Fortunate Son events in 21 states this week
calling on George W. Bush to answer specific questions
about his National Guard service.

As George W. Bush continues to rely heavily on the men
and women serving in the Armed Forces today, thanks to
his failed foreign policies, he has no business lying
to them about fulfilling his own duty," said
McAuliffe. "It is time for this 'fortunate son' to
come clean with the American people."

The Operation Fortunate Son video traces Bush’s lies
about his service during Vietnam and focuses on the
importance of Bush, as President, telling the truth to
the American people now.

Video Script:

Vietnam.

A generation forced to make difficult choices.

Some chose war. Others chose different paths.

It's hard, thirty years later, to pass judgment on
those choices.

But we do expect our leaders to be honest with us
about them.

George W. Bush: "I George Walker Bush do solemnly
swear."

Has George Bush?

The President said he never used any influence to get
into the National Guard.

Debate Moderator: "You are confident that no influence
was exercised on your behalf."

George W. Bush: "I am, yeah."

But former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes gave sworn
testimony that he pulled strings at the behest of a
Bush family friend.

Ben Barnes: "I recommended a lot of people for the
National Guard during the Vietnam era, as Speaker of
the House and as Lt. Governor."

Dan Rather: "And you recommended George W. Bush."

Ben Barnes: "Yes I did."

Dan Rather: "And you said you did this for others.
What would be called preferential treatment for
President Bush. Would you describe it as that?"

Ben Barnes: "I would describe it as preferential
treatment."

Just before losing his student deferment, George Bush
was accepted in the National Guard.

George Bush leapfrogged a long waiting list.

This son of privilege. This fortunate son.

More than 150 young men were waiting to get in the
Guard when George Bush was inducted. Their families
didn't have any special influence.

Just months ago, George Bush sat in the Oval Office
and said he fulfilled his duty in the Guard.

Tim Russert: "You would allow pay stubs, tax records,
anything that shows that you were serving during that
time?"

George W. Bush: "I'm just telling you, I did my duty."

But Guard records show he didn't take required
physical.

He was grounded.

And for 6-months in 1972 he failed to perform any
Guard service, as required. His supervisor wrote that
Bush "had not been observed at this unit."

Where was he? And why did he miss his physical?

This son of privilege. This fortunate son.

Today tens of thousands of brave Guardsmen and women
from across America serve with distinction in Iraq and
Afghanistan.

They don't miss physicals. They didn't pull strings.
They are living up to their commitment.

It's time for George Bush to come clean and answer the
questions about his service.

Because it may be hard to sit in judgment on choices
made at a confusing time. But there's nothing
confusing about telling the truth.

OFS Events

At Operation Fortunate Son events veterans will call
on President Bush to answer five specific questions
about his military service:

Q: Why did George Bush say "I did my duty" when he
missed months of duty in 1972, 73 and 74?

Q: How did George Bush avoid getting called into
active service for missing months of duty in 1972, 73,
74?

Q: Why did George Bush say he received "no special
treatment" when Ben Barnes says he pulled strings to
secure a Guard slot for him?

Q: Who asked Bush family friend Sidney Adger to get
Bush a slot in the Guard immediately after Bush
graduated and at the height of the Vietnam War?

Q: When will George Bush produce any credible witness
who can attest to his service in the Alabama Air
National Guard?


http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-09-16-bush-memos_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA

Judge orders government to find, release all Bush
military records
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the
Pentagon to find and make public by next week any
unreleased files about President Bush's Vietnam-era
Air National Guard service to resolve a Freedom of
Information Act lawsuit filed by The Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. handed down the
order late Wednesday in New York. The AP lawsuit
already has led to the disclosure of previously
unreleased flight logs from Bush's days piloting
F-102A fighters and other jets.

Pentagon officials told Baer they plan to have their
search complete by Monday. Baer ordered the Pentagon
to hand over the records to the AP by Sept. 24 and
provide a written statement by Sept. 29 detailing the
search for more records.

"We're hopeful the Department of Defense will provide
a full accounting of the steps it has taken, as the
judge ordered, so the public can have some assurance
that there are no documents being withheld," said AP
lawyer David Schulz.

White House officials have said Bush ordered the
Pentagon earlier this year to conduct a thorough
search for the president's records, and officials
allowed reporters to review everything that was
gathered back in February.

Through a series of requests under the federal open
records law and a subsequent suit, the AP uncovered
the flight logs, which were not part of the records
the White House released earlier this year.

Both Bush's and John Kerry's service records in
Vietnam have become a major issue in the presidential
race. New records that have surfaced in recent weeks
have raised more questions. (Related story:
Authenticity of Bush records criticized)

Bush's critics say Bush got preferential treatment as
the son of a congressman and U.N. ambassador. Critics
also question why Bush skipped a required medical
examination in 1972 and failed to show up for drills
during a six-month period that year.

Bush has repeatedly said he fulfilled all of his Air
National Guard obligations.

The future president joined the Texas Air National
Guard in 1968, when he graduated from Yale. He spent
more than a year on active duty learning how to fly
and then mostly flew in the one-seat F-102A fighters
until April 1972.

The pilot logs show a shift to flights in two-seat
trainer jets in March 1972, shortly before Bush quit
flying. Former Air National Guard officials say that
could have been because F-102A jets were not available
for Bush to fly or because of other reasons, such as
concerns about Bush's flight performance.

Bush skipped his required yearly medical exam in 1972
in the months after he stopped flying in April. Bush
has said he moved to Alabama to work on the
unsuccessful Senate campaign of a family friend.

Bush never showed up for Guard service between late
April and mid-October 1972. He won approval to train
with an Alabama Air National Guard unit during
September, October and November 1972, but more than a
dozen members of the unit at that time say they never
saw him there.

The only direct record of Bush appearing at the
Alabama unit's base is a January 1973 dental exam
performed at that base. Bush's Texas commanders wrote
in May 1973 they never saw him between May 1972 and
April 1973, a time when his pay records show he
trained on 14 days.

Although military regulations allowed commanders to
order two years of active duty for guardsmen who
missed more than three straight months of drills, that
never happened to Bush. Commanders had leeway at the
time to allow guardsmen to make up for missed drills.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/09/13/bush.professor/

Professor says Bush revealed National Guard favoritism
>From Phil Hirschkorn
CNN
Monday, September 13, 2004 Posted: 6:53 PM EDT (2253
GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A business school professor who
taught George W. Bush at Harvard University in the
early 1970s says the future president told him that
family friends had pulled strings to get him into the
Texas Air National Guard.

Yoshi Tsurumi, in his first on-camera interview on the
subject, told CNN that Bush confided in him during an
after-class hallway conversation during the 1973-74
school year.

"He admitted to me that to avoid the Vietnam draft, he
had his dad -- he said 'Dad's friends' -- skip him
through the long waiting list to get him into the
Texas National Guard," Tsurumi said. "He thought that
was a smart thing to do."

While the campaign has not responded directly to
Tsurumi's allegations, White House Communications
Director Dan Bartlett said last week, "Every time
President Bush gets near another election, all the
innuendo and rumors about President Bush's service in
the National Guard come to the forefront."

Bush has said in the past that neither he nor his
father sought special treatment for him. "Any
allegation that my dad asked for special favors is
simply not true," he said in 1999.

Tsurumi said Vietnam was a top topic among the 85
students in his class, when he was a visiting
associate professor at Harvard from 1972 to 1976. He
now teaches at Baruch College in New York.

"What I couldn't stand -- and I told him -- he was all
for the U.S. to continue with the Vietnam War. That
means he was all for other people, Americans, to keep
on fighting and dying."

Tsurumi got to know Bush when the future president
took his "Economics EAM" (Environmental Analysis for
Management), a required two-semester class from the
fall of 1973 to the spring of 1974, Bush's first year
at Harvard's business school.

Bush had transferred to Air National Guard reserve
status before he enrolled in the MBA program. He had
enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard in May 1968
and trained to fly fighter jets until he was suspended
from flying status in August 1972 for failing to
submit to an annual physical, according to Bush's
military records released earlier this year.

Tsurumi said he remembers Bush because every teacher
remembers their best and worst students, and Bush was
in the latter group.

"Lazy. He didn't come to my class prepared," Tsurumi
said. "He did very badly."

Tsurumi concedes that he disapproves of Bush's
politics. He wrote a letter to the editor of his
hometown newspaper, the Scarsdale Inquirer, that
derided the president's claims to "compassionate
conservatism."

"Somehow I found him totally devoid of compassion,
social responsibility, and good study discipline,"
Tsurumi said. "What I remember most about him was all
the kind of flippant statements that he made inside of
classroom as well as outside."

Tsurumi says he is not working for any Democratic
group for the Kerry campaign. "The only activity I do
is to vote for him," Tsurumi said.

But Tsurumi has been speaking out against Bush by
giving newspaper and radio interviews.

The professor's comments come as a former Texas
politician, former state House Speaker and Lieutenant
Governor Ben Barnes, has said it was he got Bush into
the Guard.

Barnes, a Democrat supporting John Kerry, says he
called the head of the Texas unit in 1968, at the
request of a Bush family friend. Bush's father was
then a U.S congressman.

CNN's Jonathan Wald and Jennifer Icklan contributed to
this story.

This article can be found on the web at
http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040927&s=baker


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Why Bush Left Texas
by RUSS BAKER

[posted online on September 14, 2004]

Growing evidence suggests that George W. Bush abruptly
left his Texas Air National Guard unit in 1972 for
substantive reasons pertaining to his inability to
continue piloting a fighter jet.

A months-long investigation, which includes
examination of hundreds of government-released
documents, interviews with former Guard members and
officials, military experts and Bush associates,
points toward the conclusion that Bush's personal
behavior was causing alarm among his superior officers
and would ultimately lead to his fleeing the state to
avoid a physical exam he might have had difficulty
passing. His failure to complete a physical exam
became the official reason for his subsequent
suspension from flying status.

This central issue, whether Bush did or did not
complete his duty--and if not, why--has in recent days
been obscured by a raging sideshow: a debate over the
accuracy of documents aired on CBS's 60 Minutes. Last
week CBS News reported on newly unearthed memos
purportedly prepared by Bush's now-deceased commanding
officer. In those documents, the officer, Lieut. Col.
Jerry Killian, appeared to be establishing for the
record events occurring at the time Bush abruptly left
his Texas Air National Guard unit in May 1972. Among
these: that Bush had failed to meet unspecified Guard
standards and refused a direct order to take a
physical exam, and that pressure was being applied on
Killian and his superiors to whitewash whatever
troubling circumstances Bush was in.

Questions have been raised about the authenticity of
those memos, but the criticism of them appears at this
time speculative and inconclusive, while their
substance is consistent with a growing body of
documentation and analysis.

If it is demonstrated that profound behavioral
problems marred Bush's wartime performance and even
cut short his service, it could seriously challenge
Bush's essential appeal as a military steward and
guardian of societal values. It could also explain the
incomplete, contradictory and shifting explanations
provided by the Bush camp for the President's striking
invisibility from the military during the final two
years of his six-year military obligation. And it
would explain the savagery and rapidity of the attack
on the CBS documents.

In 1972 Bush's unit activities underwent a change that
could point to a degradation of his ability to fly a
fighter jet. Last week, in response to a lawsuit, the
White House released to the Associated Press Bush's
flight logs, which show that he abruptly shifted his
emphasis in February and March 1972 from his assigned
F-102A fighter jet to a two-seat T-33 training jet,
from which he had graduated several years earlier, and
was put back onto a flight simulator. The logs also
show that on two occasions he required multiple
attempts to land a one-seat fighter and a fighter
simulator. This after Bush had already logged more
than 200 hours in the one-seat F-102A.

Military experts say that his new, apparently
downgraded and accompanied training mode, which
included Bush's sometimes moving into the co-pilot's
seat, can, in theory, be explained a variety of ways.
He could, for example, have been training for a new
position that might involve carrying student pilots.
But the reality is that Bush himself has never
mentioned this chapter in his life, nor has he
provided a credible explanation. In addition, Bush's
highly detailed Officer Effectiveness Reports make no
mention of this rather dramatic change.

A White House spokesman explained to AP that the heavy
training in this more elementary capacity came at a
time when Bush was trying to generate more hours in
anticipation of a six-month leave to work on a
political campaign. But, in fact, this scenario is
implausible. For one thing, Guard regulations did not
permit him to log additional hours in that manner as a
substitute for missing six months of duty later on. As
significantly, there is no sign that Bush even
considered going to work on that campaign until
shortly before he departed--nor that campaign
officials had any inkling at all that Bush might join
them in several months' time.

Bush told his commanding officers that he was going to
Alabama for an opportunity with a political campaign.
(His Texas Air National Guard supervisors--presumably
relying on what Bush told them--would write in a
report the following year, "A civilian occupation made
it necessary for him to move to Montgomery, Alabama.")
But the timing of Bush's decision to leave and his
departure--about the same time that he failed to take
a mandatory annual physical exam--indicate that the
two may have been related.

Campaign staff members say they knew nothing of Bush's
interest in participating until days before he arrived
in Montgomery. Indeed, not one of numerous Bush
friends from those days even recalls Bush talking
about going to Alabama at any point before he took
off.

Bush's behavior in Alabama suggests that he viewed
Alabama not as an important career opportunity but as
a kind of necessary evil.

Although his role in the campaign has been represented
as substantial (in some newspaper accounts, he has
been described as the assistant campaign manager),
numerous campaign staffers say Bush's role was
negligible, low level and that he routinely arrived at
the campaign offices in the afternoon hours, bragging
of drinking feats from the night before.

According to friends of his, he kept his Houston
apartment during this period and, based on their
recollections, may have been coming back into town
repeatedly during the time he was supposedly working
full-time on the Alabama campaign. Absences from the
campaign have been explained as due to his
responsibilities to travel to the further reaches of
Alabama, but several staffers told me that organizing
those counties was not Bush's de facto responsibility.


Even more significantly, in a July interview, Linda
Allison, the widow of Jimmy Allison, the Alabama
campaign manager and a close friend of Bush's father,
revealed to me for the first time that Bush had come
to Alabama not because the job had appeal or because
his presence was required but because he needed to get
out of Texas. "Well, you have to know Georgie,"
Allison said. "He really was a totally irresponsible
person. Big George [George H.W. Bush] called Jimmy,
and said, he's killing us in Houston, take him down
there and let him work on that campaign.... The tenor
of that was, Georgie is in and out of trouble seven
days a week down here, and would you take him up there
with you."

Allison said that the younger Bush's drinking problem
was apparent. She also said that her husband, a
circumspect man who did not gossip and held his cards
closely, indicated to her that some use of drugs was
involved. "I had the impression that he knew that
Georgie was using pot, certainly, and perhaps
cocaine," she said.

Now-prominent, established Texas figures in the
military, arts, business and political worlds, some of
them Republicans and Bush supporters, talk about
Bush's alleged use of marijuana and cocaine based on
what they say they have heard from trusted friends.
One middle-aged woman whose general veracity could be
confirmed told me that she met Bush in 1968 at
Hemisfair 68, a fair in San Antonio, at which he tried
to pick her up and offered her a white powder he was
inhaling. She was then a teenager; Bush would have
just graduated from Yale and have been starting the
National Guard then. "He was getting really aggressive
with me," she said. "I told him I'd call a policeman,
and he laughed, and asked who would believe me."
(Although cocaine was not a widespread phenomenon
until the 1970s, US authorities were struggling more
than a decade earlier to stanch the flow from Latin
America; in 1967 border seizures amounted to
twenty-six pounds.)

Bush himself has publicly admitted to being somewhat
wild in his younger years, without offering any
details. He has not explicitly denied charges of drug
use; generally he has hedged. He has said that he
could have passed the same security screening his
father underwent upon his inauguration in 1989, which
certifies no illegal drug use during the fifteen
preceding years. In other words, George W. Bush seemed
to be saying that if he had used drugs, that was
before 1974 or during the period in which he left his
Guard unit.

The family that rented Bush a house in Montgomery,
Alabama, during that period told me that Bush did
extensive, inexplicable damage to their property,
including smashing a chandelier, and that they
unsuccessfully billed him twice for the damage--which
amounted to approximately $900, a considerable sum in
1972. Two unconnected close friends and acquaintances
of a well-known Montgomery socialite, now deceased,
told me that the socialite in question told them that
he and Bush had been partying that evening at the
Montgomery Country Club, combining drinking with use
of illicit drugs, and that Bush, complaining about the
brightness, had climbed on a table and smashed the
chandelier when the duo stopped at his home briefly so
Bush could change clothes before they headed out
again.

It is notable that in 1972, the military was in the
process of introducing widespread drug testing as part
of the annual physical exams that pilots would
undergo.

For years, military buffs and retired officers have
speculated about the real reasons that Bush left his
unit two years before his flying obligation was up.
Bush and his staff have muddied the issue by not
providing a clear, comprehensive and consistent
explanation of his departure from the unit. And,
peculiarly, the President has not made himself
available to describe in detail what did take place at
that time. Instead, the White House has adopted a
policy of offering obscure explanations by officials
who clearly do not know the specifics of what went on,
and the periodic release of large numbers of confusing
or inconclusive documents--particularly at the start
of weekends and holiday periods, when attention is
elsewhere.

In addition, the Bush camp has offered over the past
few years a shifting panoply of explanations that
subsequently failed to pass muster. One was that Bush
had stopped flying his F-102A jet because it was being
phased out (the plane continued to be used for at
least another year). Another explanation was that he
failed to take his physical exam in 1972 because his
family doctor was unavailable. (Guard regulations
require that physicals be conducted by doctors on the
base, and would have been easily arranged either on a
base in Texas or, after he left the state, in
Alabama.)

One of the difficulties in getting to the truth about
what really took place during this period is the
frequently expressed fear of retribution from the Bush
organization. Many sources refuse to speak on the
record, or even to have their knowledge communicated
publicly in any way. One source who did publicly
evince doubts about Bush's activities in 1972 was Dean
Roome, who flew formations often with Bush and was his
roommate for a time. "You wonder if you know who
George Bush is," Roome told USA Today in a
little-appreciated interview back in 2002. "I think he
digressed after awhile," he said. "In the first half,
he was gung-ho. Where George failed was to fulfill his
obligation as a pilot. It was an irrational time in
his life." Yet in subsequent years, Roome has revised
his comments to a firm insistence that nothing out of
the ordinary took place at that time, and after one
interview he e-mailed me material raising questions
about John Kerry's military career. Roome, who
operates a curio shop in a Texas hamlet, told me that
Bush aides, including communications adviser Karen
Hughes, and even the President himself stay in touch
with him.

Several Bush associates from that period say that the
Bush camp has argued strenuously about the importance
of sources backing the President up on his military
service, citing patriotism, personal loyalty and even
the claim that he lacks friends in Washington and must
count on those from early in his life.

In 1971 Bush took his annual physical exam in May.
It's reasonable to conclude that he would also take
his 1972 physical in the same month. Yet according to
official Guard documents, Bush "cleared the base" on
May 15 without doing so. Fellow Guard members
uniformly agree that Bush should and could have easily
taken the exam with unit doctors at Ellington Air
Force Base before leaving town. (It is interesting to
note that if the Killian memos released by CBS do hold
up, one of them, dated May 4, 1972, orders Bush to
report for his physical by May 14--one day before he
took off.)

Bush has indicated that he departed from Ellington Air
Force Base and his Guard unit because he had been
offered an important employment opportunity with a
political campaign in Alabama. The overwhelming
evidence suggests, however, that the Alabama campaign
was a convenient excuse for Bush to rapidly exit stage
left from a Guard unit that found him and his behavior
a growing problem. If that's not the case, now would
be an excellent time for a President famed for his
superlative memory to sit down and explain what really
happened in that period.

http://mediamatters.org/items/printable/200409170001

Back to this story | Home
Media's memo obsession has enabled conservatives to
distract from Bush's lies about service

The media's fixation on the controversy over the
authenticity of memos exposed by CBS's 60 Minutes has
enabled conservative members of the media to discount
the serious questions regarding President George W.
Bush's National Guard service. The media's focus on
the memos has enabled conservatives to dodge questions
raised by the strong evidence indicating that strings
were pulled on Bush's behalf in the National Guard;
that he did not meet his service obligations; and,
most importantly, that he has repeatedly lied about
his service. As recently as February 8, Bush told NBC
Meet the Press host Tim Russert: "I did my duty."

CLAIM: Service questions are meaningless if the
documents are forged

On the September 15 edition of FOX News Channel's
Special Report with Brit Hume, FOX News Channel
contributor and Roll Call executive editor Morton M.
Kondracke claimed that the "net effect" of the memo
controversy is that "the draft story" (allegations
that Bush avoided the draft by getting into the
National Guard with the help of family connections) is
"falling apart":

KONDRACKE: I mean, look, the net effect of this [memo
controversy] is that attempts to use this to hammer
George [W.] Bush, the draft story, are falling apart.
You know? It's still faithful, loyal Democrats, you
know, will believe this to the last ditch. But you
know, this assertion, at least, is falling apart.

On the September 14 edition of FOX News Channel's
Hannity & Colmes, co-host Alan Colmes attempted to ask
L. Brent Bozell III, president of the conservative
Media Research Center, substantive questions regarding
whether Bush "got special consideration" to "get in"
to the Guard. Bozell used the memo controversy to
dismiss those questions:

COLMES: Whether he [Bush] was there -- let me just ask
the question. Whether he [Bush] was there or not,
whether he got special consideration to get in. Rather
than dealing with those questions we're dealing with
whether these memos are real and what the typeset is.

BOZELL: And what I'm saying, Alan, is that it's the --
it's the height of journalistic irresponsibility to
bring up those issues when they're based on fraudulent
documents.

But as Media Matters for America has noted, former
Texas Speaker of the House Ben Barnes swore under oath
that he helped Bush get into the Guard, and Bush's
Harvard Business School professor Yoshi Tsurumi said
Bush "admitted to me that to avoid the Vietnam draft,
he had his dad -- he said 'dad's friends' -- skip him
through the long waiting list to get into the Texas
National Guard." Neither statement has anything to do
with the CBS documents.

On the September 15 edition of FOX News Channel's The
O'Reilly Factor, guest Tony Snow (a conservative radio
host) falsely claimed that the disputed memos are the
only evidence proving Bush skipped a physical in July
1972 and thereby violated Guard regulations:

SNOW: And now, it [CBS News] also has the fuller
problem of if the documents are forgeries, how do you
make the claim that the story itself was true? After
all, the story itself hinges upon what? Somebody
finding out whether the president showed up for a
physical.

In other words, you have to prove that he wasn't
there. Well, that's almost impossible to do. The
doctor is not around. So there's CBS left grasping at
straws.

In fact, a separate, unchallenged document states
clearly that Bush was suspended from flying because he
missed his physical.

On the September 14 edition of his radio show, FOX
News Channel host Bill O'Reilly agreed with co-host
E.D. Hill that if CBS admits the disputed memos are
forged, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Web
page highlighting Bush's false statements about his
Guard service will be discredited. But only one small
section of the page, which is based primarily on CBS's
original story, relies on the disputed memos.

>From the September 14 edition of The Radio Factor with
Bill O'Reilly:

HILL: But if they say that [the documents are fake],
and the DNC's website is basing their entire "Bush
lied" page [a September 9 "Headlines" page bore this
headline] --

O'REILLY: On fabricated documents --

HILL: On the CBS report --

O'REILLY: Right. There you go. See, it's all over.
They lost. "They" being the DNC or whoever tried to
push this phony stuff on CBS. They lost. Bush wins
again. He wins.

[...]

HILL: Yeah, the DNC makes it -- hurts itself --

O'REILLY: Right. Right.

HILL: -- by repeating that stuff.

On the September 15 edition of Hannity & Colmes,
co-host Sean Hannity repeatedly interrupted guest Carl
Bernstein, the former Washington Post investigative
journalist who first broke the Watergate story, in an
attempt to stop him from addressing the substantive
questions relating to Bush's Guard service record:

BERNSTEIN: [W]e're looking -- I think we're looking at
a side show here. I don't think this [whether or not
the documents are forged] is the real issue. It's --
the real issue is the war record of these two
candidates.

HANNITY: I don't want to talk about that.

[crosstalk]

HANNITY: We're going to get into that.

BERNSTEIN: This is about journalism. Let me finish.

HANNITY: But wait a minute. Wait, wait.

BERNSTEIN: I would like to finish.

HANNITY: Hang on a second. I'm not having you here to
talk politics.

CLAIM: Bush's honorable discharge means something

FOX News Channel hosts E.D. Hill, Brian Kilmeade, and
Sean Hannity, NPR national political correspondent and
FOX News contributor Mara Liasson, and WABC radio host
and Landmark Legal Foundation president Mark Levin
joined others in the media (as MMFA has documented
here, here and here) both in repeating the irrelevant
Bush-Cheney '04 talking point that Bush's honorable
discharge means he fulfilled his obligation to the
Guard and in dismissing serious questions about his
service.

>From the September 15 edition of FOX News Channel's
FOX & Friends, during a discussion of the $50,000
reward being offered by anti-Bush group Texans for
Truth for original information proving whether Bush
performed his duties in the Air National Guard between
May 1972 and May 1973 in Alabama:

HILL: Wouldn't you just have to show his [Bush's]
honorable discharge papers [to affirm Bush's service]?

KILMEADE: You would think so.

>From the September 14 edition of FOX News Channel's
Special Report with Brit Hume:

LIASSON: [I]f the Bush campaign says the bottom line
is he was honorably discharged, the official record
[of his honorable discharge] should be the final
statement on this.

>From the September 13 edition of Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: We know he [Bush] served honorably. He served
all these hours that he had put in the aircraft
itself. We know that. It's documented. He has his
honorable discharge. You see these attacks against the
president. You see that they've gone to this Colonel
Killian [alleged author of the CBS documents]. Now, we
had Colonel Killian's son on the program Friday night,
and he dismisses this as absolutely outrageous and
wrong and inaccurate, and it was not his father. His
father thought highly of him. What do you think is
going on here?

>From the September 13 Mark Levin Show:

LEVIN: The bottom line is George [W.] Bush served all
the hours he was required to serve in order to receive
his honorable discharge -- all of them. CBS lied. Dan
Rather lied. They lied today. They were too anxious to
assassinate Bush's reputation. They were deceived by
pro-[Senator John] Kerry people and others. And
they've destroyed whatever reputation that they have
left.

Evidence that Bush lied is being ignored

Meanwhile, evidence indicating that Bush has
misrepresented his record in the Guard has largely
been ignored:

BUSH CLAIM: "I did my duty" in the National Guard.

During an interview with host Tim Russert on the
February 8 edition of Meet the Press, Bush stated, "I
served in the National Guard. I flew F-102 aircraft. I
got an honorable discharge. ... I -- I put in my time,
proudly so." Later in the interview, Bush reiterated
the claim: "I'm just telling you, I did my duty.

EVIDENCE: Media reports found Bush didn't fulfill
obligation to the Guard.

As Media Matters for America has documented, according
to a September 20 U.S. News & World Report article,
Bush didn't fulfill the "military service obligation"
that he signed. Even using White House methodology, he
still didn't attend enough drills to meet
requirements. Bush also failed to comply with time
limits on making up missed drills. The U.S. News
article reported: "[D]uring the final two years of his
obligation, Bush did not comply with Air Force
regulations that impose a time limit on making up
missed drills." In addition, Bush never made up five
months of missed drills. According to the U.S. News
article, Bush "apparently never made up five months of
drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by
the administration." According to a September 8
article in The Boston Globe, Bush twice signed
documents pledging to meet requirements and twice
violated that oath. Finally, on September 16,
Salon.com's Eric Boehlert reported that a "newly
surfaced document (pdf) from President Bush's military
file" from 1968 shows that Bush agreed to serve for
five years as a pilot after he completed his Guard
pilot training. But since Bush stopped flying at least
two and a half years before this five-year commitment
would have ended, as Boehlert noted, the document
"offers more proof that Bush failed to fulfill his
military obligations."

BUSH CLAIM: I flew planes in the Guard for "several
years."

On page 34 of his 1999 campaign autobiography, A
Charge to Keep (penned by Karen Hughes), Bush claimed
that, after learning to fly the F-102 fighter jet, "I
continued flying with my unit for the next several
years," as Joe Conason noted in a February 2 New York
Observer column.

EVIDENCE: Bush flew planes for 22 months.

As Conason pointed out, "[I]n May 1972, only 22 months
after he completed pilot training, he [Bush] stopped
flying," according to the facts established by Boston
Globe reporter Walter Robinson in May 2000. Twenty-two
months, not even two years, hardly constitutes the
"several years" that Bush claimed.

BUSH CLAIM: The Guard "just had an opening for a pilot
and I was there at the right time"

On September 15, journalist and blogger Joshua Micah
Marshall noted that Bush was asked by James Moore
during a 1994 Texas gubernatorial campaign debate
against Ann Richards, "How did you get into the Guard
so easily? One hundred thousand guys our age were on
the waiting list, and you say you walked in and signed
up to become a pilot. Did your congressman father
exercise any influence on your behalf?" Bush
responded, "Not that I know of, Jim. I certainly
didn't ask for any. And I'm sure my father didn't
either. They just had an opening for a pilot and I was
there at the right time."

EVIDENCE: Others say Bush got preferential treatment.

As MMFA previously documented, former Texas Speaker of
the House Ben Barnes swore under oath that he helped
Bush get into the Air National Guard. According to The
Boston Globe: "Ben Barnes, who was speaker of the
Texas House of Representatives in 1968, said in a
deposition in 2000 that he placed a call to get young
Bush a coveted slot in the Guard at the request of a
Bush family friend."

In addition, as MMFA also noted, Bush's Harvard
Business School professor Yoshi Tsurumi said Bush
admitted his father's friends got him into the Guard.
A September 13 CNN.com article reported that Tsurumi
said that Bush told him that family friends had pulled
strings to get him into the Texas Air National Guard:
"He [Bush] admitted to me that to avoid the Vietnam
draft, he had his dad -- he said 'Dad's friends' --
skip him through the long waiting list to get him into
the Texas National Guard." The videotaped interview
has been largely absent from CNN's cable broadcasts,
as Media Matters for America has also noted.

— N.C.

Posted to the web on Thursday September 16, 2004 at
8:09 PM EST

Copyright © 2004 Media Matters for America. All rights
reserved.
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http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=ap/soros_hastert

Soros Asks House to Probe Hastert Remarks

Wed Sep 15, 7:28 PM ET Add Politics - U. S. Congress
to My Yahoo!

By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Billionaire philanthropist George Soros
has asked the House ethics committee to investigate
House Speaker Dennis Hastert over comments suggesting
that Soros could be receiving money from illegal drug
groups.


Reuters Photo

"This kind of insinuation — that a private United
States citizen was in league with drug cartels and may
be receiving funds derived from criminal activity —
has no place in public discourse," Soros wrote Tuesday
to the chair and top Democrat on the panel, Reps. Joel
Hefley, R-Col., and Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va.


