October 31, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 2 Days to Go -- Remember, Winston, 2+2=4


There are only two days to go until the Electoral Uprising..Eight more US marines died yesterday in Iraq. For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. But eight more US marines, as devastating as that loss is, may not be all we have lost irretrievably in the past 24 hours. It is painfully clear now that the Corporatist Media has chosen to remain a full partner in the Triad of shared special interest (i.e. energy, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, tobacoo, etc.) with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party, and, consequently, it too will lose on this coming Tuesday. The propapunditgandists have spent the last news cycle spinning the re-emergence of Osama bin Laden, in a video in which he mocks the _resident, as somehow a boost for BC04. Remember, my friends, 2+2=4. Remember, the pre-9/11 negligence of the Bush national insecurity team gave Bin Laden a claer shot at this country on 9/11, Remember, their post-9/11 incompetence let him escape the dragnet and furthermore has exalted him, inflamed the Arab Street and infused his ranks with new recruits. Rememember, 2+2+4. After 9/11, the _resident said, "Wanted Dead or Alive." But after Bin Laden got away, the _resident said Bin Laden was "insignificant" and that he didn't spend much time "thinking about him," and then many months later, in the debates, the _resident denied having made the remark, now within few days of the US election, a Bin Laden video is released, in which he taunts the _resident for reading My Pet Goat while the country is attacked...Remember, too, that Al Qaeda already endorsed BC04...If the US electorate turns to the _resident because he makes them "feels safer," then the Bush Cabal will have made another conquest: first they seized Washington, D.C. and turned it into Beltwayistan, then they moved into Afghanistan, Iraq, Uzbekistan, etc. and turned them into Pipelineistan, but actually electing Bush-Cheney will prove that the US has been turned into Suckerstan...It is more likely that the US regimestream news, which has no credibility now whatsoever, will be repudiated, along with the _resident and the VICE _ resident, in the results of this Tuesday's national referendum…Remember, 2+2=4...NO DEFEAT\NO SURRENDER...Remember Duval County!

Tom Joyce, York Daily Record: The three men eating lunch at a backroom in the Sunrise Restaurant in York had some things in common. All three were ex-military. All three voted for President Bush in the 2000 elections. And all three now regret it.
Two of the men are retired lieutenant generals. William Hilsman was commanding general of the Army's Research and Development Laboratories at Fort Monmouth, N.J., and, earlier, served a year in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division. He now lives in Nuremberg, Pa.
Robert Kelly was in the Air Force for more than 30 years, served as fighter pilot in Vietnam and was the military's top adviser on air power during the Persian Gulf War. He now lives in Gladwyne.
And former Army Capt. Patrick Murphy, 31, returned from Baghdad in January. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.
All three men have volunteered for the Kerry campaign, and have been touring Pennsylvania to speak about their experiences and opinions.
Kelly said he's been a Republican since 1964. Not only did he vote for President Bush, he actually attended his inaugural ball.
"I'm ashamed I did that," Kelly said on Friday afternoon. "It's been a disaster."
Kelly dislikes Bush's approach to the economy, accusing him of putting corporate interests ahead of the public's. But most of their discussion Friday afternoon focused on the president's policies in Iraq.
As far as Kelly's concerned, the entanglement in Iraq is counterproductive to fighting terrorism. As al-Qaida strikes in far-flung areas such as Russia and Spain, the United States military is bogged down in one spot.

Bruce Springsteen, www.commondreams.org: As a songwriter, I've written about America for thirty years. Tryin' to write about who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for. And I believe that these essential ideas of American identity are what's at stake on November 2nd.
I think the human principles of economic justice -- just healing the sick, health care, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, a living wage so folks don't have to break their backs and still not make ends meet, the protection of our environment, a sane and responsible foreign policy, civil rights and the protection and safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home -- I believe that Senator Kerry honors these ideals. He has lived our history over the past fifty years. He has an informed and adult view of America and its people. He's had the life experience, and I think he understands that we as humans are not infallible. And as Senator Edwards said during the Democratic convention, that struggle and heartbreak will always be with us. And that's why we need each other. That's why "united we stand" -- that's why "one nation indivisible" -- aren't just slogans, but they need to remain guiding principles of our public policy. And he's shown starting as a young man, that by facing America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism. That's where we find a more complete view of who we are. That's where we find a more authentic experience as citizens. And that's where we find the power that is embedded only in truth, to make our world a better and a safer place.
Paul Wellstone, the great Minnesota senator -- he said the future is for the passionate, and those that are willing to fight and to work hard for it. Well the future is now, and it's time to let your passions loose.

Guardian Editorial: To adapt the words of Talleyrand, the Bush presidency has been not merely a crime but a mistake. Mr Bush has proved a terrifying failure in the world's most powerful office. He has made the world more angry, more dangerous and more divided - not less. This, above all, is why it matters to us, as it should to Americans, that John Kerry is elected on Tuesday. A safer world requires not just the example of American power but the power of American example. Mr Bush has done more to destroy America's good name in the world than any president in memory. Mr Kerry provides an opportunity to begin to repair the damage. It is as simple - and as important - as that.

CBS News: Looters unleashed last year by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq overran a sprawling desert complex where a bunker sealed by U.N. monitors held old chemical weapons, American arms inspectors report.
Charles Duelfer's arms teams say all U.N.-sealed structures at the Muthanna site were broken into. If the so-called Bunker 2 was breached and looted, it would be a new case of restricted weapons being at risk of having fallen into militants' hands.
Separately, Human Rights Watch said Saturday it alerted the U.S. military to a cache of hundreds of warheads containing high explosives in Iraq in May 2003, but that officials seemed disinterested and still hadn't secured the site 10 days later, even though it was being looted every day by armed men.
The disclosure, made by a senior leader of the New York-based group, raised new questions about the willingness or ability of U.S.-led forces to secure known stashes of dangerous weapons in Iraq.
Peter Bouckaert, who heads Human Rights Watch's international emergency team, told The Associated Press he was shown two rooms "stacked to the roof" with surface-to-surface warheads on May 9, 2003, in a warehouse on the grounds of the 2nd Military College in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.
Bouckaert said he gave U.S. officials the exact location of the warheads, but that by the time he left the area on May 19, 2003, he had seen no U.S. forces at the site, which he said was being looted daily by armed men.
His comments came as the question of 377 tons of high explosives reported missing from another site - the Al-Qaqaa military installation south of Baghdad - has become a heated issue in the final days of the U.S. presidential campaign.

Imad Khadduri, Al Jazeera: A week after the Madrid attack, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which claims to act on behalf of al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the bombing and declared a truce in Spain to see if the new government would withdraw its troops from Iraq, but warned that it was gearing up for new attacks.
This part of the declaration was widely reported. However, very few mentioned the more ominous part of that declaration, short of excerpts which were reported by the BBC and Reuters.
"What is a cause for concern is that half the American people still wrongly believe that Iraq had links with al-Qaida and a hand in the 9/11 attacks"
The declaration turned its attention to President Bush, saying: "A word for the foolish Bush. We are very keen that you do not lose in the forthcoming elections as we know very well that any big attack can bring down your government and this is what we do not want.
"We cannot get anyone who is more foolish than you, who deals with matters with force instead of wisdom and diplomacy.
"Your stupidity and religious extremism is what we want as our people will not awaken from their deep sleep except when there is an enemy.
"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilisation.
"Because of this we desire you [Bush] to be elected."
A political tactic of this calibre should have perhaps appealed to pundits and political scientists in the media.
However, al-Qaida gravely underestimates the likely political result of an attack against the US in the months leading up to the election. It would lead to a landslide victory for Bush as it would resonate with the American culture's "circle the wagons" mentality and take orders from John Wayne.

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://ydr.com/story/election/47450/printer/

Retired military men stump for Kerry
All three are critical of Bush's handling of Iraq.
By TOM JOYCE
Daily Record/Sunday News
Saturday, October 30, 2004

The three men eating lunch at a backroom in the Sunrise Restaurant in York had some things in common. All three were ex-military. All three voted for President Bush in the 2000 elections. And all three now regret it.
Two of the men are retired lieutenant generals. William Hilsman was commanding general of the Army's Research and Development Laboratories at Fort Monmouth, N.J., and, earlier, served a year in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division. He now lives in Nuremberg, Pa.

Robert Kelly was in the Air Force for more than 30 years, served as fighter pilot in Vietnam and was the military's top adviser on air power during the Persian Gulf War. He now lives in Gladwyne.

And former Army Capt. Patrick Murphy, 31, returned from Baghdad in January. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.

All three men have volunteered for the Kerry campaign, and have been touring Pennsylvania to speak about their experiences and opinions.

Kelly said he's been a Republican since 1964. Not only did he vote for President Bush, he actually attended his inaugural ball.

"I'm ashamed I did that," Kelly said on Friday afternoon. "It's been a disaster."

Kelly dislikes Bush's approach to the economy, accusing him of putting corporate interests ahead of the public's. But most of their discussion Friday afternoon focused on the president's policies in Iraq.

As far as Kelly's concerned, the entanglement in Iraq is counterproductive to fighting terrorism. As al-Qaida strikes in far-flung areas such as Russia and Spain, the United States military is bogged down in one spot.

Hilsman faults Bush for entering Iraq with no exit strategy. He also believes a big part of the problem is Bush's unwillingness or inability to form alliances with other countries.

Critics may complain such alliances would compromise U.S. sovereignty, Hilsman said. But he argues that the United States couldn't have won the Cold War without NATO, and that didn't compromise the country's sovereignty.

"We can't just keep trying to do this alone," Hilsman said. "President Bush can't do it. He's burned too many bridges."

Murphy, for his part, said he doesn't feel qualified to discuss policy. But he did describe what he's seen firsthand. And he said it's even worse than news accounts indicate. His brigade of 3,500 soldiers was asked to secure an area populated by 1.5 million Iraqis, he said.

The day after Murphy returned home to Philadelphia from Fort Bragg, N.C., he volunteered full time for Kerry's campaign.

"I believe in the leadership of John Kerry," Murphy said. "He will make the best commander-in-chief of this nation."

Reach Tom Joyce at 771-2089, 783-2365 or tjoyce@ydr.com.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/103104W.shtml

No Retreat, No Surrender
By Bruce Springsteen
CommonDreams.org
Comments to Kerry Rally in Madison, Wisconsin

Thursday 28 October 2004

Thank you! Thank you.

As a songwriter, I've written about America for thirty years. Tryin' to write about who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for. And I believe that these essential ideas of American identity are what's at stake on November 2nd.

I think the human principles of economic justice -- just healing the sick, health care, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, a living wage so folks don't have to break their backs and still not make ends meet, the protection of our environment, a sane and responsible foreign policy, civil rights and the protection and safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home -- I believe that Senator Kerry honors these ideals. He has lived our history over the past fifty years. He has an informed and adult view of America and its people. He's had the life experience, and I think he understands that we as humans are not infallible. And as Senator Edwards said during the Democratic convention, that struggle and heartbreak will always be with us. And that's why we need each other. That's why "united we stand" -- that's why "one nation indivisible" -- aren't just slogans, but they need to remain guiding principles of our public policy. And he's shown starting as a young man, that by facing America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism. That's where we find a more complete view of who we are. That's where we find a more authentic experience as citizens. And that's where we find the power that is embedded only in truth, to make our world a better and a safer place.

Paul Wellstone, the great Minnesota senator -- he said the future is for the passionate, and those that are willing to fight and to work hard for it. Well the future is now, and it's time to let your passions loose.

So let's roll up our sleeves. That's why I'm here today, to stand alongside Senator Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting. And together we can move America towards her deepest ideals. And besides, we had a sax player in the [White] House -- we need a guitar player in the White House.

Alright -- this is for John. This is for you, John.

[Bruce launches into No Retreat, No Surrender]

We busted out of class had to get away from those fools
We learned more from a three-minute record than we ever learned in school
Tonight I heart the neighborhood drummer sound
I can feel my heart begin to pound
You say you’re tired and you just want to close your eyes and follow your dreams down

We made a promise we swore we’d always remember
No retreat, believe me, no surrender
Like soldiers in the winter’s night with a vow to defend
No retreat, believe me, no surrender

Now young faces grow sad and old and hearts of fire grow cold
We swore blood brothers against the wind
I’m ready to grow young again
And hear your sister’s voice calling us home across the open yards
Believin’ we could cut someplace of our own
With these drums and these guitars

We made a promise we swore we’d always remember
No retreat, believe me, no surrender
Blood brothers in the stormy night with a vow to defend
No retreat, believe me, no surrender

Now on the street tonight the lights grow dim
The walls of my room are closing in
But it’s good to see your smiling face and to hear your voice again
We could sleep in the twilight by the river side
With a wide open country in our hearts
And these romantic dreams in our heads

We made a promise...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/leaders/story/0,3604,1339597,00.html

US election

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The case for Kerry

Leader
Saturday October 30, 2004
The Guardian

Plenty of Americans believe it is none of our business whom they elect as their leader on Tuesday. But there are two underlying reasons why any presidential election matters to the rest of the world. The first concerns America's power. There is no nation in the history of the planet whose strength and actions more directly affect the whole human race than the United States. To an unprecedented degree, America makes the world's weather. Its economic, military and cultural might shapes our lives. If America goes to war, we are all embroiled, as the events of the past three years have certainly shown. If the American economy booms or busts, then ours follows suit. If America spurns global agreements on climate change, the whole planet is more vulnerable. Even our domestic politics are shaped by theirs, as the last three years have again dramatically proved. We may not have a vote, but our interests are at stake on November 2, as surely as if we lived in Ohio, Oklahoma or Oregon ourselves.
The second reason, more controversially for some, concerns America's example. There has never been a nation like the United States. Its creation was, at least arguably, the single greatest constitutional achievement of mankind in the last millennium. From the earliest days until now, the eyes of all people have indeed been upon America, just as John Winthrop claimed four centuries ago. We can debate whether the greatest of all US presidents was right to see America as "the last best hope of mankind". But it is a matter of fact that successive generations on every continent have shared Abraham Lincoln's optimism about his homeland, that they have been inspired by American opportunity and freedom, and that new generations continue to be so. Few nations may have been so fundamentally shaped by racial injustice as the US was, but none in the history of the world has ultimately made a greater success of mass migration and of multi-cultural life either. Anti-Americanism may be more rife than ever in many parts of our world, but even where it is strongest it is a matter of record that millions of people in these very same societies admire America above all other nations.
Since at least 1945, when the United States played the decisive role in creating the United Nations, an American presidential election has always been the single most influential event in the global political cycle. No such election, though, has mattered as overwhelmingly and urgently as this one. Four years ago, George Bush was beaten in the popular vote nationwide, yet captured the presidency because of electoral abuse in Florida and a shoddy legal judgment by the nation's highest court. Ever since, far from governing in the unifying manner that would have been appropriate in the circumstances (and that he briefly promised), he has done the opposite. But if Mr Bush has been partisan and confrontational at home - over the federal budget, education, race, civil liberty, the environment and a host of other social and cultural issues - he has been every bit as partisan and confrontational abroad. The attack of September 11 2001, an event of historic seriousness, created an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity worldwide. Three years later, much of that solidarity has been squandered. This has happened largely as a result of a war on Iraq that was not just ill-prepared and ill-executed in its own terms but that also exemplified the administration's aggressive contempt towards other nations, with disastrous consequences that continue to this day.
To adapt the words of Talleyrand, the Bush presidency has been not merely a crime but a mistake. Mr Bush has proved a terrifying failure in the world's most powerful office. He has made the world more angry, more dangerous and more divided - not less. This, above all, is why it matters to us, as it should to Americans, that John Kerry is elected on Tuesday. A safer world requires not just the example of American power but the power of American example. Mr Bush has done more to destroy America's good name in the world than any president in memory. Mr Kerry provides an opportunity to begin to repair the damage. It is as simple - and as important - as that.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/25/iraq/main651082.shtml

2 More Iraq Arms Stashes In Focus

VIENNA, Austria, Oct. 30, 2004

Fallujah Campaign Near


A bunker in the Al-Qaqaa facility in Iraq is seen in this video footage made by Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP-TV on April 18, 2003. (Photo: AP/KSTP ABC NEWS)


"They asked mainly about chemical or biological weapons, which we hadn't seen. I had a pretty hard time getting anyone interested in it"
Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, on Iraq explosives stash he told U.S. about

IAEA inspectors investigated reports of widespread looting of storage rooms at Tuwaitha, Iraq's main former nuclear site. (Photo: AP)

(AP) Looters unleashed last year by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq overran a sprawling desert complex where a bunker sealed by U.N. monitors held old chemical weapons, American arms inspectors report.

Charles Duelfer's arms teams say all U.N.-sealed structures at the Muthanna site were broken into. If the so-called Bunker 2 was breached and looted, it would be a new case of restricted weapons being at risk of having fallen into militants' hands.

Separately, Human Rights Watch said Saturday it alerted the U.S. military to a cache of hundreds of warheads containing high explosives in Iraq in May 2003, but that officials seemed disinterested and still hadn't secured the site 10 days later, even though it was being looted every day by armed men.

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

Peter Bouckaert, who heads Human Rights Watch's international emergency team, told The Associated Press he was shown two rooms "stacked to the roof" with surface-to-surface warheads on May 9, 2003, in a warehouse on the grounds of the 2nd Military College in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Bouckaert said he gave U.S. officials the exact location of the warheads, but that by the time he left the area on May 19, 2003, he had seen no U.S. forces at the site, which he said was being looted daily by armed men.

His comments came as the question of 377 tons of high explosives reported missing from another site - the Al-Qaqaa military installation south of Baghdad - has become a heated issue in the final days of the U.S. presidential campaign.

Officials are unsure whether the episode at Muthanna points to a threat of chemical attack, since it isn't known if usable chemical warheads were in the bunker, what may have been taken, or by whom.

"Clearly, there's a potential concern, but we're unable to estimate the relative level of it because we don't know the condition of the things inside the bunker," said Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the U.N. arms inspection agency in New York, whose specialists have been barred from Iraq since the invasion.

Chief arms hunter Duelfer told The Associated Press by e-mail Friday from Iraq that he was unaware of "anything of importance" looted from the chemical weapons complex. The report his Iraq Survey Group issued on Oct. 6 said, however, that it couldn't vouch for the fate of old munitions at Muthanna, a 35-square-mile complex in the heart of the embattled "Sunni Triangle."

One chemical weapons expert said even old, weakened nerve agents - in this case sarin - could be a threat to unprotected civilians.

The weapons involved would be pre-1991 artillery rockets filled with sarin, or their damaged remnants - weapons that were openly declared by Iraq and were under U.N. control until security fell apart with the U.S. attack. They are not concealed arms of the kind President Bush claimed Iraq had, but which were never found.

In its Oct. 6 report, summarizing a fruitless search for banned weapons in Iraq, Duelfer's group disclosed that widespread looting occurred at Muthanna, 35 miles northwest of Baghdad, in the aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi capital in April 2003.

A little-noted annex of the 985-page report said every U.N.-sealed location at the desert installation had been breached in the looting spree, and "materials and equipment were removed."

Bunker 2 at Muthanna State Establishment, once Iraq's central chemical weapons production site, was put under U.N. inspectors' control in early 1991 after it was heavily damaged by a U.S. precision bomb in the first Gulf War. At the time, Iraq said 2500 sarin-filled artillery rockets had been stored there.

The U.N. teams sealed up the bunker with brick and reinforced concrete, rather than immediately attempt the risky job of clearing weapons or remnants from under a collapsed roof and neutralizing them.

A CIA analysis, not done on site, hypothesized in 1999 that all the sarin must have been destroyed by fire. But a U.S. General Accounting Office review last June questioned that analysis, and the United Nations, whose teams were there, said the extent of destruction was never determined.

Buchanan said a U.N. team inspected the sealed Muthanna bunker on Dec. 4, 2002, and inspectors continued to visit Muthanna up to March 14, 2003, although they did not view the bunker that day. Four days later, on the eve of the U.S. invasion, the U.N. monitors had to leave Iraq.

As for when the sealed bunker may have been breached, the report said, "The facilities at the southern section" - the bunker area - "were removed by unknown entities between April and June 2003." It didn't elaborate, but presumably the first U.S. search teams arrived at Muthanna in June and discovered the looting.

"The (Iraq Survey Group) is unable to unambiguously determine the complete fate of old munitions, materials and chemicals produced and stored there," the Duelfer report said.

The three-week-old report also said, without elaboration, that chemical munitions "are still stored there" and that warheads, apparently not filled with chemical agent, "are still being looted."

As for the Baqouba facility, Human Rights Watch's Bouckaert said displaced people he was working with in the area had taken him to the warheads. "They said, `There's stocks of weapons here and we're very concerned - can you please inform the coalition?"' he said in a telephone interview from South Africa.

After photographing the warheads, Bouckaert said he went straight to U.S. officials in Baghdad's Green Zone complex, where he claimed officials at first didn't seem interested in his information.

"They asked mainly about chemical or biological weapons, which we hadn't seen," he said. "I had a pretty hard time getting anyone interested in it."

Bouckaert said he eventually was put in touch with unidentified U.S. officials and showed them on a map where the stash was located, also giving them the exact GPS coordinates for the site.

But he said he never saw U.S. forces at the site when he returned to the area for daily interviews with refugees, and that the site still was not secured when he finally left the area.

"For the next 10 days I continued working near this site and going back regularly to interview displaced people, and nothing was done to secure the site," he said.

"Looting was taking place by a lot of armed men with Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenades," Bouckaert said. He said each of the warheads contained an estimated 57 pounds of high explosives.

"Everyone's focused on Al-Qaqaa, when what was at the military college could keep a guerrilla group in business for a long time creating the kinds of bombs that are being used in suicide attacks every day," he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday that Iraq had reported 377 tons of high explosives missing from al-Qaqaa "due to a lack of security" at the vast site 30 miles south of Baghdad.

Iraqi officials told the agency the explosives - which can be used to make the kind of car bombs that insurgents have used in numerous attacks on U.S.-led forces - went missing amid looting after the April 9, 2003 fall of the Iraqi capital.

The Pentagon has suggested the explosives, which can be used to make the kind of car bombs that insurgents have used in numerous attacks on U.S.-led forces, may have been removed before U.S. forces moved into the area.

U.S. Army Maj. Austin Pearson said Friday that his team removed 250 tons of plastic explosives and other munitions from al-Qaqaa on April 13, 2003. But those munitions were not located under U.N. nuclear agency seal as the missing high-grade explosives had been, and the Pentagon was unable to say definitively that they were part of the missing 377 tons.

Bouckaert, who last year criticized U.S. officials for not acting on important information about mass graves in Iraq, said he estimates there were between 500 and 1,000 tons of high explosive warheads at the war college site in Baqouba.

The site also included anti-tank mines and anti-personnel mines, he said.

Car bombs require only about 6 1/2 pounds of explosives, meaning each warhead potentially could have yielded enough material for nine bombs, Human Rights Watch said.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/EC3AC145-96B2-4858-AE3D-63FDE0B59D69.htm

Al-Qaida's vote for Bush
By Imad Khadduri


Sunday 24 October 2004, 20:02 Makka Time, 17:02 GMT

Who would the 'terrorists' like to see elected in the upcoming US presidential elections?

Predictions about how they would try to influence this form of the democratic process were sparked by the train bombings in Madrid last March.

The timing of the attack, coming immediately before presidential elections in Spain, produced a backlash of anger against Jose Maria Aznar’s right-wing government, leading to the victory of the Socialist Party (PSOE).

The bombing was seen by many as a consequence of Aznar’s support for the US-led war in Iraq, a war opposed by the overwhelming majority of Spaniards. Aznar’s attempt to exploit the bombings to push the agenda of his Popular Party backfired and lead to his defeat.

But what does this augur for the US? National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was one of the first to speculate on this event's impact on the US presidential elections.

In an 18 April interview on the US news talk show Face the Nation, she said: "I think that we do have to take very seriously the thought that the terrorists might have learned, we hope (sic), the wrong lesson from Spain. I think we also have to take seriously that they might try during the cycle leading up to the election to do something."

This statement was followed by one from Attorney General John Ashcroft. In a 26 May press conference, Ashcroft said: "The Madrid railway bombings were perceived by Usama bin Ladin and al-Qaida to have advanced their cause. Al-Qaida may perceive that a large-scale attack in the United States this summer or fall would lead to similar consequences."


Ashcroft's supposition is that Bin Ladin would like to influence the US elections in the same way al-Qaida influenced Spain's.

What would similar consequences mean for the US? Defeat for the hawkish incumbent, Bush, at the polls and the derailment of a neo-conservative policy on Iraq.

Ashcroft all but said 'Usama bin Ladin wants you to vote for John Kerry'.

"The message the terrorists learned in Madrid is that attacks can change elections and change policy"

A handful of reporters chimed in, among them David Sanger of the New York Times.

In a May article, he issued what could be seen as a serious warning to the American people. Entitled Calculating the Politics of Catastrophe, the piece describes "obsessive" talk within political and national security circles about the possible electoral consequences of another terror attack in the US.

Sanger quotes a senior administration official as saying, "The message the terrorists learned in Madrid is that attacks can change elections and change policy.

"It’s a very dangerous precedent to have out there."

Immediately following the elections, administration officials and right-wing media pundits in the US denounced the Spanish population for learning the "wrong lesson" from the terrorist attacks and for "appeasing" terrorism.

According to Sanger, however, the Bush administration is making its own calculations over whether a terrorist attack can "change elections" in the US - in Bush's favour.

He writes: "Mr Bush's political aides - speaking only on background, because no one dissects terror on the record - argue that the crazier the world gets, the more it plays to the theme of the campaign: Now more than ever, the country needs a president who has proved to be strong on terror."

A more authoritative political aide, Vice President Dick Cheney, announced on 7 September that the US will risk another terrorist attack if voters make the wrong choice on election day, suggesting Senator John Kerry would follow a pre-9/11 policy of reacting defensively.

"The wide-eyed view of America's 'war on terror' is dangerous to the whole world"

"It's absolutely essential we make the right choice on 2 November because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told supporters at a town hall meeting.

If Kerry were elected, Cheney says the nation risks falling back into a "pre-9/11 mindset" where terrorist attacks are seen merely as criminal acts that require a reactive approach. Instead, he says Bush's offensive approach roots out terrorists where they plan and train, and pressures countries that harbour them.

In all of this, little notice has been given by the Western media to an al-Qaida declaration following the Madrid bombing and published in full on 17 March in the Arabic-language dailies al-Quds al-Arabi and al-Hayat in the UK.

A week after the Madrid attack, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which claims to act on behalf of al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the bombing and declared a truce in Spain to see if the new government would withdraw its troops from Iraq, but warned that it was gearing up for new attacks.

This part of the declaration was widely reported. However, very few mentioned the more ominous part of that declaration, short of excerpts which were reported by the BBC and Reuters.

"What is a cause for concern is that half the American people still wrongly believe that Iraq had links with al-Qaida and a hand in the 9/11 attacks"

The declaration turned its attention to President Bush, saying: "A word for the foolish Bush. We are very keen that you do not lose in the forthcoming elections as we know very well that any big attack can bring down your government and this is what we do not want.

"We cannot get anyone who is more foolish than you, who deals with matters with force instead of wisdom and diplomacy.

"Your stupidity and religious extremism is what we want as our people will not awaken from their deep sleep except when there is an enemy.

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilisation.

"Because of this we desire you [Bush] to be elected."

A political tactic of this calibre should have perhaps appealed to pundits and political scientists in the media.

However, al-Qaida gravely underestimates the likely political result of an attack against the US in the months leading up to the election. It would lead to a landslide victory for Bush as it would resonate with the American culture's "circle the wagons" mentality and take orders from John Wayne.

Such an attack would play to Americans' deep inner insecurity and violent reaction to any threat has had disastrous effects, and not only to the American Indians.

Whether that threat is real, or manufactured, as that of Cheney's dire threat of an Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia in 1991 citing satellite photos (that have not been shown or proven to this day) which induced Saudi Arabia to invite US forces to invade Iraq, or his pushing the assertion and spin of an Iraqi nuclear threat in 2002 and 2003 (he was claiming that US intelligence had proof of Iraq's nuclear weapons up to two days before Iraq's occupation) and ended with the disastrous occupation of Iraq, the American people's reaction is explosive and dangerous.

What is a cause for concern is that half the American people still wrongly believe that Iraq had links with al-Qaida and a hand in the 9/11 attacks, and that cushions the outrage they should feel after tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, as well as more than a thousand of their soldiers.

The wide-eyed view of America's "war on terror" is dangerous to the whole world.

Aljazeera


©MMIV, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Posted by richard at 08:08 AM

October 30, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 3 Days to Go --Bin Laden Mocks Bush's Incompetence in the War on Terror, Zogby predicts JFK victory, 12 Ways They are Trying to Steal Ohio

There are only 3 days to go until the national
referendum on the COMPETENCE, CREDIBILITY and
CHARACTER of the _resident and the VICE
_resident...The botched, bungled, mis-named "war on
terror" is not the strength of the Bush abomination,
it is the SHAME of the Bush abomination...The pre-9/11
negligence and post-9/11 incompetence of the Bush
national insecurity team would be reason enough for
the Electoral Uprising that's coming...but there is so
much more: 1K + US soldiers killed so far in a foolish
military adventure in Iraq, hundreds of billions of
dollars of federal budget deficit because of TWO
foolish, ill-time tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest
among us, four years lost (that we could not afford to
lose) while the Bush abomination pretended that Global
Warming might not even really exist, four years lost
(that we could not afford to lose) in stem cell
research because of the Bush abomination's panderng to
the American Taliban, and the future of the US Supreme
Court hanging in the balamce (the next President will
probably appoint two or three Justices including the
next Chief Justice)...Yes, there is an Electoral
Uprising coming...in spite of the US regimestream news
media's complicity...in spite of a massive nation-wide
vote suppresion operation...NO DEFEAT/NO
SURRENDER...They cannot steal it if enough of us vote...Remember Duval County!

William Rivers Pitt, www.truthout.org: Beyond the
demonstrable fact that Mr. Wanted-Dead-Or-Alive is
still upright and breathing, there is the scathing
mockery bin Laden leveled at Bush, along with a
back-handed thank-you to Bush for giving the 9/11
terrorists the time they needed to complete the
attack. "We never thought that the high commander of
the U.S. armies would leave 50,000 of his citizens in
both towers to face the horrors alone," bin Laden
said. "It appeared to him that a little girl's talk
about her goat and its butting was more important than
the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers. That
gave us three times the required time to carry out the
operations, thank God."
Once again, Bush's comments from March of 2002
rise again with the impact of a gut-punch. "So I don't
know where he is," said Bush of bin Laden at the time.
"Nor - you know, I just don't spend that much time on
him really, to be honest with you. I... I truly am not
that concerned about him." The fellow who orchestrated
the massacre of 3,000 people, the fellow whom Bush
said he wasn't concerned about, thanked Bush for
giving him the time necessary to complete his wretched
act. In the parlance of American youth, Bush got
punked by the top terrorist on national television.
An issue which has already been pressing on this
campaign season now resonates with new urgency. For
the last several days, the Bush administration has
been wrestling with the fact that nearly 400 tons of
high explosives - the same kind of explosives used to
bring down Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, the same
kind of explosives used to blow a hole in the USS Cole
- walked away from a storage bunker in Iraq.
Videotape from a Minnesota news station, shot by
embedded reporters during the invasion of Iraq, showed
members of the 101st Airborne cutting the locks on the
place. No troops stayed to guard the well-known
bunker, however, because such duty was not a priority
of Bush administration officials handing out marching
orders to the troops. Bush's own weapons inspector,
David Kay, was appalled at what he saw on the
Minnesota news station's footage of the opening of the
bunker. "When you break into it, you own it," said
Kay. "It's your responsibility to secure it."

New York Daily News: Pollster John Zogby, in a
telephone interview with me yesterday, predicted that
John Kerry will win the election. "It's close," he
said, "but in the last couple of days things have been
trending toward Kerry - nationally and in the swing
states. Between this and history, I think it will be
Kerry."
When Zogby talks, politicians listen. He made his
bones in the Bill Clinton-Bob Dole election of 1996,
when he came within one-tenth of a percentage point of
the final tally.

Bob Fertik, www.freepress.org; The Republican
"November Surprise" to steal the 2004 election is in
full force here in Ohio. With polls showing a dead
heat, the GOP is staging an all-out attack on a fair
vote count in the Buckeye State.
Here are a dozen ways they're doing it:
* Under an archaic Ohio law, both the Republican and
Democratic Parties, or any slate of five candidates,
may embed official election challengers inside polling
places. The New York Times reported on Oct. 23 that
the Republican Party intends to place thousands of
lawyers and other GOP faithfuls inside the polls to
challenge voters. Republican insiders confide here
that the key goal is to jam lines and frustrate new
voters. The GOP apparently figures many voters in key
Democratic precincts won't wait in line more than 15
minutes to vote. This is certain to be a major tactic
in Cleveland's Cuyahoga County and other Democratic
strongholds. The GOP is not planning to challenge
voters in Republican districts.
* The Republican party has sent letters challenging
thousands of Franklin County students who are
registered to vote absentee. Franklin County is home
to Columbus, the state's largest city and its capitol.
Though it is also home to Ohio State University,
thousands of local students go to schools outside the
county or state. The GOP apparently does not want
their votes counted. This unprecedented mass
challenge has prompted the Franklin County Board of
Elections, whose director is a conservative
Republican, to reserve the large Veterans Memorial
Auditorium downtown to process the challenges this
Thursday, as John Kerry comes to town with Bruce
Springsteen. The County has told thousands of
students that if they don't appear in Columbus to
answer the GOP challenges, they may lose their right
to vote.
* The Franklin County Board of Elections has called
or written an undetermined number of voters who
obtained absentee ballots, challenging their
addresses. In at least one case, after a series of
angry phone calls, the Board admitted there was
nothing wrong with the address in question and
re-instated voting rights. The voter in question was
a registered Democrat. His wife, an independent at
the same address, was not challenged. It is unclear
how many others have been wrongly knocked out.

[NOTE: See full article below for the rest of the
list...]

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_04/103004A.shtml

Osama's Election Editorial
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 29 October 2004
So the bastard is still alive.

He isn't dead of kidney failure or rotting in a
cave somewhere in the Hindu Kush. He wasn't smoked out
of his hole, and he in no way appeared to be on the
run. The images broadcast on every American television
station in the last few hours showed a man apparently
in good health, clothed in traditional white and
wrapped in a golden robe. His hands were steady and
his voice was clear. From all appearances, Osama bin
Laden is tanned, rested and ready.

In as much as it is possible for a wanted mass
murderer to have a conversation with the American
public, this is what we are seeing tonight. Osama bin
Laden directed his message not at the Muslim world,
not at the American government, but at the people
gearing up to vote for a President on Tuesday. "You
American people, my speech to you is the best way to
avoid another conflict about the war and its reasons
and results," said bin Laden. A lot of people thought
the capture of bin Laden would be the 'October
Surprise' to affect the vote. Instead, we got, hard as
it is to believe, an election editorial from Osama,
who remains alive and free. As far as October
surprises go, this one is completely off-the-grid
strange.

For the first time, bin Laden openly took
responsibility for the attacks of September 11. "We
fought you because we are free...and want to regain
freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security,
we undermine yours," he said. "To the U.S. people, my
talk is to you about the best way to avoid another
disaster. I tell you: Security is an important element
of human life and free people do not give up their
security."

Bin Laden attempted to explain his reasons for the
9/11 attacks, stating that the Israeli invasion of
Lebanon in 1982 lit his homicidal fuse. "I will tell
you the reasons behind these incidents," he said. "I
will be honest with you on the moment when the
decision was taken. We never thought of hitting the
towers. But after we were so fed up, and we saw the
oppression of the American-Israeli coalition on our
people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind
and the incidents that really touched me directly goes
back to 1982:. When the US permitted the Israelis to
invade Lebanon with the assistance of the 6th fleet.
In these hard moments, it occurred to me so many
meanings I can't explain, but it resulted in a general
feeling of rejecting oppression, and gave me a hard
determination to punish the oppressors. While I was
looking at the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it came to
my mind to punish the oppressor the same way and
destroy towers in the U.S. to get a taste of what they
tasted, and quit killing our children and women."

While candidates Bush and Kerry were careful to
avoid using the video as a club to batter each other,
their surrogates have already taken to the airwaves to
spin this event for one or the other. At first blush,
it is difficult to imagine how bin Laden's entrance
into this voting season helps the election prospects
of Mr. Bush. The videotape was first broadcast by the
al Jazeera network, which is based out of Qatar.
According to CNN, the U.S. Ambassador to Qatar
attempted to stop Al Jazeera from broadcasting the
tape. That, as much as the actual content of the tape,
speaks to how nervous the re-appearance of bin Laden
makes the Bush administration.

Beyond the demonstrable fact that Mr.
Wanted-Dead-Or-Alive is still upright and breathing,
there is the scathing mockery bin Laden leveled at
Bush, along with a back-handed thank-you to Bush for
giving the 9/11 terrorists the time they needed to
complete the attack. "We never thought that the high
commander of the U.S. armies would leave 50,000 of his
citizens in both towers to face the horrors alone,"
bin Laden said. "It appeared to him that a little
girl's talk about her goat and its butting was more
important than the planes and their butting of the
skyscrapers. That gave us three times the required
time to carry out the operations, thank God."

Once again, Bush's comments from March of 2002
rise again with the impact of a gut-punch. "So I don't
know where he is," said Bush of bin Laden at the time.
"Nor - you know, I just don't spend that much time on
him really, to be honest with you. I... I truly am not
that concerned about him." The fellow who orchestrated
the massacre of 3,000 people, the fellow whom Bush
said he wasn't concerned about, thanked Bush for
giving him the time necessary to complete his wretched
act. In the parlance of American youth, Bush got
punked by the top terrorist on national television.

An issue which has already been pressing on this
campaign season now resonates with new urgency. For
the last several days, the Bush administration has
been wrestling with the fact that nearly 400 tons of
high explosives - the same kind of explosives used to
bring down Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, the same
kind of explosives used to blow a hole in the USS Cole
- walked away from a storage bunker in Iraq.

Videotape from a Minnesota news station, shot by
embedded reporters during the invasion of Iraq, showed
members of the 101st Airborne cutting the locks on the
place. No troops stayed to guard the well-known
bunker, however, because such duty was not a priority
of Bush administration officials handing out marching
orders to the troops. Bush's own weapons inspector,
David Kay, was appalled at what he saw on the
Minnesota news station's footage of the opening of the
bunker. "When you break into it, you own it," said
Kay. "It's your responsibility to secure it."

Thanks to the disastrous Iraq invasion, and the
continuing debacle that is the occupation, Iraq is now
a place where al Qaeda terrorists may operate freely.
How much of the missing explosives in question have
fallen into the hands of bin Laden loyalists? How much
of the thousands of tons of explosives and weaponry
that went similarly unguarded by American forces all
across Iraq have likewise found their way into al
Qaeda hands? The re-emergence of Osama bin Laden makes
these questions all the more pressing.

How all of this will shake out among the American
electorate remains to be seen. Perhaps the American
people, upon seeing a healthy bin Laden again on their
televisions, will be reminded of Bush's failure to
capture or kill him and punish Bush at the polls.
Perhaps they will be angered that bin Laden dared to
throw his two bloody cents into the political
conversation and side with Bush over Kerry. Perhaps
the only absolute conclusion to draw from all this is
the one that almost certainly occurred to every
American who tuned into the broadcast.

The bastard is still alive.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.'

-------

Jump to TO Features for Saturday October 30, 2004

Today's TO Features -------------- William Rivers
Pitt | Osama's Election Editorial News Video Is at
Center of Storm over Iraq Explosives Halliburton
Contracts Bypassed Objections Mideast Experts: Hope,
but Don't Expect, Easy Transition Jonathan Chait | For
Bush, Too Late for Honesty A Tie? Expect 'Stark Raving
Mad Chaos' for a Month Robert F. Kennedy Jr. | The
Worst Environmental President in U.S. History Sylvie
Kauffmann | The Battle for Democracy IRS Investigating
NAACP for Criticism of President Robert Scheer | The
Man Behind the Oval Office Curtain Register-Guard |
Bush Refuses to Acknowledge Dire Situation Springsteen
Brings Out 80,000 to Cheer Kerry Ashcroft Seeking
Control of Voting Rights Eyewitness to Looting of al
Qaqaa Explosives Cache Marines Poised to Storm
Fallujah and Ramadi Video Shows U.S. Troops at Iraq
Weapons Cache Marc Ash | African America to the Rescue
FBI Investigates Halliburton's No-Bid Contracts t r u
t h o u t Home

Print This Story E-mail This Story



© : t r u t h o u t 2004


http://nydailynews.com/front/story/247447p-211694c.html

What Zogby tells
me: Kerry wins


Pollster John Zogby, in a telephone interview with me
yesterday, predicted that John Kerry will win the
election. "It's close," he said, "but in the last
couple of days things have been trending toward Kerry
- nationally and in the swing states. Between this and
history, I think it will be Kerry."
When Zogby talks, politicians listen. He made his
bones in the Bill Clinton-Bob Dole election of 1996,
when he came within one-tenth of a percentage point of
the final tally.

Bet me that when the Bushies read what Zogby told me,
not just the rhetoric will rise, but so will the
fever.

Particularly since one of their favorite columnists,
Robert Novak, reported in yesterday's Washington Post
that Zogby called the race for President Bush in a
conversation he had with the pollster on Monday.

Zogby was jocular about the Novak column, although he
has decided not to post a comment on his Web site.
Here's what he told me: "I said Bush was winning, I
didn't say I thought he'd win. On Monday, he was
indeed looking good. But on Tuesday, things changed.
Kerry, in that one day, picked up 5 points."

Well, what about New Jersey? Al Gore took the Garden
State by 16 points, and now the Quinnipiac poll makes
it even. If Kerry loses Jersey, it could be a
landslide for Bush, no, Mr. Zogby?

I could hear Zogby shrug. "New Jersey?" he said. "Take
out your navy blue crayon and color Jersey dark. I
don't even poll New Jersey."

The politicians of both parties appear to agree. If
they believed Jersey was in play, Kerry and Bush would
be in Newark and Jersey City on the spot. But nobody
showed.

Maurice Carroll nodded - I heard that on the phone,
too. Mickey runs the Quinnipiac poll, and being
straight, he said, "It makes me trepidatious about our
numbers."

What?

"I've gotta look it up, too," he laughed. "But of
course when the politicians pay no attention, we have
to wonder if we got it right."

And then he added: "Maybe because our poll had 6%
undecided. Historically, the undecided vote goes big
to the challenger."

Polls, polls, polls. Is that all there is, Alfie?

Let's check the London line. The legal bookies across
the sea have been uncannily right over the years on
our elections. They probably called 1776 for George
Washington.

And on this one, the Republicans have to love it.

The latest line from sunny old England makes Bush, in
their funny lingo, a 4-7 favorite. (Vegas would say it
7-4.) That's almost 2-to-1.

Maybe London looks at it this way because they don't
have the benefit of our pundits, day in, day out. On
the other hand, we don't need polls to tell us that
the Brits hate the Iraq war and consider Dubya to be a
cut under Jack the Ripper.

The one poll that chilled me yesterday went like this:
"If the candidate you're against wins, will you still
support him?"

Sixty-two percent said no.

Maybe not civil war, but certainly something that
great Texan Jim Hightower could explain to us.

"If the gods wanted us to vote," Hightower once
observed, "they'd have given us candidates."

Originally published on October 29, 2004

http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/810

Sat Oct 30 2004


Departments
Campaign 2004

Twelve ways Bush is now stealing the Ohio vote
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
October 27, 2004

The Republican "November Surprise" to steal the 2004
election is in full force here in Ohio. With polls
showing a dead heat, the GOP is staging an all-out
attack on a fair vote count in the Buckeye State.

Here are a dozen ways they're doing it:

* Under an archaic Ohio law, both the Republican and
Democratic Parties, or any slate of five candidates,
may embed official election challengers inside polling
places. The New York Times reported on Oct. 23 that
the Republican Party intends to place thousands of
lawyers and other GOP faithfuls inside the polls to
challenge voters. Republican insiders confide here
that the key goal is to jam lines and frustrate new
voters. The GOP apparently figures many voters in key
Democratic precincts won't wait in line more than 15
minutes to vote. This is certain to be a major tactic
in Cleveland's Cuyahoga County and other Democratic
strongholds. The GOP is not planning to challenge
voters in Republican districts.

* The Republican party has sent letters challenging
thousands of Franklin County students who are
registered to vote absentee. Franklin County is home
to Columbus, the state's largest city and its capitol.
Though it is also home to Ohio State University,
thousands of local students go to schools outside the
county or state. The GOP apparently does not want
their votes counted. This unprecedented mass
challenge has prompted the Franklin County Board of
Elections, whose director is a conservative
Republican, to reserve the large Veterans Memorial
Auditorium downtown to process the challenges this
Thursday, as John Kerry comes to town with Bruce
Springsteen. The County has told thousands of
students that if they don't appear in Columbus to
answer the GOP challenges, they may lose their right
to vote.

* The Franklin County Board of Elections has called
or written an undetermined number of voters who
obtained absentee ballots, challenging their
addresses. In at least one case, after a series of
angry phone calls, the Board admitted there was
nothing wrong with the address in question and
re-instated voting rights. The voter in question was
a registered Democrat. His wife, an independent at
the same address, was not challenged. It is unclear
how many others have been wrongly knocked out.

* Even if they are counted, Franklin County's absentee
ballot forms are rigged in ways strikingly reminiscent
of those in Florida 2000. On many absentee forms,
Kerry is listed third on the list of presidential
candidates. But the actual number you punch for Kerry
is "4." If you punch "3" you've just voted for Bush.
Sound familiar?

* Franklin County's right wing Elections Director is
insisting on e-voting machines which have
malfunctioned in at least two Congressional elections,
and which have no paper trail. The November issues of
Popular Science and Popular Mechanics Magazines ran
the following headlines on their covers, respectively:
"E-vote emergency: And you thought dimpled chads were
bad'" and "Could hackers tilt the election?" Vigorous
protests against the paperless machines have been
staged here, but many will be used, rendering a
meaningful recount impossible.

* In four other Ohio counties, the notorious Diebold
company, whose CEO Wally O'Dell has pledged to deliver
Ohio's votes to Bush, will provide the e-voting
machines to count votes without any paper trail while
using proprietary "secret" software. O'Dell lives in
the wealthy Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington and is
a major Bush donor.

* Twenty GOP-dominated Ohio counties have given wrong
information to former felons about their voter
eligibility. In Hamilton County, home of Cincinnati
and the Republican Taft family, officials told
numerous former felons that a judge had to sign off
before they could vote, which is blatantly false.

* Franklin County, which normally cancels 2-300
registered voters a year for felony convictions, has
sent at least 3500 cancellation letters to both
current felons and ex-felons whose convictions date
back to 1998. The list includes numerous citizens who
were charged with felonies but convicted only of
misdemeanors.

* Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell
has reversed a long-standing Ohio practice and is
barring voters from casting provisional ballots within
their county if they are registered to vote but
there's been a mistake about where they are expected
to cast their ballot. In this year's spring primaries,
Blackwell allowed voters to cast provisional ballots
by county, even if they were in the wrong precinct.
But this fall, such voters will have to leave the
wrong precinct and find their way to the right one.
Blackwell hopes to succeed Republican Bob Taft as
governor, and has labored hard to install e-voting
machines with no paper trail, to give the statewide
contract to Diebold, and to take a long series of
steps apparently designed to help hand Ohio to George
W. Bush. Blackwell is being widely compared to the
infamous Katherine Harris, who handed Florida to
George W. Bush in 2000 and was rewarded with a safe
Congressional seat.

* The Columbus Dispatch (which has endorsed Bush) and
WVKO Radio have both documented phone calls from
people impersonating Board of Elections workers and
directing registered voters to different and incorrect
polling sites. One individual was falsely told not to
vote at the polling station across the street from his
house, but at a "new" site, four miles away. Under
Blackwell's new rules, such a vote would not be
counted.

* In Cincinnati, some 150,000 voters were moved from
active to inactive status within the last four years
for not voting in the last two federal elections. This
is not required under Ohio law, but is an option
allowed and exercised by the Republican-dominated
Hamilton County Board of Elections.

* Secretary of State Blackwell ruled that any voter
registration form on other than 80-pound weight bond
paper would not be accepted. This is an old law left
over from pre-scanning days. Many voters who had
registered on lighter paper, had their registration
returned, even though the forms had been officially
sanctioned by local election boards.

No Republican has ever won the presidency without
carrying Ohio. This year the GOP seems determined to
win it, no matter what they have do to the electoral
process.

------------------------
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of
GEORGE W. BUSH VERSUS THE SUPERPOWER OF PEACE and
IMPRISON GEORGE BUSH, from www.freepress.org.

Posted by richard at 09:46 AM

October 29, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 4 Days to Go -- Gen. Clark rebukes Bush cowardice, JFK is ahead in early NV voting, 9/11 families rebuke Bush, Julian Bond on vote surpression, and as a bonus -- The New Yorker Editorial Endorsement

There are only 4 days to go until the national referendum on the COMPETENCE, CREDIBILITY and CHARACTER of the _resident, the VICE _resident and the US regimestream news media that has provided them with cover for four years...80,000 people joined Bruce Springsteen and Sen. John F. Kerry )D-Mekong Delta)in Madison, WI yesterday...The Electoral Uprising is at hand...NO DEFEAT/NO SURRENDER...Here are FIVE important stories. Please read them and share them with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote. The life of the Republic itself is at stake in this election. Yes, they are trying to steal it, but they cannot steal it if enough of us vote...

Gen. Wesley Clark (D-NATO), www.johnkerry.com: “For President Bush to send Rudolph Giuliani out on television to say that the 'actual responsibility' for the failure to secure explosives lies with the troops is insulting and cowardly.
“The President approved the mission and the priorities. Civilian leaders tell military leaders what to do. The military follows those orders and gets the job done. This was a failure of civilian leadership, first in not telling the troops to secure explosives and other dangerous materials, and second for not providing sufficient troops and sufficient equipment for troops to do the job.

Don Hazen, www.alternet.org: In Nevada, the focus of voting is Clark County, which contains Las Vegas, and is the area where most of the state's inhabitants reside. It is possible for a candidate to win Nevada just by carrying a large majority in Clark County while losing in every other county. That scenario almost worked for Gore in 2000, when the only county he won was Clark, and lost by a small margin.
It could work this time around. According to the Ralston Report as of Tuesday, 183,252 Clark County voters had already gone to the polls – a record 24,042 on Tuesday alone. Add 34,744 absentee ballots delivered to election offices, and the total is 217,996. That means about a quarter of southern Nevada's registered voters have already cast ballots – that adds up to a lead for Kerry's of 7,042 for the early vote, and a slim lead in absentee ballots of 143. Kerry's total lead in Clark County is 7,185, adding up to a three percent advantage over Bush so far. Since most analysts see more Republicans voting early than Dems, the early lead for Kerry is seen as a good omen for the Kerry camp.

PHILIP SHENON, NY Times: The principal advocacy group for families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks blamed President Bush and a group of House Republicans on Wednesday for the failure of Congress to approve a bill to enact the recommendations of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission and overhaul the nation's intelligence agencies.
In a statement clearly meant to influence voters in next week's election, the group did not explicitly endorse Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, but said Mr. Bush had "allowed members of his own party to derail the legislative process."
The statement, which also singled out Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and five other House Republicans for blame, said, "The president never took time from his campaign to come to Washington himself to see this through," adding: "Election Day is imminent. Now it's our turn."

Mary Jacoby, www.salon.com: NAACP head Julian Bond says the GOP is going all out to suppress the black vote. Can his "Election Protection" offensive stop them?
Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has devoted his life to civil rights and voting rights issues... Salon spoke to Bond on Wednesday by telephone about Republican attempts to suppress the black vote in next Tuesday's election, including the placing of 3,600 election "challengers" at the polls in Ohio. The Republican secretary of state in Ohio, a crucial swing state with 20 electoral votes, asserts the challengers are needed to prevent voting fraud. But Bond countered that if fraud is really the issue, why are the GOP challengers focusing on cities like Cleveland, which have large Democratic-leaning African-American and Hispanic populations?
Nearly 40 years after passage of the Voting Rights Act, dirty tricks and intimidation tactics against black voters are alive and well, Bond said. In Louisiana in 2002, he said, fliers were passed out in African-American neighborhoods advertising the wrong date for a U.S. Senate runoff election. In the 2003 mayoral election in Philadelphia, he added, men wielding clipboards and official-looking law enforcement insignia paroled African-American neighborhoods asking voters for identification.
The NAACP and the People for the American Way Foundation have issued a report titled "The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today." Your organization will also be staffing an Election Day war room with a toll-free telephone number for voters to report irregularities or intimidation at the polls. Obviously, you think the risk of minority voters being denied their rights is serious.
"I do. I think it's going to be a major factor in either delaying, knowing or deciding who won. In Ohio for example, Republicans have targeted 35,000 voters [for election challenges], most of them registered in cities with large minority populations. And they do this based either on the racist assumption that minorities are inveterate cheaters or because they know that these are voters who are likely to vote against them. Either way, it's a dirty tactic, and only can be thought to slow up, gum up, mess up the whole process. And this is something they [Republicans] have consistently done in every election since the middle to late 1960s -- underhanded, tricky, illegal and immoral tactics."

New Yorker Editorial: He can be cautious to a fault, overeager to acknowledge every angle of an issue; and his reluctance to expose the Administration’s appalling record bluntly and relentlessly until very late in the race was a missed opportunity. But when his foes sought to destroy him rather than to debate him they found no scandals and no evidence of bad faith in his past. In the face of infuriating and scurrilous calumnies, he kept the sort of cool that the thin-skinned and painfully insecure incumbent cannot even feign during the unprogrammed give-and-take of an electoral debate. Kerry’s mettle has been tested under fire—the fire of real bullets and the political fire that will surely not abate but, rather, intensify if he is elected—and he has shown himself to be tough, resilient, and possessed of a properly Presidential dose of dignified authority. While Bush has pandered relentlessly to the narrowest urges of his base, Kerry has sought to appeal broadly to the American center. In a time of primitive partisanship, he has exhibited a fundamentally undogmatic temperament. In campaigning for America’s mainstream restoration, Kerry has insisted that this election ought to be decided on the urgent issues of our moment, the issues that will define American life for the coming half century. That insistence is a measure of his character. He is plainly the better choice. As observers, reporters, and commentators we will hold him to the highest standards of honesty and performance. For now, as citizens, we hope for his victory.

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://blog.johnkerry.com/blog/archives/003705.html

General Clark on Giuliani Comments:
"Insulting and Cowardly"
General Wesley Clark issued the following statement today about Rudolph Giuliani's comments about the responsibility of U.S. troops for the missing explosives in Iraq:


“For President Bush to send Rudolph Giuliani out on television to say that the 'actual responsibility' for the failure to secure explosives lies with the troops is insulting and cowardly.

“The President approved the mission and the priorities. Civilian leaders tell military leaders what to do. The military follows those orders and gets the job done. This was a failure of civilian leadership, first in not telling the troops to secure explosives and other dangerous materials, and second for not providing sufficient troops and sufficient equipment for troops to do the job.

“President Bush sent our troops to war without sufficient body armor, without a sound plan and without sufficient forces to accomplish the mission. Our troops are performing a difficult mission with skill, bravery and determination. They deserve a commander in chief who supports them and understands that the buck stops in the Oval Office, not one who gets weak knees and shifts blame for his mistakes.”
Posted by DickBell on October 28, 2004 at 04:33 PM


http://www.alternet.org/election04/20321/

The Silver State for Kerry?

By Don Hazen, AlterNet. Posted October 27, 2004.


Early voting is underway in Nevada, and Kerry is ahead by 7,000 votes. But there's a lot more at play in the Silver State. Story Tools


More stories by Don Hazen


It is election crunch time as the end game shifts into high gear, and the presidential race is too close to call in a number of states – that is, if one trusts the polls.

And as election day closes in, there is a separate question: with the predicted chaos and glitches, will we know who has won on election night, or will we have an ongoing donnybrook long after Nov. 2?

A very close race is certainly the case in Nevada, where the tension is already rising as early vote totals are being tallied. While current polls, particularly the Zogby tracking poll, have Bush winning Nevada by a few points, the early voting returns, already in record numbers, suggest something else.

At this point virtually every state faces some potential for confusion over voting procedures, mechanical glitches or law suits and Nevada is no exception. Interestingly, Nevada is the only state that has paper trails attached to its electronic machines, but that also could breed confusion because voters cannot take the paper with them, like a receipt, since as the theory goes, having proof of how you voted might facilitate vote buying.

In Nevada, the focus of voting is Clark County, which contains Las Vegas, and is the area where most of the state's inhabitants reside. It is possible for a candidate to win Nevada just by carrying a large majority in Clark County while losing in every other county. That scenario almost worked for Gore in 2000, when the only county he won was Clark, and lost by a small margin.

It could work this time around. According to the Ralston Report as of Tuesday, 183,252 Clark County voters had already gone to the polls – a record 24,042 on Tuesday alone. Add 34,744 absentee ballots delivered to election offices, and the total is 217,996. That means about a quarter of southern Nevada's registered voters have already cast ballots – that adds up to a lead for Kerry's of 7,042 for the early vote, and a slim lead in absentee ballots of 143. Kerry's total lead in Clark County is 7,185, adding up to a three percent advantage over Bush so far. Since most analysts see more Republicans voting early than Dems, the early lead for Kerry is seen as a good omen for the Kerry camp.

Behind the vote totals there is a much larger Nevada story. For many, Las Vegas is off the hook. It's the coolest, most-hyped destination in the continental United States. Suddenly more people are traveling to Las Vegas and spending more money there than most thought possible.

Much of the credit for its striking economic boom is the hotel and gambling industry's sexification of Las Vegas. A lot of the new Vegas is a far cry from the family fare and amusement rides of old. These days, the city is aimed at liberating the libido. And the high roller owners of Vegas are raking it in. A record $32.8 billion was spent in Vegas in 2003. And apparently the effort to stimulate the collective horniness knows no bounds, as many new high-priced, sex-themed attractions are in the works, and $6.2 billion in new construction is underway.

As the intense, claustrophobic struggle for the presidency slogs on, what Las Vegas' "irrational exuberance" means politically is still up in the air. Ultimately, will the financial success of liberating Vegas from its inhibitions be a plus for the more tolerant Democrats in a country where the Republicans often stand for sexual abstinence and repression? Or will a state where ironically straight-laced Mormons exercise enormous power stay in the Republican column, as it did in 2000 when Bush scored a three-point victory over Gore with 21,500 votes? Steve Rosenthal, the former political director of the AFL-CIO and now the CEO of the well-funded America Coming Together still thinks Nevada's five electoral votes will go for the Democrats this year. "We feel that Nevada is a good bet for a 'take away state,'" he said. And with number crunchers having various scenarios for a tie in the Electoral College, Nevada's five electoral votes are very, very important – especially if Kerry holds all the states that Gore won in 2000.

A Boom Town with Party Bosses

Nevada, overwhelmingly dominated by Las Vegas, is a tough state to figure; anomalies abound. Despite widespread poverty throughout the Southwest, the Las Vegas region is arguably the most vibrant in the country at this moment. It is hands down the fastest-growing city in the U.S. with more construction underway than any other city. One direct result of the growth is low unemployment with some workers in the fast food industry making over $9 an hour, almost twice the country's minimum wage.

Nevada has a lot of economic contradictions. It is a "right-to-work" state (meaning that workers can opt out of joining unions), but it also has a strong union presence. The 50,000-strong Culinary Workers Union, part of the national Hotel and Restaurant Workers (HERE) are legendary, both in their service to members and their grassroots clout in local politics in Las Vegas and across the state.

At the same time, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), under the new leadership of Executive Director Jane McAlevey, is beginning to flex its political muscle in Vegas, particularly after Local 1107 won a big victory on behalf of nurses and other hospital workers in recent contract negotiations and showed grassroots power in recent political primaries. Meanwhile, the national SEIU, which by some accounts is investing more than $60 million in the effort to defeat Bush, has prioritized Nevada meaning that some of the hundreds of SEIU members who have volunteered to go to work in swing states (while still being paid by the union – SEIU calls them "heroes") are in Nevada.

In Las Vegas, the corporate casinos and developers rule, and their cash buys everything, and that includes the politicians. It's something the local Republicans and Democrats have in common. With so much money in play, payoffs seem to be prevalent in Nevada. Currently no less than six current and former elected officials are under investigation or indictment, including officials of both parties.

The parties in Nevada have more in common than corruption. Both senators – Democrat Minority Whip Harry Reid and Republican John Ensign – are Mormons. Reid exercises lots of influence – his son Rory Reid ran for and now serves on the Clark County Commission, and no wonder. Most agree that the Commission is the most powerful body in the state, overseeing the Nevada strip, which is in the unincorporated portion of the city, while colorful mayor Oscar B. Goodman, a strong proponent of selling the sexier side of Las Vegas, rules a very small fiefdom north of the strip. The Clark County manager, Thom Reilly, and the head of the Clark County airport, Randall W. Walker are two of the other key power brokers in the state.

A Mountainful of Politics

A final point of affinity between the Republicans and Democrats in Nevada is that both are against the disposal of all the nation's nuclear waste in Yucca mountain. The public is against it as well; a recent poll had 54% of Nevadans against Yucca, with 39% supporting it if the state received "federal benefits" for storing it. Yucca figures to be the biggest local issue for Nevadans in the presidential race, and Bush and Kerry are divided on it. Bush has generally supported bringing all the nuclear waste to Yucca, while John Kerry has voted six times in the Senate against bills relating to the Yucca plan. The Kerry campaign sees this as a big wedge issue for the Nevada voters. Katie Selenski, director of the New Voters Project's Nevada office says "issues like the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain are motivating young people to reach out to their friends and neighbors to vote in record numbers."

Kerry made a pledge in May of this year that, "there's going to be no nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain" if he were elected. Kerry reaffirmed his pledge on Aug. 10 at an evening rally before more than 12,000 people at the Thomas & Mack center in Vegas, and according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Kerry said that the Bush administration "has pursued a relentless, purposeful policy to push the science no matter what the science says."

A Soft Strategy for the Left

The closeness of the races in the Southwest has garnered the attention of national groups like America Coming Together and the New Voters Project. It is unclear how much impact the outside groups will have on Nevada. One possible critique is that the groups trying to deliver Nevada for the Democrats are putting too many of their resources in Clark County.

At first glance, that strategy would seem to make sense. In the 2000 presidential elections, southern Nevada – where 80 percent of the state's electorate resides – accounted for 63 percent of the votes cast in the presidential race. Al Gore carried only Clark County (Las Vegas), while Bush won 16 of the 17 counties in the southern part of the state, and Bush won the state. It is clear that a campaign that focuses only on Democratic base turnout in Clark County is not enough to carry the whole state. America Coming Together claims to have a statewide focus in Nevada, but perhaps too many resources are being used in Las Vegas.

America Coming Together (ACT), operating full blast in a number of swing states, was late-forming in Nevada. One insider's sense of ACT in Nevada is that it has been slow to get rolling and has not been making much of an impact. Some suggest that the ACT Nevada leadership is from out of state and lacks roots or experience in the desert.

Ty Weinert, political director of SEIU local 1107 in Las Vegas, says that despite there being 20 organizations ranging from 527's (these are organizations permitted to conduct political activity – running ads, registering voters, etc. – but aren't allowed to coordinate their work with specific candidates) labor organizations (Culinary/UNITE HERE and SEIU at the forefront), and other non-partisan groups active in the state, "a less Clark County-centric strategy is needed for those who would like to see Kerry/Edwards win Nevada," which Bush won by a mere 21,500 votes out 600,000.

Cooking Up Politics, Latino Style

A big factor in Nevada politics is the role of the Culinary Workers Union, which has membership that is roughly 45% Latino. Part of the union's success is in creating the Immigrant Worker's Citizen Project – aimed at assisting members with naturalization, and registering them as new voters. Another group, Voices for Working Families, has aimed to register 15,000 new Hispanic voters, according to Las Vegas City Life. Also New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's non-partisan Hispanic-focused Moving America Forward (MAF) has registered more than 9,000 Hispanic voters in Clark County since June. Twenty-two percent of Clark County is Latino, according to the 2000 census.

The Las Vegas Culinary union success story is the tale of how John Wilhelm, sent to Las Vegas years ago to prove his mettle, helped to produce one of the biggest union organizing success stories in recent years which eventually led to his taking over as head of the national Hotel and Restaurant Workers.

The ambitious Wilhelm, who is often discussed as a possible successor to AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney, recently engineered the groundbreaking merger of HERE with UNITE, the textile workers' union. Wilhelm will be co-president with Bruce Raynor, the head of UNITE. The shorthand explanation of the merger is that UNITE, by dint of savvy investments many years ago, is a wealthy union with a rapidly shrinking worker base. In contrast, HERE has a huge gambling and restaurant industry to pursue across the country, but lacks the resources to do it – as some would say, "a match made in heaven." Suddenly there were big stakes for for HERE, particularly in Atlantic City where some of the casinos have been struck by HERE workers, and key leaders have been scattered around the country. Nevertheless, it has been very important for HERE to refocus its attention on Nevada, and make sure its vaunted political operation at Culinary Workers is in high gear this last week if Kerry is to win the state.

So there you have it: Las Vegas is a wild mix of sex, gambling, enormous growth, Mormons, political corruption, nuclear waste, and grassroots voter registration in the barrios by a powerful local union. What does all of this add up to? Check in with the Las Vegas oddsmakers. Chances are, the prospects are even money.

Don Hazen is the Executive Editor of AlterNet.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/28/politics/28panel.html?oref=login

9/11 Families Group Rebukes Bush for Impasse on Overhaul
By PHILIP SHENON

Published: October 28, 2004


ASHINGTON, Oct. 27 - The principal advocacy group for families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks blamed President Bush and a group of House Republicans on Wednesday for the failure of Congress to approve a bill to enact the recommendations of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission and overhaul the nation's intelligence agencies.

In a statement clearly meant to influence voters in next week's election, the group did not explicitly endorse Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, but said Mr. Bush had "allowed members of his own party to derail the legislative process."

The statement, which also singled out Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and five other House Republicans for blame, said, "The president never took time from his campaign to come to Washington himself to see this through," adding: "Election Day is imminent. Now it's our turn."

Advertisement


Efforts by House and Senate negotiators to work out a compromise bill appeared close to collapse on Wednesday, with lawmakers at a stalemate over the powers of a proposed national intelligence director \and other issues.

Asked about the group's criticism of the president, a White House spokeswoman, Erin Healy, suggested that Mr. Bush did not deserve the families' blame, and that he had been active in encouraging Congress to agree on a final bill.

"He has urged the House and Senate to come together and resolve their differences," she said. "The administration has been actively engaged in this. We've been up on the Hill. We've been taking part in the conferees' process."

The Kerry campaign instantly seized on the families' statement to attack President Bush. Mark Kitchens, a spokesman for the Kerry campaign, said it showed that "George Bush has squandered this golden opportunity to achieve meaningful and lasting intelligence reform."

John Feehery, a spokesman for the speaker, said the families' criticism of Mr. Hastert was "unfair because the speaker and his staff have been negotiating day and night to get a bill that will make the country safer."

No advocacy group claims to speak for all relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. But the leaders of the Family Steering Committee - in particular, four New Jersey widows who became known as "the Jersey girls" - were instrumental in pressuring Congress and the White House to create the Sept. 11 commission in late 2002, and in insisting that the commission be aggressive in demanding documents and testimony from the Bush administration.

Their statement, the most pointedly political one ever issued by the committee, said the group's members were "angry and saddened that the opportunity for significant reform of our country's intelligence structure has been squandered." Nikki Stern, leader of another large victims' family group, Families of September 11, said that her group's nonprofit status barred her from urging voters to support or oppose individual political candidates.

"But we do say that those people who are responsible for not helping push through legislation that supports the 9/11 commission will be held accountable on Nov. 2," she said. "We're encouraging everyone to vote."

Congressional negotiators have been meeting for a week to try to reconcile House and Senate bills intended to enact major recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, most importantly its call for the creation of the job of a national intelligence director to coordinate the work of the government's 15 spy agencies, including the C.I.A. Congressional leaders had asked that a final bill be ready in time for it to be signed into law by President Bush before the election on Tuesday.

But lawmakers say the talks have been at a virtual standstill this week, with House Republicans refusing to accept the wording of the bipartisan Senate bill, which would grant broader budget and personnel authority to a national intelligence director than would the House bill.

House Republicans say they have been willing to make concessions about the intelligence director's authority, but that they cannot make concessions that would hamper the work of intelligence agencies within the Pentagon, like the National Security Agency.

Their position has been endorsed by senior officials at the Pentagon, which has proved awkward for the White House to explain in recent days since President Bush has offered his public support to the Senate provisions, which have also been endorsed by the Sept. 11 commission. The House Republicans have also insisted on the inclusion in a final bill of several law-enforcement and immigration provisions from the House bill that have been strongly criticized by civil liberties groups and were never addressed by the commission.


Home Delivery of The Times from $2.90/week - Act Now!

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/102904W.shtml


"It Will Be Worse Than in 2000"
By Mary Jacoby
Salon.com

Thursday 28 October 2004

NAACP head Julian Bond says the GOP is going all out to suppress the black vote. Can his "Election Protection" offensive stop them?

Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has devoted his life to civil rights and voting rights issues. After a group of black college students refused to leave a whites-only lunch counter at a Woolworth's store in Greensboro, N.C., in 1960, Bond -- then a student at Atlanta's Morehouse College -- helped form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Famous for its "Freedom Rides" challenging segregation, SNCC also worked to register black voters in rural areas of the deep South in the early 1960s, with Bond serving as the organization's communications director.

Elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, the 25-year-old Bond was denied his seat by legislators angry about his opposition to the Vietnam War; he was seated after three elections and a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court. Chairman of the NAACP since 1998, Bond is now a distinguished professor at American University in Washington and a professor of history at the University of Virginia. He narrated the prize-winning documentaries "A Time for Justice" and "Eyes on the Prize."

Salon spoke to Bond on Wednesday by telephone about Republican attempts to suppress the black vote in next Tuesday's election, including the placing of 3,600 election "challengers" at the polls in Ohio. The Republican secretary of state in Ohio, a crucial swing state with 20 electoral votes, asserts the challengers are needed to prevent voting fraud. But Bond countered that if fraud is really the issue, why are the GOP challengers focusing on cities like Cleveland, which have large Democratic-leaning African-American and Hispanic populations?

Nearly 40 years after passage of the Voting Rights Act, dirty tricks and intimidation tactics against black voters are alive and well, Bond said. In Louisiana in 2002, he said, fliers were passed out in African-American neighborhoods advertising the wrong date for a U.S. Senate runoff election. In the 2003 mayoral election in Philadelphia, he added, men wielding clipboards and official-looking law enforcement insignia paroled African-American neighborhoods asking voters for identification.

The NAACP and the People for the American Way Foundation have issued a report titled "The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today." Your organization will also be staffing an Election Day war room with a toll-free telephone number for voters to report irregularities or intimidation at the polls. Obviously, you think the risk of minority voters being denied their rights is serious.

I do. I think it's going to be a major factor in either delaying, knowing or deciding who won. In Ohio for example, Republicans have targeted 35,000 voters [for election challenges], most of them registered in cities with large minority populations. And they do this based either on the racist assumption that minorities are inveterate cheaters or because they know that these are voters who are likely to vote against them. Either way, it's a dirty tactic, and only can be thought to slow up, gum up, mess up the whole process. And this is something they [Republicans] have consistently done in every election since the middle to late 1960s -- underhanded, tricky, illegal and immoral tactics.

Are you saying that the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 has not been particularly effective in ensuring the enfranchisement of minorities?

Curiously, the Voting Rights Act shifted the partisan direction of these tactics. Before the Voting Rights Act was passed, this [black-voter suppression] was the exclusive province of Democrats. But the Voting Rights Act made two things happen. First, Democrats who were resistant to equality migrated in large numbers to the Republican Party. And the Democratic Party, which had been hostile to black voters, became welcoming. When LBJ signed the law, he said to an aide, "We're giving the South to the Republican Party for a generation." The parties traded places.

Do you expect the tactics to be any heavier-handed this year than in the past?

Oh, yeah. I think it will be worse than in 2000. For one thing, in 2000 you did not have the law-enforcement apparatus of the government engaged on one side of the contest, as you do now. Attorney General [John] Ashcroft has instituted this so-called ballot integrity program. Yes, despite appeals to him to issue statements saying we're interested in protecting the voters' right to cast their votes, he's focused entirely on suspicions and allegations of fraud. I don't think anyone thinks that fraud is a widespread problem in the American electoral system. Instead, he's instructed his attorneys general across the United States to be on the alert for fraud, rather than be on the alert for people who are likely to stymie voters and keep them from casting their votes. The two parties are much more aware, taking a lesson from 2000, that every vote counts, and the Democrats take the lesson to mean we need to get all our people to the polls, while the Republicans take the lesson to mean we have to keep as many people as we can away.

Have you ever heard of thousands of people being employed to challenge voters before, as is happening in Ohio?

I don't know how old this practice is, but it's a fairly standard option in most jurisdictions that one voter is able to challenge the legitimacy of another. But it has never been a widespread practice until this year, and that's what makes it so significant. Typically, in small local races where most voters know each other, the right to challenge means that if I see John Smith coming, and I know that John doesn't live in this precinct, I'm going to challenge him. In the South before the Voting Rights Act, it was typically done by white Democrats against blacks. Now, things are reversed, and this Ohio thing is just unprecedented. Just the sheer number -- never before in American political history have 35,000 voters been challenged at one time.

What can the NAACP do about it?

Unfortunately, all you can do in the absence of any intervening authority is to say these are harassment tactics and will not be tolerated. All you can do is have your own people at the polls. In Ohio, you have a partisan secretary of state, Ken Blackwell, whose hopes for achieving the governorship next year rest on his ability to win this election for George W. Bush. He's done everything he can to make the process of casting votes difficult, and he's tolerating this massive challenge, which at best will gum things up.

And you can't really counter these tactics?

You can give instructions to the poll managers to say these things won't be tolerated. You can try to educate them about the standards under which challenges are conducted. But as I understand it, Blackwell hasn't set any standards or issued any warnings. You hope that the poll managers will do it, but they're likely to be overwhelmed by the enormous numbers of people. This is an invitation to chaos.

As far as the hard-won right to vote is concerned -- and to have that vote count -- what's at stake for African-Americans in this election?

If one person is denied the right to vote, that's a tragedy. If one is turned away for a phony reason, that's a little chink in our democracy. When it happens to thousands, and when their votes are disallowed, as happened in Florida in 2000, then citizens' confidence in the process is weakened.

The result will always be open to challenge and dispute. As you know, there are many, many people, myself among them, who are convinced that President Bush has been an illegitimate president for four years. He didn't win the popular vote; he won the Florida vote by 527 votes, when thousands of black votes were cast aside. If the president doesn't have legitimacy, it makes the process of governing less legitimate.

And yet some polls suggest that Bush is not doing so badly among black voters, at least compared with the single digits he pulled in the 2000 election.

It's because after years of trying to suppress and nullify black voters, they've [Republicans] now tried to slice away a wedge of black voters. And in 11 states, [they] have these so-called marriage amendments on the ballot [to prevent gay marriage] and have begun an aggressive campaign to solicit the support of conservative black clergy. And in some respects, they've succeeded. Now, the NAACP opposed the federal amendments, which failed, and opposed these state-level amendments. And Kweisi Mfume, the president and chief executive officer of the NAACP, and I as the chairman, have written letters to ministers in these 11 states, telling them of our opposition and saying that these state-level amendments are simply devices to split the progressive coalition.

Why don't you ever hear about intimidation tactics being used in predominantly white precincts?

You never hear about it because if you're walking down the street and you see a black face and a white face, you can make an informed guess that that black face is going to vote for the Democrats, and so minorities are the targets of people who want to suppress Democratic votes. That's true -- you never hear about this occurring in white precincts. And it's evidence of the partisan and pernicious nature of these practices.

Tell me about the "Election Protection" project that the NAACP has set up with People for the American Way. You've got a toll-free hot-line number for people to call on Election Day to report irregularities and intimidation tactics?

Yes, but I hope we don't just get overwhelmed. Ideally, if you see a practice you think is questionable, you call and somebody nearby you will be dispatched to take care of it. We also have this cadre of lawyers who will be on the ready in places where, based on past experience, we expect trouble, chiefly in Florida. It's basically a dispatch system to ensure that every complaint is attended to.

Do you do this every election year?

Yes. We've done it in the last two presidential elections, but it really didn't seem to be something needed much until 2000. In 2000, we were just flooded with all kinds of calls all over the country.

So you do or do not think you have the resources to counter any Republican tactics?

I'm sure [the Republicans' efforts] are going to be successful. The only question is to what degree will they be successful. With the resources available, the only way this can be countered is by overwhelming the polls with a record turnout of voters.

We've focused on intimidation of African-American voters. But this is an issue that is important beyond the minority community, isn't it?

Yes. We're talking about things that are beyond the pale of normal politics. It's normal politics for candidates to run negative ads in the hope that they suppress their opponent's votes. But we're talking about things that border on the illegal, or which are illegal. And it ought to be an issue for everyone. How can you wake up the next morning and say Joe Blow has been elected when you know that Joe's election has been tainted by suppressed votes, nullified votes and voters frightened away? How can that election have any credibility? The issue is confidence in the democratic system.

-------

Jump to TO Features for Friday October 29, 2004



http://www.newyorker.com/printable/?talk/041101ta_talk_editors

COMMENT
THE CHOICE
by The Editors
Issue of 2004-11-01
Posted 2004-10-25
This Presidential campaign has been as ugly and as bitter as any in American memory. The ugliness has flowed mostly in one direction, reaching its apotheosis in the effort, undertaken by a supposedly independent group financed by friends of the incumbent, to portray the challenger—who in his mid-twenties was an exemplary combatant in both the Vietnam War and the movement to end that war—as a coward and a traitor. The bitterness has been felt mostly by the challenger’s adherents; yet there has been more than enough to go around. This is one campaign in which no one thinks of having the band strike up “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

The heightened emotions of the race that (with any luck) will end on November 2, 2004, are rooted in the events of three previous Tuesdays. On Tuesday, November 7, 2000, more than a hundred and five million Americans went to the polls and, by a small but indisputable plurality, voted to make Al Gore President of the United States. Because of the way the votes were distributed, however, the outcome in the electoral college turned on the outcome in Florida. In that state, George W. Bush held a lead of some five hundred votes, one one-thousandth of Gore’s national margin; irregularities, and there were many, all had the effect of taking votes away from Gore; and the state’s electoral machinery was in the hands of Bush’s brother, who was the governor, and one of Bush’s state campaign co-chairs, who was the Florida secretary of state.

Bush sued to stop any recounting of the votes, and, on Tuesday, December 12th, the United States Supreme Court gave him what he wanted. Bush v. Gore was so shoddily reasoned and transparently partisan that the five justices who endorsed the decision declined to put their names on it, while the four dissenters did not bother to conceal their disgust. There are rules for settling electoral disputes of this kind, in federal and state law and in the Constitution itself. By ignoring them—by cutting off the process and installing Bush by fiat—the Court made a mockery not only of popular democracy but also of constitutional republicanism.

A result so inimical to both majority rule and individual civic equality was bound to inflict damage on the fabric of comity. But the damage would have been far less severe if the new President had made some effort to take account of the special circumstances of his election—in the composition of his Cabinet, in the way that he pursued his policy goals, perhaps even in the goals themselves. He made no such effort. According to Bob Woodward in “Plan of Attack,” Vice-President Dick Cheney put it this way: “From the very day we walked in the building, a notion of sort of a restrained presidency because it was such a close election, that lasted maybe thirty seconds. It was not contemplated for any length of time. We had an agenda, we ran on that agenda, we won the election—full speed ahead.”

The new President’s main order of business was to push through Congress a program of tax reductions overwhelmingly skewed to favor the very rich. The policies he pursued through executive action, such as weakening environmental protection and cutting off funds for international family-planning efforts, were mostly unpopular outside what became known (in English, not Arabic) as “the base,” which is to say the conservative movement and, especially, its evangelical component. The President’s enthusiastic embrace of that movement was such that, four months into the Administration, the defection of a moderate senator from Vermont, Jim Jeffords, cost his party control of the Senate. And, four months after that, the President’s political fortunes appeared to be coasting into a gentle but inexorable decline. Then came the blackest Tuesday of all.

September 11, 2001, brought with it one positive gift: a surge of solidarity, global and national—solidarity with and solidarity within the United States. This extraordinary outpouring provided Bush with a second opportunity to create something like a government of national unity. Again, he brushed the opportunity aside, choosing to use the political capital handed to him by Osama bin Laden to push through more elements of his unmandated domestic program. A year after 9/11, in the midterm elections, he increased his majority in the House and recaptured control of the Senate by portraying selected Democrats as friends of terrorism. Is it any wonder that the anger felt by many Democrats is even greater than can be explained by the profound differences in outlook between the two candidates and their parties?

The Bush Administration has had success in carrying out its policies and implementing its intentions, aided by majorities—political and, apparently, ideological—in both Houses of Congress. Substantively, however, its record has been one of failure, arrogance, and—strikingly for a team that prided itself on crisp professionalism—incompetence.

In January, 2001, just after Bush’s inauguration, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office published its budget outlook for the coming decade. It showed a cumulative surplus of more than five trillion dollars. At the time, there was a lot of talk about what to do with the anticipated bounty, a discussion that now seems antique. Last year’s federal deficit was three hundred and seventy-five billion dollars; this year’s will top four hundred billion. According to the C.B.O., which came out with its latest projection in September, the period from 2005 to 2014 will see a cumulative shortfall of $2.3 trillion.

Even this seven-trillion-dollar turnaround underestimates the looming fiscal disaster. In doing its calculations, the C.B.O. assumed that most of the Bush tax cuts would expire in 2011, as specified in the legislation that enacted them. However, nobody in Washington expects them to go away on schedule; they were designated as temporary only to make their ultimate results look less scary. If Congress extends the expiration deadlines—a near-certainty if Bush wins and the Republicans retain control of Congress—then, according to the C.B.O., the cumulative deficit between 2005 and 2014 will nearly double, to $4.5 trillion.

What has the country received in return for mortgaging its future? The President says that his tax cuts lifted the economy before and after 9/11, thereby moderating the downturn that began with the Nasdaq’s collapse in April, 2000. It’s true that even badly designed tax cuts can give the economy a momentary jolt. But this doesn’t make them wise policy. “Most of the tax cuts went to low- and middle-income Americans,” Bush said during his final debate with Senator John Kerry. This is false—a lie, actually—though at least it suggests some dim awareness that the reverse Robin Hood approach to tax cuts is politically and morally repugnant. But for tax cuts to stimulate economic activity quickly and efficiently they should go to people who will spend the extra money. Largely at the insistence of Democrats and moderate Republicans, the Bush cuts gave middle-class families some relief in the form of refunds, bigger child credits, and a smaller marriage penalty. Still, the rich do better, to put it mildly. Citizens for Tax Justice, a Washington research group whose findings have proved highly dependable, notes that, this year, a typical person in the lowest fifth of the income distribution will get a tax cut of ninety-one dollars, a typical person in the middle fifth will pocket eight hundred and sixty-three dollars, and a typical person in the top one per cent will collect a windfall of fifty-nine thousand two hundred and ninety-two dollars.

These disparities help explain the familiar charge that Bush will likely be the first chief executive since Hoover to preside over a net loss of American jobs. This Administration’s most unshakable commitment has been to shifting the burden of taxation away from the sort of income that rewards wealth and onto the sort that rewards work. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, another Washington research group, estimates that the average federal tax rate on income generated from corporate dividends and capital gains is now about ten per cent. On wages and salaries it’s about twenty-three per cent. The President promises, in a second term, to expand tax-free savings accounts, cut taxes further on dividends and capital gains, and permanently abolish the estate tax—all of which will widen the widening gap between the richest and the rest.

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

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

During the fevered period immediately after September 11th, the Administration rushed what it was pleased to call the U.S.A. Patriot Act through a compliant Congress. Some of the reaction to that law has been excessive. Many of its provisions, such as allowing broader information-sharing among investigative agencies, are sensible. About others there are legitimate concerns. Section 215 of the law, for example, permits government investigators to obtain—without a subpoena or a search warrant based on probable cause—a court order entitling them to records from libraries, bookstores, doctors, universities, and Internet service providers, among other public and private entities. Officials of the Department of Justice say that they have used Section 215 with restraint, and that they have not, so far, sought information from libraries or bookstores. Their avowals of good faith would be more reassuring if their record were not otherwise so troubling.

Secrecy and arrogance have been the touchstones of the Justice Department under Bush and his attorney general, John Ashcroft. Seven weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the Administration announced that its investigation had resulted in nearly twelve hundred arrests. The arrests have continued, but eventually the Administration simply stopped saying how many people were and are being held. In any event, not one of the detainees has been convicted of anything resembling a terrorist act. At least as reprehensible is the way that foreign nationals living in the United States have been treated. Since September 11th, some five thousand have been rounded up and more than five hundred have been deported, all for immigration infractions, after hearings that, in line with a novel doctrine asserted by Ashcroft, were held in secret. Since it is official policy not to deport terrorism suspects, it is unclear what legitimate anti-terror purpose these secret hearings serve.

President Bush often complains about Democratic obstructionism, but the truth is that he has made considerable progress, if that’s the right word, toward the goal of stocking the federal courts with conservative ideologues. The Senate has confirmed two hundred and one of his judicial nominees, more than the per-term averages for Presidents Clinton, Reagan, and Bush senior. Senate Republicans blocked more than sixty of Clinton’s nominees; Senate Democrats have blocked only ten of Bush’s. (Those ten, by the way, got exactly what they deserved. Some of them—such as Carolyn Kuhl, who devoted years of her career to trying to preserve tax breaks for colleges that practice racial discrimination, and Brett Kavanaugh, a thirty-eight-year-old with no judicial or courtroom experience who co-wrote the Starr Report—rank among the worst judicial appointments ever attempted.)

Even so, to the extent that Bush and Ashcroft have been thwarted it has been due largely to our still vigorous federal judiciary, especially the Supreme Court. Like some of the Court’s worst decisions of the past four years (Bush v. Gore again comes to mind), most of its best—salvaging affirmative action, upholding civil liberties for terrorist suspects, striking down Texas’s anti-sodomy law, banning executions of the mentally retarded—were reached by one- or two-vote majorities. (Roe v. Wade is two justices removed from reversal.) All but one of the sitting justices are senior citizens, ranging in age from sixty-five to eighty-four, and the gap since the last appointment—ten years—is the longest since 1821. Bush has said more than once that Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are his favorite justices. In a second Bush term, the Court could be remade in their images.

The record is similarly dismal in other areas of domestic policy. An executive order giving former Presidents the power to keep their papers indefinitely sealed is one example among many of a mania for secrecy that long antedates 9/11. The President’s hostility to science, exemplified by his decision to place crippling limits on federal support of stem-cell research and by a systematic willingness to distort or suppress scientific findings discomfiting to “the base,” is such that scores of eminent scientists who are normally indifferent to politics have called for his defeat. The Administration’s energy policies, especially its resistance to increasing fuel-efficiency requirements, are of a piece with its environmental irresponsibility. Even the highly touted No Child Left Behind education program, enacted with the support of the liberal lion Edward Kennedy, is being allowed to fail, on account of grossly inadequate funding. Some of the money that has been pumped into it has been leached from other education programs, dozens of which are slated for cuts next year.

Ordinarily, such a record would be what lawyers call dispositive. But this election is anything but ordinary. Jobs, health care, education, and the rest may not count for much when weighed against the prospect of large-scale terrorist attack. The most important Presidential responsibility of the next four years, as of the past three, is the “war on terror”—more precisely, the struggle against a brand of Islamist fundamentalist totalitarianism that uses particularly ruthless forms of terrorism as its main weapon.

Bush’s immediate reaction to the events of September 11, 2001, was an almost palpable bewilderment and anxiety. Within a few days, to the universal relief of his fellow-citizens, he seemed to find his focus. His decision to use American military power to topple the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, who had turned their country into the principal base of operations for the perpetrators of the attacks, earned the near-unanimous support of the American people and of America’s allies. Troops from Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Norway, and Spain are serving alongside Americans in Afghanistan to this day.

The determination of ordinary Afghans to vote in last month’s Presidential election, for which the votes are still being counted, is clearly a positive sign. Yet the job in Afghanistan has been left undone, despite fervent promises at the outset that the chaos that was allowed to develop after the defeat of the Soviet occupation in the nineteen-eighties would not be repeated. The Taliban has regrouped in eastern and southern regions. Bin Laden’s organization continues to enjoy sanctuary and support from Afghans as well as Pakistanis on both sides of their common border. Warlords control much of Afghanistan outside the capital of Kabul, which is the extent of the territorial writ of the decent but beleaguered President Hamid Karzai. Opium production has increased fortyfold.

The White House’s real priorities were elsewhere from the start. According to the former counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke, in a Situation Room crisis meeting on September 12, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld suggested launching retaliatory strikes against Iraq. When Clarke and others pointed out to him that Al Qaeda—the presumed culprit—was based in Afghanistan, not Iraq, Rumsfeld is said to have remarked that there were better targets in Iraq. The bottom line, as Bush’s former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill has said, was that the Bush-Cheney team had been planning to carry out regime change in Baghdad well before September 11th—one way or another, come what may.

At all three debates, President Bush defended the Iraq war by saying that without it Saddam Hussein would still be in power. This is probably true, and Saddam’s record of colossal cruelty--of murder, oppression, and regional aggression--was such that even those who doubted the war’s wisdom acknowledged his fall as an occasion for satisfaction. But the removal of Saddam has not been the war’s only consequence; and, as we now know, his power, however fearsome to the millions directly under its sway, was far less of a threat to the United States and the rest of the world than it pretended—and, more important, was made out—to be.

As a variety of memoirs and journalistic accounts have made plain, Bush seldom entertains contrary opinion. He boasts that he listens to no outside advisers, and inside advisers who dare to express unwelcome views are met with anger or disdain. He lives and works within a self-created bubble of faith-based affirmation. Nowhere has his solipsism been more damaging than in the case of Iraq. The arguments and warnings of analysts in the State Department, in the Central Intelligence Agency, in the uniformed military services, and in the chanceries of sympathetic foreign governments had no more effect than the chants of millions of marchers.

The decision to invade and occupy Iraq was made on the basis of four assumptions: first, that Saddam’s regime was on the verge of acquiring nuclear explosives and had already amassed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons; second, that the regime had meaningful links with Al Qaeda and (as was repeatedly suggested by the Vice-President and others) might have had something to do with 9/11; third, that within Iraq the regime’s fall would be followed by prolonged celebration and rapid and peaceful democratization; and, fourth, that a similar democratic transformation would be precipitated elsewhere in the region, accompanied by a new eagerness among Arab governments and publics to make peace between Israel and a presumptive Palestinian state. The first two of these assumptions have been shown to be entirely baseless. As for the second two, if the wishes behind them do someday come true, it may not be clear that the invasion of Iraq was a help rather than a hindrance.

In Bush’s rhetoric, the Iraq war began on March 20, 2003, with precision bombings of government buildings in Baghdad, and ended exactly three weeks later, with the iconic statue pulldown. That military operation was indeed a success. But the cakewalk led over a cliff, to a succession of heedless and disastrous mistakes that leave one wondering, at the very least, how the Pentagon’s civilian leadership remains intact and the President’s sense of infallibility undisturbed. The failure, against the advice of such leaders as General Eric Shinseki, then the Army chief of staff, to deploy an adequate protective force led to unchallenged looting of government buildings, hospitals, museums, and—most inexcusable of all—arms depots. (“Stuff happens,” Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld explained, though no stuff happened to the oil ministry.) The Pentagon all but ignored the State Department’s postwar plans, compiled by its Future of Iraq project, which warned not only of looting but also of the potential for insurgencies and the folly of relying on exiles such as Ahmad Chalabi; the project’s head, Thomas Warrick, was sidelined. The White House counsel’s disparagement of the Geneva Conventions and of prohibitions on torture as “quaint” opened the way to systematic and spectacular abuses at Abu Ghraib and other American-run prisons--a moral and political catastrophe for which, in a pattern characteristic of the Administration’s management style, no one in a policymaking position has been held accountable. And, no matter how Bush may cleave to his arguments about a grand coalition (“What’s he say to Tony Blair?” “He forgot Poland!”), the coalition he assembled was anything but grand, and it has been steadily melting away in Iraq’s cauldron of violence.

By the end of the current fiscal year, the financial cost of this war will be two hundred billion dollars (the figure projected by Lawrence Lindsey, who headed the President’s Council of Economic Advisers until, like numerous other bearers of unpalatable news, he was cashiered) and rising. And there are other, more serious costs that were unforeseen by the dominant factions in the Administration (although there were plenty of people who did foresee them). The United States has become mired in a low-intensity guerrilla war that has taken more lives since the mission was declared to be accomplished than before. American military deaths have mounted to more than a thousand, a number that underplays the real level of suffering: among the eight thousand wounded are many who have been left seriously maimed. The toll of Iraqi dead and wounded is of an order of magnitude greater than the American. Al Qaeda, previously an insignificant presence in Iraq, is an important one now. Before this war, we had persuaded ourselves and the world that our military might was effectively infinite. Now it is overstretched, a reality obvious to all. And, if the exposure of American weakness encourages our enemies, surely the blame lies with those who created the reality, not with those who, like Senator Kerry, acknowledge it as a necessary step toward changing it.

When the Administration’s geopolitical, national-interest, and anti-terrorism justifications for the Iraq war collapsed, it groped for an argument from altruism: postwar chaos, violence, unemployment, and brownouts notwithstanding, the war has purchased freedoms for the people of Iraq which they could not have had without Saddam’s fall. That is true. But a sad and ironic consequence of this war is that its fumbling prosecution has undermined its only even arguably meritorious rationale—and, as a further consequence, the salience of idealism in American foreign policy has been likewise undermined. Foreign-policy idealism has taken many forms—Wilson’s aborted world federalism, Carter’s human-rights jawboning, and Reagan’s flirtation with total nuclear disarmament, among others. The failed armed intervention in Somalia and the successful ones in the Balkans are other examples. The neoconservative version ascendant in the Bush Administration, post-9/11, draws partly on these strains. There is surely idealistic purpose in envisioning a Middle East finally relieved of its autocracies and dictatorships. Yet this Administration’s adventure in Iraq is so gravely flawed and its credibility so badly damaged that in the future, faced with yet another moral dilemma abroad, it can be expected to retreat, a victim of its own Iraq Syndrome.

The damage visited upon America, and upon America’s standing in the world, by the Bush Administration’s reckless mishandling of the public trust will not easily be undone. And for many voters the desire to see the damage arrested is reason enough to vote for John Kerry. But the challenger has more to offer than the fact that he is not George W. Bush. In every crucial area of concern to Americans (the economy, health care, the environment, Social Security, the judiciary, national security, foreign policy, the war in Iraq, the fight against terrorism), Kerry offers a clear, corrective alternative to Bush’s curious blend of smugness, radicalism, and demagoguery. Pollsters like to ask voters which candidate they’d most like to have a beer with, and on that metric Bush always wins. We prefer to ask which candidate is better suited to the governance of our nation.

Throughout his long career in public service, John Kerry has demonstrated steadiness and sturdiness of character. The physical courage he showed in combat in Vietnam was matched by moral courage when he raised his voice against the war, a choice that has carried political costs from his first run for Congress, lost in 1972 to a campaign of character assassination from a local newspaper that could not forgive his antiwar stand, right through this year’s Swift Boat ads. As a senator, Kerry helped expose the mischief of the Bank of Commerce and Credit International, a money-laundering operation that favored terrorists and criminal cartels; when his investigation forced him to confront corruption among fellow-Democrats, he rejected the cronyism of colleagues and brought down power brokers of his own party with the same dedication that he showed in going after Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal. His leadership, with John McCain, of the bipartisan effort to put to rest the toxic debate over Vietnam-era P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s and to lay the diplomatic groundwork for Washington’s normalization of relations with Hanoi, in the mid-nineties, was the signal accomplishment of his twenty years on Capitol Hill, and it is emblematic of his fairness of mind and independence of spirit. Kerry has made mistakes (most notably, in hindsight at least, his initial opposition to the Gulf War in 1990), but—in contrast to the President, who touts his imperviousness to changing realities as a virtue—he has learned from them.

Kerry’s performance on the stump has been uneven, and his public groping for a firm explanation of his position on Iraq was discouraging to behold. He can be cautious to a fault, overeager to acknowledge every angle of an issue; and his reluctance to expose the Administration’s appalling record bluntly and relentlessly until very late in the race was a missed opportunity. But when his foes sought to destroy him rather than to debate him they found no scandals and no evidence of bad faith in his past. In the face of infuriating and scurrilous calumnies, he kept the sort of cool that the thin-skinned and painfully insecure incumbent cannot even feign during the unprogrammed give-and-take of an electoral debate. Kerry’s mettle has been tested under fire—the fire of real bullets and the political fire that will surely not abate but, rather, intensify if he is elected—and he has shown himself to be tough, resilient, and possessed of a properly Presidential dose of dignified authority. While Bush has pandered relentlessly to the narrowest urges of his base, Kerry has sought to appeal broadly to the American center. In a time of primitive partisanship, he has exhibited a fundamentally undogmatic temperament. In campaigning for America’s mainstream restoration, Kerry has insisted that this election ought to be decided on the urgent issues of our moment, the issues that will define American life for the coming half century. That insistence is a measure of his character. He is plainly the better choice. As observers, reporters, and commentators we will hold him to the highest standards of honesty and performance. For now, as citizens, we hope for his victory.

Posted by richard at 08:31 AM

October 28, 2004

Countdown to Electoral Uprising - 5 Days to Go -- Zarqawi & the Corporatist Media, US Colonel debunks WH denials on 350 tons of explosives, CIA Inspector General's report repressed, Ohio, Palm Beach and Abu Ghraib

There are only 5 days to go until the Electoral
Uprising...Get it straight, because the Corporatist
Media won't: 1) The Bush abomination had a chance to
wipe out Zarqawi and his crew, presented to them by
the CIA, before the start of the Iraq war and didn't
because of domestic political concerns in the ramp up
to their foolish military adventure. 2) The Bush
abomination was warned by the UN about the 380 tons of
high explosives at the site, and US military of
officers confirm that the explosives were still there
when they swept in. 3) The CIA inspector general
finished a report, back in mid-summer, that names high
government officials who failed the country pre-9/11
but the Bush abomination is blocking its release...The
US regimestream news media is complicit (at best) and
the Bush cabal's
wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party
is engaged in a massive vote supression operation in
Bardoground States, BUT there is an Electoral Uprising
coming, and the Bush Cabal, the US regimestream news
media and the Bush cabal's
wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party,
i.e., the Triad of shared special interest (energy,
weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, tobacco,
etc.), is going to be repudiated at the Ballot Box on
November 2...Here are SIX important stories. Please
read them and share them with others. Please vote and
encourage others to vote. The life of the Republic
itself is at stake in this election... They cannot
steal it if enough of us vote...Remember Duval County!

www.mediamatters.com: The media has remained largely
silent on The Wall Street Journal's October 25 report
that President George W. Bush's administration passed
up several opportunities to attack and potentially
kill terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before the
start of the Iraq war. The Journal article expanded on
a March 2 NBC Nightly News report suggesting that the
administration passed up chances to attack Zarqawi;
the report noted that several former administration
officials and military officers have questioned the
administration's decision to hold off on such attacks.
While the Bush administration has repeatedly called
attention to Zarqawi, their failure to attack him in
2002 has gone virtually unreported. Zarqawi has
recently made headlines in connection with the killing
of 50 U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers and is, according to
the Associated Press and The New York Times, "believed
responsible for hundreds of killings."
The October 25 Journal report documented several
former military officers and administration officials
who have questioned the administration's decision to
refrain from attacking Zarqawi's camp, especially in
light of the mounting "toll of mayhem" for which he is
believed to be responsible:
Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who was in the White House as the
National Security Council's director for combatting
terrorism at the time, said an NSC [National Security
Council] working group, led by the Defense Department,
had been in charge of reviewing the plans to target
the [Zarqawi's] camp. She said the camp was
"definitely a stronghold, and we knew that certain
individuals were there including Zarqawi." Ms.
Gordon-Hagerty said she wasn't part of the working
group and never learned the reason why the camp wasn't
hit. But she said that much later, when reports
surfaced that Mr. Zarqawi was behind a series of
bloody attacks in Iraq, she said "I remember my
response," adding, "I said why didn't we get that
['son of a b-'] when we could."

Douglas Jehl, NY Times: The Central Intelligence
Agency has blocked, at least temporarily, the
distribution of a draft internal report that
identifies individual officers by name in discussing
whether anyone should be held accountable for
intelligence failures leading up to the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks, members of Congress from both parties
said.
The delays began in July, at the direction of John E.
McLaughlin, then the acting director of central
intelligence, and have continued since Porter J. Goss
took over as the intelligence chief last month,
members of Congress said. The delays have postponed
the next step in the process, which calls for the
draft report to be reviewed by affected individuals.
It is not known who is named in the report, conducted
by the C.I.A.'s inspector general, an independent
internal investigator. The review was sought in
December 2002 by the joint Congressional committee
that investigated intelligence failures leading up to
the Sept. 11 attacks. The purpose, that panel said,
should be to determine "whether and to what extent
personnel at all levels should be held accountable''
for any mistakes that contributed to the failure to
disrupt the attacks.

JIM DWYER and DAVID E. SANGER, NY Times: White House
officials reasserted yesterday that 380 tons of
powerful explosives may have disappeared from a vast
Iraqi military complex while Saddam Hussein controlled
Iraq, saying a brigade of American soldiers did not
find the explosives when they visited the complex on
April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell.
But the unit's commander said in an interview
yesterday that his troops had not searched the site
and had merely stopped there overnight.
The commander, Col. Joseph Anderson, of the Second
Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, said he
did not learn until this week that the site, Al Qaqaa,
was considered sensitive, or that international
inspectors had visited it before the war began in 2003
to inspect explosives that they had tagged during a
decade of monitoring.
Colonel Anderson, who is now the chief of staff for
the division and who spoke by telephone from Fort
Campbell, Ky., said his troops had been driving north
toward Baghdad and had paused at Al Qaqaa to make
plans for their next push.
"We happened to stumble on it,'' he said. "I didn't
know what the place was supposed to be. We did not get
involved in any of the bunkers. It was not our
mission. It was not our focus. We were just stopping
there on our way to Baghdad. The plan was to leave
that very same day. The plan was not to go in there
and start searching. It looked like all the other
ammunition supply points we had seen already."

Ralph Neas, People for The American Way: “There is
something terribly wrong here. The question must be
asked: is the Ohio Secretary of State using his
position for partisan advantage? What is the purpose
for putting an unprecedented number of challengers at
the polls and allowing them to be concentrated in
precincts?
“At a minimum, this creates the potential for long
lines, great confusion and frustration, and
ultimately, the possibility that many working men and
women who can’t afford to stand in long lines on a
work day will effectively be denied the right to vote.
That’s wrong.
“The Secretary of State should protect the rights of
legitimate voters, not curtail them. He should make
decisions that bring more voters to the polls, not
keep them away. He should clear the path to the ballot
box, not put up barriers. There should be nothing to
fear, and everything to gain, from a massive voter
turnout in Ohio.”

Scott McCabe and Dara Kam, Palm Beach Post: Early-voting advocates are angry that outgoing Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore neglected to
put booths in the largely black communities in central
Palm Beach County. County Commissioner Addie Greene accused LePore of
retaliating against black voters who helped thwart her
reelection bid in August by failing to put any of the
eight early polling sites in places such as Riviera
Beach, West Palm Beach and Mangonia Park.
"I'm not trying to be mean," said Greene, who backed
off earlier charges that LePore's motives were because
her opponent was black. "But the people who were the
most disenfranchised are the minorities."

Phillip Carter, The Washington Monthly: The biggest
scandal of the Bush administration began at the top.
A generation from now, historians may look back to
April 28, 2004, as the day the United States lost the
war in Iraq...
If Osama bin Laden had hired a Madison Avenue public
relations firm to rally Arabs hearts and minds to his
cause, it's hard to imagine that it could have devised
a better propaganda campaign.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200410270007

Media largely silent on WSJ report: Bush admin
"stopped the military from attacking" Zarqawi before
the start of the Iraq war
The media has remained largely silent on The Wall
Street Journal's October 25 report that President
George W. Bush's administration passed up several
opportunities to attack and potentially kill terrorist
leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before the start of the
Iraq war. The Journal article expanded on a March 2
NBC Nightly News report suggesting that the
administration passed up chances to attack Zarqawi;
the report noted that several former administration
officials and military officers have questioned the
administration's decision to hold off on such attacks.
While the Bush administration has repeatedly called
attention to Zarqawi, their failure to attack him in
2002 has gone virtually unreported. Zarqawi has
recently made headlines in connection with the killing
of 50 U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers and is, according to
the Associated Press and The New York Times, "believed
responsible for hundreds of killings."

The October 25 Journal report documented several
former military officers and administration officials
who have questioned the administration's decision to
refrain from attacking Zarqawi's camp, especially in
light of the mounting "toll of mayhem" for which he is
believed to be responsible:

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who was in the White House as the
National Security Council's director for combatting
terrorism at the time, said an NSC [National Security
Council] working group, led by the Defense Department,
had been in charge of reviewing the plans to target
the [Zarqawi's] camp. She said the camp was
"definitely a stronghold, and we knew that certain
individuals were there including Zarqawi." Ms.
Gordon-Hagerty said she wasn't part of the working
group and never learned the reason why the camp wasn't
hit. But she said that much later, when reports
surfaced that Mr. Zarqawi was behind a series of
bloody attacks in Iraq, she said "I remember my
response," adding, "I said why didn't we get that
['son of a b-'] when we could."

[...]

[Retired] Gen. [John M.] Keane [then-U.S. Army vice
chief of staff] characterized the [Zarqawi's] camp "as
one of the best targets we ever had," and questioned
the decision not to attack it.

>From the original March 2 NBC Nightly News report:

JIM MIKLASZEWSKI (NBC News chief Pentagon
correspondent): With today's attacks, al-Zarqawi, a
Jordanian militant with ties to Al Qaeda, is blamed
for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq. But NBC
News has learned that long before the war, the Bush
administration had several chances to wipe out his
terrorist group, Ansar al-Islam, perhaps kill Zarqawi
himself, but never pulled the trigger. June 2002, U.S.
government officials say intelligence revealed that
Zarqawi and members of Al Qaeda had set up a weapons
lab at Kirma in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin
and cyanide. The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to
attack the camp and sent them to the White House,
where, say government sources, the plans were debated
to death.

[...]

MIKLASZEWSKI: Four months later, intelligence showed
Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks
in Europe. The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan,
and the White House again killed it. By then, the
administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

ROGER CRESSEY (NBC terrorism analyst): People were
more obsessed with developing the coalition to
overthrow [former Iraqi leader] Saddam [Hussein] than
to execute the president's [Bush's] policy on
preemption against terrorists.

[...]

MIKLASZEWSKI: And despite the Bush administration's
tough talk about hitting the terrorists before they
strike, Zarqawi's killing streak continues today.

As of this writing, the October 25 Wall Street Journal
report was the subject of a Paul Krugman New York
Times column and two newspaper editorial pieces. It
was also mentioned by CNN Crossfire co-host Paul
Begala, WashingtonPost.com "White House Briefing"
columnist Dan Froomkin, and MSNBC host Keith
Olbermann. No other major newspaper, none of the
network news programs, and no primetime news shows on
CNN or FOX News Channel addressed the report. On
MSNBC, it was mentioned only on Countdown with Keith
Olbermann.

>From an October 27 Sarasota [Florida] Herald Tribune
editorial, titled "Zarqawi's escape: Decision against
a pre-invasion strike should be investigated":

To the long and growing list of the Bush
administration's pre-war and post-war misjudgments in
Iraq, add a missed opportunity that might have averted
much of the bloodshed that has marked the U.S.
occupation. A great deal of the havoc in post-war Iraq
-- car-bombings, kidnappings, videotaped beheadings of
hostages, the recent massacre of Iraqi troops -- has
been attributed to a group led by Jordanian terrorist
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. His followers have been blamed
for more than 700 deaths. Yet, according to Monday's
Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon drew up a plan,
almost a year before the U.S.-led invasion, to wipe
out Zarqawi's terrorist camp in northern Iraq. ... Why
Bush rejected the Pentagon's plan is a matter for
speculation -- and great regret. That decision, along
with the administration's overall abysmal preparations
for the war in Iraq, should be the subject of a
congressional investigation. Zarqawi's camp was in a
part of Iraq not under Saddam Hussein's control. Yet,
according to a report by NBC last March, military
officials have speculated that the continued presence
in Iraq of Zarqawi -- an al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist
who had fled Afghanistan with his followers -- may
have helped bolster the administration's case for an
invasion.

>From an October 27 Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorial,
titled "Incompetence: Zarqawi, explosives got away":

Two news stories out of Iraq Monday illustrated again
the incompetence that President Bush and his national
security team have brought to the war in Iraq: In the
first story, Scot J. Paltrow, a Wall Street Journal
reporter, tells how the White House prevented the
Pentagon from taking out terrorist Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi months before the war began. ... Here you
have the perfect storm of incompetence: Before the
war, the Bush administration rejected Pentagon efforts
to take out Zarqawi. Following the war, the Bush
administration failed to secure 377 tons of high
explosives that could help Zarqawi kill more
Americans. Then they tried to hide the loss. It's
mind-boggling.

Host Keith Olbermann on the October 26 edition of
MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

OLBERMANN: The terror group led by Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi is claiming responsibility for the
slaughter of those Iraqi troops and tonight come new
charges that the Bush administration passed up several
opportunities to take out Zarqawi when it could have,
well before the war began in Iraq.

Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to Al Qaeda,
accused of most of the violence we have seen in Iraq
since the invasion. Senior Pentagon officials now
telling The Wall Street Journal that in the spring
2002, the U.S. military had Zarqawi in its sights,
tracking him down in Iraq, drawing up a number of
plans to go after him and sending those plans to the
White House. The president personally -- say those
Wall Street Journal sources -- rejected those plans,
choosing instead to wait.

This is not the first time such reports have surfaced.
NBC News having reported in March that the Bush
administration had several chances to wipe out
Zarqawi's terrorist group and perhaps Zarqawi himself,
but it never pulled the trigger.

>From Paul Krugman's October 26 New York Times column,
titled "A Culture of Cover-Ups":

The story of the looted explosives has overshadowed
another report that Bush officials tried to suppress
-- this one about how the Bush administration let Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi get away. An article in yesterday's
Wall Street Journal confirmed and expanded on an ''NBC
Nightly News'' report from March that asserted that
before the Iraq war, administration officials called
off a planned attack that might have killed Mr.
Zarqawi, the terrorist now blamed for much of the
mayhem in that country, in his camp.

Citing ''military officials,'' the original NBC report
explained that the failure to go after Mr. Zarqawi was
based on domestic politics: ''the administration
feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq'' -- a
part of Iraq not controlled by Saddam Hussein --
''could undermine its case for war against Saddam.''
The Journal doesn't comment on this explanation, but
it does say that when NBC reported, correctly, that
Mr. Zarqawi had been targeted before the war,
administration officials denied it.

>From the October 25 edition of CNN's Crossfire:

BEGALA [co-host]: Today's Wall Street Journal reports
that the Bush administration canceled a plan to kill
Iraqi terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before the
invasion of Iraq. General John M. Keane, then the
Army's vice chief of staff, called Zarqawi's camp --
quote -- "one of the best targets we ever had" --
unquote.

Former Bush national security aide Lisa Gordon-Hagerty
tells the Journal there was intelligence that
al-Zarqawi was in the camp and when Zarqawi began
murdering American troops, she asked -- quote -- "Why
didn't we get that SOB when we could?" -- unquote.
Good question, Lisa. The Bush administration says one
factor was -- quote -- "the president's decision to
engage the international community on Iraq" --
unquote.

So, if we could kill the No. 1 terrorist in Iraq
without invading, there would be less support for Mr.
Bush's invasion of Iraq. And so Zarqawi is alive.
Scores of Americans are dead, some of them beheaded.
Think about that the next time Mr. Bush lectures you
about how strong he is.

>From Dan Froomkin's October 25 "White House Briefing"
column:

There's the Wall Street Journal weighing in with a
story about how Bush apparently had the chance to kill
terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi before the Iraq
War, but opted not to.

— N.C.

Posted to the web on Wednesday October 27, 2004 at
4:44 PM EST

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/27/politics/27attack.html?oref=login&oref=login

C.I.A. Is Accused of Delaying Internal Report
By DOUGLAS JEHL

Published: October 27, 2004


ASHINGTON, Oct. 26 - The Central Intelligence Agency
has blocked, at least temporarily, the distribution of
a draft internal report that identifies individual
officers by name in discussing whether anyone should
be held accountable for intelligence failures leading
up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of Congress
from both parties said.

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The delays began in July, at the direction of John E.
McLaughlin, then the acting director of central
intelligence, and have continued since Porter J. Goss
took over as the intelligence chief last month,
members of Congress said. The delays have postponed
the next step in the process, which calls for the
draft report to be reviewed by affected individuals.