During an Aug. 29 interview on "Fox News Sunday,"
Hastert, R-Ill., questioned the source of the
73-year-old financier's wealth: "I don't know where
George Soros gets his money. I don't know where — if
it comes from overseas or from drug groups or where it
comes from." He made similar comments in an Aug. 23
radio interview.


Soros said Hastert has since said he was
misunderstood, that he was talking about groups to
which Soros — a supporter of legalizing marijuana —
gives money.


But "the indisputable fact is that he alleged that I
might be receiving 'drug money' from 'drug groups,'"
Soros said.


Hastert's office had no immediate comment on the
ethics complaint. The Committee on Standards of
Official Conduct, under its rules, normally accepts
complaints only from House members or from outsiders
when members certify that the complaints merit review.

Soros has earned the enmity of Republicans because of
his generous contributions to liberal activist groups
campaigning to defeat President Bush (news - web
sites).


After Hastert made his comments, 11 House Democrats
led by Rep. Barney Frank (news, bio, voting record) of
Massachusetts, wrote Soros inviting him to speak on
Capitol Hill.


"We have been particularly troubled by the McCarthyite
attacks that have been made on you by some American
politicians, including colleagues of ours, who have
gone far beyond the reasonable bounds of civil
discourse in their efforts to discredit you," they
wrote.


Soros, a native of communist Hungary, arrived in the
United States in 1956 and made his fortune through the
Soros Fund Management, a private, international
investment firm. He has given away billions to various
causes, including groups promoting democracy in
Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&e=3&u=/ap/20040916/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_iraq


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1542&e=8&u=/afp/20040917/en_afp/us_vote_bush_book_kelley_040917194015

Bush author says White House applying pressure over
book

Fri Sep 17, 3:40 PM ET Add Entertainment - AFP to My
Yahoo!


WASHINGTON (AFP) - Writer Kitty Kelley has accused the
White House of putting pressure on her and the US
media over the new biography on the family of
President George W. Bush (news - web sites)

"The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty",
which alleges that Bush took cocaine at Camp David
when his father was president, became an instant
best-seller after its publication this week. But it
has been strongly condemned by the presidency.


"I have had the pressure of the White House," Kelley,
a veteran of biographical polemics, told a conference
in Washington late Thursday linked to the release of
her book.


"It was published on Tuesday, it was under embargo
until that time, so there were no copies available.
Days before publication, the White House issued a
formal statement saying that the book was garbage and
nobody should read it," Kelley declared.


Kelley also said the White House had called the
president of NBC News to urge the network not to
invite her to talk about the new book.


"Larry King did not extend an invitation. I have done
his show for every book that I have ever written," she
said of the star CNN talk show host.


The 733-page tome is heavy with Kelley's trademark mix
of scandal and sexual innuendo, and paints a deeply
unflattering portrait of the Bush dynasty that has
been condemned by the White House as a politically
motivated smear job ahead of the November 2
presidential election.


Kelley said she interviewed 988 people for the book.


"If it's in the book, it's corroborated," she said.
"There is a lot I left out the book."


Among those quoted are Sharon Bush -- an ex-wife of
one of the president's brothers, Neil Bush -- who was
said to have confirmed the cocaine incident. Sharon
Bush has since denied this however.


"I met Sharon Bush at a little restaurant. It was a
four-hour lunch and Sharon Bush talked about
everything," Kelley said.


"She talked about her father-in-law's infidelity, she
talked about the mistresses of George H. W. Bush, she
talked about her tormented relationship with the Bush
family.


"I said: 'Sharon, have you ever heard about George W.
doing drugs at Camp David when his father was
president? And she said: 'Yes, many times'.


Kelley said Sharon Bush's publicist has "corroborated
everything".


"But I am not really surprised that she is backing off
because this is a very powerful family. Sharon said
over that lunch that she was afraid of the Bushes."


Kelley went on: "I really do think they are the most
powerful in America, the most powerful family in the
world."


She denied she had a political agenda explaining that
the book was started in 2000. "I personally come from
a large Republican family. My father voted for both
Bushes."

Posted by richard at 08:09 PM

September 16, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising: 47 Days to Go -- Today's REAL Headlines

The Emperor has no uniform...The war on terror is not the strength of the Bush abomination, it is the SHAME of the Bush
abomination...There are only 47 days to go until the
national referendum on the CHARACTER, COMPETENCY and
CREDIBILITY of the _resident and the VICE
_resident...Here is some more DAMNING evidence...Five
stories hat should fill the air waves and command
headlines above the fold...But they won't...Because
the US regimestream news media is a full partner in a
Triad of shared special interest (oil, weapons, media,
pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) with the Bush Cabal
and its
wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party...Please
read these stories and share them with others. Please
vote and encourage all you know to vote. And, please,
remember that the US regimestream news media does not
want to inform you about this presidential election,
the US regimestream news media wants to DISinform you
about this presidential election...

Mary Jacoby, Salon: Over the last three years, the
group of 9/11 widows turned activists dubbed the
"Jersey Girls" have become a fixture on the Washington
political scene. Some of them are Republicans, others
Democrats or independents. But they are all determined
to hold official Washington accountable for the
attacks that killed their husbands and nearly 3,000
others. They have held news conferences, lobbied
members of Congress, pored over documents, and forced
the White House to accept an independent commission to
investigate the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Along the
way, the women have learned about coverups,
obfuscation, political cowardice, deceptions and the
dangers of eschewing international alliances for a
go-it-alone foreign policy.
And their conclusion: For the sake of the
country's future, John Kerry must replace George W.
Bush.

Sidney Blumenthal, Guardian: 'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday.
But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."
Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."
Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan."
W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there - said: "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". According to Terrill, the anti-US insurgency, centred in the Sunni triangle, and holding several cities and towns - including Fallujah - is expanding and becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy.
"We have a growing, maturing insurgency group," he told me. "We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed. The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view."

Jennifer Bundy, Associated Press: Vice presidential
candidate John Edwards (news - web sites) promised a
West Virginia mother on Wednesday that if the
Democratic ticket is elected in November the military
draft would not be revived.
During a question-and-answer session, the mother of a
23-year-old who recently graduated from West Virginia
University asked Edwards whether the draft would be
reinstated.
"There will be no draft when John Kerry (news - web
sites) is president," Edwards said, a statement that
drew a standing ovation...
"We will never send American men and women into battle
without first having a plan to win the peace and
without the training and the equipment they need,
including armored vehicles and including body armor,"
Edwards said. "We have one candidate for president who
has fought in a war. The truth of the matter is John
Kerry takes this very, very personally."

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, interviews Seymour Hersh:
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org.
The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman. Our guest
this hour is Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning
reporter, exposed the My Lai massacre that changed
history, the coverage of Vietnam. Now, 35 years later,
though he's done many things in between, his latest
book, Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu
Ghraib. We're talking about the prison torture, how
high up it goes. This issue of videotape, of boys in
prison, Iraqi boys, being raped. Who's raping them?
SEYMOUR HERSH: I haven't seen or heard the videotape.
What happens is in -- obviously, people with -- since
I wrote those articles in The New Yorker, I was in
contact with family members who have other materials;
and essentially, some of the Iraqi -- some of the
employees, the private contractors who were hired by
the United States. As you know, there's 20,000 private
contractors. That's a number I have heard. I can't
verify it. But we -- in the prison system in the
United States military, since we know nobody speaks
Arabic, we don't have enough translators, they hire
locals. They hire -- they go to various companies,
C.A.C.A. Is one.
AMY GOODMAN: Kaky?
SEYMOUR HERSH: I don't know what it stands for, but
out of Virginia. They just got a huge new contract.
These are people who do hundreds of millions of
dollars worth of business. They provide interpreters,
among other things; that's part of their business. The
private companies were all over Abu Ghraib, and they
had local -- one of the people, one of the men from
the private companies was -- did have forcible sex
with -- there's women in the prisons, which is also a
big contentious problem for the Iraqi population. The
women are held in a separate unit, but they have
children; and one of the children and one of the women
was raped by a boy. There are photographs. There is
testimony --
AMY GOODMAN: Was raped by --
SEYMOUR HERSH: One of the guards, rather. And
witnessed by Americans taking photographs. There is
testimony that has not been made public about this. I
know that there's been statements made in various
military proceedings. And the government's been very
chary about writing -- putting out any information.
People witnessed it. They had cameras, and I believe
they were video cameras. They could have been still
cameras. There were cameras photographing it, and the
boy was screaming. But I don't have a videotape of it.
I haven't seen a videotape of it. I know that such
testimony has been given. So, it's -- there is
testimony that's been given for some reason that we
can always guess about. Look, you know, I'm -- it's --
women were doing things -- I actually learned about
Abu Ghraib. I went to Damascus in Christmas of 2003 to
interview an Iraqi -- a high ranking Iraqi officer
that somehow had escaped being imprisoned by us. We --
many of the Ba'ath party leadership are still in a
prison --Camp Cropper, I think, in Baghdad. And he
came out to Damascus to see me, and he told me -- we
spent three days -- and in one afternoon he told me a
great deal about Abu Ghraib. Again, without a video
camera, without a photograph of it. And one of the
things that was most compelling about it was the women
were writing letters to their families -- women in
jail -- saying, "Please come kill me. I have been
abused. Come kill me." So, you know -- an Israeli I
know said to me, he said, "You know, I hate Arabs."
This is an old-time guy. Old-time military guy,
old-time Mossad-type guy -- intelligence guy. "I hate
Arabs. I've been killing them for 50 years and they've
been killing us for 50 years." And he said, you know,
"Let me tell you something, Hersh. But one day we know
with a wall, without a wall, we're going to have to
live with those s.o.b.'s sometime. And let me say this
to you: If we treated our prisoners the way you
treated prisoners, we could never do that."

Matt Taibbi, AlterNet: Kitty Kelley's take on the Bush
dynasty: consistently cold, calculating, predatory and
unscrupulous, generation after generation.
In other words, her book is a rollicking good read.
Kitty Kelley's "explosive" nearly 700-page tome on the
Bushes, The Family, has been barely out on the streets
for a day, but the early news reactions have already
made it plain: The sprawling biography simply doesn't
matter. The predominant media take on this book is
likely to go something like this: In Bush tome,
unreliable menopausal scandalmonger again misses mark;
world waits out irritating media buzz.
But that doesn't mean the book isn't worth a read –
far from it.
Kelley's book is – unintentionally I think – a
surprisingly tender portrait of a small, loyal group
of vicious undead fiends, persevering against all odds
in a world of the callous, uncomprehending living.
Kelley does what no other writer to date has really
done for the Bushes: she actually makes you admire
them for their remarkable ability to remain
consistently cold, calculating, predatory and
unscrupulous in generation after generation after
generation.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/091604B.shtml

"President Bush Thwarted Our Attempts at Every Turn"
By Mary Jacoby
Salon.com

Wednesday 15 September 2004

The widows known as the "Jersey Girls" changed history
by demanding an independent 9/11 investigation. Now
they want to change who's president - though some
voted for Bush four years ago.
Washington - Over the last three years, the group
of 9/11 widows turned activists dubbed the "Jersey
Girls" have become a fixture on the Washington
political scene. Some of them are Republicans, others
Democrats or independents. But they are all determined
to hold official Washington accountable for the
attacks that killed their husbands and nearly 3,000
others. They have held news conferences, lobbied
members of Congress, pored over documents, and forced
the White House to accept an independent commission to
investigate the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Along the
way, the women have learned about coverups,
obfuscation, political cowardice, deceptions and the
dangers of eschewing international alliances for a
go-it-alone foreign policy.

And their conclusion: For the sake of the
country's future, John Kerry must replace George W.
Bush.

Gathering at the National Press Club in Washington
on Tuesday, the widows announced their endorsement of
the Massachusetts Democrat for president, a move made
"in good conscience and from our hearts," as former
Bush supporter Kristen Breitweiser told the news
cameras. "In the three years since 9/11, I could never
have imagined I would be here today, disappointed in
the person I voted for, for president," she said.
Added fellow Jersey Girl Patty Casazza: "It was
President Bush who thwarted our attempts at every
turn."

The widows said they endorsed Kerry because three
years of studying the facts has convinced them he will
do a better job than Bush at protecting the nation.
"This was not an easy decision to make. We agonized
over this," said Monica Gabrielle of West Haven,
Conn., an honorary Jersey Girl. "We have always been
very careful about not being partisan. We have always
attempted to uncover the truth. We have always looked
for the greater good." Still, the women said they
expect to be trashed as partisan hacks.

"We were joking amongst ourselves yesterday that
we should come down here geared up in football pads
and helmets, because we were anticipating personal
attacks," Breitweiser said. "Some other 9/11 family
members have supported President Bush, and I think we
have always been respectful of anyone's points of
view. And I hope that going forward, the debate and
dialogue will be about the issues and it will be
respectful and lively. But most important,
respectful."

The endorsement was a sword clanging against
Bush's political armor. Polls show that voters rate
Bush high on his handling of 9/11 and its aftermath,
and Republicans have been quick to exploit that
approval with television ads and their recent
convention, held in Manhattan around the theme of
Bush's leadership against terrorism. Meantime, the
families of 9/11 victims are split on whom to support
for president, with many for Bush.

The Jersey Girls' political foil is Deena Burnett,
widow of Thomas Burnett, one of the passengers on
United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in
Pennsylvania. Burnett, who lives in Arkansas, spoke to
the Republican National Convention two weeks ago,
giving an emotional account of her last conversations
with her husband from the plane. "The heroes of 9/11
weren't created that day," Burnett told the
convention. "Their actions were the result of virtues
practiced over a lifetime." Delegates wiped away
tears.

Watching the convention on television, Breitweiser
felt not teary-eyed, she said, but frightened. She
found the speakers angry and bellicose, and she
worried that the Bush administration seemed to revel
in war. "I am scared [by] the mentality that my
daughter, who is 5 years old, is being handed a
tomorrow that will be a war for a lifetime. My husband
was killed on 9/11. I do not want to lose my daughter
18 years from now when she's walking or living in a
large city, and it's payback for our actions in Iraq,"
Breitweiser said. Later she told me in an interview
that she voted for Bush in 2000 because, well, she's a
Republican. "I'm not a Democrat!" she said, when I
asked if her endorsement of Kerry meant that she had
switched parties.

On Tuesday I was unable to reach Deena Burnett,
whose name is not listed in the phone directory, for
comment about the Jersey Girls' endorsement of Kerry.
But a telephone interview I conducted with her two
years ago was revealing for her lack of knowledge
about the origins and funding sources of al-Qaida.
Burnett is a lead plaintiff in a massive lawsuit
against wealthy members of the Saudi royal family and
Saudi establishment filed by South Carolina trial
lawyer Ron Motley, who is trying to prove that the
9/11 attacks were financed out of the kingdom.
Interestingly, many people who share those suspicions
about the Saudi role in 9/11 also tend to question the
Bush family's close ties to the House of Saud, but not
Burnett. When I spoke with her for the profile, I
expected to talk with her about the substance of the
case. Instead, she directed me back to the lawyers,
pleading ignorance of such details as which Saudi
prince made which overtures to the Taliban. She
clearly wasn't a document hound.

The Jersey Girls are. They have read seemingly
every scrap of information about 9/11 and al-Qaida,
from news articles to affidavits to footnotes in
obscure government reports. And their command of the
facts is what has made them so effective. On Sept. 18,
2002, when much of the public was still sympathetic to
the Bush administration position that the attacks
could not have been foreseen or prevented, Breitweiser
gave a statement before the joint House-Senate
investigation into intelligence lapses; it may have
changed the course of history.

In a concise, straightforward manner, she laid out
the facts far more effectively than had any senator or
representative on the panel. She asked how, for
example, the CIA could fail to locate hijackers Nawaf
Alhazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, who had entered the
United States despite being on a terrorist watch list,
when one was listed in the San Diego phone book and
both roomed with an undercover FBI informant. The day
after her presentation, the White House - once firmly
against an independent commission - reversed itself
and endorsed the idea. And it was the 9/11 commission
that would later find no operational ties between
Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, one of the key reasons
Bush gave for invading Iraq.

On Tuesday, the widows cited the invasion of Iraq
as one of their top reasons for supporting Kerry.
"Unfortunately, before the work in Afghanistan was
complete ... this administration moved our most
precious resources, America's sons and daughters, into
Iraq, without the support of our allies. Iraq had
nothing to do with 9/11, and that is what we learned
from the 9/11 commission's final report," said Lorie
Van Auken of East Brunswick, N.J. "Sept. 11 was an
enormous intelligence failure, and yet nothing was
done to fix our intelligence after 9/11, and that same
intelligence apparatus took us into Iraq. So it's
doubly frustrating to learn that Iraq had nothing to
do with 9/11." Van Auken said she is also worried that
with military forces stretched thin, her 17-year-old
son and 15-year-old daughter could be called up in a
draft.

The women said they approached Kerry about the
endorsement, not the other way around. Their requests
to meet with Bush were rejected. Breitweiser and
Gabrielle plan to campaign actively. In Breitweiser's
case, it will be difficult, because she hasn't
traveled in an airplane since her husband died. "I
have serious anxiety about getting on a plane," she
said. "But that's how committed I feel."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1305360,00.html

Far graver than Vietnam

Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday September 16, 2004
The Guardian

'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday.
But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan."

W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there - said: "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". According to Terrill, the anti-US insurgency, centred in the Sunni triangle, and holding several cities and towns - including Fallujah - is expanding and becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy.

"We have a growing, maturing insurgency group," he told me. "We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed. The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view."

After the killing of four US contractors in Fallujah, the marines besieged the city for three weeks in April - the watershed event for the insurgency. "I think the president ordered the attack on Fallujah," said General Hoare. "I asked a three-star marine general who gave the order to go to Fallujah and he wouldn't tell me. I came to the conclusion that the order came directly from the White House." Then, just as suddenly, the order was rescinded, and Islamist radicals gained control, using the city as a base.

"If you are a Muslim and the community is under occupation by a non-Islamic power it becomes a religious requirement to resist that occupation," Terrill explained. "Most Iraqis consider us occupiers, not liberators." He describes the religious imagery common now in Fallujah and the Sunni triangle: "There's talk of angels and the Prophet Mohammed coming down from heaven to lead the fighting, talk of martyrs whose bodies are glowing and emanating wonderful scents."

"I see no exit," said Record. "We've been down that road before. It's called Vietnamisation. The idea that we're going to have an Iraqi force trained to defeat an enemy we can't defeat stretches the imagination. They will be tainted by their very association with the foreign occupier. In fact, we had more time and money in state building in Vietnam than in Iraq."

General Odom said: "This is far graver than Vietnam. There wasn't as much at stake strategically, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with the war that was not constructive for US aims. But now we're in a region far more volatile, and we're in much worse shape with our allies."

Terrill believes that any sustained US military offensive against the no-go areas "could become so controversial that members of the Iraqi government would feel compelled to resign". Thus, an attempted military solution would destroy the slightest remaining political legitimacy. "If we leave and there's no civil war, that's a victory."

General Hoare believes from the information he has received that "a decision has been made" to attack Fallujah "after the first Tuesday in November. That's the cynical part of it - after the election. The signs are all there."

He compares any such planned attack to the late Syrian dictator Hafez al-Asad's razing of the rebel city of Hama. "You could flatten it," said Hoare. "US military forces would prevail, casualties would be high, there would be inconclusive results with respect to the bad guys, their leadership would escape, and civilians would be caught in the middle. I hate that phrase collateral damage. And they talked about dancing in the street, a beacon for democracy."

General Odom remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was worse than any he has ever seen with any previous government, including Vietnam. "I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic."

· Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of salon.com

sidney_blumenthal@ yahoo.com

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040916/ap_on_el_pr/edwards

Edwards: No Military Draft if Dems Win


By JENNIFER BUNDY, Associated Press Writer

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. - Vice presidential candidate John
Edwards (news - web sites) promised a West Virginia
mother on Wednesday that if the Democratic ticket is
elected in November the military draft would not be
revived.

During a question-and-answer session, the mother of a
23-year-old who recently graduated from West Virginia
University asked Edwards whether the draft would be
reinstated.


"There will be no draft when John Kerry (news - web
sites) is president," Edwards said, a statement that
drew a standing ovation.


The current force is all-volunteer, and Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said he opposes
reinstating the draft. But the Pentagon (news - web
sites) has taken several steps that have drawn
criticism.


In June, the Pentagon recalled to active duty 5,674
members of the Individual Ready Reserve, soldiers who
have served specified tours of duty but have years
remaining in their enlistment contracts.


Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, has
complained about the extent of the Bush
administration's use of Reserves and National
Guardsmen and a device called "stop loss," which
prevents soldiers from leaving when typical
obligations end. "They have effectively used a
stop-loss policy as a backdoor draft," Kerry said.


During the session with Edwards, a woman whose son is
serving in Iraq (news - web sites) asked why the
vehicles in his convoys are not armored. She said one
vehicle was attacked last week and three soldiers were
killed.


"We will never send American men and women into battle
without first having a plan to win the peace and
without the training and the equipment they need,
including armored vehicles and including body armor,"
Edwards said. "We have one candidate for president who
has fought in a war. The truth of the matter is John
Kerry takes this very, very personally."


Bill Ambrose, a land surveyor from Volcano, told
Edwards, "I don't know why we can't hammer George Bush
(news - web sites). The concern is we are not
supporting the troops. I think that's a separate
issue. We all support the troops. This administration
has made the most monumental foreign policy mistakes
since Vietnam."


Edwards said that when he and Kerry say they support
and admire U.S. troops serving in Iraq, "it's not just
words, it's what we really believe."


"Iraq is a mess. It is a mess because of George Bush
and Dick Cheney (news - web sites). It's that simple,"
Edwards said. "The facts are overwhelming. This
president's father did the work, the hard work, of
bringing others with us before the Gulf War (news -
web sites)."


Edwards said the Gulf War cost American taxpayers $5
billion.


"This president did not do that. The result is over
$200 billion and counting" and a thousand American
deaths, Edwards said.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1505&ncid=1505&e=5&u=/afp/20040915/ts_alt_afp/us_vote_military_040915075536

http://www.democracynow.org/static/hersh_trans.shtml
-------

RUSH TRANSCRIPT
This transcript is available free of charge, however
donations help us provide closed captioning for the
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you for your generous contribution.
Donate - $25, $50, $100, more...

AMY GOODMAN: We're joined today by Seymour Hersh. He
exposed 35 years ago the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam,
has written a number of books since, and now, his
latest book has just been published. It's called Chain
of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib. Welcome
to Democracy Now!

SEYMOUR HERSH: Glad to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: It's great to have you with us. Let's
just start off with that "chain of command" and how
you came to understand what was happening at Abu
Ghraib?

SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, of course, nobody fully
understands how you got to where we got. What's
interesting about the Cheney call is that it isn't a
call saying, "Oh, my god! What are we doing here?
We've got to stop this. Let's clean it up. This is a
terrible outrage. In the name of America, how can we
behave this way, et cetera, et cetera." We're not
getting that from him. We're getting, "Let's hunker
down. Let's seal everything up." So, what happened is
in this particular book, this sort of came out of the
fact that I did a bunch of articles for The New Yorker
in May, that I have talked to you about on-air, sort
of posing the problem of Abu Ghraib and suggesting
that there were higher officials involved.

After that, those articles, somebody who worked for
Condoleezza Rice -- I'm talking about the people in
the White House -- got in touch with me and told me
that, in fact, there had been a lot of concern about
prisoner abuse much earlier, that in the fall of 2002,
this issue had had come up into the White House and
gotten to the level of National Security Council
meetings. It came about because the C.I.A. has an
expert on Islam on its staff, somebody who was born in
Palestine, and who -- I can't name him for obvious
reasons, because I'm glad there's somebody with that
knowledge in the government. I'm delighted to not --
not to do anything to expose him. But in any case, he
was troubled because he was seeing all of the
intelligence reports from Guantanamo. Guantanamo was
the police prison that was set up in the wake of our
invasion of Afghanistan. I think it started in January
2002, and by the middle of the year, there were 600
people there. Nothing was coming from there. Nothing.
No good intel. So, he does the rational thing. He goes
to the base, goes and takes a look. He talks to about
30 -- he speaks idiomatic Arabic -- he talks to 30 of
the prisoners. Among the first things he sees, as he
tells colleagues -- I haven't seen the report, I just
know what he told colleagues about it, people who
worked with him in the C.I.A. and in the White House
-- he sees two men easily 80 years old, living in
their own excrement bound in a jail, in a pen. He, in
talking to people, there's absolutely no
differentiation among those who are people who wanted
to do something, conspired against America or were al
Qaeda members, and those who are simply people just
caught up in the American sweeps. There's no
differentiation. His report basically says if they
weren't al Qaeda by the time we captured them, by the
time we release them, they sure will be.

Also, obviously, there's the total violation of the
Geneva Convention, not processing people, and also in
conversation with people, he described it as war
crimes, the way we treated people. His report was
done, a wonderful general named John Gordon, a retired
Air Force general, four-star general, full general,
who worked as a deputy director of the C.I.A., and
military men understand something, which is you don't
treat prisoners any differently than you want your own
soldiers to be treated if they're captured. He was
troubled by it. He began to lobby inside the White
House to deal with this report. Of course, in the Bush
administration, like I assume in all administrations,
no bad news is wanted. So he lobbies people. He gets
his pal, the C.I.A. analyst who did the report, to
come brief some people. Of course, the vice
president's office is against this. They don't want to
talk about it. Everybody in Guantanamo is a bad guy.
To hell with them. The general counsel, the counsel to
the president, Gonzalez, also is very hostile, but he
finds enough people who said, let's do something. So
Condoleezza Rice has a meeting. Don Rumsfeld comes
over to the meeting. There's a moment of epiphany when
she says, please look into it. He says, I will. He
goes off and assigns a 31-year-old aide who has had
nothing to do with prisons in his life, is an arms
control guy, to look into it. Nothing happens. As the
general tells -- is known to have said later, he was
really distressed that nobody would take it seriously.


So, what you have, if you want it talk about how Abu
Ghraib began, what you have is a attitude that these
people are not humans. Dehumanization. We do that more
all the time, but you also have an attitude that it
doesn't matter what you do. So, I proffer this -- that
all of -- we have had what, nine or seven or eight
investigations and reports, some of them very good
about what happened in the field, but in terms of how
this attitude began, how we began, how Abu Ghraib
really came to be it's -- from the very beginning,
nobody in the chain of command, nobody from the White
House on down made it clear that we will treat these
people decently. I'll tell you why it's important to
do so. Anybody who knows anything about interrogation
says the following -- you cannot get good information
from coercion. This is just a given. You establish
rapport. Particularly if you are dealing with jihadist
people, who are willing to die for what they believe
in, you're not going to get information by torturing
them. It's just not going to work. So it's dumb and
dumber to begin with. Secondly, it exposes our people
to the same kind of retaliation, and also it's a total
war crime. It's a crime against humanity, it's a crime
against the Geneva Convention, and of course, it's
also dangerous in a rational world to the presidency
itself. Because if you don't inflict values at the
very beginning, you do end up down the road with the
kind of abuses we had. That's, I think, the story in a
nutshell.

AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh is our guest this hour. His
series of pieces in The New Yorker and more are now a
book Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu
Ghraib. We'll be back with him in a minute.

AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Pulitzer Prize-winning
journalist, Seymour Hersh. Chain of Command: The Road
from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib is his new book. You have a
pretty remarkable quote in here of J. Bibby, head of
the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. He
wrote to Alberto Gonzalez, the White House counsel,
quote: "We conclude that for an act to constitute
torture, it must inflict pain that is difficult to
endure. Physical pain amounting to torture must be
equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying
serious physical injury, such as organ failure,
impairment of bodily function or even death."

SEYMOUR HERSH: What can I say? That's what he wrote.
It was in a memo to the White House, and I generally
characterize the legal memos written early -- this is
a memo written in early 2002, as being a sort of
internal competition to see who can be the hardest
line guy there was. I think the gist of what he says
in effect, he also in one of the memos described
intent, that you cannot inflict torture if - it's not
torture if your intent in abusing somebody or hurting
somebody to get information was to protect the
national security. In other words, what your intent is
when you are hurting people, it's very important, and
to what -- as important as the act. So, it's very hard
for a journalist because if you use the word -- since
the White House has its own definition of torture and
the White House has its own definition of abuse, it's
very hard to write about it, because the White House
denies, you know.

One of the lawyers for the White House in a meeting I
write about with a human rights official, somebody
from Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, said, he describes
the act of pulling a hood over somebody, goggles first
and then a hood, he said, "People complain if we
blindfold people." That's blindfolding, putting a hood
over somebody's head and over goggles. And so, if you
define things your own way -- Anthony Lewis, the
former New York Times columnist who knows a great deal
about law, writes on legal issues, described these
memos that were written by the White House as sounding
like lawyers for the mafia writing memos to the capo
about how to handle a problem. It's really sort of --
that this stuff came at the top of the government is
-- again you have to say, 9/11 happened. America was
stunned, upset, people were trying to hurt our
innocence. There was fear involved. There was a
tremendous fear on the part of the government that we
knew nothing about these people very much. We didn't
know much. Would they strike again? I'm giving you
their arguments. So, therefore, extraordinary measures
had to be taken.

AMY GOODMAN: With just this one case, Bibby, he ended
up being promoted.

SEYMOUR HERSH: He's now a federal judge, I think in
the Circuit Court of Appeals. Again, was he promoted
because he wrote that memo? I would guess not, but
still, it's not something I want on my resume, let's
put it that way.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about Operation Anaconda in
Afghanistan?

SEYMOUR HERSH: This is -- it's interesting. I have
been doing interviews, and you're the first person to
ask me about it. This is a story that I didn't write.
I was doing a lot of work, as you know, since 9/11. I
have been sort of writing the alternative history of
the war, with the help of people on the inside. I'm
not -- you know, people -- there are people all along
very high levels who don't approve of what's going on.
It's very hard for people in certain positions in the
military and the intelligence to come forward.
Anaconda was an operation to take place March 1, 2002,
where we were going to attack in the mountains, in the
eastern mountains of Afghanistan.

The idea was to attack what we believed were a group
of embedded al Qaeda living in redoubts, in caves, et
cetera. And the army wanted to do it. There had been
-- the war had been going on for months. It had been
largely a special forces war and air force war. The
army and the commander at this time was General
Franks. Little did I know then that this Tommy Franks
would end up running the war and be described as sort
of a hero, because this was Katzenjammer Kids stuff
what he did. It was really sort of really dumb. The
plan was to recruit some Afghans and with the American
soldiers, they initially wanted the marines, they were
going to drive -- there was going to be no advanced
bombing of the area or artillery, because we did not
want to tip off the al Qaeda we were coming. Never
mind we were dealing with all of the local Afghan
tribes, all of whom we know, history shows, who pays
the most determines their loyalty. The idea that you
could run a covert operation, particularly the way we
move, like General Motors, but that was the idea, so
we could have no -- the air force wasn't allowed to do
preparatory bombing. We're going to send boys from the
Tenth Mountain Division out of Ft. Drum, New York.
They're going to paratroop land by helicopter into an
area. There's going to be no advance bombing and
there's going to be no artillery. And the first wave
is going to be a group of Afghans going up a mountain
with the marines. The marines said, "Are you kidding?"
I quote an ex-- a wonderful marine officer saying --
that's why I love the marines - "We said 'Are you
nuts? F*** you. We're not going. We'll go, fight and
kill anybody, but we're not stupid. We don't go up a
mountain without artillery and without intelligence.'"
They wouldn't go, so they send the Afghans up, they
get wiped out in what they call registered mortar
fire.

In other words, the opposition had mortars aimed at
the various congregation sites they had already
planned in advance. They were going to be points where
they rendezvous. And the fire was already registered.
Clearly they knew what the points were going to be.
When the Ft. Drum soldiers landed by chopper, up
higher in the mountains, their landing zones were also
the target of registered mortar fire. In other words,
the enemy knew. I think they suffered 28% casualties,
not deaths, mostly wounded from shrapnel and other
shells in the first thee minutes. Then they ran down
the mountain, 100 people, literally, some didn't,
perhaps, but many did, including the junior officers,
ran from an ambush, not irrational, leaving behind
night vision gear, weapons, radios, they just shed
themselves and went down the mountain, because
otherwise they were in real trouble. They would have
been wiped out. It's a nightmare. It was just a
nightmare. Then, of course, the press is down below in
Bagram near a base. After the first day was over,
that's my favorite quote of the war, a lieutenant
colonel from the Tenth Mountain Division briefs the
American press corps that's down below about what a
victory it was. And he said, "The best thing about it
is we found and engaged the enemy right away." Which
is -- I have to think I said it was a very strange way
to describe an ambush. And an air force officer -- the
air force went crazy about this. I got there after
action started, which was just devastating, I mean,
brutal. There's always interesting warfare, but this
was extraordinary. They just said, this was the worst
they have ever seen. One air force colonel, who is a
wonderful, bright young air force colonel said to me,
"Well, the army demonstrated that they were able to
send a bunch of boys up a mountain to their death."
That's what they showed in this mission. Complete
disaster. They tried to tell the press as many as 700
al Qaeda were killed. Newsweek reported ten bodies
were found. Shades of Vietnam again. But I didn't
write it.

What makes it interesting, while doing reporting on
it, I called Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander,
who is sort of an interesting guy in this stuff,
because early in the war, early in my reporting on the
war, I had written critically about a Delta Force
operation. Delta is the secret unit of the army. The
commander unit. They had been ambushed. The Delta guys
were enraged. I'm talking about the first month of the
war because they had been sent on this stupid
operation and they had gotten hurt very badly. And
they don't like it. Delta guys, they like to crawl in
little holes for a week and get to their target. They
were ordered to do it in a different way. Everybody
denied the story like crazy. And Wes Clark, to his
credit, told a bunch of newspapers, "Look, I know this
is right." I had said 13 people were hurt and he said
12 was the number that he had. I saw in him somebody
with a great streak of integrity, difficult he may be.
In any case, I called him about this story while I was
doing it. He encouraged me to write it. I didn't write
it. About a year-and-a-half later, he's running for
president. I mention this in the book, and I bump into
him, and he jumped all over me. He said, "Why didn't
you do that story?" I said, "Well, I just thought, it
just would have been -- I just didn't do it." He said,
"You should have done it. That was your job." Pretty
scary. You know, he was right.

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Seymour Hersh. He has
written a book Chain of Command, about what happened
at Abu Ghraib, and well beyond that. So, let's talk
about what happened at Abu Ghraib. How you learned of
it, and then we'll talk about the chain of command
right up into the White House.

SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, the honest answer to that
question is I learned about it because CBS wouldn't do
it. CBS did break the story eventually and published
the photographs. But I learned very early that CBS had
these extraordinary photographs. I was ecstatic about
it in a way. I'm pro-reporting. I'm glad to see tough
reporting on the war. I hadn't seen them, but I heard
there was a really devastating story. And I love
stories. That's what we do for a living. So, nothing
happened. Nothing happened. Eventually somebody who
had been interviewed by CBS, somebody in the
intelligence community, told me that they were sitting
on a great story. So, I found out what the story was.
I found the photographs, and I also found more
importantly the internal report written by a general
named Taguba, General Taguba, born in the Philippines,
enormous integrity, wrote a blistering report. It
still is the most outstanding thing. It says an awful
lot about us, that there are people like that that can
produce things like that, even about the military.
That report is devastating, because everything that
you want to know, that I have even learned, that the
whole responsibility goes higher, it's not explicit in
his report, but it's written with an edge of anger.
It's clear that he's really profoundly distressed that
so much wrong could be done, and so many people
clearly knew about it. In any case, so I have all of
this stuff, and that's how I got into it. Eventually
before we could do it in The New Yorker, CBS did
produce the photographs to their credit. They did an
excellent job when they did it, Dan Rather. I presume
there were people in the news side that were fighting.
There is a war that we can't begin. This is - if you
remember, General Meyers called up CBS, that was, it
became known and got them to hold off. So, the story I
wrote --

AMY GOODMAN: The head of the joint chiefs of staff.

SEYMOUR HERSH: General Meyers, yes --

AMY GOODMAN: Called CBS and said, "Don't do the
story."

SEYMOUR HERSH: And they didn't do it. He gave them
something -- they held off another week or whatever.
That's their business, but they did eventually do the
story. And by the time they did it, I had not only
actually more photographs or I think more, I had
another set, two different sets of them, but I also
had the report.

AMY GOODMAN: Where did you get them?

SEYMOUR HERSH: What do you mean?

AMY GOODMAN: The photos?

SEYMOUR HERSH: Oh, from people who had them, of
course. I'm not going to tell you that. I mean, you
know, I honor your questioning, but -- I got them from
people that had ever right to have them. And -- and
the report -- it's never. It's always the cover-up.
Although one thing I will say about the pictures, if
we hadn't had the photographs or the Taguba report I
could have written all week about abuses and nothing
would have happened, because actually, as we know,
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, International, various
reporters had been producing extraordinary stuff. A
lot of journalists, even some of the journalists from
The New York Times and particularly The Washington
Post, a reporter they had in Afghanistan had done a
lot of very good stories interviewing people that had
been in our custody in about them being exposed, the
nakedness, et cetera, et cetera, but it didn't work.
It didn't work because there wasn't any visual
evidence. So, once -- and you know, my -- you know,
The New Yorker, although it's a weekly, popping in on
a Sunday and saying, we have to go next week with
something, that's hard for them. And to the credit of
The New Yorker people, I think I did three stories in
three weeks, which you have to know what The New
Yorker is like to know that's impossible, because of
the fact checking and the editing. And you know, it's
just -- it was amazing.

AMY GOODMAN: The famous picture on that first piece of
a prisoner in a sort of Christ-like position, arms
out, wires at the end of his fingers, the bag over his
head. We actually just saw the kid in Boston at the
Democratic National Convention, who had stood outside
the army recruiting station in the same position to
protest what had happened, and they originally charged
him with being a terrorist. But you say you have even
seen worse?

SEYMOUR HERSH: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about what you have seen?

SEYMOUR HERSH: I'll tell what you the judgment was of
the editors at The New Yorker, they published some
pretty horrible pictures. There's a sense of out of
respect for the Arab -- Arab men you know, in Arab
society, as you know, the Koran says Arab men cannot
be photographed nude in the front. It's so hard for
Americans to understand that. We are sort of the
slapping each other with towels in the shower crowd.
If you go into a sports club in Cairo, for example.
Everybody has a private stall and a private shower.
Privacy is incredibly important. Not only to women,
but clearly to men, too. Photographing somebody nude,
photographing somebody in a simulated homosexual
position, photographing them with women having thumbs
up or thumbs down next to them are the ultimate
humiliation.

AMY GOODMAN: So that the photograph when people ask
why did these soldiers take these pictures, especially
with the soldiers themselves in the pictures, since it
incriminates them, it was part of the torture?

SEYMOUR HERSH: Yes. It's by the way, by every
definition, this kind of psychological treatment of a
prisoner is equivalent to torture. Every standard
textbook and reference says this kind of excruciating
humiliation is equivalent to torture. It's torture.
You don't have to drive a nail into somebody's hand to
torture them. Here's the important thing about the
people in the photographs who are all being prosecuted
and should be. They did wrong things. There's a couple
of things to say about it. One, of course, is when we
send our kids to war, we send them in the hands of
officers in loco parentis.

The objective of the officers, the men in charge of
the military, is not only to protect them from death,
but also protect 18-19-year-old kids from themselves,
from doing dumb things. There's a tremendous
obligation on the part of the military to protect
their soldiers. It's not only from casualties, as I
said. It's a failing of such staggering proportions.
In other words, is it really safe to send your child
into the army, above and beyond getting wounded? The
lack of sensibility, but more importantly, I write
about a secret unit that I'm sure that you are going
to ask me about in a minute, but one of the things,
one of the intellectual underpinnings of what happened
in Abu Ghraib, and you have to understand this, the
people in the audience have to understand this, it's
not just randomness, what happened. You can -- we in
the fall of 2003, the United States of America was in
huge trouble in Iraq, just like we still are. We know
nothing about the insurgency then. We knew nothing
then. We still know nothing about it. We don't know
whether there's going to be another bomb like there
was this morning tomorrow. We have no intelligence,
zippo. We had no intelligence then. The insurgency by
August of 2003, the U.N. had been hit, the Jordanian
embassy where we really do a lot of operating,
intelligence stuff, was hit. Lesser known, pipelines
were hit again for oil. Water lines were hit, and
electrical power stations were all hit anew in August.
It was like a huge escalation.

So, there was panic in the White House because August
is, what, almost a year from re-election time. So, it
became a political issue, just as you noted in the
beginning. Cheney and the White House moves together
when there's politics involved. We have to do
something. So, they not only -- they decided they had
thousands, 10-20,000 Iraqis in detention. And they had
been unlike in Afghanistan where they were picked up
on a field, many of these people were picked up at
traffic checkpoints or they were busted -- people
broke into their homes and grabbed all of the men. We
had -- the idea was get some of the guys in captivity
who had nothing to do with the insurgency, get them
photographed, get a dossier of them looking like they
were committing homosexual acts, blackmail them and
send them home into the community, and have them
become our agents inside the insurgency. Tell them to
join the insurgency. That was the intellectual idea,
so I've been told. The idea was let's get some guys
and turn them, because sexual humiliation does proffer
enormous blackmail. You're ruined forever. Just like
in the Arab world, they still kill the daughter that
commits adultery, et cetera, et cetera. They try to.
That's still a reality. And so, that was the
intellectual idea. So, what the kids were doing, or
the young men and women, they weren't all kids, some
were in their 30's, the awful acts that we saw in the
photographs were the playing out of a process that at
the beginning had some sense but it simply
deteriorated to the point where whatever the initial
idea was, they began this in September of 2003, the
idea was to get better intelligence and use the prison
population to find some people that could do it for
us. By October, the C.I.A., which is not adverse to
being tough in certain interrogations, they pull their
people out and send them home. Because the C.I.A.
realized that this was a mess. If you are telling me
that people in Washington weren't aware that there was
real problems going on in the prison system, you have
to be kidding.

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Seymour Hersh. We have
to break. When we come back, I'll ask about the secret
unit and also about videotape he has said he has seen
of Iraqi boys, prisoners, being raped at the Abu
Ghraib prison, hearing the screams of the boys. This
is Democracy Now! We'll be back with the Pulitzer
Prize winning reporter, in a minute.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org.
The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman. Our guest
this hour is Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning
reporter, exposed the My Lai massacre that changed
history, the coverage of Vietnam. Now, 35 years later,
though he's done many things in between, his latest
book, Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu
Ghraib. We're talking about the prison torture, how
high up it goes. This issue of videotape, of boys in
prison, Iraqi boys, being raped. Who's raping them?

SEYMOUR HERSH: I haven't seen or heard the videotape.
What happens is in -- obviously, people with -- since
I wrote those articles in The New Yorker, I was in
contact with family members who have other materials;
and essentially, some of the Iraqi -- some of the
employees, the private contractors who were hired by
the United States. As you know, there's 20,000 private
contractors. That's a number I have heard. I can't
verify it. But we -- in the prison system in the
United States military, since we know nobody speaks
Arabic, we don't have enough translators, they hire
locals. They hire -- they go to various companies,
C.A.C.A. Is one.

AMY GOODMAN: Kaky?

SEYMOUR HERSH: I don't know what it stands for, but
out of Virginia. They just got a huge new contract.
These are people who do hundreds of millions of
dollars worth of business. They provide interpreters,
among other things; that's part of their business. The
private companies were all over Abu Ghraib, and they
had local -- one of the people, one of the men from
the private companies was -- did have forcible sex
with -- there's women in the prisons, which is also a
big contentious problem for the Iraqi population. The
women are held in a separate unit, but they have
children; and one of the children and one of the women
was raped by a boy. There are photographs. There is
testimony --

AMY GOODMAN: Was raped by --

SEYMOUR HERSH: One of the guards, rather. And
witnessed by Americans taking photographs. There is
testimony that has not been made public about this. I
know that there's been statements made in various
military proceedings. And the government's been very
chary about writing -- putting out any information.
People witnessed it. They had cameras, and I believe
they were video cameras. They could have been still
cameras. There were cameras photographing it, and the
boy was screaming. But I don't have a videotape of it.
I haven't seen a videotape of it. I know that such
testimony has been given. So, it's -- there is
testimony that's been given for some reason that we
can always guess about. Look, you know, I'm -- it's --
women were doing things -- I actually learned about
Abu Ghraib. I went to Damascus in Christmas of 2003 to
interview an Iraqi -- a high ranking Iraqi officer
that somehow had escaped being imprisoned by us. We --
many of the Ba'ath party leadership are still in a
prison --Camp Cropper, I think, in Baghdad. And he
came out to Damascus to see me, and he told me -- we
spent three days -- and in one afternoon he told me a
great deal about Abu Ghraib. Again, without a video
camera, without a photograph of it. And one of the
things that was most compelling about it was the women
were writing letters to their families -- women in
jail -- saying, "Please come kill me. I have been
abused. Come kill me." So, you know -- an Israeli I
know said to me, he said, "You know, I hate Arabs."
This is an old-time guy. Old-time military guy,
old-time Mossad-type guy -- intelligence guy. "I hate
Arabs. I've been killing them for 50 years and they've
been killing us for 50 years." And he said, you know,
"Let me tell you something, Hersh. But one day we know
with a wall, without a wall, we're going to have to
live with those s.o.b.'s sometime. And let me say this
to you: If we treated our prisoners the way you
treated prisoners, we could never do that."

We have really dug a hole for ourselves on this Story,
and that's why it's so profound. The book You're
talking about, I think it's published this week. I
finished this book in August, I mean, I'm jamming. And
it was being translated -- as --page after page -- I
think ten countries are publishing it -- all over
England yesterday, and Germany, because there's -- you
know --This is a bad thing for us.

AMY GOODMAN: The secret unit.

SEYMOUR HERSH: Oh, three months after the war, we set
up -- Look, the war takes place, as I said. They're
panicked. We don't know what to do about it. We don't
have intelligence. A lot of people in the world want
to extradite people to us. We have a lot of friends,
even in places -- Sudan, Yemen. Everybody responds to
our America -- this terrible tragedy of the World
Trade Center, etc. Getting people out of a country
involve extradition, rendition they call it. Legal
process. Not fast enough for Rummy -- Rumsfeld. So
Rumsfeld sets up a secret unit known -- doesn't matter
what the code name was, but it was - there's something
known in the military as a S.A.P., Special Access
Program. This is a very secret unit, often on the
fifth floor (they call it the fifth deck) of the
Pentagon in a secure area where all of our secret
weapons -- the Predator aircraft, the Stealth bomber,
were built in S.A.P.'s, because you can control
access. There's something called an "unacknowledged
S.A.P.‚" which is a really really secret unit, and you
can run operations out of it. He set up an
unacknowledged S.A.P. He needed a finding and they did
tell the Congress. I can tell you right now I know, I
write that I've talked to members of Congress who saw
and signed the finding. It's a unit completely
composed of men in undercover --probably Jordanian,
Canadian passports, who knows? -- and their job is to
find the bad guys, grab them out of their beds, no
extradition. Put them --they have secret -- they have
their own aircraft, their own helicopters--grab them,
pull them out, and bring them to Egypt, Singapore,
other places for interrogation. Initially by locals,
eventually by us, very tough stuff. But to get intel.
And this operation was called into Abu Ghraib. And I
guess you could say we've been in the disappearing
business; because we really don't know much about it.
It still exists. It still goes on. I've written about
it. I write in this book that -- I know some reporters
in my old business, good reporters in Washington know
about it. There hasn't been much reporting done on it.
It's a secret unit that reports directly to Rumsfeld
(and, obviously, approved by the President) so we can
get -- we don't have to go through a legal -- you know
going into a country to get somebody out you have to
talk to our ambassador, the legal authorities, and et
cetera. You just get them, put them on a Gulfstream 5,
fly them to Egypt, bam, bam.

I think the program in the beginning was really well
-- they tried to run it well. People involved tell me
in the beginning that we got some very good stuff. The
people we tried to get were bad guys. But eventually,
and this is -- I write about this in the book, too
--eventually it began to turn, became more political,
and in the end, I quote somebody in the unit as
saying, "What do you call it when you torture somebody
to get information? And you leave them for medical
help, and he doesn't get it and he dies?" And after a
second, he said, "Execution." So, in the end, it ends
up getting a little bit out of control. They did bring
this unit, some elements of this unit into the Iraqi
prison system in the fall. This is a decision made by
the President. And this is where the idea of sexuality
and using nakedness -- I think it came from this group
because that's something they're very good at.
Breaking down people that way.

AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, how high does this go?
Chain of Command, is the title of your book.

SEYMOUR HERSH: If you're talking about Abu Ghraib, did
Rumsfeld and the President know about it? No. If
You're talking about the idea that -- a military unit
is really interesting, anybody who served in the
military knows, from a platoon to a company to a
battalion to a division to the Secretary of Defense to
the White House to the President, if you set the
policy, if you say, we will not tolerate stupid abuse
of people whose information we need, if you make it
clear we're going to treat people with dignity,
because we want our soldiers to be treated with
dignity, and that's also the way to get the
information we need, it would be -- go down like a
rock from the beginning. It never happened. So it goes
to the very top. That's why the story I tell at the
beginning of the book about Conde Rice. I can't tell
you that the President knew about this briefing from
the C.I.A. official and that -- I can just tell you
that everybody else in the White House did.

AMY GOODMAN: And that C.I.A. official who originally
went down to Guantanamo and came back so disturbed --
conservative Palestinian?

SEYMOUR HERSH: Yes. Conservative Palestinian.

AMY GOODMAN: C.I.A.?

SEYMOUR HERSH: With integrity, an awful lot of
integrity; and thank God there are people like that
there. And there are there. And I can tell you there
were many people in the C.I.A, many more than some of
the reports want you to believe, the Intelligence
Committee, who knew that there were problems with our
intelligence all along, not only on W.M.D., but about
the war. Just in general the idea that the C.I.A.
misled the President is not true. This is a White
House that wanted it the way they got it. They call it
-- the cliché is - "intelligence to please." The
pressure was always on the intelligence agency to tell
us anything bad about Saddam and weapons you can. The
standard for that information was much lower than for
any other intelligence. Well, so, here we are. You
know, we got the bombs going off. No solution to this
war coming. No exit plan from this White House. No
exit plan from John Kerry, either.

AMY GOODMAN: And yet, do you believe this White House
will be there again?

SEYMOUR HERSH: If I was a betting man? Sure. If John
Kerry thinks that he can go to the Germans and the
French and the Italians and say to them, you put your
-- the Italians are there, the Germans and French --
his plan to get our allies to send their troops in
there, it's just changing the color of the corpses.
It's not going to work.

AMY GOODMAN: Given what John Kerry said in 1971, it's
rather surprising 35 years later that he has not
raising Abu Ghraib torture as an issue in this
campaign?

SEYMOUR HERSH: In all fairness to him, I think the
campaign is just barely -- the book was published
yesterday. I don't know what the campaign is going to
do. I've actually been in contact with -- some people
have called and asked for copies of the book. I
presume -- Look, torturing people --

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you have been writing about it for
more than year.

SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, torturing, well, but torturing
people is -- you know --

AMY GOODMAN: We're going to have to leave it there.
Seymour Hersh, Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to
Abu Ghraib. The book was published this week, the
story he's been reporting for quite some time now.
Thank you very much.

SEYMOUR HERSH: Glad to see you, Amy.

http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/19888

Kitty's Litter

By Matt Taibbi, AlterNet. Posted September 15, 2004.


Kitty Kelley's take on the Bush dynasty: consistently
cold, calculating, predatory and unscrupulous,
generation after generation.

In other words, her book is a rollicking good read.
Kitty Kelley's "explosive" nearly 700-page tome on the
Bushes, The Family, has been barely out on the streets
for a day, but the early news reactions have already
made it plain: The sprawling biography simply doesn't
matter. The predominant media take on this book is
likely to go something like this: In Bush tome,
unreliable menopausal scandalmonger again misses mark;
world waits out irritating media buzz.

But that doesn't mean the book isn't worth a read –
far from it.

Kelley's book is – unintentionally I think – a
surprisingly tender portrait of a small, loyal group
of vicious undead fiends, persevering against all odds
in a world of the callous, uncomprehending living.
Kelley does what no other writer to date has really
done for the Bushes: she actually makes you admire
them for their remarkable ability to remain
consistently cold, calculating, predatory and
unscrupulous in generation after generation after
generation.

In one of the great laugh lines of this or any other
biography, Kelley sums up the Bush charm by quoting
(third-hand, mind you – there's that damn credibility
thing again!) none other than Richard Nixon:

The writer Gore Vidal recalled a conversation with his
friend Murray Kempton shortly after one of the
journalist's periodic lunches with Murray Kempton.
Kempton had mentioned George Bush [Sr.], and according
to Vidal, Nixon had responded: "Total light-weight.
Nothing there – sort of person you appoint to things –
but now that Barbara, she's something else again!
She's really vindictive!" Vidal characterized the
comment as "the highest Nixonian compliment."

But then Richard Nixon hadn't met W.

Kelley's book covers some six generations of Bushes in
some detail, focusing primarily on the Big Three:
Prescott, George H.W., and George W. It is less an
intergenerational saga than a breathtaking tale of
genealogical one-upmanship in which each successive
Bush child strives to indelibly stamp the family name
on some previously unconquered region of human
iniquity. Each successive Bush is Worst of All in his
own way.

The title of Meanest Old Bugger goes to George W.'s
great-great grandfather, David Davis Walker, who once
wrote a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Republic
that said:

I consider [Negroes] more of a menace ... than all
other evils combined ... For humanity's sake, I am in
favor of putting to death all children who come into
the world hopeless invalids or badly deformed ... I am
in favor of a whipping-post law ... for wife-beaters
and all other petty offenders on whom jail sentences
are imposed.

In squirming out of combat duty, it turns out W. was
merely following a long family tradition, first
initiated by D.D. Walker, who Kelley claims got out of
the Civil War by paying someone to take his place in
the Union army.

But D.D. Walker hardly represents the pinnacle of the
family's achievement. His son, George Herbert (Bert)
Walker, had his father declared insane late in life to
prevent him from giving away too much family money.
Bert would later gain some renown during Poppy Bush's
tenure in the White House as the family's great
investor in Nazi businesses. And until W. came along,
Bert Walker was the family's most exalted Maker of
Suspiciously Successful Stock Deals. He was also best
in the family at buying things (companies,
tournaments, land, towns) and naming them after
himself.

Most importantly, Bert also began the proud family
tradition of Bush/Walker men who were driven to
extraordinary accomplishments by their unconcealed
contempt for their fathers, who in turn hated their
sons.

Then there was Prescott Bush, W.'s grandfather, who
took part in the failed theft of Geronimo's skull (he
and his creepy Yale friends stole the skull of a ten
year-old Apache boy instead) and denounced playwright
Edward Albee on the Senate floor without ever reading
his work. Prescott appears in the book as the family's
great Cringing Ass-Licker; much of the middle chapters
are concerned with his tireless efforts to flatter (in
succession) Eisenhower, Nixon, Rockefeller and Nixon
again.

Prescott, however, was a relative political moderate
who supported civil rights and limited forms of
socialized medicine and aid to the poor. He is also a
vitally important character in understanding our
current president as the fruit of the Bush family
tree. Prescott represents the moment in the family's
evolution before the Genteel Yale Snobs of the Bush
family fully merged with the Mean Unscrupulous
Moneymaking Bastards of the Walker family.

It is only with Prescott's son, George Herbert Walker
Bush, that the two strands of the genetic lineage come
together in perfect alignment, hence paving the way
for the creation of W.

People who are accustomed to viewing Bush I as the
moderate in the family will be shocked at reading
Kelley's book. The "bombshell revelations" in the book
are likely to be the numerous extramarital affairs
Kelly hangs on the neck of Bush I, using language that
makes it seem almost inevitable that reporters will
now find these mistresses that somehow escaped public
detection for all these years. The most obvious lead
Kelley offers appears to be an unnamed New York lawyer
who claims he was engaged by an Italian woman he calls
"Rosemarie," who considered suing Bush I after he
broke a promise to leave Barbara for her. I will be
shocked if the lawyer and the mistress are not
identified by some British tabloid by the end of the
baseball season.

But the more damning details about Bush I are the
things that he said on the record during his first
Senate run – statements that we somehow never heard
about when he was running for president. His
accomplishments include calling Martin Luther King a
"militant," being a member of three all-white clubs in
Houston (GHWB: "I always believe people should
associate with their friends in things like that"),
and deriding the concept of medical care for the aged
as "medical air for the caged." It was as useless as
putting air-conditioning in a ship hold for caged zoo
animals.

And as chairman of the RNC during the Nixon years,
Bush I attacked Watergate investigator Carmine Bellino
by falsely charging him with wiretapping Nixon in 1960
while working for John F. Kennedy – previewing similar
tactics that both he and his son would use as
president.

Bush I's fierce campaign to the top of the political
totem pole allowed the next generation of Bushes to
make their dastardly mark on the world in an
atmosphere of relative leisure. This round of Bush
children – with names like "Neilsie" and "Georgie" –
marked a radical departure from the Bush family
tradition. The previous Bush patriarchs, for all their
moral flaws, had been men of indomitable will,
superior culture, and remarkable ingenuity. With
George W., they began an evolutionary march backwards,
back toward a more perfect and streamlined ancestor,
the Horseshoe Crab Bush, the Coelocanth Bush.

In the book, W. appears as the evolutionary essence of
a long and nasty family lineage, boiled down and
stripped of civilizing ballast. While popular culture
derides Bush II as a bumbling buffoon who has been
lucky since birth, in The Family he appears almost
beautiful: a pure vision of human ugliness, born to
rule an ugly world that deserves him.

The W. sections of the book contain many of the same
allegations that have already shadowed his political
career: drug and alcohol abuse, adultery, his use of
connections to evade military service. The Air
National Guard sections includes some new reporting
that may move the story forward. Kelley traces Bush's
acceptance into the guard, where there was a waiting
list 100,000 people long, back through the ranks of
the Texas reserves to a phone call from Bush I. But
for the most part, these hot-button angles are not
documented sufficiently to really hurt Bush.

It is notable that in Kelley's numerous bites at the
coke-story apple, she always talks in generalities
about drug and alcohol use in the Bush family, as if
to convict W. by implication ("We all got hit... Our
family suffered terribly," says Bush cousin John.).
There is an unmistakable desire to hint at controversy
that pervades Kelley's writing, and it shines through
particularly in her "revelations" about W.

While this is certainly a flaw in the book, it doesn't
detract from the priceless details about the young W.
that she does get right. For example: his job as a
"pillow-toter" for Republican Senate candidate Edward
Gurney, who had a war wound that needed the aid of
something soft and portable. Time and again in the
book, you witness the future president joyously
non-performing in non-jobs in the company of horrified
colleagues forced to listen to him ramble on and on
about what a great life he has and how he always gets
away with everything.

Here's a description of W. when working on the
campaign of congressional candidate "Red" Blount in
Birmingham (the same time period as when he was
supposed to be in the Guard in Texas):

Those who worked with George... recall that he liked
to drink beer and Jim Beam whiskey, and to eat
fistfuls of peanuts, and Executive burgers, at the
Cloverdale grill in Birmingham... [he] tended to show
up late every day at work, "around noon," come into
the office, prop his cowboy boots on a desk and start
bragging about how much he had drunk the night before.


W.'s most distinctive quality in the book is his
completely unapologetic attitude about being a child
of privilege. He brags to new acquaintances in a
political campaign of how his father's name got him
out of drunk driving arrests. He tells a Harvard
professor openly that he got into the Business School
through his dad, happily adding that he got out of
Vietnam the same way, as well. Throughout the whole
book, W. is mostly bragging or getting drunk, or
bragging about getting drunk. It is indeed a great
life.

W. does appear more wayward than mean, however, until
he gets to Harvard Business School in 1975. That is
when he really comes into his own. In one class, he
buttonholes a professor for showing "The Grapes of
Wrath": "Why are you going show us that commie movie?"
Later in that same class, during a discussion on the
Great Depression, W. – the same man who has spent his
entire life to date boozing and shoving fistfuls of
peanuts in his mouth – says: "Look. People are poor
because they are lazy." The class freaks out at him,
but he holds firm – just as he's holding firm now.

What few people realize about George W. Bush is that
it takes balls to be him – it takes balls to go to
room full of intellectuals in Cambridge, sit in class
without a clue, blast the poor, and call John
Steinbeck a commie. The same kind of balls it took to
invade Iraq and get the nation into an open-ended war
when the whole world told him over and again that it
was a terrible idea. His unwavering belief in the
righteousness of his idiotic life of privilege is so
impressive that you almost come away believing he
might be right. The rest of us have doubts; Georgie is
always sure, even when he is toting pillows.