It is not known who is named in the report, conducted
by the C.I.A.'s inspector general, an independent
internal investigator. The review was sought in
December 2002 by the joint Congressional committee
that investigated intelligence failures leading up to
the Sept. 11 attacks. The purpose, that panel said,
should be to determine "whether and to what extent
personnel at all levels should be held accountable''
for any mistakes that contributed to the failure to
disrupt the attacks.

In a Sept. 23 letter to Mr. McLaughlin, the top
Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence
Committee, Representatives Peter Hoekstra of Michigan
and Jane Harman of California, said they were
"concerned that the C.I.A. is unwilling to hold its
officers accountable for failures to meet the
professional standards we know C.I.A stands for.'' On
Tuesday, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence
Committee, John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia,
wrote separately to Mr. Goss, expressing concern
"about the appearance that the inspector general's
independence is being infringed.''

Neither letter has been made public, but copies were
obtained Tuesday by The New York Times. In both
letters, the members of Congress cited as evidence of
the delays identical letters sent to the intelligence
committees on Aug. 31 by John Helgerson, the C.I.A.
inspector general. The members of Congress described
the delays as a departure from normal procedure.

A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment about the
status of the report. An intelligence official said
that Mr. Goss had asked to review the draft himself
before it was distributed further. The official would
not address the question of who might be named in the
document but said, "No C.I.A. official, current or
former, has been found accountable, because we're
talking about a draft.''

Senator Pat Roberts, af Kansas Republican who is
chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, did not
sign the letter that Mr. Rockefeller sent. A
Republican Congressional official said that Mr.
Roberts did not yet believe that the postponement of
the report was a matter for concern and said the delay
was "uncommon but not abnormal.''

Sarah Little, a spokeswoman for Mr. Roberts, said:
"Senator Roberts is closely monitoring the progress of
the C.I.A. inspector general's report on 9/11. Senator
Roberts has already made it clear to the agency that
he expects to see the report upon its completion."

That Mr. Hoekstra and Ms. Harman had called on the
C.I.A. to release the report had been previously
disclosed, but not the contents of the letter. In it,
Mr. Hoekstra and Ms. Harman said that Mr. Helgerson
had indicated that Mr. McLaughlin had broken with
normal practice and directed him "not to distribute
the sections of the report that identify individual
officers by name.''

A spokesman for George J. Tenet, who stepped down in
July after seven years as director of central
intelligence, said that Mr. Tenet had not been
interviewed for the draft report, had not been briefed
on its contents and had not been asked to respond to
it.

James L. Pavitt, who retired in August as the C.I.A.'s
deputy director of operations, also said he had not
seen the report and had not been asked to respond to
it. Mr. Pavitt said in an e-mail message: "We failed
to stop the 11 September attacks. It surely was not
for lack of effort, lack of focus or lack of
courage.''

"Given what we now know, in all the hindsight of the
year 2004, I still do not believe we could have
stopped the attacks,'' Mr. Pavitt added. "If there is
to be blame, it belongs with me, not with the
remarkable folks who worked the counterterrorism issue
day in and day out."

Copyright © 2004 Media Matters for America. All rights
reserved.
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http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/27/politics/27bomb.html?oref=login&oref=login

MISSING EXPLOSIVES
No Check of Bunker, Unit Commander Says
By JIM DWYER and DAVID E. SANGER

Published: October 27, 2004


hite House officials reasserted yesterday that 380
tons of powerful explosives may have disappeared from
a vast Iraqi military complex while Saddam Hussein
controlled Iraq, saying a brigade of American soldiers
did not find the explosives when they visited the
complex on April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell.

But the unit's commander said in an interview
yesterday that his troops had not searched the site
and had merely stopped there overnight.

The commander, Col. Joseph Anderson, of the Second
Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, said he
did not learn until this week that the site, Al Qaqaa,
was considered sensitive, or that international
inspectors had visited it before the war began in 2003
to inspect explosives that they had tagged during a
decade of monitoring.

Colonel Anderson, who is now the chief of staff for
the division and who spoke by telephone from Fort
Campbell, Ky., said his troops had been driving north
toward Baghdad and had paused at Al Qaqaa to make
plans for their next push.

"We happened to stumble on it,'' he said. "I didn't
know what the place was supposed to be. We did not get
involved in any of the bunkers. It was not our
mission. It was not our focus. We were just stopping
there on our way to Baghdad. The plan was to leave
that very same day. The plan was not to go in there
and start searching. It looked like all the other
ammunition supply points we had seen already."

What had been, for the colonel and his troops, an
unremarkable moment during the sweep to Baghdad took
on new significance this week, after The New York
Times, working with the CBS News program "60 Minutes,"
reported that the explosives at Al Qaqaa, mainly HMX
and RDX, had disappeared since the invasion.

Earlier this month, officials of the interim Iraqi
government informed the United Nations International
Atomic Energy Agency that the explosives disappeared
sometime after the fall of Mr. Hussein on April 9,
2003. Al Qaqaa, which has been unguarded since the
American invasion, was looted in the spring of 2003,
and looters were seen there as recently as Sunday.

President Bush's aides told reporters that because the
soldiers had found no trace of the missing explosives
on April 10, they could have been removed before the
invasion. They based their assertions on a report
broadcast by NBC News on Monday night that showed
video images of the 101st arriving at Al Qaqaa.

By yesterday afternoon Mr. Bush's aides had moderated
their view, saying it was a "mystery" when the
explosives disappeared and that Mr. Bush did not want
to comment on the matter until the facts were known.

On Sunday, administration officials said that the Iraq
Survey Group, the C.I.A. taskforce that hunted for
unconventional weapons, had been ordered to look into
the disappearance of the explosives. On Tuesday night,
CBS News reported that Charles A. Duelfer, the head of
the taskforce, denied receiving such an order.

At the Pentagon, a senior official, who asked not to
be identified, acknowledged that the timing of the
disappearance remained uncertain. "The bottom line is
that there is still a lot that is not known," the
official said.

The official suggested that the material could have
vanished while Mr. Hussein was still in power,
sometime between mid-March, when the international
inspectors left, and April 3, when members of the
Army's Third Infantry Division fought with Iraqis
inside Al Qaqaa. At the time, it was reported that
those soldiers found a white powder that was
tentatively identified as explosives. The site was
left unguarded, the official said.

The 101st Airborne Division arrived April 10 and left
the next day. The next recorded visit by Americans
came on May 27, when Task Force 75 inspected Al Qaqaa,
but did not find the large quantities of explosives
that had been seen in mid-March by the international
inspectors. By then, Al Qaqaa had plainly been looted.

Colonel Anderson said he did not see any obvious signs
of damage when he arrived on April 10, but that his
focus was strictly on finding a secure place to
collect his troops, who were driving and flying north
from Karbala.

"There was no sign of looting here," Colonel Anderson
said. "Looting was going on in Baghdad, and we were
rushing on to Baghdad. We were marshaling in."

A few days earlier, some soldiers from the division
thought they had discovered a cache of chemical
weapons that turned out to be pesticides. Several of
them came down with rashes, and they had to go through
a decontamination procedure. Colonel Anderson said he
wanted to avoid a repeat of those problems, and
because he had already seen stockpiles of weapons in
two dozen places, did not care to poke through the
stores at Al Qaqaa.

"I had given instructions, 'Don't mess around with
those. It looks like they are bunkers; we're not
messing around with those things. That's not what
we're here for,' " he said. "I thought we would be
there for a few hours and move on. We ended up staying
overnight."


Thom Shanker and William J. Broad contributed
reporting for this article.


http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=17319

Neas: Something Is "Terribly Wrong" in Ohio




Late Wednesday, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell
issued a directive that, for the first time, will
allow political parties to apportion partisan
challengers by precinct instead of polling site,
thereby greatly increasing the number of challengers
at Ohio polling places.

For example, a polling place serving four precincts
would normally have one challenger from each party.
Blackwell’s directive will now allow four challengers
at that location, one for each precinct served.

The deadline for registering partisan poll challengers
passed on October 22nd. A New York Times story the
following day revealed that the Republican Party
registered 3,600 challengers, while the Democratic
Party registered 2,000. Neither party is allowed to
add challengers, but Blackwell’s directive will allow
the parties to concentrate multiple challengers at
polling places with multiple precincts.

People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph
G. Neas said:

“There is something terribly wrong here. The question
must be asked: is the Ohio Secretary of State using
his position for partisan advantage? What is the
purpose for putting an unprecedented number of
challengers at the polls and allowing them to be
concentrated in precincts?

“At a minimum, this creates the potential for long
lines, great confusion and frustration, and
ultimately, the possibility that many working men and
women who can’t afford to stand in long lines on a
work day will effectively be denied the right to vote.
That’s wrong.

“The Secretary of State should protect the rights of
legitimate voters, not curtail them. He should make
decisions that bring more voters to the polls, not
keep them away. He should clear the path to the ballot
box, not put up barriers. There should be nothing to
fear, and everything to gain, from a massive voter
turnout in Ohio.”

People For the American Way Foundation is a founding
member of the nonpartisan Election Protection
coalition, an organization dedicated to voter
education, empowerment and protection. The coalition
will have poll monitors stationed at voting sites
around Ohio on Election Day, and operates a toll-free
hotline, 1-866-OUR VOTE, to provide free legal
assistance and information to voters.







Read Secretary Blackwell's directive








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http://www.palmbeachpost.com/politics/content/local_news/epaper/2004/10/08/s3d_voters_1008.html

Lack of early-vote sites near blacks ripped
By Scott McCabe and Dara Kam

Palm Beach Post Staff Writers

Friday, October 08, 2004

Early-voting advocates are angry that outgoing
Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore neglected to
put booths in the largely black communities in central
Palm Beach County.

County Commissioner Addie Greene accused LePore of
retaliating against black voters who helped thwart her
reelection bid in August by failing to put any of the
eight early polling sites in places such as Riviera
Beach, West Palm Beach and Mangonia Park.

"I'm not trying to be mean," said Greene, who backed
off earlier charges that LePore's motives were because
her opponent was black. "But the people who were the
most disenfranchised are the minorities."

LePore said that she had her staff calculate the
distance between early voting sites after Greene's
accusations.

The distance from her office to the Palm Beach Gardens
site is 13 miles, which is about 6 miles from Riviera
Beach, where Greene resides. Riviera Beach is about 7
miles from the suburban West Palm Beach office, LePore
said.

"So they have to drive 5 or 6 miles to vote? Come on,"
LePore said Thursday.

LePore said she relied merely on population and
geography to pick the eight early-voting locales.

"We don't look at putting sites where the Democrats
are, where the blacks are, where the Hispanics are,
where the Jewish people are, where the Republicans
are," she said.

Black ministers and civil rights leaders in Duval
County, which has early voting only in the elections
office, have made similar complaints.

LePore said Greene's accusation is "absurd" because
she has worked hard to "enfranchise blacks, Haitians
and Hispanics" in her years as an elections worker.

"We're here trying to do a job and do it to the best
of our ability with all the challenges we've had,
these storms, and to get criticized is just very
frustrating," LePore said.

Florida Senate Minority Leader Sen. Ron Klein, D-Boca
Raton, who sponsored the initiative to expand
early-voting polling places, said LePore could have
put out more polling places in the county,
geographically the second-largest in Florida.
Miami-Dade has 20 locations; Broward has about 15,
Klein said.


http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/102704B.shtml

The Road to Abu Ghraib
By Phillip Carter
The Washington Monthly

November 2004 Edition

The biggest scandal of the Bush administration began
at the top.
A generation from now, historians may look back to
April 28, 2004, as the day the United States lost the
war in Iraq. On that date, "CBS News" broadcast the
first ugly photographs of abuses by American soldiers
at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison. There were images of a
man standing hooded on a box with wires attached to
his hands; of guards leering as they forced naked men
to simulate sexual acts; of a man led around on a
leash by a female soldier; of a dead Iraqi detainee,
packed in ice; and more. The pictures had been taken
the previous fall by U.S. Army military police
soldiers assigned to the prison, but had made it into
the hands of Army criminal investigators only months
later, when a soldier named Joseph Darby anonymously
passed them a CD-ROM full of prison photos. The images
aroused worldwide indignation, and illustrated in
graphic detail both the lengths to which the United
States would go to get intelligence, and the extent to
which those efforts had been corrupted by the
exigencies of the difficult war in Iraq.

Two days later, The New Yorker published a report
on Abu Ghraib by Seymour Hersh. Hersh won a Pulitzer
Prize in 1970 for his reporting on the U.S. Army's
atrocities in Vietnam; now he had come full circle,
documenting the full extent of the abuses at Abu
Ghraib and the Army's initial efforts to investigate
them. Hersh's reporting-which forms the nucleus of his
new book, Chain of Command-helped launch nearly a
dozen different criminal investigations into what
former vice president Al Gore dubbed "the American
Gulag," the extraterritorial chain of prisons and
detainment centers, stretching from Guantánamo Bay to
Afghanistan, set up by the Bush administration to hold
suspected terrorists. More than 300 instances of abuse
in those facilities, from November 2001 to as recently
as March 2004, have been alleged since then. To date,
eight out of 11 investigations have been completed.
They have produced thousands of documents, witness
interviews, military orders, emails, and PowerPoint
briefings, with each one telling a small piece of the
story of how America's vaunted all-volunteer
professional military lapsed into some of the most
unprofessional and despicable conduct of its history.
Forty-five soldiers have been recommended for
courts-martial, and 23 others for summary discharge.
Nearly one year after the first sadistic acts took
place, the extent of the abuses remains unknown. But
by all indications, the worst revelations are yet to
come. In closed-door presentations before Congress,
Pentagon officials revealed evidence of crimes ranging
from the rape of female detainees to the sexual abuse
of minors held at Abu Ghraib.

There is no doubt that the abuses at Abu Ghraib
stand as an indelible stain on the honor of the
American military. What is less clear is the degree to
which the resulting scandal has damaged our national
security and undermined our efforts to bring peace to
Iraq and win the war against radical terrorism-a war
that is as much a fight for the political and moral
high ground as it is a shooting war that pits American
soldiers against Islamist ones. America suffered a
huge defeat the moment those photographs became
public. Copies of them are now sold in souks from
Marrakesh to Jakarta, vivid illustrations of the worst
suspicions of the Arab world: that Americans are
corrupt and power-mad, eager to humiliate Muslims and
mock their values. The acts they document have helped
to energize the insurgency in Iraq, undermining our
rule there and magnifying the risks faced by our
soldiers each day. If Osama bin Laden had hired a
Madison Avenue public relations firm to rally Arabs
hearts and minds to his cause, it's hard to imagine
that it could have devised a better propaganda
campaign.

The damage done by Abu Ghraib might at least have
been minimized had the administration pursued a
strategy of publicly and sincerely holding accountable
those responsible for it. Instead, it has done
something close to the opposite. The Bush
administration has condemned the abuses as the work of
a "few bad apples," while working diligently to get
the story off the front pages and out of the
presidential campaign. In a meeting with Human Rights
Watch executive director Kenneth Roth shortly after
the scandal broke, reports Hersh, National Security
Adviser Condoleezza Rice argued that the abuses
resulted not from the president's policies in the war
on terrorism, but from "implementation of policy" by
the military. The various committees and commissions
investigating the scandal have more or less abetted
this line of defense. Discussing the results of the
independent investigation into Abu Ghraib he chaired,
former defense secretary James R. Schlesinger
explained that while "institutional and personal
responsibility" for the abuses went all the way to
Washington, they were rooted in the sadism and
brutality of a few individuals-"Animal House on the
night shift," as he put it. While the military's
civilian leadership was guilty of "indirect
responsibility," Schlesinger told reporters, Donald
Rumsfeld's resignation "would be a boon to all of
America's enemies."

Go past the executive summaries and press
releases, however, and a careful reading of the
reports reveals a different story. The devastating
scandal of Abu Ghraib wasn't a failure of
implementation, as Rice and other administration
defenders have admitted. It was a direct-and
predictable-consequence of a policy, hatched at the
highest levels of the administration, by senior White
House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months
after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed
to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month
from election day, almost no one in the press or the
political class is talking about what is, without
question, the worst scandal to emerge from President
Bush's nearly four years in office.

Defenders of the administration have argued, of
course, that there is no "smoking gun"-no chain of
orders leading directly from Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld to Pfc. Lynndie England and her
co-conspirators. But that reasoning-now largely
accepted within the Beltway-betrays a deliberate
indifference to how large organizations such as the
military actually work. In any war, civilian leaders
set strategic aims, and it falls to commanders and
planners at successively lower levels of command to
refine that guidance into executable orders which can
be handed down to subordinates. That process works
whether the policy in question is a good one or a bad
one. President Bush didn't order the April 2003
"thunder run" into Baghdad; he ordered Tommy Franks to
win the war and the Third Infantry Division's leaders
figured out how to make it happen. Likewise, no order
was given to shove light sticks into the rectums of
Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Nevertheless, the road
to the abuses began with flawed administration
policies that exalted expediency and necessity over
the rule of law, eviscerated the military's
institutional constraints on the treatment of
prisoners, commenced combat with insufficient
planning, preparation and troop strength, and thereby
set the conditions for the abuses that would later
take place.

But there's a reason why most of the
investigations into Abu Ghraib have punted on the
essential question of executive responsibility. To
judge the administration's decisions to have been
wrong, after all, requires us to discern what the
right decisions would have been. And to do that, we
must put ourselves in their shoes. Given the
particular conditions faced by the president and his
deputies after 9/11-a war against terrorists, in which
the need to extract intelligence via interrogations
was intensely pressing, but the limits placed by
international law on interrogation techniques were
very constricting-did those leaders have better
alternatives than the one they chose? The answer is
that they did. And we will be living with the
consequences of the choices they made for years to
come.

Breaking the Law

War has always had its own codes and rules, but
the modern laws governing armed conflict were
developed during the 20th century, when industrialized
nations fought large, mechanized, bloody wars of
attrition. World Wars I and II-featuring aerial
combat, bombing campaigns, chemical and trench
warfare, and the slaughter of soldiers and civilians
on an unprecedented scale-spurred the four Geneva
Conventions of 1949, which laid out basic principles
of conduct for civilized nations. These treaties aimed
to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and
to the extent possible, to minimize the suffering
inherent in war. But like their predecessors-the
prisoner-of-war treaty signed in Geneva in 1929, the
Union Army's Lieber Code of 1863, the 1864 Geneva
Convention, and the 1907 Hague Conventions, among
others-the Geneva Conventions of '49 were
fundamentally backward-looking, reflecting the
dominant nature of warfare at the time: large air and
land campaigns between states employing relatively
symmetrical forces. When the treaties mentioned
paramilitaries and non-state guerrillas, they were
typically treated as bandits who played only a
tangential role in the conduct of warfare. The
conventions wholly failed to anticipate the wave of
unconventional warfare that would sweep the world
after World War II, from U.S. and British-sponsored
guerillas in Greece to Communist-backed insurgents in
Vietnam to the asymmetric warfare practiced by the
terrorists of today. By the late 1990s, conflicts in
the Balkans and elsewhere made it clear that
paramilitaries, terrorists, and other irregular
combatants-far from fighting on the margins-had become
the principal security threat to much of the world,
including the United States. Yet international law
continued to treat them as mere criminals, best dealt
with through indictments rather than artillery.

Such was the legal paradigm in place when al Qaeda
attacked the nation on September 11, 2001. By the
conventional laws of war, al Qaeda was neither a state
nor a military; its operatives were neither soldiers
nor civilians. Within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, the
United States launched its armed response in
Afghanistan-and, almost immediately, legal questions
emerged which showcased the difficulty of pounding the
round problem of al Qaeda into the square hole of
existing international law. Unlike a national army, al
Qaeda and the Taliban militia wore no conventional
uniforms, and often did not operate in conventional
units that could be identified or distinguished from
the civilians among whom they hid. Most importantly,
al Qaeda rejected the very notion of the laws of war,
of protecting civilians when at all possible. Indeed,
the terrorists' apocalyptic doctrine expressly made
civilians-in their view, agents of Western cultural
and economic imperialism-legitimate targets.

The inherent nature of stateless terrorism
presented the Bush administration with another
quandary, this one linked to the desperate need, in
the months after 9/11, for reliable intelligence about
the shadowy force that had just murdered more than
3,000 Americans. In a conflict between states,
captured soldiers rarely possess strategically useful
information; they may know about their own unit, or
the plans for the next ground offensive, but rarely
much more than that. A German corporal, or even a
colonel, was unlikely to know much in 1944 about the
big picture on the Western Front, let alone plans for
V-2 strikes on London. Thus nations at war could, in
the past, usually afford to treat prisoners relatively
well-because doing so did not require trading away
significant intelligence opportunities. The war on
terror-an asymmetric war in which small numbers of
combatants could inflict catastrophic damage-changed
that equation. Unlike states, where the most important
intelligence might concern evidence of a nuclear
capability or the presence of tanks near the border,
the most valuable intelligence about al Qaeda
concerned its plans and intentions. Moreover,
rank-and-file enemy operatives might well possess such
information; were U.S. authorities to capture someone
from a terror cell on the eve of its next attack, they
couldn't afford simply to store him in a jail cell
until the war was over. (Similar conditions obtained
once the war in Iraq shifted from a conventional war
fought largely between designated combatants to an
insurgency fought between American soldiers on the one
side, and a hodgepodge of guerrillas and irregulars on
the other.)

In military terms, the global war on terror
shifted the calculus of intelligence-gathering almost
entirely towards human intelligence (HUMINT) of the
kind that can only be produced through clandestine
infiltration, interrogation, and other means.
Satellites, surveillance systems, giant listening
devices, and ground-penetrating radar won't alert the
CIA and FBI to the next terrorist attack, or tell the
U.S. Army where the insurgents have placed explosives
on the highway between Fallujah and Baghdad. Yet here,
too, the Bush administration had a problem: Over the
years, the intelligence community's HUMINT
capabilities had atrophied considerably, in favor of
"technical" intelligence collection systems like
satellites and electronic surveillance. Indeed, where
the Middle East was concerned, the CIA, FBI, and
military had virtually no HUMINT assets in place
before or immediately after 9/11 to provide
intelligence about the terror organization that had
hit the United States. "At the time of the attacks,
it's possible that there wasn't a single such
[clandestine] officer operating today inside Islamic
fundamentalist circles," Hersh writes in, based on
what he says are extensive interviews with current and
former officials in the U.S. intelligence community.
Writing in the Atlantic in the summer of 2001, former
CIA officer Reuel Marc Gerecht summed it up this way:
"Operations that include diarrhea as a way of life
don't happen." The only way to gather intelligence
about global terrorism would be to extract it from the
terrorists themselves.

Prisoner's Dilemma

These problems converged with the first mass
capture of prisoners at Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan
in November 2001. Under the Geneva Conventions,
prisoners of war are accorded certain rights and
privileges-among them humane treatment, freedom from
coercive interrogation, and repatriation at the end of
active hostilities. But the Pentagon and CIA needed to
gather HUMINT from these detainees about al Qaeda and
its global terror network. As the Bush administration
saw it, its choice was clear. Al Qaeda posed a clear
and present danger. The nation desperately needed to
gather intelligence about that threat. Either they
could toss out the rule book and operate by any means
necessary, or America would be attacked again.

Any president in that situation would have had to
go beyond the bounds of existing law. But in truth,
there were choices beyond either action or
acquiescence. Well before Mazar-i-Sharif, legal
scholars and philosophers had grappled with the
question of whether a nation could ever justify the
use of torture, assassination, hostage-taking, mass
internment, and other measures. One course would have
been to open up a series of narrow loopholes in the
law, with tight oversight, and require that top
leaders approve every use of extraordinary measures.
This is more or less what former president Bill
Clinton did during the 1990s, when he secretly signed
an order essentially legalizing the assassination of
Osama bin Laden should the opportunity arise.
According to the order, the president had to
personally sanction bin Laden's death-a measure framed
largely at the insistence of Agency officials who
wanted to ensure their agents would not be found
culpable if anything went wrong. (In the end, when the
opportunity did present itself-a planned 1998 raid by
the CIA on the al Qaeda camp at Tarnak Farms near
Kandahar-the Clinton White House was talked out of
it.)

The other option was to sanction a wholesale
abandonment of the law and delegate the responsibility
for its violation down the chain of command to
front-line troops. And that's precisely what the Bush
administration did. They began with the plausible
argument that the Geneva Conventions were
anachronistic in an age of asymmetrical, non-state
warfare. Al Qaeda didn't wear uniforms or fight
according to the laws of war, they reasoned, and so
they were not necessarily entitled to the conventions'
protections. But the lawyers-including White House
counsel Alberto Gonzales, Defense Department general
counsel William Haynes II, Vice President Cheney's
counsel David Addington, and Jay Bybee of the Justice
Department (who now sits on the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals)-went further. They advised the president to
sign a blanket statement of policy that the men
captured in Afghanistan would not be subject to the
Geneva Conventions, and that by executive fiat, they
would all be declared "unlawful enemy combatants," a
category that does not exist in international law.
White House, Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers
also pushed President Bush to sign a secret finding on
Feb. 7, 2002, that would have far-reaching
consequences for the nation and the world. "I...
determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply
to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or
elsewhere throughout the world," this document
determined, adding that the White House also had "the
authority under the Constitution to suspend Geneva as
between the United States and Afghanistan, but I
decline to exercise that authority at this time." For
all intents and purposes, these memoranda gutted the
Geneva Conventions.

Within months, those first legal memoranda were
joined by more focused opinions from the
administration's top lawyers, each authorizing
specific tactics the Bush administration wanted to use
in the global war on terrorism. In 2002 and 2003,
attorneys in the departments of Justice and Defense
drafted memoranda outlining what international and
domestic law would allow with respect to "coercive
interrogation" practices, eventually settling on a
list of dozens of tactics, among them sleep
deprivation and the use of stressful and painful
physical positions. Such tactics, argued the lawyers,
didn't run afoul of the Geneva Conventions because the
President had already unilaterally declared those
conventions null and void with respect to al Qaeda and
other terrorist detainees. This opinion also rendered
the U.S.'s own federal war-crimes statute impotent,
because that law defines a war crime as a violation of
the existing international laws of war, including the
Geneva Conventions. To be enforced, that law depends
on the existence of a Geneva Convention violation;
similarly, the Uniform Code of Military Justice
prohibits war crimes, but without a Geneva Convention
violation, there was no war crime.

The Bush administration's memoranda also took an
excruciatingly narrow view of the federal torture
statute, essentially defining it out of existence for
the purposes of interrogations in Afghanistan and
Guantánamo Bay: "A defendant is guilty of torture only
if he acts with the express purpose of inflicting
severe pain or suffering on a person within his
custody or physical control." In other words,
interrogation tactics which accidentally result in
severe pain or suffering were not enough to merit the
label of torture. Only tactics which were specifically
intended to cause severe pain and suffering-and
performed by professional torturers with the knowledge
of how their tactics would affect the body-would fit
the definition under federal criminal law. Under this
reasoning, amateur interrogators (such as the reserve
military police soldiers assigned to Gitmo) could
never be guilty because they lacked the skill and
experience to know the exact causal links between
their tactics and the pain and suffering those tactics
would cause. The Justice Department also took the view
that only someone who specifically intended to cause
extreme pain and suffering, on the level of organ
failure and death, would be guilty. This
interpretation set a bar so high that virtually no
prosecutor would ever be able to meet it in court, and
opened the door to any use of coercive interrogation
tactics that fell just shy of the "severe pain and
suffering" threshhold. Justice's interpretation
ensured no U.S. defendants would ever face torture
charges and made the U.N. Convention Against Torture a
dead letter too.

The Bush administration also chose Guantánamo as
the site to hold detainees specifically because it was
thought to be outside the reach of U.S. courts-and it
was, until the Supreme Court ruled in June 2004 that
detainees there had the right to ask a federal court
for a writ of habeas corpus. In addition, the federal
anti-torture statute excluded from jurisdiction
military bases and diplomatic missions, such as
Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, a loophole that would
remain open until October 2004 when Congress closed
it. Thus, in addition to stripping the detainees
themselves of rights, the administration picked a
place where the law simply had no force-Gitmo provided
the perfect legal black hole in which to house
detainees and practice the dark arts of interrogation.


One of the problems cited by the Schlesinger
report was the disconnect between tactics authorized
at Guantánamo, where "unlawful enemy combatants" were
held and the Geneva Conventions did not apply, and the
tactics authorized in Iraq where the president had
said the Geneva Conventions did apply. As guidance
from the top filtered down through several layers of
command, it became unclear which methods were
appropriate for which location, an ambiguity
compounded by the movement of individual interrogators
and guard force personnel between the two physical
locations. One fateful decision was the one to
"Gitmoize" the prison operation in Iraq in August
2003, a response to the blooming insurgency there and
the failure of the U.S. military prisons in Iraq to
produce intelligence about the insurgency. The
Pentagon brought Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the head
of the Guantánamo Bay facility, to Iraq to make
recommendations on how better to squeeze detainees for
information. His prescription: "Detention operations
must act as an enabler for interrogation... to provide
a safe, secure and humane environment that supports
the expeditious collection of intelligence." Miller
imported a number of the non-Geneva Convention
techniques from Cuba to Iraq to assist interrogators
in gathering information, and by so doing reportedly
turned on a spigot of human intelligence, leading,
among other things, to the capture of Saddam Hussein.
But in his own investigation of the Abu Ghraib abuses,
Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba reported that this extension
of Gitmo tactics to Iraq had only exacerbated
confusion about what the Geneva Conventions did and
did not authorize, and where Geneva applied, to the
point that intelligence officers and military lawyers
could not define any recognizable lines between the
two modes of interrogation. Under the circumstances,
it was almost inevitable that the techniques
authorized for Gitmo would migrate over to Abu Ghraib.


The investigation by Maj. Gen. George Fay and Lt.
Gen. Anthony Jones, which looked at the role of
military intelligence units in the abuse scandals,
backed up Taguba's findings. According to Gen. Paul
Kern, who oversaw the Fay-Jones inquiry, "the people
who were conducting the interrogations clearly were
feeling a lot of pressure to produce intelligence, as
they should have been. That's what the purpose of the
interrogation is." But when they sought policy
guidance and legal advice about what they could do to
produce intelligence, they got directives back from
headquarters "which were never in our view completely
clarified ... in the end, [headquarters] did not
absolutely make it clear what the boundaries were." An
after-action report on the "legal lessons learned"
from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, authored by the
Army's Judge Advocate General ("JAG") school, found
the same thing: "Detainees are a potential source of
valuable information, and the motivation to extract
that information through interrogation may sometimes
create strong temptation to test the limits of the
[law of armed conflict]. Questions often concerned the
legality of specific proposed interrogation
techniques." Army officers tend to understate these
things, especially in after-action reports, so it's no
surprise that Gen. Kern and the JAG school phrase
their findings so circumspectly. But don't be fooled:
This is the military equivalent of shouting from the
rooftops.

The memos had another practical effect, which was
the evisceration of any legal opposition from the
ranks to the proposed methods of interrogations.
Military units of a certain size are staffed with JAG
officers, chaplains, and other professionals who
typically serve as a unit's legal and ethical
conscience. In formal and informal ways, they vet
operational plans to ensure missions comply with the
laws of war. According to Army doctrine, operational
orders at the brigade level and above must contain an
annex covering the legal implications of the plan,
procedures for dealing with prisoners, and other
issues. It's not clear to what extent the actions at
Abu Ghraib were subjected to this sort of scrutiny
before they were implemented. But even if a young JAG
officer were to raise objections in the field, it's
unlikely they would have gone anywhere. The memoranda
from the White House-signed by the
commander-in-chief's top lawyer -stamped the
interrogation tactics with the imprimatur of legality,
ensuring that any dissent from the field would have
been ignored.

Finally, the memos directly affected the junior
soldiers, like Pfc. England, who now stand accused of
torturing Iraqi prisoners. Every new soldier learns in
basic training that he or she must follow lawful
orders when they are given. But they also learn they
must disobey orders-to kill innocent civilians, for
example, or torture detainees-that are unlawful, and
they cannot invoke "superior orders" as a defense when
those orders are illegal. The junior soldiers now
charged with abuses at Abu Ghraib should have objected
to any orders to abuse prisoners, because they were
patently immoral and unlawful. But in reality, that's
easier said than done. After all, the orders to
interrogate prisoners by coercion had come from the
very highest levels of the administration.

They had been filtered through every level of the
chain of command without objection. Senior
administration lawyers with Ivy League credentials and
decades of experience had approved these procedures,
including some that were startlingly close to those
depicted in the Abu Ghraib photographs, such as the
use of stress positions and hoods. It may be
unrealistic to expect that a junior enlisted soldier
such as England, or even her immediate supervisor,
Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick, would have the knowledge or
the temerity to contradict such orders when they were
given. The effect of the Bush administration's
exhaustively creative research into breaking the rules
was virtually to ensure that every player in this
tragedy went along and followed orders.

Unintended Consequences

Two other decisions by the Bush administration
also proved fateful, both of them made long before the
Iraq war began. One was the administration's
attempt-directed by Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld-to run the Iraq war with fewer soldiers in
place than considered military opinion believed
necessary. The resulting shortage of troops set the
conditions for abuse at the prison. The after-action
report by the Army's JAG school specifically blames
troop shortages for the chaotic and disorganized
detainee operations in Iraq, sharply criticizing the
decision to delay the deployment of the 800th Military
Police Brigade-the unit responsible for Abu
Ghraib-until well after combat had begun. From the
moment it touched ground, the 800th was behind the
eight ball, and it's not clear the brigade ever got a
handle on the detainee mission.

"There was chaos at Abu Ghraib... there was a very
low ratio of military police to the number of inmates,
which ranged as high as 8,000," Schlesinger noted in
announcing his panels' findings last summer. "At
Guantánamo, which is something of a model, the ratio
of military police to detainees was one to one. At Abu
Ghraib, the ratio of military police was one to 75."
Add in the pressure from the Bush administration to
produce intelligence, and take away the legal
constraints of the Geneva Conventions, and you can
appreciate what a pressure cooker Abu Ghraib became.
Even had there been no bad apples in the 372nd MP
Company, with which Pfc. England served, abuses were
almost inevitable.

The second fateful decision was to rush those
troops that were allocated to Operation Iraqi Freedom
into battle too quickly. During the first Gulf War,
military planners set aside months to build a war
machine in the Arabian desert, allowing units to
stabilize and train together at length before the
start of hostilities-time that was especially valuable
to the hundreds of thousands of reservists called up
for the war. (Indeed, it's worth noting that, although
American soldiers took as prisoners tens of thousands
of Iraqis soldiers during the first Gulf War,
allegations of abuse were sparse.) But the second Gulf
War was launched in a hurry, even before most of the
forces assigned to it were in place. Many have pointed
out that, had the Bush administration not "rushed to
war," U.N. inspectors might have been able to show
that Iraq had no WMD capability; at the very least,
the White House would have had time to line up more
support from our allies. Less widely understood is
that a longer delay would have given military police
and civil affairs units-most of which come from the
reserves-time to arrive, acclimate, and train longer
together, bringing them up to readiness levels
approaching those of active duty troops.

The situation in Iraq deteriorated rapidly after
the United States took Baghdad, with the result that
reserve units had to be called up and immediately
thrown into the fight. The 372nd MP Company hit the
ground in Kuwait in May 2003, and was immediately sent
into Iraq to patrol the town of Al-Hillah with Marines
and Iraqi police units. Although its soldiers received
pre-deployment training in the states after their
February 2003 call-up, they received nothing like the
pre-war training of their active-duty brethren in the
Third Infantry Division, some of whom spent a year in
the Kuwaiti desert before actually crossing into Iraq
in March 2003. When the 372nd went into combat, it was
not ready for war. Perhaps more importantly, the 372nd
MP Company's training records indicates that it barely
trained at all on handling prisoners of war, let alone
managing a maximum-security prison even though
"internment and resettlement" operations are a bread
and butter MP mission. The Taguba report found that
this unit and its parent headquarters-the 320th MP
Battalion and 800th MP Brigade, both reserve
units-suffered from chronically poor training,
resourcing, and leadership. These problems within the
MP units combined with atrocious planning and
resourcing decisions in Washington to create a formula
for disaster.

Creative Tactics

The duty force at Abu Ghraib, then, had ambiguous
policy guidance from Washington, too few men, and too
little training. What happened next should hardly have
been a surprise. Take, for example, the guards'
implementation of the interrogation practices
authorized by the Pentagon. Interrogation tactics like
"sleep deprivation" sound entirely too sterile when
taken out of context-after all, who hasn't been
deprived of sleep, whether by a newborn baby or a
last-minute project at work? What's crucial to
understand is how such methods are translated into
practice in the field. As Hersh writes:

In May 2004, I interviewed a company captain in a
military police unit in Baghdad who told me about an
incident the previous fall in which he was approached
by a junior military intelligence officer who
requested that his M.P.s keep a group of detainees
awake around the clock until they began talking. "I
said, 'No, we will not do that,'" the captain said.
"The M.I. commander comes to me and says, 'What is the
problem? We're stressed, and all we are asking you to
do is to keep them awake.' I ask, 'How? You've
received training on that, but my soldiers don't know
how to do it. And when you ask an eighteen-year-old
kid to keep someone awake, and he doesn't know how to
do it, he's going to get creative.'"
What, exactly, does "creative" mean? Consider the
iconic image of Abu Ghraib: a hooded Iraqi man
standing on an Army rations box with wires extending
from his arms in a grotesque pose almost reminiscent
of a crucifixion. It turns out that this was among the
tactics employed by untrained prison guards and
interrogators as a means both of instilling fear and
of keeping a detainee awake, in faithful execution of
the "sleep deprivation" tactic authorized by the
secretary of defense. Even though the wires were
actually inert, the detainee was likely told that he
would be electrocuted if he moved off the box, which
he would do if he fell asleep. And thus, so
modestly-named a tactic as sleep deprivation was
transformed into something far more sinister. The same
tactic could be used in conjunction with the "stress
position" technique approved by the Pentagon,
according to one former intelligence officer I talked
to. A hooded person forced to stand still on a box for
hours will quickly lose his sense of equilibrium and
orientation. Lower back pain will eventually develop
from the strain of remaining upright for such a long
time; pain in the legs and feet will follow as blood
pools there. Held for several hours without movement,
such a position can induce excruciating pain,
particularly for detainees not in top physical
condition. When the image first surfaced, these
officers said they were not surprised by the tactic.
It was merely a creative attempt by amateurs to
achieve the results desired by their leaders-an
unfortunate twist on the old maxim of Gen. George S.
Patton: "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them
what to do, and they will surprise you with their
ingenuity."

Weighing Torture

There are few slopes more slippery than the one
from small war crimes to large ones, as evidenced by
the incremental movement of U.S. interrogation tactics
from "a little bit of smacky face," as one
intelligence officer described the
officially-sanctioned tactics at Gitmo to The Wall
Street Journal, to the abuses depicted in the Abu
Ghraib photographs. For decades, the laws of war have
stood as a braking point on this slippery slope,
establishing bright-line rules about what is forbidden
even in the heat of combat. Generally speaking,
absolute rules are the only ones that work well in
wartime. Where only vague guidance exists, junior
military leaders may exploit ambiguity to employ
tactics that fall outside the boundaries of acceptable
conduct. In war, there is always some battlefield
exigency or necessity which can be invoked as a
justification before or after the fact. It's one thing
to argue that there was a compelling need for these
tactics, and that therefore they were implicitly
authorized in certain situations but always tightly
controlled; it's quite another to loosen the rules
altogether and let junior soldiers take the initiative
to do what they think must be done.

If our political leaders decide that Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed needs to be immersed in water so that he
spills his guts about the next terror plot, I can
accept that-and I suspect the rest of the world could,
too. But those who take action should also take
responsibility for it. Our soldiers need a better
legal framework to deal with these situations, one
that gives commanders the flexibility to do what must
be done while not stepping on our values or hurting
our strategic interests in the process.

First and foremost, the framework should maintain
existing rules about treating prisoners, because those
should govern all but the most extraordinary of cases.
Second, when a departure is necessary, we should
require authorization from the White House and
Pentagon articulating both the scope of the
authorization and the justification for doing so. Such
authorizations might mirror the kind of court
documents required of the Justice Department when it
applies for a secret warrant under the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act. This will let our
soldiers know why they are breaking the rules, and
minimize the cognitive dissonance that led to so much
confusion at Abu Ghraib about what was allowed and
forbidden. Third, the services should actively rely on
their lawyers, chaplains and career non-commissioned
officers to serve as the legal, moral and
institutional checks respectively on this kind of
activity. All three of these systems failed at Abu
Ghraib. Fourth, to the extent practical, we must add
some measure of transparency to detention operations.
The military can't publicize exactly what it's doing
to interrogate prisoners, because that would destroy
the value of these methods, but we should recognize
the value of good publicity and let the Red Cross see
as much as possible.

Finally, the nation's political leaders must
constantly reevaluate these departures from the law,
to ensure we are getting something in exchange for our
calculated decision to break the law. A measured
approach to this problem will ensure that breaches of
international law, if they must occur, will take place
in an orderly and disciplined manner, allowing
soldiers to resume their normal treatment of prisoners
immediately afterwards. What's wrong is to loosen the
restrictions across the board or abandon them
altogether; once discipline is lost, it is nearly
impossible to restore.

There's a reason why career military officers are
among those who have expressed the greatest revulsion
over the Bush administration's cavalier treatment of
the laws of war. These officers aren't soft-minded
idealists who believe in the rule of law for its own
sake. Quite the contrary; three generations of
military officers have grown up respecting the Geneva
Conventions for extremely practical reasons. When the
administration publicly declared in February 2002 that
those conventions would not apply to the detainees at
Guantánamo Bay, many of America's soldiers worried
that this policy would be reciprocated by our nation's
enemies, should Americans themselves ever be captured
in a future conflict. It is worth noting that
Secretary of State Colin Powell, who saw combat in
Vietnam and helped run the first Gulf War, strongly
opposed this move, as did his chief legal adviser,
William Howard Taft IV. The principle of reciprocity
has long served as one of the chief mechanisms for
compliance with the laws of war. The Bush
administration's approach has put future generations
of U.S. military personnel in grave risk of
mistreatment.

But our overriding of international law has also
had much broader implications for U.S. interests.
Although America's record in establishing and
complying with the laws of war has stood the test of
time, the rhetoric of realism and national interest
reigned supreme during most of the Cold War;
international law was relegated to the back burner.
Something changed around the time of the first Gulf
War. In his arguments for that war against Iraq,
then-President George H.W. Bush invoked the language
of international justice. The case for the first Gulf
War hinged on international law and the need to
maintain the rule of law among nations. Bill Clinton
made similar arguments to justify American
interventions in Haiti, Bosnia, and, most
spectacularly, Kosovo, where principles of
international justice were use

Posted by richard at 10:36 PM

October 27, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 6 Days to Go -- They are trying to steal it, but they will not succeed...

There are only 6 days to go until the national
referendum on the CHARACTER, COMPETENCE and
CREDIBILITY of the _resident and the VICE
_resident...At least one more US soldier has died in
Iraq for what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three
Stooges Reich...And yes, they are trying to steal it,
as you know, but if enough of us vote they cannot get
away with it...Lean into the fire...There is an
Electoral Uprising coming...Please read these FIVE
pieces and share them with others. Please vote and
encourage others to vote...Remember Duval County!

Harold Meyerson, Washington Post: With Election Day
almost upon us, it's not clear whether President Bush
is running a campaign or plotting a coup d'etat. By
all accounts, Republicans are spending these last
precious days devoting nearly as much energy to
suppressing the Democratic vote as they are to
mobilizing their own.
Time was when Republicans were at least embarrassed by
their efforts to keep African Americans from the
polls. Republican consultant Ed Rollins was all but
drummed out of the profession after his efforts to pay
black ministers to keep their congregants from voting
in a 1993 New Jersey election came to light.
For George W. Bush, Karl Rove and their legion of
genteel thugs, however, universal suffrage is just one
more musty liberal ideal that threatens conservative
rule. Today's Republicans have elevated vote
suppression from a dirty secret to a public norm.

Greg Palast, BBC: A secret document obtained from
inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests
a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt
voting in the state's African-American voting
districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals.
Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of
the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's
national research director in Washington DC, contain a
15-page so-called "caging list".
It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in
predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas
of Jacksonville, Florida.
An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown
the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason
why they would keep such a thing is to challenge
voters on election day."

Abby Goodnough, NY Times: A federal district judge
here dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday that was filed on
behalf of more than 10,000 new voters whose
registration forms had been rejected as incomplete.
The judge, James Lawrence King, said the labor unions
that brought the case had no standing because they had
not proved that any of their members were affected.
Judge King also said several other plaintiffs, people
who had turned in incomplete registration forms, could
not blame their local elections supervisors, who were
named as defendants.
"No federal or state statute,'' he wrote, "prescribes
a time period within which a supervisor must notify an
applicant that her application is incomplete.''

Local110: Local 10 has received many phone calls from
viewers in Broward County who say they have not
received the absentee ballots –- and the news from the
elections office doesn't sound good.
Local 10 has learned that many as many as 58,000
ballots that were supposed to mailed out on Oct. 7 and
8 could be missing.
The Broward County Supervisor of Elections office is
saying only that the situation is "unusual," and they
are looking into it.
Gisela Salas, Broward Deputy Elections Supervisor,
said, "I hate to say 'missing' at this time because
that has not yet be substantiated. Some ballots are
starting to arrive. But there is an extraordinary
delay."
An elections office representative told Local 10 that
the office has investigated with the U.S. Post Office
what might have happened to the ballots, but so far,
no one has been able to figure it out.
"It is unusual. It's a puzzle on the part of our
office and the postal service," Salas said. "Our
office did make the delivery and the post office
assures us they were processed. What happened is in
question."

NY Times Editorial: The Republican Party has announced
plans to place thousands of election challengers in
Ohio polling places next week. It says it is only
trying to prevent fraud. But there is a real danger
that these challengers could be used to block eligible
voters from casting their ballots or, just as bad, to
drastically slow down voting in some parts of the
state. Election officials must be vigilant about
ensuring that partisan challengers do not disrupt the
voting.
Republicans have been raising a lot of charges of
fraud lately. Fraud is a danger in any election, and
neither party has a monopoly on it. But the
Republicans have come up with little in the way of
specifics...
Ohio law gives election officials broad authority to
keep order at the polls and to make sure that voting
is "unobstructed." Poll workers should be quick to
dismiss baseless challenges, and if they see
challengers acting in bad faith, they should not
hesitate to have them removed from the polling place.
Election Day voting is far more fragile than most
people realize. A small number of challengers,
strategically placed and up to no good, could
disenfranchise thousands of voters, and even change
the outcome of a presidential election. Having been
put on notice, election officials in Ohio - and around
the country - must make sure that this does not
happen.

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.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A707-2004Oct26.html

The GOP's Shameful Vote Strategy

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, October 27, 2004; Page A25

With Election Day almost upon us, it's not clear
whether President Bush is running a campaign or
plotting a coup d'etat. By all accounts, Republicans
are spending these last precious days devoting nearly
as much energy to suppressing the Democratic vote as
they are to mobilizing their own.

Time was when Republicans were at least embarrassed by
their efforts to keep African Americans from the
polls. Republican consultant Ed Rollins was all but
drummed out of the profession after his efforts to pay
black ministers to keep their congregants from voting
in a 1993 New Jersey election came to light.

For George W. Bush, Karl Rove and their legion of
genteel thugs, however, universal suffrage is just one
more musty liberal ideal that threatens conservative
rule. Today's Republicans have elevated vote
suppression from a dirty secret to a public norm.

In Ohio, Republicans have recruited 3,600 poll
monitors and assigned them disproportionately to such
heavily black areas as inner-city Cleveland, where
Democratic "527" groups have registered many tens of
thousands of new voters. "The organized left's efforts
to, quote unquote, register voters -- I call them
ringers -- have created these problems" of potential
massive vote fraud, Cuyahoga County Republican
Chairman James P. Trakas recently told the New York
Times.

Let's pass over the implication that a registration
drive waged by a liberal group is inherently
fraud-ridden, and look instead at that word "ringers."


Registration in Ohio is nonpartisan, but independent
analysts estimate that roughly 400,000 new Democrats
have been added to the rolls this year. Who does
Trakas think they are? Have tens of thousands of
African Americans been sneaking over the state lines
from Pittsburgh and Detroit to vote in Cleveland --
thus putting their own battleground states more at
risk of a Republican victory? Is Shaker Heights
suddenly filled with Parisians affecting American
argot? Or are the Republicans simply terrified that a
record number of minority voters will go to the polls
next Tuesday? Have they decided to do anything to stop
them -- up to and including threatening to criminalize
Voting While Black in a Battleground State?

This is civic life in the age of George W. Bush, in
which politics has become a continuation of civil war
by other means. In Bush's America, there's a war on --
against a foreign enemy so evil that we can ignore the
Geneva Conventions, against domestic liberals so
insidious that we can ignore democratic norms. Only
bleeding hearts with a pre-Sept. 11 mind-set still
believe in voting rights.

For Bush and Rove, the domestic war predates the war
on terrorism. From the first day of his presidency,
Bush opted to govern from the right, to fan the flames
of cultural resentment, to divide the American house
against itself in the hope that cultural conservatism
would create a stable Republican majority. The Sept.
11 attacks unified us, but Bush exploited those
attacks to relentlessly partisan ends. As his foreign
and domestic policies abjectly failed, Bush's reliance
on identity politics only grew stronger. He anointed
himself the standard-bearer for provincials and
portrayed Kerry and his backers as arrogant
cosmopolitans.

And so here we are, improbably enmeshed in a
latter-day version of the election of 1928, when the
Catholicism of Democratic presidential nominee Al
Smith bitterly divided the nation along
Protestant-Catholic and nativist-immigrant lines. To
his credit, Smith's opponent (and eventual victor),
Herbert Hoover, did not exploit this rift himself.
Bush, by contrast, has not merely exploited the
modernist-traditionalist tensions in America but
helped create new ones and summoned old ones we could
be forgiven for thinking were permanently interred.
(Kerry will ban the Bible?)

Indeed, it's hard to think of another president more
deliberately divisive than the current one. I can come
up with only one other president who sought so
assiduously to undermine the basic arrangements of
American policy (as Bush has undermined the New Deal
at home and the systems of post-World War II alliances
abroad) with so little concern for the effect this
would have on the comity and viability of the nation.
And Jefferson Davis wasn't really a president of the
United States.

After four years in the White House, George W. Bush's
most significant contribution to American life is this
pervasive bitterness, this division of the house into
raging, feuding halves. We are two nations now, each
with a culture that attacks the other. And politics,
as the Republicans are openly playing it, need no
longer concern itself with the most fundamental
democratic norm: the universal right to vote.

As the campaign ends, Bush is playing to the right and
Kerry to the center.

That foretells the course of the administrations that
each would head. The essential difference between them
is simply that, as a matter of strategy and
temperament, Bush seeks to exploit our rifts and Kerry
to narrow them. That, finally, is the choice before us
next Tuesday: between one candidate who wants to pry
this nation apart to his own advantage, and another
who seeks to make it whole.

meyersonh@washpost.com

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/102804Z.shtml

New Florida Vote Scandal Feared
By Greg Palast
BBC

Wednesday 27 October 2004

A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign
headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly in
violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state's
African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight
investigation reveals.

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of
the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's
national research director in Washington DC, contain a
15-page so-called "caging list".

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in
predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas
of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown
the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason
why they would keep such a thing is to challenge
voters on election day."

Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law
allows political party operatives inside polling
stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot.

Mass challenges

They may then only vote "provisionally" after
signing an affidavit attesting to their legal voting
status.

Mass challenges have never occurred in Florida.
Indeed, says Mr Sancho, not one challenge has been
made to a voter "in the 16 years I've been supervisor
of elections."

"Quite frankly, this process can be used to slow
down the voting process and cause chaos on election
day; and discourage voters from voting."

Sancho calls it "intimidation." And it may be
illegal.

In Washington, well-known civil rights attorney,
Ralph Neas, noted that US federal law prohibits
targeting challenges to voters, even if there is a
basis for the challenge, if race is a factor in
targeting the voters.

The list of Jacksonville voters covers an area with
a majority of black residents.

When asked by Newsnight for an explanation of the
list, Republican spokespersons claim the list merely
records returned mail from either fundraising
solicitations or returned letters sent to newly
registered voters to verify their addresses for
purposes of mailing campaign literature.

Republican state campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker
Fletcher stated the list was not put together "in
order to create" a challenge list, but refused to say
it would not be used in that manner.

Rather, she did acknowledge that the party's poll
workers will be instructed to challenge voters, "Where
it's stated in the law."

There was no explanation as to why such clerical
matters would be sent to top officials of the Bush
campaign in Florida and Washington.

Private detective

In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were
using the lists or other means of intimidating voters,
we filmed a private detective filming every "early
voter" - the majority of whom are black - from behind
a vehicle with blacked-out windows.

The private detective claimed not to know who was
paying for his all-day services.

On the scene, Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown
said the surveillance operation was part of a campaign
of intimidation tactics used by the Republican Party
to intimate and scare off African American voters,
almost all of whom are registered Democrats.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/27/politics/campaign/27felon.html?oref=login

October 27, 2004
FLORIDA
Judge Rules Against 10,000 Floridians Barred From
Voting
By ABBY GOODNOUGH

IAMI, Oct. 26 - A federal district judge here
dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday that was filed on behalf
of more than 10,000 new voters whose registration
forms had been rejected as incomplete.

The judge, James Lawrence King, said the labor unions
that brought the case had no standing because they had
not proved that any of their members were affected.
Judge King also said several other plaintiffs, people
who had turned in incomplete registration forms, could
not blame their local elections supervisors, who were
named as defendants.

"No federal or state statute,'' he wrote, "prescribes
a time period within which a supervisor must notify an
applicant that her application is incomplete.''

Sheila Thomas, a lawyer for the Advancement Project, a
rights group that represented the plaintiffs, said,
"We think the ruling is incorrect as a matter of law,
and we are considering appealing it."

The suit, brought against elections supervisors in
Broward, Miami-Dade and several other counties,
charged that the rejected registration forms had come
disproportionately from blacks and Hispanics. In some
cases, the applicants did not check a box indicating
that they were American citizens, though they signed
an oath on the form affirming that they were. Some
registrants corrected their incomplete forms before
the Oct. 4 registration deadline, the suit said, but
elections officials did not always process them in
time, and did not let other registrants know that
their forms were flawed.

The suit is among several charging voter
disenfranchisement that are being fought by the
administration of Gov. Jeb Bush.

In another case, the federal appeals court in Atlanta
heard new arguments on Tuesday in a class-action suit
seeking to end Florida's policy stripping all felons
of the right to vote. That court is not expected to
rule before Election Day.

The suit, filed just before the 2000 election by the
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University,
charges that the state's ban on felons' voting is
racially discriminatory. It estimates that the law
strips blacks of voting rights at more than twice the
rate of whites. The plaintiffs are the 600,000 people
with felony convictions who the Brennan Center
estimates have finished serving their time in Florida
yet still cannot vote.

The ban has been in effect since 1868, when Florida
gave blacks the right to vote as a condition of the
state's being readmitted to the Union after the Civil
War. A new State Constitution drafted that year
expanded the number of crimes that required
disenfranchisement, a change that the plaintiffs say
was intended to affect blacks disproportionately.

They also charge that the discriminatory intent
persists, even though the provision was re-enacted in
1968 as part of a new Constitution.

A federal judge in Miami dismissed the suit in 2002.
But in December a three-judge panel of the appeals
court reversed the decision and ordered a trial,
saying the state had to prove that it had re-enacted
the provision for a "nondiscriminatory purpose" and
not just for the sake of continuity.

Lawyers for Governor Bush, the defendant, asked for a
rehearing, which is what took place before the full
appeals court on Tuesday.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home |
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http://www.local10.com/politics/3854230/detail.html

Local10.com
Local 10 Uncovers Big Ballot Mystery
Elections Office Says Situation Is 'Odd'
POSTED: 4:10 PM EDT October 26, 2004
UPDATED: 6:14 PM EDT October 26, 2004

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. -- Local 10 has received many
phone calls from viewers in Broward County who say
they have not received the absentee ballots –- and the
news from the elections office doesn't sound good.

Local 10 has learned that many as many as 58,000
ballots that were supposed to mailed out on Oct. 7 and
8 could be missing.

The Broward County Supervisor of Elections office is
saying only that the situation is "unusual," and they
are looking into it.

Gisela Salas, Broward Deputy Elections Supervisor,
said, "I hate to say 'missing' at this time because
that has not yet be substantiated. Some ballots are
starting to arrive. But there is an extraordinary
delay."

An elections office representative told Local 10 that
the office has investigated with the U.S. Post Office
what might have happened to the ballots, but so far,
no one has been able to figure it out.

"It is unusual. It's a puzzle on the part of our
office and the postal service," Salas said. "Our
office did make the delivery and the post office
assures us they were processed. What happened is in
question."