As a book, The Family will me

Posted by richard at 10:39 AM

September 15, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 48 Days to Go -- Here are Today's REAL Headlines

There are 48 days left until the national referendum on the CHARACTER, COMPETENCE and CREDIBILITY of the _resident and VICE _resident…Over one thousand US soldiers are dead in an unnecessary, ill-planned Mega Mogadishu predicated on LIES, the US federal budget has been plunged into a deficit of over four hundred billion dollars, the Western Alliance is seriously fractured, the US is isolated and pinned down, the ranks of Al Qaeda style terrorists have swelled, and we have lost four years we could not afford to lose on vital national security issues like nuclear proliferation, global warming and AIDS in Africa…Here are some vital stories that should fill the air waves and command headlines above the fold, but they won’t…Please read them and share them with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote. And, please, remember that the US regimestream media does not want to inform you about the 2004 election campaign, it wants to DISinform you about the 2004 election campaign…The Bush cabal, its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party and their sponsors in the US regimestream news media form a Triad of common purpose for shared special interests (oil, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.)…Noam Chomsky, Cornell West and Bonnie Raitt know what time it is in America? Do you? ”Let us not talk falsely now. The hour is getting late!” There is an Electoral Uprising coming at the Ballot Box in November 2004…

Patricia Wilson, Reuters: Democratic candidate John Kerry unleashed a stinging indictment of President Bush's economic stewardship on Wednesday and urged his Republican rival to take responsibility instead of playing the victim. "This president has created more excuses than jobs," Kerry said in a speech to the Detroit Economic Club…"His is the excuse presidency -- never wrong, never responsible, never to blame ... no, it's not our fault; no, there's nothing wrong; no, we can't do better; no, we haven't made a single mistake," Kerry said.
The Democratic nominee underscored his hard-hitting broadside by writing in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal that "cleaning up President Bush's fiscal mess will not be easy."
He chose and he chose and he chose and every single time it was middle-class Americans who paid the price," Kerry said. "George Bush (news - web sites) accomplished all this in only four years. Imagine what he could do in another four years."
Kerry cited a litany of statistics -- job losses, 8 million Americans looking for work, 45 million without health insurance, 4.3 million more at the poverty level, 220,000 who could not afford to go to college last year, and a $1,500 decline in the average family's income.
"We know the truth," he said. "Nearly every choice has made it worse. You can even say that George Bush is proud of the fact that not even failure can cause him to change his mind."

Mark Brunswick and Patricia Lopez, Star Tribune: The chairman of the state's Republican Party called on the Star Tribune on Friday to dismiss the long-time director of its Minnesota Poll, claiming that the poll results are consistently inaccurate in a way that favors the Democratic Party.
"When a newspaper conducts a poll on a political race and then prints an article on that poll, it is doing more than reporting news; it is creating news," said Ron Eibensteiner, in a letter to Star Tribune Publisher and President J. Keith Moyer.
Star Tribune Editor Anders Gyllenhaal defended the poll in a prepared statement. "We have been operating one of the most respected and accurate polls in the country for more than half a century and always have been completely open and forthcoming about how we conduct our polls," Gyllenhaal said. He called Eibensteiner's personal attack on poll director Rob Daves "shameful and misdirected."
At a news conference at GOP headquarters, Eibensteiner said: "Their poll numbers are flawed, so therefore, take it as a grain of salt."
The poll results, he said, reinforce the image of the Star Tribune as a "mouthpiece and cheerleader for the Democrats."

John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: According to the reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the trend toward limiting journalists' access to information in the wake, and under the invocation, of 9/11 continues to grow.
"Citizens seem to not realize how drastically their right to know has been limited in the last three years," said Lucy Dalglish, RCFP director, in a statement on the release of its annual update, "Hoefront Confidential. "Even journalists will be astonished at the lengthy list of actions taken by public officials to turn basic government information into state secrets."
The committee has been keeping a running journalistic "threat level" that mirror's the government's own color-coded terrorist threat warnings. The two categories that remain at red alert are Freedom of Information Act restrictions and Access to Terrorism and Immigrations Proceedings, but two other categories have moved from elevated (yellow) to high (orange) status since last year's report: USA PATRIOT Act restrictions and reporters privilege.
Referring to the Patriot Act, the report concludes: " [T]he Justice Department has shown its willingness to use its powers aggressively, even making clear that a law barring newsroom searches is trumped by the [Act} when it comes to terrorism investigations.
On the issue of reporter privilege, it says: "With national security concerns dominating American life, U.S. journalists face an increased likelihood since September 11 of being seen as government informants, with no constitutional right to keep sources confidential or to withhold unpublished materials from prosecutors."

James Ridgeway, Village Voice: A group of 25 former federal employees directly involved in the government's counterintelligence and counterterrorism programs held a press conference here this morning to lambaste both the 9-11 Commission and the Bush administration for failing to hold government officials accountable for failures leading up to 9-11.
The ex-employees, from the FBI, CIA, FAA, Customs, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, had firsthand knowledge of their agencies' activities in counterintelligence and counterterrorism.
The 25 signed a letter to Congress—organized by Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI whistleblower who is blocked from telling what she knows by a Justice Department gag order—citing "intentional actions or inaction by individuals responsible for our national security, actions or inaction dictated by motives other than the security of the people of the United States."
The 9-11 Commission's final report, the letter added, "deliberately ignores officials and civil servants who were, and still are, clearly negligent and/or derelict in their duties to the nation. If these individuals are protected, rather than held accountable, the mindset that enabled 9-11 will persist, no matter how many layers of bureaucracy are added, and no matter how much money is poured into the agencies. Character counts. Personal integrity, courage, and professionalism make the difference. Only a commission bent on holding no one responsible and reaching unanimity could have missed that."

Liz Sidota, Associated Press: [Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)] Democrats' vice presidential candidate assailed the potential cost of Bush policies in a second term and said of the president: "I think he believes that he's Ken Lay and America is his Enron. The truth of the matter is that what happens when a CEO runs a company the way that George Bush has run America, they get fired.
"And that's exactly what's going to happen. George Bush is going to be fired by the American people."
The North Carolina senator, running mate to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, made his remarks while accepting the endorsements of more than 30 chief executive officers of outdoor equipment companies, including Patagonia, Columbia and Cascade Designs, before a town hall meeting in a suburb of Portland.
"They will say just about anything," Edwards said of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. "What they don't want people to know is that they're proposing another $3 trillion in spending and they have absolutely no way to pay for it." "The truth is they want to make sure that their friends, particularly their friends in places like Halliburton, are well taken care of," Edwards said, a reference to the company once led by Cheney. "But they're going to attach $3 trillion of additional debt onto our children and onto our grandchildren."
Bush's brother at centre of row over Nader nomination on Florida ballot

Julian Borger, Guardian: Florida and Jeb Bush, the president's brother, were once more at the centre of a legal row over the presidential election yesterday, after Governor Bush's administration intervened to ensure Ralph Nader was on the state ballot.
Florida Democrats, fearing Mr Nader will take votes away from them, accused the state government of flouting a court order last Wednesday that removed the third party candidate and veteran consumer activist from the ballot, on the grounds that the group sponsoring him, the Reform party, was not a nationally recognised party.
Mr Nader's lawyers challenged the verdict but his name remained off the state ballot pending the appeal. However, Governor Bush's secretary of state, Glenda Hood, has stepped in and submitted her own appeal which automatically suspended the court order, putting Mr Nader back in the running just in time for absentee ballots to be posted to 50,000 US soldiers and other overseas voters by a Saturday deadline.
Democratic outrage was fuelled when Ms Hood's office blamed Hurricane Ivan, which is bearing down on the Gulf of Mexico coast, for its unusual intervention on behalf of a third party candidate.
A hearing on the case had been scheduled for tomorrow, but the state elections director Dawn Roberts claimed that Ivan might make that hearing impossible, and potentially deny Mr Nader's right to be on the ballot.
"There remains a substantial question as to when such a hearing on the permanent injunction will be held, considering the track of Hurricane Ivan," Ms Roberts argued in a memorandum to county election supervisors who had just ordered new ballots printed without Mr Nader's name.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans were being evacuated yesterday from a swath of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle in the west of the state, in anticipation of the hurricane as it moved north-west out of the Caribbean.
Ms Hood denied that the state government was taking sides, but simply intervening to ensure that nobody's democratic rights were infringed.
"We are acting as an honest broker," the Florida secretary of state said

www.truthout.org: As Ralph Nader campaigns in swing state after swing state, a large group of prominent endorsers from Nader 2000 is calling for support for Kerry in those states in order to oust Bush.
Four years ago this month, Nader convened news conferences in several cities to unveil his personally-selected "Nader 2000 Citizens Committee" of leading supporters. Today (Sept. 14), more than 70 members of Nader's 2000 committee joined in issuing a statement that urges "support for Kerry/Edwards in all swing states" because "removing George W. Bush from office should be the top priority in the 2004 presidential election."
Signers of the statement include Noam Chomsky, Ben Cohen, Phil Donahue, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jim Hightower, Bonnie Raitt, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Cornel West and Howard Zinn. The statement and a current list of signers can be viewed at: vote2stopbush.com.
The statement and list will be widely circulated, especially via the Internet, to reach as many progressive or disaffected voters in swing states as possible between now and Election Day. This effort is not coordinated in any way with the Kerry Campaign or the Democratic Party.

Thwart the Theft of the Second Presidential Election, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

Last update: September 11, 2004 at 6:58 AM
GOP chairman urges Star Tribune to fire poll director
Mark Brunswick and Patricia Lopez
Star Tribune
Published September 11, 2004
The chairman of the state's Republican Party called on the Star Tribune on Friday to dismiss the long-time director of its Minnesota Poll, claiming that the poll results are consistently inaccurate in a way that favors the Democratic Party.
"When a newspaper conducts a poll on a political race and then prints an article on that poll, it is doing more than reporting news; it is creating news," said Ron Eibensteiner, in a letter to Star Tribune Publisher and President J. Keith Moyer.
Star Tribune Editor Anders Gyllenhaal defended the poll in a prepared statement. "We have been operating one of the most respected and accurate polls in the country for more than half a century and always have been completely open and forthcoming about how we conduct our polls," Gyllenhaal said. He called Eibensteiner's personal attack on poll director Rob Daves "shameful and misdirected."
At a news conference at GOP headquarters, Eibensteiner said: "Their poll numbers are flawed, so therefore, take it as a grain of salt."
The poll results, he said, reinforce the image of the Star Tribune as a "mouthpiece and cheerleader for the Democrats."
Eibensteiner charged that the poll has underestimated Republican results by an average of 5.2 points since 1987.
Daves called the charges "patently false" in a prepared statement and noted that polls are snapshots in time that "do not necessarily predict the final outcome of the election."
Eibensteiner's comments are the latest salvo in a continuing complaint from the Republican Party. Within the last year, the Minnesota Poll has also been the subject of critical reports in the newsletter Politics in Minnesota and in the magazine Minnesota Law and Politics.
Displaying a chart that showed poll results going back to the Minnesota Poll's inception in 1944, Eibensteiner said that particularly since 1998, the poll has underestimated Republican presence in the state.
That year, the final poll showed GOP gubernatorial candidate Norm Coleman with 30 percent and DFLer Hubert Humphrey III with 35 percent. On Election Day, Coleman had 34 percent and Humphrey 28 percent, and the winner was Independent Jesse Ventura.
In the 2000 election, the Minnesota Poll showed Republicans George Bush and U.S. Sen. Rod Grams each with 37 percent. On Election Day, Bush took 45.5 percent of the vote, Grams 43.29 percent. Bob Ward of Alexandria, Va., who has done polling for the Minnesota Republican Party, said the Minnesota Poll's use of an "overly academic" weighting methodology may skew the poll's sampling.
The National Council on Public Polls, an association of polling organizations established in 1969 to set standards for public opinion polling, reviewed 159 public polls for the 2002 U.S. Senate and gubernatorial campaigns in the final days of the election campaign.
In Minnesota, the Minnesota Poll had an average error rate of 3 percentage points on where a candidate would finish. Zogby International, which also did polling in Minnesota, had an average error rate of 4 percentage points. Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., which did polling for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minnesota Public Radio, had an average error rate of 2 percentage points. Only Mason-Dixon's final poll correctly foreshadowed Norm Coleman's victory over Walter Mondale in an abbreviated race that remained fluid in its final days.
The final Minnesota Poll, conducted on the Sunday and Monday before the election and published with the election results on Wednesday, showed a 45-45 percent tie.
Fifty-four percent of the other states' polls had an error rate of 2 percentage points or less, putting Zogby and the Minnesota Poll below the national median in accuracy, according to the council.
Harry O'Neill, chairman of the National Polling Review Board, said that the Minnesota Poll and Daves enjoy a strong reputation nationally and that the poll uses proper methodology and obeys all ethical rules.
Ben Taylor, senior vice president of communications for the Star Tribune, said that the paper does not indicate when it is conducting polls, but that it will publish additional polls through Election Day, employing the same methodology it has used in the past.
Mark Brunswick is at
mbrunswick@startribune.com.
© Copyright 2004 Star Tribune. All rights reserved


w w w . b r o a d c a s t i n g c a b l e . c o m

Journalists' Info Threat Level Raised
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/13/2004 1:46:00 PM

According to the reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the trend toward limiting journalists' access to information in the wake, and under the invocation, of 9/11 continues to grow.
"Citizens seem to not realize how drastically their right to know has been limited in the last three years," said Lucy Dalglish, RCFP director, in a statement on the release of its annual update, "Hoefront Confidential. "Even journalists will be astonished at the lengthy list of actions taken by public officials to turn basic government information into state secrets."
The committee has been keeping a running journalistic "threat level" that mirror's the government's own color-coded terrorist threat warnings. The two categories that remain at red alert are Freedom of Information Act restrictions and Access to Terrorism and Immigrations Proceedings, but two other categories have moved from elevated (yellow) to high (orange) status since last year's report: USA PATRIOT Act restrictions and reporters privilege.
Referring to the Patriot Act, the report concludes: " [T]he Justice Department has shown its willingness to use its powers aggressively, even making clear that a law barring newsroom searches is trumped by the [Act} when it comes to terrorism investigations.
On the issue of reporter privilege, it says: "With national security concerns dominating American life, U.S. journalists face an increased likelihood since September 11 of being seen as government informants, with no constitutional right to keep sources confidential or to withhold unpublished materials from prosecutors."
Dalglish told B&C that she was particularly concerned about access to terrorism and immigrations proceedings. The threat was red last year and red this year, the top threat level, "but if I could have made it neon, I would have," she said. "Incredible things have been happening to keep the public in the dark on anything quasi-judicial. And it's coming from the Bush administration and its coming from the courts and military tribunals and hearings…. We are locking people up and trying them in secret." As a lawyer, she says, "that is the most frightening thing that is happening."
She says she would also make the FOYA threats neon (again, high in both 2003 and 2004).
She says the increased threat level on reporter privilege is understandable. When the government shuts down access to information, sometimes the only way to get it is through leaks, she points out. And when you have leaks, she says, the government is going to try to go after the leakers by going after the media and their sources. Expect to see a lot more of that, Dalglish says.
The report is sent to newspeople, as well as think tanks and legislators, among others.

nation
villagevoice.com exclusive

Mondo Washington
by James Ridgeway
Ex-Feds Blast 9-11 Panel and Bush
Government agencies roasted for screw-ups in war on "terror"
September 13th, 2004 5:10 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C.—A group of 25 former federal employees directly involved in the government's counterintelligence and counterterrorism programs held a press conference here this morning to lambaste both the 9-11 Commission and the Bush administration for failing to hold government officials accountable for failures leading up to 9-11.
The ex-employees, from the FBI, CIA, FAA, Customs, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, had firsthand knowledge of their agencies' activities in counterintelligence and counterterrorism. Bogdan Dzakovic, a former special agent at the FAA, said he repeatedly sought to warn his superiors of mismanagement and the dangers of terrorism, but to no avail. He was a leader of a "Red Team" at FAA, engaged in preparing for terrorist attacks. But he said the security measures in his agency were "little more than window dressing," and quoted one frustrated colleague as saying, "The FAA is so screwed up I don't know where to begin."
Diane Kleiman, a former Customs agent at JFK who was fired in 1999, scoffed at the idea that airport security has been improved. Emphasis on checking passengers coming into the airport hides the real problems in the back of the airport, she said, where literally anybody can board a parked plane. She outlined a scenario, for instance, in which, say, 10 terrorists could apply to be cargo handlers (a job with high turnover), get hired and work, but then quit, retaining their passes, which give them access to ramps and the unlocked aircraft. They then could enter the airports with backpacks full of explosives, get on the planes, stash the bags in the cargo holds, and leave. In this way, 10 planes with all their passengers could be blown up.
Holding up a special government security-clearance pass, she described how lax airport security remains. Her pass gave her entrance to every nook and cranny of the airport, from ramps to runways to planes to cargo-handling entrances. Such a pass is worth thousands of dollars to any would-be terrorist. When she was fired, nobody took this valuable passport from her. "The leadership and management at JFK are terrible," she said.
The 25 signed a letter to Congress—organized by Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI whistleblower who is blocked from telling what she knows by a Justice Department gag order—citing "intentional actions or inaction by individuals responsible for our national security, actions or inaction dictated by motives other than the security of the people of the United States."
The 9-11 Commission's final report, the letter added, "deliberately ignores officials and civil servants who were, and still are, clearly negligent and/or derelict in their duties to the nation. If these individuals are protected, rather than held accountable, the mindset that enabled 9-11 will persist, no matter how many layers of bureaucracy are added, and no matter how much money is poured into the agencies. Character counts. Personal integrity, courage, and professionalism make the difference. Only a commission bent on holding no one responsible and reaching unanimity could have missed that."

Edwards compares Bush to Enron's Lay
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press
Last Updated 7:51 pm PDT Tuesday, September 14, 2004
OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) - Democratic Sen. John Edwards compared President Bush to former Enron Corp. chairman Kenneth Lay on Tuesday and predicted Bush "is going to be fired" by voters for the way he has run the country.
Lay, a Bush friend and campaign contributor, resigned under pressure after the giant energy company's collapse and has pleaded innocent to charges of fraud, conspiracy and false statements to banks.
The Democrats' vice presidential candidate assailed the potential cost of Bush policies in a second term and said of the president: "I think he believes that he's Ken Lay and America is his Enron. The truth of the matter is that what happens when a CEO runs a company the way that George Bush has run America, they get fired.
"And that's exactly what's going to happen. George Bush is going to be fired by the American people."
The North Carolina senator, running mate to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, made his remarks while accepting the endorsements of more than 30 chief executive officers of outdoor equipment companies, including Patagonia, Columbia and Cascade Designs, before a town hall meeting in a suburb of Portland.
On the last part of a swing through the West, Edwards was spending the day campaigning in a state that Al Gore won by less than one percentage point in 2000. Polls show Kerry leading in the state this year.
Edwards said the Bush campaign has criticized possible costs of Kerry's proposals while hiding the potential costs of its own.
"They will say just about anything," Edwards said of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. "What they don't want people to know is that they're proposing another $3 trillion in spending and they have absolutely no way to pay for it."
"The truth is they want to make sure that their friends, particularly their friends in places like Halliburton, are well taken care of," Edwards said, a reference to the company once led by Cheney. "But they're going to attach $3 trillion of additional debt onto our children and onto our grandchildren."
Brian Jones, a Bush campaign spokesman, dismissed Edwards' comments as "flailing, baseless attacks," while the campaign challenged the $3 trillion figure.
"They're trying to hide the fact that they have not put forth a plan for paying for their own proposals," Jones said.
On the campaign trail, Bush often claims that the Kerry-Edwards plan would cost $2 trillion. The Democrats' campaign disputes the figure, arguing that the Kerry-Edwards health care and education proposals would be paid for by rolling back tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

Bush's brother at centre of row over Nader nomination on Florida ballot

Julian Borger in Washington
Wednesday September 15, 2004
The Guardian

Florida and Jeb Bush, the president's brother, were once more at the centre of a legal row over the presidential election yesterday, after Governor Bush's administration intervened to ensure Ralph Nader was on the state ballot.
Florida Democrats, fearing Mr Nader will take votes away from them, accused the state government of flouting a court order last Wednesday that removed the third party candidate and veteran consumer activist from the ballot, on the grounds that the group sponsoring him, the Reform party, was not a nationally recognised party.
Mr Nader's lawyers challenged the verdict but his name remained off the state ballot pending the appeal. However, Governor Bush's secretary of state, Glenda Hood, has stepped in and submitted her own appeal which automatically suspended the court order, putting Mr Nader back in the running just in time for absentee ballots to be posted to 50,000 US soldiers and other overseas voters by a Saturday deadline.
"This is blatant political manoeuvring by Jeb Bush to give his brother a leg-up on election day," the Florida Democratic party's chairman, Scott Maddox, said. "And it's just plain wrong."
Once Mr Nader's name was on absentee ballots, the state government would use the fact to strengthen the case to include it on all ballots across Florida on election day, Mr Maddox claimed.
Democrats also pointed out that Mr Nader's campaign had hired a Republican lawyer, Kenneth Sukhia, who worked for Mr Bush in the dramatic 2000 election recount, as proof that the Bush White House was conniving in Nader's efforts to get on to the ballot.
Democratic outrage was fuelled when Ms Hood's office blamed Hurricane Ivan, which is bearing down on the Gulf of Mexico coast, for its unusual intervention on behalf of a third party candidate.
A hearing on the case had been scheduled for tomorrow, but the state elections director Dawn Roberts claimed that Ivan might make that hearing impossible, and potentially deny Mr Nader's right to be on the ballot.
"There remains a substantial question as to when such a hearing on the permanent injunction will be held, considering the track of Hurricane Ivan," Ms Roberts argued in a memorandum to county election supervisors who had just ordered new ballots printed without Mr Nader's name.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans were being evacuated yesterday from a swath of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle in the west of the state, in anticipation of the hurricane as it moved north-west out of the Caribbean.
Ms Hood denied that the state government was taking sides, but simply intervening to ensure that nobody's democratic rights were infringed.
"We are acting as an honest broker," the Florida secretary of state said
Governor Bush's administration was the focus of complaints in 2000, when thousands of black Floridians were removed from electoral lists because they were wrongly classified as former felons without voting rights.
Ms Hood's predecessor, Katherine Harris, was also attacked by Democrats at the time for summarily rejecting their appeals against the first vote count, and certifying the initial results which gave the state, and the presidency, to George Bush.
After five weeks of legal wrangling, the US supreme court weighed in and awarded the election, by a one-vote majority to Mr Bush.
This year, the state is being carefully scrutinised for its conduct of the election, and was recently forced to abandon the use of another felons list that was found to be faulty. Democrats and civil rights activists have pointed towards the use this year of computer voting as a possible new source of errors and fraud.
Mr Nader won 97,000 votes in Florida four years ago as the Green party candidate, when Mr Bush was declared to have clinched the election by a margin of only 537 over Al Gore. However, some polls this year have suggested he would draw no more votes away from John Kerry than from President Bush.

Nader's Top Endorsers From 2000 Urge
"Swing States" Support For Kerry
t r u t h o u t | Press Release
Tuesday 14 September 2004
Washington - As Ralph Nader campaigns in swing state after swing state, a large group of prominent endorsers from Nader 2000 is calling for support for Kerry in those states in order to oust Bush.
Four years ago this month, Nader convened news conferences in several cities to unveil his personally-selected "Nader 2000 Citizens Committee" of leading supporters. Today (Sept. 14), more than 70 members of Nader's 2000 committee joined in issuing a statement that urges "support for Kerry/Edwards in all swing states" because "removing George W. Bush from office should be the top priority in the 2004 presidential election."
Signers of the statement include Noam Chomsky, Ben Cohen, Phil Donahue, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jim Hightower, Bonnie Raitt, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Cornel West and Howard Zinn. The statement and a current list of signers can be viewed at: vote2stopbush.com.
The statement and list will be widely circulated, especially via the Internet, to reach as many progressive or disaffected voters in swing states as possible between now and Election Day. This effort is not coordinated in any way with the Kerry Campaign or the Democratic Party.
The statement reads as follows:
Nader 2000 Leaders United To Defeat Bush
We, the undersigned, were selected by Ralph Nader to be members of his 113-person national "Nader 2000 Citizens Committee." This year, we urge support for Kerry/Edwards in all "swing states," even while we strongly disagree with Kerry's policies on Iraq and other issues. For people seeking progressive social change in the United States, removing George W. Bush from office should be the top priority in the 2004 presidential election. Progressive votes for John Kerry in swing states may prove decisive in attaining this vital goal.
• David Barsamian, Author, Radio Interviewer
• Juliette Beck, California Citizens for Fair Trade
• Herbert Bernstein, Professor of Physics at Hampshire College
• Thomas Berry, Author, Dream of the Earth
• Wendell Berry, Farmer and Writer
• Norman Birnbaum, Author and Educator
• Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit Activist and Writer
• Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas
• Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas
• Eric Brakken, Former Staffer, United Students Against Sweatshops
• Ira Byock, Palliative Care Physician, Author of Dying Well
• Edgar Cahn, Founder of Time Banking
• John Cavanagh, Director of Institute for Policy Studies
• Noam Chomsky, Author and Professor at MIT
• Steve Cobble, Strategist, Jackson '88, Nader '00, Kucinich '04
• Ben Cohen, Co-founder of Ben & Jerry's
• Peter Coyote, Actor and Writer
• Ronnie Cummins, Director of Organic Consumers Association
• Herman Daly, Professor at University of Maryland
• Iris DeMent, Musician/Songwriter
• Phil Donahue, Former Talk Show Host
• Mark Dowie, Journalist, Former Editor/Publisher of Mother Jones
• Barbara Dudley, Former President, Greenpeace and National Lawyers Guild
• Ronnie Dugger, Co-founder of Alliance for Democracy
• Troy Duster, Professor at New York University
• Barbara Ehrenreich, Political Essayist and Social Critic
• Richard Falk, Center of International Studies, Princeton University
• Jim Goodman, Organic Dairy Farmer
• Rebecca Goodman, Organic Dairy Farmer
• Doris (Granny D) Haddock, Senate Candidate, Reform Activist
• Paul Hawken, Author, Economist
• Randy Hayes, Founder, Rainforest Action Network and Director of Sustainability, City of Oakland
• Jim Hightower, Author and Commentator
• Wes Jackson, The Land Institute
• David Kairys, Law Professor at Temple University and Author
• Ynestra King, Ecofeminist Writer/Activist
• John Kinsman, Family Farm Defenders
• Philip M. Klasky, Co-director, Bay Area Nuclear Waste Coalition
• David Korten, Author of When Corporations Rule the World
• Frances Korten, Director of Positive Futures Network
• Saul Landau, California State Polytechnic University
• Rabbi Michael Lerner, The Tikkun Community
• Theodore Lowi, Political Scientist, Author
• Howard Lyman, Former Rancher, Vegetarian Activist
• Joanna Macy, Author and Scholar
• Jerry Mander, President of International Forum on Globalization
• Manning Marable, Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia
• Redwood Mary, Plight of the Redwoods Campaign
• Robert McChesney, Professor, University of Illinois
• Carolyn Merchant, Professor of Environmental History, University of California-Berkeley
• Peter Montague, Environmental Research Foundation
• Gus Newport, Former Mayor of Berkeley, California
• Ruth Ozeki, Novelist
• Frances Fox Piven, City University of New York
• Bonnie Raitt, Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter
• Sheldon Rampton, Co-author of Banana Republicans
• Marcus Raskin, Author
• Tim Robbins
• Vicki Robin, New Road Map Foundation
• Susan Sarandon, Actor and Activist
• John Schaeffer, Founder of Real Goods Trading Company
• Michelle Shocked, Musician
• John Stauber, Co-author of Banana Republicans
• Andrew Strauss, Professor at Widener University School of Law
• Charlotte Talberth, Max and Anna Levinson Foundation
• Meredith Tax, Writer and Human Rights Activist
• Studs Terkel, Author, Oral Historian
• Tom Tomorrow, Cartoonist
• Sarah van Gelder, Editor of YES! Magazine
• Eddie Vedder, Musician, Pearl Jam
• Harvey Wasserman, Author of Harvey Wasserman's History of the US
• Cornel West, Professor, Author of Democracy Matters
• Sheldon Wolin, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University
• Howard Zinn, Historian and Author
• Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
• Jackson Browne
• Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry's Co-founder
• Bob Harris, Author
• Norman Solomon, Columnist
Signers endorse this statement as individuals, not as representatives of any group. A frequently updated list of swing states is posted at swing04.com.

Posted by richard at 07:03 PM

September 14, 2004

LNS Countdown to Day of Reckoning -- 49 Days Until America Goes to the Ballot Box, Today's REAL HEADLINES

There are 49 days left until America goes to the Ballot Box in the national referendum on the CHARACTER, COMPETENCE and CREDIBILITY of the _resident and his VICE _resident. Kristen Breitweiser, Monica Gabrielle and three other 9/11 widows who heroically SHAMED the US Congress and the Bush abomination into establishing a 9/11 Commission and then SHAMED that Commission into doing its job know what time it is…They are endorsing Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta)….John B. Kenney knows what time it is…He is on a 30 day hunger strike for the sanctity of the vote in America…Sy Hersh and Kitty Kelley know what time is it…Their explosive books hit the stores this week…Do you know what time it is?
Over one thousand US soldiers have died in the Mega Mogadishu that the _resident and his national insecurity team have created in Iraq... “Daniel Benjamin, former counter-terrorism adviser to Bill Clinton, warned that 70,000 terrorists trained at Afghan camps remain at large. He criticised the Iraq war as "a mistake" which had pushed many moderate Muslims towards terrorism. The Bush administration, he said, had failed to understand that the war against terrorism was an ideological campaign, and targeting states or individuals was not the answer.” (Brian Whitaker, Independent, 9/12/04)…The botched, bungled, mis-named war on terror is not the strength of the Bush adomination, it is the SHAME of the Bush abomination…
Here are five very important news stories that should fill the air waves and capture headlines above the fold, but they won’t...Please read them and share them with others. Please vote and encourage everyone you know to vote. And please remember that the US regimestream news media does not want to inform you about the 2004 campaign, it wants to DISinform you about the 2004 campaign. The US regimestream news media is not impartial, unbiased, objective…It is a full partner in a Triad of shared special interest (oil, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) This triad, composed of the Bush Cabal, its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party and its sponsors in the US regimestream news media, wants an intellectually and morally malnourished citizenry. But you know what time it is…There is an Electoral Uprising coming in November 2004…

Devlin Bartlett, Associated Press: Five outspoken Sept. 11 widows on Tuesday will publicly endorse John Kerry for president, The Associated Press has learned, throwing their weight behind the Democratic challenger in a heated campaign debate over who is best suited to defend the nation from another terrorist attack.
Some, including Kristen Breitweiser, of Middletown, N.J., and Monica Gabrielle, of West Haven, Conn., also have agreed to make campaign appearances for the Democratic senator, campaign sources told the AP.
"We will be speaking from the heart, and speaking from our conscience," Breitweiser said Monday. She would not elaborate. Breitweiser is by far the most visible and outspoken of the Sept. 11 family advocates, and has been highly critical of the government's reform efforts to date.

Doubleday Official Statement on Kitty Kelley’s Book: The following are undisputable facts:
-- Mrs. Bush confirmed that she was aware of cocaine use by President
George W. Bush at Camp David when his father was President
-- Mrs. Bush confirmed that such usage occurred on more than one occasion
-- Mrs. Bush knew that Ms. Kelley planned on using this information in her
book and was read the exact quotes that would be utilized
-- Mrs. Bush continued to have a good relationship with Kitty Kelley --
long after the meeting in April at which she confirmed the cocaine
report
-- Mrs. Bush called Ms. Kelley in May, 2004 after which there was a
friendly correspondence.

Oliver Burkeman, Guardian: Evidence of prisoner abuse and possible war crimes at Guantánamo Bay reached the highest levels of the Bush administration as early as autumn 2002, but Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, chose to do nothing about it, according to a new investigation published exclusively in the Guardian today.
The investigation, by the veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, quotes one former marine at the camp recalling sessions in which guards would "fuck with [detainees] as much as we could" by inflicting pain on them.
The Bush administration repeatedly assured critics that inmates were granted recreation periods, but one Pentagon adviser told Hersh how, for some prisoners, they consisted of being left in straitjackets in intense sunlight with hoods over their heads.
Hersh provides details of how President George Bush signed off on the establishment of a secret unit that was given advance approval to kill or capture and interrogate "high-value" suspects - considered by many to be in defiance of international law - an officially "unacknowledged" programme that was eventually transferred wholesale from Guantánamo to the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

John B. Kenney, Hunger for Democracy: My name is John B. Kenney, and to protect our US Constitution guaranteed right to vote, I am on a hunger strike for the next 30 days until we can persuade our elected representatives to introduce the Federal Paper Ballot Emergency Act of 2004 to Congress.
I am taking this drastic action because I believe the computerization of our voting process puts the very foundation of our democracy at stake.
Not only do computer voting machines malfunction and break down, they are easy to tamper with in order to produce fraudulent results.
[Read more about it here: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/]
Furthermore, 30% of the electronic voting machines in this country have no paper receipt and no way to recount the vote if there are questions about the results. More shocking, a few private companies using "proprietary software" will soon own our electoral process. Not even election officials can see the software or verify the votes. This means that your VOTE is in very GRAVE danger!!
Who am I and why am I doing this?
I am not a politician, not a professional activist, and I have no partisan agenda. I am simply an American citizen who is frightened and outraged by what is happening to our electoral process.
And I am not alone. Many grassroots organizations devoted to protecting the sanctity and integrity of our right to vote have sprung up around the country and are working furiously to avert a national crisis.
The five basic elements of voting security are:
1. Poll Book (personal sign in)
2. Paper ballot
3. Ballot box (transparent and locked)
4. Hand Count (of all paper ballots in the ballot box)
5. Results Posted (prominently displayed at the polling place)

Elizabeth Drew, New York Review of Books: The most important strategic decision the commission made was to avoid offering an explicit opinion on whether the September 11 attacks could have been prevented. But it was apparent that some commissioners believed this to be the case. Earlier in the year, in several television interviews, Thomas Kean said that the attacks might well have been prevented. And Lee Hamilton said on Meet the Press in April, "If you'd had a little luck, it probably could have been prevented." According to some of Kean's colleagues, the "blowback" from the administration to these statements was ferocious. Kean and Hamilton backed away from their earlier statements. The commissioners who believed that the attacks might have been prevented knew that they couldn't get unanimous agreement on this question. There was no way to prove that the attacks could have been prevented—al-Qaeda had shown it could adapt to setbacks, such as the inability of some of the hijackers to get to the United States. But the commissioners could and did make the case that this was a strong possibility. They believed that the account in their report would speak for itself.
They also knew that if they explicitly blamed Bush and his administration for failing to prevent the attacks, the energies of the White House and its political allies, including those in the press and television, would have been devoted to discrediting their work. Instead, the commission laid out in its narrative considerable evidence that the September 11 attacks might well have been prevented. The final report presents a clear picture of the Bush administration in the months leading up to September 11 as not much engaged with the problem of terrorism and unresponsive to clear warnings that something was afoot. In Chapter 8, about the events of that summer, it says:
As Tenet told us, "the system was blinking red" [with warnings] during the summer of 2001. Officials were alerted across the world. Many were doing everything they possibly could to respond to the threats.
Yet no one working on these late leads in the summer of 2001 connected the case in his or her in-box to the threat reports agitating senior officials and being briefed to the President. Thus, these individual cases did not become national priorities. As the CIA supervisor "John" told us, no one looked at the bigger picture; no analytic work foresaw the lightning that could connect the thundercloud to the ground.
We see little evidence that the progress of the plot was disturbed by any government action. The US government was unable to capitalize on mistakes made by al Qaeda. Time ran out.
In one of its more astonishing discoveries, the commission found that George Tenet spoke to President Bush, who was at his ranch in Texas for six weeks during the summer, only twice during the month of August (once in a routine briefing after Bush had returned to Washington)…
There's another question, less frequently discussed than whether the attacks could have been prevented, but arguably as important: Did the Bush administration fail to take actions it should have taken to combat al-Qaeda, and to respond to the warnings about possible attacks? In straining to achieve bipartisanship, the commissioners cited ten opportunities that the Clinton and Bush administrations failed to seize—to emphasize the point, it included them in a box.
But the opportunities missed by the Clinton and Bush administrations were of a different order, and occurred in different contexts…
The commission suggests that the thinking of the incoming Bush officials was frozen in the cold war, and that they viewed the al-Qaeda threat in connection with nations. Thus consideration of the problem of al-Qaeda was submerged—and delayed—in a months-long study of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. Moreover, the Bush administration was fiercely determined to do everything it possibly could differently from the Clinton administration.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election, Cleanse the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/09/13/politics2236EDT0747.DTL

Five 9/11 widows to endorse Kerry for president
- DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer
Monday, September 13, 2004
(09-13) 19:36 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --
Five outspoken Sept. 11 widows on Tuesday will publicly endorse John Kerry for president, The Associated Press has learned, throwing their weight behind the Democratic challenger in a heated campaign debate over who is best suited to defend the nation from another terrorist attack.
Some, including Kristen Breitweiser, of Middletown, N.J., and Monica Gabrielle, of West Haven, Conn., also have agreed to make campaign appearances for the Democratic senator, campaign sources told the AP.
"We will be speaking from the heart, and speaking from our conscience," Breitweiser said Monday. She would not elaborate. Breitweiser is by far the most visible and outspoken of the Sept. 11 family advocates, and has been highly critical of the government's reform efforts to date.
The move highlights the widening political divide among the nearly 3,000 Sept. 11 families.
At the Republican National Convention two weeks ago, two widows and the sister of another Sept. 11 victim offered moving tributes to their departed loved ones. The somber appearances offered no direct endorsement of President Bush, but their message of support was unmistakable.
Other relatives publicly have praised Bush's response to the attacks, even amid the displeasure of many families over an early Bush campaign ad that used images from the World Trade Center site.
Bush has made his response to the terrorist strike the centerpiece of his re-election campaign.
Three years after the attacks, most of the families agree on the need for reforms in how the government manages and conducts intelligence work. But they are split on what those changes should be and who should make them.
Some relatives, including Breitweiser, have promised to create a watchdog list to track any lawmakers who oppose reforms proposed by an independent, bipartisan commission that investigated the attacks.
The commission issued its report in July. Among its major recommendations are the creation of a national counterterrorism center and a new director of intelligence with Cabinet-level authority over budgets and intelligence policies. Congress is hurrying to enact some of the recommendations before its adjourns for the year, including Bush's support for creating the post of national intelligence director.
Kerry has said all of the recommendations should be adopted as quickly as possible.
________________________________________
On the Net:
Kerry campaign: www.johnkerry.com

URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2004/09/13/politics2236EDT0747.DTL
________________________________________
©2004 Associated Press

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday/commentary/la-oe-benjamin12sep12,1,6766677.story

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1303064,00.html
Bush team 'knew of abuse' at Guantánamo

Oliver Burkeman in Washington
Monday September 13, 2004
The Guardian

Evidence of prisoner abuse and possible war crimes at Guantánamo Bay reached the highest levels of the Bush administration as early as autumn 2002, but Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, chose to do nothing about it, according to a new investigation published exclusively in the Guardian today.
The investigation, by the veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, quotes one former marine at the camp recalling sessions in which guards would "fuck with [detainees] as much as we could" by inflicting pain on them.
The Bush administration repeatedly assured critics that inmates were granted recreation periods, but one Pentagon adviser told Hersh how, for some prisoners, they consisted of being left in straitjackets in intense sunlight with hoods over their heads.
Hersh provides details of how President George Bush signed off on the establishment of a secret unit that was given advance approval to kill or capture and interrogate "high-value" suspects - considered by many to be in defiance of international law - an officially "unacknowledged" programme that was eventually transferred wholesale from Guantánamo to the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Hersh, who broke the story of the My Lai massacre in the Vietnam war, makes his revelations in a new book, Chain of Command, which leaves senior figures in the Bush administration far more seriously implicated in the torture scandal than had been previously apparent.
A CIA analyst visited Guantánamo in summer 2002 and returned "convinced that we were committing war crimes" and that "more than half the people there didn't belong there. He found people lying in their own faeces," a CIA source told Hersh.
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The analyst submitted a report to General John Gordon, an aide to Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush's national security adviser.
Gen Gordon was troubled, and, one former administration official told Hersh "that if the actions at Guantánamo ever became public, it'd be damaging to the president".
Ms Rice saw the document by autumn of the same year, and called a high-level meeting at which she asked Mr Rumsfeld, to deal with the problem.
But after he vowed to act, "the Pentagon went into a full-court stall", a former White House official is quoted as saying. "Why didn't Condi do more? She made the same mistake I made. She got the secretary of defence to say he's going to take care of it."
The investigation further suggests that CIA and FBI staff had already witnessed incidents at Guantánamo just as extreme as those that would subsequently be alleged by freed inmates.
A senior intelligence official told Hersh: "I was told [by FBI agents] that the military guards were slapping prisoners, stripping them, pouring cold water over them and making them stand until they got hypothermia."
The secret "special access programme" facilitating much of the mistreatment of prisoners, widely held to have contravened the Geneva convention, was established following a direct order from the president.
Hersh reports that a secret document signed by Mr Bush in February 2002 stated: "I determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al-Qaida in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world."
Hersh's book reports that an army officer communicated concerns over abuses at Abu Ghraib both to General John Abizaid, the US central command (Centcom) chief at the time, and his deputy, General Lance Smith.
The officer told Hersh: "I said there are systematic abuses going on in the prisons. Abizaid didn't say a thing. He looked at me - beyond me, as if to say, 'Move on. I don't want to touch this.'" Centcom has disputed the allegation.
In an interview with the Guardian, Hersh provided evidence that the administration sought to evade the issue: he said codenames of some programmes were changed within hours of his original story appearing, presumably to maintain their secrecy.
In a statement, the Pentagon said Hersh's investigation "apparently contains many of the numerous unsubstantiated allegations and inaccuracies which he has made in the past based upon unnamed sources ... Thus far ... investigations have determined that no responsible official of the Department of Defence approved any programme that could conceivably have authorised or condoned the abuses seen at Abu Ghraib. If any of Mr Hersh's anonymous sources wish to come forward and offer evidence to the contrary, the department welcomes them to do so."
Pressure has been building on the Pentagon over its detention policies after it emerged at a Congressional hearing last week that the administration is being accused of concealing up to 100 "ghost detainees" from the Red Cross, which must be granted access to prisoners of war and other detainees under the Geneva convention.
Mr Rumsfeld told reporters on Friday he had approved the use of harsh interrogation measures, but that they had only been meant for Guantánamo. He said the measures ought to be contrasted with those of terrorists. "Does it rank up there with chopping someone's head off on television?" he asked. "It doesn't."


http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/09-13-2004/0002249391&EDATE=
Statement by Doubleday Regarding Kitty Kelley

NEW YORK, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by
Doubleday regarding Kitty Kelley:

In an appearance on the Today Show on Monday, September 13, 2004, Sharon
Bush repeated a denial she made earlier last week. After telling Kitty Kelley
that she had knowledge of President George W. Bush "doing cocaine" at Camp
David -- "not once, but many times," Mrs. Bush now denies that statement.
This denial has already been utterly discredited by a third party to the
meeting at which Mrs. Bush made the statements. Doubleday and Kitty Kelley,
author of "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty," firmly uphold the
accuracy and veracity of reporting on this topic. Further, Doubleday and Ms.
Kelley affirm that Mrs. Bush was read her comments on the day following the
meeting in a telephone conversation, lasting over an hour, that was witnessed
by Random House Vice President Peter Gethers -- that those comments included
her remarks on cocaine use at Camp David -- and that she once again agreed
that these comments were true.
The following are undisputable facts:

-- Mrs. Bush confirmed that she was aware of cocaine use by President
George W. Bush at Camp David when his father was President

-- Mrs. Bush confirmed that such usage occurred on more than one occasion

-- Mrs. Bush knew that Ms. Kelley planned on using this information in her
book and was read the exact quotes that would be utilized

-- Mrs. Bush continued to have a good relationship with Kitty Kelley --
long after the meeting in April at which she confirmed the cocaine
report

-- Mrs. Bush called Ms. Kelley in May, 2004 after which there was a
friendly correspondence.

Additionally, Today Show host Matt Lauer and Mrs. Bush suggested that
Kitty Kelley had a "relationship" with Lou Colasuonno, a public relations
executive who witnessed the April 1, 2003 lunch meeting between Kitty Kelley
and Sharon Bush. Kitty Kelley had never met or spoken with Mr. Colasuonno
prior to April 1, 2003. Kitty Kelley has never had and does not have any
personal, social or financial relationship with Mr. Colasuonno.

SOURCE Doubleday
________________________________________
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A United Business Media company.

http://www.hungerfordemocracy.org/

PAPER BALLOT... MAKE SURE THEY COUNT IT!
My name is John B. Kenney, and to protect our US Constitution guaranteed right to vote, I am on a hunger strike for the next 30 days until we can persuade our elected representatives to introduce the Federal Paper Ballot Emergency Act of 2004 to Congress.
I am taking this drastic action because I believe the computerization of our voting process puts the very foundation of our democracy at stake.
Not only do computer voting machines malfunction and break down, they are easy to tamper with in order to produce fraudulent results.
[Read more about it here: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/]
Furthermore, 30% of the electronic voting machines in this country have no paper receipt and no way to recount the vote if there are questions about the results. More shocking, a few private companies using "proprietary software" will soon own our electoral process. Not even election officials can see the software or verify the votes.
This means that your VOTE is in very GRAVE danger!!
Who am I and why am I doing this?
I am not a politician, not a professional activist, and I have no partisan agenda. I am simply an American citizen who is frightened and outraged by what is happening to our electoral process.
And I am not alone. Many grassroots organizations devoted to protecting the sanctity and integrity of our right to vote have sprung up around the country and are working furiously to avert a national crisis.
The five basic elements of voting security are:
6. Poll Book (personal sign in)
7. Paper ballot
8. Ballot box (transparent and locked)
9. Hand Count (of all paper ballots in the ballot box)
10. Results Posted (prominently displayed at the polling place)
Many of these elements are missing in many of the polling districts and sites across the United States. YOUR VOTE IS IN GRAVE DANGER.
Many FOUGHT AND DIED for our right to vote.
Don't GIVE that right away!
Raising awareness of this issue is not nearly enough. Every American must act now to protect the upcoming election. We must press our elected officials to pass emergency legislation to immediately implement a system of paper ballots that assures accuracy and transparency in our upcoming federal elections. After what happened in 2000, any uncertainty about the results of the next election will throw our country into chaos.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
As an individual or as a group:
1. Support the Federal Paper Ballot Emergency Act of 2004
www.votersunite.org/takeaction/federalpapersballot.asp
2. Contact (by letter, fax, email, phone) your County Election Officials and State Registrar of Voters now and demand paper ballots for Nov. 2, as well as locked ballot boxes. Demand a hand count.
3. Contact your U.S. Congressional Representatives in the Senate and the House of Representatives, and the White House, TODAY, and insist that Congress immediately pass a law REQUIRING PAPER BALLOTS, LOCKED BALLOT BOXES, AND A HAND COUNT OF THE VOTES, IN EVERY PRECINCT IN THE COUNTRY IN TIME FOR THIS NOVEMBER 2 ELECTION. There is time for Congress to do this. There is nothing more precious than our vote. It is the fundamental right of all our rights.

DEMAND ACTION NOW!
White House (202)456-1414 http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Capitol switchboard (202)224-3121 http://www.congress.gov/

Your Senator or Congressman 1 800 859 5276 http://www.senate.gov/


4. Join us in WASHINGTON D.C. ON September 22
Representatives from many of the verified voting groups will be gathering on September 22 in our nation's capital to urge Congress to pass the proposed Federal Paper Ballot Emergency Act of 2004. Now is the time to contact your congressional representatives and your senators to demand that they support this bill. The measures it proposes are simple and inexpensive to put in place. Most important, they have the power to protect your most basic right as an American citizen.
5. PROTEST AGAINST DIEBOLD the largest manufacturer of these defective electronic voting machines. Help to clog their phone lines by calling their headquarters at 1-330-490-4000. Leave a message for Wally O'Dell, Chairman and CEO, and tell him his company should get out of the business of threatening democracy. For more about Diebold, go to http://www.blackboxvoting.org/.
6. STAGE YOUR OWN FREEDOM FAST
Please consider going on your own FREEDOM FAST for 1 day on September 22 (or 2 or 3 if you so desire), and consider donating the money you would have spent on food to help support this urgent cause. Participate on September 22 (and/or 23rd, 24th), when we gather in Washington D.C.. On site or from afar, you can contribute to the spirit of freedom and sacrifice as we Hunger For Democracy.
HUNGER FOR DEMOCRACY!!!
--John B. Kenney

ABOUT JOHN B. KENNEY
Born February 21, 1960 in Misquota, Illinois, John has spent the past 14 years in Japan and Australia as a Principle of an English school and founder of a cultural exchange program between Australian and Japanese High Schools. He is a registered voter of Chautaqua County and on a 3 year work visa in Kyoto, Japan, where he has left his home and work and business in order to ensure that there will be a fair and secured election. Prior to Japan, John went to college at SUNY Fredonia, and graduated from Harvard University Extension School in 1986 and worked in real estate for 7 years. He is a registered voter of Fredonia, Chautauqua County, New York and has already received his absentee ballot.

HISTORY OF HUNGER STRIKES FOR FREEDOM
Hunger strikes have a long history in Western Civilization as a means of non-violent protest, going back as far as the Biblical ages. They were revisited by groups fighting for equality, in Modern era, such as the Scottish women at the turn of the century looking for women's right to vote.
Marion Wallace Dunlop of Scotland began a hunger strike in 1909 when she was imprisoned for her role in the suffragette movement. Later in America, from1915-1917 various members of the woman's right to vote movement in the United States, employed hunger strikes as a method to bring attention to their plight. The authorities at the time often used draconian measures such as force-feeding in order to break the will of the women. But ultimately such cruel treatment backfired and women won the right to vote in the United States in 1920 and in England in 1928.

COPYRIGHT © 2004 Hunger For Democracy
Contact us: Kathleen Wynne, Communications Director (216) 926-1327 Email: kathleenhungerfordemocracy@yahoo.com
John B. Kenney (646) 266-5301 Email: hungerfordemocracy@yahoo.com


http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17390


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VOLUME 51, NUMBER 14 • SEPTEMBER 23, 2004
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Review
Pinning the Blame
By Elizabeth Drew
The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
Norton, 567 pp., $10.00 (paper)
1.
Since 1794, when George Washington formed a commission to advise him on the Whiskey Rebellion, presidents have appointed commissions to investigate, obfuscate, recommend action, or delay it—or because they couldn't think of anything else to do. The reports of some of them, such as the Warren Commission, remain open to skepticism to this day; others have been totally ignored. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, has shared some of the traditional characteristics of commissions. Appointed by the President and Congress, most of its members had been prominent legislators or government officials. But in several ways the 9/11 Commission was strikingly different from any of its predecessors. The most important difference was that it had a specific and vigilant constituency, made up of the people who had lostfamily members on September 11, 2001, who had forced the creation of the commission through a reluctant Congress, and who overcame the opposition of President Bush.
Moreover, the commission decided at the outset that in order to gain the public's trust it would be as "transparent" as possible. It not only held public hearings but, something very rare, its members commented publicly on its work while they were still deliberating. Even more unusual, the eighty members of the committee staff, including experienced prosecutors and former intelligence officials, issued interim staff reports on various aspects of the events surrounding the September 11 attacks. These seventeen reports provided factual material for the commission's open hearings and for the final report itself, and helped the commission bring to light new evidence—from the government, the families, and others. The reports were read to the commissioners in a dry monotone; the lack of public drama made them all the more effective, especially since they were clearly written and contained a great deal of new information, some of it astonishing. Along with television appearances by the commission members, they stimulated public interest in the commission's work. The commissioners believe that the staff reports and their own public comments put pressure on the Bush administration and helped them to obtain sensitive government documents that would otherwise have been withheld.
________________________________________
The administration fought the commission at nearly every turn—at first denying it sufficient funds, then opposing an extension of time, refusing it documents, trying to prevent Condoleezza Rice from testifying in public. The White House, in a preemptive move, told the commission that Bush would not testify under oath, and insisted that he appear along with Vice President Cheney. The main partisan division within the commission, I was told, was over how hard to press the White House for information that it was holding back. In its effort to achieve a unanimous, bipartisan report, the commission decided not to assign "individual blame" and avoided overt criticism of the President himself. Still, the report is a powerful indictment of the Bush administration for its behavior before and after the attacks of September 11.
The biggest obstacle the administration placed before the commissioners was CIA Director George Tenet's refusal to let them interview detainees directly, including key figures in the September 11 plot—despite the strong objections of some of the commissioners. They were forbidden to talk to, among others, the plot's mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (called KSM in the report), who had been captured in Pakistan. The report observed that assessing the truth of statements by such witnesses was "challenging":
Our access to them has been limited to the review of intelligence reports based on communications received from the locations where the actual interrogations take place. We submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when, or how questions of particular interest would be asked. Nor were we allowed to talk to the interrogators so that we could better judge the credibility of the detainees and clarify ambiguities in the reporting. We were told that our requests might disrupt the sensitive interrogation process.
The latter claim seemed dubious, but the commissioners were unable to effectively challenge it. The commissioners were allowed to send follow-up questions, but were prevented from observing in person the emotional and physical reactions of the detainees or from pursuing a particular line of questioning on the spot. The commission had to take into account the possibility that some witnesses may have lied to the interrogators. But they received valuable information from KSM, whom the report depicts as "plainly a capable coordinator." They cite, for example, his claim that Osama bin Laden "could assess new trainees very quickly, in about ten minutes, and that many of the 9/11 hijackers were selected in this manner." KSM describes how bin Laden urged him to "advance the date of the attacks":
In 2000, for instance, KSM remembers Bin Ladin pushing him to launch the attacks amid the controversy after then-Israeli opposition party leader Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. KSM claims Bin Ladin told him it would be enough for the hijackers simply to down planes rather than crash them into specific targets. KSM says he resisted the pressure.
Adding to the difficulty of deciding whether to believe the detainees, the commissioners were forbidden to see the conditions in which they were held or to investigate how they were treated by their interrogators. On May 15, 2004, The New York Times reported that in questioning KSM,
CIA investigators used graduated levels of force, including a technique called "waterboarding," in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown.
Later reports said such practices had been "suspended." Philip Zelikow, the staff director, told me that the staff tried to find out about the treatment of the prisoners but could not. Some of the information that KSM gave the interrogators could be checked against documents that were found when he was arrested. In any event, whenever they could, I was told, the commissioners sought verification from second sources, some of them also in custody —often in different locations—and under interrogation.
Zelikow and the commissioners I talked to say that when faced with questions about the accuracy of some information, they did what a historian or journalist does: search for confirmation wherever they could, and, when necessary, simply use their best judgment. In some 110,000 words of footnotes, the commission cites its sources, and in some instances presents its doubts in the report. For example, it doubted the statement by KSM that when two of the hijackers briefly stayed in California, al-Qaeda had no agents there to help them. "We do not credit this denial," the commission says, arguing that it is unlikely that those two hijackers, who were "ill-prepared" for their mission, would have been sent to California if arrangements had not been made to look after them. (In a footnote the report says that, according to the CIA, "protecting operatives in the United States appeared to be a 'major part' of KSM's resistance efforts.") Zelikow told me that the commission and its staff rejected much other information for which they could not find support.
________________________________________
The commissioners worked under considerable pressures. The families pressed them to explore hundreds of specific questions, such as why there were no rooftop exits on the World Trade Center buildings, or where Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was on the morning of the 11th. The White House brought pressure in several ways. Stung by the charges of Richard Clarke, the former Clinton and Bush adviser on terrorism, that the Bush White House was lax in not heeding his warnings about the dangers presented by al-Qaeda, the White House sought to discredit Clarke as well as the commission, but it didn't succeed. Public opinion was on the commission's side, and, as the polls showed, it believed Clarke. The commission's report essentially supports his charge that, by the summer of 2001, the administration had many warnings of possible al-Qaeda attacks and failed to respond to them.
In an attempt to discredit the commission, the White House charged that some of its Democratic members were "partisan," a view some Bush officials expressed in interviews with an obviously phony show of sorrow. "Partisan" meant that certain commissioners, in particular Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democrat and a skilled trial attorney, asked tough questions—as if somehow tough questions weren't in order. Some Republican commissioners—in particular Jim Thompson, Fred Fielding, and John Lehman—in appearances on television or in the commission's deliberations, sometimes seemed to be doing the White House's bidding, repeating some of its "talking points." But in the end they didn't attempt to block damning information about the Bush administration's performance from appearing in the final report.
The administration also attempted to put pressure on the commission through the process of clearing the staff reports—by a committee set up by the White House. Several commissioners told me that the clearance process sometimes elicited new facts, which they accepted. Sometimes the administration questioned the staff's conclusions or inferences, but the commissioners insist that they made changes only on the basis of new facts, and that they did not negotiate with the administration.
2.
The strongest objection lodged by the administration was to the staff report (Number 17) about how the administration performed on the morning of September 11, which clearly suggested that Dick Cheney decided on his own, without first clearing it with the President, that the hijacked planes should be shot down. Neither the staff report nor the final report explicitly charges Bush and Cheney with lying about this when they told the commission that Cheney had first gotten permission from the President to give the order; but the implication that they were doing so is clear.
Both reports observe that though Lynne Cheney and Scooter Libby, the vice-president's chief of staff, were in the White House bunker with Cheney that morning and kept logs of the calls and conversations that took place there, they made no record of any conversation between Bush and Cheney on this subject before Cheney issued the order. There was also, apparently, no record of any such call in the phone logs of the White House switchboard, or the Secret Service and White House Situation Room logs. The staff report said, "There is no documentary evidence for this call." The staff report also suggested that in his appearance before the commission Cheney may have been misleading when he was asked when he reached the bunker that morning, a question that would have a bearing on whether this particular conversation with the President had taken place.
The chronology given in the report shows that Cheney gave the order to shoot down a plane—which was believed to be headed to Washington but in fact had already crashed in Pennsylvania—"probably between 10:12 and 10:18." At that point, the report says, Joshua Bolten, the White House deputy chief of staff, also in the bunker,
watched the exchanges and, after what he called "a quiet moment," suggested that the Vice President get in touch with the President and confirm the engage order.... He said he had not heard any prior discussion on the subject with the President.
Following that exchange with Bolten, the report says that Cheney spoke to Bush at 10:18 and "obtained the con-firmation" of his order. After that, Cheney ordered the shoot-down of another plane believed to be close to Washington. At 10:39 he told Rumsfeld that the aircraft he authorized to shoot down planes approaching Washington had "already taken a couple of aircraft out." As it happened, by the time the order was given, all four hijacked planes had already crashed, and, though fighter planes were scrambled, the order never got to the pilots. Bush told the commissioners that his conversation with Cheney about shooting down the hijackers "reminded him of when he had been an interceptor pilot"—though Bush of course never saw combat.
In response to the staff report's suggestion that Cheney took command and made the decision to shoot down the planes on his own, the White House reacted in a lengthy letter to the commission, stamped "Secret" in red, from the White House counsel, Alberto Gonzalez. In the letter's last paragraph, Gonzalez proposed substitute language that portrayed the President's performance that morning in a more positive light. This was a blunder; the commissioners unanimously found the letter offensive. But the White House didn't leave it at that. Cheney, I was told, made a vehement phone call to the chairman, Thomas Kean, and vice-chairman, Lee Hamilton, protesting the staff report's implication that he had taken charge and ordered the planes shot down. But despite all the pressure, the staff report and the final report leave the clear impression that he did so.
________________________________________
In fact, the commission gives a devastating picture of the chaos within the Bush administration on the morning of the attacks, when the President famously remained in the Florida classroom for some five to seven minutes (according to the report) after learning of the second attack on the World Trade Center. But this is just one of several examples that morning of questionable judgment on the part of the President, as well as of the officials traveling with him, including his chief of staff, Andrew Card, and his political mentor, Karl Rove. Bush told the commission that he attributed the first crash, which he learned of before he entered the school classroom, to "pilot error," but this seems strange, since it is unlikely that a pilot would accidentally stray into a very tall, prominent building in a highly controlled air space on a clear autumn day. Subtly but damningly, the report makes it clear that after Bush left the classroom, "the focus was on the President's statement to the nation"—his "message"—rather than on taking charge of the nation's response to the attacks.
The President didn't convene a meeting of his National Security Council until after all of the planes had crashed. And though the chain of command for military actions runs from the president to the secretary of defense, Bush didn't call Rumsfeld for nearly an hour after the second tower was hit, though more than a half-hour lapsed between the crash into the second tower in New York and the attack on the Pentagon. Morever, despite the established chain of command, Bush in that call didn't discuss with Rumsfeld the authorization to shoot down planes. Astonishingly, according to information the commission received between the writing of the staff reports and the final report, the secretary of defense, upon learning of the two attacks in New York, simply returned to the work he had already been doing in his Pentagon office.
The White House, I was told, pressed for two things about these hours to be included in the final report. First, it wanted the commission to publish Bush's statement, as it did, that he remained in the classroom because he "felt he should project strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening"—though the fact that a calamity had taken place wasn't exactly a secret. Second, the White House wanted the report to include Libby's description of Cheney's very quick decision—"in about the time it takes a batter to decide to swing"—that United Flight 93, which was believed to be headed toward Washington, should be shot down. Some commissioners found this description hardly flattering, but at the Republicans' insistence it remained in the final report.
The White House was apparently so upset by the staff report's account of Cheney's deciding on his own to give the order to shoot down the planes that it overlooked the statement in another staff report, presented at the same time, that though there had been "contacts" between Iraq and al-Qaeda—involving al-Qaeda representatives seeking help from Iraq but not receiving it—"they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship."
Once it received prominent attention in the press, this clear contradiction of one of the administration's principal arguments for going to war— which had been repeated only two days earlier by Cheney—could not be left unchallenged by the White House. Bush said that the staff report validated his claims of "ties" between Saddam and al-Qaeda. In a television interview the day after the staff report was published, Cheney attacked the press for reporting accurately what the commission had said. (One commissioner, Jim Thompson, made similar comments on Bill O'Reilly's show.) In the final report, the commission said there had been no "collaborative operational relationship." One commissioner told me the word "operational" was added for clarity; another said that it was intended to underscore the fact that Bush's and Cheney's assertions were wrong. In announcing on August 2 his proposals for acting on the commission's recommendations, Bush, ignoring the language of the report, repeated his vague claim that Saddam Hussein "had terrorist ties."
________________________________________
The most important strategic decision the commission made was to avoid offering an explicit opinion on whether the September 11 attacks could have been prevented. But it was apparent that some commissioners believed this to be the case. Earlier in the year, in several television interviews, Thomas Kean said that the attacks might well have been prevented. And Lee Hamilton said on Meet the Press in April, "If you'd had a little luck, it probably could have been prevented." According to some of Kean's colleagues, the "blowback" from the administration to these statements was ferocious. Kean and Hamilton backed away from their earlier statements. The commissioners who believed that the attacks might have been prevented knew that they couldn't get unanimous agreement on this question. There was no way to prove that the attacks could have been prevented—al-Qaeda had shown it could adapt to setbacks, such as the inability of some of the hijackers to get to the United States. But the commissioners could and did make the case that this was a strong possibility. They believed that the account in their report would speak for itself.
They also knew that if they explicitly blamed Bush and his administration for failing to prevent the attacks, the energies of the White House and its political allies, including those in the press and television, would have been devoted to discrediting their work. Instead, the commission laid out in its narrative considerable evidence that the September 11 attacks might well have been prevented. The final report presents a clear picture of the Bush administration in the months leading up to September 11 as not much engaged with the problem of terrorism and unresponsive to clear warnings that something was afoot. In Chapter 8, about the events of that summer, it says:
As Tenet told us, "the system was blinking red" [with warnings] during the summer of 2001. Officials were alerted across the world. Many were doing everything they possibly could to respond to the threats.
Yet no one working on these late leads in the summer of 2001 connected the case in his or her in-box to the threat reports agitating senior officials and being briefed to the President. Thus, these individual cases did not become national priorities. As the CIA supervisor "John" told us, no one looked at the bigger picture; no analytic work foresaw the lightning that could connect the thundercloud to the ground.
We see little evidence that the progress of the plot was disturbed by any government action. The US government was unable to capitalize on mistakes made by al Qaeda. Time ran out.
In one of its more astonishing discoveries, the commission found that George Tenet spoke to President Bush, who was at his ranch in Texas for six weeks during the summer, only twice during the month of August (once in a routine briefing after Bush had returned to Washington).
________________________________________
There's another question, less frequently discussed than whether the attacks could have been prevented, but arguably as important: Did the Bush administration fail to take actions it should have taken to combat al-Qaeda, and to respond to the warnings about possible attacks? In straining to achieve bipartisanship, the commissioners cited ten opportunities that the Clinton and Bush administrations failed to seize—to emphasize the point, it included them in a box.
But the opportunities missed by the Clinton and Bush administrations were of a different order, and occurred in different contexts. Clinton and his top aides are depicted as having been alert to the al-Qaeda threat—if erratic in their attention to it—particularly after the simultaneous bombings of two American embassies in East Africa in 1998, which were quickly traced to bin Laden. In the weeks leading up to the millennium, the Clinton White House counterterrorism team met daily. But Clinton took only hesitant actions against al-Qaeda—for example, bombing a suspected bin Laden camp in Afghanistan but missing him—and he or his advisers turned down other schemes to bomb, kidnap, or kill bin Laden, for fear of causing "collateral damage," or failing and leaving themselves open to criticism, even ridicule. The Pentagon was hesitant about taking military action. Clinton, as we know, was not much of a risk-taker when it came to government action. He told the commission that he didn't alert the public to the danger posed by bin Laden because he didn't want to build him up—and also that he didn't take more aggressive action against Afghanistan because there was no public support for it.
The commission suggests that the thinking of the incoming Bush officials was frozen in the cold war, and that they viewed the al-Qaeda threat in connection with nations. Thus consideration of the problem of al-Qaeda was submerged—and delayed—in a months-long study of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. Moreover, the Bush administration was fiercely determined to do everything it possibly could differently from the Clinton administration.
3.
As presented by the commission, the evidence of signals missed by the Bush administration is more startling than we had known. To take one example,a memorandum written in July 2001 to headquarters by an FBI agent in Phoenix, Arizona, specifically warned of the "'possibility of a coordinated effort by Usama bin Laden' to send students to the United States to attend civil aviation schools."
Though Bush administration officials said after the fact that no one could have imagined that terrorists would use planes to fly into buildings, the report shows that there had been warnings of attacks very much along those lines before September 11—including information from an informant in East Asia of the possibility of al-Qaeda's hijacking planes, filling them with explosives, and using them to crash into US cities. Richard Clarke had worried about this very possibility in connection with the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. In the commission's words, the "possibility" of this sort of terrorist attack "was imaginable, and imagined."
The most arresting document is the Presidential Daily Brief of August 6, 2001, which, until it was finally made public, had been described by the White House as "historical in nature." A single question by Ben-Veniste to Condoleezza Rice, asking her to state the title of the PDB, exposed that fiction. The title was "bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." That the commission was able to see the President's daily briefings by the CIA during the Clinton and Bush administrations at all was unprecedented. They could only do so, however, under strict rules set by the administration: only two commissioners were allowed to read the PDBs, and—for reasons that later became clear—they were forbidden to copy down their titles.
After the September 11 attacks, administration officials claimed that the information they'd received wasn't specific enough for them to act on it. But it was much more specific than they suggested. The government even received evidence in July 2001 that an al-Qaeda attack had been put off for two months but hadn't been abandoned. And the August 6 PDB itself was far more detailed than the administration admitted. It cited evidence, including reports in the press as well as clandestine information, that bin Laden had "wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US" since 1997; that al-Qaeda members had lived in or traveled to the United States for years, "and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks"; that FBI information "indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijacking or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." It cited a call to the US embassy in the United Arab Emirates in May 2001, "saying that a group of bin Laden supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives." It said that the FBI had seventy "bin Laden–related" investigations underway. The President told the commission that he'd found this last point "heartening." Others might have been alarmed. (The commission concluded that the FBI had exaggerated the extent of its investigations.)
________________________________________
The origins of this particular PDB remain something of a mystery. Bush made a point of telling the commission that he had asked on several occasions whether there was an al-Qaeda threat to the United States. In response to a draft of the staff report on the PDB of August 6, the CIA sent an e-mail to the commission taking exception to Rice's statement that the PDB had been produced in response to the President's asking whether there was an al-Qaeda threat to the US. It said, "The author of this piece, and others familiar with it, say they have no information to suggest that this piece was written in response to a question from the President," and that claims to the contrary weren't accurate. Tenet, for his part, told the commission both that the President had asked about the possibility of an attack on the US and that the CIA had produced the brief on its own initiative.
In the week before the final report was to go to the printer, at the urging of Richard Ben-Veniste two commissioners talked directly with the CIA authors of the PDB, who confirmed that they had intended to write such a PDB before they were told about the President's question. The final report states,
Two CIA analysts involved in preparing this briefing article believed it represented an opportunity to communicate their view that the threat of a bin Laden attack in the United States remained both current and serious.
The CIA analysts told the commissioners that they put all the relevant information they could into the PDB in order to get the President's attention. The report tells us that this was the thirty-sixth Presidential Daily Brief so far that year related to bin Laden and al-Qaeda—though the first to warn of a possible attack on the United States itself.
After the alarming PDB was presented to the President, nothing happened. The commission reports dryly,
We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisers of the possibility of a threat of an al Qaeda attack in the United States.
No meetings were convened to demand that the relevant intelligence officials search for pertinent evidence that might be found within their agencies—such as the Phoenix memo or the various conversations between the FBI's Washington headquarters and an FBI agent in Minneapolis, who warned that he was concerned that Zacarias Moussaoui was planning to hijack a plane and crash it into a major building.
The administration later offered the excuse that the "wall" between the FBI and the CIA kept this information from being shared, and that some of it didn't even get to the top levels of the FBI. But the "wall" didn't prevent the FBI from sharing one of the most important warning signals that occurred in the months leading up to September 11: the arrest of Moussaoui, on August 16, on immigration charges after a flight instructor reported to the FBI on his odd behavior at a flight school. Moussaoui said he wanted the training as an "ego boosting thing." After talking to him, the FBI agent in Minneapolis concluded he was "an Islamic extremist preparing for some future act in furtherance of radical fundamentalist goals." The FBI's report to Tenet and other CIA officials about Moussaoui, on August 23, was headed "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly." Tenet told the commission that since he saw the report on Moussaoui "as an FBI case, he did not discuss the matter with anyone at the White House or the FBI." However, according to Bob Woodward and Dan Balz of The Washington Post, Tenet, on being told of the September 11 attack at a breakfast with former Senator David Boren of Oklahoma, remarked, "I wonder if it has anything to do with this guy taking pilot training."
No meetings were called to assess the capacities of the government for responding to a hijacking crisis or to check on its communications systems. The numerous failures of communication between the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, the FAA, the military, and the municipal police on the morning of September 11 indicate that such preparations were badly needed. The President himself complained to the commission about the poor communications that morning. (For some time after being informed of the attack, he was reduced to using a cell phone.)
________________________________________
The process of closely examining the harrowing events of September 11, under considerable pressure and sometimes under attack, had the effect of binding the commissioners in a common effort; they became, they say, close friends. There was, several of them told me, an understanding among them that in order to have a strong public impact the report had to be unanimous; the matter didn't have to be discussed. In approving the final report, which was drafted by the staff, the commissioners went over it page by page, much of it four to six times, for days at a stretch. They decided on conflicts over wording not by taking votes but through discussion. Aware of the necessity for unanimity, Democrats refrained from pushing for an explicit indictment of the Bush administration's performance, allowing the narrative to make the case; and Republicans did not try to block the commission's refutation of one of the administration's principal arguments for going to war in Iraq.
But some important questions remain unanswered. KSM told his interrogators that the attacks cost about $500,000; but the commissioners never found out where the money came from. Nor is it clear whether the hijackers had a support network within the United States. Senator Bob Graham, former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, believes that the attack scheme had help from Saudi Arabia. In a new book he asks whether such a network involving the Saudis has been identified and destroyed.[*] I think it's doubtful that the commissioners, with the press and the families watching, with their reputations at stake, and with many staff members who would be aware of the evidence, would have chosen to suppress important but sensitive information. Some members, however, were more concerned than others about possible Saudi support.
The commission's proposals for reorganizing the government's intelligence structure are already the subject of an intense debate. Its proposal to establish a new national intelligence director in the White House, with budget and hiring authority over almost all of the intelligence agencies, set off a predictable power struggle in Washington. The CIA and the Pentagon, both of which would lose power under the proposal, and their allies on Capitol Hill, are opposing it. Deferring to the Pentagon, which controls 80 percent of the government's intelligence budget, Bush didn't include in his proposal the budget authority for the new director. But without this authority, the position would be virtually powerless. Another important issue is whether the new director should be in the White House, as the commission proposed, or have more independent status.
Bush, saying that he didn't wish intelligence to be politicized, proposed the creation of a new agency, with the president having the authority to hire and fire the director. Some observers think the office of national intelligence director should be still more independent than that—more along the lines of the Federal Reserve. Such a post, or something like it, has been proposed in the past by other commissions and committees, but I think there's a real question whether almost all of the government's intelligence should be siphoned through one person. (The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which—though its report was largely ignored —got the Iraq weapons issue right, is left outside the new directorate in the commission's proposal.) The commission simply said, "We hope" that the President would look past the director's reports and question those who report to him or her. (The commission's proposal to consolidate the eighty-eight congressional committees with authority over the intelligence agencies into one joint committee— another threat to established powers —hasn't been received enthusiastically on Capitol Hill.)
In any event, the character and attentiveness and persistence of the president remain the crucial factors in determining how intelligence is to be collected and used, and how threats are to be dealt with. Only he can insist that the agencies present objective information, whatever its consequences for the president's policy. But the power of the commission's remarkable report, its dispassionate marshaling of the facts, and the respect that the public came to have for it stirred an extraordinary amount of attention and forced hesitant politicians, in the White House and on Capitol Hill, to consider and debate its recommendations. Against all odds, this is no small achievement.
—August 24, 2004
Notes
[*] See his Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America's War on Terror, written with Jeff Nussbaum (Random House, 2004).