The postal service told Local 10 late Tuesday that
they don't have 58,000 ballots floating around. They
did say that they have several employees assigned to
deal only with ballots and they are being delivered in
one to two days -- once they get them.

How Will You Vote?

As far as the voters go that haven't received their
ballots, the elections office is now suggesting that
they take the opportunity to vote early.

Since many who request absentee ballots cannot
physically vote in their county, there are likely to
be some angry voters.

If you are able to and would like to vote early in
Broward County, click here to find a voting location.

Watch Local 10 News for more coverage of this missing
ballot controversy.

Copyright 2004 by Local10.com. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/26/opinion/26edt1.html?ei=1&en=b41d16beb8f45e7e&ex=1099804536&pagewanted=print&position=

October 26, 2004
MAKING VOTES COUNT
Election Day Misdeeds

he Republican Party has announced plans to place
thousands of election challengers in Ohio polling
places next week. It says it is only trying to prevent
fraud. But there is a real danger that these
challengers could be used to block eligible voters
from casting their ballots or, just as bad, to
drastically slow down voting in some parts of the
state. Election officials must be vigilant about
ensuring that partisan challengers do not disrupt the
voting.

Republicans have been raising a lot of charges of
fraud lately. Fraud is a danger in any election, and
neither party has a monopoly on it. But the
Republicans have come up with little in the way of
specifics. They have pointed to a few instances in
which paid canvassers apparently submitted
registrations with phony names. But it is highly
unlikely that anyone will show up on Election Day
claiming to be Mary Poppins or Dick Tracy. The
Republicans have made much of the fact that some
jurisdictions have more names on their rolls than they
have eligible voters. But that is generally because
election offices are slow to remove the names of
people who move away or die.

In the name of fraud prevention, the Republicans plan
to use 3,600 challengers in Ohio, a pivotal state
where the race is dead even and there has been a big
surge in first-time registrations for Democratic
voters. There is no telling how many partisan
challengers there will be nationwide next week because
many states do not require them to be identified in
advance. If challengers behave properly, they can help
make elections better. But partisan challengers acting
in bad faith can do considerable damage. Aggressive
challengers have been known to bully poll workers,
many of whom are elderly and have only limited
knowledge of election law.

It is likely that some voters will be challenged next
week not because they appear to be ineligible, but
because partisan challengers think that they will vote
for the other side. There is a long history of
challengers' targeting minority precincts and minority
voters. It is troubling that in Ohio this year, the
Republicans appear to be focusing much of their effort
on Cleveland, Dayton and other cities with large
African-American and Latino populations.

One of the gravest dangers is that partisan teams will
challenge many, if not all, voters in selected
precincts, with the goal of slowing voting to a
standstill. In Ohio, every challenge will require a
deliberation over whether the person in question
should be allowed to vote. In presidential elections,
lines in urban polling places are often hours long
under normal conditions. If the challengers can add 10
minutes per voter, waiting times may become so long
that thousands of voters will simply give up.

Ohio law gives election officials broad authority to
keep order at the polls and to make sure that voting
is "unobstructed." Poll workers should be quick to
dismiss baseless challenges, and if they see
challengers acting in bad faith, they should not
hesitate to have them removed from the polling place.
Election Day voting is far more fragile than most
people realize. A small number of challengers,
strategically placed and up to no good, could
disenfranchise thousands of voters, and even change
the outcome of a presidential election. Having been
put on notice, election officials in Ohio - and around
the country - must make sure that this does not
happen.


Posted by richard at 03:34 PM

October 26, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 7 Days to Go -- JFK is ahead in the Electoral College, the Red States are bleeding Red, White & Blue...

There are only 7 days to go until the national
referendum on the COMPETENCE, CREDIBILITY and
CHARACTER of the _resident and the VICE _resident.
There is an Electoral Uprising coming...The Bush
abomination allowed 250 tons of explosives, which the
UN had warned it about, disappear a year and a half
ago. The explosives are being used by Zarqawi to kill
US soldiers. The Bush abomination had a golden
opportunity, presented to it by the CIA, to tkae out
Zarqawi and his operation PRIOR to going into Iraq,
but they nixed it because of domestic politics in the
ramp up to their foolish military adventure. The
Emperor has no uniform. The botched, bungled,
mis-named "war on terrorism" is not the strength of
the Bush White House, it is the SHAME of the Bush
White House...According to the Hotline, a Beltwayistan
insider newsletter, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong
Delta) has re-taken the lead in Electoral College
votes. Even AnythingButSee (ABC) has been backed into
the corner of conceding the lead to JFK allbeit within
the "margin of error" in their skewed to the
white/right Corporatist poll data...Do NOT indulge in
hand-wringing about "election day chaos" or
"post-election chaos." There are far too many
propapunditgandists, besotted anchors and craven
political correspondnets suddenly concerned about it
in the US regimestream news media. Wishful thinking?
There is an Electoral Uprising coming...Yes, there
will be disputes that result in law suits and court
decisions down the road. BUT the victory is going to
be significant enough that none of them will be
reasonably perceived to alter the outcome...LEAN INTO
THE FIRE...Seize the day...If enough of us vote they
cannot steal it...Nevada, New Hampshire, West
Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas, Ohio and even Fraudia
itself are either lost or slipping out of their
grasp...These red states are now red, white and blue
states...Electronic voting is not pervasive enough,
the deep fix in the Corporatist media is not
persuasive enough...It is finished...Prepare to stomp
on Nov 2...LEAN INTO THE FIRE...Please read these
FOUR important pieces. Please vote and enourage
others to vote. Please remember that the US
regimestream news media does not want to inform you
about this election, it wants to DISinform you. It has
been, for four years, a full partner in a Triad of
shared special interest (e.g., energy, weapons, media,
pharmaceuticals, chemicals, tobacco, etc.) with the
Bush Cabal and its
wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party...REMEMBER
DUVAL COUNTY!

David Thalheimer, www.truthout.org: I have been a
registered Republican since I first became eligible to
vote. I've been an Air Force officer for 20 years,
first on active duty and now in the reserves. I gladly
voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and supported his
battle to win the Cold War. If called to serve in
Iraq, I would willingly do my duty for my country. You
might think I'm a slam-dunk for the Republican ticket
this year, but you'd be wrong. I backed John McCain in
the 2000 primary, but I did not vote for George W.
Bush and I'm even more opposed to him after seeing his
performance over the past four years. I can't say I'm
a big fan of John Kerry, but he's a smart guy and I'm
willing to give him a chance because Bush has done
such a bad job and shows so few signs of improvement
that he doesn't deserve to get reelected. This letter
explains why I'm voting against my Commander in Chief.
President Bush would have you believe that he is
making hard decisions and doing what needs to be done
to win the Global War on Terrorism. While I have no
doubt that he is trying, his actions have shown me
that his judgment is poor and he and his advisers
aren't smart enough to figure out the right way to win
this war. Taking out Al Qaida and the Taliban in
Afghanistan was a no-brainer, but the invasion of Iraq
was a huge diversion of resources away from the real
sources of terrorism. Showing the world that we can
and will "take out" any country we want may make puny
countries like Libya quiver, but it isn't a smart way
to beat the terrorists or our real enemies - it plays
right into their hands...
American troops are doing the best they can to win
in Iraq, but the decision to go to war and the lack of
planning to win the peace were strategic political
mistakes made by President Bush, Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld, and the senior White House staff. The
rhetoric coming out of the White House about what is
happening in Iraq not only continues to mislead our
citizens, but it has misled our own troops. It has
caused them to misjudge their enemies and make fatal
mistakes in dealing with the Iraqi population. Senior
White House decisions also sent the message to our
troops that they could get around the Geneva
Convention when interrogating suspected terrorists -
with disastrous results for the detainees at Abu
Gharib prison.
President Bush says he has fully supported his
troops, but he is really taking credit for good
Congressional support and ignoring his own poor
record. He has repeatedly submitted defense budgets
cutting active, reserve, guard and veterans' benefits,
including imminent danger pay, family separation
allowance, and the funding of VA hospitals, only to
have them protected by Congress. Attempting to pay for
tax cuts by cutting military benefits during wartime
is outrageous and damaging to our military families...
The bottom line is this. President Bush had four
years to show us what he can do. He has completely
bungled our foreign policy and has been favoring big
business interests and wealthy individuals over fiscal
responsibility, the well being of our economy, and the
health of our citizens. There is no way he's getting
another chance if I have anything to say about it.
Sir, you are relieved of duty!

Shawn Moynihan, Editors & Publishers: Discussions at
the Cleveland Plain Dealer to resolve an impasse
between the paper's editorial board and its publisher
about who to endorse for president have ended with a
Tuesday morning editorial announcing the paper would
back neither Bush nor Kerry...
The paper's editorial board, as E&P first revealed,
decided last week that it wanted to endorse Sen. John
Kerry, but Publisher Alex Machaskee, who has final
say, prefers President George W. Bush. The paper
backed Bush in 2000.
Indeed, this morning's editorial confirms, "A majority
of the editorial board favored Kerry, but after long
and difficult deliberations, it was decided that the
better path would be to sit this one out." It does not
mention Machaskee's role in this.

Agence France Press: Britain's respected Financial
Times endorsed John Kerry as the best choice for US
president, saying incumbent George W. Bush had
polarized the world with his radical foreign policy
and led a reckless economic policy.
The paper, one of the world's leading financial
dailies, called Bush "a polarizer, exploiting the war
on terror to cow domestic opposition and divide the
world into Them and Us."
"Over the past three years, the gap between ambition
and reality has created what could be termed a 'Bush
bubble'," it said.
During that time since te September 11 2001 attacks in
the United States, Bush's "radical, faith-based
politics" and his inability to recognize his mistakes
had led to a disastrous occupation in Iraq and taken
the wrong tack in the war on terrorism, it charged.
"Mr. Bush's flaw is his stubborn reluctance to admit
mistakes and to adjust personnel and policy. Blind
faith in military power as a tool for change has too
often influenced decision-making," it said.
"The US needs allies in the struggle against terrorism
but Mr. Bush's crusading moralism has alienated the
rest of the world, and a large constituency at home
already fearful of the religious right."

Paul Krugman, NY Times: Aides to John Kerry say that
if he wins, he'll replace Porter Goss as head of the
C.I.A. Let's hope so: Mr. Goss has already confirmed
the fears of those who worried about his appointment
by placing Republican staff members from Capitol Hill
in key positions and raising fears about a partisan
purge.
But the flap over Mr. Goss is only a symptom of a much
broader issue: whether the Bush administration will be
able to maintain its culture of cover-ups. That
culture affects every branch of policy, but it's
strongest when it comes to the "war on terror."
Although President Bush's campaign is based almost
entirely on his self-proclaimed leadership in that
war, his officials have thrown a shroud of secrecy
over any information that might let voters assess his
performance.
Yesterday we got two peeks under that shroud. One was
The Times's report about what the International Atomic
Energy Agency calls "the greatest explosives bonanza
in history." Ignoring the agency's warnings,
administration officials failed to secure the weapons
site, Al Qaqaa, in Iraq, allowing 377 tons of deadly
high explosives to be looted, presumably by
insurgents...
The story of the looted explosives has overshadowed
another report that Bush officials tried to suppress -
this one about how the Bush administration let Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi get away. An article in yesterday's
Wall Street Journal confirmed and expanded on an "NBC
Nightly News" report from March that asserted that
before the Iraq war, administration officials called
off a planned attack that might have killed Mr.
Zarqawi, the terrorist now blamed for much of the
mayhem in that country, in his camp.
Citing "military officials," the original NBC report
explained that the failure to go after Mr. Zarqawi was
based on domestic politics: "the administration feared
destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq" - a part of
Iraq not controlled by Saddam Hussein - "could
undermine its case for war against Saddam." What other
mistakes did the administration make? If partisan
appointees like Mr. Goss continue to control the
intelligence agencies, we may never know.
This isn't speculation: Mr. Goss is already involved
in a new cover-up. Last week Robert Scheer of The Los
Angeles Times revealed the existence of a devastating
but suppressed report by the C.I.A.'s inspector
general on 9/11 intelligence failures. Newsweek has
now confirmed the gist of Mr. Scheer's column.
The report, the magazine says, "identifies a host of
current and former officials who could be candidates
for possible disciplinary procedures." But although
the report was completed in June, Mr. Goss has refused
to release it to Congress. "Everyone feels it will be
better if this hits the fan after the election," an
official told the magazine. Better for whom?
What really happened on 9/11, or in Iraq? Next week's
election may determine whether we ever find 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.truthout.org/docs_04/102704X.shtml

Why I'm Voting Against My Commander in Chief
By David Thalheimer
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 22 October 2004

I have been a registered Republican since I first
became eligible to vote. I've been an Air Force
officer for 20 years, first on active duty and now in
the reserves. I gladly voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980
and supported his battle to win the Cold War. If
called to serve in Iraq, I would willingly do my duty
for my country. You might think I'm a slam-dunk for
the Republican ticket this year, but you'd be wrong. I
backed John McCain in the 2000 primary, but I did not
vote for George W. Bush and I'm even more opposed to
him after seeing his performance over the past four
years. I can't say I'm a big fan of John Kerry, but
he's a smart guy and I'm willing to give him a chance
because Bush has done such a bad job and shows so few
signs of improvement that he doesn't deserve to get
reelected. This letter explains why I'm voting against
my Commander in Chief.

President Bush would have you believe that he is
making hard decisions and doing what needs to be done
to win the Global War on Terrorism. While I have no
doubt that he is trying, his actions have shown me
that his judgment is poor and he and his advisers
aren't smart enough to figure out the right way to win
this war. Taking out Al Qaida and the Taliban in
Afghanistan was a no-brainer, but the invasion of Iraq
was a huge diversion of resources away from the real
sources of terrorism. Showing the world that we can
and will "take out" any country we want may make puny
countries like Libya quiver, but it isn't a smart way
to beat the terrorists or our real enemies - it plays
right into their hands.

Bush has made no real attempt to win the support of
the large majority of Muslims who oppose terrorism.
Instead, he has created millions of new enemies around
the world - people who used to admire the USA - and
these people are now more likely to be recruited by or
support future terrorists. It is now more likely that
they will overthrow their moderate, pro-US
governments, such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia,
and replace them with radical Islamic regimes. Far
more dangerous to America than Iraq are the radicals
trying to take over Pakistan (which already has
nuclear weapons), the unpredictable leader of North
Korea (which also has nukes), and Iran (which is
allegedly working hard to get them). We are less
secure today because we are creating more new enemies
than we are able to kill or capture. There are smarter
ways to track down terrorists and reduce the appeal of
radical Islamic ideology, but Bush has decided to take
the easy but wrong course of flexing America's
conventional military might and intimidating the world
rather than rallying our friends and allies around a
grand strategy that has a chance of success.

American troops are doing the best they can to win
in Iraq, but the decision to go to war and the lack of
planning to win the peace were strategic political
mistakes made by President Bush, Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld, and the senior White House staff. The
rhetoric coming out of the White House about what is
happening in Iraq not only continues to mislead our
citizens, but it has misled our own troops. It has
caused them to misjudge their enemies and make fatal
mistakes in dealing with the Iraqi population. Senior
White House decisions also sent the message to our
troops that they could get around the Geneva
Convention when interrogating suspected terrorists -
with disastrous results for the detainees at Abu
Gharib prison.

President Bush says he has fully supported his
troops, but he is really taking credit for good
Congressional support and ignoring his own poor
record. He has repeatedly submitted defense budgets
cutting active, reserve, guard and veterans' benefits,
including imminent danger pay, family separation
allowance, and the funding of VA hospitals, only to
have them protected by Congress. Attempting to pay for
tax cuts by cutting military benefits during wartime
is outrageous and damaging to our military families.

While national security is of my most grave concern,
there are other domestic issues that also matter and
can't be allowed to suffer through another four years
of bad policy.

I was recently shocked to learn that President Bush,
despite all his talk about love of freedom, has
attempted to deny our most precious freedom to
American citizens who oppose him - the right to free
speech. On many occasions, he has used the Secret
Service to keep legal, peaceful protesters quarantined
in designated "free speech zones" where nobody
(especially the media) can see or hear them. Pro-Bush
crowds are allowed to get near him during speeches,
but people with signs critical of him have been
forcibly moved away or illegally arrested. I find this
outrageous and intolerable. Some provisions in the
Patriot Act are also dangerous to our liberty in the
hands of an attorney general who is willing to jail
citizens for months or years without any possibility
of judicial review. Many American citizens have been
jailed secretly, and while I am all for giving the FBI
greater powers to investigate suspected terrorists,
there have to be checks and balances to protect us
from over-zealous government officials. Absolute power
corrupts absolutely, and all Americans should be wary
of any President who is willing to violate our most
basic rights.

While I'm not a fan of extreme environmentalists who
want to protect every endangered species around, I do
care about the quality of my air and water and
controls on toxic waste that could endanger all of our
health. I'm willing to pay for healthy living
conditions, and I don't think that such costs threaten
the competitiveness of US companies against low-cost
foreign companies that are allowed to pollute.
President Bush has attempted to reverse environmental
protections across the board and has given big
business interests the ability to profit from the
destruction of our natural resources. He forced the
EPA to stop prosecuting Clean Air Act violators,
attempted to increase the amount of toxic mercury
allowed in our water, under-funded the cleanup of
hazardous waste, reversed EPA bans on the sale of
contaminated land, increased logging in our national
parks, allowed giant pig "factory farms" to pollute
the land, water and homes without having to clean it
up, and ignored the threat of global warming. Yes, it
costs money to have healthy living conditions and some
countries don't want to pay the price. That's when the
President has a duty to lead the world to negotiate
good environmental treaties, not to refuse to
participate, thus guaranteeing failure. He has a duty
to protect American companies against unfair foreign
competition, not give them a license to break the laws
established to protect our own citizens. President
Bush has failed to lead the world and protect our
citizens from environmental hazards or unfair foreign
competition.

President Bush also appears willing to sacrifice our
national parks to the interests of oil companies,
strip miners and loggers. Once these national
treasures have been exploited, they will be ruined
forever. Our parks belong to the people and I'm not
willing to sell them out for a few bucks, most of
which will go to private companies and the rest of
which will go to support more government spending or
tax cuts for the wealthy.

Finally, let me address the economy. I've never
really believed that the President has much short-term
influence over the state of the economy. However, I do
know that cutting taxes and increasing spending is
normally a great way to stimulate economic growth for
a few years, while hurting us in the long-term when we
have to pay off the debt. Yet, despite the billions in
tax cuts and increased homeland security spending, I
haven't seen any growth in jobs or spending. I guess
that means all we get is the long-term debt. Finally -
is President Bush willing to fix Social Security? No -
but then again, I don't think anyone in Washington has
the guts to do it.

The bottom line is this. President Bush had four
years to show us what he can do. He has completely
bungled our foreign policy and has been favoring big
business interests and wealthy individuals over fiscal
responsibility, the well being of our economy, and the
health of our citizens. There is no way he's getting
another chance if I have anything to say about it.

Sir, you are relieved of duty!

-------

Jump to TO Features for Wednesday October 27, 2004

Today's TO Features -------------- FOCUS: John Kerry
| George Bush has Failed Us as Commander in Chief
David Thalheimer | Why I'm Voting Against My Commander
in Chief Some Fear Ohio Will Be Florida of 2004 Howard
Dean: Why I am Voting for John Kerry t r u t h o u t
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http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000684430

Cleveland 'Plain Dealer' Decides to Not Decide

By Shawn Moynihan

Published: October 25, 2004 9:00 PM EDT

NEW YORK Discussions at the Cleveland Plain Dealer to
resolve an impasse between the paper's editorial board
and its publisher about who to endorse for president
have ended with a Tuesday morning editorial announcing
the paper would back neither Bush nor Kerry.

"We believe our readers are perfectly capable of
making an informed, rational decision by their own
lights," the editorial concludes, "and we strongly
urge them to do so."

The paper's editorial board, as E&P first revealed,
decided last week that it wanted to endorse Sen. John
Kerry, but Publisher Alex Machaskee, who has final
say, prefers President George W. Bush. The paper
backed Bush in 2000.

Indeed, this morning's editorial confirms, "A majority
of the editorial board favored Kerry, but after long
and difficult deliberations, it was decided that the
better path would be to sit this one out." It does not
mention Machaskee's role in this.

"We believe our readers are perfectly capable of
judging" Bush's conduct as president, the editorial
declared, "and deciding whether Bush's flaws bother
them more than Kerry's ambiguities."

Shirley Steinman, the Plain Dealer's director of
community affairs, insisted Monday that the paper had
not yet chosen a candidate for endorsement and that a
decision would be made "later this week," but the
editorial ran a few hours later.

Since Sunday, the Plain Dealer had been deluged with
e-mails, according to three sources. The e-mails,
noted Brent Larkin, the Plain Dealer's editorial page
editor, came not just from readers, but from all over
the country.

When asked whether public opinion had any bearing on
the paper's decision process in choosing a candidate,
Larkin responded, "Not even a little bit."

In this unusually divisive election, many other
newspaper boards have been split down the middle. Some
have chosen not to endorse at all, while in other
cases the publisher stepped in and cast the only vote
that counted.

Tuesday editorial opened with: "In a year of deep
political divisions, this newspaper's opinion section
is experiencing deep divisions of its own." However,
according to several sources, the editorial board
clearly favored Kerry.

When asked Monday afternoon how negotiations were
going between the editorial board and Machaskee,
Larkin said, "'Negotiations' is not the right word.
We're all in this together."

Regardless of the paper's choice, "It's exciting no
matter what," said Plain Dealer Metro Columnist Regina
Brett, who noted that the Cleveland community is
buzzing about the paper's impending endorsement.
"People in Cleveland are really solid readers of the
paper," she noted.

If Machaskee deflected the Plain Dealer editorial
board's choice, it reportedly won't be the first time:
In the 2002 gubernatorial race, according to Plain
Dealer insiders, Machaskee decided the newspaper would
endorse Bob Taft despite the editorial board's
preference for his opponent, Tim Hagen.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shawn Moynihan (smoynihan@editorandpublisher.com) is
managing editor of E&P.

http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=31763

Financial Times backs Kerry, bashes 'radical' Bush
AFP: 10/25/2004
LONDON (AFP) - Britain's respected Financial Times
endorsed John Kerry as the best choice for US
president, saying incumbent George W. Bush had
polarized the world with his radical foreign policy
and led a reckless economic policy.

The paper, one of the world's leading financial
dailies, called Bush "a polarizer, exploiting the war
on terror to cow domestic opposition and divide the
world into Them and Us."

"Over the past three years, the gap between ambition
and reality has created what could be termed a 'Bush
bubble'," it said.

During that time since the September 11 2001 attacks
in the United States, Bush's "radical, faith-based
politics" and his inability to recognize his mistakes
had led to a disastrous occupation in Iraq and taken
the wrong tack in the war on terrorism, it charged.

"Mr. Bush's flaw is his stubborn reluctance to admit
mistakes and to adjust personnel and policy. Blind
faith in military power as a tool for change has too
often influenced decision-making," it said.

"The US needs allies in the struggle against terrorism
but Mr. Bush's crusading moralism has alienated the
rest of the world, and a large constituency at home
already fearful of the religious right."

But the paper cautioned that Kerry, the Democratic
senator, "still has much to prove" on domestic policy
and lacks pizazz, but values international alliances
and can recognize his mistakes.

"He owes his rise more to opposition to Mr. Bush than
loyalty to his own cause. But on balance, he is the
better, safer choice," it said.

Moreover, it said, Kerry would return a sound fiscal
policy to Washington, instead of Bush's short-term
economic fix in the form of tax cuts and low federal
interest rates, it went on.

"A President Kerry would probably revert to the fiscal
responsibility of the Clinton years... Coupled with
the need for international economic policy
cooperation... this could be a recipe for success,"
judged the financial daily.

The world's other influential financial pages have not
issued direct endorsements, but the Wall Street
Journal is regularly critical of Kerry. The Economist
weekly issues its endorsement for the November 2 US
vote in its edition out this Friday.

Copyright 2004 Agence France Presse. All rights
reserved. The information contained in the AFP News
report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or
redistributed without the prior written authority of
Agence France Presse.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/26/opinion/26krugman.html?oref=login&oref=login&hp

10/25/2004 - 15:12 GMT - AFP

A Culture of Cover-Ups
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: October 26, 2004
Aides to John Kerry say that if he wins, he'll replace
Porter Goss as head of the C.I.A. Let's hope so: Mr.
Goss has already confirmed the fears of those who
worried about his appointment by placing Republican
staff members from Capitol Hill in key positions and
raising fears about a partisan purge.

But the flap over Mr. Goss is only a symptom of a much
broader issue: whether the Bush administration will be
able to maintain its culture of cover-ups. That
culture affects every branch of policy, but it's
strongest when it comes to the "war on terror."

Although President Bush's campaign is based almost
entirely on his self-proclaimed leadership in that
war, his officials have thrown a shroud of secrecy
over any information that might let voters assess his
performance.

Yesterday we got two peeks under that shroud. One was
The Times's report about what the International Atomic
Energy Agency calls "the greatest explosives bonanza
in history." Ignoring the agency's warnings,
administration officials failed to secure the weapons
site, Al Qaqaa, in Iraq, allowing 377 tons of deadly
high explosives to be looted, presumably by
insurgents.

The administration is trying to play down the
importance of this loss, arguing that because Iraq was
awash in munitions, a few hundred more tons don't make
much difference. But aside from their potential use in
nuclear weapons - the reason they were under seal
before the war - these particular explosives, unlike
standard munitions, are exactly what a terrorist
needs.

Informed sources quoted by the influential Nelson
Report say explosives from Al Qaqaa are the "primary
source" of the roadside and car bombs that have killed
and wounded so many U.S. soldiers. And thanks to the
huge amount looted - "in a highly organized operation
using heavy equipment" - the insurgents and whoever
else have access to the Qaqaa material have enough
explosives for tens of thousands of future bombs.

If the administration had had its way, the public
would never have heard anything about this.
Administration officials have known about the looting
of Al Qaqaa for at least six months, and probably much
longer. But they didn't let the I.A.E.A. inspect the
site after the war, and pressured the Iraqis not to
inform the agency about the loss. They now say that
they didn't want our enemies - that is, the people who
stole the stuff - to know it was missing. The real
reason, obviously, was that they wanted the news kept
under wraps until after Nov. 2.

The story of the looted explosives has overshadowed
another report that Bush officials tried to suppress -
this one about how the Bush administration let Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi get away. An article in yesterday's
Wall Street Journal confirmed and expanded on an "NBC
Nightly News" report from March that asserted that
before the Iraq war, administration officials called
off a planned attack that might have killed Mr.
Zarqawi, the terrorist now blamed for much of the
mayhem in that country, in his camp.

Citing "military officials," the original NBC report
explained that the failure to go after Mr. Zarqawi was
based on domestic politics: "the administration feared
destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq" - a part of
Iraq not controlled by Saddam Hussein - "could
undermine its case for war against Saddam." The
Journal doesn't comment on this explanation, but it
does say that when NBC reported, correctly, that Mr.
Zarqawi had been targeted before the war,
administration officials denied it.

What other mistakes did the administration make? If
partisan appointees like Mr. Goss continue to control
the intelligence agencies, we may never know.

This isn't speculation: Mr. Goss is already involved
in a new cover-up. Last week Robert Scheer of The Los
Angeles Times revealed the existence of a devastating
but suppressed report by the C.I.A.'s inspector
general on 9/11 intelligence failures. Newsweek has
now confirmed the gist of Mr. Scheer's column.

The report, the magazine says, "identifies a host of
current and former officials who could be candidates
for possible disciplinary procedures." But although
the report was completed in June, Mr. Goss has refused
to release it to Congress. "Everyone feels it will be
better if this hits the fan after the election," an
official told the magazine. Better for whom?

What really happened on 9/11, or in Iraq? Next week's
election may determine whether we ever find out.

Posted by richard at 04:34 PM

October 25, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- Only 8 Days to Go -- The Dam is Breaking, The Torrent is Bursting...

There are only 8 days to go until the Electoral Uprising. The dam has broken. Can you feel it? They cannot steal it now, unless they are prepared for rebellion (and they are not)…They will try, but it is too far gone…There is an Electoral Uprising at hand. It cannot be thwarted. Lean into the fire, just as Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) and Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) are doing...The dam has broken…Even the cooked polls of the Corporatist Media as starting to show the cracks…It is finished…They must do something drastic if they are going to retain power, and the closer Nov 2nd comes such drastic measures become less and less likely…There are many stories about voter supression in Bardoground States, but there will be time for that tomorrow and the next day…Today read these FIVE powerful stories…Feel the moral pressure being brought to bear, feel the conscience of a nation shining forth, feel common sense and human decency driving your fellow patriots to the polls…The LNS is a drum we have been beating for four years…There are storm clouds billowing now…The torrent is about to burst open the parched ground…The Electoral Uprising is coming…REMEMBER DUVAL COUNTY!

Bob Herbert, NY Times: The war in Iraq is a mind-numbing tragedy with no end in sight. Dozens of Iraqi army recruits were slaughtered Saturday in one of the deadliest attacks yet against the Iraqi security forces. Yesterday an American diplomat was killed in a mortar attack near the Baghdad airport.
The latest horrific video to come out of the war zone shows the kidnapped British-Iraqi aid worker, Margaret Hassan, trembling, weeping and begging for her life. "Please help me," she says. "This might be my last hours."
American troops have fought valiantly, but cracks in their resolve are beginning to show. "This is Vietnam," said Daniel Planalp, a 21-year-old Marine corporal from San Diego who was quoted in yesterday's New York Times. "I don't even know why we're over here fighting."
Here at home the stock market has tanked, in part because of record-high oil prices. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at its low for the year on Friday as world oil prices streaked ever higher. The cost of oil has jumped more than 75 percent in the past year. With the weather turning colder, the attention of homeowners - many of them voters - is being drawn to the price of home heating oil. What they're seeing is not pretty.
The Energy Department expects heating oil bills to increase nearly 30 percent this year, and that may be a conservative estimate. Thermostats across the country are heading down, down, down...
Unable to counter the bad news with stories of major successes, the Bush campaign has turned almost exclusively to the so-called war against terror. The message in a nutshell: be very afraid.
A Bush campaign commercial released a few days ago shows wolves advancing menacingly toward the camera. A voice in the ad says, "Weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm."
At the same time, the Republican Party is doing what it can in key states to block as many Democratic votes as possible. Party officials have mounted a huge organized effort to challenge - some would say intimidate - voters in states like Ohio and Florida, in a bid to offset the effects of huge voter registration drives and a potentially heavy turnout of voters opposed to Mr. Bush and his policies.
Election officials in Ohio said they'd never seen such a large drive mounted to challenge voters on Election Day.
Voter suppression is a reprehensible practice. It's a bullet aimed at the very heart of democracy. But the G.O.P. evidently considers it an essential strategy in an environment with so little positive news.

Joshua Micah Marshall, Talking Points: Look at the lede of this Washington Post article from April 17, 2002 ...The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.
That really says it all.
And there's more.
Was bin Laden there, a claim Cheney and the Bush campaign now discount or treat as mere speculation?
Again from the Post: "Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan's mountainous eastern border."
The article goes on to say that though the administration had never publicly acknowledged that bin Laden slipped the noose in this way, "inside the government there is little controversy on the subject."
Then the paper quotes a government official "giving an authoritative account of the intelligence consensus," who says that, "I don't think you can ever say with certainty, but we did conclude he was there, and that conclusion has strengthened with time."
And as to the issue of 'outsourcing'?
One more time from the article ...
After-action reviews, conducted privately inside and outside the military chain of command, describe the episode as a significant defeat for the United States. A common view among those interviewed outside the U.S. Central Command is that Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the war's operational commander, misjudged the interests of putative Afghan allies and let pass the best chance to capture or kill al Qaeda's leader. Without professing second thoughts about Tora Bora, Franks has changed his approach fundamentally in subsequent battles, using Americans on the ground as first-line combat units...
What you simply cannot say is that the whole thing never happened. And yet that is precisely what the president and the vice president are now doing: Simply denying everything. Who you gonna believe? Me or your lyin' eyes?
They are, in old fashioned English, lying.
And the major news outlets covering the campaign -- as nearly as I've seen so far -- are just treating the disagreement as a he said/(s)he said in which both sides' arguments have equal merit.
Sums up the whole campaign.

SCOT J. PALTROW, WALL STREET JOURNAL: As the toll of mayhem inspired by terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi mounts in Iraq, some former officials and military officers increasingly wonder whether the Bush administration made a mistake months before the start of the war by stopping the military from attacking his camp in the northeastern part of that country.
The Pentagon drew up detailed plans in June 2002, giving the administration a series of options for a military strike on the camp Mr. Zarqawi was running then in remote northeastern Iraq, according to generals who were involved directly in planning the attack and several former White House staffers. They said the camp, near the town of Khurmal, was known to contain Mr. Zarqawi and his supporters as well as al Qaeda fighters, all of whom had fled from Afghanistan. Intelligence indicated the camp was training recruits and making poisons for attacks against the West.
Senior Pentagon officials who were involved in planning the attack said that even by spring 2002 Mr. Zarqawi had been identified as a significant terrorist target, based in part on intelligence that the camp he earlier ran in Afghanistan had been attempting to make chemical weapons, and because he was known as the head of a group that was plotting, and training for, attacks against the West. He already was identified as the ringleader in several failed terrorist plots against Israeli and European targets. In addition, by late 2002, while the White House still was deliberating over attacking the camp, Mr. Zarqawi was known to have been behind the October 2002 assassination of a senior American diplomat in Amman, Jordan.
But the raid on Mr. Zarqawi didn't take place. Months passed with no approval of the plan from the White House, until word came down just weeks before the March 19, 2003, start of the Iraq war that Mr. Bush had rejected any strike on the camp until after an official outbreak of hostilities with Iraq. Ultimately, the camp was hit just after the invasion of Iraq began…
Administration officials say the attack was set aside for a variety of reasons, including uncertain intelligence reports on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts and the difficulties of hitting him within a large complex...
Another factor, though, was fear that a strike on the camp could stir up opposition while the administration was trying to build an international coalition to launch an invasion of Iraq. Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said in an interview that the reasons for not striking included "the president's decision to engage the international community on Iraq." Mr. Di Rita said the camp was of interest only because it was believed to be producing chemical weapons. He also cited several potential logistical problems in planning a strike, such as getting enough ground troops into the area, and the camp's large size...
Some former officials said the intelligence on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts was sound. In addition, retired Gen. John M. Keane, the U.S. Army's vice chief of staff when the strike was considered, said that because the camp was isolated in the thinly populated, mountainous borderlands of northeastern Iraq, the risk of collateral damage was minimal. Former military officials said that adding to the target's allure was intelligence indicating that Mr. Zarqawi himself was in the camp at the time. A strike at the camp, they believed, meant at least a chance of killing or incapacitating him.
Gen. Keane characterized the camp "as one of the best targets we ever had," and questioned the decision not to attack it. When the U.S. did strike the camp a day after the war started, Mr. Zarqawi, many of his followers and Kurdish extremists belonging to his organization already had fled, people involved with intelligence say.
In recent months, Mr. Zarqawi's group has been blamed for a series of beheadings of foreigners and deadly car bombings in Iraq, as well as the recent kidnapping of Margaret Hassan, the director of CARE International there. According to wire-service reports, Mr. Zarqawi's group, recently renamed the Al Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq, on Sunday claimed responsibility for the massacre of more than 40 Iraqi army recruits in eastern Iraq.
The U.S. military over the weekend announced it arrested what it said was a newly promoted senior leader in Mr. Zarqawi's group. The man's name wasn't released.
Targeting of the camp and Mr. Zarqawi before the war first was reported in an NBC Nightly News item in March, but administration officials subsequently denied it, and the report didn't give details of the planning of the attack and deliberations over it.
According to those who were involved during 2002 in planning an attack, the impetus came from Central Intelligence Agency reports that al Qaeda fighters were in the camp and that preparations and training were under way there for attacks on Western interests. Under the aegis of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tentative plans were drawn up and sent to the White House in the last week of June 2002. Officials involved in planning had expected a swift decision, but they said they were surprised when weeks went by with no response from the White House.

Quad-City Times Editorial: Armed with a legislative majority, President Bush acted as if his court-awarded presidential victory was a landslide, muscling through an agenda that showed neither respect nor bipartisanship.
At that time, our endorsement editorial noted that a projected budget surplus of $4.6 trillion finally allowed constructive debate on making things better for Americans. Since then, things haven’t gotten better. Most of the surplus was used for a tax cut that hasn’t created jobs. It hasn’t lifted the stock market. It hasn’t extended health care to more Americans.
Most importantly, it hasn’t funded the war. The president’s version of leadership shoved the entire burden of the war on terror solely on the backs of our brave guard, reserve and full-time troops. It’s not being shared by the richest 10 percent of Americans, who were awarded $148 billion in tax cuts this year alone. That’s more than the federal government spends on all public housing, all child care, all welfare, all job training and all college Pell grants. Combined.
It is much more than the president asked Congress to appropriate for the war in Iraq.
George Bush’s leadership says tax relief for the wealthy is more important than paying down deficits. It’s more important than funding the war. It’s more important than sustaining — let alone improving — benefits for veterans of this and earlier wars. The president’s actions say it is more important than anything else the federal government does.
The president’s actions suggest the war on terror can be waged without any sacrifice at hom
That’s not leadership...
Kerry has shown courage by sticking to a deficit-busting plan that requires a tax increase for the wealthiest Americans, something most politicians are scared to mention. President Bush stubbornly adheres to his pre-war tax cut plan as if troops aren’t fighting and dying.
That’s not leadership.
Kerry campaigns on a list of domestic security measures that mainly are findings of the 9/11 Commission report. It took leadership from the widows of 9/11 victims to browbeat the White House and Congressional leadership into forming the commission.
If it had been up to the president, the commission never would have convened.
That’s not leadership.
The security and intelligence flaws detailed in the report had been obvious for months to the Bush administration officials who testified before the commission. Yet no one in the administration initiated significant change until the report was published.
That’s not leadership.
This election, we support the candidate who has the leadership to bring America together to support our troops in ways more tangible than magnetic emblems stuck to the backs of cars.
We support a statesman who has taken and returned enemy fire in a combat zone.
We support a leader whose stellar war record came under fire from those who have none...
John Kerry can provide that leadership.

Oliver Burkeman in Atlanta,The Guardian: George Bush has exploited the suffering of September 11 and turned back decades of efforts to make the world a safer place, the former president Jimmy Carter says in an interview with the Guardian published today.
Attacking Mr Bush and Tony Blair over Iraq, Mr Carter calls the war "a completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements".
He also criticises Mr Bush for "lack of effort" on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and accuses him of abandoning nuclear non-proliferation initiatives championed by five presidents.
The US "suffered, in 9/11, a terrible and shocking attack ... and George Bush has been adroit at exploiting that attack, and he has elevated himself, in the consciousness of many Americans, to a heroic commander-in-chief, fighting a global threat against America," Mr Carter says.
"He's repeatedly played that card, and to some degree quite successfully. I think that success has dissipated. I don't know if it's dissipating fast enough to affect the election. We'll soon know."
"When your troops go to war, the prime minister or the president change overnight from an administrator, dealing with taxation and welfare and health and deteriorating roads, into the commander-in-chief," he says. "And it's just become almost unpatriotic to describe Bush's fallacious and ill-advised and mistaken and sometimes misleading actions."
Mr Bush and Mr Blair are blamed for helping to fuel the depth of anti-American feeling in the Islamic world. Denying any link between his handling of the Iranian crisis and the present threat, Mr Carter says: "The entire Islamic world condemned Iran. Nowadays, because of the unwarranted invasion of Iraq by Bush and Blair, which was a completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements, and the lack of any effort to resolve the Palestinian issue, [there is] massive Islamic condemnation of the United States."
American media organisations, he adds, "have been cowed, because they didn't want to be unpatriotic. There has been a lack of inquisitive journalism. In fact, it's hard to think of a major medium in the United States that has been objective and fair and balanced, and critical when criticism was deserved".
On nuclear proliferation, the issue that the Democratic contender John Kerry has identified as the single most serious threat to national security, Mr Carter attacks Mr Bush for abandoning "all of those long, tedious negotiations" carried out by presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan and himself.
In recent weeks he has also warned of the possibility of a new election fiasco in Florida.

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/2004/10/25/opinion/25herbert.html?oref=login

For Bush, Bad News Is Bad News
By BOB HERBERT

Published: October 25, 2004

Here's George W. Bush's problem. How does a president win re-election when all the news the voters are seeing is bad?

Polls show the president running even or slightly ahead of Senator John Kerry. But bad news is piling up like mounds of trash in a garbage strike, and that's never good for an incumbent.

The war in Iraq is a mind-numbing tragedy with no end in sight. Dozens of Iraqi army recruits were slaughtered Saturday in one of the deadliest attacks yet against the Iraqi security forces. Yesterday an American diplomat was killed in a mortar attack near the Baghdad airport.

The latest horrific video to come out of the war zone shows the kidnapped British-Iraqi aid worker, Margaret Hassan, trembling, weeping and begging for her life. "Please help me," she says. "This might be my last hours."

American troops have fought valiantly, but cracks in their resolve are beginning to show. "This is Vietnam," said Daniel Planalp, a 21-year-old Marine corporal from San Diego who was quoted in yesterday's New York Times. "I don't even know why we're over here fighting."

Here at home the stock market has tanked, in part because of record-high oil prices. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at its low for the year on Friday as world oil prices streaked ever higher. The cost of oil has jumped more than 75 percent in the past year. With the weather turning colder, the attention of homeowners - many of them voters - is being drawn to the price of home heating oil. What they're seeing is not pretty.

The Energy Department expects heating oil bills to increase nearly 30 percent this year, and that may be a conservative estimate. Thermostats across the country are heading down, down, down.

Republican campaign officials are worried about the dearth of good news. The flu vaccine shortage has led to price-gouging and long lines of sick and elderly patients, some of them on the verge of panic. Last week we learned that the index of leading economic indicators had moved lower in September, the fourth successive monthly decline, which could be an indication of a slowdown in economic growth.

The lead stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post on Friday were both about Iraq - and both were disheartening. The Times said senior American officials were assembling new information about the increasingly deadly Iraqi insurgency that showed "it has significantly more fighters and far greater financial resources than had been estimated."

The Post wrote that, according to a U.S.-financed poll, leaders of Iraq's religious parties are becoming the most popular politicians in the country, an extremely ominous development in the view of the Bush administration.

These are all stories with the potential to influence voters, and they are not being offset by other, more positive developments. The result has been high anxiety levels among Republican operatives.

"If you're asking me if there's a perfect storm of bad news occurring, the answer is no," said a G.O.P. campaign strategist, who asked not to be identified. "If you're asking if I'd like a little rosier scenario to be played out on the front pages and the nightly news, the answer of course would be yes."

Unable to counter the bad news with stories of major successes, the Bush campaign has turned almost exclusively to the so-called war against terror. The message in a nutshell: be very afraid.

A Bush campaign commercial released a few days ago shows wolves advancing menacingly toward the camera. A voice in the ad says, "Weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm."

At the same time, the Republican Party is doing what it can in key states to block as many Democratic votes as possible. Party officials have mounted a huge organized effort to challenge - some would say intimidate - voters in states like Ohio and Florida, in a bid to offset the effects of huge voter registration drives and a potentially heavy turnout of voters opposed to Mr. Bush and his policies.

Election officials in Ohio said they'd never seen such a large drive mounted to challenge voters on Election Day.

Voter suppression is a reprehensible practice. It's a bullet aimed at the very heart of democracy. But the G.O.P. evidently considers it an essential strategy in an environment with so little positive news.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/003767.php

(October 23, 2004 -- 06:39 AM EDT)
Last night when discussing the White House's truth-bending revisionism on Tora Bora, I wrote that I had been "pretty skeptical of the Bush team's revisionism on this count since the outlines of the Kerry critique have been a commonplace in national security and counter-terrorism circles for literally years."

You'll remember that what I'm referring to here as 'Kerry's critique' is the charge that the US let bin Laden get away at Tora Bora because we 'outsourced' the job to local warlords and militiaman. The Bush campaign is now calling that a lie. Dick Cheney says it's "absolute garbage" and the campaign has enlisted retired general and now Bush surrogate Tommy Franks to help back their case.

Now Steve Soto points out one more reason why I and others who've followed this story for years were so skeptical.

Look at the lede of this Washington Post article from April 17, 2002 ...

The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.
That really says it all.

And there's more.

Was bin Laden there, a claim Cheney and the Bush campaign now discount or treat as mere speculation?

Again from the Post: "Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan's mountainous eastern border."

The article goes on to say that though the administration had never publicly acknowledged that bin Laden slipped the noose in this way, "inside the government there is little controversy on the subject."

Then the paper quotes a government official "giving an authoritative account of the intelligence consensus," who says that, "I don't think you can ever say with certainty, but we did conclude he was there, and that conclusion has strengthened with time."

And as to the issue of 'outsourcing'?

One more time from the article ...

After-action reviews, conducted privately inside and outside the military chain of command, describe the episode as a significant defeat for the United States. A common view among those interviewed outside the U.S. Central Command is that Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the war's operational commander, misjudged the interests of putative Afghan allies and let pass the best chance to capture or kill al Qaeda's leader. Without professing second thoughts about Tora Bora, Franks has changed his approach fundamentally in subsequent battles, using Americans on the ground as first-line combat units.
In the fight for Tora Bora, corrupt local militias did not live up to promises to seal off the mountain redoubt, and some colluded in the escape of fleeing al Qaeda fighters. Franks did not perceive the setbacks soon enough, some officials said, because he ran the war from Tampa with no commander on the scene above the rank of lieutenant colonel. The first Americans did not arrive until three days into the fighting. "No one had the big picture," one defense official said.

I quote here at length for a simple reason, to make a simple point. Though we cannot in the nature of things have absolute certainty about bin Laden's whereabouts, there is little doubt that bin Laden was there. We had a "reasonable certainty" he was there when the critical decisions were being made. And subsequent intelligence has only tended to confirm that belief. As to the issue of 'outsourcing,' the claim is unquestionably true. And it is widely believed that this was a key reason for the failure to capture bin Laden.

One might well argue, we hadn't hunted a bin Laden before. And I don't mean that flippantly. Had the Afghan tribesmen killed OBL in those hills, the decision might have seemed an inspired one, since it no doubt saved American lives. Perhaps a Gore or a Kerry administration would have made the same mistake.

What you simply cannot say is that the whole thing never happened. And yet that is precisely what the president and the vice president are now doing: Simply denying everything. Who you gonna believe? Me or your lyin' eyes?

They are, in old fashioned English, lying.

And the major news outlets covering the campaign -- as nearly as I've seen so far -- are just treating the disagreement as a he said/(s)he said in which both sides' arguments have equal merit.

Sums up the whole campaign.

-- Josh Marshall
Copyright 2004 Joshua Micah Marshall
This document is available online at http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2004_10_17.php#003767

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/0,,SB109866031609354178-IdjgYNhlaR3n52paIKIaKmGm4,00.html

Questions Mount
Over Failure to Hit
Zarqawi's Camp

By SCOT J. PALTROW
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 25, 2004; Page A3

As the toll of mayhem inspired by terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi mounts in Iraq, some former officials and military officers increasingly wonder whether the Bush administration made a mistake months before the start of the war by stopping the military from attacking his camp in the northeastern part of that country.

The Pentagon drew up detailed plans in June 2002, giving the administration a series of options for a military strike on the camp Mr. Zarqawi was running then in remote northeastern Iraq, according to generals who were involved directly in planning the attack and several former White House staffers. They said the camp, near the town of Khurmal, was known to contain Mr. Zarqawi and his supporters as well as al Qaeda fighters, all of whom had fled from Afghanistan. Intelligence indicated the camp was training recruits and making poisons for attacks against the West.

Senior Pentagon officials who were involved in planning the attack said that even by spring 2002 Mr. Zarqawi had been identified as a significant terrorist target, based in part on intelligence that the camp he earlier ran in Afghanistan had been attempting to make chemical weapons, and because he was known as the head of a group that was plotting, and training for, attacks against the West. He already was identified as the ringleader in several failed terrorist plots against Israeli and European targets. In addition, by late 2002, while the White House still was deliberating over attacking the camp, Mr. Zarqawi was known to have been behind the October 2002 assassination of a senior American diplomat in Amman, Jordan.


But the raid on Mr. Zarqawi didn't take place. Months passed with no approval of the plan from the White House, until word came down just weeks before the March 19, 2003, start of the Iraq war that Mr. Bush had rejected any strike on the camp until after an official outbreak of hostilities with Iraq. Ultimately, the camp was hit just after the invasion of Iraq began.

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who was in the White House as the National Security Council's director for combatting terrorism at the time, said an NSC working group, led by the Defense Department, had been in charge of reviewing the plans to target the camp. She said the camp was "definitely a stronghold, and we knew that certain individuals were there including Zarqawi." Ms. Gordon-Hagerty said she wasn't part of the working group and never learned the reason why the camp wasn't hit. But she said that much later, when reports surfaced that Mr. Zarqawi was behind a series of bloody attacks in Iraq, she said "I remember my response," adding, "I said why didn't we get that ['son of a b-'] when we could."

Administration officials say the attack was set aside for a variety of reasons, including uncertain intelligence reports on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts and the difficulties of hitting him within a large complex.

"Because there was never any real-time, actionable intelligence that placed Zarqawi at Khurmal, action taken against the facility would have been ineffective," said Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for the NSC. "It was more effective to deal with the facility as part of the broader strategy, and in fact, the facility was destroyed early in the war."

Another factor, though, was fear that a strike on the camp could stir up opposition while the administration was trying to build an international coalition to launch an invasion of Iraq. Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said in an interview that the reasons for not striking included "the president's decision to engage the international community on Iraq." Mr. Di Rita said the camp was of interest only because it was believed to be producing chemical weapons. He also cited several potential logistical problems in planning a strike, such as getting enough ground troops into the area, and the camp's large size.

Still, after the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan, President Bush had said he relentlessly would pursue and attack fleeing al Qaeda fighters regardless of where they went to hide. Mr. Bush also had decided upon a policy of pre-emptive strikes, in which the U.S. wouldn't wait to be struck before hitting enemies who posed a threat. An attack on Mr. Zarqawi would have amounted to such a pre-emptive strike. The story of the debate over his camp shows how difficult the policy can be to carry out; Mr. Zarqawi's subsequent resurgence highlights that while pre-emptive strikes entail considerable risks, the risk of not making them can be significant too, a factor that may weigh in future decisions on when to attack terrorist leaders.

ZARQAWI'S RESURGENCE

Some former officials said the intelligence on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts was sound. In addition, retired Gen. John M. Keane, the U.S. Army's vice chief of staff when the strike was considered, said that because the camp was isolated in the thinly populated, mountainous borderlands of northeastern Iraq, the risk of collateral damage was minimal. Former military officials said that adding to the target's allure was intelligence indicating that Mr. Zarqawi himself was in the camp at the time. A strike at the camp, they believed, meant at least a chance of killing or incapacitating him.

Gen. Keane characterized the camp "as one of the best targets we ever had," and questioned the decision not to attack it. When the U.S. did strike the camp a day after the war started, Mr. Zarqawi, many of his followers and Kurdish extremists belonging to his organization already had fled, people involved with intelligence say.

In recent months, Mr. Zarqawi's group has been blamed for a series of beheadings of foreigners and deadly car bombings in Iraq, as well as the recent kidnapping of Margaret Hassan, the director of CARE International there. According to wire-service reports, Mr. Zarqawi's group, recently renamed the Al Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq, on Sunday claimed responsibility for the massacre of more than 40 Iraqi army recruits in eastern Iraq.

The U.S. military over the weekend announced it arrested what it said was a newly promoted senior leader in Mr. Zarqawi's group. The man's name wasn't released.

Targeting of the camp and Mr. Zarqawi before the war first was reported in an NBC Nightly News item in March, but administration officials subsequently denied it, and the report didn't give details of the planning of the attack and deliberations over it.

According to those who were involved during 2002 in planning an attack, the impetus came from Central Intelligence Agency reports that al Qaeda fighters were in the camp and that preparations and training were under way there for attacks on Western interests. Under the aegis of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tentative plans were drawn up and sent to the White House in the last week of June 2002. Officials involved in planning had expected a swift decision, but they said they were surprised when weeks went by with no response from the White House.

Then, in midsummer, word somehow leaked out in the Turkish press that the U.S. was considering targeting the camp, and intelligence reports showed that Mr. Zarqawi's group had fled the camp. But the CIA reported that around the end of 2002 the group had reoccupied the camp. The military's plans for hitting it quickly were revived.

Gen. Tommy Franks, who was commander of the U.S. Central Command and who lately has been campaigning on behalf of Mr. Bush, suggests in his recently published memoir, "American Soldier," that Mr. Zarqawi was known to have been in the camp during the months before the war. Gen. Franks declined to be interviewed or answer written questions for this article. In referring to several camps in northern Iraq occupied by al Qaeda fighters who had fled Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, Gen. Franks wrote: "These camps were examples of the terrorist 'harbors' that President Bush had vowed to crush. One known terrorist, a Jordanian-born Palestinian named Abu Musab Zarqawi who had joined al Qaeda in Afghanistan -- where he specialized in developing chemical and biological weapons -- was now confirmed to operate from one of the camps in Iraq." Gen. Franks's book doesn't mention the plans to target the camp.

Questions about whether the U.S. missed an opportunity to take out Mr. Zarqawi have been enhanced recently by a CIA report on Mr. Zarqawi, commissioned by Vice President Dick Cheney. Individuals who have been briefed on the report's contents say it specifically cites evidence that Mr. Zarqawi was in the camp during those prewar months. They said the CIA's conclusion was based in part on a review of electronic intercepts, which show that Mr. Zarqawi was using a satellite telephone to discuss matters relating to the camp, and that the intercepts indicated the probability that the calls were being made from inside the camp.

--David S. Cloud contributed to this article.

Write to Scot J. Paltrow at scot.paltrow@wsj.com

http://www.qctimes.com/internal.php?t=Search&doc=/2004/10/24/stories/letters/1037874.txt

Last Updated: 10:02 pm, Saturday, October 23rd, 2004

Kerry’s leadership can pull America together

“We need a clean break from the recent past. It is a time for leadership that sets a new tone — a tone of respect and bipartisanship.”

— George W. Bush, June 8, 2000
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We strongly believed that comment when we published our Oct. 29, 2000 endorsement of Texas Gov. George W. Bush to be president of the United States of America.

It still speaks to us and is why we strongly support John Kerry today. Some might say that makes us flip-floppers. But it is not our belief that has changed.

Armed with a legislative majority, President Bush acted as if his court-awarded presidential victory was a landslide, muscling through an agenda that showed neither respect nor bipartisanship.

At that time, our endorsement editorial noted that a projected budget surplus of $4.6 trillion finally allowed constructive debate on making things better for Americans. Since then, things haven’t gotten better. Most of the surplus was used for a tax cut that hasn’t created jobs. It hasn’t lifted the stock market. It hasn’t extended health care to more Americans.

Most importantly, it hasn’t funded the war. The president’s version of leadership shoved the entire burden of the war on terror solely on the backs of our brave guard, reserve and full-time troops. It’s not being shared by the richest 10 percent of Americans, who were awarded $148 billion in tax cuts this year alone. That’s more than the federal government spends on all public housing, all child care, all welfare, all job training and all college Pell grants. Combined.

It is much more than the president asked Congress to appropriate for the war in Iraq.

George Bush’s leadership says tax relief for the wealthy is more important than paying down deficits. It’s more important than funding the war. It’s more important than sustaining — let alone improving — benefits for veterans of this and earlier wars. The president’s actions say it is more important than anything else the federal government does.

The president’s actions suggest the war on terror can be waged without any sacrifice at home.

That’s not leadership.

John Kerry presents leadership, ideas and rich experiences to take on our country’s toughest problems. He has an alternative energy plan that if enacted four years ago would have left us less reliant on the foreign oil that now tops $50 a barrel. Instead, the Bush administration drummed up an energy plan in a secret meeting of energy company executives, shut out Democrats, then complained when it stalled in Congress.

That’s not leadership.

Kerry has shown courage by sticking to a deficit-busting plan that requires a tax increase for the wealthiest Americans, something most politicians are scared to mention. President Bush stubbornly adheres to his pre-war tax cut plan as if troops aren’t fighting and dying.

That’s not leadership.

Kerry campaigns on a list of domestic security measures that mainly are findings of the 9/11 Commission report. It took leadership from the widows of 9/11 victims to browbeat the White House and Congressional leadership into forming the commission.

If it had been up to the president, the commission never would have convened.

That’s not leadership.

The security and intelligence flaws detailed in the report had been obvious for months to the Bush administration officials who testified before the commission. Yet no one in the administration initiated significant change until the report was published.

That’s not leadership.