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Posted by richard at 09:34 AM

September 13, 2004

LNS Countdown to Day of Reckoning -- 50 Days until America goes to the Ballot Box, Today's REAL Headlines

There are 50 days left until America goes to the Ballot Box. Either there is an Electoral Uprising or we will lose this Republic in all but name and pretense. Sen. John F. Kerry, over the weekend, made it clear that he is going to fight the triad of the Bush cabal, its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party and their sponsors in the US regimestream news media on the central issues of this campaign even if the US regimestream news media, and its propapunditgandists including their craven, token “democrats” like Dee Dee Meyer (check out www.dailyhowler.com) choose to belittle, ignore, distort and trivialize. Yes, this weekend, JFK was on the stump speaking truth to power about the suppression of the African American vote both in 2000 and in 2004, and the Bush cabal’s post-9/11 cover-up and incompetence. It will not be too long before their pre-9/11 negligence becomes a campaign issue as well….Here are some *very* important stories (including the truth from US Marine commander in Falluja and the motive for the US regimestream news media complicity) that should dominate the air waves and capture headlines above the fold. But they probably won’t. Please read them and share them with others. Please vote and encourage all those you know to vote. And remember that the US regimestream news media does not intend to inform you about this presidential election campaign, they intend to DISinform you about this presidential election campaign…

1. Sen. John F. Kerry attacks the Bush cabal on 9/11
CNN: In his statement Sunday, Kerry complained that Cheney "continues to intentionally mislead the American public by drawing a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 in an attempt to make the invasion of Iraq part of the global war on terror.
"The president needs to answer the question: Who do you think is right? Vice President Cheney or Secretary Powell? And if it's Secretary Powell, will you direct your vice president to stop misleading the American people?"
The Kerry statement continued: "On an issue of such importance, where U.S. troops are bearing nearly 90 percent of the burden, and American taxpayers are paying $200 billion and counting, the administration has an especially solemn obligation to conduct itself in an honest and straightforward way.
"Unfortunately, in its desperate attempts to reinvent a rationale for the Iraq war, this White House has repeatedly chosen to mislead the American people."

Craig Gordon, Newsday: Sen. John Kerry used the anniversary of the nation's worst terrorist attack yesterday to call on President George W. Bush to declassify a secret post-9/11 report that recommends an overhaul of the nation's intelligence agencies.
After laying flowers at a Boston memorial garden and speaking at an event for Massachusetts victims' families, Kerry in a written statement called on Bush to release the report by a presidential intelligence commission that looked at how to restructure the nation's spy agencies to better confront terrorism.
Some of the report's recommendations are believed to be in line with those of the recent 9/11 Commission report, including the creation of a new national intelligence czar, which Bush has endorsed.
"The White House has held this important report under wraps for nearly three years while resisting efforts to strengthen our intelligence services that are essential to preventing terrorist attacks and protecting our nation," Kerry said in a written statement. "What is the White House hiding?"
Kerry has accused Bush of foot-dragging on efforts to restructure the nation's intelligence community in light of broad-based failures that prevented the United States from heading off the 9/11 attacks.
2.

2. US Marine commander in Iraq speaks out on Fallujah
Anne Barnard, Boston Globe: The outgoing commander of US Marines in Iraq said yesterday that he disagreed with the order that sent his troops to invade the restive city of Fallujah in early April and with the decision to halt the attack days later, when he believed they were within days of victory.
Lieutenant General James T. Conway said the abortive assault, launched in response to the brutal killing of four US civilian contractors by a mob in Fallujah on March 31, spiked tensions in the area and helped make the region more hostile to US forces today than when his forces took charge of the area six months ago…
"I wonder how this might have developed if we had been able to continue the way we were," Conway said. "We follow our orders. We had our say, and we understood the rationale. We saluted smartly and went about the attack." Asked for his personal feelings about the order to stop the attack midway, Conway said, "I would simply say that when you order elements of a Marine division to attack a city, you really need to understand the consequences of that, and not, perhaps, vacillate in the middle of that. Once you commit to do that, you have to stay committed." He added that at the time the Marines were ordered to halt their offensive, "We thought we were going to be done in a few days." Conway's remarks were the strongest yet from Marines who have said privately for months that they were frustrated at the stop-and-go assault, which they believe shattered their rapport with Iraqis, yet brought no resolution and left the Marines appearing indecisive. Conway gave his assessment as his successor, Lieutenant General John F. Sattler, and the interim Iraqi government face much the same dilemma in Fallujah that Conway's Marines faced six months ago: leave the city in the hands of insurgents or face a bloody showdown that could incense Iraqis and international opinion.

3. A glimpse into the motive of the US regimestream news media
Harry Berkowitz, Newsday: On Friday, a federal appeals court rejected Tribune Co.'s attempt to lift a ban on owning a TV station and newspaper in the same big-city market. Chicago-based Tribune, whose properties include Newsday and WPIX/11 in New York, says it plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
But analysts say the high court probably will not even take the case, especially if the federal government does not back a court fight to retain Federal Communications Commissions rules loosening limits on media ownership. The FCC is not expected to decide whether to appeal until after the election.
The eventual outcome may depend on what the FCC does to revise its rules. And what it does may depend on whether George Bush or John Kerry is the next president, since the panel's makeup could change drastically.
"Of all the issues affecting the telecom-media sector, the one issue on which Bush and Kerry have the most predictable differences is media ownership," said Blair Levin, media regulatory analyst at investment firm Legg Mason.
In its Friday ruling on cross-ownership, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia refused to reverse part of its June decision that the FCC had improperly loosened a wide array of media ownership limits in 2003.
Tribune "has so much bet on this thing and they're really starting to sweat," said Andrew Schwartzman, president of the Media Access Project, which represents a group seeking strict limits on media ownership. "There's billions of dollars sitting on the sidelines - transactions that are being held up."
Kerry, who opposes media consolidation, has called for a reversal of the FCC's relaxation of ownership limits. His election would mean a shake-up of the five-member panel, putting Democrats in the majority and possibly elevating commissioner Michael Copps to chairman.

4. Bush is SOFT on, and in bed with, on terrorist sponsors
Craig Unger, Guardian: Now, thanks to Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia and the Failure of America's War on Terror, a new book by Senator Bob Graham, we know that the Saudis may have played an even bigger role in 9/11 than previously reported. As a member of the Senate intelligence committee, Graham said he learned that "evidence of official Saudi support" for at least two of the 19 hijackers was "incontrovertible".
As co-chairman of the joint House-Senate panel investigating 9/11, Graham found his efforts to get to the bottom of the Saudi role in 9/11 again and again were quashed by the Bush administration. When his committee tried to subpoena a key witness who happened to be an FBI informant, the FBI refused to cooperate. "It was the only time in my senatorial experience that the FBI has refused to deliver a congressional subpoena," Graham told Salon.com in a recent interview. "The FBI wasn't acting on its own," he added, "but had been directed by the White House not to cooperate."
In the end, 27 pages of the report on the role of the Saudis in 9/11 were classified by the White House and not released to the public. According to Graham, the Bush administration may have censored the material because it did not want the public to be aware of Saudi support for the 9/11 terrorists. "There has been a long-term special relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia," he said, "and that relationship has probably reached a new high under the George W Bush administration, in part because of the long and close family relationship that the Bushes have had with the Saudi royal family."
Graham writes: "It was as if the president's loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with America's safety."

5. Voice in the Wilderness heralds redemption
Nancy Benac, Associated Press: Gore, private citizen — unleashed.
Speaking with a freedom and passion less frequently seen in his own political campaigns, Gore is happily making speeches, raking in money and generally raising hell for John Kerry (news - web sites) and the Democratic Party these days. In his spare time, he's also teaching at three universities and raising money for himself through various business ventures.
In recent weeks and months, as an uncensored voice for the Democratic cause, Gore has skewered President Bush (news - web sites)'s team for moral cowardice, the "lowest sort of politics imaginable," aligning itself with "digital brownshirts" who intimidate the press, and political tactics as craven as those of Richard Nixon. Just to cite a few examples.
It's red meat for loyal Democrats, to whom Gore is the embodiment of what is at stake on Nov. 2.
"There's a lot of emotion that's wrapped up in the outcome of 2000, which I think he can use constructively in 2004," says Democratic consultant Michael Feldman, a former Gore adviser.
Just ask 76-year-old Jim McNeil, a retired steelworker who turned out to hear Gore speak at the United Steelworkers of America headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh last week.
"There stands the real president," said McNeil, who then made just the sought-after segue into support for Kerry on Election Day.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/09/12/kerry.powell.iraq/index.html

Kerry challenges Bush on Iraq-9/11 connection
Says administration is implying link that has been disproved

(CNN) -- Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry accused the Bush administration Sunday of falsely linking Iraq to the attacks of September 11, 2001, "in its desperate attempts to reinvent a rationale for the Iraq war."
Kerry made his charge in a statement released after Secretary of State Colin Powell said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he has seen nothing to link Saddam Hussein's regime with the 9/11 attacks.
"We know that there had been connections and there had been exchanges between al Qaeda and the Saddam Hussein regime. And those have been pursued and looked at," Powell said on the program.
"But I have seen nothing that makes a direct connection between Saddam Hussein and that awful regime, and what happened on 9/11."
Kerry said Powell "came clean with the American people about the lack of a connection between Iraq, Saddam Hussein and the September 11 attacks."
Not only that, Kerry said, Powell also contradicted comments Vice President Dick Cheney has made as recently as Friday.
At campaign stops Thursday and Friday, Cheney mentioned al Qaeda in discussing the Iraq war, but he did not link Iraq under Saddam to September 11. (Special report: America Votes 2004)
On Thursday in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cheney described Saddam as a "man who provided safe harbor and sanctuary to terrorists for years" and who "provided safe harbor and sanctuary as well for al Qaeda."
In Wisconsin on Friday, he said the "al Qaeda organization had a relationship with the Iraqis."
"The bottom line is that we're [in Iraq] for the safety and security of the nation, and our friends and allies around the world," Cheney said.
"We didn't do anything to provoke the attack of 9/11. We were attacked by the terrorists, and we've responded forcefully and aggressively."
In June, Cheney said "we don't know" whether Iraq was involved in 9/11.
In September 2003, Cheney said Iraq under Saddam had been "the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."
But at the time President Bush said, "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11 [attacks]. What the vice president said was that he has been involved with al Qaeda."
The independent, bipartisan panel that investigated the attacks released its final report July 22. The 9/11 commission found there were numerous contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda in the 1990s, but it said those contacts did not result in a "collaborative relationship."
In his statement Sunday, Kerry complained that Cheney "continues to intentionally mislead the American public by drawing a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 in an attempt to make the invasion of Iraq part of the global war on terror.
"The president needs to answer the question: Who do you think is right? Vice President Cheney or Secretary Powell? And if it's Secretary Powell, will you direct your vice president to stop misleading the American people?"
The Kerry statement continued: "On an issue of such importance, where U.S. troops are bearing nearly 90 percent of the burden, and American taxpayers are paying $200 billion and counting, the administration has an especially solemn obligation to conduct itself in an honest and straightforward way.
"Unfortunately, in its desperate attempts to reinvent a rationale for the Iraq war, this White House has repeatedly chosen to mislead the American people."

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-uspols123964681sep12,0,6938923.story?coll=ny-nationalnews-headlines
Kerry calls on Bush to release secret 9/11 report
BY CRAIG GORDON
WASHINGTON BUREAU

September 12, 2004
Boston - Sen. John Kerry used the anniversary of the nation's worst terrorist attack yesterday to call on President George W. Bush to declassify a secret post-9/11 report that recommends an overhaul of the nation's intelligence agencies.

It was a day in which both presidential candidates shelved campaign speeches in favor of public words of remembrance and comfort. But Kerry, who is trailing in the polls with less than two months to Election Day, also took a political tack.

After laying flowers at a Boston memorial garden and speaking at an event for Massachusetts victims' families, Kerry in a written statement called on Bush to release the report by a presidential intelligence commission that looked at how to restructure the nation's spy agencies to better confront terrorism.

Some of the report's recommendations are believed to be in line with those of the recent 9/11 Commission report, including the creation of a new national intelligence czar, which Bush has endorsed.

"The White House has held this important report under wraps for nearly three years while resisting efforts to strengthen our intelligence services that are essential to preventing terrorist attacks and protecting our nation," Kerry said in a written statement. "What is the White House hiding?"

Kerry has accused Bush of foot-dragging on efforts to restructure the nation's intelligence community in light of broad-based failures that prevented the United States from heading off the 9/11 attacks.

At the same time, Bush has made the Sept. 11 attacks and his response the central theme of his campaign, as he tries to convince voters that he, not Kerry, is the leader who can keep them safe in a dangerous world and that Kerry is unfit for the job.

Bush did not mention Kerry in his weekly radio address live from the Oval Office as he pledged that the nation "will not relent" until the terrorists are defeated.

His campaign, meanwhile, said it was Kerry's right to talk political issues yesterday - but that they would not follow suit in deference to the day.

"September 11 is a day of remembrance, and the Bush campaign will respond to these attacks on September 12," said Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel.

Kerry campaign spokeswoman Allison Dobson denied that Kerry was trying to use the national attention on the attacks to score political points. She said that with Congress preparing to consider a new central intelligence chief and weighing Bush's recommendations for intelligence reform, the report could add a valuable perspective. "We want time to get it out there," Dobson said.

The panel was chaired by retired Gen. Brent Scowcroft, who chaired the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and served as national security adviser when Bush's father was president.

The report could fuel Kerry's campaign criticism if it shows that Scowcroft recommended a similar intelligence shake-up to the one the 9/11 Commission recommended recently, but did it almost three years ago, with no White House action. Republican lawmakers recently pressed Scowcroft to release the report, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said he doesn't know why it remains classified.
Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc. | Article licensing and reprint options

http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2004/09/13/commander_disagreed_with_invasion/

Commander disagreed with invasion
By Anne Barnard, Globe Staff | September 13, 2004
FALLUJAH, Iraq -- The outgoing commander of US Marines in Iraq said yesterday that he disagreed with the order that sent his troops to invade the restive city of Fallujah in early April and with the decision to halt the attack days later, when he believed they were within days of victory.
Lieutenant General James T. Conway said the abortive assault, launched in response to the brutal killing of four US civilian contractors by a mob in Fallujah on March 31, spiked tensions in the area and helped make the region more hostile to US forces today than when his forces took charge of the area six months ago.
The attack on the contractors came just four days after the First Marine Expeditionary Force took over the sprawling area that includes Fallujah from the Army's 82d Airborne Division. The ensuing assault scuttled Marine plans to focus on winning hearts and minds by cooperating closely with locals on reconstruction, and it kicked off a new round of destabilizing violence that is still plaguing the country.
"We felt like we had a method that we wanted to apply to Fallujah, that we ought to probably let the situation settle before we appeared to be attacking out of revenge," Conway told reporters yesterday at Camp Fallujah, the Marine base on the city's outskirts.
Instead, under orders from superiors, Marines launched a major offensive into the city, only to receive new orders to pause after three days of intense fighting and cordon off the city in what became a three-week standoff. Television images of destruction, civilian casualties, and refugees fleeing the city sparked outrage among Iraqis. The crisis ended only when Marines left the city and handed control to the Fallujah Brigades, a group of former Iraqi army officers from the area, some with ties to insurgents. That experiment failed, Conway said. The Fallujah Brigade never took effective action -- some of its members cooperated with insurgent attacks, Iraqi and US officials say -- and was dismantled this month. Fallujah remains in chaos, with rival insurgent groups using the city as a base.
"I wonder how this might have developed if we had been able to continue the way we were," Conway said. "We follow our orders. We had our say, and we understood the rationale. We saluted smartly and went about the attack." Asked for his personal feelings about the order to stop the attack midway, Conway said, "I would simply say that when you order elements of a Marine division to attack a city, you really need to understand the consequences of that, and not, perhaps, vacillate in the middle of that. Once you commit to do that, you have to stay committed." He added that at the time the Marines were ordered to halt their offensive, "We thought we were going to be done in a few days." Conway's remarks were the strongest yet from Marines who have said privately for months that they were frustrated at the stop-and-go assault, which they believe shattered their rapport with Iraqis, yet brought no resolution and left the Marines appearing indecisive. Conway gave his assessment as his successor, Lieutenant General John F. Sattler, and the interim Iraqi government face much the same dilemma in Fallujah that Conway's Marines faced six months ago: leave the city in the hands of insurgents or face a bloody showdown that could incense Iraqis and international opinion.
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has vowed in recent days to relaunch an attack on Fallujah if its people cannot oust the insurgents and rejoin Iraq's political process. But the timing of an assault must strike a delicate balance, Marine commanders said. It should not happen until an Iraqi security force is ready to lead the attack and then maintain control inside the city. But that could take months, and every day the assault is delayed insurgents have more time to dig in.
Conway has led the First Marine Expeditionary Force for two years and until yesterday commanded 42,000 troops in Iraq who patrolled some of Iraq's most dangerous areas: Al Anbar province, which includes Fallujah, Ramadi, and much of the restive Sunni Triangle; Najaf, where they fought a three week battle with Moqtada al-Sadr's militia; and the towns of Mahmoudiya and Latifiya, insurgent strongholds south of Baghdad. Conway's criticisms hold weight because of his track record; he was decorated yesterday for leading Marines in the invasion of Iraq last year, the longest and fastest Marine advance in history. He is moving on to the Pentagon post of deputy director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He stopped short of criticizing political leadership, saying of the disputed orders, "I don't know how high it went." He said he received the orders from Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, then commander of US forces in Iraq.
Marines, too, have faced criticism for how they handled the region; whether their stated policy of increased activity to win over Iraqis combined with more aggressive raids helped spark April's violence has been hotly debated.
Before they arrived, Army troops faced strong resistance in Fallujah. But they could visit the town hall and police station, and the Iraqi police at least nominally functioned inside the city. On March 24, as Marines visited the town hall along with the outgoing Army commanders, they were attacked from three sides and had to fight their way out of the city. Soon after Marines took control on March 27, they launched an aggressive raid inside the city, sparking skirmishes with several casualties. The contractors were killed the next week. During the fighting in April, insurgents routed Iraqi National Guard and police forces. After the Fallujah Brigade took over, armed groups have run rampant in the city, including some trying to impose Islamic law and others profiting from crime. Marines argue the pullout had one benefit: removing the rallying cry that united those disparate groups.
Now, troops may face one more armed foe: Many of the Fallujah Brigades are expected to support the insurgency rather than join Iraqi police and army units as Allawi has urged them to do. The Marines gave the brigade's 2,000 soldiers 800 rifles, 27 trucks, and 50 radios, Conway said, adding that they have been asked to turn them in within the week.
Sattler, the director of operations for US Central Command, which oversees Iraqi operations, assumed command of Conway's troops in a formal ceremony yesterday morning at Camp Fallujah.
Three mortar barrages struck the camp before the ceremony, the fiercest attack in weeks, Marines said. One round struck within 100 yards of the building where the ceremony was held.

© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


http://www.newsday.com/business/ny-bztrb083959362sep08,0,7838860.story?coll=ny-business-headlines

Media ownership limits may depend on election
BY HARRY BERKOWITZ
STAFF WRITER
September 8, 2004

Big media companies are striking out in efforts to bat away some of the uncertainty over how much they will be allowed to own - and the final answers may hinge on who is elected president.

On Friday, a federal appeals court rejected Tribune Co.'s attempt to lift a ban on owning a TV station and newspaper in the same big-city market. Chicago-based Tribune, whose properties include Newsday and WPIX/11 in New York, says it plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But analysts say the high court probably will not even take the case, especially if the federal government does not back a court fight to retain Federal Communications Commissions rules loosening limits on media ownership. The FCC is not expected to decide whether to appeal until after the election.

The eventual outcome may depend on what the FCC does to revise its rules. And what it does may depend on whether George Bush or John Kerry is the next president, since the panel's makeup could change drastically.

"Of all the issues affecting the telecom-media sector, the one issue on which Bush and Kerry have the most predictable differences is media ownership," said Blair Levin, media regulatory analyst at investment firm Legg Mason.

In its Friday ruling on cross-ownership, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia refused to reverse part of its June decision that the FCC had improperly loosened a wide array of media ownership limits in 2003.

Tribune "has so much bet on this thing and they're really starting to sweat," said Andrew Schwartzman, president of the Media Access Project, which represents a group seeking strict limits on media ownership. "There's billions of dollars sitting on the sidelines - transactions that are being held up."

Shaun Sheehan, the lobbyist for Tribune in Washington, D.C., acknowledged that the company's appeal was an "outside shot," but said resolution of the cross-ownership issue should not be held up along with the other FCC media rules because diversity of news sources is inherent in the big-city markets where Tribune seeks to own papers and TV stations.

"At the end of the day we may be vindicated - we rather think we will be, except the day's getting awfully long," Sheehan said.

In addition to Tribune, the extent of ownership limits could affect possible plans by companies including CBS parent Viacom, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Gannett and Media General.

Analysts say the case does not appear to raise issues that would tempt the high court. Even if the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, it might not rule until June.

Kerry, who opposes media consolidation, has called for a reversal of the FCC's relaxation of ownership limits. His election would mean a shake-up of the five-member panel, putting Democrats in the majority and possibly elevating commissioner Michael Copps to chairman.

Even if Bush remains president, it is uncertain whether Republican Michael Powell will remain chairman of the FCC.

Either way, a new FCC may take a year to draft new ownership rules - and there is no guarantee those will meet court objections.

Instead, the FCC may end up reviewing media acquisitions on a case-by-case basis instead of seeking to impose far-reaching rules, some analysts say.

The first crunch for Tribune could come Aug. 1, 2006, when its license for TV station KTLA in Los Angeles expires, after which it has one year to decide whether to drop the station or its newspaper there, the Los Angeles Times. The license for WPIX, which is in the same market as Newsday, expires Feb. 1, 2007. If the rules don't change Tribune could seek a waiver or be forced to sell one of the properties in each city.
Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/comment/story/0,14259,1302339,00.html
Comment
________________________________________
'War president' Bush has always been soft on terror

His campaign says vote Republican or die - but he lets al-Qaida off the hook

Craig Unger
Saturday September 11, 2004
The Guardian

Where's George Orwell when we need him? Because we Americans need him. We desperately need him. Consider: in August 2001, immediately after reading a memo entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in US", President George Bush went bass fishing - and never called a meeting to discuss the issue.
A month later, on September 11, when he was told that the terrorists had attacked, Bush spent the next seven minutes reading a children's book, The Pet Goat, with a group of schoolchildren.
And when it comes to his own military service, recent revelations show that Bush got out of fighting in Vietnam thanks to his dad's political clout. Even then, Bush didn't fulfil his obligations to the National Guard.
Yet somehow the Bush-Cheney ticket is convincing Americans that only a Republican administration can handle national security. If John Kerry wins, Dick Cheney warned: "The danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating." The choice is simple: Vote Republican, or die. And voters are buying it.
A poll just after the Republican convention showed that 27% of the voters preferred Bush to Kerry when it came to national security. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that if Bush wins in November it will be because of the fear factor.
Yet the truth is that Bush is actually soft on terror. When it comes to going after the men who were behind 9/11 and who continue to wage a jihad against the US, Bush has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the forces behind terrorism, shielded the people who funded al-Qaida, obstructed investigations and diverted resources from the battle against it.
One key reason is the Bush-Saudi relationship, the like of which is unprecedented in US politics. Even after the success of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, the subject is largely taboo in the American media. Never before has a president of the US - much less two from the same family - had such close ties with another foreign power.
Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US and a powerful member of the royal family, has been a close friend of George Bush Snr for more than 20 years. Nicknamed Bandar Bush, he drops by the Bush residences in Kennebunkport, Maine, and Crawford, Texas, not to mention the White House. He and Bush senior go on hunting trips together.
Then there's the money. More than $1.4bn of financial transactions have gone from the House of Saud to corporations and institutions tied to the Bushes and their allies - largely to companies such as the Carlyle Group, Halliburton, and HarkenEnergy. So what does all that influence buy the Saudis?
Let's go to the White House on September 13 2001. Just 48 hours after 9/11, the toxic rubble at the World Trade Centre site was still ablaze. The estimated death count, later lowered significantly, was thought to be as high as 40,000.
On that afternoon, Bandar met on the Truman balcony with President Bush and the two men lit up Cohiba cigars. At the time, the White House knew that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. It knew that Osama bin Laden was Saudi. And, as the 9/11 commission concluded, it knew that Saudi Arabia was "the primary source of money for al-Qaida", which was largely funded by wealthy Saudis via Islamist charities.
President Bush was in the presence of the ambassador from the country that is the guardian of Wahhabi Islam, the fundamentalist sect which helped produce al-Qaida. This is where the war on terror and a massive investigation into the greatest crime in US history should have begun.
But, given the intimate relationship between the two families - and, of course, the fact that the Saudis help fuel America's 165m automobiles - this was not just a meeting between the president of the US and the ambassador of a country that harboured and financed terrorists. The Saudis were special.
Because Bush and Bandar were the only two people present, we do not know exactly what was said. But we do know that the president failed to join the issue of the Saudi role in terror or how to stop the funding of terrorism through Islamist charities and financial institutions.
That same afternoon, the first of 11 chartered planes began to pick up more than 140 Saudis scattered throughout the US. Saudi Arabia and the president's defenders have mounted a massive PR campaign to minimise the damage of the Saudi evacuation. But the facts in the 9/11 commission report remain unchanged. The Saudi evacuation flights were not the fantasies of conspiratorialists. They actually took place. The departures were approved by the White House and the vast majority of Saudi passengers were not interviewed by the FBI.
This was the biggest crime in US history. But, in the midst of a grave national security crisis, rather than investigating it the White House and the FBI spent their limited resources helping evacuate the Saudis.
Over the next two years, the 9/11 commission found, the Bush administration failed "to develop a strategy to counter Saudi terrorist financing". As a result, our Saudi allies were half-hearted in cooperating on terrorist financing and, the commission concluded: "the US government still has not determined with any precision how much al-Qaida raises or from whom, or how it spends its money."
Now, thanks to Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia and the Failure of America's War on Terror, a new book by Senator Bob Graham, we know that the Saudis may have played an even bigger role in 9/11 than previously reported. As a member of the Senate intelligence committee, Graham said he learned that "evidence of official Saudi support" for at least two of the 19 hijackers was "incontrovertible".
As co-chairman of the joint House-Senate panel investigating 9/11, Graham found his efforts to get to the bottom of the Saudi role in 9/11 again and again were quashed by the Bush administration. When his committee tried to subpoena a key witness who happened to be an FBI informant, the FBI refused to cooperate. "It was the only time in my senatorial experience that the FBI has refused to deliver a congressional subpoena," Graham told Salon.com in a recent interview. "The FBI wasn't acting on its own," he added, "but had been directed by the White House not to cooperate."
In the end, 27 pages of the report on the role of the Saudis in 9/11 were classified by the White House and not released to the public. According to Graham, the Bush administration may have censored the material because it did not want the public to be aware of Saudi support for the 9/11 terrorists. "There has been a long-term special relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia," he said, "and that relationship has probably reached a new high under the George W Bush administration, in part because of the long and close family relationship that the Bushes have had with the Saudi royal family."
Graham writes: "It was as if the president's loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with America's safety."
If that is the case, no wonder the Bush-Cheney ticket is counting on fear.
• Craig Unger is the author of House of Bush, House of Saud
craigunger@houseofbush.com

Gore Unleashes Fury on Democrats' Behalf
Sun Sep 12, 2:50 PM ET
By NANCY BENAC, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Al Gore (news - web sites)'s stiff jokes are gone now, replaced by recount jokes. The cautious campaigner of 2000 is gone, too, replaced by a fire-breathing Bush basher.
When Gore delivered his latest-in-a-series slam at the Republicans last week, faulting Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) for "sleazy and despicable" criticism of the Democrats, a White House spokesman dismissively responded: "Consider the source."
Well, Gore used to be the vice president. And, as he likes to say, he used to be the next president of the United States.
Now, he is Al Gore, private citizen — unleashed.
Speaking with a freedom and passion less frequently seen in his own political campaigns, Gore is happily making speeches, raking in money and generally raising hell for John Kerry (news - web sites) and the Democratic Party these days. In his spare time, he's also teaching at three universities and raising money for himself through various business ventures.
In recent weeks and months, as an uncensored voice for the Democratic cause, Gore has skewered President Bush (news - web sites)'s team for moral cowardice, the "lowest sort of politics imaginable," aligning itself with "digital brownshirts" who intimidate the press, and political tactics as craven as those of Richard Nixon. Just to cite a few examples.
It's red meat for loyal Democrats, to whom Gore is the embodiment of what is at stake on Nov. 2.
"There's a lot of emotion that's wrapped up in the outcome of 2000, which I think he can use constructively in 2004," says Democratic consultant Michael Feldman, a former Gore adviser.
Just ask 76-year-old Jim McNeil, a retired steelworker who turned out to hear Gore speak at the United Steelworkers of America headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh last week.
"There stands the real president," said McNeil, who then made just the sought-after segue into support for Kerry on Election Day.
Republicans, however, say Gore's passion on the campaign path has reached an unhealthy fever pitch that could do Democrats more harm than good.
GOP strategist Keith Appell likens him to "some kind of cheerleader on acid."
"Some of the things he has said have been outrageous and he says them in this high-pitched scream," Appell said. "I really don't know what to call that."
When Gore, in an interview with The New Yorker, compared Bush's faith to "the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia" and elsewhere, the Bush campaign distributed a statement from GOP consultant Ralph Reed, a former leader of the Christian Coalition, calling the comments "reckless and irresponsible."
If Kerry's advisers have any nervousness about Gore's high-octane attacks, they're not showing it in public.
"Gore will be a tremendous asset to us in a number of targeted battleground states and we're happy to have his help," said David Morehouse, a senior Kerry adviser. As for Gore's more outspoken criticisms, Morehouse adds, "He's a former vice president who's entitled to say what he believes."
Gore isn't just stumping for Kerry. He's also campaigning for other Democratic candidates for whom the former vice president can be a huge draw.
Last Wednesday, for example, Gore and wife Tipper hosted a house party for Tennessee legislative candidates that raised a record quarter-million dollars. On Thursday, he made two stops in Pennsylvania for Kerry. On Friday, he was in Illinois, raising money for Democratic House candidate Melissa Bean.
Pollster Andy Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, said Gore is "emblematic of happier days" to many Democrats.
But Kohut cautioned that "swing voters tend to be moderate, and if he comes across as too over the top, there's a risk." The pollster added, though, "Certainly he's not any more over-the-top than Dick Cheney."
Gore, who talks with Kerry frequently, had a first-day speaking role at the Democratic convention in Boston, where he toned down his rhetoric in keeping with the party's goal of projecting a positive tone from the podium.
But party activists are happy to see Gore take a harder line on the hustings. And some wonder how the 2000 election might have ended if only Gore had been similarly passionate in his denunciations of Bush then.
"He was shackled with the trappings of the office of vice president in 2000 and it's a shame, because I think it certainly held him back," says Warren Gooch, a lawyer and party fund-raiser in Gore's home state of Tennessee. "If he had been a little more forceful, a little more open and perhaps a little less cautious in 2000, it could possibly have made a difference."
Gore was warmly cheered as he took center stage in Boston. Before speaking, he paused to acknowledge the ovation, patting his hand on his heart in a reprise of the same gesture he made four years earlier, when he was accepting his party's nomination rather than merely endorsing its choice of another man.
This time, the gesture had an almost wistful element to it. And then Gore heaved a sigh and went on with his speech.

Posted by richard at 10:48 AM

September 12, 2004

LNS Countdown to the Day of Reckoning -- 51 days until America goes to the Ballot Box, Today's REAL Headlines

Here are four stories that should fill the air waves today, but, of course, they won't...In 51 days, America will hold a national referendum on the eCHARACTER, CREDIBILITY and COMPETENCE of the _resident and the VICE _resident...Between now and then most of what you will hear on the air waves or read above the fold will be less than subtle distortions, damnable lies and infuriating trivialities...Why? Not because you want it, but because the Corporatist Triad of the Bush Cabal, its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party and their sponsors in the US regimestream news media (formerly known as the "US mainstream news media"), in particular the major network and cable news organizations, as well as the WASHPs and the NYTwits, have shared and vested interest in a US Electoral weakened by moral and intellectual malnourishment...This morning, Calm 'Em Powell and Condescenia Rice were dispatched to the sunday morning propapunitgandist news programs (i.e., SeeBS Fork the Nation, NotBeSeen Meat the Press, AnythingButSee Week in Revision). If we lived in a country with a press that was free to do anything more than feather and foul its own nest, both Condescencia and Calm 'Em would be gone from the Bush abomination's national insecurity team, Condescenia would have resigned in DISGRACE, along with Rumsfeld, Woefullwits, Fieth, Cambone and Ashcroft, and Calm 'Em would have resigned in INDIGNANT PROTEST before he lost his soul...But we don't live in a country with a truly free press, and therefore, it is all up to you...Please read these four stories, pleas share them with others. Please vote and encourage all those you know to vote. And please remember that the US regimestream news media does not intend to inform you, it intends to DISinform you...It is all up to you...

1. The stench of Abu Ghraib is on the Bush White House, the stench of the Bush White House is on Abu Ghraib

Houston Chronicle: Senior military and national security officials in the Bush administration were repeatedly warned by subordinates in 2002 and 2003 that prisoners in military custody were being abused, according to a new book by a prominent journalist.
Seymour M. Hersh, a writer for The New Yorker magazine who earlier this year was among the first to disclose details of the abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, makes the charges in his book "Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib" (HarperCollins), which is being released Monday.
Hersh asserts that a CIA analyst who visited the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the late summer of 2002 filed a report of abuses there that drew the attention of Gen. John A. Gordon, the deputy to Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser. But when Gordon called the matter to her attention and she discussed it with other senior officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, no significant change resulted. Hersh's account is based on anonymous sources, some of them secondhand, and could not be independently verified...
Hersh's thesis is that "the roots of the Abu Ghraib scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists" who have been charged so far, "but in the reliance of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld on secret operations and the use of coercion -- and eye-for-eye retribution -- in fighting terrorism."

2. The Enperor has no uniform...

US News & World Report: Last February, White House spokesman Scott McClellan held aloft sections of President Bush's military record, declaring to the waiting press that the files "clearly document the president fulfilling his duties in the National Guard." Case closed, he said....
A review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period. The White House has said that Bush's service should be calculated using 12-month periods beginning on his induction date in May 1968. Using this time frame, however, Bush still fails the Air Force obligation standard.
Moreover, White House officials say, Bush should be judged on whether he attended enough drills to count toward retirement. They say he accumulated sufficient points under this grading system. Yet, even using their method, which some military experts say is incorrect, U.S. News 's analysis shows that Bush once again fell short. His military records reveal that he failed to attend enough active-duty training and weekend drills to gain the 50 points necessary to count his final year toward retirement.
The U.S. News analysis also showed that during the final two years of his obligation, Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. What's more, he apparently never made up five months of drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by the administration. White House officials did not respond to the analysis last week but emphasized that Bush had "served honorably."
Some experts say they remain mystified as to how Bush obtained an honorable discharge. Lawrence Korb, a former top Defense Department official in the Reagan administration, says the military records clearly show that Bush "had not fulfilled his obligation" and "should have been called to active duty."

3. Calm 'Em Powell, US Secretary of Stone, calls the Neo-Con Wet Dreamers "f*#@%!+$ crazies"

Martin Bright, UK Observer: A furious row has broken out over claims in a new book by BBC broadcaster James Naughtie that US Secretary of State Colin Powell described neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as 'fucking crazies' during the build-up to war in Iraq.
Powell's extraordinary outburst is alleged to have taken place during a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The two became close friends during the intense negotiations in the summer of 2002 to build an international coalition for intervention via the United Nations. The 'crazies' are said to be Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.
Last week, the offices of Powell and Straw contacted Public Affairs, the US publishers of Naughtie's book, to say they would vigorously deny the claims if publication went ahead. But as no legal action was threatened, the US launch of the book, The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency, will proceed as planned this week.
Provocatively, the phrase 'fucking crazies' will be quoted on the jacket of the book, according to a source at the publisher. 'We were surprised to receive calls from the offices of Jack Straw and Colin Powell within 24 hours of each other,' the source said.
Naughtie claims that Powell and Straw spoke on an almost daily basis. Powell's concerns were said to have chimed with Straw's and those of Blair himself - that if America acted without UN sanction, allies would be lost.

4. Sen. John F. Kerry speaks out on the Bush cabal's efforts to supress the African American vote in 2004

Nedra Pickler, Associated Press: John Kerry (news - web sites) suggested Saturday night that Republicans may try to keep black voters from casting their ballots to help President Bush (news - web sites) win in November. "We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election," the Democratic presidential nominee told the Congressional Black Caucus (news - web sites).
"We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we're hearing those things again in this election."
Kerry has a team of lawyers to examine possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on election day.
"What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year in battleground states all across this country," Kerry said. "Well, we are here to let them know that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that this time, every vote is counted and every vote counts."

Cleanse the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004, Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)

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HoustonChronicle.com -- http://www.HoustonChronicle.com | Section: National

Sept. 11, 2004, 1:25PM

Book says Bush officials warned of prison abuse
By JOHN H. CUSHMAN JR.
New York Times
RESOURCES


WASHINGTON -- Senior military and national security officials in the Bush administration were repeatedly warned by subordinates in 2002 and 2003 that prisoners in military custody were being abused, according to a new book by a prominent journalist.

Seymour M. Hersh, a writer for The New Yorker magazine who earlier this year was among the first to disclose details of the abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, makes the charges in his book "Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib" (HarperCollins), which is being released Monday. The book draws on the articles he has written about the campaign against terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hersh asserts that a CIA analyst who visited the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the late summer of 2002 filed a report of abuses there that drew the attention of Gen. John A. Gordon, the deputy to Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser. But when Gordon called the matter to her attention and she discussed it with other senior officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, no significant change resulted. Hersh's account is based on anonymous sources, some of them secondhand, and could not be independently verified.

Hersh also says that a military officer involved in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq learned of the abuses at Abu Ghraib in November and reported it to two of his superiors, Gen. John P. Abizaid, the regional commander, and his deputy, Lt. Gen. Lance Smith.

"I said there are systematic abuses going on in the prisons," the unnamed officer is quoted as telling Hersh. "Abizaid didn't say a thing. He looked at me -- beyond me, as if to say, `Move on. I don't want to touch this.'"

Hersh also reports that FBI agents complained to their superiors about abuses at Guantanamo, as did a military lawyer, and that these complaints, too, were relayed to the Pentagon.

Hersh's thesis is that "the roots of the Abu Ghraib scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists" who have been charged so far, "but in the reliance of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld on secret operations and the use of coercion -- and eye-for-eye retribution -- in fighting terrorism."

In particular, Hersh has reported that a secret program to capture and interrogate terrorists led to the abuse of prisoners.

In a statement posted on its Web site, the Pentagon said: "Based on media inquiries, it appears that Seymour Hersh's upcoming book apparently contains many of the numerous unsubstantiated allegations and inaccuracies which he has made in the past based upon unnamed sources."

The statement added that several investigations so far "have determined that no responsible official of the Department of Defense approved any program that could conceivably have authorized or condoned the abuses seen at Abu Ghraib."

That is essentially the same reaction issued by the Pentagon when Hersh first reported, in May, that Rumsfeld, with the White House's approval, established a secret program under which commandos would capture and interrogate suspected terrorists with few if any constraints, and that eventually this program's reach extended into the Abu Ghraib prison.

Although the new book does not provide major new details on this claim, which has not been independently confirmed, Hersh does write that after his article describing the secret operation was published in May, "a ranking member of Congress confirmed its existence and further told me that President Bush had signed the mandated finding officially notifying Congress."

In an introduction, David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, defends Hersh's reliance on unnamed sources as unavoidable when reporting on intelligence matters, and says that in every case the magazine's editors "ask the reporter who the unnamed sources are, what their motivations might be, and if they can be corroborated."

Hersh achieved prominence in 1969 when he revealed the massacre of Vietnamese civilians by Americans at the village of My Lai.


http://americablog.blogspot.com/archives/2004_09_05_americablog_archive.html#109495807503581705

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Saturday, September 11, 2004
BIG STORY: US News & WR digs up INDEPENDENT EVIDENCE showing Bush even more AWOL than we thought
by John in DC - 9/11/2004 10:56:07 PM

According to USNews, Bush's violation of the rules was EVEN WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT. This is a BIG honking story. At this point, I'll give the GOP the CBS memos if they want 'em - who cares if they're real now. USNews, known to be a conservative-leaning magazine, has just come up with indepdendent evidence showing Bush shirked EVEN MORE of his National Guard duty than we thought, that the White House lied about it, and that there is no explanation for how Bush could reasonably get an honorable discharge.

Now is the time for some blogosphere coordination, friends. Send this story to your friends. Send it to your favorite blogs, your favorite email lists, your favorite bulletin boards. Hell, put the link to the story as the signature on your email or you bulletin board postings. Do whatever you can to make sure that as many people as possible take and run with this story so we can FORCE the mainstream media to pick up on this. It's what the vast right-wing conspiracy would do, it's time we did the same. Let's make this story BIG.

Some excerpts:
Last February, White House spokesman Scott McClellan held aloft sections of President Bush's military record, declaring to the waiting press that the files "clearly document the president fulfilling his duties in the National Guard." Case closed, he said....

A review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period. The White House has said that Bush's service should be calculated using 12-month periods beginning on his induction date in May 1968. Using this time frame, however, Bush still fails the Air Force obligation standard.

Moreover, White House officials say, Bush should be judged on whether he attended enough drills to count toward retirement. They say he accumulated sufficient points under this grading system. Yet, even using their method, which some military experts say is incorrect, U.S. News 's analysis shows that Bush once again fell short. His military records reveal that he failed to attend enough active-duty training and weekend drills to gain the 50 points necessary to count his final year toward retirement.

The U.S. News analysis also showed that during the final two years of his obligation, Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. What's more, he apparently never made up five months of drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by the administration. White House officials did not respond to the analysis last week but emphasized that Bush had "served honorably."

Some experts say they remain mystified as to how Bush obtained an honorable discharge. Lawrence Korb, a former top Defense Department official in the Reagan administration, says the military records clearly show that Bush "had not fulfilled his obligation" and "should have been called to active duty."

Bush signed his commitment to the Texas Air National Guard on May 27, 1968, shortly after becoming eligible for the draft. In his "statement of understanding," he acknowledged that "satisfactory participation" included attending "48 scheduled inactive-duty training periods" each year. He also acknowledged that he could be ordered to active duty if he failed to meet these requirements....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5014153-110878,00.html

Colin Powell in four-letter neo-con 'crazies' row

Martin Bright
Sunday September 12, 2004

The Observer

A furious row has broken out over claims in a new book by BBC broadcaster James Naughtie that US Secretary of State Colin Powell described neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as 'fucking crazies' during the build-up to war in Iraq.
Powell's extraordinary outburst is alleged to have taken place during a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The two became close friends during the intense negotiations in the summer of 2002 to build an international coalition for intervention via the United Nations. The 'crazies' are said to be Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

Last week, the offices of Powell and Straw contacted Public Affairs, the US publishers of Naughtie's book, to say they would vigorously deny the claims if publication went ahead. But as no legal action was threatened, the US launch of the book, The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency, will proceed as planned this week.

Naughtie stands by his claims and is said to be privately delighted that Powell and Straw have reacted so violently to the suggestion that the former US general had fallen out with the 'neo-cons'.

Provocatively, the phrase 'fucking crazies' will be quoted on the jacket of the book, according to a source at the publisher. 'We were surprised to receive calls from the offices of Jack Straw and Colin Powell within 24 hours of each other,' the source said.

Naughtie claims that Powell and Straw spoke on an almost daily basis. Powell's concerns were said to have chimed with Straw's and those of Blair himself - that if America acted without UN sanction, allies would be lost.

Cheney and his allies were preparing for a spring war and did not wish to be deflected by the UN inspection process. Powell is thought to have been terrified that the strategy of the 'crazies' would alienate the Blair government, which believed it needed UN backing to win over Parliament and the British public.

John Kampfner, political editor of the New Statesman and author of Blair's Wars, said Naughtie's characterisation of the feverish political atmosphere of the summer of 2002 was entirely accurate. 'The British government saw Powell as the most significant voice of sanity in the US administration. At different times during this very difficult period, the Brits used Powell to get across their point of view to the White House. But, bizarrely, Powell sometimes also used Blair to pass messages to Bush.'

Kampfner's book, which covers the Blair government's military adventures in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, reported that in July 2002 Blair sent his foreign policy adviser David Manning on a secret mission to Washington to deliver a letter hinting that, without a second UN resolution, Britain would not be able to join a war in Iraq.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

HoustonChronicle.com -- http://www.HoustonChronicle.com | Section: National
This article is: http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/2790432

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040912/ap_on_el_pr/kerry

Kerry Hints GOP May Suppress Black Votes

Sun Sep 12, 8:51 AM ET

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - John Kerry (news - web sites) suggested Saturday night that Republicans may try to keep black voters from casting their ballots to help President Bush (news - web sites) win in November. "We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election," the Democratic presidential nominee told the Congressional Black Caucus (news - web sites).
"We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we're hearing those things again in this election."
Kerry has a team of lawyers to examine possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on election day.
"What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year in battleground states all across this country," Kerry said. "Well, we are here to let them know that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that this time, every vote is counted and every vote counts."
Bush-Cheney spokesman Steve Schmidt said the campaign would not respond to Kerry's "baseless, divisive attacks" until Sunday. "Today is a day of remembrance," he said.


The Massachusetts senator also criticized the president for failing to meet with the caucus since his first month in office and for what he said was a failure to meet the Biblical standard set by the Good Samaritan to help others in need.


Blacks are one of the most loyal Democratic voting blocks, and Kerry needs to bring them to the ballot box if he is to overcome his trail in the polls and defeat in Bush. Kerry opened by joking about how CBC Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has an easier race ahead than he.


"The latest survey has him up 80-20, so I said, "Want to trade?" Kerry said.


Earlier Saturday, Kerry recalled the good works done in memory of those who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes that killed nearly 3,000 people.


"While Sept. 11th was the worst day we have ever seen, it brought out the best in all of us," Kerry told families of Massachusetts victims during a memorial at the Boston Opera House. He delivered the same message in the weekly Democratic radio address.


"In the years ahead, we will share its lessons with our children and grandchildren," he said. "We will tell them that on Sept. 11, ordinary men and women became heroes at a moment's notice — and so can you. We will tell them that we were strong because we took care of each other — and so can you."


At 8:46 a.m. — the moment three years ago that American Airlines Flight 11 hit the north tower — Kerry was visiting a memorial to Massachusetts victims. He laid white lilies at the memorial, located in Boston's Public Garden, then attended a private breakfast with families of the victims before the memorial service.


The two hijacked planes that crashed at the World Trade Center originated at Boston's Logan Airport. Victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (news - web sites) included nearly 200 people who either lived in Massachusetts or had ties to the state.


Kerry also issued a statement Saturday calling on Bush to release a 2001 report by the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board that reportedly recommended a major restructuring of the U.S. intelligence community, including establishing a single intelligence director.


The board's chairman, retired Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, was national security adviser under Bush's father and President Ford.


"The White House has held this important report under wraps for nearly three years while resisting efforts to strengthen the intelligence services that are essential to preventing terrorist attacks and protecting our nation," Kerry said in the statement. "What is the White House hiding? Why shouldn't the Congress and the American people be able to fully consider General Scowcroft's recommendations?"

Posted by richard at 10:48 AM

September 11, 2004

LNS Countdown to Day of Reckoning: 52 days until America goes to the Ballot Box...

It is the third anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy…Three thousand innocent human beings were slaughtered by madmen that awful morning…today, over one thousand US soldiers have died in the _resident’s Mega-Mogadishu in Iraq, a foolish military adventure -- lawless, unnecessary, ill-planned, unwinnable and predicated on LIES -- that has not only drained vital resources away from the hunt for Osama and al Qaeda, but has swelled the ranks of their fighters, fractured the Western Alliance, set the Arab Street ablaze with hatred and contributed to a significant increase in terrorist activity throughout the world…Meanwhile, we have been plunged into hundreds of billions of dollars in Federal budget deficit, and we have lost four years we did not have to spare in the struggle against nuclear proliferation, Global Warming, AIDS in Africa and other serious threat to national and international security that we should be leading…But none of these woes are as dangerous or as despair-engendering as the utter complicity, cravenness and moral betrayal of the US regimestream news media, formerly known as the “US mainstream news media,” in particular, the major network news organizations and the opinion-shaping WASHPs and NYTwits…There are 52 days to go to our Day of Reckoning at the ballot box. Either there is an Electoral Uprising or we will lose this Republic in all but pretense.

Here are five important stories from what should be today’s headlines. Please read them and share them with others. Please vote on 11/2 and encourage others to vote. Please remember that the the US regimestream news media does not want to inform you, it wants to DISinform you. The US regimestream news media has lost claim to impartiality or real journalism, it is, indeed, sponsoring the Bush cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly known-as-the-Republican-Party, and forms a Triad in the service of Corporate Interests (oil, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.).

KATA KERTESZ, Associated Press: Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam war, is urging government insiders to provide similar classified documents about the invasion of Iraq. Joined by other whistle-blowers and former government employees, Ellsberg said at a news conference Thursday that claims of government deception and lies have ``little credibility'' unless supported by documentary evidence, which often is available only in classified materials. In a memo to current government employees, Ellsberg and other former government officials said federal insiders owe a ``highhttp://www.progressivetrail.org/articles/040909Whitney.shtmler allegiance'' to the Constitution, the public and American soldiers in Iraq than to their government bosses.
The memo acknowledged that whistle-blowers risk personal setbacks, such as losing their jobs, but urged them to act nonetheless. ``You may save many Americans from being lied to death,'' it said.
Sibel Edmonds, who was fired by the FBI after she alleged security lapses in the agency's translator program, said the government frequently over-classifies documents, including the investigation into her own case.
Among the documents claimed to be wrongly classified are sections of reports from Army investigations into prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, and supporting material for then-Army Gen. Eric Shinseki's February 2003 estimate that several hundred thousand troops would have to stay in Iraq after the war.