We don’t dismiss the president’s leadership in leading our nation to war in Iraq. He acted on the same lousy intelligence that convinced Sens. Kerry, Edwards and most of Congress to support the invasion. But in the year since he declared “mission accomplished,” the president’s leadership is endangering more troops. We cannot say America is safer when 64 Americans are being killed each month in Iraq this year.

This election, we support the candidate who has the leadership to bring America together to support our troops in ways more tangible than magnetic emblems stuck to the backs of cars.

We support a statesman who has taken and returned enemy fire in a combat zone.

We support a leader whose stellar war record came under fire from those who have none.

We believe that after Nov. 2, our divided nation must be rejoined into a whole that can be so much greater than the sum of its fractured parts.

John Kerry can provide that leadership.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1335333,00.html
Bush exploits suffering of 9/11, says Carter

Oliver Burkeman in Atlanta
Monday October 25, 2004
The Guardian

George Bush has exploited the suffering of September 11 and turned back decades of efforts to make the world a safer place, the former president Jimmy Carter says in an interview with the Guardian published today.
Attacking Mr Bush and Tony Blair over Iraq, Mr Carter calls the war "a completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements".
He also criticises Mr Bush for "lack of effort" on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and accuses him of abandoning nuclear non-proliferation initiatives championed by five presidents.
The US "suffered, in 9/11, a terrible and shocking attack ... and George Bush has been adroit at exploiting that attack, and he has elevated himself, in the consciousness of many Americans, to a heroic commander-in-chief, fighting a global threat against America," Mr Carter says.
"He's repeatedly played that card, and to some degree quite successfully. I think that success has dissipated. I don't know if it's dissipating fast enough to affect the election. We'll soon know."
Mr Carter, 80, was president from 1977-1981, but did not win re-election amid the US hostage crisis in Iran. By comparison, support for Mr Bush's Iraq invasion is widespread, something Mr Carter attributes to a transformation in America's national mood.
"When your troops go to war, the prime minister or the president change overnight from an administrator, dealing with taxation and welfare and health and deteriorating roads, into the commander-in-chief," he says. "And it's just become almost unpatriotic to describe Bush's fallacious and ill-advised and mistaken and sometimes misleading actions."
Mr Bush and Mr Blair are blamed for helping to fuel the depth of anti-American feeling in the Islamic world. Denying any link between his handling of the Iranian crisis and the present threat, Mr Carter says: "The entire Islamic world condemned Iran. Nowadays, because of the unwarranted invasion of Iraq by Bush and Blair, which was a completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements, and the lack of any effort to resolve the Palestinian issue, [there is] massive Islamic condemnation of the United States."
American media organisations, he adds, "have been cowed, because they didn't want to be unpatriotic. There has been a lack of inquisitive journalism. In fact, it's hard to think of a major medium in the United States that has been objective and fair and balanced, and critical when criticism was deserved".
On nuclear proliferation, the issue that the Democratic contender John Kerry has identified as the single most serious threat to national security, Mr Carter attacks Mr Bush for abandoning "all of those long, tedious negotiations" carried out by presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan and himself.
In recent weeks he has also warned of the possibility of a new election fiasco in Florida.
The two presidential candidates spent the weekend focusing their resources and words even more tightly on the small number of swing states considered crucial to the election on November 2.
Mr Bush told supporters in Florida that "despite ongoing violence, Iraq has an interim government. It's building up its own security forces. We're headed toward elections in January. You see, we're safer, America is safer with Afghanistan and Iraq on the road to democracy. We can be proud that 50 million citizens of those countries now live as free men and women".
Mr Carter's interview marks the UK publication of his book The Hornet's Nest, a story of the American revolutionary war and the first novel to be published by a former president. Ironically, he notes, those fighting for US independence could never have triumphed were it not for an alliance with the French.

Posted by richard at 02:54 PM

October 24, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 9 Days to Go -- Arkansas is in play, 28 newspapers that endorsed Bush in '00 have endorsed JFK, will the US attack Iran before Nov. 2?

There are only 9 days to go until the national
referendum on the CHARACTER, COMPETENCE and
CREDIBILITY of the _resident and the VICE
_resident…Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) is
drawing huge crowds (10,000 in Pueblo, CO, 12,000 in
Reno, NV and 30,000 in Minneapolis, MN). Kerry-Edwards
has won the editorial endorsement of 28 newspapers
that had endorsed Bush-Cheney in 2000, most of them in
formerly red now red, white and blue states.
Furthermore, JFK has erased the Bush-Cheney lead in
Arkansas…Yes, there is an Electoral Uprising coming…
Here are FOUR very important pieces, including some
disturbing (and credible) rumors about a pre-election
strike on Iran to overturn the Kerry juggernaut.
Please read them and share them with others. Please
vote and encourage others to vote. Please remember
that the major network and cable news organizations do
not want to inform you about this election, they want
to DISinform you…The US regimestream news media has been a full partner
in a Triad of shared special interest (i.e. energy,
weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, tobacco,
etc.) with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party...If enough of us vote they cannot steal it again. There
is very little time left for the US regimestream news
media to tack back toward reality. There is an
Electoral Uprising coming. Unless, of course, the Bush
cabal orders a military strike on Iraq, then the US
regimestream news media will drown out campaign and
the election all together in a return to triumphalist
shilling for the neo-con wet dreamers and their Three
Stooges Reich. “Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting
late.”

David Robinson, Arkansas News Bureau: Sen. John Kerry
has pulled even with President Bush in Arkansas after
being down 9 points, according to a new poll for the
Arkansas News Bureau and Stephens Media Group.
Kerry, a Democrat, and the Republican Bush each
received 48 percent support from likely voters
surveyed Monday through Wednesday by Opinion Research
Associates of Little Rock. A poll two weeks earlier
gave Bush a 52 percent to 43 percent lead, just within
the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.5
percentage points…
"It suggests to me that Kerry may have some momentum,
now," said Ernest Oakleaf, who owns Opinion Research
with his wife, Zoe…
Kerry gained ground in the second poll among
independents, women and voters with higher incomes.
But Bush's lead remained dominate with higher income
voters, whites and males, according to the poll…
"It looks like a surge for Kerry," said Hal Bass,
political science professor at Ouachita Baptist
University in Arkadelphia. "It appears to be a delayed
reaction to Kerry's strong showing in the debates,
which may have given some assurance that he is up to
the job."
Andrew Dowdle, an assistant professor of political
science at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville,
said most polls showed that Kerry won the first and
third debates. Other factors include mixed economic
news and continuing uncertainty in Iraq, Dowdle said…
-In the first poll Bush led among independent voters,
69 percent to 22 percent. But Kerry has closed the
gap, with Bush now leading 54 percent to 39 percent,
meaning his 47-point margin among independents is now
15 points.
-The percentage of women supporting Kerry grew by 6
points, to 53 percent, while women's support of Bush
dropped from 47 percent to 42 percent, further
widening the gender gap.
-Support for Kerry in southern Arkansas' 4th
Congressional District grew by 9 percentage points
from the first poll to the second. In the first poll,
Bush had a 56 percent to 39 percent lead in the
largely Democratic district, but he trails Kerry in
the second poll 48 percent to 46 percent.
-Kerry's favorable rating went from 48 percent to 53
percent and Bush's favorable rating dropped from 55
percent to 51 percent.
The late move toward Kerry among independents may be
signaling what typically happens to incumbent
presidents on Election Day, political scientists said.
"Undecideds break for the challenger," said Janine
Parry, associate professor of political science at the
University of Arkansas and director of the
university's annual Arkansas Poll…
-Kerry, who did not win any age-group category in the
first poll, now leads among those 25-35 and the
65-plus age groups.

Greg Mitchell, Editors & Publishers: Senator
John Kerry continued his raid on newspapers that
backed President George W. Bush in 2000, grabbing 17
new "flip-flops," as well as The Washington Post. He
has now won over at least 28 papers that went for Bush
in 2000, while Bush has only earned two Gore papers.
However, Bush got a real prize in Ohio, the Columbus
Dispatch.
Kerry now leads Bush 112-69 in endorsements in E&P's
exclusive tally, and by about 14.4 million to 8.6
million in the circulation of backing papers.
And more setbacks for Bush: The Detroit News, which
has never endorsed a Democrat, and backed Bush in
2000, announced that it would sit out the 2004
election, not happy with either candidate. The New
Orleans Times-Picayune, another Bush fan from 2000,
said the same thing today in an editorial titled "No
One to Champion." A third Bush backer in 2000, the
Harrisburg Patriot-News, also declared neutrality
today.
In gaining the Orlando Sentinel (one of the switches
from Bush), Kerry completed a sweep of major papers in
top swing state, Florida.
The Chicago Sun-Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, and
the Memphis Commercial-Appeal were among the 17 papers
which backed Bush in 2000 but today chose Kerry.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial: Four years ago Al
Gore won the popular vote and George Bush, after a
Supreme Court decision, became president. The new
chief executive promised to be a uniter, not divider.
So much for that pledge.
It gets worse. Since 2001, the incumbent has been
lacking on foreign policy, national security, the
economy, safeguarding constitutional rights and
maintaining credibility at home and abroad. In all of
these categories, the Post-Gazette believes the United
States needs a fresh start and that John Kerry can
provide such leadership. A President Kerry will make
the country safer because he will not take his eye off
Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. A President Kerry will
look after the workers of America because he is
concerned about both the haves and the have-nots.
George W. Bush's approach to the economy has been to
take care of the rich, his political base; give the
companies run by his campaign contributors free rein;
and tell other Americans that his policies will
improve their situation, eventually.
Another key consideration is which candidate would
strike the better balance between taking the necessary
steps to keep America safe and preserving the sacred
ground of America's freedoms. On that and the related
question of who would appoint more broad-minded
Supreme Court justices, the answer is John Kerry. The
re-election of Mr. Bush, and the possible continuation
of a Republican Congress, accompanied by a Supreme
Court stuffed with Bush appointees, would result in
the three branches of government controlled by
like-minded people. Say farewell to independence,
diversity and the multiplicity of viewpoints in public
policy that make America strong. Fortunately, the
Kerry movement is gathering steam. He is stronger in
Pennsylvania and gaining with our neighbors in West
Virginia, where more voters are coming to believe he
is the better choice on jobs, health care and homeland
security. Even newspapers that endorsed George W. Bush
four years ago have changed their minds in 2004; the
Seattle Times and The Oregonian of Portland switched
to the Democrat this time, while the Tampa Tribune
backed away from Mr. Bush and made no endorsement.
There is no doubt that Americans have gone from a
generally happy time in the 1990s to four years of
deficit, discord and disappointment. We would pose the
same question that President Reagan asked famously in
the heat of his own campaign: Are you better off now
than you were four years ago? Relatively few, we
think, would answer that with "yes." If your answer is
"no" or "not sure," then we have a president for you.
The Post-Gazette enthusiastically endorses John Kerry.
It's definitely time for a fresh start.

Wayne Madsen, www.informationclearinghouse.info: According to White House and Washington Beltway insiders, the Bush administration, worried that it
could lose the presidential election to Senator John
F. Kerry, has initiated plans to launch a military
strike on Iran's top Islamic leadership, its nuclear
reactor at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf, and key
nuclear targets throughout the country, including the
main underground research site at Natanz in central
Iran and another in Isfahan. Targets of the planned
U.S. attack reportedly include mosques in Tehran, Qom,
and Isfahan known by the U.S. to headquarter Iran's
top mullahs.
The Iran attack plan was reportedly drawn up after
internal polling indicated that if the Bush
administration launched a so-called anti-terrorist
attack on Iran some two weeks before the election,
Bush would be assured of a landslide win against
Kerry. Reports of a pre-emptive strike on Iran come
amid concerns by a number of political observers that
the Bush administration would concoct an "October
Surprise" to influence the outcome of the presidential
election.
According to White House sources, the USS John F.
Kennedy was deployed to the Arabian Sea to coordinate
the attack on Iran. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
discussed the Kennedy's role in the planned attack on
Iran when he visited the ship in the Arabian Sea on
October 9. Rumsfeld and defense ministers of U.S.
coalition partners…America's primary ally in Iraq, the
United Kingdom, did not attend the planning session
because it reportedly disagrees with a military strike
on Iran. London also suspects the U.S. wants to move
British troops from Basra in southern Iraq to the
Baghdad area to help put down an expected surge in
Sh'ia violence in Sadr City and other Sh'ia areas in
central Iraq when the U.S. attacks Iran as well as
clear the way for a U.S. military strike across the
Iraqi-Iranian border aimed at securing the huge
Iranian oil installations in Abadan. U.S. allies South
Korea, Australia, Kuwait, Jordan, Italy, Netherlands,
and Japan were also left out of the USS John F.
Kennedy planning discussions because of their reported
opposition to any strike on Iran.
In addition, Israel has been supplied by the United
States with 500 "bunker buster" bombs. According to
White House sources, the Israeli Air Force will attack
Iran's nuclear facility at Bushehr with the U.S.
bunker busters…
Morale aboard the USS John F. Kennedy is at an
all-time low, something that must be attributable to
the knowledge that the ship will be involved in an
extension of U.S. military actions in the Persian Gulf
region. The Commanding Officer of an F-14 Tomcat
squadron was relieved of command for a reported shore
leave "indiscretion" in Dubai and two months ago the
Kennedy's commanding officer was relieved for cause…
White House sources also claimed they are "terrified"
that Bush wants to start a dangerous war with Iran
prior to the election and fear that such a move will
trigger dire consequences for the entire world.

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.arkansasnews.com/archive/2004/10/24/News/306446.html

Copyright © Arkansas News Bureau, 2003 - 2004
Women, independents help Kerry erase 9-point deficit
Sunday, Oct 24, 2004

By David Robinson
Arkansas News Bureau
LITTLE ROCK - Sen. John Kerry has pulled even with
President Bush in Arkansas after being down 9 points,
according to a new poll for the Arkansas News Bureau
and Stephens Media Group.

Kerry, a Democrat, and the Republican Bush each
received 48 percent support from likely voters
surveyed Monday through Wednesday by Opinion Research
Associates of Little Rock. A poll two weeks earlier
gave Bush a 52 percent to 43 percent lead, just within
the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.5
percentage points.

Populist Party candidate Ralph Nader got 1 percent in
the new poll, and 3 percent were undecided.

"It suggests to me that Kerry may have some momentum,
now," said Ernest Oakleaf, who owns Opinion Research
with his wife, Zoe.

"Beautiful," said John Emekli, Arkansas spokesman for
the Kerry-John Edwards campaign. Emekli had disputed
the first poll's results because other polls had shown
the race to be closer.

Republicans remain confident that while the race may
be close, Bush will win Arkansas' six electoral votes,
said Mitchell Lowe, executive director of the
Bush-Dick Cheney Arkansas campaign.

Oakleaf noted that the first Arkansas News Bureau
poll, conducted Oct. 4-6, followed the first of three
presidential debates, and the second poll came after
all three.

Kerry gained ground in the second poll among
independents, women and voters with higher incomes.
But Bush's lead remained dominate with higher income
voters, whites and males, according to the poll.

Political scientists around Arkansas also cited the
debates as critical to the change.

Other polls in the last two weeks also have shown a
tightening race, suggesting a trend that tracks
national surveys.

"It looks like a surge for Kerry," said Hal Bass,
political science professor at Ouachita Baptist
University in Arkadelphia. "It appears to be a delayed
reaction to Kerry's strong showing in the debates,
which may have given some assurance that he is up to
the job."

Andrew Dowdle, an assistant professor of political
science at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville,
said most polls showed that Kerry won the first and
third debates. Other factors include mixed economic
news and continuing uncertainty in Iraq, Dowdle said.

Opinion Research surveyed 500 people likely to vote in
the Nov. 2 election - 125 from each of Arkansas' four
congressional districts.

Four factors stand out when comparing the two polls:

-In the first poll Bush led among independent voters,
69 percent to 22 percent. But Kerry has closed the
gap, with Bush now leading 54 percent to 39 percent,
meaning his 47-point margin among independents is now
15 points.

-The percentage of women supporting Kerry grew by 6
points, to 53 percent, while women's support of Bush
dropped from 47 percent to 42 percent, further
widening the gender gap.

-Support for Kerry in southern Arkansas' 4th
Congressional District grew by 9 percentage points
from the first poll to the second. In the first poll,
Bush had a 56 percent to 39 percent lead in the
largely Democratic district, but he trails Kerry in
the second poll 48 percent to 46 percent.

-Kerry's favorable rating went from 48 percent to 53
percent and Bush's favorable rating dropped from 55
percent to 51 percent.

The late move toward Kerry among independents may be
signaling what typically happens to incumbent
presidents on Election Day, political scientists said.

"Undecideds break for the challenger," said Janine
Parry, associate professor of political science at the
University of Arkansas and director of the
university's annual Arkansas Poll.

"It suggests that that process may already be
happening."

She said it's not a stretch to assume that undecided
voters are independents.

Averaged over several election cycles, the incumbent's
vote will be slightly more than 1 percentage point
less than their final polling numbers. The challenger
will get an average of four points more than their
final polling numbers, Parry said.

The second poll showed 3 percent of voters are
undecided compared to 5 percent in the first poll.

"History would suggest that the president is going to
do slightly worse than the polls would tell us, and
Kerry will do significantly better than the polls,"
Parry said, adding that some analysts argue that the
historical reference may be no good given the Sept.
11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the Iraq war.

Dowdle said that while the shift reflected in the poll
is good news for Kerry, independent voters are more
volatile and could shift back to Bush by Election Day.

Parry and Dowdle said the wide swing in the 4th
District's results from the first to the second poll
may be due to a statistical glitch in either poll.
That's possible because only 125 people in each
congressional district are surveyed, which increases
the margin of error.

Dowdle, who specializes in presidential campaigns and
elections, said the second poll appears to be more on
track given the largely Democratic 4th District.

Oakleaf was surprised that southern Arkansas was so
strongly behind Bush in the first poll, but at the
time he and political scientists had chalked it up to
a cultural disconnect between those voters and Kerry.

Other demographics:

-Bush leads in central Arkansas' 2nd Congressional
District 49 percent to 47 percent, and Northwest
Arkansas' 3rd district 53 percent to 45 percent. Kerry
leads in eastern Arkansas' 1st District 51-46 and the
4th District, 48-46.

-Among those identifying themselves as liberals, 24
percent would vote for Bush and 75 percent for Kerry.
Moderates support Kerry 61 percent to 33 percent and
conservatives support Bush 67 percent to 30 percent.

-Kerry gets more support among households earning
under $50,000 a year while Bush leads among those
earning above that amount.

For those earning between 30,000 and $40,000, Kerry
leads 58 percent to 39 percent and for those earning
between $40,000 and $50,000, he leads 54-44.

Among households earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year,
Bush leads 64 percent to 36 percent, and for those
earning more than $75,000 his lead is 62 percent to 38
percent.

-By race, Bush leads among whites 53 percent to 43
percent. Among blacks, Kerry leads 87 percent to 12
percent.

-By education, Bush leads among those with more
education, although for college graduates, Bush has
only a 49 percent to 48 percent advantage.

-Kerry, who did not win any age-group category in the
first poll, now leads among those 25-35 and the
65-plus age groups.

Other Arkansas polls have shown the race to be
tightening.

A Zogby International poll by the Arkansas
Democrat-Gazette on Oct. 14 showed Bush with 46.2
percent, and Kerry with 44.6 percent, a statistical
tie.

A Survey USA poll on Oct. 17 showed Bush leading 51
percent to 46 percent, within the margin of error.

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000683265
Daily Endorsement Tally: On 'Super Sunday,' Kerry
Makes Huge Gains

By Greg Mitchell

Published: October 23, 2004 updated continually
New York Senator John Kerry continued his raid on
newspapers that backed President George W. Bush in
2000, grabbing 17 new "flip-flops," as well as The
Washington Post. He has now won over at least 28
papers that went for Bush in 2000, while Bush has only
earned two Gore papers.

However, Bush got a real prize in Ohio, the Columbus
Dispatch.

Kerry now leads Bush 112-69 in endorsements in E&P's
exclusive tally, and by about 14.4 million to 8.6
million in the circulation of backing papers.

And more setbacks for Bush: The Detroit News, which
has never endorsed a Democrat, and backed Bush in
2000, announced that it would sit out the 2004
election, not happy with either candidate. The New
Orleans Times-Picayune, another Bush fan from 2000,
said the same thing today in an editorial titled "No
One to Champion." A third Bush backer in 2000, the
Harrisburg Patriot-News, also declared neutrality
today.

In gaining the Orlando Sentinel (one of the switches
from Bush), Kerry completed a sweep of major papers in
top swing state, Florida.

The Chicago Sun-Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, and
the Memphis Commercial-Appeal were among the 17 papers
which backed Bush in 2000 but today chose Kerry.

But Bush gained the key Columbus, Ohio, paper. In an
editorial it revealed it was "less than enthused about
the choices." It said it was troubled by Bush's fiscal
policies and the war in Iraq but said that neither
Kerry's Senate record nor "his shifting positions
during the presidential campaign inspire confidence
that he would provide the strong, resolute leadership
America desperately needs."

Bush also picked up the Houston Chronicle and Denver
Post, the latter in a switch from Gore in 2000.
William Dean Singleton, now the publisher of that
paper, is known as a strong Bush supporter. His
MediaNews Group also owns the L.A. Daily News, which
Singleton allowed to go for Kerry.

KERRY SWITCHES: Besides those already mentioned, Kerry
grabbed 13 other papers from the Bush 2000 column,
with the endorsement of the Allentown (Pa.) Morning
Call; the Stamford (Ct.) Advocate; the Journal News
(White Plains, N.Y.); the Quad City Times in
Davenport, Iowa; The Rockford (Ill.) Register-Star,
the Contra Costa (Ca.) Times; Iowa City Press-Citizen;
Worcester (Ma.) Telegram & Gazette; the Ventura County
(Ca.) Star; the Wausau (Wi.) Daily Herald; the
Billings (Mt.) Gazette; Walla Walla (Wa.)
Union-Bulletin; and the Bangor (Maine) Daily News.

OTHER KERRY PICKUPS: Kerry also gained the backing of
the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Centre Daily Times in
hotly-contested Pennsylvania; the Bergen Record,
Newark Star-Ledger, The Times of Trenton and
Gloucester County Times in surprisingly close New
Jersey; the Toledo Blade in Ohio; the Raleigh News &
Observer and Asheville Citizen Times in North
Carolina; Newsday, the Rochester Democrat and
Chronicle, the Buffalo News and Glens Falls Post-Star
in New York; the Des Moines (Iowa) Register;
Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal; Las Vegas Sun and
the Reno Gazette-Journal in Nevada; the Daily
Southtown in Illinois; Hampton Roads (Va.)Daily Press;
the Nashville Tennesean; Santa Fe New Mexican; The
Journal Times in Racine, Wisconsin; the Bismarck
(N.D.) Tribune, The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne,
Indiana; the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph; the Waco
Tribune-Herald and Lufkin Daily News in Texas; The
Coloradan in Ft. Collins; the Decatur (Ala.), Daily;
Kennebec (Me.) Journal; The Republican in Mass.;
Durango (Colo.) Herald; Lansing State Journal in
Michigan; the Portsmouth Herald and Nashua Telegraph
in New Hampshire; the Hutchinson News (Kansas).

BUSH BACKING: Bush, however, retained the Austin
American-Statesman and Houston Chronicle in his home
Texas; the Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati Post;
the Hartford (Ct.) Courant; Long Beach (Ca.)
Press-Telegram; Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; the
Chronicle of Centralia, Wash.; the Express-Times of
Easton, Pa.; Bowling Green (Oh.) Daily News; The
Ledger of Lakeland, Fla.; the Enterprise-Record of
Mocksville, N.C.; the Daily News-Record in
Harrisonburg, Va., the Fargo (ND) Forum.

The New York Daily News appeared to endorse Kerry
today but it was hard to tell: It did nothing but bash
Bush for several paragraphs without once mentioning
his opponent's name.

Meanwhile, E&P has learned from several sources at the
Cleveland Plain Dealer that the paper's nine-person
editorial board decided earlier this week that it
wanted to endorse Kerry but Publisher Alex Machaskee,
who has final say, has decided on Bush. The paper
backed Bush in 2000.

This has caused consternation in some quarters at the
Plain Dealer, with sources telling E&P that the
endorsement editorial, which was expected to run
Sunday, was put off. One editor told E&P that some at
the paper at pushing for, at least, a dissenting
pro-Kerry column.

Special thanks to Teresa LaLoggia and dozens of others
for sending along the latest endorsements.

Here is our updated chart, state by state. You will
find many circulation numbers and an indication of who
the paper backed in 2000, Bush or Gore (if we know
it). However, for papers that endorsed this weekend,
we have not yet entered circulation figures. This will
be done on Monday.

**JOHN KERRY

ALABAMA
The Anniston Star (G): 26,527
Decatur Daily (G)

ARIZONA
Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) (G): 109,592

CALIFORNIA
San Francisco Chronicle (G): 501,135
The Sacramento Bee (G): 303,841
San Jose Mercury News (G): 279,539
The Fresno Bee (G): 166,531
The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa) (G): 89,384
The Modesto Bee (G): 87,366
Merced Sun-Star: 17,247
Los Angeles Daily News (B):
Contra Costa Times (B):
Ventura County Star (B):

COLORADO
Daily Camera (Boulder) (B): 33,419
The Coloradoan (Ft. Collins)
Durango Herald

CONNECTICUT
The Day (New London) (B): 39,553
Stamford Advocate (B):

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The Washington Post

FLORIDA
St. Petersburg Times (G): 358,502
The Miami Herald (G): 325,032
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale) (G):
268,927
The Palm Beach Post (G): 181,727
Daytona Beach News-Journal (G): 112,945
Florida Today (Melbourne) (G): 90,877
Bradenton Herald (B): 52,163
Orlando Sentinel (B):

GEORGIA
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 418,323
Macon Telegraph

HAWAII
The Honolulu Advertiser (G): 145,943

ILLINOIS
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights) (B): 150,794
Chicago Sun-Times (B)
Rockford Register-Star (B):
Daily Southtown

INDIANA
The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) (G): 61,205

IOWA
The Hawk Eye (Burlington) (G): 19,000
Quad City Times (Davenport) (B):
Iowa City Pres-Citizen
Des Moines Register (G)

KANSAS
Hutchinson News

KENTUCKY
Lexington Herald-Leader (G): 122,748
Louisville Courier-Journal (G):

MAINE
Portland Press Herald (G): 73,211
Bangor Daily News (B):
Kennebec Journal

MASSACHUSETTS
The Boston Globe (G): 452,109
The Standard-Times (New Bedford): 35,299
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (B):
The Republican

MICHIGAN
Detroit Free Press (G): 354,581
The Muskegon Chronicle (B): 46,505
Battle Creek Enquirer: 24,831
The Argus-Press (Owosso): 11,438
Lansing State Journal

MINNESOTA
Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (G): 377,058
Duluth News Tribune: 45,688
The Free Press (Mankato): 21,591

MISSOURI
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (G): 281,198
The Kansas City Star (G): 269,188
Columbia Daily Tribune (B): 18,874

MONTANA
Billings Gazette (B):

NEVADA
Nevada Appeal (Carson City): 15,296
Las Vegas Sun (G)
Reno Gazette-Journal

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Concord Monitor (G): 19,984
Portsmouth Herald
Nashua Telegraph

NEW JERSEY
Bergen Record (G):
Star-Ledger (Newark) (G):
The Times (Trenton)
Gloucester County times

NEW MEXICO
The Albuquerque Tribune (B): 13,536
Santa Fe New Mexican (G)

NEW YORK
The New York Times (G): 1,133,763
Newsday (G):
The Journal-News (White Plains) (B):
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (G):
Buffalo News (G):
Glens Falls Post-Star

NORTH CAROLINA
The Charlotte Observer (G): 231,369
The Daily Reflector (Greenville): 25,777
Raleigh News & Observer (G)
Asheville Citizen-Times

NORTH DAKOTA
Grand Forks Herald (G): 32,385
Bismarck Tribune

OHIO
Dayton Daily News (G): 183,175
Akron Beacon Journal (G): 139,220
Toledo Blade (G):

OREGON
The Oregonian (Portland) (B): 342,040
Mail Tribune (Medford): 35,524
The Register-Guard (Eugene) (G): 72,411
Statesman Journal (Salem): 56,298
East Oregonian (Pendleton): 10,236
The Daily Astorian (Astoria): 8,429

PENNSYLVANIA
The Philadelphia Inquirer (G): 387,692
The Philadelphia Daily News (G): 139,983
Allentown Morning-Call (B):
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (G)
Centre Daily Times

TENNESSEE
The Jackson Sun (G): 35,561
Memphis Commercial-Appeal (B):
The Tennessean (Nashville)

TEXAS
Waco Tribune-Herald
Lufkin Daily News

VIRGINIA
The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk) (G): 201,473
The Roanoke Times: 100,447
Hampton Roads Daily Press

WASHINGTON
The Seattle Times (B): 237,303
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (G): 150,901
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (B):

WISCONSIN
Wausau Daily Herald (B):
The Journal Times (Racine)

WEST VIRGINIA
Charleston Gazette (G): 49,529


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04298/400315.stm

Editorial: Kerry for president / The damage by Bush
demands a fresh start
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Four years ago Al Gore won the popular vote and George
Bush, after a Supreme Court decision, became
president. The new chief executive promised to be a
uniter, not divider. So much for that pledge.
It gets worse. Since 2001, the incumbent has been
lacking on foreign policy, national security, the
economy, safeguarding constitutional rights and
maintaining credibility at home and abroad.
In all of these categories, the Post-Gazette believes
the United States needs a fresh start and that John
Kerry can provide such leadership. A President Kerry
will make the country safer because he will not take
his eye off Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. A President
Kerry will look after the workers of America because
he is concerned about both the haves and the
have-nots.
George W. Bush's approach to the economy has been to
take care of the rich, his political base; give the
companies run by his campaign contributors free rein;
and tell other Americans that his policies will
improve their situation, eventually.
The well-to-do continue to get monster tax cuts and
will get more if he is re-elected; the middle class
get token savings. The economy has bled jobs during
this administration; not enough have been created to
outweigh the 1 million that have been lost; the
outsourcing of American work overseas has proceeded
without discouragement.
Sen. Kerry, as a Democrat and because of his strong
labor ties, will certainly be more responsive to
Americans' need for work. As president, Mr. Kerry will
also be more likely than Mr. Bush to rein in the
catastrophic deficit that has raged in the past four
years. A Republican-controlled White House and
Congress have managed to erase the budget surpluses of
the Clinton era, which could have put Social Security
and Medicare on sound footing for years to come.
Instead, Mr. Bush and his policies have driven the
U.S. government trillions of dollars deeper in the
hole, all in a few short years.
Voters should reject the notion that the current
administration "inherited" a bad economy or was the
victim on 9/11 of previous White House policies. The
state in which this nation finds itself can be traced
to a single misfortune: four years of the Bush
administration.
One thing that's clear is the relationship between the
American economy and its situation in the world. Look
at the price of gasoline, now at the painful threshold
of $2 a gallon. Mr. Bush's foreign policy -- making
war on Iraq, doing little to seek peace in the Middle
East and rattling the nerves of oil-producing
countries -- has undoubtedly boosted the cost of gas
and fuel oil to all Americans.
A President Kerry would change all that. George Bush
sneers at him for his promise to draw other nations
into America's decision-making process. At the same
time, it is clear that the United States will not gain
the help of others in pursuing America's interests if
it remains contemptuous of their views on matters of
common interest. America has always worked best with
allies.
Another key consideration is which candidate would
strike the better balance between taking the necessary
steps to keep America safe and preserving the sacred
ground of America's freedoms. On that and the related
question of who would appoint more broad-minded
Supreme Court justices, the answer is John Kerry. The
re-election of Mr. Bush, and the possible continuation
of a Republican Congress, accompanied by a Supreme
Court stuffed with Bush appointees, would result in
the three branches of government controlled by
like-minded people. Say farewell to independence,
diversity and the multiplicity of viewpoints in public
policy that make America strong.
Fortunately, the Kerry movement is gathering steam. He
is stronger in Pennsylvania and gaining with our
neighbors in West Virginia, where more voters are
coming to believe he is the better choice on jobs,
health care and homeland security. Even newspapers
that endorsed George W. Bush four years ago have
changed their minds in 2004; the Seattle Times and The
Oregonian of Portland switched to the Democrat this
time, while the Tampa Tribune backed away from Mr.
Bush and made no endorsement.
There is no doubt that Americans have gone from a
generally happy time in the 1990s to four years of
deficit, discord and disappointment. We would pose the
same question that President Reagan asked famously in
the heat of his own campaign: Are you better off now
than you were four years ago?
Relatively few, we think, would answer that with
"yes." If your answer is "no" or "not sure," then we
have a president for you. The Post-Gazette
enthusiastically endorses John Kerry. It's definitely
time for a fresh start.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7113.htm

A Bush pre-election strike on Iran 'imminent'
White House insider report "October Surprise" imminent

By Wayne Madsen
10/20/04 "Lebanon Wire" -- According to White House
and Washington Beltway insiders, the Bush
administration, worried that it could lose the
presidential election to Senator John F. Kerry, has
initiated plans to launch a military strike on Iran's
top Islamic leadership, its nuclear reactor at Bushehr
on the Persian Gulf, and key nuclear targets
throughout the country, including the main underground
research site at Natanz in central Iran and another in
Isfahan. Targets of the planned U.S. attack reportedly
include mosques in Tehran, Qom, and Isfahan known by
the U.S. to headquarter Iran's top mullahs.
The Iran attack plan was reportedly drawn up after
internal polling indicated that if the Bush
administration launched a so-called anti-terrorist
attack on Iran some two weeks before the election,
Bush would be assured of a landslide win against
Kerry. Reports of a pre-emptive strike on Iran come
amid concerns by a number of political observers that
the Bush administration would concoct an "October
Surprise" to influence the outcome of the presidential
election.
According to White House sources, the USS John F.
Kennedy was deployed to the Arabian Sea to coordinate
the attack on Iran. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
discussed the Kennedy's role in the planned attack on
Iran when he visited the ship in the Arabian Sea on
October 9. Rumsfeld and defense ministers of U.S.
coalition partners, including those of Albania,
Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Iraq, Latvia,
Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Poland, Qatar,
Romania, and Ukraine briefly discussed a very "top
level" view of potential dual-track military
operations in Iran and Iraq in a special "war room"
set up on board the aircraft carrier. America's
primary ally in Iraq, the United Kingdom, did not
attend the planning session because it reportedly
disagrees with a military strike on Iran. London also
suspects the U.S. wants to move British troops from
Basra in southern Iraq to the Baghdad area to help put
down an expected surge in Sh'ia violence in Sadr City
and other Sh'ia areas in central Iraq when the U.S.
attacks Iran as well as clear the way for a U.S.
military strike across the Iraqi-Iranian border aimed
at securing the huge Iranian oil installations in
Abadan. U.S. allies South Korea, Australia, Kuwait,
Jordan, Italy, Netherlands, and Japan were also left
out of the USS John F. Kennedy planning discussions
because of their reported opposition to any strike on
Iran.
In addition, Israel has been supplied by the United
States with 500 "bunker buster" bombs. According to
White House sources, the Israeli Air Force will attack
Iran's nuclear facility at Bushehr with the U.S.
bunker busters.The joint U.S.-Israeli pre-emptive
military move against Iran reportedly was crafted by
the same neo-conservative grouping in the Pentagon and
Vice President Dick Cheney's office that engineered
the invasion of Iraq.
Morale aboard the USS John F. Kennedy is at an
all-time low, something that must be attributable to
the knowledge that the ship will be involved in an
extension of U.S. military actions in the Persian Gulf
region. The Commanding Officer of an F-14 Tomcat
squadron was relieved of command for a reported shore
leave "indiscretion" in Dubai and two months ago the
Kennedy's commanding officer was relieved for cause.
The White House leak about the planned attack on Iran
was hastened by concerns that Russian technicians
present at Bushehr could be killed in an attack, thus
resulting in a wider nuclear confrontation between
Washington and Moscow. International Atomic Energy
Agency representatives are also present at the Bushehr
facility. In addition, an immediate Iranian Shahab
ballistic missile attack against Israel would also
further destabilize the Middle East. The White House
leaks about the pre-emptive strike may have been
prompted by warnings from the CIA and the Defense
Intelligence Agency that an attack on Iran will
escalate out of control. Intelligence circles report
that both intelligence agencies are in open revolt
against the Bush White House.
White House sources also claimed they are "terrified"
that Bush wants to start a dangerous war with Iran
prior to the election and fear that such a move will
trigger dire consequences for the entire world.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative
journalist and columnist. He served in the National
Security Council (NSA) during the Reagan
Administration and wrote the introduction to Forbidden
Truth. He is the co-author, with john Stanton of
"America's Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush
II." His forthcoming book is titled: "jaded Tasks: Big
Oil, Black Ops, and Brass Plates." Madsen can be
reached at Wmadsen777@aol.com

Copyright©1999-2004 Lebanonwire®.com
http://www.lebanonwire.com/0410/04102002LW.asp
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this
material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational
purposes. Information Clearing House has no
affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this
article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or
sponsored by the originator.)

Posted by richard at 01:20 PM

October 23, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 10 Days to Go -- Must Read Glimpse into Hell -- Brown Shirts are Comimg to Your Voting Place

Four years ago they flew their brown shirts on an Enron jet to shut down the recount in Miami-Dade with physical intimidation. Now, bereft of accomplishments and stripped of excuses, they are going to deploy their brown shirts to black and otherwise progressive precints in Bardoground States...Because the _resident has already been defeated. They have already lost Ohio, Fraudida, New Hampshire and probably Nevada, Virginia and West Virginia...They cannot wait until election night to steal it this time, they have to bring election day itself to a grinding halt...But they will not succeed...This land of Woody Guthrie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and those four little girls who died in that church in Montgomery not so many years ago is not going to fall to the "stupid, angry white men" of a Three Stooges Reich...There is an Electoral Uprising at hand. It cannot be thwarted. Lean into the fire, just as Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) and Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) are doing...REMEMBER DUVAL COUNTY! DO NOT LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN!!! It is within our power to thwart the theft of this election. Please read these THREE stories and share them with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote. REMEMBER DUVAL COUNTY!

MICHAEL MOSS, NY Times: Republican Party officials in Ohio took formal steps yesterday to place thousands of recruits inside polling places on Election Day to challenge the qualifications of voters they suspect are not eligible to cast ballots..
Election officials in other swing states, from Arizona to Wisconsin and Florida, say they are bracing for similar efforts by Republicans to challenge new voters at polling places, reflecting months of disputes over voting procedures and the anticipation of an election as close as the one in 2000.
Ohio election officials said they had never seen so large a drive to prepare for Election Day challenges. They said they were scrambling yesterday to be ready for disruptions in the voting process as well as alarm and complaints among voters. Some officials said they worried that the challenges could discourage or even frighten others waiting to vote.
Ohio Democrats were struggling to match the Republicans' move, which had been rumored for weeks. Both parties had until 4 p.m. to register people they had recruited to monitor the election. Republicans said they had enlisted 3,600 by the deadline, many in heavily Democratic urban neighborhoods of Cleveland, Dayton and other cities. Each recruit was to be paid $100...
Ohio election officials said that by state law, the parties' challengers would have to show "reasonable" justification for doubting the qualifications of a voter before asking a poll worker to question that person. And, the officials said, challenges could be made on four main grounds: whether the voter is a citizen, is at least 18, is a resident of the county and has lived in Ohio for the previous 30 days.
Elections officials in Ohio said they hoped the criteria would minimize the potential for disruption. But Democrats worry that the challenges will inevitably delay the process and frustrate the voters.
"Our concern is Republicans will be challenging in large numbers for the purpose of slowing down voting, because challenging takes a long time,'' said David Sullivan, the voter protection coordinator for the national Democratic Party in Ohio. "And creating long lines causes our people to leave without voting.''
The Republican challenges in Ohio have already begun. Yesterday, party officials submitted a list of about 35,000 registered voters whose mailing addresses, the Republicans said, were questionable. After registering, they said, each of the voters was mailed a notice, and in each case the notice was returned to election officials as undeliverable...

Lucy Komisar, AlterNet: Kerry took on not only the Bush clan and its friends, but the CIA, and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. This is not irrelevant history, but important to examine, because it reveals a lot about Kerry and how he might respond to terrorism or other global criminal enterprises. Kerry’s record shows that he took on powerful political and bureaucratic interests, was a tenacious investigator, and savvy about international crime and money flows, which is crucial in the fight against terrorism.
Against the opposition of powerful Republicans and Democrats, and in light of a lack of cooperation from a very politicized Justice Department and stonewalling by the CIA, Kerry worked with investigators and ran Senate hearings that exposed the bank’s shadowy multi-billion-dollar scams and precipitated its end...
During this presidential campaign, Kerry has talked a lot about his service in Vietnam, but he doesn’t take credit now for exposing BCCI, perhaps because he thinks it’s too complicated for the American public to understand the scandal. Yet, more than physical courage, what the U.S. needs is guts and smarts and the resolution and courage to fight scourges that range from terrorism to international crime to corporate corruption and tax evasion.
So, what if John Kerry the investigator gets elected President? He would be not only the nation’s president but also a bold crime investigator and prosecutor who knows how to — and is willing to — overcome obstacles, whether they be international criminals or U.S. power brokers, to “follow the money” and bring about justice.

Brian Witte, Associated Press: The wife of an Army reservist sentenced to prison for abusing prisoners in Iraq said she knows her husband was wrong, but she also blames higher-ranking officials who "sit behind the curtains" for the abuse.
Martha Frederick, wife of Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick, said the eight-year sentence he received Thursday for his role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal will force her family to "endure hardships and many sacrifices."
"The pain sets deeper yet in knowing that he serves these years not only for his actions or actions of a few reservists, but those included in the chain of command," she wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press...
"I feel outrage that he and a few others will bear the weight for the actions of many," she wrote...
Martha Frederick said she will always see her husband as a "good soldier."
"I will see my husband as a far greater man than those who have abandoned him, left him to be convicted for his acts and the failures of their own," she wrote.

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/2004/10/23/politics/campaign/23vote.html?ei=5059&en=420a0a2df3218dec&hp=&ex=1098504000&partner=AOL&pagewanted=print&position=

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

October 23, 2004
Big G.O.P. Bid to Challenge Voters at Polls in Key State
By MICHAEL MOSS

epublican Party officials in Ohio took formal steps yesterday to place thousands of recruits inside polling places on Election Day to challenge the qualifications of voters they suspect are not eligible to cast ballots.

Party officials say their effort is necessary to guard against fraud arising from aggressive moves by the Democrats to register tens of thousands of new voters in Ohio, seen as one of the most pivotal battlegrounds in the Nov. 2 elections.

Election officials in other swing states, from Arizona to Wisconsin and Florida, say they are bracing for similar efforts by Republicans to challenge new voters at polling places, reflecting months of disputes over voting procedures and the anticipation of an election as close as the one in 2000.

Ohio election officials said they had never seen so large a drive to prepare for Election Day challenges. They said they were scrambling yesterday to be ready for disruptions in the voting process as well as alarm and complaints among voters. Some officials said they worried that the challenges could discourage or even frighten others waiting to vote.

Ohio Democrats were struggling to match the Republicans' move, which had been rumored for weeks. Both parties had until 4 p.m. to register people they had recruited to monitor the election. Republicans said they had enlisted 3,600 by the deadline, many in heavily Democratic urban neighborhoods of Cleveland, Dayton and other cities. Each recruit was to be paid $100.

The Democrats, who tend to benefit more than Republicans from large turnouts, said they had registered more than 2,000 recruits to try to protect legitimate voters rather than weed out ineligible ones.

Republican officials said they had no intention of disrupting voting but were concerned about the possibility of fraud involving thousands of newly registered Democrats.

"The organized left's efforts to, quote unquote, register voters - I call them ringers - have created these problems," said James P. Trakas, a Republican co-chairman in Cuyahoga County.

Both parties have waged huge campaigns in the battleground states to register millions of new voters, and the developments in Ohio provided an early glimpse of how those efforts may play out on Election Day.

Ohio election officials said that by state law, the parties' challengers would have to show "reasonable" justification for doubting the qualifications of a voter before asking a poll worker to question that person. And, the officials said, challenges could be made on four main grounds: whether the voter is a citizen, is at least 18, is a resident of the county and has lived in Ohio for the previous 30 days.

Elections officials in Ohio said they hoped the criteria would minimize the potential for disruption. But Democrats worry that the challenges will inevitably delay the process and frustrate the voters.

"Our concern is Republicans will be challenging in large numbers for the purpose of slowing down voting, because challenging takes a long time,'' said David Sullivan, the voter protection coordinator for the national Democratic Party in Ohio. "And creating long lines causes our people to leave without voting.''

The Republican challenges in Ohio have already begun. Yesterday, party officials submitted a list of about 35,000 registered voters whose mailing addresses, the Republicans said, were questionable. After registering, they said, each of the voters was mailed a notice, and in each case the notice was returned to election officials as undeliverable.

In Cuyahoga County alone, which includes the heavily Democratic neighborhoods of Cleveland, the Republican Party submitted more than 14,000 names of voters for county election officials to scrutinize for possible irregularities. The party said it had registered more than 1,400 people to challenge voters in that county.

Among the main swing states, only Ohio, Florida and Missouri require the parties to register poll watchers before Election Day; elsewhere, party observers can register on the day itself. In several states officials have alerted poll workers to expect a heightened interest by the parties in challenging voters. In some cases, poll workers, many of them elderly, have been given training to deal with any abusive challenging.

Mr. Trakas, the Republican co-chairman in Cuyahoga County, said the recruits would be equipped with lists of voters who the party suspects are not county residents or otherwise qualified to vote.

The recruits will be trained next week, said Mr. Trakas, who added that he had not decided whether to open the training sessions to the public or reporters. Among other things, he said, the recruits will be taught how to challenge mentally disabled voters who are assisted by anyone other than their legal guardians. In previous elections, he said, bus drivers who had taken group-home residents to polling places often helped them vote.

Reno Oradini, the Cuyahoga County election board attorney, said a challenge would in effect create impromptu courts at polling places as workers huddled to resolve a dispute and cause delays in voting. He said he was working with local election officials to find ways of preventing disruptions that could drive away impatient voters and reduce turnout.

State law varies widely on voter challenges. In Colorado, challenged voters can sign an oath that they are indeed qualified to vote; voters found to have lied could be prosecuted, but their votes would still be counted. In Wisconsin, it is the challenger who must sign an oath stating the grounds for a challenge.

"You need personal knowledge," said Kevin J. Kennedy, executive director of the Wisconsin State Elections Board. "You can't say they don't look American or don't speak English."

National election officials said yesterday that Election Day challenging had been done only sporadically by the parties over the years, mainly in highly contested races. In the bitterly contested 2000 presidential election, they said, challenges occurred mainly after Election Day.

The preparations for widespread challenging this year have alarmed some election officials.

"This creates chaos and confusion in the polling site," said R. Doug Lewis, executive director of the Election Center, an international association of election officials. But, he said, "most courts say it's permissible by state law and therefore can't be denied."

In Ohio, Republicans sought to play down any concern that their challenging would be disruptive.

"I suspect there will be challenges," said Robert T. Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. "But by and large, people will move through quickly. We want to make sure every eligible voter votes." He added, "99.9 percent will fly right by."

Challengers on both sides said they were uncertain about what to expect. Georgiana Nye, 56, a Dayton real estate broker who was registered by the Republicans as a challenger, said she wanted to help prevent fraud and would accept the $100 for the 13 hours of work and training.

For the Democrats in Dayton, Ronald Magoteaux, 57, a mechanical engineer, said he agreed to be a poll watcher out of concern for new voters. "I think it's sick that these Republicans are up to dirty tricks at the polls," Mr. Magoteaux said. "I believe thousands of votes were lost in 2000, and I want to make sure that doesn't happen in Ohio."

Democrats said they were racing to match the Republicans, precinct by precinct. In some cities, like Dayton, they registered more challengers than the Republicans, election officials said. But in Cuyahoga County, where the Republicans said they had registered 1,436 people to challenge voters, or one in every precinct, Democrats said they had signed up only about 300.

The parties are also preparing to battle over voter qualifications in Florida, where they had until last Tuesday to register challengers. In Fort Myers, Republicans named 100 watchers for the county's 171 precincts, up from 60 in 2000. But Democrats registered 300 watchers in the county, a sixfold increase.


Nader Loses Ohio Ballot Bid

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 22 (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court on Friday rejected an effort by Ralph Nader to get his name on the ballot, most likely ending his chances in the state for the Nov. 2 election.

Mr. Nader wanted the court to force election boards to review their voter registration lists, a process he said could have led to the validation of petitions to place him on the ballot. The court ruled 6-1 against him.


James Dao contributed reporting from Ohio for this article, and Ford Fessenden and Anthony Smith from New York.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | RSS | Help | Back to Top

http://www.alternet.org/election04/20268/

The Case That Kerry Cracked
By Lucy Komisar, AlterNet
Posted on October 22, 2004, Printed on October 23, 2004
http://www.alternet.org/story/20268/
One gets an eerie sense of déjà vu watching John Kerry battle the Bush clan. He’s done it once before, against the old man, President Bush’s father, though many voters have probably forgotten. That battle involved the first Bush administration’s attempt to put the lid on an investigation that connected a worldwide criminal bank to narco-traffickers, terrorists, and to Middle East money men who helped the Bush family make piles of cash. Those links connect to people now on the U.S. post-9/11 terrorist list.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kerry fought to expose an international criminal bank, BCCI — the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. The bank was run by a Pakistani, working with Persian Gulf managers who operated through a network of secret offshore centers to hide their operations from the world’s bank examiners. They weren’t, however, hidden from the CIA, which not only knew what the bank was doing, but used the bank to funnel cash through its Islamabad and other Pakistani branches to CIA client Osama bin Laden, part of the $2 billion Washington sent to the Afghani mujahideen. The operation gave bin Laden an education in black finance. CIA director William Casey himself met with BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi. The CIA also paid its own agents through the bank and used BCCI to fund black ops all over the world.

Kerry took on not only the Bush clan and its friends, but the CIA, and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. This is not irrelevant history, but important to examine, because it reveals a lot about Kerry and how he might respond to terrorism or other global criminal enterprises. Kerry’s record shows that he took on powerful political and bureaucratic interests, was a tenacious investigator, and savvy about international crime and money flows, which is crucial in the fight against terrorism.

Against the opposition of powerful Republicans and Democrats, and in light of a lack of cooperation from a very politicized Justice Department and stonewalling by the CIA, Kerry worked with investigators and ran Senate hearings that exposed the bank’s shadowy multi-billion-dollar scams and precipitated its end.

The Bank and the CIA

BCCI was founded in 1972 by Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi and initially capitalized by Sheik Zayed of Abu Dhabi. It incorporated in the bank secrecy jurisdiction of Luxembourg but operated out of London. During two decades, it expanded to 73 countries worldwide, with nearly a million depositors with accounts totaling more than $10 billion. When the bank was finally shut down nearly 20 years later, between $9.5 and $15 billion — the analysts differ — had been lost or stolen, making this the biggest bank fraud in the world.

The bank had carved out a niche: it was the banker to the bad guys. One U.S. indictment would say that money laundering was BCCI's "corporate strategy." BCCI survived for two decades because it floated on the waves of the offshore system, with key booking operations in Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands, where bank regulators couldn’t go. Its Grand Cayman "bank-within-a-bank" was just a post office box. The bank also had friends in high places in the U.S. and, of course, the wink and nod of the CIA and the Reagan-Bush administration, which depended on its services. Over the years, BCCI was involved with:


Drug cartels. As early as 1985, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the IRS found that BCCI was involved in laundering heroin money, with numerous branches in Colombia to handle accounts for the drug cartels. It ran accounts for the traffickers’ protector, Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, as well as for the drug kingpins of Asia’s Golden Crescent, including Burmese heroin warlord Khun Sa, and for drug trafficking Afghanis and Pakistanis.


Illegal arms traders. For the Afghanis, the rule was “drugs out, American and British arms in.” Clients also included Middle East terrorist Abu Nidal, who used bank financing to get weapons; the sellers of nuclear technology to Pakistan; and Syrian drug trafficker, terrorist, and arms trafficker Monzer Al-Kassar. The bank served international organized crime involved in extortion, bribery, kidnapping and murder, and ran accounts for Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Haiti's Jean-Claude Duvalier, Liberian strongman Samuel Doe and other thieving heads of state who needed to hide their stolen cash.


The Iran/Contra scandal. BCCI had a role in the infamous scandal of the Reagan years. The CIA told Noriega to use the bank for the payoffs he got for helping National Security Council (NSC) staffer Oliver North set up shell companies and secret bank accounts in Panama to illegally move funds to the Contras in Nicaragua and arms to Iran in 1985-86. North had arranged to illegally sell 1,250 U.S. Tow missiles to Iran in exchange for a promise that Teheran would press militants in Lebanon to release American hostages. Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi middleman and fixer, used a BCCI account to move $20 million for the illegal arms and money plot. BCCI prepared phony documents for the arms sale, and checks signed by North were drawn on the Paris branch of BCCI, which “had no records” of the account when U.S. law enforcement later sought them. The profits were sent to Nicaragua’s right wing Contra rebels, violating a congressional ban on such aid.


Saddam Hussein. During the Reagan-Bush support of Iraq as an adversary to Iran, BCCI funneled millions of dollars to Baghdad's banker in the U.S., the Atlanta branch of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, (an Italian bank), so that from 1985 to 1989 it could make $4 billion in secret loans to Iraq — money for arms. BNL was a client of Kissinger Associates, and Henry Kissinger was on the bank’s international advisory board along with Brent Scowcroft, who would become Bush Sr.’s National Security Advisor.

BCCI’s global connections also helped bring private profit to the Bushes. Former Senate investigator Jack Blum told me, “This whole collection of people were wrapped up in the Bush crowd in Texas.” Prominent Saudis played a key role: Khalid Bin Mahfouz, head of National Commercial Bank in Saudi Arabia, and a major investor and BCCI board member; Kamal Adham, brother-in-law of the late Saudi King Faisal, former head of Saudi intelligence and a major shareholder and frontman for BCCI, and; Ghaith Rashad Pharaon, a BCCI shareholder and front man for the bank’s illegal purchase of three U.S. banks.

Then there was James Bath, a Texas businessman, who owned Houston’s Main Bank with Bin Mahfouz and Pharaon. When George W. Bush set up Arbusto Energy Inc. in 1979 and 1980, Bath provided some of the financing. As it turned out, Bush was not much of a businessman, and when Arbusto needed a bailout, political connections eventually got him a buyout by Harken Energy Corp., which paid him $600,000 in stock and a $120,000-a-year consultancy.

BCCI-connected friends were there again with money to help when Harken got into trouble. Arkansas investment banker Jackson Stephens in 1987 worked out Harken’s debts by getting $25 million financing from Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), a partner with BCCI in the Swiss Banque de Commerce et de Placements. As part of that deal, a board seat was given to Harken shareholder Sheikh Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, whose chief banker was BCCI shareholder Bin Mahfouz.

Were the Bushes putting their financial interests ahead of American security? Given the Bush links to BCCI, it’s not surprising that the Bush administration tried to smother the investigation and prosecution of the bank.

It might have succeeded, were it not for New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau — and the junior Senator from Massachussetts, John Kerry.

Kerry The Investigator

As a former prosecutor, Kerry knew a lot about the workings of financial crime. Kerry pointed out how billions of dollars looted from U.S. savings and loans in the 1980s — after Ronald Reagan deregulated the thrift industry — had been stashed in secret offshore accounts. After he became head of the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, Kerry had wanted to look into cocaine trafficking by Contras fighting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the connection to Oliver North’s illegal offshore Contra-support operation. So, in 1986, Kerry hired Washington lawyer Jack Blum to head the investigation.

Four books were written about BCCI in the early 1990s:

"False Profits" by Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin (Houghton Mifflin: 1992).

"A Full Service Bank," by James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz (Pocket Books, 1992).

"Dirty Money," by Mark Potts, Nicholas Kochan and Robert Whittington (National Press Books, 1992).

"The Outlaw Bank," by Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne (Random House, 1993).

As an investigator for Senator Frank Church’s subcommittee on multinational corporations, Blum had exposed the Lockheed bribes and ITT’s attempts to destabilize the government of Salvador Allende in Chile.

“The Foreign Relations Committee was looking at the relationship between drug trafficking and arms dealing and the way we run foreign policy,” says Blum. “’Did we ignore all the stuff going on to support the war in Nicaragua?’ We got into the issue of money laundering.” Blum said he “stumbled across Lee Ritch,” who told the panel, “I used to launder my money in the Cayman Islands. The U.S. wised up, and the bankers told me to shift to Panama. In Panama, I’m told the only guy to talk to is Noriega. He sends me to BCCI.”