Mike Whitney, Progessive Trail: Senator Bob Graham's new book, "Intelligence Matters" is a political tsunami. Along with many unexplored allegations concerning both 9-11 and the war in Afghanistan, Graham creates an important link between the Bush Administration and the attacks of Sept. 11.
This connection corroborates the suspicions of many Americans who have studied 9-11 and believe that the administration may have facilitated the attacks by suppressing FBI investigations of terrorist activity in the US.
So, far, Graham's allegations have remained largely unreported in the media and do not appear in the 9-11 Commission's report. They are none the less stunning.
Graham wrote that, "It was as if the president's loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with America's safety."
That assertion may be true, but it's not nearly as important as the larger allegation that the Bush Administration was actively involved in suppressing an FBI investigation into the actions of people directly responsible for 9-11.
Graham's book provides crucial evidence that the administration can be implicated in the greatest case of criminal negligence in the nation's history. His claims significantly reinforce the view that the Bush regime may have intentionally created the conditions for a massive terrorist attack to facilitate their ambition of a global war for the world's dwindling oil reserves.
It also suggests that the administration cannot afford to leave office according to the normal protocols. Future investigative panels would certainly uncover evidence that would only further detail the administration's level of involvement.
This casts a pall over the upcoming elections.

9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows: Our illegal, immoral and unjustified invasion of Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks, has cost the lives of 1,000 American troops and an estimated 12,000 Iraqi civilians, while leaving tens of thousands of others physically and emotionally traumatized. Today, our continuing occupation, our failure to provide basic services like electricity and water, and our torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib has turned Iraq into a focus of anti-American sentiment where a new generation of terrorists is being recruited from around the world.
Is the source of our security and freedom the exercise of overwhelming military power? Have we found security and freedom by dividing the world into "us and them," and labeling entire nations "evil"? Three years ago, the French declared, "We are all Americans," and Iranians held spontaneous candlelight vigils for our dead. Today, American prestige is at an all-time low. Friend and foe alike tremble at the sense of exceptionalism that drives America to conduct pre-emptive war.
And what example have we set by our use of violence as a tool for addressing complex grievances? In the past week, heartbreaking pictures of children abducted and killed in Russia remind us that terrorism against civilian populations, which did not begin on September 11th, has not abated as a result of our actions since then. In Iraq, abductions of more than 40 civilians from nations including Japan, Jordan, Italy, China, Ukraine, South Korea, Egypt, Nepal, India, Kenya, the Philippines, Bulgaria and our own have escalated the level of human suffering.

Francie Latour, Michael Rezendes, Boston Globe: After CBS News trumpeted newly discovered documents Wednesday that referred to a 1973 effort to "sugar coat" President Bush's service record in the Texas Air National Guard, the network almost immediately faced charges that the memos were forgeries with typography that was not available on typewriters used at that time. But specialists interviewed by the Globe and some other news organizations say the specialized characters used in the documents, and the type format, were common to electric typewriters in wide use in the early 1970s, when Bush was a first lieutenant. Philip Bouffard, a forensic document examiner in Ohio who has analyzed typewritten samples for 30 years, had expressed suspicions about the documents in an interview with the New York Times, one in a wave of similar media reports. But Bouffard told the Globe Friday that after further study, he now believed the documents could have been prepared on an IBM Selectric Composer typewriter available at the time.

David Brock, Media Matters: As new evidence emerges that President George W. Bush did not complete his Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard and that he benefited from his status as the son of a powerful, well-connected family in order to gain a coveted position in the Guard, members of the media have employed several defenses in an effort to refute that evidence. None of these defenses stand up to scrutiny.
FALSE DEFENSE #1: Bush received an honorable discharge
The principal response from the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign to criticism of President Bush's military service record has been to point out repeatedly that Bush received an honorable discharge from the National Guard. Though a February article (subscription required) in The New Republic debunked the idea that an honorable discharge necessarily demonstrates a fulfillment of one's service obligations (as Media Matters for America has noted), members of the media have nonetheless eagerly adopted this mantra:
FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly: "[H]e [President Bush] got an honorable discharge and he said he was proud of his service. You know, what's -- why bother with this?" [FOX News Channel, The O'Reilly Factor, 9/8/04]
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer: "Here's the bottom line, though. The president did get an honorable discharge from the Air National Guard from his military service." [CNN, News from CNN, 9/8/04]
FOX News Channel and ABC Radio Networks host Sean Hannity: "[W]e do know in fact that he was honorably discharged and placed on inactive Ready Reserve." [FOX News Channel, Hannity & Colmes, 9/8/04]
FOX News Channel host Steve Doocy: "Well, as the White House points out the president did receive an honorable discharge." [FOX News Channel, FOX & Friends, 9/9/04]
Moreover, CBS News recently obtained a memo from the personal files of Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian, Bush's squadron commander during his time in the National Guard. According to the memo, Killian said he was pressured to "sugar coat" his evaluation of then-Lieutenant Bush.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat the Triad! Defeat Bush (again!)

Full text of these stories with URLs follow.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4484619,00.html

Ellsberg Urges Insiders to Leak Iraq Info

Thursday September 9, 2004 9:01 PM
By KATA KERTESZ
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam war, is urging government insiders to provide similar classified documents about the invasion of Iraq.
Joined by other whistle-blowers and former government employees, Ellsberg said at a news conference Thursday that claims of government deception and lies have ``little credibility'' unless supported by documentary evidence, which often is available only in classified materials.
In a memo to current government employees, Ellsberg and other former government officials said federal insiders owe a ``highhttp://www.progressivetrail.org/articles/040909Whitney.shtmler allegiance'' to the Constitution, the public and American soldiers in Iraq than to their government bosses.
``A hundred forty-thousand Americans are risking their lives every day in Iraq for dubious purpose,'' the memo said. ``Our country has urgent need of comparable moral courage from its public officials. Truth-telling is a patriotic and effective way to serve the nation. The time for speaking out is now.''
The memo acknowledged that whistle-blowers risk personal setbacks, such as losing their jobs, but urged them to act nonetheless. ``You may save many Americans from being lied to death,'' it said.
Sibel Edmonds, who was fired by the FBI after she alleged security lapses in the agency's translator program, said the government frequently over-classifies documents, including the investigation into her own case.
Among the documents claimed to be wrongly classified are sections of reports from Army investigations into prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, and supporting material for then-Army Gen. Eric Shinseki's February 2003 estimate that several hundred thousand troops would have to stay in Iraq after the war.
Ellsberg was a special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense during the Vietnam War. He released the 7,000 page classified study to the Senate and 19 newspapers in 1971 and now leads the Truth Telling Project.
^---

http://www.progressivetrail.org/articles/040909Whitney.shtml?mail=09

On the Net:
Truth Telling Project: www.truthtellingproject.org
'Intelligence Matters' Connecting Bush to 9-11
by Mike Whitney

published by Progressive Trail

'Intelligence Matters' Connecting Bush to 9-11

Senator Bob Graham's new book, "Intelligence Matters" is a political tsunami. Along with many unexplored allegations concerning both 9-11 and the war in Afghanistan, Graham creates an important link between the Bush Administration and the attacks of Sept. 11.

This connection corroborates the suspicions of many Americans who have studied 9-11 and believe that the administration may have facilitated the attacks by suppressing FBI investigations of terrorist activity in the US.

So, far, Graham's allegations have remained largely unreported in the media and do not appear in the 9-11 Commission's report. They are none the less stunning.

Graham's book asserts that a paid informer for the FBI had rented rooms in his San Diego home to two of the Saudi terrorists involved in the 9-11 atacks. The two Saudis, Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassan, had been tracked into the US by the CIA, but the FBI maintains that they were not notified of their whereabouts. This, despite the fact that the aforementioned informer was charged with monitoring suspicious activity in the Saudi community and these men had ties to the Saudi government.

As Frank Davies in the Miama Herald reports, "the staff of the congressional inquiry concluded that two Saudis in the San Diego area, Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassan, who gave significant financial support to two hijackers, were working for the Saudi government."

"Al-Bayoumi received a monthly allowance from a contractor for Saudi Civil Aviation that jumped from $465 to $3,700 in March 2000, after he helped Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhdar -- two of the Sept. 11 hijackers -- find apartments and make contacts in San Diego, just before they began pilot training." (Herald)

Incredibly, when Graham tried to serve the FBI with a subpoena to produce the elusive "informer", (Abdussattar Shaikh) the FBI refused to accept the subpoena and balked at providing his location to the Senate investigating committee.

Graham writes that the FBI was blocked by the Bush Administration from either producing the informer or providing knowledge of his whereabouts.

Why?

Up to this point, many had concluded that the FBI was hiding information to conceal its own failings. That, however, does not explain why the administration would get involved.
Nor does it explain why both the Administration and the CIA have insisted that "details about the Saudi support network that benefited two hijackers be left out of the final congressional report."

According to Graham, Bush said that, "a nation-state that had aided the terrorists should not be held publicly to account." This, of course, is a dramatic departure from the fundamental tenet of the "Bush Doctrine"; that states are entirely responsible for terrorist
activity within their borders. This was the logic the drove the US to war with Afghanistan.

Graham wrote that, "It was as if the president's loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with America's safety."

That assertion may be true, but it's not nearly as important as the larger allegation that the Bush Administration was actively involved in suppressing an FBI investigation into the actions of people directly responsible for 9-11.

Graham's book provides crucial evidence that the administration can be implicated in the greatest case of criminal negligence in the nation's history. His claims significantly reinforce the view that the Bush regime may have intentionally created the conditions for a massive terrorist attack to facilitate their ambition of a global war for the world's dwindling oil reserves.

It also suggests that the administration cannot afford to leave office according to the normal protocols. Future investigative panels would certainly uncover evidence that would only further detail the administration's level of involvement.

This casts a pall over the upcoming elections.

What are these people capable of if it looks like they will lose an election that will lead to their criminal prosecution by the Justice Department?
http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/091204Z.shtml

Three Years Later
9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows Statement
Saturday 11 September 2004
Nearly three years ago, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows was born out of a shared belief that America's military response to the 9/11 attacks which took our loved ones' lives would result in the deaths of countless innocent civilians and increase recruitment for terrorist causes, making the United States, and the world, less safe and less free for generations to come.
Today, as we commemorate September 11, 2004, we find that our worst fears have been realized. The terrorism of September 11th has been neither neutralized, nor ended, by the terrorism of war.
Since our bombing and military action in Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of more than 130 American troops and an estimated 4,000 civilians - and compounded by our failure to rebuild that broken nation - we have seen the return of Taliban warlords, the departure of relief agencies, and the continuing deaths of American service people and innocent civilians. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that he is seeking the support of former Taliban officials in an effort to stabilize the political process. Osama bin Laden remains at large, and al-Qaeda remains a potent terrorist force, as evidenced by the March 11 train bombings in Madrid, Spain.
Our illegal, immoral and unjustified invasion of Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks, has cost the lives of 1,000 American troops and an estimated 12,000 Iraqi civilians, while leaving tens of thousands of others physically and emotionally traumatized. Today, our continuing occupation, our failure to provide basic services like electricity and water, and our torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib has turned Iraq into a focus of anti-American sentiment where a new generation of terrorists is being recruited from around the world.
In Guantánamo, approximately 600 detainees from 40 countries remain incarcerated without charge and without access to lawyers. Those who have been returned to their home countries attest to conditions that violate the Geneva Conventions and our own democratic principles. In America, the USA Patriot Act gives government free reign to surveil law-abiding citizens. Restrictions on peaceful protest mock our Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly. Meanwhile, bias crimes and discrimination continue to cast a shadow over our nation.
That all of this has been done in the names of our loved ones who died on September 11th makes the suffering of their innocent counterparts around the world even harder to take. When actions that are making the world less secure are carried out in the name of US security, we must reconsider the true sources of the security, freedom, and respect we once commanded around the globe.
Is the source of our security and freedom the exercise of overwhelming military power? Have we found security and freedom by dividing the world into "us and them," and labeling entire nations "evil"? Three years ago, the French declared, "We are all Americans," and Iranians held spontaneous candlelight vigils for our dead. Today, American prestige is at an all-time low. Friend and foe alike tremble at the sense of exceptionalism that drives America to conduct pre-emptive war.
And what example have we set by our use of violence as a tool for addressing complex grievances? In the past week, heartbreaking pictures of children abducted and killed in Russia remind us that terrorism against civilian populations, which did not begin on September 11th, has not abated as a result of our actions since then. In Iraq, abductions of more than 40 civilians from nations including Japan, Jordan, Italy, China, Ukraine, South Korea, Egypt, Nepal, India, Kenya, the Philippines, Bulgaria and our own have escalated the level of human suffering.
On September 11th, 2002, we urged America to participate fully in the global community, by honoring international treaties, endorsing and participating in the International Criminal Court, following the United Nations charter, and agreeing in word and action to the precepts of international law. Today, we redouble our call for America to return to full membership in the community of nations.
We call for an end to war as our nation's one blunt instrument of foreign policy in our increasingly complex world. We recognize that our freedoms and security derive not from politicians or the Pentagon, but from our Constitution, and call on all Americans to rise in its defense against the triple threats of fear, lies and ignorance.
Finally, we draw hope from those around the globe whose historical experiences of terrorism and war have brought them not to a place of vengeance, but to a commitment to creating a peaceful world. They include victims of the violence in Israel and Palestine; families of victims of the Bali nightclub bombing; family members of those killed in Oklahoma City; atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki; those who survived the bombing of Guernica, Spain and Dresden, Germany; those affected by terrorism in Kenya; Cambodia; Chechnya; South Africa; Northern Ireland; Bosnia; Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Through their witness and their efforts towards reconciliation, they have demonstrated that peace begins in the heart of every individual, and that people united have an unparalleled power to change the world.
Every day, we choose to create the world we want to live in, through our words and through our actions. Today, we reach out to others around the world who recognize that war is not the answer. Today, three years after September 11th, we continue to choose peace.
-September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
-------

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/09/11/MNGO68NEKR1.DTL
Further scrutiny lessens doubts on Bush memos
Some skeptics now say IBM typewriter could have been used
- Francie Latour, Michael Rezendes, Boston Globe
Saturday, September 11, 2004

After CBS News trumpeted newly discovered documents Wednesday that referred to a 1973 effort to "sugar coat" President Bush's service record in the Texas Air National Guard, the network almost immediately faced charges that the memos were forgeries with typography that was not available on typewriters used at that time.
But specialists interviewed by the Globe and some other news organizations say the specialized characters used in the documents, and the type format, were common to electric typewriters in wide use in the early 1970s, when Bush was a first lieutenant.
Philip Bouffard, a forensic document examiner in Ohio who has analyzed typewritten samples for 30 years, had expressed suspicions about the documents in an interview with the New York Times, one in a wave of similar media reports. But Bouffard told the Globe Friday that after further study, he now believed the documents could have been prepared on an IBM Selectric Composer typewriter available at the time.
Analysts who have examined the documents focus on several facets of their typography, among them the use of a curved apostrophe, a raised, or superscript, "th," and the proportional spacing between the characters -- spacing that varies with the width of the letters. In older typewriters, each letter was allotted the same space.
Those who doubt the documents say those typographical elements would not have been commonly available at the time of Bush's service. But such characters were common features on electric typewriters of that era, the Globe determined through interviews with specialists and examination of documents from the period. In fact, one such raised "th," used to describe a Guard unit, the 187th, appears in a document in Bush's official record the White House made public this year.
Meanwhile, "CBS Evening News" Friday night explained how it had sought to authenticate the documents, focusing primarily on its examiner's conclusion that two of the records were signed by Bush's guard commander, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian. CBS also said other sources -- among Killian's friends and colleagues -- verified that the content of the documents reflected Killian's views at the time.
One of them, Robert Strong, a Guard colleague, said the language in the documents was "compatible with the way business was done at that time. They are compatible with the man I remember Jerry Killian being."
But William Flynn, a Phoenix document examiner cited in a Washington Post report Friday, said he had not changed his mind because he did not believe that the proportional spacing between characters, and between lines, in the documents obtained by CBS was possible on typewriters used by the military at the time.
Flynn said his doubts were also based on his belief that the curved apostrophe was not available on electric typewriters at the time, although documents from the period reviewed by the Globe show it was. He acknowledged that the quality of the copies of the documents he examined was poor.
The controversy over the authenticity of the documents has all but blocked out discussion of their content. They say Killian was under pressure to "sugar coat" Bush's record, and Bush refused a direct order to take a required medical examination and discussed how he could skip drills.
Bouffard, the Ohio document specialist, said that he had first dismissed the Bush documents because the letters and formatting of the memos did not match any of the 4,000 samples in his database. But Friday, Bouffard said that he had not considered the IBM Selectric Composer. Once he compared the memos to Selectric Composer samples, Bouffard said, his view shifted.
In the Times interview, Bouffard had also questioned whether the military would have used the Composer, a large machine. But Friday he provided a document indicating that as early as April 1969 the Air Force had completed service testing for the Composer, possibly in preparation for purchasing the typewriters.
As for the raised "th" that appears in the Bush memos, Bouffard said that custom characters on the Composer's metal typehead ball were available in the 1970s.
"You can't just say that this is definitively the mark of a computer," Bouffard said.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200409100005
Cable, radio hosts pushed bogus defenses of Bush's Guard service

As new evidence emerges that President George W. Bush did not complete his Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard and that he benefited from his status as the son of a powerful, well-connected family in order to gain a coveted position in the Guard, members of the media have employed several defenses in an effort to refute that evidence. None of these defenses stand up to scrutiny.
FALSE DEFENSE #1: Bush received an honorable discharge
The principal response from the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign to criticism of President Bush's military service record has been to point out repeatedly that Bush received an honorable discharge from the National Guard. Though a February article (subscription required) in The New Republic debunked the idea that an honorable discharge necessarily demonstrates a fulfillment of one's service obligations (as Media Matters for America has noted), members of the media have nonetheless eagerly adopted this mantra:
• FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly: "[H]e [President Bush] got an honorable discharge and he said he was proud of his service. You know, what's -- why bother with this?" [FOX News Channel, The O'Reilly Factor, 9/8/04]
• CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer: "Here's the bottom line, though. The president did get an honorable discharge from the Air National Guard from his military service." [CNN, News from CNN, 9/8/04]
• FOX News Channel and ABC Radio Networks host Sean Hannity: "[W]e do know in fact that he was honorably discharged and placed on inactive Ready Reserve." [FOX News Channel, Hannity & Colmes, 9/8/04]
• FOX News Channel host Steve Doocy: "Well, as the White House points out the president did receive an honorable discharge." [FOX News Channel, FOX & Friends, 9/9/04]
Moreover, CBS News recently obtained a memo from the personal files of Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian, Bush's squadron commander during his time in the National Guard. According to the memo, Killian said he was pressured to "sugar coat" his evaluation of then-Lieutenant Bush.
FALSE DEFENSE #2: Ben Barnes is a liar
On the September 8 broadcast of CBS's 60 Minutes, former Texas House speaker and Lt. Governor Ben Barnes told anchor Dan Rather that as House speaker in 1968, he recommended Bush for the Guard to his "longtime friend" Brigadier General James Rose, the head of the Texas Air National Guard. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, a September 7 memo to GOP leaders by Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie sought to portray Barnes as an unreliable witness, claiming falsely that Barnes' recent statements contradict sworn testimony in 1999 in which Barnes said he had not acted at the behest of the Bush family. Conservative reporters and commentators have repeated this false claim:
• Radio host Rush Limbaugh: Under oath, Ben Barnes testified that he had no contact with the Bush family concerning the National Guard. Changing his story now, claiming he was paid off and pressured by the Bush family via a surrogate to keep quiet. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/8/04]
• Sean Hannity: Here's this guy, Barnes, who is now saying basically that he, uh, gave favorable treatment to the President back -- back in the Vietnam days. That's what he's saying. OK. Well, under oath in 1999, he testified he had no contact with the Bush family concerning the National Guard. He was the Speaker of the Texas House in 1999 and he said at the time that, uh, he had spoken to the head of the Texas National Guard on President Bush's behalf. He had not had any contact with anyone in the Bush family. But now he's saying something different. [ABC Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 9/8/04]
• Jim Angle, FOX News Channel White House correspondent, repeated misleading White House claims without challenge:
ANGLE: A former prominent Texas politician will be on 60 Minutes tonight, making charges he first made in 1999 and repeated several months ago to a group of volunteers called Austin for Kerry.
[clip of Barnes]
The White House says Barnes's charges are not only recycled, but that Barnes himself has previously said no one in the Bush family asked him for help.
In fact, Barnes has been entirely consistent on this issue. He said the same thing in 1999 and on 60 Minutes: that he called Rose at the behest of Houston oilman Sidney A. Adger, a friend of the Bush family who is now dead.
FALSE DEFENSE #3: Bush wasn't obligated to serve in Boston
On September 8, The Boston Globe discovered a document Bush signed on July 30, 1973, that stated, ''It is my responsibility to locate and be assigned to another Reserve forces unit or mobilization augmentation position. If I fail to do so, I am subject to involuntary order to active duty for up to 24 months." Bush never located a Boston-area unit, as the Globe explained. On FOX News Channel, Angle and anchor Brit Hume (FOX News Channel managing editor and chief Washington correspondent) uncritically accepted White House communications director Dan Bartlett's insistence that despite Bush's signed pledge, a subsequent "special order" by the Guard's Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver placing Bush on inactive Ready Reserve somehow released Bush from his obligation to fulfill the remainder of his service. But Bartlett's explanation is controversial at best, given that the military expert who examined Bush's records for the Globe saw all the relevant documents and reached the opposite conclusion:
• Brit Hume: A new ad promoted to the media by the Kerry camp accuses George Bush of skipping National Guard duty. But a Boston Globe accusation on that appears to be false.
[...]
The Bush camp has now produced, or at least called attention to, records that presumably the Globe had access to that [indicate] Bush had, in fact, got a discharge from his duties at that time, and was not required to have any. [FOX News Channel, Special Report with Brit Hume, 9/8/04]
• Jim Angle: Official documents show that Bush did request an early out to go to graduate school in September of 1973, which was granted. He was honorably discharged from active reserve and placed on inactive Ready Reserve, meaning he could have been called up if needed.
Dan Bartlett: [clip] They knew where to locate him. And that was the obligation he had. And that's the obligation he fulfilled. [FOX News Channel, Special Report with Brit Hume, 9/8/04]
The issue raised by the Globe story was not whether the Guard "knew where to locate" Bush. Rather, as a September 8 article in U.S. News & World Report -- which relied on the same expert analysis of Bush's records by retired Army Colonel Gerald A. Lechliter -- makes clear, Bush signed the document committing to "continue his service in Boston" because he had not completed enough drills to fulfill his original six-year service obligation.
FALSE DEFENSE #4: "Another commander" said Bush served in Alabama
According to examinations by news organizations including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, and CBS News, available records provide no evidence to support White House claims that Bush served temporary duty with the Alabama Guard beginning in the fall of 1972. A new ad by the anti-Bush group Texans for Truth shows Retired Lieutenant Colonel Bob Mintz -- who served in Bush's unit, the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group of the Alabama Air National Guard, from 1967 to 1984 -- insisting that he does not remember ever seeing Bush. As these questions resurfaced, Bush's defenders again pointed to Retired Lieutenant Colonel John B. "Bill" Calhoun, who claims he served alongside Bush at Alabama's Dannelly Air National Guard Base. But Calhoun has been discredited; as The Washington Post noted (and as MMFA has pointed out), Calhoun claims to remember seeing Bush between May and October 1972, though the White House itself acknowledges Bush did not begin performing drills in Alabama until October. But FOX News Channel viewers were not told of the doubts about Calhoun's veracity:
• Sean Hannity: And we have another former commander in the unit who has testified that President Bush was there. [FOX News Channel, Hannity & Colmes, 9/8/04]
• Jim Angle: [A] former commander has said he was there and worked out of his office. [FOX News Channel, Special Report with Brit Hume, 9/8/04]
Though neither mentioned Calhoun by name, MMFA found no record of any other former commander of the 187th who has memories of Bush serving in Alabama. On the September 9 Special Report, Angle cited Calhoun explicitly:
ANGLE: But a man who says he served with him in Alabama told Hannity & Colmes ... there is no question that Mr. Bush served there [in Alabama].
CALHOUN: [clip from FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes] Since then, there have been five or six that have come forward and they did see him. I would give more credence to the people that saw him, than people that said they didn't see him.
On September 10, Salon.com's Eric Boelhert pointed out that in addition to FOX, Calhoun was also embraced by ABC News, CNN and the Associated Press as a source for reports on Bush's Guard service.
FALSE DEFENSE #5: Bush did not invite scrutiny of his military service, unlike Kerry
Commentators on FOX News Channel repeatedly insisted that Bush didn't deserve attacks on his military service record, unlike Kerry, who they claim invited the widely discredited attacks on his Vietnam service by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth on himself by touting his service as an important credential qualifying him to be president. (MMFA has previously documented the use of this dubious argument on FOX News Channel.)
• Brit Hume: But there are another distinctions [sic] that might be made -- and seems to me should be made -- is that John Kerry has made his Vietnam behavior made his Vietnam era behavior a centerpiece of his campaign, something the president has hardly done. He has never said boo about it. Other than when asked, he said, "I served. I got an honorable discharge. I did my -- did my -- did what I was supposed to do." Beyond that, he never wanted to talk about it.
Mara Liasson (National Public Radio national political correspondent and FOX News Channel contributor): There's no doubt. No doubt. [FOX News Channel, Special Report with Brit Hume, 9/8]
• FOX News Channel host Brian Kilmeade: Did the president get up on his podium that was made just for his presentation and say reporting for duty? No, he's not running on that record, he's running on being governor and being president for the last four years. But in some people's mind, I guess, it's equal. [FOX News Channel, FOX & Friends, 9/9/04]
But as MMFA has previously noted, even before this election cycle, Bush attempted to use his military record to bolster campaigns for public office, including for president in 2000. During his 1978 congressional campaign, he circulated campaign literature falsely claiming he had served in the Air Force. During his 1978 congressional campaign, he falsely claimed he had served in the Air Force, and when questioned about that claim in July 1999, as Salon.com's Boehlert reported in a February 5 article, "Bush's then-spokeswoman Karen Hughes told the Associated Press it was accurate for Bush to suggest, as he'd done in a previous campaign, that he served "in the U.S. Air Force," when in fact he served in the Air National Guard." Bush also lied about his military record in his 1999 autobiography about how long he flew jets for the Guard. These lies have gone virtually unreported by the media.
And while "[f]ormer President George H. W. Bush has attacked those who have questioned President George W. Bush's service record during the Vietnam War," the Center for American Progress noted, "it was George H. W. Bush who orchestrated a similar attack on his opponents in 1988." The elder Bush's campaign co-chairman, John Sununu, accused Senator Lloyd Bentsen (the vice presidential candidate running with Bush's opponent, Michael Dukakis) of "helping his son get into the National Guard."
— J.C. & G.W.
Posted to the web on Friday September 10, 2004 at 12:34 PM EST


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Posted by richard at 01:31 PM

September 10, 2004

LNS Countdown to the Day of Reckoning: 53 Days until America goes to the Ballot Box

In America, you can't just get up early on Election
Day in November and choose between candidates of who
have spent a few months struggling with each other's
ideas and lives in public debate. No, those days are
long gone. The presidential campaign now is a massive
PsyOps campaign, waged by the Corporatist News Media
as a full partner to the Greedy Plutocrat Party (GOP),
driven (at least for a few more weeks) by the Bush
cabal...That's right. If you want to come to an
understanding of what is happening in this campaign,
you have to dispense with naive notions that the "US
regimestream news media" (formerly known as the "US
mainstream news media") has any intention at all of
informing you. No, indeed, it is hell-bent on
disinforming you. Unless you wake-up to this painful
but at this point irrefutable truth, you will lose
this Republic in all but name on Election Day 2004.
This struggle is not a struggle between the Left and
the Right. Those who stand against the Triad, i.e., 1)
the Bush cabal itself, 2) its wholly licensed
subsidiary, the
political-entity-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party,
and 3) its sponsors in the "US regimestream news
media," then you are standing up for common sense,
human decency and the principles articulated in the US
Constitution (e.g, free speech, freedom of the press,
freedom of assembly, separation of church and state,
equal protection under the law, presumption of
innocence, and the separate but equal roles of the
three branches of the US federal government, etc.)
>From today until Election Day, the LNS will post one
daily news digest. Please read it and share it with
your friends. Please vote. Please encourage all those
within your influence to vote. And remember that the
US regimestream news media, in particular, the network
news organizations, are intent on DISINFORMING you,
and breaking your will, short-circuiting your common
sense, confounding your understanding of freedom and
compromising your sense of human decency...There is
still an opportunity to restore the Timeline, and the
Balance, if the _resident is defeated at the ballot
box (and the Constitutional process is not aborted, as
it was in 2000), but if the _resident gets another
four years, the rest of our lives will probably be
altered irrevocably for the worse...Sen. John F. Kerry
(D-Mekong Delta is ahead, in the nation as a whole,
and in enough of the "Battleground States" to win an
Electoral College victory. That's the truth.
Defeat the Triad!

LNS Countdown to the Day of Reckoning (11/2/04): 53
Days until the Electoral Uprising...

Here are seven pithy excerpts from the real campaign
news of the day.

1. Cooked Polls Warped Your Mind

From Ruy Teixeira...

If you assume that Democrats, Republicans, and
independents in their LV sample voted about the same
way as Dems, Reps, and indies in their RV sample (see
their "dissecting the vote" analysis on the Gallup
website), which was 90-7 Kerry for Dems, 49-46 Kerry
for indies, and 90-7 Bush for Reps, in order to have
the overall result come out 52-45 Bush there would
have to be about a TEN point Republican advantage in
party id among LVs. (If you assume 30 percent Dems, 40
percent Reps, and 30 percent indies, for example, with
those Bush and Kerry percentages, you end up with
almost exactly a 52-45 Bush lead.) Now that is
ridiculous. Does anyone really believe that
Republicans are going to have a 10 point advantage
among 2004 voters?
I sure don't and you shouldn't either. In 2000, the
Democrats had a 4 point advantage over the
Republicans. That advantage, in my view, is likely to
remain stable in 2004, though it's certainly possible
that it might diminish some (or increase!). But turn
into a 10 point GOP advantage? No way. The fact must
be faced: Gallup likely voters look pretty darn
unlikely and give a distorted picture of political
reality.
Perhaps it's time for a re-think on this one over at
Gallup headquarters.

2. Why are Bin Laden and al-Zawahri still free to spew
hate and the organize slaughter of innocents? Because
the _resident chose to expend our resources rolling up
Saddam Hussein and his chimerical WMD...

From Al Jazeera...

al-Zawahri: “Th