Blum says, “We go poking around. I found a guy who had worked for BCCI. I met him in Miami. He said, ‘That’s their major line of work. They’re a bunch of criminals.’ He goes on to say that in addition to handling drug money, they were managing Noriega’s personal finances and that the bankers who did that lived in Miami.” Noriega even carried a BCCI Visa credit card.

So Blum subpoenaed that information. He said, “There is a subplot between us and the federal government and prosecutors. We find out about coming arrests for money laundering [in an ongoing Tampa drug trafficking investigation], but the feds want to make only a limited case in Tampa; they don’t want to investigate other ramifications. Their story is they had their case and didn’t want it messed up with extraneous stuff. The notion the other stuff was extraneous boggles the mind.”

Blum began poking deeper and came across the CIA standing in the shadows. He found that during the 1980s, the CIA had prepared hundreds of reports that discussed BCCI’s criminal connections — drug trafficking, money laundering — and its control of Washington's First American Bank, part of an illegal plot to get into the U.S. banking system. He also found that this was accomplished with the help of major U.S. figures, including former Treasury Secretary Bert Lance, former Defense Secretary Clark Clifford, former U.S. Sen. Stuart Symington, ex-federal bank regulators, and former and current local, state and federal legislators.

The CIA provided its reports to Treasury Secretary Donald Regan but not to the prosecutors in Tampa. The Treasury and Customs departments also sat on evidence. Kerry tried to get the Bush Justice Department to expand the Tampa investigation or to turn its information over to the FBI or other agencies. It refused.

Blum told me, “We started with laundering drug money, but then pursued it much further and got in testimony a pretty good layout of the criminal nature of the bank. Having done that, we wrote a report and said the matter needs further investigation. But the Justice Department doesn’t pick up on any of the clues. I talked to them. I got a leading figure in the bank to turn evidence to the government, which didn’t want to listen. I taped him for three days with undercover agents in a hotel room in Miami; the government didn’t transcribe the tapes.”

The chief Customs undercover agent who handled the drug sting against BCCI was so disgusted, he quit. The Justice Department ordered key witnesses not to cooperate with Kerry, and it refused to produce documents subpoenaed by his subcommittee. The CIA also stonewalled or lied to the Kerry investigators.

As a junior senator, Kerry was further hampered because his subcommittee mandate was limited to looking into terrorism and drugs. But even that investigation was bothering too many important people, so Clayborne Pell, a Democratic senator, shut it down.

Then the Justice Department closed the Tampa case with a plea bargain that let BCCI off the hook. Kerry was furious. He thought the crooked bank should be shut down. He said the deal kept the bank alive and discouraged bank officials from telling the U.S. what they knew about BCCI's larger criminality, including its ownership of First American and other U.S. banks. However, the bank relied on its friends. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) defended the plea bargain on the Senate floor, and then asked the bank to lend $10 million to a friend.

Following the plea agreement, the Justice Department stopped investigating BCCI for about 18 months. It even lobbied state regulators to keep BCCI open — after being urged to do that by former Justice Department personnel working for BCCI.

Kerry tried in 1990 and 1991 to get an investigation by the Senate Banking Committee, chaired by Democrat Donald Riegle. But Riegle and four of the other members of his committee had gotten money from Charles Keating, head of Lincoln Savings and Loan, who was later convicted of fraud, and they weren’t interested in drawing attention to crooked banks.

Finally, Kerry got permission to run a one-day subcommittee hearing in May 1991. Then he started holding public hearings through the banking committee, which wouldn’t staff them; he had to use his own people. “Riegle considered himself a gentlemen, because he let Kerry do that,” says Blum. “Riegle is probably the most misnamed U.S. senator.”

The bank’s friends prevented more Kerry hearings, says Blum. “They got it out of Foreign Relations,” he recalled. “We later learned that BCCI, between September 1988 and July 1991 when the bank closed, spent $26 million on lawyers and lobbyists trying to keep themselves in business. They hired people on both sides to shut [the investigations] down.”

But, Blum adds, “They didn’t stop me from going to the New York County DA’s office with Kerry’s blessing to assure a prosecution would ensue.” Blum went to see New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and told him about the Justice Department’s refusal to investigate BCCI's involvement in drug money laundering and other crimes. The Justice Department and the Federal Reserve, run by Paul Volcker, refused to aid the DA’s investigation.

However, Morgenthau got a grand jury indictment of BCCI in July 1991. It said the bank and its founders had defrauded depositors, falsified bank records to hide illegal money laundering, committed millions of dollars in larcenies and paid off public officials. It charged that BCCI had been a criminal enterprise since 1972 and had paid millions of dollars in bribes to central bankers or other financial officials in a dozen developing countries. Morgenthau named Ghaith Pharaon as a front man for BCCI who had gotten a secret loan from the bank to invest in three U.S. banks.

The New York Fed — not Washington — also took action. It coordinated an action on the fourth of July weekend 1991 to shut BCCI down. And, finally, the DA’s investigation forced Washington to act, though it kept the case as limited as possible. Soon after, Assistant Attorney General Robert S. Mueller III (now head of the FBI) oversaw the indictment by a federal grand jury of Democratic influence-peddler and former Johnson Defense Secretary Clark Clifford and his protégé Robert Altman — the top officials of First American Bank — for misleading the Federal Reserve Board about BCCI's secret control of the bank and obstructing the Fed's inquiries into BCCI.

Altman got off after convincing the jurors that he — an executive worth multi-millions of dollars in pay and stock benefits — didn’t know who the bank’s true owners were. Clifford evaded trial because of the Pinochet defense: his health.

In September, the Justice Department came up with an indictment of top BCCI officials which focused only on drug-money laundering, not on fraud against the bank’s depositors. It ignored leads, witnesses and evidence that would have revealed the bank’s large scale frauds — and exposed CIA and Reagan-Bush use of the bank.

“When I first looked at it, I thought there’s something nefarious or embarrassing — what is it? Their own incompetence? Worse? You never know the answer,” says Blum. “There was the Fed, which looked stupider than hell, the Office of the Comptroller who were stupid beyond comprehension. The then head of CIA said, yes, the CIA had used the bank. Everything you touched about that bank led to somebody ugly. Margaret Thatcher’s husband and maybe son, the prime minister of Canada, a 'who’s who of politics and the worlds of skullduggery.”

In July 1992, a New York County grand jury indicted Khalid Bin Mahfouz and an aide for defrauding BCCI and its depositors of as much as $300 million. But Bin Mahfouz was in Saudi Arabia, out of reach, and in the end Morgenthau settled for a fine. The Fed fined Bin Mahfouz $170 million. The Justice Department didn’t go after Bin Mahfouz at all.

The Kerry Committee report issued in 1992 was damning. It said that the White House knew about BCCI’s criminal activities, that the U.S. intelligence agencies used it for secret banking and that BCCI routinely paid off American public officials. Among the Kerry Report’s major findings:


Federal prosecutors handling the Tampa drug money laundering indictment of BCCI did not use the information they collected to focus on — or report to federal agencies — BCCI’s other crimes, including its secret, illegal ownership of First American Bank.


The Justice, Treasury and Customs departments failed to support or aid investigators and prosecutors.


Following lobbying by former Justice officials working for BCCI, the U.S. attorney in Tampa accepted a plea agreement that kept BCCI alive and discouraged bank officials from revealing other crimes.


CIA chief Casey and the agency knew, by early 1985, a lot about what BCCI was up to and didn’t inform the Justice Department or the Federal Reserve.


“After the CIA knew that BCCI was, as an institution, a fundamentally corrupt criminal enterprise, it continued to use both BCCI and First American, BCCI's secretly held U.S. subsidiary, for CIA operations.”


The Federal Reserve approved the first hidden BCCI takeover despite evidence the bank was behind it because it was swayed by influence-peddlers such as Clifford and because the CIA and Treasury failed to raise warnings about what they knew.

There’s a lot about BCCI that outsiders will never know. Once the investigations started, there were seven fires in the fireproof London warehouses where BCCI stored records. In one of them, four firemen were killed.

Experience That Counts

During this presidential campaign, Kerry has talked a lot about his service in Vietnam, but he doesn’t take credit now for exposing BCCI, perhaps because he thinks it’s too complicated for the American public to understand the scandal. Yet, more than physical courage, what the U.S. needs is guts and smarts and the resolution and courage to fight scourges that range from terrorism to international crime to corporate corruption and tax evasion.

So, what if John Kerry the investigator gets elected President? He would be not only the nation’s president but also a bold crime investigator and prosecutor who knows how to — and is willing to — overcome obstacles, whether they be international criminals or U.S. power brokers, to “follow the money” and bring about justice.

Jack Blum, who is not involved in the Kerry campaign, says: “There has never been a guy who has run for president who has, hands-on, known the kinds of substantive things he knows about the world of international crime, about banking and international bank regulation and finance, about the interconnectedness of the world finance system and how various intelligence agencies play into it. He is uniquely qualified.”

Kerry’s experience fighting the Washington establishment over BCCI also gave him a profound education in the workings of the insider Washington power and corruption that support corporate and organized crime and weaken the country’s ability to counter terrorism. He showed that he has what it takes to stand up to the big-money special interests that don’t want the system to change.

© 2004 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/20268/
http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/102304V.shtml


Wife of Soldier Sentenced in Prison Abuse Scandal Speaks Out
By Brian Witte
The Associated Press

Friday 22 October 2004

Baltimore - The wife of an Army reservist sentenced to prison for abusing prisoners in Iraq said she knows her husband was wrong, but she also blames higher-ranking officials who "sit behind the curtains" for the abuse.

Martha Frederick, wife of Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick, said the eight-year sentence he received Thursday for his role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal will force her family to "endure hardships and many sacrifices."

"The pain sets deeper yet in knowing that he serves these years not only for his actions or actions of a few reservists, but those included in the chain of command," she wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Her 38-year-old husband, of Buckingham, Va., received the stiffest punishment given so far in the scandal. But she questioned why her husband's superiors weren't being punished for what she said was their complicity on the abuse.

"I feel outrage that he and a few others will bear the weight for the actions of many," she wrote.

Since finding out her husband faced charges, Frederick wrote that her family has felt as if they were "facing a life-threatening situation when you relive your life's most memorable moments as well as contemplating all the things that you wish you could change or have done differently."

Martha Frederick said she will always see her husband as a "good soldier."

"I will see my husband as a far greater man than those who have abandoned him, left him to be convicted for his acts and the failures of their own," she wrote.

Throughout the e-mail, she claims "misguided" leadership led to the abuse of Iraqi detainees. She wrote that the photographs and videos showing abuse "do not represent the people of this country, nor do they represent Chip as a person."

"I do not see Chip as a good soldier gone bad but as a good soldier thrust into a no-win situation," she wrote.

She writes of the pain and isolation her family has felt, especially her husband, who was sentenced in Iraq, far from his family.

"It is not just how my husband will endure incarceration but how he will endure being left behind, used and discarded," she wrote.

Frederick joined the Army National Guard at 17, after convincing his mother to sign the papers authorizing his enlistment.

Seven members of the 372nd Military Police Company of Cresaptown, Md., have been charged in the scandal. Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits of Hyndman, Pa., is already serving a one-year sentence after pleading guilty in May to three counts.

-------

Posted by richard at 03:56 AM

October 22, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 11 Days to Go -- Corporatist Media Complicit w/ Cooked Polls, Former KY Rep. Sen & Virginia Editorial Repudiate Bush, 35 Reasons JFK Will Win, College Overwhelming for JFK

There are only 11 days to go until the national referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the _resident, the VICE _resident and the US regimestream news media that fronts for them…There is an Electoral Uprising coming on November 2, 2004…Here are FIVE stories that provide compelling evidence…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 campaign, it want to DISinform you…The US regimestream news media is a full partner in a Triad of shared special interests (e.g., energy, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, tobacco, etc.) with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party…They are going to try to steal this election. They cannot steal it if enough of us vote…”Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

Paul Krugman, NY Times: But if you get your political news from cable TV, you probably have a very different sense of where things stand. CNN, which co-sponsored that Gallup poll, rarely informs its viewers that other polls tell a very different story. The same is true of Fox News, which has its own very Bush-friendly poll. As a result, there is a widespread public impression that Mr. Bush holds a commanding lead.
By the way, why does the Gallup poll, which is influential because of its illustrious history, report a large Bush lead when many other polls show a dead heat? It's mostly because of how Gallup determines "likely voters": the poll shows only a three-point Bush lead among registered voters. And as the Democratic poll expert Ruy Teixeira points out (using data obtained by Steve Soto, a liberal blogger), Gallup's sample of supposedly likely voters contains a much smaller proportion of both minority and young voters than the actual proportions of these voters in the 2000 election.
A broad view of the polls, then, suggests that Mr. Bush is in trouble. But he is likely to benefit from a distorted vote count.
Florida is the prime, but not the only, example. Recent Florida polls suggest a tight race, which could be tipped by a failure to count all the votes. And votes for Mr. Kerry will be systematically undercounted.

Marlow W. Cook (Former Republican Senator from Kentucky), Courier-Journal: I have been, and will continue to be, a Republican. But when we as a party send the wrong person to the White House, then it is our responsibility to send him home if our nation suffers as a result of his actions…
First, let's talk about George Bush's moral standards.
In 2000, to defeat Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — a man who was shot down in Vietnam and imprisoned for over five years — they used Carl Rove's "East Texas special." They started the rumor that he was gay, saying he had spent too much time in the Hanoi Hilton. They said he was crazy. They said his wife was on drugs. Then, to top it off, they spread pictures of his adopted daughter, who was born in Bangladesh and thus dark skinned, to the sons and daughters of the Confederacy in rural South Carolina.
To show he was not just picking on Republicans, he went after Sen. Max Cleland from Georgia, a Democrat seeking re-election. Bush henchmen said he wasn't patriotic because Cleland did not agree 100 percent on how to handle homeland security. They published his picture along with Cuba's Castro, questioning Cleland's patriotism and commitment to America's security. Never mind that his Republican challenger was a Vietnam deferment case and Cleland, who had served in Vietnam, came home in a wheel chair having lost three limbs fighting for his country. Anyone who wants to win an election and control of the legislative body that badly has no moral character at all.
We know his father got him in the Texas Air National Guard so he would not have to go to Vietnam. The religious right can have him with those moral standards. We also have Vice President Dick Cheney, who deferred his way out of Vietnam because, as he says, he "had more important things to do."
I have just turned 78. During my lifetime, we have sent 31,377,741 Americans to war, not including whatever will be the final figures for the Iraq fiasco. Of those, 502,722 died and 928,980 came home without legs, arms or what have you.
Those wars were to defend freedom throughout the free world from communism, dictators and tyrants. Now Americans are the aggressors — we start the wars, we blow up all the infrastructure in those countries, and then turn around and spend tax dollars denying our nation an excellent education system, medical and drug programs, and the list goes on. ...

Virginia-Pilot Editorial: National security. Bush greeted the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center with passion and steely purpose. He routed the Taliban in Afghanistan, earning worldwide applause. It was his finest hour.
But when the bull’s-eye shifted from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein, the unraveling began.
But when the bull’s-eye shifted from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein, the unraveling began.
From the start, Bush failed to square with the American people about the true nature of his bold gamble to establish a democratic beachhead in Iraq.
He justified the venture first on the basis of a nonexistent bond between al-Qaida and Saddam, next on equally non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Duped by misplaced faith in shadowy Iraqi resistance figures, Bush wrongly assumed that we would be greeted as liberators, not occupiers. He failed to protect Iraq’s infrastructure, failed to foresee the consequences of disbanding the Iraqi army, failed to have enough troops on the ground to secure a peace.
It’s not as if no one warned him. Beginning with Brent Scowcroft, his father’s national security adviser, a host of respected leaders in the military and intelligence communities raised objections, only to be silenced by Bush’s certitude and the deafening drumbeats of war.
Equally troubling, on the home front, Bush asked nothing in the way of sacrifice — not a halt in tax cuts, not a delay in Medicare prescription drug benefits, not even a little less mileage on the SUV.
The dissembling continues to this day. Earlier this month the Duelfer report dished up the last word on weapons of mass destruction. “We were almost all wrong,” the chief weapons inspector said. Yet Bush persists in arguing that he got it right.
Meanwhile, the body count rises, our moral authority sags and Iraq looks more and more like what we most feared: a breeding ground for terrorists.
Economic security. Bush inherited a recession. That is not his fault. He promised that tax cuts would put America back to work.
Congress obliged. But today we have fewer jobs than when Bush took office. And by cutting revenues and increasing spending we have traded a record surplus for a record deficit.
That’s because when circumstances changed with 9/11, Bush didn’t. He held fast to tax cuts while beefing up spending for the war and homeland security, all defensible. What’s indefensible is that he also invited an explosion in domestic spending, including an unaffordable prescription drug plan that is the largest escalation of Medicare in its history.
Now, instead of a $4.6 trillion, 10-year surplus, the nation faces debt as far as the eye can see.
We are gobbling up more than our children’s inheritances. We are robbing their future paychecks to repay our debts.
Retirement security. That same recklessness has diminished America’s ability to make good on its promises to seniors…
Bush should have applied some of the surplus to that systemic Frankenstein. To keep faith with the future, he should have been building a financial cushion to soften the blow.
He did not.
He elevated the short-term gratification of tax cuts, including breaks for the nation’s wealthiest citizens, over the long-term stability of a critical safety net. His lack of foresight has made a bad situation worse.

Tom Ball, www.politicalstrategy.com: Top 35 Trends that say Kerry will Take the White House in November..This election is not just any old presidential election. To Progressives, it's a matter of life and death.
It will be the difference between global respect for America and multilateral cooperation or increased anti-Americanism and never-ending, preemptive unilateral war...the difference between American values of civil liberty and freedom or curbs on inalienable rights and invasions of privacy...the difference between a future of hope, health, safety, peace and prosperity or one of isolation, violence, debt, and fear.
And this brings me to the reason that we will win in November...
...because we have to.
This 'do or die' perception is what is going to drive progressives and moderates to the polls in record numbers to end the madness. This is why the traditionally apathetic 18-24 year old demographic (Also known as 'Future Casualties of Bush Wars') is going to put down their cell phones long enough to pull the lever for Kerry.
So Who's Winning?
Recently, a couple nationwide polls have shown Bush with a substantial lead, including some nonsensical outlier from Fox News and an equally unrealistic poll from Gallup which showed likely voters favoring Bush by 8 points. What's going on?
Fear not. It is all a grand load of garbage!
Remember, a Gallup poll released on October 26, 2000, less than two weeks before the election, had George Bush leading Al Gore by 13 points! Numerous Gallup polls during the final weeks of the 2000 campaign had Bush with ludicrously large leads.
And this time, Gallup has Bush ahead by 8 among likely voters but by 3 among registered voters.
So how do you go from a 3 point lead among registered voters to an 8 point lead among likely voters? By projecting that 89 percent of registered Bush supporters will vote but only 81 percent of registered Kerry supporters will vote. But as we know, this is totally unrealistic.

Reuters: The majority of U.S. college students favor Democratic challenger John Kerry over President Bush, according to a Harvard University poll released on Thursday that sees a dramatic rise in campus voter turnout.
Just weeks before the Nov. 2 election, researchers at Harvard's Institute of Politics found that 52 percent of all students want the Massachusetts senator elected president, 39 percent support Bush, and 8 percent are undecided.
In 14 hotly contested swing states, the poll shows Kerry leading Bush by 17 points among students.
The data suggest more students are leaning toward Kerry than six months ago, when Harvard last surveyed them. That poll, released in April, found Kerry leading Bush by 48-38 percent with 11 percent undecided. Independent candidate Ralph Nader (news - web sites) received 1 percent support in this poll, down from 5 percent in April.

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/2004/10/22/opinion/22krugman.html

Voting and Counting
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: October 22, 2004
If the election were held today and the votes were counted fairly, Senator John Kerry would probably win. But the votes won't be counted fairly, and the disenfranchisement of minority voters may determine the outcome.
Recent national poll results range from a three-percentage-point Kerry lead in the A.P.-Ipsos poll released yesterday to an eight-point Bush lead in the Gallup poll. But if you line up the polls released this week from the most to the least favorable to President Bush, the polls in the middle show a tie at about 47 percent.
This is bad news for Mr. Bush because undecided voters usually break against the incumbent - not always, but we're talking about probabilities. Those middle-of-the-road polls also show Mr. Bush with job approval around 47 percent, putting him very much in the danger zone.
Electoral College projections based on state polls also show a dead heat. Projections assuming that undecided voters will break for the challenger in typical proportions give Mr. Kerry more than 300 electoral votes.
But if you get your political news from cable TV, you probably have a very different sense of where things stand. CNN, which co-sponsored that Gallup poll, rarely informs its viewers that other polls tell a very different story. The same is true of Fox News, which has its own very Bush-friendly poll. As a result, there is a widespread public impression that Mr. Bush holds a commanding lead.
By the way, why does the Gallup poll, which is influential because of its illustrious history, report a large Bush lead when many other polls show a dead heat? It's mostly because of how Gallup determines "likely voters": the poll shows only a three-point Bush lead among registered voters. And as the Democratic poll expert Ruy Teixeira points out (using data obtained by Steve Soto, a liberal blogger), Gallup's sample of supposedly likely voters contains a much smaller proportion of both minority and young voters than the actual proportions of these voters in the 2000 election.
A broad view of the polls, then, suggests that Mr. Bush is in trouble. But he is likely to benefit from a distorted vote count.
Florida is the prime, but not the only, example. Recent Florida polls suggest a tight race, which could be tipped by a failure to count all the votes. And votes for Mr. Kerry will be systematically undercounted.
Last week I described Greg Palast's work on the 2000 election, reported recently in Harper's, which conclusively shows that Florida was thrown to Mr. Bush by a combination of factors that disenfranchised black voters. These included a defective felon list, which wrongly struck thousands of people from the voter rolls, and defective voting machines, which disproportionately failed to record votes in poor, black districts.
One might have expected Florida's government to fix these problems during the intervening four years. But most of those wrongly denied voting rights in 2000 still haven't had those rights restored - and the replacement of punch-card machines has created new problems.
After the 2000 debacle, a task force appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush recommended that the state adopt a robust voting technology that would greatly reduce the number of spoiled ballots and provide a paper trail for recounts: paper ballots read by optical scanners that alert voters to problems. This system is in use in some affluent, mainly white Florida counties.
But Governor Bush ignored this recommendation, just as he ignored state officials who urged him to "pull the plug" on a new felon list - which was quickly discredited once a judge forced the state to make it public - just days before he ordered the list put into effect. Instead, much of the state will vote using touch-screen machines that are unreliable and subject to hacking, and leave no paper trail. Mr. Palast estimates that this will disenfranchise 27,000 voters - disproportionately poor and black.
A lot can change in 11 days, and Mr. Bush may yet win convincingly. But we must not repeat the mistake of 2000 by refusing to acknowledge the possibility that a narrow Bush win, especially if it depends on Florida, rests on the systematic disenfranchisement of minority voters. And the media must not treat such a suspect win as a validation of skewed reporting that has consistently overstated Mr. Bush's popular support.

http://www.courier-journal.com/cjextra/editorials/2004/10/20/oped-marlow1020-8060.html

A FORMER REPUBLICAN SENATOR FOR KERRY
'Frightened to death' of Bush

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Marlow W. Cook
Special to The Courier-Journal



I shall cast my vote for John Kerry come Nov 2.

I have been, and will continue to be, a Republican. But when we as a party send the wrong person to the White House, then it is our responsibility to send him home if our nation suffers as a result of his actions. I fall in the category of good conservative thinkers, like George F. Will, for instance, who wrote: "This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot be counted on to think and having thought, to have second thoughts."

I say, well done George Will, or, even better, from the mouth of the numero uno of conservatives, William F. Buckley Jr.: "If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war."

First, let's talk about George Bush's moral standards.

In 2000, to defeat Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — a man who was shot down in Vietnam and imprisoned for over five years — they used Carl Rove's "East Texas special." They started the rumor that he was gay, saying he had spent too much time in the Hanoi Hilton. They said he was crazy. They said his wife was on drugs. Then, to top it off, they spread pictures of his adopted daughter, who was born in Bangladesh and thus dark skinned, to the sons and daughters of the Confederacy in rural South Carolina.

To show he was not just picking on Republicans, he went after Sen. Max Cleland from Georgia, a Democrat seeking re-election. Bush henchmen said he wasn't patriotic because Cleland did not agree 100 percent on how to handle homeland security. They published his picture along with Cuba's Castro, questioning Cleland's patriotism and commitment to America's security. Never mind that his Republican challenger was a Vietnam deferment case and Cleland, who had served in Vietnam, came home in a wheel chair having lost three limbs fighting for his country. Anyone who wants to win an election and control of the legislative body that badly has no moral character at all.

We know his father got him in the Texas Air National Guard so he would not have to go to Vietnam. The religious right can have him with those moral standards. We also have Vice President Dick Cheney, who deferred his way out of Vietnam because, as he says, he "had more important things to do."

I have just turned 78. During my lifetime, we have sent 31,377,741 Americans to war, not including whatever will be the final figures for the Iraq fiasco. Of those, 502,722 died and 928,980 came home without legs, arms or what have you.

Those wars were to defend freedom throughout the free world from communism, dictators and tyrants. Now Americans are the aggressors — we start the wars, we blow up all the infrastructure in those countries, and then turn around and spend tax dollars denying our nation an excellent education system, medical and drug programs, and the list goes on. ...

I hope you all have noticed the Bush administration's style in the campaign so far. All negative, trashing Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards and Democrats in general. Not once have they said what they have done right, what they have done wrong or what they have not done at all.

Lyndon Johnson said America could have guns and butter at the same time. This administration says you can have guns, butter and no taxes at the same time. God help us if we are not smart enough to know that is wrong, and we live by it to our peril. We in this nation have a serious problem. Its almost worse than terrorism: We are broke. Our government is borrowing a billion dollars a day. They are now borrowing from the government pension program, for apparently they have gotten as much out of the Social Security Trust as it can take. Our House and Senate announce weekly grants for every kind of favorite local programs to save legislative seats, and it's all borrowed money.

If you listened to the President confirming the value of our war with Iraq, you heard him say, "If no weapons of mass destruction were found, at least we know we have stopped his future distribution of same to terrorists." If that is his justification, then, if he is re-elected our next war will be against Iran and at the same time North Korea, for indeed they have weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, which they have readily admitted. Those wars will require a draft of men and women. ...


I am not enamored with John Kerry, but I am frightened to death of George Bush. I fear a secret government. I abhor a government that refuses to supply the Congress with requested information. I am against a government that refuses to tell the country with whom the leaders of our country sat down and determined our energy policy, and to prove how much they want to keep that secret, they took it all the way to the Supreme Court.


Those of you who are fiscal conservatives and abhor our staggering debt, tell your conservative friends, "Vote for Kerry," because without Bush to control the Congress, the first thing lawmakers will demand Kerry do is balance the budget.


The wonderful thing about this country is its gift of citizenship, then it's freedom to register as one sees fit. For me, as a Republican, I feel that when my party gives me a dangerous leader who flouts the truth, takes the country into an undeclared war and then adds a war on terrorism to it without debate by the Congress, we have a duty to rid ourselves of those who are taking our country on a perilous ride in the wrong direction.

If we are indeed the party of Lincoln (I paraphrase his words), a president who deems to have the right to declare war at will without the consent of the Congress is a president who far exceeds his power under our Constitution.

I will take John Kerry for four years to put our country on the right path.

The writer, a Republican formerly of Louisville, was Jefferson County judge from 1962-1968 and U.S. senator from Kentucky from 1968-1975.


http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=77017&ran=214061

A course change: The Virginian-Pilot endorses John Kerry
The Virginian-Pilot
© October 21, 2004
Last updated: 5:07 PM

Guestbook discussion: Who's your choice for president? Why?

George W. Bush oiled the troubled waters of his 2000 election by promising to govern as a unifier and a compassionate conservative.

Four years later, the nation is more bitterly split than ever. That is because the president abandoned the middle ground of the Republican Party in favor of its ideological edge.

He discourages internal dissent, equates disagreement with disloyalty and presents the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as an unassailable justification for whatever course the administration takes.

If polls are correct, half of America stands ready to reward his performance with a second term. Their trust rests on faith in the transparency of Bush’s character, that you get what you see, that no one believes more fervently than Bush that freedom is rising abroad and prosperity is around the corner at home.

In anxious and uncertain times, his confidence and clarity carry undeniable appeal.

But Americans must approach this election governed by their heads as well as their hearts.

Resolve is no substitute for results. Americans need to answer honestly: Has Bush strengthened our national security? Our economic security? Our retirement security? Or have his judgments jeopardized all three?


National security. Bush greeted the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center with passion and steely purpose. He routed the Taliban in Afghanistan, earning worldwide applause. It was his finest hour.

But when the bull’s-eye shifted from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein, the unraveling began.

From the start, Bush failed to square with the American people about the true nature of his bold gamble to establish a democratic beachhead in Iraq.

He justified the venture first on the basis of a nonexistent bond between al-Qaida and Saddam, next on equally non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Duped by misplaced faith in shadowy Iraqi resistance figures, Bush wrongly assumed that we would be greeted as liberators, not occupiers. He failed to protect Iraq’s infrastructure, failed to foresee the consequences of disbanding the Iraqi army, failed to have enough troops on the ground to secure a peace.

It’s not as if no one warned him. Beginning with Brent Scowcroft, his father’s national security adviser, a host of respected leaders in the military and intelligence communities raised objections, only to be silenced by Bush’s certitude and the deafening drumbeats of war.

Equally troubling, on the home front, Bush asked nothing in the way of sacrifice — not a halt in tax cuts, not a delay in Medicare prescription drug benefits, not even a little less mileage on the SUV.

The dissembling continues to this day. Earlier this month the Duelfer report dished up the last word on weapons of mass destruction. “We were almost all wrong,” the chief weapons inspector said. Yet Bush persists in arguing that he got it right.

Meanwhile, the body count rises, our moral authority sags and Iraq looks more and more like what we most feared: a breeding ground for terrorists.


Economic security. Bush inherited a recession. That is not his fault. He promised that tax cuts would put America back to work.

Congress obliged. But today we have fewer jobs than when Bush took office. And by cutting revenues and increasing spending we have traded a record surplus for a record deficit.

That’s because when circumstances changed with 9/11, Bush didn’t. He held fast to tax cuts while beefing up spending for the war and homeland security, all defensible. What’s indefensible is that he also invited an explosion in domestic spending, including an unaffordable prescription drug plan that is the largest escalation of Medicare in its history.

Now, instead of a $4.6 trillion, 10-year surplus, the nation faces debt as far as the eye can see.

We are gobbling up more than our children’s inheritances. We are robbing their future paychecks to repay our debts.


Retirement security. That same recklessness has diminished America’s ability to make good on its promises to seniors.

In 1960, the ratio of workers to retirees was better than 5 to 1. By 2030, it will be just over 2 to 1. By 2018 the Social Security system will start paying out more in benefits than it takes in through taxes.

Bush should have applied some of the surplus to that systemic Frankenstein. To keep faith with the future, he should have been building a financial cushion to soften the blow.

He did not.

He elevated the short-term gratification of tax cuts, including breaks for the nation’s wealthiest citizens, over the long-term stability of a critical safety net. His lack of foresight has made a bad situation worse.

To our regret, Massachussetts Sen. John Kerry has also over-promised with the nation’s resources.

Kerry has yet to square his pledge to never raise taxes on the middle class with the reality that revenue to rescue Social Security and Medicare will have to come from somewhere.

But at least Kerry proposes to return to the principle of pay-as-you-go for ordinary federal spending. And he doesn’t advocate destabilizing Social Security by allowing personally owned retirement accounts, as does Bush.


We have misgivings about Kerry’s ability to connect with ordinary people. We were frustrated by his long-winded explanations. And he hasn’t been as forthright as we’d like on America’s slim hopes for reclaiming lost overseas jobs.

But on balance, Kerry is a better choice. He has shown more substance than the flip-flopping caricature drawn by his opponents. He demonstrates an admirable seriousness of purpose, steadiness under fire, and a grasp of the complexities of domestic and foreign policy issues.

Contrary to claims that he tilts with the prevailing winds, Kerry has throughout his lifetime charted an independent course. His zigs and zags reflect his digestion of new information and his arrival at new insights, not slavish devotion to public opinion.

There is no better example of his convictions than his decades-long involvement with Vietnam.

As a young man he elected to go to war at a time when few of his economic and social class took such personal risk. Disillusioned by the experience, he came home to challenge the moral justification for that war at the highest levels of government.

Over time, the prevailing historical view of the Vietnam War has aligned with Kerry’s. But when he spoke out in Washington, his was a minority voice. Then, as decades passed and the nation wanted nothing more than to forget Vietnam, Kerry insisted on a more honorable conclusion.

With Republican Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire, he scoured the countryside for evidence of surviving American captives. With GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, he led in persuading President Clinton to normalize relations with the country.

Common sense and practicality rank high among Kerry’s attributes. He supports importing prescription drugs from Canada, expanding embryonic stem cell research and rolling back tax cuts for the wealthy to finance an innovative answer to high health-insurance premiums.

In poll after poll, Americans say that the nation is on the wrong track. They are right. It is time for fresh leadership at the Pentagon, time for a president who will hold subordinates accountable, time for a chief executive with the wisdom to recognize fatal miscalculations.

If you want the same results, you keep doing the same thing. We do not doubt George Bush’s good intentions. We doubt his judgment. The results speak for themselves.

John Kerry has demonstrated the personal courage and intellectual stamina to put the nation on a sounder course.

© 2004 HamptonRoads.com/PilotOnline.com

http://www.politicalstrategy.org/archives/000580.php

Top 35 Trends that say Kerry will Take the White House in November
By Tom Ball
10/20/04

This election is not just any old presidential election. To Progressives, it's a matter of life and death.

It will be the difference between global respect for America and multilateral cooperation or increased anti-Americanism and never-ending, preemptive unilateral war...the difference between American values of civil liberty and freedom or curbs on inalienable rights and invasions of privacy...the difference between a future of hope, health, safety, peace and prosperity or one of isolation, violence, debt, and fear.

And this brings me to the reason that we will win in November...

...because we have to.

This 'do or die' perception is what is going to drive progressives and moderates to the polls in record numbers to end the madness. This is why the traditionally apathetic 18-24 year old demographic (Also known as 'Future Casualties of Bush Wars') is going to put down their cell phones long enough to pull the lever for Kerry.

So Who's Winning?

Recently, a couple nationwide polls have shown Bush with a substantial lead, including some nonsensical outlier from Fox News and an equally unrealistic poll from Gallup which showed likely voters favoring Bush by 8 points. What's going on?

Fear not. It is all a grand load of garbage!

Remember, a Gallup poll released on October 26, 2000, less than two weeks before the election, had George Bush leading Al Gore by 13 points! Numerous Gallup polls during the final weeks of the 2000 campaign had Bush with ludicrously large leads.
And this time, Gallup has Bush ahead by 8 among likely voters but by 3 among registered voters.

[...]

So how do you go from a 3 point lead among registered voters to an 8 point lead among likely voters? By projecting that 89 percent of registered Bush supporters will vote but only 81 percent of registered Kerry supporters will vote. But as we know, this is totally unrealistic.


Anyway, a Democracy Corps Poll released concurrent to the ridiculous Gallup poll showed Kerry with a 3 point lead.

Remember, in 2000, Democracy Corps' final poll, released five days before the election, was right on the money. In fact, every D.C. poll in the final weeks of the 2000 campaign showed the race to be very, very close.
Also...

* CBS News/NYT (10/19): Kerry 47%, Bush 47% among likely voters (Bush approval at 44%)

* NBC News/WSJ (10/19): Kerry 48%, Bush 48%

* Zogby, the most accurate pollster of the last two presidential elections has the race exactly tied at 45% with 7% still undecided. (Remember. Undecideds tend to break for the challenger. More on that below.)

The national polls however, are just one part of an extensive mosaic of influences on this election. And you might be heartened to know that virtually all the rest favor John Kerry.

Continue reading to discover the...

Top 35 Trends that say Kerry will Take the White House in November

1) Bush must lead by 4%: Professor Alan of the Emerging Democratic Majority shows that Bush must go into November 2 with an average of at least a 4% lead in such polls if he is to have any sort of hope for four more years.

2) The 'Cell Phone Polling' Phenomenon: Traditional polling relies almost exclusively on landline telephone. Unfortunately, according to Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report, as much as 18% of the electorate don't have land lines and instead rely exclusively on cell phones. The Hill gives us a little something about this demographic:

In-Stat.MDR, a wireless market-research firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz., conducted a survey of wireless users in February of this year. Of the 970 people questioned, 14.4 percent were cell-phone-only users, the majority of whom were single Americans between the ages of 18 and 24, living in mostly urban areas.
Anyone care to venture a guess as to how this demographic overwhelmingly votes?

Yup. According to Newsweek (10/16/04), Young voters (18-29) favor Kerry/Edwards by 9 points.

3) Zogby is the Most Accurate Pollster: Zogby, which touts the most accurate polls for the last two presidential elections, calls for a very strong Kerry victory. He has referred to the race as "Kerry's to lose."

In 2000, Zogby was one of several pollsters that was only two cumulative percentage points off from the actual, but it was the only one in that group to actually choose Gore as the winner (which we all know he was).
In 1996, Zogby hit the nail right on the head. Sure, everyone predicted a Clinton victory, but Zogby predicted the exact percentage totals for Clinton, Dole...and even Perot at 8%.


4) Kerry Has Large Lead in Swing States: Kerry is doing extremely well where it matters, leading Bush by 10% in the swing states. According to the Washington post.

5) PA Goes to Kerry:Pennsylvania is NOT in play! (and neither is New Jersey. Don't let the GOP Poll 'Strategic Vision' fool you.) That leaves Ohio and Florida as the next target.

6) Seniors Favor Kerry: Also, Among Registered Voters in a 3-way matchup, seniors favor Kerry over Bush by a large margin. According to Newsweek, Seniors (65+) favor Kerry/Edwards by 15 points, 54-39. The 65+ Category is particularly important in Florida where this age group make up a disproportionately large percentage of the voting population.

7) Kerry Appeals to Independents in the Debates: Polls showed that Kerry gained favor from swing voters as a result of his performance. Many more people had increased positive perceptions of Kerry as a result of the debates than the number of people who an increased positive perception for Bush. Conversely (I think), The number of those whose perception of Kerry grew more negative was less than the number of those whose perception of Bush grew more negative as a result.

8) Kerry Appeals to independents... Period.: In polling, self-proclaimed independents favor Kerry/Edwards by 11 points, 51-40.

9) New Standard for GOTV: GOTV efforts were allocated $25 million by the DNC in the 2000 election cycle. This year they will commit about the same. The difference, however, comes with a new 527 called America Coming Together, a group that will be devoting at least $125 million toward the GOTV effort. They will also be adding an expertise, coordination and organization unseen in prior years.

10) Democrats Won the Registration Wars: Voter Registrations have heavily favored the Democratic party this cycle. Dems have made significant gains on Republicans in numbers of party affiliated registrations in practically every swing state.


Debate Effect

11) Kerry Erased Doubts About Himself: The Debates erased many of the doubts held by undecideds as Kerry showed a man that was poised, consistent, tough, intelligent, able to think on his feet and keep his cool. He was a man with a plan for everything. Dare I say - He was 'presidential'...and he didn't need a transmitter to pull it off. Kerry was also successful in countering the nonsense charges of 'flip-flopping'.

12) Bush Increased Doubts About Himself: The debates raised doubts about Bush. He was inept, incoherent, repetitive, negative, inconsistent and lacking in identity. (Which debate had the 'real' Bush?). He was unable to defend his record and unable to conjure any meaningful new attacks on Kerry. Bush did succeed in one facet of the debates. He succeeded in spurring two rumors that might explain his dubious debate performances. One, that he was "hooked up" to his handlers via a transmitter hidden under his suit coat. And two. That he had suffered a mild stroke or some sort of onsetting dementia.


Now (Election 2004) vs. Then (Election 2000)

13) Ralph Nader: Nader is less of an issue this year, although he could still quite probably throw some swing states to the evil one. In any event, Nader is on the ballot in fewer states (but still on in Florida) than in 2000, and hopefully most Naderites will realize by Nov 2 that four more years of bush will finish the job of destroying everything that they claim to hold dear.

14) Howard Dean: The Dean Revolution has given rise to a new generation of Democratic voters and activists. It has given hope to a previously undercounted, underappreciated and underestimated demographic. It has rewritten the book on how elections are played. Long live Howard Dean. Yaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrhhh!!!

15) Michael Moore: The 'Moore Effect' and Fahrenheit 911. Love it or leave it, polls show that the film had significant influence on the impressions that 'uncommitted' voters had of Bush. In addition, most anecdotal evidence suggests that those self-proclaimed independents who saw it were 'disgusted and disturbed' with Bush - not exactly words of likely Bush voters.

16) George Soros: The Republicans have always had their sugar daddies to fund all their wacky pet projects -- Scaife, Coors, the Waltons, and others. Now we have one that, if not funding all our wacky pet projects, is at least putting his considerable resources toward the same goals. Thank you George Soros.

17) The 527's: The Joint Victory Campaign 2004, a consortium of organizations including Moveon.org, America Coming Together, the Media Fund, America Votes, and the Thunder Road Group along with others have turned this election cycle into one where Democrats have been able to manage a virtual and unprecedented financial parity with the GOP. At the same time, these groups have supplied Democrats with an enormous, talented, organized ground army as well as attack dogs that are able to proxy for the Dems when they couldn't involve themselves directly.

18) Newspaper endorsements: ...not they mean much by themselves, but as a group, an interesting phenomenon is occurring that might cause people to take notice. It seems that those newspapers across the nation that endorsed Gore are now endorsing Kerry - and those papers that endorsed Bush are now endorsing.....uh...well, some are endorsing Bush and some are now endorsing Kerry. Seems quite one-sided. Of course, I'm not suggesting that the editorial pages of America's newspapers represent Joe and Jane voter. But, the fact that prior Bush supporters, whomever they should be, are moving into the Kerry camp, while none of the Gore supporters are turning to Bush seems at least a tad bit telling.

19) The New Progressive Media: Beginnings of a true progressive media: The addition, since the 2000 election, of such institutions as Air America, the Center for American Progress, the Rockridge Institute, and Media Matters, along with the rise of the "progressive web" (Blogs, news and opinion sites, and headline aggregators) have given a new voice and a new outlet with which to air it. This emerges from the cloud of trash emanating from right-wing hate radio, Fox News, the Washington Times, the NY Post, etc. Of course this is just the beginning.

20) Better Informed Public: Voter fraud and intimidation has come under greater scrutiny. Hopefully this will cause the GOP to pause when they enact their schemes.

21) Better Educated Florida Electorate: Florida Voters are more aware and informed. Hopefully, that means that there will be fewer overvotes and undervotes. Hopefully people will know what to do if they feel they are a victim of voter intimidation. Hopefully Jewish seniors won't vote for Pat Buchanan. Hopefully, counties won't dabble in 'Butterfly' ballots.

22) Log Cabin Republicans: Log Cabin Republicans have abandoned Bush. This administration's flagrant and disgraceful bigotry targeted at gays has led the primary GOP organization for gays to forego any endorsement.. This means that the group, instead of sending out literature urging their members to vote for Bush, will be sending out information explaining that the administration's push to amend the constitution to define them as a second class citizenry has forced them to suggest that members stay home on election day. In 2000, one million self-described gays and lesbians voted for Bush (Most were not members of the Log Cabin Republicans organization). Nevertheless, the impact of this refusal to endorse Bush was felt across the demographic.

True, this doesn't mean that Bush will automatically lose one million votes, but consider this. Suppose 95% of those who voted for Bush in 2000 are likely to show up in 2004 as well. Now suppose only 30% of those are fed up enough not to vote (A reasonable, if not conservative estimate). That means 95% x 30% x 1,000,000 = 285,000 fewer votes will make it into Bush's electoral coffers than would otherwise have made it. To counter this effect, one might consider the increased number of votes from Bush's bigoted constituency, those who support the gay marriage amendment and who would not otherwise vote but for this issue.

23) Arab Americans: Arab Americans are abandoning Bush. This demographic went solidly for Bush in 2000. He will not receive their votes this year.

"In just the four battleground states we're polling, over 200,000 Arab American voters have switched from the Republican to the Democratic column," said Jim Zogby, senior analyst for Zogby International, which specializes in Muslim and Arab polling.
A Zogby poll of the four states in September projected a turnout of 510,000 Arab American voters. That includes 120,000 in Florida and 85,000 in Ohio - both of which went to Bush in 2000, along with their combined 46 electoral votes. The poll showed Kerry leading Bush in these states, 47 percent to 31.5 percent, with 9 percent backing independent candidate Ralph Nader.

A second Zogby poll of 1,700 Muslim voters nationwide conducted for Georgetown University showed Kerry leading Bush, 68 percent to 7 percent, with 11 percent backing Nader.

Zogby and other analysts estimate the Muslim electorate at around 2 million voters.


24) Cuban Americans: Bush owes much to the Cuban-American voters, particularly in Florida. Cubans are the only Latin American demographic which clearly favor Republicans and they are a voting force in Florida -- a necessary constituency if Bush hopes to pull Florida out of the bag once again. Recently, the Cuban American Commission for Family Rights announced their disfavor with the administration's policies in the following statement:

President Bush's new Cuban sanctions policy creates more hardship for Cuban Americans, his voting constituency, than to the Cuban government and opens itself up to serious discriminatory legal actions, aside from loss of votes.
This is the first time in the history of U.S. reunification policies that such policy goes against family reunification, discouraging visits and redefining the definition of who is family.

Coattail Indicators

25) Senate Races: NON-incumbent Democrats are running uncharacteristically strong in traditionally conservative strongholds. Dems are favored in such right-wing bastions as Alaska, Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Oklahoma. And now we can add Kentucky to that list. The same is NOT true for NON-incumbent Republicans in traditional democratic strongholds.

26) Conservative Strongholds: Some conservative strongholds are in play, offering Kerry some nontraditional electoral opportunities including Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Colorado.

27) Vote Banking: Vote banking, voting prior to November 2nd (Not all states allow this), helped Gore take Iowa in 2000 and continues to help Kerry. This also helps alleviate long lines that typically occur in heavily populated Urban areas (i.e. Democratic Strongholds) on November 2nd and theoretically ensures that your vote gets counted. 'Irregularities' can be addressed prior to election day and voter intimidation is a more difficult prospect for the GOP during this period. Reports indicate that Vote Banking is in full stride, far outpacing any prior year.

Along these lines, early voters, favor Kerry/Edwards by 9, 52-43 (Meaning those voters who voted prior to the official election day).


Common Wisdom

28) The 50% Rule: If an incumbent is experiencing approval ratings below 50%, he or she usually loses. The latest CBS News/NY Times poll gave Bush only a 44% approval rating. The average of the last 5 polls shows Bush's job approval even further below 50%:

* Approve: 46%
* Disapprove: 48.1%

29) Right Track, Wrong Track: Polls say that more people think the country is on the wrong track than those who say the right track. This can hardly work in Bush's favor. People believe the nation under Bush is headed in the wrong direction. The average of the last 11 polls citing whether the nation is heading in the Right/Wrong direction heavily disfavors Bush:

* Right direction: 42%
* Wrong Direction: 52%

30) Incumbent Rule: 'Undecideds' break at least 60-40% for the challenger. Also, an incumbent president rarely gets even more than 1% of the popular vote than the final polls show. If an incumbent is polling, 47%, 48% just before the election, that is probably what he will get. In contrast, the challenger always does much better than the final polls indicate!

31) Reelect: Bush's Reelect numbers are terrible. The average of the last 6 independent polls shows Bush's reelect numbers at:

* Yes: 46.7%
* No: 49.2%


Fire in the Belly

32) Rocketing Gas and Energy Prices: The price of gas serves as a constant reminder of Bush's failures in both foreign and domestic policy. Common wisdom says that people vote their pocket. Indeed, nobody cares what the price is for a barrel of oil ...unless it filters into higher gas and energy prices. This is a material impact on their pockets of average Americans and even if some won't admit it, they blame the problem, at least in part, on the government (currently headed by George W. Bush). People also understand that the invasion of Iraq has 'something' to do with these prices. Sure, Bush supporters are unlikely to vote for Kerry because of this, but it might subconsciously give reason for some to find themselves just a touch too busy to make it to the polls on election day.

33) The Bush Draft: The administration and its minions are trying desperately to quash the spreading speculation of a 'Bush Draft'. Despite their best efforts, the word continues to spread -- and with ill effects for Bush. Bush is helping us to get out the 'cell-phone-only' demographic - people aged 18-24.

34) Expatriates: Non-military expatriates are motivated to remove Bush (as are non-career military personnel). These are the people who have had to deal directly with the lashback from the rampant, Bush-inspired anti-Americanism that has flourished during the last four years.

35) The left is fired up!: This is the key ingredient to ensure maximum turnout by the left on election day. This is one thing we can all thank Bush for. The left is so outraged and disgusted with the policies, lies and crimes of this administration, that we wouldn't stay home on election day if it was raining darts (which is something I'm sure the GOP is working on.)

The bottom line is that Kerry will win on November 2nd.

Remember… life or death -- if not for us, then for our children.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20041021/pl_nm/campaign_youth_dc_3

Most College Students Favor Kerry -Harvard Poll

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON (Reuters) - The majority of U.S. college students favor Democratic challenger John Kerry (news - web sites) over President Bush (news - web sites), according to a Harvard University poll released on Thursday that sees a dramatic rise in campus voter turnout.

Just weeks before the Nov. 2 election, researchers at Harvard's Institute of Politics found that 52 percent of all students want the Massachusetts senator elected president, 39 percent support Bush, and 8 percent are undecided.
In 14 hotly contested swing states, the poll shows Kerry leading Bush by 17 points among students.
The data suggest more students are leaning toward Kerry than six months ago, when Harvard last surveyed them. That poll, released in April, found Kerry leading Bush by 48-38 percent with 11 percent undecided.
Independent candidate Ralph Nader (news - web sites) received 1 percent support in this poll, down from 5 percent in April.
"Kerry had a lead in April, but it was a soft lead, and now students seem to know him better and are aligned with him on issues like the economy, the war in Iraq (news - web sites) and terrorism," said David King, the institute's director of research.
Forty-five percent of the students polled feel the country is headed in the wrong direction. Forty-one percent feel it is headed in the right direction.
Students feel Kerry, criticized in the past as aloof and failing to take a firm stand on issues, leads Bush in understanding what matters most to them. Kerry also edges Bush 49 percent to 42 percent on which candidate is better qualified to be president, the poll said.
HEAVY CAMPUS TURNOUT SEEN
The poll also found 84 percent of college students plan to cast a ballot, as both candidates woo young voters.
"The tide has changed from apathy to engagement and excitement," King said. "Students are no longer just watching politics on the West Wing," he said referring to the popular U.S. television show.
Even as researchers predicted a surge in turnout among college students, they cautioned that many who say they will vote will not show up on Election Day. Still, they expect over half of all college voters to go to the ballot box, up from 42 percent who voted four years ago.
"There are over nine million college students in America, and their vote will matter this year -- especially in swing states," Institute Director Philip Sharp said in a statement. "Neither campaign can afford to ignore them."
While Kerry led Bush in overall support, Bush was viewed as the stronger leader by 49-36 percent. Bush also outpaced Kerry by 57-27 percent on which candidate takes a clear stand on the issues.
"The poll shows Bush is a strong leader but also shows they do not want to be led where he's going," King said.
The poll was based on interviews with 1,202 people chosen at random from a database of nearly 5.1 million students across the country. Conducted between Oct. 7-13, it has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.
A Reuters/Zogby three-day tracking poll released on Thursday showed Bush edging Kerry 46-45 percent, a statistical dead heat.


Posted by richard at 06:55 AM

October 21, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 12 Day to Go -- SIX MUST READ STORIES ON WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING IN THIS CAMPAIGN

There are only 12 days to go until the national
referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and
CHARACTER of the _resident, the VICE _resident and the
US regime stream news media that fronts for
it…Please read these SIX pieces and share them
with others. They deserve to dominate the air waves
and capture headlines above the fold, but they will
not because the US regimestream news media is a full
partner in a Triad of shared special interest (e.g.,
energy, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, chemicals,
tobacco, etc) with the Bush Cabal and its
wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party…Please
vote and encourage others to vote… The very life of
the Republic itself is at stake. If enough of us vote
they cannot steal it… The Bush abomination is an
illegitimate, corrupt and incompetent regime. There is
an Electoral Uprising coming at the Ballot Box on
November 2…Remember, in this national referendum, when
you vote NO on the Bush abomination you are also
voting NO on the US regimestream news media, which has
fronted for it and provided cover for this illegitimate, corrupt and incompetent regime…Save the Republic on November 2, 2004. If enough of us vote they cannot steal it…Frodo lives!

BuzzFlash: You’ve endorsed Senator John Kerry for president. Tell us why you think Senator Kerry would be a better commander in chief in protecting our country.
Lorie Van Auken: I have many reasons. First of all, this president waited 14 months for an investigation. We think that there should have been an investigation right away. Then they fought funding it properly. Then they fought providing certain documents. Then we fought to have pertinent people appear before the commission, like Condoleezza Rice. And, of course, President Bush and Vice President Cheney walked hand in hand to see the commission for only an hour, behind closed doors, totally off the record, so nobody would really ever hear what they had to say. It ended up being longer than an hour, but still we don’t know what they testified to.
On September 11, I don’t think the president’s actions were very commander-in-chief-like. He was sitting and listening to children read a story to him. As I was watching the events on television, watching my husband being burned alive in a building, I would have thought the president would have gotten up and told children: "Please excuse me, but I have something important to attend to."
I would hope that we’d have somebody in office that would act like the commander in chief if, God forbid, we’re ever under attack again. I know that John Kerry has served in the armed forces and I know that he knows how to react in a crisis -–that’s first of all.
Second, he has pledged to enact all 41 of the 9-11 Commission’s recommendations, which this president is still fighting against. Also, Senator Kerry has said that he would like to work with our allies in the war on terrorism, which I think is the only way to actually combat what’s going on in the world. To find money lines to stop the funding of terrorists, and to share intelligence with other countries -- you need your allies to do that. I think this president has alienated our allies. I think that’s a really terrible thing.

Sidney Blumenthal, Guardian: Passing almost without notice earlier this month, the public release of The Civil Rights Record of the George W Bush Administration - the official staff report prepared by the US Civil Rights Commission - whose submission is required by federal law, was blocked by the Republican commissioners. None the less, it was posted on the commission's website: "This report finds that President Bush has neither exhibited leadership on pressing civil rights issues, nor taken actions that matched his words."
Bush has held the Civil Rights Commission in contempt since its June 2001 report on Election Practices in Florida During the 2000 Campaign. Then it concluded: "The commission's findings make one thing clear: widespread voter disenfranchisement - not the dead-heat contest - was the extraordinary feature in the Florida election ... The disenfranchisement of Florida's voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters." Vast efforts to mobilise or suppress African-American, Hispanic and Democratic voters have already reached a greater level of intensity than in any modern campaign. The Republicans in Ohio, for example, have attempted to toss out new Democratregistrations because it was claimed they were written on the wrong weight of paper, a gambit overruled by a federal court. From Pennsylvania to Arizona, a Republican consulting firm is discouraging new Democratic voters from getting on the rolls.
Meanwhile, the Democratic party has more than 10,000 lawyers deployed to defend against voter suppression, 2,000 stationed in Florida; civil rights groups are sending out more than 6,000 lawyers. Bush v Gore remains an open wound; and now the battle over voting rights, over democracy itself, is being fought again.

ERIN NEFF, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: If three days of early voting can constitute a trend, Democrats think the beginning of the election in Nevada bodes well for a John Kerry victory.
In Clark County, Democrats voted in greater numbers than Republicans on each of the first three days of the 14-day early voting period. Overall, Democrats had a lead of 2,104 voters.
Democrats increased turnout on each of the days, edging Republicans 45 to 41 percent Saturday, 45 to 40 percent Sunday and 46 to 40 percent Monday.
"We don't traditionally vote early," Kerry campaign spokesman Sean Smith said of Democrats. "Our internal polling showed that we would do better with voters on Election Day, so we think this is a very good start for us."
Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by 57,000 in Clark County, according to registration for all eligible voters. Among active voters, the edge for Democrats is 43,000.

Associated Press: Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser, is giving a flurry of speeches in political battleground states in the closing days of the campaign, bringing allegations from Sen. John Kerry's camp that she is injecting herself into the presidential race.
``George Bush will go to any length to cling to power, even if it means diverting his national security adviser from doing her job,'' Sen. John Edwards, Kerry's running mate, said Wednesday. ``It's time for a fresh start with a White House whose priority will be to focus on doing everything to make our country safer -- period.''
Rice is scheduled to give speeches in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida over the next week. In recent days, she has appeared in Ohio, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington state. Until May, Rice had not made any speeches in states considered political battlegrounds…
Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, speaking to reporters during a conference call arranged by the Kerry campaign, said Wednesday he was surprised to see Rice giving so many speeches ``which are obviously timed to coincide with the national elections.''
``I'm afraid that represents, at least in my book, excessive politicization of an office which is unusually sensitive,'' said Brzezinski, who served in the Carter administration…
``For all its fearmongering on the war on terror, this White House has a greater commitment to its political security than to our national security,'' Edwards said in Canton, Ohio. ``The fact is that the violence in Iraq is spiraling out of control, Osama bin Laden remains at large and North Korea and Iran have increased their nuclear capabilities. With all this going on, Condi Rice shouldn't take the time to go on a campaign trip for George Bush.''

Editors & Publishers: Sen. John Kerry has widened his lead in daily newspaper endorsements, landing five of the seven new additions to E&P's exclusive tally. He holds a 53-36 edge over President Bush.
It also pushes the Democrat past the 9 million mark in circulation total for backing papers. Bush trails with about 5 million. ..
Kerry has now gained at least nine "switches" - papers that backed Bush and now support the challenger. (See chart below.) At least three other papers that endorsed Bush in 2000 have declined to back either candidate this year.

Associated Press: If there is doubt about the results, they will fight without delay.
Six so-called "SWAT teams" of lawyers and political operatives will be situated around the country with fueled-up jets awaiting Kerry's orders to speed to a battleground state. The teams have been told to be ready to fly on the evening of the election to begin mounting legal and political fights. No team will be more than an hour from a battleground.
The Kerry campaign has office space in every battleground state, with plans so detailed they include the number of staplers and coffee machines needed to mount legal challenges.
"Right now, we have 10,000 lawyers out in the battleground states on Election Day, and that number is growing by the day," said Michael Whouley, a Kerry confidant who is running election operations at the Democratic National Committee.
While the lawyers litigate, political operatives will try to shape public perception. Their goal would be to persuade voters that Kerry has the best claim to the presidency and that Republicans are trying to steal it.
Democrats are already laying the public relations groundwork by pointing to every possible voting irregularity before the Nov. 2 election and accusing Republicans of wrongdoing.
On Election Day, Whouley will head the so-called "boiler room," probably in Washington, that tracks vote counts and ensures Kerry doesn't concede too soon. Whouley was the aide who, after noticing Florida was too close to call in 2000, called Gore's team in Tennessee and told them to put the brakes on the concession speech…
The advisers spoke on condition of anonymity because Kerry wants the focus to be on his campaign for now.
The plan to quickly name a national security team is partly practical (at a time of war, continuity is necessary) and political, aides said, because if there is another recount Kerry will want to show he's ready to take power.

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.buzzflash.com/interviews/04/10/int04053.html

October 21, 2004
9-11 Widow Lorie Van Auken Trusting in Kerry To Make America Safer, Realign Priorities
As I was watching the events on television, watching my husband being burned alive in a building, I would have thought the president would have gotten up and told children: "Please excuse me, but I have something important to attend to." I would hope that we’d have somebody in office that would act like the commander in chief if, God forbid, we’re ever under attack again.
A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW
Lorie Van Auken, the mother of two children, now 17 and 15 years old, lost her husband Kenneth Van Auken in the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Lorie is one of the “Jersey Girls”who, along with Kristen Breitweiser, Mindy Kleinberg, and Patty Casazza, fought the Bush administration tooth and nail for a commission to investigate the September 11th terrorist attacks -- and won. Lorie’s continuing fight for the truth and seeking answers about the 9-11 attacks is as personal as it is about keeping Americans safe and preventing another attack. Lorie believes that until there is full disclosure and accountability from the Bush administration, the agencies and processes that need to be fixed to prevent another attack will be left broken and Americans less safe.

Lorie, along with the other “Jersey Girls,”has endorsed Senator John Kerry for President.

We were honored to speak with Lorie Van Auken about her ongoing battles with the Bush administration over the 9-11 Commission, George W. Bush’s failure on September 11th, how Bush has made America less secure since the attacks and why she thinks John Kerry is the right man for the job.

* * *
BuzzFlash: Your late husband, Kenneth Van Auken, was killed in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11. Tell me how you and other widows and families formed together to organize and advocate for the creation of the 9-11 Commission -- a commission that George W. Bush fought against every step of the way?

Lorie Van Auken: Well, at first we assumed that the government would launch a commission because of the sheer scope of the tragedy. We knew we needed an investigation as to what went wrong with every agency having failed on September 11.

Then we learned that the president and the vice president had not planned an investigation into September 11, which we were completely shocked by. From our point of view, hijackers defeated our entire military with four of our own airplanes and $400,000. We would have thought that the president, on September 12, 2001, would have said: What on earth happened here? We need an investigation and we need to have a good hard look at what went wrong and do what can we do to make sure it never happens again.

Of course, that’s exactly what didn’t happen. So we realized that the only way we were going to ever get any kind of investigation was to go to Washington and have a rally and begin to request that people hear us. We wanted to make everybody understand that it wasn’t just intelligence agencies that failed. The Bush administration had asked that there only be an investigation into intelligence gathering. We knew that that was not enough because every agency had actually contributed to the failure -- the INS, the FAA, NORAD, the Port Authority -- you name it. We needed to look at all of that to find out what needed to be fixed, so we could make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

BuzzFlash: You’ve endorsed Senator John Kerry for president. Tell us why you think Senator Kerry would be a better commander in chief in protecting our country.

Lorie Van Auken: I have many reasons. First of all, this president waited 14 months for an investigation. We think that there should have been an investigation right away. Then they fought funding it properly. Then they fought providing certain documents. Then we fought to have pertinent people appear before the commission, like Condoleezza Rice. And, of course, President Bush and Vice President Cheney walked hand in hand to see the commission for only an hour, behind closed doors, totally off the record, so nobody would really ever hear what they had to say. It ended up being longer than an hour, but still we don’t know what they testified to.

On September 11, I don’t think the president’s actions were very commander-in-chief-like. He was sitting and listening to children read a story to him. As I was watching the events on television, watching my husband being burned alive in a building, I would have thought the president would have gotten up and told children: "Please excuse me, but I have something important to attend to."

I would hope that we’d have somebody in office that would act like the commander in chief if, God forbid, we’re ever under attack again. I know that John Kerry has served in the armed forces and I know that he knows how to react in a crisis -–that’s first of all.
Second, he has pledged to enact all 41 of the 9-11 Commission’s recommendations, which this president is still fighting against. Also, Senator Kerry has said that he would like to work with our allies in the war on terrorism, which I think is the only way to actually combat what’s going on in the world. To find money lines to stop the funding of terrorists, and to share intelligence with other countries -- you need your allies to do that. I think this president has alienated our allies. I think that’s a really terrible thing.

BuzzFlash: How did you and Kristen Breitweiser and Mindy Kleinberg and Patty Casazza get to be known as the “Jersey Girls”? Was that a label you gave yourselves or did it come from the media?

Lorie Van Auken: The four of us had gotten together relatively early on regarding 9-11 related issues. We supported each other. Patty Casazza was working with other families, trying to get information to them, and we were helping her. And then, when we had our rally on June 11, 2002, in Washington, D.C., there were other family members that said they would like to help us fight for the investigation. We became a group of around 12 family members that came from Connecticut and New York, and the four of us came from New Jersey, and to make it simple, we were coined the Jersey Girls. That was how this whole thing started. Because of the [Springsteen] song, it was already a known phrase, and it just stuck.

BuzzFlash: The Jersey Girls embody the power of grassroots organizing and advocacy, and you’ve had many successes. George W. Bush opposed the September 11th Commission and you won. The panel complained about a lack of money to get the job done, and you fought and got more money for it. The national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, refused to testify. You won on that. Of course, the fight is not over. As you said, the Bush administration has said it won’t implement all the recommendations if Bush gets reelected. There are still many pages and documents from the Commission that have not been declassified and released. Beyond November 2, what’s next for you and the families? What work do you still feel you have to do?

Lorie Van Auken: We don’t project forward. We generally just find the next roadblock that we have to somehow circumvent. I think the only reason we’ve been able to keep going is knowing that we have more work to do.

We still have the 28 pages that need to be declassified from the Joint Intelligence Committee Report. We really need to understand who funded the 9-11 attacks. I don’t think protecting anybody at this stage is a good idea. I think we all need to face the facts, and we need to keep it from happening again. Our theme is to just try to make the country safer, and we can’t do that by shrouding any of this in secrecy.

The Bush administration claims national security is the reason, but they’re actually protecting three-year-old sources. I would say classify anything that really has to do with our national security. But from what we’ve heard from people who have read the information, this isn’t about that. It’s because members of the Bush administration feel some kind of embarrassment that we’re protecting someone or something. That’s really not a good reason to keep information classified.

BuzzFlash: What is your response to Vice President Dick Cheney, who continues to lie on a daily basis, claiming that there was a connection between Iraq and the September 11 attacks, even though the commission itself said that it found no credible evidence of any link?

Lorie Van Auken: Vice President Cheney said in the debate with Senator Edwards that he never suggested that there was a connection between 9-11 and Iraq. But of course he previously suggested that there was a connection. He suggested it many times, and he more than suggested it. But now, in the debate, he said he never suggested a connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. I don’t know what to think other than maybe he’s coming around with the findings from the commission.

BuzzFlash: I know you and the other Jersey Girls have been fighting so hard because you don’t want to see another family go through what you had to go through on that awful day. Do you feel that the Bush administration has made America at all safer since 9-11?

Lorie Van Auken: No. We feel that they have done the opposite and made Americans less safe. When we went into Afghanistan right after September 11, we had the support of our allies in the world because they were going to disrupt and destroy terrorist training camps. That would have been the right thing to do -- to try to find Osama bin Laden, who perpetrated the attack.

However, before that job was done, the Bush administration pulled our troops –- America’s sons and daughters –- and put them into Iraq, leaving Afghanistan to the warlords and drug dealers. Opium production is at all-time highs from what we understand, and that was one of the ways the terrorists got their funding. I think that’s certainly not making us any safer. We shouldn’t be enabling terrorists with funding and we shouldn’t have left the terrorist camps with the potential to regroup and reform.

From what I understand, Kabul may be taken care of, but the rest of Afghanistan is really falling by the wayside. They’re moving troops into Iraq without any planning, and they’re not protecting the antiquities of the cradles of civilization, which is not a way to win hearts and minds. We have inflamed the sentiments of the Iraqi people against Americans with the situation at Abu Ghraib. That does not make us any safer, and it might increase the recruitment of terrorists. I do not feel the Bush administration has done a good job on any of these fronts.

BuzzFlash: It has always surprised me that the administration put up so many roadblocks and opposed the 9-11 Commission just on purely political terms. It feels like the administration has a lot to hide. Did it surprise you that they set up roadblocks every step of the way?

Lorie Van Auken: Yes, it’s just been the height of hypocrisy to say that you’re trying to make the country safer, but not want to look at what went wrong on September 11. It always defied logic, because you’d think that they’d want to take a look at where the holes were, where the problems were, how did the terrorists get here, how did they accomplish what they accomplished on September 11. We would have thought that the most important thing would have been to take a good hard look at everything, examine it and then fix it and make sure that it couldn’t ever happen again. And that’s not how that went.

BuzzFlash: If you could meet face to face with President Bush, what would you say to him?

Lorie Van Auken: I would say that we’ve had four years of leadership that really has not been good for our country. You’ve taken us down a path where I just don’t think we’re respected in the world anymore. For the good of the country, you should step down.

BuzzFlash: Laurie, thank you so much for speaking with us.

Lorie Van Auken: You’re welcome. Thank you.
A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW
* * *
Resources:

New York Times: 9-11 Widows Skillfully Applied the Power of a Question: Why?

Newsday: 9-11 wives take on government and win

Washington Post: Driven by Their 9-11 Fears, Widows Pin Hopes on Kerry

Bucks County Courier Times: Sept. 11 widows bash Bush


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/comment/story/0,14259,1332231,00.html
America's hidden vote

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday October 21, 2004
The Guardian

Passing almost without notice earlier this month, the public release of The Civil Rights Record of the George W Bush Administration - the official staff report prepared by the US Civil Rights Commission - whose submission is required by federal law, was blocked by the Republican commissioners. None the less, it was posted on the commission's website: "This report finds that President Bush has neither exhibited leadership on pressing civil rights issues, nor taken actions that matched his words."
Bush has held the Civil Rights Commission in contempt since its June 2001 report on Election Practices in Florida During the 2000 Campaign. Then it concluded: "The commission's findings make one thing clear: widespread voter disenfranchisement - not the dead-heat contest - was the extraordinary feature in the Florida election ... The disenfranchisement of Florida's voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters."
Vast efforts to mobilise or suppress African-American, Hispanic and Democratic voters have already reached a greater level of intensity than in any modern campaign. The Republicans in Ohio, for example, have attempted to toss out new Democratregistrations because it was claimed they were written on the wrong weight of paper, a gambit overruled by a federal court. From Pennsylvania to Arizona, a Republican consulting firm is discouraging new Democratic voters from getting on the rolls.
Meanwhile, the Democratic party has more than 10,000 lawyers deployed to defend against voter suppression, 2,000 stationed in Florida; civil rights groups are sending out more than 6,000 lawyers. Bush v Gore remains an open wound; and now the battle over voting rights, over democracy itself, is being fought again.
Since 2002, when Republicans exploited terrorism to besmirch the patriotism of Democrats in the midterm elections, what can only be called a new Democratic party has been summoned into existence by extra-party groups. More than 100,000 activists are tramping through the precincts. In Ohio alone, more than 300,000 new Democratic voters have been added, Cecile Richards, director of America Votes, told me. These registrations of literally millions of new voters did not just happen; they were organised.
The polls, nearly all showing a dead-even race, fail to account for the new voters, who have no past records. They do not measure those for whom a mobile is their main phone - 6% of the population - who will vote Democrat by a margin of two-and-a-half to one.
The Democracy Corps poll, however, filters in newly registered voters. Four months ago, the newly registered made up only 1% of the sample. One month ago, they comprised 4%. Now they are at 7% and rising. And they will vote for Kerry over Bush by 61% to 37%.
Bush's job approval has fallen now to 47 in this poll; presidents below 50 always lose. Bush has not campaigned in Ohio for three weeks, though he plans to stop there this week. Unemployment continues to rise in the state. "There is no other explanation for his absence," says Stanley Greenberg, Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign pollster, "other than his numbers go down when he's there. His position on jobs is implausible."
Democracy Corps research shows that best-case arguments for either candidate shift no voters. The deciding factor will be turnout: the higher the turnout the larger the vote for Democrats.
Since September 11 infused Bush with a mission, he has evoked hovering angels, crusades, mushroom clouds, evildoers, shades of a universe of death. His imagery induces a dynamic of paralysis before the threat and fervour in embrace of his absolute reassurance and power. Dread without end requires faith without limit.
Yet Bush found himself on the defensive when the New York Times reported on the closed gathering of his campaign contributors, where he revealed his radical programme for his second term - rightwing capture of the supreme court, privatising social security, turning over national land to the oil companies, more tax cuts. Kerry was prompted to raise these issues. And Bush whined that Kerry was practising "the politics of fear". The next day Dick Cheney projected terrorists exploding nuclear weapons within the US, and offered Bush as saviour from looming apocalypse.
"No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as terror," wrote Edmund Burke. But not even the eve of destruction will stifle turnout.
• Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of salon.com
sidney_blumenthal@yahoo.com

http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Oct-20-Wed-2004/news/25041088.html
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

EARLY VOTING: Democrats grab turnout lead
Party says kickoff to election in Nevada bodes well for Kerry win

By ERIN NEFF
REVIEW-JOURNAL

If three days of early voting can constitute a trend, Democrats think the beginning of the election in Nevada bodes well for a John Kerry victory.

In Clark County, Democrats voted in greater numbers than Republicans on each of the first three days of the 14-day early voting period. Overall, Democrats had a lead of 2,104 voters.

Democrats increased turnout on each of the days, edging Republicans 45 to 41 percent Saturday, 45 to 40 percent Sunday and 46 to 40 percent Monday.

"We don't traditionally vote early," Kerry campaign spokesman Sean Smith said of Democrats. "Our internal polling showed that we would do better with voters on Election Day, so we think this is a very good start for us."

Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by 57,000 in Clark County, according to registration for all eligible voters. Among active voters, the edge for Democrats is 43,000.

The Kerry campaign strategy aims at winning Clark County by 9 percent in order to offset the huge Republican advantage throughout 15 rural Nevada counties and a sizable advantage for the GOP in Washoe County.

Washoe County records also showed a good turnout by Democrats. At the county's only early-vote site, Democrats outnumbered Republican voters 387 to 312, according to Saturday totals.

Democrats said they believe nonpartisan voters are going to vote in greater numbers for Kerry.

"We think the nonpartisans or independent voters are going to be breaking for us," Smith said, citing internal polls.

But Republicans said they like the position they're in with the early-vote numbers because they believe Democrats need to have an even larger turnout advantage in Clark County to carry the state.

"We're pleased with where we are at this point," said Bush-Cheney spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.

Tuesday night, Democrats launched a national get-out-the-vote campaign in Las Vegas with Kerry's stepson, Chris Heinz, and a performance by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters rock band.

"We've seen energy for months and months now," said state Democratic Party spokesman Jon Summers. "People have been excited for months; they're voting for change."

Unlike in past years, Democrats and numerous left-leaning tax-exempt advocacy groups -- known as 527s -- in Nevada are actively working to get voters to the polls early.

In interviews at the Meadows mall early voting site Monday and Tuesday, a majority of voters said they had voted for Kerry.

"I view this as a choice between a poor president and a fair senator," said Lois Estoque, a registered Democrat voting for Kerry. "But this is an important election year, and the presidential race is the most important."

Sharon Mitchell voted for Kerry on Tuesday at Meadows mall because she said she worries about health insurance and about her son serving in the military.
Republican George Melendrez said he voted early because he wanted to beat the rush on Election Day to vote for president.
"We just moved here, and we don't know any of the state issues, but being Republicans, we are morally speaking that we cannot vote for someone who is for abortion, like Kerry," Melendrez said. "Abortion is murder."
Out of 45 interviews at the mall Monday and Tuesday, 26 voters said they were voting for Kerry, 12 said they were voting for Bush, six declined to offer their selection and one voted for Libertarian Michael Badnarik.
Republicans have focused considerable efforts on mail-in voting, contacting thousands of voters to offer them a mail ballot. Roughly 11,000 mail ballots were turned in through the first three days, compared with 54,000 early votes through 5 p.m. Tuesday.
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Condoleezza-Rice-Politics.html?oref=login&pagewanted=print&position
October 20, 2004

Edwards Chides Rice Over State Speeches
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


Filed at 1:49 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser, is giving a flurry of speeches in political battleground states in the closing days of the campaign, bringing allegations from Sen. John Kerry's camp that she is injecting herself into the presidential race.
``George Bush will go to any length to cling to power, even if it means diverting his national security adviser from doing her job,'' Sen. John Edwards, Kerry's running mate, said Wednesday. ``It's time for a fresh start with a White House whose priority will be to focus on doing everything to make our country safer -- period.''
Rice is scheduled to give speeches in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida over the next week. In recent days, she has appeared in Ohio, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington state. Until May, Rice had not made any speeches in states considered political battlegrounds.
The White House defended her appearances.
``She doesn't involve herself in the political campaign,'' said communications director Dan Bartlett. ``But we're a nation at war, we're a nation that has troops in harm's way and the president has a foreign policy staff that helps explain the actions we are taking. And it's a totally appropriate role.''
Added James Wilkinson, deputy national security adviser, ``Only those who think nothing worthwhile happens outside of Washington would attack the national security adviser for accepting invitations to discuss national security policy with nonpartisan audiences in America's heartland.''
Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, speaking to reporters during a conference call arranged by the Kerry campaign, said Wednesday he was surprised to see Rice giving so many speeches ``which are obviously timed to coincide with the national elections.''
``I'm afraid that represents, at least in my book, excessive politicization of an office which is unusually sensitive,'' said Brzezinski, who served in the Carter administration.
Records provided by the White House show Rice has given 68 speeches since the beginning of the administration four years ago and that most of them were in the Washington, D.C., area. Traditionally, the national security adviser does not become involved in politics in an overt way.
``For all its fearmongering on the war on terror, this White House has a greater commitment to its political security than to our national security,'' Edwards said in Canton, Ohio. ``The fact is that the violence in Iraq is spiraling out of control, Osama bin Laden remains at large and North Korea and Iran have increased their nuclear capabilities. With all this going on, Condi Rice shouldn't take the time to go on a campaign trip for George Bush.''
Daily Endorsement Tally:
Kerry Carries Louisville, Bush Gets Riverside
By Greg Mitchell
Editor & Publisher
Tuesday 19 October 2004
New York - Sen. John Kerry has widened his lead in daily newspaper endorsements, landing five of the seven new additions to E&P's exclusive tally. He holds a 53-36 edge over President Bush.
It also pushes the Democrat past the 9 million mark in circulation total for backing papers. Bush trails with about 5 million.
Each candidate picked up one major paper. Kerry nabbed the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., while Bush secured The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif.
Others going for Kerry: Merced Sun-Star (Calif.), The Standard-Times (New Bedford, Mass.), The Daily Astorian (Astoria, Ore.), and the East Oregonian (Pendleton, Ore.). In addition to the Riverside paper, Bush picked up The News-Review (Roseburg, Ore.).
Several major papers have yet to be heard from, including: The Washington Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Columbus Dispatch, New York Post, Boston Herald, New York Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times, Saint Paul Pioneer-Press, and Denver Post, among others.
Kerry has now gained at least nine "switches" - papers that backed Bush and now support the challenger. (See chart below.) At least three other papers that endorsed Bush in 2000 have declined to back either candidate this year. Bush has picked up one "switch" from a paper that supported Gore in 2000.
Among the latest editorials, the Sun-Star wrote that Kerry "offers an experienced, steady choice to lead the nation in a different direction." The News-Review backed Bush, "with reservation," but explaining that his "conservative agenda is more attuned" than Kerry's to local residents.
Our complete tally follows, with notes on who the paper backed in 2000, if known (B for Bush and G for Gore):
John Kerry
53 newspapers total
9,223,340 daily circulation
Arizona
Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) (G): 109,592
California
San Francisco Chronicle (G): 501,135
The Sacramento Bee (G): 303,841
San Jose Mercury News (G): 279,539
The Fresno Bee (G): 166,531
The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa) (G): 89,384
The Modesto Bee (G): 87,366
Merced Sun-Star: 17,247
Colorado
Daily Camera (Boulder) (B): 33,419
Connecticut
The Day (New London) (B): 39,553
Florida
St. Petersburg Times (G): 358,502
The Miami Herald (G): 325,032
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale) (G): 268,927
The Palm Beach Post (G): 181,727
Daytona Beach News-Journal (G): 112,945
Florida Today (Melbourne) (G): 90,877
Bradenton Herald (B): 52,163
Georgia
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution : 418,323
Illinois
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights) (B): 150,794
Iowa
The Hawk Eye (Burlington) (G): 19,000
Kentucky
The Courier-Journal (Louisville) (G): 216,934
Lexington Herald-Leader (G): 122,748
Maine
Portland Press Herald (G): 73,211
Massachusetts
The Boston Globe (G): 452,109
The Standard-Times (New Bedford): 35,299
Michigan
Detroit Free Press (G): 354,581
The Muskegon Chronicle (B): 46,505
The Argus-Press (Owosso): 11,438
Minnesota
Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (G): 377,058
Duluth News Tribune: 45,688
The Free Press (Mankato): 21,591
Missouri
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (G): 281,198
The Kansas City Star (G): 269,188
Columbia Daily Tribune (B): 18,874
Nevada
Nevada Appeal (Carson City): 15,296
New Mexico
The Albuquerque Tribune (B): 13,536
New York
The New York Times (G): 1,133,763
North Carolina
The Charlotte Observer (G): 231,369
The Daily Reflector (Greenville): 25,777
North Dakota
Grand Forks Herald (G): 32,385
Ohio
Dayton Daily News (G): 183,175
Akron Beacon Journal (G): 139,220
Oregon
The Oregonian (Portland) (B): 342,040
Mail Tribune (Medford): 35,524
The Register-Guard (Eugene) (G): 72,411
East Oregonian (Pendleton): 10,236
The Daily Astorian (Astoria): 8,429
Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Inquirer (G): 387,692
The Philadelphia Daily News (G): 139,983
Tennessee
The Jackson Sun (G): 35,561
Virginia
The Roanoke Times: 100,447
Washington
The Seattle Times (B): 237,303
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (G): 150,901
The Star (Grand Coulee): no circ available ________________________________________
http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/102104L.shtml

Kerry Aims to Avoid Gore Recount Mistakes
The Associated Press
Wednesday 20 October 2004
Washington - Sen. John Kerry has a simple strategy if the presidential race is in doubt on Nov. 3, the day after the election: Do not repeat Al Gore's mistakes.
Unlike the former vice president, who lost a recount fight and the 2000 election, Kerry will be quick to declare victory on election night and begin defending it. He also will be prepared to name a national security team before knowing whether he's secured the presidency.
"The first thing we will do is make sure everybody has an opportunity to vote and every vote is counted," said Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter. "We will be ready to hit the ground running and begin a fresh start in this country, given that so many critical issues are before us."
The prospects for another contested election grow with every poll showing the race neck and neck.
Gore prematurely conceded the 2000 race to George W. Bush, then had to retract his concession after aides said Florida wasn't lost. He never declared victory, an omission Kerry's advisers - many of whom worked for Gore - now believe created a sense of inevitability in voters' minds about Bush's presidency.
Gore didn't plan for the legal showdown, though few could have predicted it before Election Day. And he watched as Bush seized political advantage during the 36-day recount by publicly discussing a transition to the White House.
Not this time, promise Kerry's advisers. If there is doubt about the results, they will fight without delay.
Six so-called "SWAT teams" of lawyers and political operatives will be situated around the country with fueled-up jets awaiting Kerry's orders to speed to a battleground state. The teams have been told to be ready to fly on the evening of the election to begin mounting legal and political fights. No team will be more than an hour from a battleground.
The Kerry campaign has office space in every battleground state, with plans so detailed they include the number of staplers and coffee machines needed to mount legal challenges.
"Right now, we have 10,000 lawyers out in the battleground states on Election Day, and that number is growing by the day," said Michael Whouley, a Kerry confidant who is running election operations at the Democratic National Committee.
While the lawyers litigate, political operatives will try to shape public perception. Their goal would be to persuade voters that Kerry has the best claim to the presidency and that Republicans are trying to steal it.
Democrats are already laying the public relations groundwork by pointing to every possible voting irregularity before the Nov. 2 election and accusing Republicans of wrongdoing.
On Election Day, Whouley will head the so-called "boiler room," probably in Washington, that tracks vote counts and ensures Kerry doesn't concede too soon. Whouley was the aide who, after noticing Florida was too close to call in 2000, called Gore's team in Tennessee and told them to put the brakes on the concession speech.
Campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill will be with Kerry in Boston, where they will field Whouley's calls.
Jim Johnson, who headed Kerry's vice presidential search team, former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman and longtime Kerry aide David McKean lead the team planning Kerry's transition to the White House.
Aides say the transition process is behind schedule, but Kerry will be ready to name a national security team shortly after the election. They say he has candidates in mind, but is reluctant to discuss the transition while campaigning.
The advisers spoke on condition of anonymity because Kerry wants the focus to be on his campaign for now.
The plan to quickly name a national security team is partly practical (at a time of war, continuity is necessary) and political, aides said, because if there is another recount Kerry will want to show he's ready to take power.
Amid the tumult of the 2000 recount, Bush sought to make his presidency appear as a matter of time by leaking word of his national security team and bringing news cameras into his transition meetings. Gore and his staff were more reluctant to talk about the appointment process.
Kerry's advisers say Bush would have a natural political advantage in a recount in this election because he is the president, with a national security team in place and a public relations spotlight that comes with the White House.


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October 20, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 13 Days to Go -- CIA Inspector General Names Names on 9/11, Supreme Court Clerks are Talking about Bush vs. Gore, Gore speaks out on Coup II, CNN caught in willful DISinformation, Sinclair is getting bloodied...

There are only 13 days to go until the national referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the _resident, the VICE _resident and the US regime stream news media that fronts for it…Kerry-Edwards is attacking the _resident on 9/11, Kristen Breitweiser is debunking the _resident’s claim to leadership in the “war on terrorism” in Kerry-Edwards TV attack ads, Supreme Court clerks are speaking out about the Supreme InJustice of Bush vs. Gore, the CIA Inspector General has written and delivered a report naming the names of those high officials within the Bush abomination who were either asleep at the wheel or driving in the wrong direction (or worse) and the Bush Cabal is blocking its release, Al Gore, the man you elected President of the US in 2000 is sound the alarm that this election too is in great danger, but the US regimestream news media is not reporting these stories, Sinclair is getting the crap knocked out of it by its sponsors, Kerry-Edwards are ahead in local polls taken in Ohio, Fraudida and New Hampshire, an unprecendented number of prominent Republicans, including former Bardoground State governors have not REBUKED the Bush abomination and endorsed Kerry-Edwards, BUT all you hear about on SeeNotNews is DISinformation on cooked polls and the only John Kerry sound bites you are about social security…Please read these SEVEN pieces and share them with others. They deserve to dominate the air waves and capture headlines above the fold, but they will not because the US regimestream news media is a full partner in a Triad of shared special interest (e.g., energy, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, tobacco, etc) with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party…Please vote and encourage others to vote… The very life of the Republic itself is at stake. If enough of us vote they cannot steal it… The Bush abomination is an illegitimate, corrupt and incompetent regime. There is an Electoral Uprising coming at the Ballot Box on November 2…Remember, in this national referendum, when you vote NO on the Bush abomination you are also voting NO on the US regimestream news media, which has fronted for it and provided cover for this illegitimate, corrupt and incompetent regime…Save the Republic on November 2, 2004. If enough of us vote they cannot steal it…Frodo lives!

Scheer, Los Angeles Times: It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."
When I asked about the report, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she and committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) sent a letter 14 days ago asking for it to be delivered. "We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the report," she said. "We are very concerned."
According to the intelligence official, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, release of the report, which represents an exhaustive 17-month investigation by an 11-member team within the agency, has been "stalled." First by acting CIA Director John McLaughlin and now by Porter J. Goss, the former Republican House member (and chairman of the Intelligence Committee) who recently was appointed CIA chief by President Bush.
The official stressed that the report was more blunt and more specific than the earlier bipartisan reports produced by the Bush-appointed Sept. 11 commission and Congress.
"What all the other reports on 9/11 did not do is point the finger at individuals, and give the how and what of their responsibility. This report does that," said the intelligence official. "The report found very senior-level officials responsible."

Noelle Straub, Boston Herald: Former Vice President Al Gore, who lost the bitterly contested 2000 election, is warning of a repeat of the recount nightmare in Florida.
``The widespread efforts by (President) Bush's political allies to suppress voting have reached epidemic proportions,'' he charged yesterday. ``Some of the scandals of Florida four years ago are now being repeated in broad daylight even as we meet here today.''
He said the Bush team used an Enron jet to ferry ``their rent-a-mob to Florida in 2000 to permanently halt the counting of legally cast ballots.''
In a stinging indictment of his former rival, Gore accused Bush of forbidding dissent, disdaining facts and ignoring his mistakes in a ``recklessness that risks the safety and security of the American people.''
``It is love of power for its own sake that is the original sin of this presidency,'' Gore said in a speech at Georgetown University sponsored by the liberal group MoveOn.org.

Al Gore, www.moveon.org: The only warnings of this nature that remotely resembled the one given to George Bush was about the so-called Millenium threats predicted for the end of the year 1999 and less-specific warnings about the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. In both cases these warnings in the President's Daily Briefing were followed, immediately, the same day - by the beginning of urgent daily meetings in the White House of all of the agencies and offices involved in preparing our nation to prevent the threatened attack.
By contrast, when President Bush received his fateful and historic warning of
9/11, he did not convene the National Security Council, did not bring
together the FBI and CIA and other agencies with responsibility to protect
the nation, and apparently did not even ask followup questions about the
warning. The bi-partisan 9/11 commission summarized what happened in its
unanimous report: "We have found no indication of any further discussion
before September 11 th between the President and his advisors about the
possibility of a threat of al Qaeda attack in the United States." The
commissioners went on to report that in spite of all the warnings to
different parts of the administration, the nation's "domestic agencies never
mobilized in response to the threat. They did not have direction and did not
have a plan to institute. The borders were not hardened. Transportation
systems were not fortified. Electronic surveillance was not targeted against
a domestic threat. State and local law authorities were not marshaled to
augment the FBI's efforts. The public was not warned."
We know from the 9/11 commission that within hours of the attack, Secretary Rumsfeld was attempting to find a way to link Saddam Hussein with 9/11. We know the sworn testimony of the President's White House head of counter-terrorism Richard Clarke that on September 12 th - the day after the attack: "The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.I said, 'Mr. President.There's no connection. He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam!
Find out if there's a connection.We got together all the FBI experts, all the
CIA experts.They all cleared the report. And we sent it up to the president
and it got bounced by the National Security Advisor or Deputy. It got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer. ... Do it again.' .I don't think he sees memos that he doesn't-- wouldn't like the answer."
He did not ask about Osama bin Laden. He did not ask about al Qaeda. He did not ask about Saudi Arabia or any country other than Iraq. When Clarke
responded to his question by saying that Iraq was not responsible for the
attack and that al Qaeda was, the President persisted in focusing on Iraq,
and again, asked Clarke to spend his time looking for information linking
Saddam Hussein to the attack.
Again, this is not hindsight. This is how the President was thinking at the
time he was planning America's response to the attack. This was not an
unfortunate misreading of the available evidence, causing a mistaken linkage
between Iraq and al Qaeda, this was something else; a willful choice to make
the linkage, whether evidence existed or not.

www.mediamatters.org: For the second straight day, CNN selectively reported recent presidential polling results. Although the network misleadingly dubbed its October 19 report on recent polls a "comprehensive overview," CNN Live Today host Daryn Kagan omitted results that are more favorable to Senator John Kerry and instead focused on results that show a lead for President George W. Bush.
From the October 19 edition of CNN Live Today:
KAGAN: As the election draws closer, the race appears deadlocked. According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, both Kerry and Bush are in a statistical tie among registered voters. Bush has a one-percentage-point lead among likely voters, but that is within the margin of error. A comprehensive overview of five post-debate polls shows the Bush campaign having a bit more breathing room; it shows Bush with a four-percentage-point lead, just beyond the margin of error.
But there's nothing "comprehensive" about that "overview" of polls -- it excluded the most recent one, The New York Times/CBS News poll, which Kagan had just mentioned. Again: Kagan's "comprehensive" overview did not factor in a poll she had just told viewers about less than ten seconds earlier.
Kagan's "comprehensive" overview also omitted three other recent polls -- and, coincidentally, all three showed better results for Kerry, as Media Matters for America noted after a similar CNN report on October 18.
Kagan also claimed that Bush's lead in the "comprehensive overview" (of polls with results favorable to Bush) was, at four points, "just beyond the margin of error." But the on-screen graphic indicated that the "sampling error" was plus or minus four points, so even under her mistaken view of "margin of error," Bush's lead was just within that. In fact, margin of error applies to both Bush's total and Kerry's total. So Bush's lead is not "just beyond" the margin of error, or even "just within" it -- it is well within the margin of error.

Jon Friedman, CBS Market Watch: Shares of Sinclair Broadcasting Group fell further Tuesday and hit a 3 1/2-year low in the wake of a the television station owner's controversial decision to run a film critical of Sen. John Kerry's military service.
Sinclair shares have dropped about 15 percent since just over a week ago, when the company said its 62 television stations would show the documentary, "Stolen Hours," from Oct. 21-24.
The company's stations reach about 24 percent of the U.S. households that have television sets.
Sinclair's stock (SBGI: news, chart, profile) declined 29 cents to $6.17 by the close of trading.
Sinclair has come under pressure to provide equal time on its stations to allow the Kerry campaign to rebut the film's main charges.
Glickenhaus & Co., a Wall Street firm with clients who own about 6,100 shares of Sinclair stock, sent a protest letter to Sinclair Chief Executive David Smith and the company's board of directors.

Charles Lane, Washington Post: In a town where confidential information travels fast, the justices protect their internal deliberations fiercely - and, usually, successfully.
But in the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine, former Supreme Court law clerks from the court's 2000-01 term speak out - under cover of anonymity - about what they saw behind the scenes during the fateful case of Bush v. Gore.
That case, decided by a 5-4 vote, ended the contentious recount in Florida, thereby giving the presidency to George W. Bush.
Writers David Margolick, Evgenia Peretz and Michael Shnayerson recount the views of former clerks to liberal justices who opposed the ruling. Those clerks contend that the decision was an exercise in partisanship by conservative Republican justices…
The Vanity Fair sources do not deny the importance of in-chambers confidentiality, a lifetime obligation spelled out in the written code of conduct that all law clerks pledge to uphold when they come to the court. They simply felt bound by a higher duty.
"We feel that something illegitimate was done with the Court's power, and such an extraordinary situation justifies breaking an obligation we'd otherwise honor," one clerk told the magazine. "Our secrecy was helping to shield some of those actions."
William Rivers Pitt, www.truthout.org: In the last Presidential election, it was Florida that made the mess. This time, it could very well be Ohio, Oregon, West Virginia and Nevada, and that's just for starters.
The problems with electronic voting machines put in place after the passage of the Help America Vote Act have been well-documented. In Ohio, where thousands of Diebold electronic voting machines have been deployed, a consultant discovered that anyone with a security card and access to the voting terminals could take control of the machines by inputting a frighteningly simple password. Security consultants in Maryland found they could hack into the election system, delete vote counts and make wholesale changes to election results. Horror stories like this abound.
As if this wasn't frightening enough, there are the other stories…
Last week in Nevada, Eric Russell, a former employee of a firm called Voters Outreach of America, which also goes by the names America Votes and Project America Votes, accused the firm of deliberately destroying voter registration forms filled out by people who registered themselves as Democrats. "I personally witnessed my supervisor at VOA, together with her personal assistant, destroy completed registration forms that VOA employees had collected," said Russell. "All of the destroyed registration forms were for registrants who indicated their party preference as 'Democrat.'" Thousands of people who believe they are registered to vote in Nevada will go to the polls on November 2nd and get a nasty shock…
In Ohio, the name 'John Kerry' has been left off absentee ballots sent out to voters. A man named Chad Stanton (yes, for the love of crumbcake, his name is 'Chad') was paid in crack cocaine to submit phony registration forms, and was arrested for his troubles. There are reports that Ohio college students are being paid $100 to vote Republican on absentee ballots.
The Republican Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, attempted to block newly registered voters from getting on the rolls by claiming their registration forms were invalid because they were not on postcard-weight paper. Blackwell has also made efforts to block newly registered voters from receiving provisional ballots, which allow new voters to cast a ballot if they have moved. Such an action not only affects newly registered voters, but also the working poor, who are constantly required to move from residence to residence as their financial status rises and falls.
What is most infuriating about these Ohio stories is the fact that they are taking place amid an unprecedented surge in voter participation. Hundreds of thousands of people have registered to vote in that state; four years ago, newly registered voters could only be measured in the tens of thousands. Ohioans are racing to participate in the democratic process, and are being foiled not just by criminals and fools, but by their own elected representatives.

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.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-scheer19oct19,1,6762967.column?coll=la-util-op-ed
The 9/11 Secret in the CIA's Back Pocket
The agency is withholding a damning report that points at senior officials.
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.

"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."

When I asked about the report, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she and committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) sent a letter 14 days ago asking for it to be delivered. "We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the report," she said. "We are very concerned."

According to the intelligence official, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, release of the report, which represents an exhaustive 17-month investigation by an 11-member team within the agency, has been "stalled." First by acting CIA Director John McLaughlin and now by Porter J. Goss, the former Republican House member (and chairman of the Intelligence Committee) who recently was appointed CIA chief by President Bush.

The official stressed that the report was more blunt and more specific than the earlier bipartisan reports produced by the Bush-appointed Sept. 11 commission and Congress.

"What all the other reports on 9/11 did not do is point the finger at individuals, and give the how and what of their responsibility. This report does that," said the intelligence official. "The report found very senior-level officials responsible."

By law, the only legitimate reason the CIA director has for holding back such a report is national security. Yet neither Goss nor McLaughlin has invoked national security as an explanation for not delivering the report to Congress.

"It surely does not involve issues of national security," said the intelligence official.

"The agency directorate is basically sitting on the report until after the election," the official continued. "No previous director of CIA has ever tried to stop the inspector general from releasing a report to the Congress, in this case a report requested by Congress."

None of this should surprise us given the Bush administration's great determination since 9/11 to resist any serious investigation into how the security of this nation was so easily breached. In Bush's much ballyhooed war on terror, ignorance has been bliss.

The president fought against the creation of the Sept. 11 commission, for example, agreeing only after enormous political pressure was applied by a grass-roots movement led by the families of those slain.

And then Bush refused to testify to the commission under oath, or on the record. Instead he deigned only to chat with the commission members, with Vice President Dick Cheney present, in a White House meeting in which commission members were not allowed to take notes. All in all, strange behavior for a man who seeks reelection to the top office in the land based on his handling of the so-called war on terror.

In September, the New York Times reported that several family members met with Goss privately to demand the release of the CIA inspector general's report. "Three thousand people were killed on 9/11, and no one has been held accountable," 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser told the paper.

The failure to furnish the report to Congress, said Harman, "fuels the perception that no one is being held accountable. It is unacceptable that we don't have [the report]; it not only disrespects Congress but it disrespects the American people."

The stonewalling by the Bush administration and the failure of Congress to gain release of the report have, said the intelligence source, "led the management of the CIA to believe it can engage in a cover-up with impunity. Unless the public demands an accounting, the administration and CIA's leadership will have won and the nation will have lost."

If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archives.

http://news.bostonherald.com/election/view.bg?articleid=49751
Gore warns of grab by Bush
By Noelle Straub
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
WASHINGTON - Former Vice President Al Gore, who lost the bitterly contested 2000 election, is warning of a repeat of the recount nightmare in Florida.

``The widespread efforts by (President) Bush's political allies to suppress voting have reached epidemic proportions,'' he charged yesterday. ``Some of the scandals of Florida four years ago are now being repeated in broad daylight even as we meet here today.''

He said the Bush team used an Enron jet to ferry ``their rent-a-mob to Florida in 2000 to permanently halt the counting of legally cast ballots.''

In a stinging indictment of his former rival, Gore accused Bush of forbidding dissent, disdaining facts and ignoring his mistakes in a ``recklessness that risks the safety and security of the American people.''

``It is love of power for its own sake that is the original sin of this presidency,'' Gore said in a speech at Georgetown University sponsored by the liberal group MoveOn.org.

But Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said, ``Al Gore seems intent on shattering whatever minuscule credibility he has left with baseless, mean-spirited personal attacks and conspiracy theories.''


http://www.moveonpac.org/gore5/

I have made a series of speeches about the policies of the Bush-Cheney
administration - with regard to Iraq, the war on terror, civil liberties, the
environment and other issues - beginning more than two years ago with a
speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco prior to the
administration's decision to invade Iraq. During this series of speeches, I
have tried to understand what it is that gives so many Americans the uneasy
feeling that something very basic has gone wrong with our democracy.

There are many people in both parties who have the uneasy feeling that there is something deeply troubling about President Bush's relationship to reason, his disdain for facts, an incuriosity about new information that might
produce a deeper understanding of the problems and policies that he wrestles with on behalf of the country. One group maligns the President as not being intelligent, or at least, not being smart enough to have a normal curiosity about separating fact from myth. A second group is convinced that his religious conversion experience was so profound that he relies on religious
aith in place of logical analysis. But I disagree with both of those groups.
I think he is plenty smart. And while I have no doubt that his religious
belief is genuine, and that it is an important motivation for many things
that he does in life, as it is for me and for many of you, most of the
President's frequent departures from fact-based analysis have much more to do
with right-wing political and economic ideology than with the Bible. But it
is crucially important to be precise in describing what it is he believes in
so strongly and insulates from any logical challenge or even debate. It is
ideology - and not his religious faith - that is the source of his
inflexibility. Most of the problems he has caused for this country stem not
from his belief in God, but from his belief in the infallibility of the
right-wing Republican ideology that exalts the interests of the wealthy and
of large corporations over the interests of the American people. Love of
power for its own sake is the original sin of this presidency.

The surprising dominance of American politics by right-wing politicians whose
core beliefs are often wildly at odds with the opinions of the majority of
Americans has resulted from the careful building of a coalition of interests
that have little in common with each other besides a desire for power devoted
to the achievement of a narrow agenda. The two most important blocks of this
coalition are the economic royalists, those corporate leaders and high net
worth families with vast fortunes at their disposal who are primarily
interested in an economic agenda that eliminates as much of their own
taxation as possible, and an agenda that removes regulatory obstacles and
competition in the marketplace. They provide the bulk of the resources that
have financed the now extensive network of foundations, think tanks,
political action committees, media companies and front groups capable of
simulating grassroots activism. The second of the two pillars of this
coalition are social conservatives who want to roll back most of the
progressive social changes of the 20 th century, including women's rights,
social integration, the social safety net, the government social programs of
the progressive era, the New Deal, the Great Society and others. Their
coalition includes a number of powerful special interest groups such as the
National Rifle Association, the anti-abortion coalition, and other groups
that have agreed to support each other's agendas in order to obtain their
own. You could call it the three hundred musketeers - one for all and all for
one. Those who raise more than one hundred thousand dollars are called not
musketeers but pioneers.

His seeming immunity to doubt is often interpreted by people who see and hear
him on television as evidence of the strength of his conviction - when in
fact it is this very inflexibility, based on a willful refusal to even
consider alternative opinions or conflicting evidence, that poses the most
serious danger to the country. And by the same token, the simplicity of his
pronouncements, which are often misinterpreted as evidence that he has
penetrated to the core of a complex issue, are in fact exactly the opposite
-- they mark his refusal to even consider complexity. That is a particularly
difficult problem in a world where the challenges we face are often quite
complex and require rigorous analysis.

The essential cruelty of Bush's game is that he takes an astonishingly
selfish and greedy collection of economic and political proposals then cloaks
it with a phony moral authority, thus misleading many Americans who have a
deep and genuine desire to do good in the world. And in the process he
convinces them to lend unquestioning support for proposals that actually hurt
their families and their communities. Bush has stolen the symbolism and body
language of religion and used it to disguise the most radical effort in
American history to take what rightfully belongs to the citizenry of America
and give as much as possible to the already wealthy and privileged, who look
at his agenda and say, as Dick Cheney said to Paul O'Neill, "this is our
due."

The central elements of Bush's political - as opposed to religious -- belief
system are plain to see: The "public interest" is a dangerous myth according
to Bush's ideology - a fiction created by the hated "liberals" who use the
notion of "public interest" as an excuse to take away from the wealthy and
powerful what they believe is their due. Therefore, government of by and for
the people, is bad - except when government can help members of his
coalition. Laws and regulations are therefore bad - again, except when they
can be used to help members of his coalition. Therefore, whenever laws must
be enforced and regulations administered, it is important to assign those
responsibilities to individuals who can be depended upon not to fall prey to
this dangerous illusion that there is a public interest, and will instead
reliably serve the narrow and specific interests of industries or interest
groups. This is the reason, for example, that President Bush put the chairman
of Enron, Ken Lay, in charge of vetting any appointees to the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission. Enron had already helped the Bush team with such
favors as ferrying their rent-a-mob to Florida in 2000 to permanently halt
the counting of legally cast ballots. And then Enron went on to bilk the
electric rate-payers of California, without the inconvenience of federal
regulators protecting citizens against their criminal behavior. Or to take
another example, this is why all of the important EPA positions have been
filled by lawyers and lobbyists representing the worst polluters in their
respective industries in order to make sure that they're not inconvenienced
by the actual enforcement of the laws against excessive pollution. In Bush's
ideology, there is an interweaving of the agendas of large corporations that
support him and his own ostensibly public agenda for the government he leads.
Their preferences become his policies, and his politics become their
business.

Any new taxes are of course bad - especially if they add anything to the
already unbearable burden placed on the wealthy and powerful. There are
exceptions to this rule, however, for new taxes that are paid by lower income
Americans, which have the redeeming virtue of simultaneously lifting the
burden of paying for government from the wealthy and potentially recruiting
those presently considered too poor to pay taxes into the anti-tax bandwagon.

In the international arena, treaties and international agreements are bad,
because they can interfere with the exercise of power, just as domestic laws
can. The Geneva Convention, for example, and the U.S. law prohibiting torture
were both described by Bush's White House Counsel as "quaint." And even
though new information has confirmed that Donald Rumsfeld was personally
involved in reviewing the specific extreme measures authorized to be used by
military interrogators, he has still not been held accountable for the most
shameful and humiliating violation of American principles in recent memory.

Most dangerous of all, this ideology promotes the making of policy in secret,
based on information that is not available to the public and insulated from
any meaningful participation by Congress. And when Congress's approval is
required under our current constitution, it is given without meaningful
debate. As Bush said to one Republican Senator in a meeting described in Time
magazine, "Look, I want your vote. I'm not going to debate it with you." At
the urging of the Bush White House, Republican leaders in Congress have taken
the unprecedented step of routinely barring Democrats from serving on
important conference committees and allowing lobbyists for special interests
to actually draft new legislative language for conference committees that has
not been considered or voted upon in either the House or Senate.

It appears to be an important element in Bush's ideology to never admit a
mistake or even a doubt. It also has become common for Bush to rely on
special interests for information about the policies important to them and he
trusts what they tell him over any contrary view that emerges from public
debate. He has, in effect, outsourced the truth. Most disturbing of all, his
contempt for the rule of reason and his early successes in persuading the
nation that his ideologically based views accurately described the world have
tempted him to the hubristic and genuinely dangerous illusion that reality is
itself a commodity that can be created with clever public relations and
propaganda skills, and where specific controversies are concerned, simply
purchased as a turnkey operation from the industries most affected.

George Orwell said, "The point is that we are all capable of believing things
which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong,
impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.
Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite
time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up
against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."

And in one of the speeches a year ago last August, I proposed that one reason
why the normal processes of our democracy have seemed dysfunctional is that
the nation had a large number of false impressions about the choices before
us, including that Saddam Hussein was the person primarily responsible for
attacking us on September 11 th 2001 (according to Time magazine, 70 percent
thought that in November of 2002); an impression that there was a tight
linkage and close partnership and cooperation between Osama bin Laden and
Saddam Hussein, between the terrorist group al Qaeda, which attacked us, and
Iraq, which did not; the impression that Saddam had a massive supply of
weapons of mass destruction; that he was on the verge of obtaining nuclear
weapons, and that he was about to give nuclear weapons to the al Qaeda
terrorist group, which would then use them against American cities; that the
people of Iraq would welcome our invading army with garlands of flowers; that
even though the rest of the world opposed the war, they would quickly fall in
line after we won and contribute money and soldiers so that there wasn't a
risk to our taxpayers of footing the whole bill, that there would be more
than enough money from the Iraqi oil supplies, which would flow in abundance
after the invasion and that we would use that money to offset expenses and we
wouldn't have to pay anything at all; that the size of the force required for
this would be relatively small and wouldn't put a strain on our military or
jeopardize other commitment around the world. Of course, every single one of
these impressions was wrong. And, unfortunately, the consequences have been
catastrophic for our country.

And the plague of false impressions seemed to settle on other policy debates
as well. For example in considering President Bush's gigantic tax cut, the
country somehow got the impression that, one, the majority of it wouldn't go
disproportionally to the wealthy but to the middle class; two, that it would
not lead to large deficits because it would stimulate the economy so much
that it would pay for itself; not only there would be no job losses but we
would have big increases in employment. But here too, every one of these
impressions was wrong.

I did not accuse the president of intentionally deceiving the American
people, but rather, noted the remarkable coincidence that all of his
arguments turned out to be based on falsehoods. But since that time, we have
learned that, in virtually every case, the president chose to ignore and
indeed often to suppress, studies, reports and facts that were contrary to
the false impressions he was giving to the American people. In most every
case he chose to reject information that was prepared by objective analysts
and rely instead on information that was prepared by sources of questionable
reliability who had a private interest in the policy choice he was
recommending that conflicted with the public interest.

For example, when the President and his team were asserting that Saddam
Hussein had aluminum tubes that had been acquired in order to enrich Uranium
for atomic bombs, numerous experts at the Department of Energy and elsewhere
in the intelligence community were certain that the information being
presented by the President was completely wrong. The true experts on Uranium
enrichment are at Oak Ridge, in my home state of Tennessee. And they told me
early on that in their opinion there was virtually zero possibility
whatsoever that the tubes in question were for the purpose of enrichment -
and yet they received a directive forbidding them from making any public
statement that disagreed with the President's assertions.

In another example, we now know that two months before the war began, Bush
received two detailed and comprehensive secret reports warning him that the
likely result of an American-led invasion of Iraq would be increased support
for Islamic fundamentalism, deep division of Iraqi society with high levels
of violent internal conflict and guerilla warfare aimed against U.S. forces.
Yes, in spite of these analyses, Bush chose to suppress the warnings and
instead convey to the American people the absurdly Polyanna-ish view of
highly questionable and obviously biased sources like Ahmad Chalabi, the
convicted felon and known swindler, who the Bush administration put on its
payroll and gave a seat adjacent to Laura Bush at the State of the Union
address. They flew him into Baghdad on a military jet with a private security
force, but then decided the following year he was actually a spy for Iran,
who had been hoodwinking President Bush all along with phony facts and false
predictions.

There is a growing tension between President Bush's portrait of the situation
in which we find ourselves and the real facts on the ground. In fact, his
entire agenda is collapsing around his ankles: Iraq is in flames, with a
growing U.S. casualty rate and a growing prospect of a civil war with the
attendant chaos and risk of an Islamic fundamentalist state. America's moral
authority in the world has been severely damaged, and our ability to persuade
others to follow our lead has virtually disappeared. Our troops are stretched
thin, are undersupplied and are placed in intolerable situations without
adequate training or equipment. In the latest U.S.-sponsored public opinion
survey of Iraqis only 2% say they view our troops as liberators; more than
90% of Arab Iraqis have a hostile view of what they see as an "occupation."
Our friends in the Middle East - including, most prominently, Israel - have
been placed in greater danger because of the policy blunders and the sheer
incompetence with which the civilian Pentagon officials have conducted the
war. The war in Iraq has become a recruiting bonanza for terrorists who use
it as their damning indictment of U.S. policy. The massive casualties
suffered by civilians in Iraq and the horrible TV footage of women and
children being pulled dead or injured from the rubble of their homes has been
a propaganda victory for Osama bin Laden beyond his wildest dreams. America's
honor and reputation has been severely damaged by the President's decision to
authorize policies and legal hair splitting that resulted in widespread
torture by U.S. soldiers and contractors of Iraqi citizens and others in
facilities stretching from Guantanamo to Afghanistan to Iraq to secret
locations in other countries. Astonishingly, and shamefully, investigators
also found that more than 90 percent of those tortured and abused were
innocent of any crime or wrongdoing whatsoever. The prestigious Jaffe think
tank in Israel released a devastating indictment just last week of how the
misadventure in Iraq has been a deadly distraction from the crucial war on
terror.

We now know from Paul Bremer, the person chosen to be in charge of U.S.
policy in Iraq immediately following the invasion, that he repeatedly told
the White House there were insufficient troops on the ground to make the
policy a success. Yet at that time, President Bush was repeatedly asserting
to the American people that he was relying on those Americans in Iraq for his
confident opinion that we had more than enough troops and no more were
needed.

We now know from the Central Intelligence Agency that a detailed,
comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the likely consequences of an
invasion accurately predicted the chaos, popular resentment, and growing
likelihood of civil war that would follow a U.S. invasion and that this
analysis was presented to the President even as he confidently assured the
nation that the aftermath of our invasion would be the speedy establishment
of representative democracy and market capitalism by grateful Iraqis.

Most Americans have tended to give the Bush-Cheney administration the benefit
of the doubt when it comes to his failure to take any action in advance of
9/11 to prepare the nation for attack. After all, hindsight always casts a
harsh light on mistakes that were not nearly as visible at the time they were
made. And we all know that. But with the benefit of all the new studies that
have been made public it is no longer clear that the administration deserves
this act of political grace by the American people. For example, we now know,
from the 9/11 Commission that the chief law enforcement office appointed by
President Bush to be in charge of counter-terrorism, John Ashcroft, was
repeatedly asked to pay attention to the many warning signs being picked up
by the FBI. Former FBI acting director Thomas J. Pickard, the man in charge
of presenting Ashcroft with the warnings, testified under oath that Aschroft
angrily told him "he did not want to hear this information anymore." That is
an affirmative action by the administration that is very different than
simple negligence. That is an extremely serious error in judgment that
constitutes a reckless disregard for the safety of the American people. It is
worth remembering that among the reports the FBI was receiving, that Ashcroft
ordered them not to show him, was an expression of alarm in one field office
that the nation should immediately check on the possibility that Osama bin
Laden was having people trained in commercial flight schools around the U.S.
And another, from a separate field office, that a potential terrorist was
learning to fly commercial airliners and made it clear he had no interest in
learning how to land. It was in this period of recklessly willful ignorance
on the part of the Attorney General that the CIA was also picking up
unprecedented warnings that an attack on the United States by al Qaeda was
imminent. In his famous phrase, George Tenet wrote, the system was blinking
red. It was in this context that the President himself was presented with a
CIA report with the headline, more alarming and more pointed than any I saw
in eight years I saw of daily CIA briefings: "bin Laden determined to strike
in the U.S."

The only warnings of this nature that remotely resembled the one given to
George Bush was about the so-called Millenium threats predicted for the end
of the year 1999 and less-specific warnings about the Olympics in Atlanta in
1996. In both cases these warnings in the President's Daily Briefing were
followed, immediately, the same day - by the beginning of urgent daily
meetings in the White House of all of the agencies and offices involved in
preparing our nation to prevent the threatened attack.

By contrast, when President Bush received his fateful and historic warning of
9/11, he did not convene the National Security Council, did not bring
together the FBI and CIA and other agencies with responsibility to protect
the nation, and apparently did not even ask followup questions about the
warning. The bi-partisan 9/11 commission summarized what happened in its
unanimous report: "We have found no indication of any further discussion
before September 11 th between the President and his advisors about the
possibility of a threat of al Qaeda attack in the United States." The
commissioners went on to report that in spite of all the warnings to
different parts of the administration, the nation's "domestic agencies never
mobilized in response to the threat. They did not have direction and did not
have a plan to institute. The borders were not hardened. Transportation
systems were not fortified. Electronic surveillance was not targeted against
a domestic threat. State and local law authorities were not marshaled to
augment the FBI's efforts. The public was not warned."

We know from the 9/11 commission that within hours of the attack, Secretary
Rumsfeld was attempting to find a way to link Saddam Hussein with 9/11. We
know the sworn testimony of the President's White House head of counter-
terrorism Richard Clarke that on September 12 th - the day after the attack:
"The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the
door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.I said, 'Mr.
President.There's no connection. He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam!
Find out if there's a connection.We got together all the FBI experts, all the
CIA experts.They all cleared the report. And we sent it up to the president
and it got bounced by the National Security Advisor or Deputy. It got bounced
and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer. ... Do it again.' .I don't think he sees
memos that he doesn't-- wouldn't like the answer."

He did not ask about Osama bin Laden. He did not ask about al Qaeda. He did
not ask about Saudi Arabia or any country other than Iraq. When Clarke
responded to his question by saying that Iraq was not responsible for the
attack and that al Qaeda was, the President persisted in focusing on Iraq,
and again, asked Clarke to spend his time looking for information linking
Saddam Hussein to the attack.

Again, this is not hindsight. This is how the President was thinking at the
time he was planning America's response to the attack. This was not an
unfortunate misreading of the available evidence, causing a mistaken linkage
between Iraq and al Qaeda, this was something else; a willful choice to make
the linkage, whether evidence existed or not.

Earlier this month, Secretary Rumsfeld, who saw all of the intelligence
available to President Bush on the alleged connection between al Qaeda and
Saddam Hussein, finally admitted, under repeated questioning from reporters,
"To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the
two."

This is not negligence, this is deception.

It is clear that President Bush has absolute faith in a rigid, right-wing
ideology. He ignores the warnings of his experts. He forbids any dissent and
never tests his assumptions against the best available evidence. He is
arrogantly out of touch with reality. He refuses to ever admit mistakes.
Which means that as long as he is our President, we are doomed to repeat
them. It is beyond incompetence. It is recklessness that risks the safety and
security of the American people.

We were told that our allies would join in a massive coalition so that we
would not bear the burden alone. But as is by now well known, more than 90
percent of the non-Iraqi troops are American, and the second and third
largest contingents in the non American group have announced just within this
last week their decisions to begin withdrawing their troops soon after the
U.S. election.

We were told by the President that war was his last choice. It is now clear
from the newly available evidence that it was always his first preference.
His former Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O'Neill, confirmed that Iraq was
Topic A at the very first meeting of the Bush National Security Council, just
ten days after the inauguration. "It was about finding a way to do it, that
was the tone of the President, saying, 'Go find me a way to do this.'"

We were told that he would give the international system every opportunity to
function, but we now know that he allowed that system to operate only
briefly, as a sop to his Secretary of State and for cosmetic reasons. Bush
promised that if he took us to war it would be on the basis of the most
carefully worked out plans. Instead, we now know he went to war without
thought or preparation for the aftermath - an aftermath that has now claimed
more than one thousand American lives and many multiples of that among the
Iraqis. He now claims that we went to war for humanitarian reasons. But the
record shows clearly that he used that argument only after his first public
rationale - that Saddam was building weapons of mass destruction --
completely collapsed. He claimed that he was going to war to deal with an
imminent threat to the United States. The evidence shows clearly that there
was no such imminent threat and that Bush knew that at the time he stated
otherwise. He claimed that gaining dominance of Iraqi oil fields for American
producers was never part of his calculation. But we now know, from a document
uncovered by the New Yorker and dated just two weeks to the day after Bush's
inauguration, that his National Security Counsel was ordered to "meld" its
review of "operational policies toward rogue states" with the secretive
Cheney Energy Task Force's "actions regarding the capture of new and existing
oil and gas fields."

We also know from documents obtained in discovery proceedings against that
Cheney Task Force by the odd combination of Judicial Watch and the Sierra
Club that one of the documents receiving scrutiny by the task force during
the same time period was a detailed map of Iraq showing none of the cities or
places where people live but showing in great detail the location of every
single oil deposit known to exist in the country, with dotted lines demarking
blocks for promising exploration - a map which, in the words of a Canadian
newspaper, resembled a butcher's drawing of a steer, with the prime cuts
delineated. We know that Cheney himself, while heading Halliburton, did more
business with Iraq than any other nation, even though it was under U.N.
sanctions, and that Cheney stated in a public speech to the London Petroleum
Institute in 1999 that, over the coming decade, the world will need 50
million extra barrels of oil per day. "Where is it going to come from?"
Answering his own question, he said, "The middle east, with two thirds of the
world's oil and the lowest cost is still where the prize ultimately lies."

In the spring of 2001, when Cheney issued the administration's national
energy plan - the one devised in secret by corporations and lobbyist that he
still refuses to name - it included a declaration that "the [Persian] Gulf
will be a primary focus of U.S. international energy policy."

Less than two months later, in one of the more bizarre parts of Bush's policy
process, Richard Perle, before he was forced to resign on conflict of
interest charges as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, invited a
presentation to the Board by a RAND corporation analyst who recommended that
the United States consider militarily seizing Saudi Arabia's oil fields.

The cynical belief by some that oil played an outsized role in Bush's policy
toward Iraq was enhanced when it became clear that the Iraqi oil ministry was
the only facility in the country that was secured by American troops
following the invasion. The Iraqi national museum, with its priceless
archeological treasures depicting the origins of civilization, the electric,
water and sewage facilities so crucial to maintaining an acceptable standard
of living for Iraqi citizens during the American occupation, schools,
hospitals, and ministries of all kinds were left to the looters.

An extensive investigation published today in the Knight Ridder newspapers
uncovers the astonishing truth that even as the invasion began, there was,
quite literally, no plan at all for the post-war period. On the eve of war,
when the formal presentation of America's plan neared its conclusion, the
viewgraph describing the Bush plan for the post-war phase was labeled, "to be
provided." It simply did not exist.

We also have learned in today's Washington Post that at the same time Bush
was falsely asserting to the American people that he was providing all the
equipment and supplies their commanders needed, the top military commander in
Iraq was pleading desperately for a response to his repeated request for more
equipment, such as body armor, to protect his troops. And that the Army units
under his command were "struggling just to maintain.relatively low readiness
rates."

Even as late as three months ago, when the growing chaos and violence in Iraq
was obvious to anyone watching the television news, Bush went out of his way
to demean the significance of a National Intelligence Estimate warning that
his policy in Iraq was failing and events were spinning out of control. Bush
described this rigorous and formal analysis as just guessing. If that's all
the respect he has for reports given to him by the CIA, then perhaps it
explains why he completely ignored the warning he received on August 6 th,
2001, that bin Laden was determined to attack our country. From all
appearances, he never gave a second thought on that report until he finished
reading My Pet Goat on September 11 th.

Iraq is not the only policy where the President has made bold assertions
about the need for a dramatic change in American policy, a change that he has
said is mandated by controversial assertions that differ radically from
accepted views of reality in that particular policy area. And as with Iraq,
there are other cases where subsequently available information shows that the
President actually had analyses that he was given from reputable sources that
were directly contrary what he told the American people. And, in virtually
every case, the President, it is now evident, rejected the information that
later turned out to be accurate and instead chose to rely upon, and to
forcefully present to the American people, information that subsequently
turned out to be false. And in every case, the flawed analysis was provided
to him from sources that had a direct interest, financial or otherwise, in
the radically new policy that the President adopted. And, in those cases
where the policy has been implemented, the consequences have been to
detriment of the American people, often catastrophically so. In other cases,
the consequences still lie in the future but are nonetheless perfectly
predictably for anyone who is reasonable. In yet other cases the policies
have not yet been implemented but have been clearly designated by the
President as priorities for the second term he has asked for from the
American people. At the top of this list is the privatization of social
security.

Indeed, Bush made it clear during his third debate with Senator Kerry that he
intends to make privatizing Social Security, a top priority in a second term
should he have one. In a lengthy profile of Bush published yesterday, the
President was quoted by several top Republican fundraisers as saying to them,
in a large but private meeting, that he intends to "come out strong after my
swearing in, with.privatizing Social Security."

Bush asserts that - without any corroborating evidence - that the diversion
of two trillion dollars worth of payroll taxes presently paid by American
working people into the social security trust fund will not result in a need
to make up that two trillion dollars from some other source and will not
result in cutting Social Security benefits to current retirees. The
bipartisan Congressional Budget Office, run by a Republican appointee, is one
of many respected organizations that have concluded that the President is
completely wrong in making his assertion. The President has been given facts
and figures clearly demonstrating to any reasonable person that the assertion
is wrong. And yet he continues to make it. The proposal for diverting money
out of the Social Security trust fund into private accounts would generate
large fees for financial organizations that have advocated the radical new
policy, have provided Bush with the ideologically based arguments in its
favor, and have made massive campaign contributions to Bush and Cheney. One
of the things willfully ignored by Bush is the certainty of catastrophic
consequences for the tens of millions of retirees who depend on Social
Security benefits and who might well lose up to 40 percent of their benefits
under his proposal. Their expectation for a check each month that enables
them to pay their bills is very real. The President's proposal is reckless.

Similarly, the President's vigorous and relentless advocacy of "medical
savings accounts" as a radical change in the Medicare program would -
according to all reputable financial analysts - have the same effect on
Medicare that his privatization proposal would have on Social Security. It
would deprive Medicare of a massive amount of money that it must have in
order to continue paying medical bills for Medicare recipients. The
President's ideologically based proposal originated with another large
campaign contributor - called Golden Rule -- that expects to make a huge
amount of money from managing private medical savings accounts. The President
has also mangled the Medicare program with another radical new policy, this
one prepared for Bush by the major pharmaceutical companies (also huge
campaign contributors, of course) which was presented to the country on the
basis of information that, again, turns out to have been completely and
totally false. Indeed the Bush appointee in charge of Medicare was secretly
ordered - we now know - to withhold the truth about the proposal's real cost
from the Congress while they were considering it. Then, when a number of
Congressmen balked at supporting the proposal, the President's henchmen
violated the rules of Congress by holding the 15 minute vote open for more
than two hours while they brazenly attempted to bribe and intimidate members
of Congress who had voted against the proposal to change their votes and
support it. The House Ethics Committee, in an all too rare slap on the wrist,
took formal action against Tom DeLay for his unethical behavior during this
episode. But for the Bush team, it is all part of the same pattern. Lie,
intimidate, bully, suppress the truth, present lobbyists memos as the gospel
truth and collect money for the next campaign.

In the case of the global climate crisis, Bush has publicly demeaned the
authors of official reports by scientists in his own administration that
underscore the extreme danger confronting the United States and the world and
instead prefers a crackpot analysis financed by the largest oil company on
the planet, ExxonMobil. He even went so far as to censor elements of an EPA
report dealing with global warming and substitute, in the official government
report, language from the crackpot ExxonMobil report. The consequences of
accepting ExxonMobil's advice - to do nothing to counter global warming - are
almost literally unthinkable. Just in the last few weeks, scientists have
reached a new, much stronger consensus that global warming is increasing the
destructive power of hurricanes by as much as half of one full category on
the one-to-five scale typically used by forecasters. So that a hurricane
hitting Florida in the future that would have been a category three and a
half, will on average become a category four hurricane. Scientists around the
world are also alarmed by what appears to be an increase in the rate of CO2
buildup in the atmosphere - a development which, if confirmed in subsequent
years, might signal the beginning of an extremely dangerous "runaway
greenhouse" effect. Yet a third scientific group has just reported that the
melting of ice in Antarctica, where 95 percent of all the earth's ice is
located, has dramatically accelerated. Yet Bush continues to rely, for his
scientific advice about global warming, on the one company that most stands
to benefit by delaying a recognition of reality.

The same dangerous dynamic has led Bush to reject the recommendations of
anti-terrorism experts to increase domestic security, which are opposed by
large contributors in the chemical industry, the hazardous materials industry
and the nuclear industry. Even though his own Coast Guard recommends
increased port security, he has chosen instead to rely on information
provided to him by the commercial interests managing the ports who do not
want the expense and inconvenience of implementing new security measures.

The same pattern that produced America's catastrophe in Iraq has also
produced a catastrophe for our domestic economy. Bush's distinctive approach
and habit of mind is clearly recognizable. He asserted over and over again
that his massive tax cut, which certainly appeared to be aimed at the
wealthiest Americans, actually would not go disproportionally to the wealthy
but instead would primarily benefit middle income Americans and "all tax
payers." He asserted that under no circumstances would it lead to massive
budget deficits even though common sense led reasonable people to conclude
that it would. Third, he asserted - confidently of course - that it would not
lead to job losses but would rather create an unprecedented economic boom.
The President relied on high net worth individuals who stood to gain the most
from his lopsided tax proposal and chose their obviously biased analysis over
that of respectable economists. And as was the case with Iraq policy, his
administration actively stopped the publication of facts and figures from his
own Treasury Department analysts that contained inconvenient conclusions." As
a result of this pattern, the Congress adopted the President's tax plan and
now the consequences are clear. We have completely dissipated the 5 trillion
dollar surplus that had been projected over the next ten years (a surplus
that was strategically invaluable to assist the nation in dealing with the
impending retirement of the enormous baby boom generation) and instead has
produced a projected deficit of three and one half over the same period. Year
after year we now have the largest budget deficits ever experienced in
America and they coincide with the largest annual trade deficits and current-
account deficits ever experienced in America - creating the certainty of an
extremely painful financial reckoning that is the financial equivalent for
the American economy and the dollar of the military quagmire in Iraq.

Indeed, after four years of this policy, which was, after all, implemented
with Bush in control of all three branches of government, we can already see
the consequences of their economic policy: for the first time since the four-
year presidency of Herbert Hoover 1928-1932, our nation has experienced a net
loss of jobs. It is true that 9/11 occurred during this period. But it is
equally true that reasonable economists quantify its negative economic impact
as very small compared with the negative impact compared with Bush's. Under
other Presidents the nation has absorbed the impact of Pearl Harbor, World
War II, Vietnam War, Korean war, major financial corrections like that in
1987 and have ended up with a net gain of jobs nonetheless. Only Bush ranks
with Hoover. Confronted with this devastating indictment, his treasury
secretary, John Snow, said last week in Ohio job loss was "a myth." This is
in keeping with the Bush team's general contempt for reality as a basis for
policy. Unfortunately, the job loss is all too real for the more than two
hundred thousand people who lost their jobs in the state where he called the
job loss a myth.

In yesterday's New York Times Magazine, Ron Suskind related a truly startling
conversation that he had with a Bush White House official who was angry that
Suskind had written an article in the summer of 2002 that the White House
didn't like. This senior advisor to Bush told Suskind that reporters like him
lived "in what we call the reality-based community," and denigrated such
people for believing that solutions emerge from your judicious study of
discernable reality.that's not the way the world really works anymore.when we
act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality,
judiciously as you will, we'll act again, creating other new realities, which
you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's
actors, and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

By failing to adjust their policies to unexpected realities, they have made
it difficult to carry out any of their policies competently. Indeed, this is
the answer to what some have regarded as a mystery: How could a team so
skilled in politics be so bumbling and incompetent when it comes to policy?

The same insularity and zeal that makes them effective at smashmouth politics
makes them terrible at governing. The Bush-Cheney administration is a rarity
in American history. It is simultaneously dishonest and incompetent.

Not coincidentally, the first audits of the massive sums flowing through the
Coalition Provisional Authority, including money appropriated by Congress and
funds and revenue from oil, now show that billions of dollars have
disappeared with absolutely no record of who they went to, or for what, or
when, or why. And charges of massive corruption are now widespread. Just as
the appointment of industry lobbyists to key positions in agencies that
oversee their former employers has resulted in institutionalized corruption
in the abandonment of the enforcement of laws and regulations at home, the
outrageous decision to brazenly violate the law in granting sole-source, no-
bid contracts worth billions of dollars to Vice President Cheney's company,
Halliburton, which still pays him money every year, has convinced many
observers that incompetence, cronyism and corruption have played a
significant role in undermining U.S. policy in Iraq. The former four star
general in charge of central command, Tony Zinni, who was named by President
Bush as his personal emissary to the middle east in 2001, offered this view
of the situation in a recent book: "In the lead up to the Iraq war, and its
later conduct, I saw, at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and
irresponsibility; at worst lying, incompetence and corruption. False
rationales presented as a justification; a flawed strategy; lack of planning;
the unnecessary alienation of our allies; the underestimation of the task;
the unnecessary distraction from real threats; and the unbearable strain
dumped on our over-stretched military. All of these caused me to speak
out...I was called a traitor and a turncoat by Pentagon officials."

Massive incompetence? Endemic corruption? Official justification for torture?
Wholesale abuse of civil liberties? Arrogance masquerading as principle?
These are new, unfamiliar and unpleasant realities for America. We hardly
recognize our country when we look in the mirror of what Jefferson called,
"the opinion of mankind." How could we have come to this point?

America was founded on the principle that "all just power is derived from the
consent of the governed." And our founders assumed that in the process of
giving their consent, the governed would be informed by free and open
discussion of the relevant facts in a healthy and robust public forum.

But for the Bush-Cheney administration, the will to power has become its own
justification. This explains Bush's lack of reverence for democracy itself.
The widespread efforts by Bush's political allies to suppress voting have
reached epidemic proportions. The scandals of Florida four years ago are
being repeated in broad daylight even as we meet here today. Harper's
magazine reports in an article published today that tens of thousands of
registered voters who were unjustly denied their right to vote four year ago
have still not been allowed back on the rolls.

An increasing number of Republicans, including veterans of the Reagan White
House and even the father of the conservative movement, are now openly
expressing dismay over the epic failures of the Bush presidency. Doug Bandow,
a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a veteran of both the Heritage
Foundation and the Reagan White House, wrote recently in Salon.com, "Serious
conservatives must fear for the country if Bush is re-elected.based on the
results of his presidency, a Bush presidency would be catastrophic.
Conservatives should choose principles over power." Bandow seemed most
concerned about Bush's unhealthy habits of mind, saying, "He doesn't appear
to reflect on his actions and seems unable to concede even the slightest
mistake. Nor is he willing to hold anyone else responsible for anything. It
is a damning combination." Bandow described Bush's foreign policy as a
"shambles, with Iraq aflame and America increasingly reviled by friend and
foe alike."

The conservative co-host of Crossfire, Tucker Carlson, said about Bush's Iraq
policy, "I think it's a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I
went against my own instincts in supporting it."

William F. Buckley, Jr., widely acknowledged as the founder of the modern
conservative movement in America, wrote of the Iraq war, "If I knew then,
what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have
opposed the war."

A former Republican Governor of Minnesota, Elmer Andersen, announced in
Minneapolis that for the first time in his life he was abandoning the
Republican Party in this election because Bush and Cheney "believe their own
spin. Both men spew outright untruths with evangelistic fervor." Andersen
attributed his switch to Bush's "misguided and blatantly false
misrepresentations of the threat of weapons of mass destruction. The terror
seat was Afghanistan. Iraq had no connection to these acts of terror and was
not a serious threat to the United States as this President claimed, and
there was no relation, it is now obvious, to any serious weaponry." Governor
Andersen was also offended, he said, by "Bush's phony posturing as *censored*sure
leader of the free world."

Andersen and many other Republicans are joining with Democrats and millions
of Independents this year in proudly supporting the Kerry-Edwards ticket. In
every way, John Kerry and John Edwards represent an approach to governing
that is the opposite of the Bush-Cheney approach.

Where Bush remains out of touch, Kerry is a proud member of the "reality
based" community. Where Bush will bend to his corporate backers, Kerry stands
strong with the public interest.

There are now fifteen days left before our country makes this fateful choice
- for us and the whole world. And it is particularly crucial for one more
reason: T The final feature of Bush's ideology involves ducking
accountability for his mistakes.

He has neutralized the Congress by intimidating the Republican leadership and
transforming them into a true rubber stamp, unlike any that has ever existed
in American history.

He has appointed right-wing judges who have helped to insulate him from
accountability in the courts. And if he wins again, he will likely get to
appoint up to four Supreme Court justices.

He has ducked accountability by the press with his obsessive secrecy and
refusal to conduct the public's business openly. There is now only one center
of power left in our constitution capable of at long last holding George W.
Bush accountable, and it is the voters.

There are fifteen days left before our country makes this fateful choice -
for us and the whole world. Join me on November 2 nd in taking our country
back.
http://mediamatters.org/items/200410190005
Incomprehensible: CNN again excluded polls favorable to Kerry from
"comprehensive" polling overview
For the second straight day, CNN selectively reported recent presidential polling results. Although the network misleadingly dubbed its October 19 report on recent polls a "comprehensive overview," CNN Live Today host Daryn Kagan omitted results that are more favorable to Senator John Kerry and instead focused on results that show a lead for President George W. Bush.
From the October 19 edition of CNN Live Today:
KAGAN: As the election draws closer, the race appears deadlocked. According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, both Kerry and Bush are in a statistical tie among registered voters. Bush has a one-percentage-point lead among likely voters, but that is within the margin of error. A comprehensive overview of five post-debate polls shows the Bush campaign having a bit more breathing room; it shows Bush with a four-percentage-point lead, just beyond the margin of error.
But there's nothing "comprehensive" about that "overview" of polls -- it excluded the most recent one, The New York Times/CBS News poll, which Kagan had just mentioned. Again: Kagan's "comprehensive" overview did not factor in a poll she had just told viewers about less than ten seconds earlier.
Kagan's "comprehensive" overview also omitted three other recent polls -- and, coincidentally, all three showed better results for Kerry, as Media Matters for America noted after a similar CNN report on October 18.
Kagan also claimed that Bush's lead in the "comprehensive overview" (of polls with results favorable to Bush) was, at four points, "just beyond the margin of error." But the on-screen graphic indicated that the "sampling error" was plus or minus four points, so even under her mistaken view of "margin of error," Bush's lead was just within that. In fact, margin of error applies to both Bush's total and Kerry's total. So Bush's lead is not "just beyond" the margin of error, or even "just within" it -- it is well within the margin of error.
— J.F.
Posted to the web on Tuesday October 19, 2004 at 1:10 PM EST
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http://www.marketwatch.com/news/yhoo/story.asp?source=blq/yhoo&siteid=yhoo&dist=yhoo&guid=%7B7BB76ADC%2D594B%2D42B4%2D92AD%2D55F7FE796519%7D
More fallout over Sinclair decision
Film on Kerry's war service prompts investor protest

By Jon Friedman, CBS.MarketWatch.com
Last Update: 6:11 PM ET Oct. 19, 2004
E-mail it | Print | Alert | Reprint | RSS


NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- Shares of Sinclair Broadcasting Group fell further Tuesday and hit a 3 1/2-year low in the wake of a the television station owner's controversial decision to run a film critical of Sen. John Kerry's military service.
Sinclair shares have dropped about 15 percent since just over a week ago, when the company said its 62 television stations would show the documentary, "Stolen Hours," from Oct. 21-24.
The company's stations reach about 24 percent of the U.S. households that have television sets.
Sinclair's stock (SBGI: news, chart, profile) declined 29 cents to $6.17 by the close of trading.
Sinclair has come under pressure to provide equal time on its stations to allow the Kerry campaign to rebut the film's main charges.
Glickenhaus & Co., a Wall Street firm with clients who own about 6,100 shares of Sinclair stock, sent a protest letter to Sinclair Chief Executive David Smith and the company's board of directors.
Glickenhaus general partner Jim Glickenhaus, whose firm has about $1 billion in assets under management, said, "Let there be a rebuttal, so no one can accuse you of taking a position."
"Simply, as a fiduciary matter, we have to protect our shareholders," Glickenhaus said. "This has nothing to do with politics."
A call placed to the office of Sinclair's Smith seeking comment wasn't returned.
Some sponsors have already withdrawn their commercials on Sinclair stations in response to the decision.
"Management is not acting in the interest of shareholders," he said. "By showing something that's clearly propaganda, they are damaging the network."
Additionally, some public interest groups have expressed anger over Sinclair's decision and have vowed to oppose its stations when their broadcasting licenses come up for renewal.
"They could lose their licenses," Glickenhaus said. "They're going incur all sorts of challenges to their licenses."
http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/102004I.shtml
Clerks Spill Bush v. Gore Details
By Charles Lane
The Washington Post
Monday 18 October 2004
Washington - The inscription on the front of the Supreme Court building says "Equal Justice Under Law," but the court's motto could just as easily be "What Happens Here, Stays Here." In a town where confidential information travels fast, the justices protect their internal deliberations fiercely - and, usually, successfully.
But in the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine, former Supreme Court law clerks from the court's 2000-01 term speak out - under cover of anonymity - about what they saw behind the scenes during the fateful case of Bush v. Gore.
That case, decided by a 5-4 vote, ended the contentious recount in Florida, thereby giving the presidency to George W. Bush.
Writers David Margolick, Evgenia Peretz and Michael Shnayerson recount the views of former clerks to liberal justices who opposed the ruling. Those clerks contend that the decision was an exercise in partisanship by conservative Republican justices.
Lawyers are buzzing - but the buzz centers less on the article's content than the fact that some of the brilliant, ambitious young men and women who work for the justices broke their vow of silence.
"Since 'The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court' (the 1979 Supreme Court expose by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong), I don't think there has been another case where law clerks spoke so openly to the press about the inner workings of the court," says Noah Feldman, a professor of law at New York University and ex-clerk for Justice David H. Souter. "I'm shocked."
The justices have had no public reaction. Chief Justice William Rehnquist declined a request to comment for this article.
The Vanity Fair sources do not deny the importance of in-chambers confidentiality, a lifetime obligation spelled out in the written code of conduct that all law clerks pledge to uphold when they come to the court. They simply felt bound by a higher duty.
"We feel that something illegitimate was done with the Court's power, and such an extraordinary situation justifies breaking an obligation we'd otherwise honor," one clerk told the magazine. "Our secrecy was helping to shield some of those actions."
Most of the Bush v. Gore clerks aren't talking to the media, even to comment on the article's accuracy, which, as several pointed out privately, would require them to reveal confidential information. But their private comments about the leakers tend to break down along partisan lines, with conservative clerks condemning them and liberals expressing understanding, if not support.
"There's nothing outrageous about what they've done," says a former clerk for a liberal justice, who asked not to be named because of his own concerns about his relationship with other clerks and the court. "It's in the spirit of whistle-blowing if not actual whistle-blowing."
But an open letter in the Sept. 27 issue of Legal Times from 96 mostly conservative former law clerks and lawyers who practice before the Supreme Court branded the leaks "conduct unbecoming any attorney or legal adviser working in a position of trust."
Most of the criticism in the Vanity Fair piece is aimed at Justices Antonin Scalia, Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy, all of whom voted in favor of Bush. Scalia is depicted bullying Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg into watering down her dissenting opinion. O'Connor is described as emotionally fixated on stopping a recount and Kennedy as overly influenced by his right-wing clerks.
As the Vanity Fair article's authors concede, the clerks present no document or other "smoking gun" proving that the conservative justices deliberately decided the case to suit their partisan preferences - a charge that members of the court on both sides have denied publicly.
While calling their account "by far the best" inside look yet, the article acknowledges that it is necessarily "lopsided, partisan, speculative and incomplete."
-------

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/102004A.shtml
Author's note | For more information about issues and incidents surrounding your right to vote, please reference our Voter Rights Page. - wrp
Desperate Measures
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Wednesday 20 October 2004
"Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters."
- Abraham Lincoln
In the last Presidential election, it was Florida that made the mess. This time, it could very well be Ohio, Oregon, West Virginia and Nevada, and that's just for starters.
The problems with electronic voting machines put in place after the passage of the Help America Vote Act have been well-documented. In Ohio, where thousands of Diebold electronic voting machines have been deployed, a consultant discovered that anyone with a security card and access to the voting terminals could take control of the machines by inputting a frighteningly simple password. Security consultants in Maryland found they could hack into the election system, delete vote counts and make wholesale changes to election results. Horror stories like this abound.

Posted by richard at 02:29 PM

October 19, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 14 Days to Go -- More Republican Leaders Repudiate Bush, Edwards Denounces Bush 9/11 "Con," M. Moore Motivates 5K @ UW, US Marines Speak Out from Hell

There are only 14 days to go until the national
referendum on the CHARACTER, CREDIBILITY and
COMPETENCE of the _resident, the VICE _resident and
the US regimestream news media that has protected them for years...Remember, the US regimestream news media
has been, in large part, a full partner in a Triad of shared special interest with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party...They are trying to steal it again, under the cover of cooked polls and craven propapunditgandary...The US regimestream news media refuses to provide CONTEXT and CONTINUITY on the growing list of PRINCIPLED, PATRIOTIC Republicans who are standing up to the Bush Cabal to save their party and their country...Yes, the life of the Republic itself is at stake in the election. If enough of us vote they cannot steal it...

Richard W. Behan, www.smirkingchimp.com: George Bush
is not a Christian, Karl Schwarz tells you. He is a
liar, and Christians don't lie.
Schwarz is telling this to anyone who might listen,
including President Bush, to whom he fired off a
smoking email entitled "An American Demands the Truth
From You."
Other listeners are adding up quickly. First he sent
to his stockholders--300,000 people or so--a
PowerPoint presentation daylighting the greed,
deception, and stupefying corruption of the Bush
Administration. Lately he is making the rounds of the
talk show circuit, and the wild book of outrage will
soon be on the streets.
It is a formidable read. 810 pages. And a
comprehensive title to match: One Way Ticket to
Crawford, Texas: A Conservative Republican Speaks Out
on September 11, 2001; Afghanistan; Iraq; Bush-Cheney
2004; Imperial Oil "Strategeries".
Mr. Schwarz' faith does not surface in the book, but
his disgust as a citizen is apparent, and his
white-hot anger about the Bush Administration is
supported by vivid descriptions of graft and
corruption, with dates, names, and places.
The book displays the ongoing transformation of a
decent democracy into the functional fascism of
corporate empire. The Republicans are not uniquely
responsible for this--Schwarz takes directed swipes at
the Clinton years--but the Bush Administration's
frenzied, happy sellout to the corporate and the
wealthy is rapidly completing the process. George Bush
and his henchmen, Schwarz asserts, are brazenly using
the military might of the United States to enrich
their political supporters and their associated
corporate interests.
Karl W. B. Schwarz lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. He
was twice asked by his party (but declined) to run for
governor, opposing Bill Clinton. He was a top
fundraiser for the Republican National Committee, as a
close personal friend of RNC treasurer, William J.
"Mr. Mac" McManus. Schwarz was active at the highest
levels in the re-election campaign of George H.W.
Bush. He has not been a lightweight Republican.

Associated Press: Former Republican Gov. William
Milliken of Michigan endorsed Democratic Sen. John
Kerry for president on Monday, saying President Bush
has pursued policies "pandering to the extreme right
wing."
Milliken, governor from 1969-82, accused the Bush
administration of rushing into the Iraq war, pushing
tax cuts that benefit the rich and blocking meaningful
stem-cell research.
"I felt so strongly about the direction of this
country that in the end, it wasn't a difficult
decision to make," Milliken said in an interview
Monday with Traverse City Record-Eagle reporters and
editors.
Milliken issued a three-page statement of his views
about Bush and domestic and international issues.
"This president has pursued policies pandering to the
extreme right wing across a wide variety of issues and
has exacerbated the polarization and the strident,
uncivil tone of much of what passes for political
discourse in this country today," Milliken said in the
statement.

LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press: Answering President
Bush's criticism of John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards said
the president on Monday "made one last stand to con
the American people" into believing he is the only one
who can fight terrorism.
"The first casualty of a desperate campaign is the
truth," Kerry's running mate said near the southern
New Jersey town where Bush earlier accused Kerry in a
speech of having a dangerous pre-Sept. 11, 2001, view
of the world. "George Bush (news - web sites) stood up
today and he didn't tell you the truth" about Iraq
(news - web sites), the war on terror, about Kerry and
"about his own record."
"George Bush today made one last stand to con the
American people into believing that he is the only one
who can fight an effective war on terror," Edwards
continued. "John Kerry defended this country as a
young man. He will defend this country as president of
the United States." In Fort Myers, Fla., before Bush's
speech, Edwards accused Bush of "exploiting a national
tragedy for personal gain." He said Bush "claims
steady leadership but offers a steady stream of
failure." He accused the president of "creating a new
haven for terrorists" and assailed him for failing to
capture the mastermind of the attacks, Osama bin Laden
(news - web sites).
"He will fail in the war against terrorism because he
does not know how to lead," Edwards said. "George Bush
is playing on people's deepest fears. He's exploiting
a national tragedy for personal gain — and it's the
lowest kind of politics.
"You don't win the war on terror by giving a speech.
You win the war on terror based on what you do. And
the facts show, the facts show that we haven't done
all that we can to keep the American people safe and
crush the terrorists before they can do harm to us.
George Bush's failed actions speak much louder than
his words.
"One of the greatest signs of weakness and failure is
to resort to the politics of fear and that's what
George Bush is doing today," Edwards said.

nbc15.madison.com: About five thousand students and
community members turned out to see controversial
filmmaker Michael Moore in Madison. He visited to the
University of Wisconsin-Madison campus Saturday night.
The controversial director of Fahrenheit 9/11 took on
President Bush from Iraq to the environment. Moore
urged the crowd to vote but vote for John Kerry,
saying Democrats are the majority and if they vote,
Republicans will have a lot to be scared about.

FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated Press: At this Marine base,
at the far west of the restless Anbar province only
miles from the Syrian border, the news spreads
quickly.
"We are losing guys left and right," says Cpl. Cody
King, 20, of Phoenix, not hiding his anger. "All we
are doing around here is getting blown up."
King and his fellow Marines from the weapons company
of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, spoke
between patrols, huddled together and sifting through
their log book, venting their anger and frustration.
They never talked of fear.
Among other things their green leather bound book
lists are the number of times their company has been
hit by homemade bombs since they arrived in the
country two months ago. Also listed in book, in fine,
careful print, are the names of those who were killed
or wounded during those incidents...
In recent months, Marine fatalities have exceeded Army
deaths -- even though the Army has at least three
times as many troops in Iraq.
It is difficult to pinpoint the reasons for the
unusually high death toll for the Marines because they
limit details on the circumstances of battle deaths to
either "enemy action" or "non-combat related." The
Army specifies the type of weapon that caused the
death as well as the city where it happened.
"After you lose so many Marines, you just keep
fighting to stay alive," says King, the son of a
Vietnam veteran.
But for some of the Marines, lack of armor, few
vehicles and too restrictive rules of engagement are
partly to blame.
"We need more armor, more vehicles and more bodies,"
says King...
"All we are doing is getting Americans killed and we
cannot do much about it," says King. The other marines
in the room nod in approval.

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.smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=18312&mode=nested

Richard W. Behan: 'A Republican businessman vilifies
George Bush'
Posted on Monday, October 18 @ 10:21:17 EDT
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Karl Schwarz -- Conservative and Devoutly
Christian -- and His Wild Book of Outrage

By Richard W. Behan

George Bush is not a Christian, Karl Schwarz tells
you. He is a liar, and Christians don't lie.

Schwarz is telling this to anyone who might listen,
including President Bush, to whom he fired off a
smoking email entitled "An American Demands the Truth
From You."

Other listeners are adding up quickly. First he sent
to his stockholders--300,000 people or so--a
PowerPoint presentation daylighting the greed,
deception, and stupefying corruption of the Bush
Administration. Lately he is making the rounds of the
talk show circuit, and the wild book of outrage will
soon be on the streets.

It is a formidable read. 810 pages. And a
comprehensive title to match: One Way Ticket to
Crawford, Texas: A Conservative Republican Speaks Out
on September 11, 2001; Afghanistan; Iraq; Bush-Cheney
2004; Imperial Oil "Strategeries".

Mr. Schwarz' faith does not surface in the book, but
his disgust as a citizen is apparent, and his
white-hot anger about the Bush Administration is
supported by vivid descriptions of graft and
corruption, with dates, names, and places.

The book displays the ongoing transformation of a
decent democracy into the functional fascism of
corporate empire. The Republicans are not uniquely
responsible for this--Schwarz takes directed swipes at
the Clinton years--but the Bush Administration's
frenzied, happy sellout to the corporate and the
wealthy is rapidly completing the process. George Bush
and his henchmen, Schwarz asserts, are brazenly using
the military might of the United States to enrich
their political supporters and their associated
corporate interests.

Karl W. B. Schwarz lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. He
was twice asked by his party (but declined) to run for
governor, opposing Bill Clinton. He was a top
fundraiser for the Republican National Committee, as a
close personal friend of RNC treasurer, William J.
"Mr. Mac" McManus. Schwarz was active at the highest
levels in the re-election campaign of George H.W.
Bush. He has not been a lightweight Republican.

But neither is he dogmatically partisan. More than
victory in politics, Schwarz seeks integrity in public
life and truth in the flow of information to the
public.

One Way Ticket to Crawford, Texas is a comprehensive
expose of the Bush Administration's systematic
deflecting of public policy to favor private,
corporate interests. The Administration leapt on the
opportunity provided by the anthrax scare, for
example, to inoculate 550,000 servicemen and women
with a vaccine known to be dangerous. Hugely
profitable to a pharmaceutical corporation benefactor,
there is clinical evidence the vaccine caused
widespread respiratory disease, heart attacks,
strokes, and pulmonary embolisms. The book also
details the Bush Administration complicity in Enron's
savaging of the California electricity market. And so
forth.

Schwarz' signature revelation is the story of what
happened to an obscure Argentinean company, the Bridas
Corporation--and how that might explain 9/11,
Afghanistan, and Iraq.

There is $7.34 trillion worth of petroleum and another
$3 trillion of natural gas in the Caspian Basin. A
pipeline across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India could
bring it to market. (Included in this "market" are a
number of gas-fired power plants in Pakistan, owned by
US corporations, and, at the time, an Enron project in
Dabhol, India.)

In 1995 the Bridas Corporation was negotiating with
the Taliban in Afghanistan to build the pipeline. The
U.S. Government and the Unocal Corporation were
pressing the Taliban fiercely to decline. In January
of 1996, however, Bridas signed the contract to
proceed: it now controlled the flow of Caspian riches.

Fast forward to1998. The Project for a New American
Century is staffed by a group of "neoconservatives,"
starkly rightwing political thinkers and activists. It
is committed to maintaining the military and economic
supremacy in the world accorded the United States by
the collapse of the Soviet Union. On January 26, 1998,
the PNAC sent a letter to President Clinton urging the
removal of Saddam Hussein by military means, if
necessary. Should he remain in power, much would be
put at hazard, including "a significant portion of the
world's supply of oil." Signing the letter were Donald
Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, James
Woolsey, Zalmay Khalilzad, John Bolton, Richard
Armitage, and Elliott Abrams.

Fast forward now to 2000, an election year. Eleven
members of the PNAC would assume prominent roles in
the upcoming administration of George W. Bush: the
signers of the 1998 letter to Clinton, plus Richard
Cheney, Douglas Feith, and Lewis Libby. In September
the PNAC made public another document, a 90-page
report entitled, "Rebuilding America's Defenses." The
new document advocated pre-emptive war--something
never done in the history of the nation--but it
realized how sharp a departure this would be. The
"transformation" would be long and difficult, in the
absence of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event,
like a new Pearl Harbor." President Bush, early in his
Administration, formally adopted the concept when he
signed and issued the National Security Strategy
document.

One more fast forward: to January of 2001. The Bush
Administration has taken office, and the linkages with
the oil industry are intimate, historic, and huge. The
president and vice president are just the openers:
eight cabinet members and the National Security
Advisor were drafted directly from the oil industry,
and so were 32 other officials, in the Departments of
Defense, State, Energy, Agriculture, Interior, and the
Office of Management and Budget.

Vice President Dick Cheney convenes his supersecret
"Energy Task Force." Its membership and deliberations
remain deliberately obscured, but Schwarz is certain
the forced removal of the Taliban and the Bridas
Corporation was discussed. The citizen group Judicial
Watch did force the release of a few documents,
however, with a lawsuit. Prominent among them is a map
of the Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, tanker terminals,
and oil exploration blocks: the Cheney Task Force had
more than a passing interest in Iraqi oil, as well.

From Paul O'Neill and others we know the new Bush
people, from their first days in office, intended to
invade Iraq. Less well known was the covert planning,
undertaken in the spring of 2001, for an attack on
Afghanistan. The State Department gained the
concurrence of both India and Pakistan for the attack,
but as late as August 2, U.S. negotiators were still
asking the Taliban to rescind the pipeline contract
with the Bridas Corporation. The negotiations were
fruitless.

On August 6, 2001, President Bush ignored the CIA's
warning of a terrorist attack contained in the
"Presidential Daily Briefing," and 36 days later the
World Trade Center was rubble. Was this the
"catastrophic and catalyzing event" the Project for a
New American Century anticipated, and was the Bush
Administration in any way involved?

The Internet is full of assertions that it was.
Websites, books, and DVD's abound, making their
cases--some alarming, others hyperbolic,
conspiratorial, or looney. Michael Ruppert 's book
Crossing the Rubicon is alarming. Ruppert lays the
blame for 9/11 directly at the feet of Vice President
Cheney, and his argument was worthy enough to
stimulate an invitation from the Commonwealth Club of
San Francisco--hardly on the lunatic fringe--to
present it in person. Speaking on August 31, 2004,
Ruppert did so. Attorney Stanley Hilton, on the other
hand, claims George Bush personally signed the order
authorizing the attacks of 9/11, and he intends to
prove it in a court of law. Mr. Hilton was chief of
staff for Senator Robert Dole, which is a decent
enough credential to keep him out of the looney bin,
but his assertion does give pause to reasonable
people.

The reasonable people of New York City, however, are
evenly split: a Zogby International poll in late
August found 49.3% of those interviewed believed the
Bush Administration had foreknowledge of the attacks
on the Trade Towers and "consciously failed" to act.

To Karl Schwarz' credit, he chooses only to establish
the dots of fact, leaving it to others to connect them
and find culpability. But his dots show the Bush
Administration was fully aware of the Bridas contract
and its threat to the domestic oil industry.

Anyone past middle school can understand how
desperately the Bush Administration needed a credible
excuse to proceed with its planned attack on
Afghanistan. To suggest 9/11 was engineered is risky,
but to consider it an unrelated coincidence is asking
a great deal. Can anyone be that lucky? There is, of
course, a middle ground between engineering and random
good fortune: the Bush Administration might in fact
have known about the impending disaster but chose, as
half of the New Yorkers believe, to do nothing.

On October 7, 2001 the attack on Afghanistan--planned
long before 9/11--was undertaken. On December 31,
Hamid Karzai is appointed by the Bush Administration
to be interim president of Afghanistan, and much has
been made of his former service to the Unocal
Corporation, as a consultant on the Trans Afghanistan
pipeline.

With the Taliban deposed, the Bridas Corporation's
contract to build the pipeline was now in play, and on
February 8, 2002 its fate was sealed. Presidents
Karzai of Afghanistan and Musharraf of Pakistan agreed
to a new plan for a pipeline, and by the end of the
year a project known as the Central Asia Pipeline was
born. The Bridas contract was, in Karl Schwarz' words,
breached by US military force.

On February 23, 2003 the Bush Administration agreed to
finance the Central Asia Pipeline and protect it with
US troops, stationed at permanent bases in the region.


The $10 trillion of hydrocarbon fluids in the Caspian
Basin are now firmly controlled by US oil companies,
including BP/Amoco, Chevron-Texaco, Amerada Hess,
Devon Energy, and Remington/Western Resources. (These
companies also have in common a law firm to represent
them: Baker Botts of Houston, Texas. The senior
partner in the firm is James Baker, the engineer of
George Bush's selection as President by the Supreme
Court, and former Secretary of State in the first Bush
Administration. Baker Botts has been retained also by
Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Defense Minister of
Saudi Arabia. Prince Aziz has been accused of
complicity in 9/11--and sued--by the families of World
Trade Center victims, and Baker Botts is defending
him.)

In Afghanistan, neither the Bridas Corporation--nor
Osama bin Laden--has been seen or heard of since.

Does the Afghanistan episode demonstrate the influence
of the oil industry in the administration of George W.
Bush? Does it explain what happened next?

With "Mission Accomplished" in Afghanistan, the
doctrine of pre-emptive war can now be applied
elsewhere.

President Bush spoke repeatedly of an al Qaida-Iraqi
linkage, deliberately and successfully (and we know
now falsely) persuading the American public Saddam
Hussein was an accessory to 9/11. Chemical weapons,
biological weapons, soon-to-be nuclear weapons. Months
and months of lies and deception at home, of arm
twisting abroad and at the United Nations. And then
came the "pre-emptive" invasion.

Now that the lies of the Bush Administration have been
exposed, we are told the Iraqi adventure was
undertaken to bring freedom and democracy to that
tragic region of the world. Liberation to the Iraqis,
however, looks more like occupation. And the
construction, once more, of permanent military bases
in Iraq provides ample reason to feel that way.

US military might has now cordoned off, during the
Bush Administration, both the $10 trillion in Caspian
Basin resources and the world's second largest pool of
petroleum in Iraq. This is a fact, one of Karl
Schwarz' dots. Is it truly just a collateral result, a
mere by-product of bringing freedom and democracy to
the Middle East?

Ask who benefits from the fact. Ask who bears the
costs. And ask how it happened. Karl Schwarz can
answer all three questions, with names, dates, and
places. He will let you connect his dots.

Mr. Schwarz has seen what other Republicans need to
see: Emperor Bush is utterly naked. He is a
geopolitical Wizard of Oz. Behind the curtain of his
"freedom and democracy" rhetoric there lies indeed a
world-class liar, a wretched charlatan.

As no other president in history, George W. Bush has
directed a Big Lie campaign against his own country,
disgracing our nation in the eyes of the world and
dividing our people at home

We need to honor, by reinstating it, our proud
national heritage of honesty, decency, and generosity
in both foreign and domestic affairs. We need to
regain the respect of the community of nations. We
need to salvage our democracy.

We need to give George W. Bush a one-way ticket home.

This essay is deliberately not copyrighted, so
permission to reproduce it is unnecessary. Richard W.
Behan's latest book is Plundered Promise: Capitalism,
Politics, and the Fate of the Federal Lands (Island
Press, 2001). For information about the book go to
http://www.rockisland.com/~rwbehan/. Behan is
currently working on a more broadly rendered critique,
Degenerate Democracy: A Failing U.S. Constitution and
the Triumph of Corporate Avarice. He can be reached at
rwbehan@rockisland.com.


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=536&e=2&u=/ap/20041018/ap_on_el_pr/kerry_gop_endorsement

Michigan's Milliken Endorses Kerry

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Former Republican Gov. William
Milliken of Michigan endorsed Democratic Sen. John
Kerry (news - web sites) for president on Monday,
saying President Bush (news - web sites) has pursued
policies "pandering to the extreme right wing."

Milliken, governor from 1969-82, accused the Bush
administration of rushing into the Iraq (news - web
sites) war, pushing tax cuts that benefit the rich and
blocking meaningful stem-cell research.


"I felt so strongly about the direction of this
country that in the end, it wasn't a difficult
decision to make," Milliken said in an interview
Monday with Traverse City Record-Eagle reporters and
editors.


Milliken issued a three-page statement of his views
about Bush and domestic and international issues.


"This president has pursued policies pandering to the
extreme right wing across a wide variety of issues and
has exacerbated the polarization and the strident,
uncivil tone of much of what passes for political
discourse in this country today," Milliken said in the
statement.


Milliken, a moderate Republican, has been critical of
Bush and has faulted the GOP on such issues as
same-sex marriage, flag-burning and abortion.


The Bush campaign dismissed Milliken's endorsement,
saying he led under a different time.


"We didn't have the threat from terrorists who want to
kill us," said John Truscott, a spokesman for the Bush
campaign. "We didn't have the same kind of war going
on. This election and these times demand a strong
leader who's decisive and who will tell the truth."


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041018/ap_on_el_pr/edwards

Edwards Says Bush Trying to Con Americans

Mon Oct 18, 7:28 PM ET

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer

HAVERFORD, Pa. - Answering President Bush (news - web
sites)'s criticism of John Kerry (news - web sites),
Sen. John Edwards (news - web sites) said the
president on Monday "made one last stand to con the
American people" into believing he is the only one who
can fight terrorism.

"The first casualty of a desperate campaign is the
truth," Kerry's running mate said near the southern
New Jersey town where Bush earlier accused Kerry in a
speech of having a dangerous pre-Sept. 11, 2001, view
of the world. "George Bush (news - web sites) stood up
today and he didn't tell you the truth" about Iraq
(news - web sites), the war on terror, about Kerry and
"about his own record."


"George Bush today made one last stand to con the
American people into believing that he is the only one
who can fight an effective war on terror," Edwards
continued. "John Kerry defended this country as a
young man. He will defend this country as president of
the United States."


Bush's campaign disputed the notion of any
fabrications in the speech, delivered in a state that
lost nearly 700 residents in the terrorist attack on
the World Trade Center. The campaign also circulated a
memo among reporters citing the sources of the claims
Bush made in the speech.


Campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said Kerry and
Edwards "have demonstrated they will say anything to
get elected."


The day was dominated by talk of terrorism and the
North Carolina senator sought to put Bush on the
defensive as the president headed into what his aides
called a major speech on terrorism in Marlton, N.J.


In Fort Myers, Fla., before Bush's speech, Edwards
accused Bush of "exploiting a national tragedy for
personal gain." He said Bush "claims steady leadership
but offers a steady stream of failure." He accused the
president of "creating a new haven for terrorists" and
assailed him for failing to capture the mastermind of
the attacks, Osama bin Laden (news - web sites).


"He will fail in the war against terrorism because he
does not know how to lead," Edwards said. "George Bush
is playing on people's deepest fears. He's exploiting
a national tragedy for personal gain — and it's the
lowest kind of politics.


"You don't win the war on terror by giving a speech.
You win the war on terror based on what you do. And
the facts show, the facts show that we haven't done
all that we can to keep the American people safe and
crush the terrorists before they can do harm to us.
George Bush's failed actions speak much louder than
his words.


"One of the greatest signs of weakness and failure is
to resort to the politics of fear and that's what
George Bush is doing today," Edwards said.


Since the terrorist attacks, the Taliban regime in
Afghanistan (news - web sites) has been toppled and
the former leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein (news - web
sites), has been in U.S. custody since December.
However, bin Laden still evades capture nearly three
years after the attacks, and casualties of U.S. troops
continue in Iraq.

http://nbc15.madison.com/global/story.asp?s=2440106

Michael Moore Rallies UW Campus

MADISON, Wis. ) About five thousand students and
community members turned out to see controversial
filmmaker Michael Moore in Madison.

He visited to the University of Wisconsin-Madison
campus Saturday night. The controversial director of
Fahrenheit 9/11 took on President Bush from Iraq to
the environment. Moore urged the crowd to vote but
vote for John Kerry, saying Democrats are the majority
and if they vote, Republicans will have a lot to be
scared about.

Moore also said students will play a big role in this
election with this admonition. "(Republicans) need
slackers to keep slacking off. This year the slackers
will rise up." The event was part of Moore's Slacker
Uprising Tour.

About 40 Bush-Cheney supporters also showed up to
protest chanting "We want Bush" and "No more lies" but
the rally was mostly peaceful.

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-iraq-war-in-the-west,0,3853284.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines

Marines Vent Frustration in Western Iraq


By FISNIK ABRASHI
Associated Press Writer

October 19, 2004, 2:58 AM EDT


QAIM, Iraq -- The sound of the Black Hawk medical
helicopter is an ominous sign for the Marines
patrolling this forgotten western corner of Iraq that
borders Syria. It means that one of them is seriously
wounded or killed by their elusive enemy.

The sound of roaring engine, shattering evening calm,
gets immediately followed up with a quick whisper
among the troops, trying to find out who it was --
this time.

At this Marine base, at the far west of the restless
Anbar province only miles from the Syrian border, the
news spreads quickly.

"We are losing guys left and right," says Cpl. Cody
King, 20, of Phoenix, not hiding his anger. "All we
are doing around here is getting blown up."

Most of the incidents these days, in this land of
endless desert, dried-up river beds and winding dirt
roads, include 155 mm artillery shells, mines and
other sorts of crude homemade bombs. They make the
Marines' enemy faceless and only heighten the feeling
of vulnerability. The armor at their disposal is in
short supply.

King and his fellow Marines from the weapons company
of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, spoke
between patrols, huddled together and sifting through
their log book, venting their anger and frustration.
They never talked of fear.

Among other things their green leather bound book
lists are the number of times their company has been
hit by homemade bombs since they arrived in the
country two months ago. Also listed in book, in fine,
careful print, are the names of those who were killed
or wounded during those incidents.

On Sept. 3, a thunderous blast from a homemade bomb
ripped through a group of Marines providing security
for engineers repairing a bridge over the Euphrates
River, near the town of Ubayd.

Four were killed and three were wounded. King escaped
unscathed.

In recent months, Marine fatalities have exceeded Army
deaths -- even though the Army has at least three
times as many troops in Iraq.

It is difficult to pinpoint the reasons for the
unusually high death toll for the Marines because they
limit details on the circumstances of battle deaths to
either "enemy action" or "non-combat related." The
Army specifies the type of weapon that caused the
death as well as the city where it happened.

"After you lose so many Marines, you just keep
fighting to stay alive," says King, the son of a
Vietnam veteran.

But for some of the Marines, lack of armor, few
vehicles and too restrictive rules of engagement are
partly to blame.

"We need more armor, more vehicles and more bodies,"
says King.

Gunnery Sgt. Jason Berold says the rules, as they are
now, are frustrating. Unless they see insurgents
shooting at them or have what they call positive
identification, there's little that the Marines can
do.

"It is very frustrating," says Berold, 38, of Los
Angeles.

"All we are doing is getting Americans killed and we
cannot do much about it," says King. The other marines
in the room nod in approval.

"None of us are scared of going out ... as long as you
get one bad guy."

Because of the existing rules of the engagement,
though, the only thing left after the incidents is to
"pick up your dead and wounded and get out of there as
soon as possible," King says.

Sgt. Ryan Hall, 27, says that a "50-50" chance of
getting hurt or killed on patrol is a good bet among
his troops. As he walks outside the compound, the
Abilene, Texas, resident points to the damage that
company vehicles have suffered. There are cracks in
the armored windshield of their Humvees from flying
shrapnel. There are also holes on the back and damage
to its side.

Shortly after darkness fell in this distant base,
another sound of the helicopter signaled what they all
knew.

"You do not know whether he will survive," King says.

That night, only one made it. A suicide car bomber had
rammed into their patrol near the town of Qaim. Two
soldiers and one Marine died.
Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press | Article
licensing and reprint options


Posted by richard at 03:47 AM

October 18, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 15 Days to Go -- A Republican Activist, a Former Methodist Bisiop and a Conservative Newspaper Repudiate Bush, Plus More on Votergate in Ohio and Fraudida

There are only 15 days to go until the national
referendum on the COMPETENCE, CHARACTER and
CREDIBILITY of the _resident and the VICE
_resident...At least two more US soldiers have died in
Iraq. For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three
Stooges Reich...Here are five compelling pieces,
including the passionate anti-Bush arguments of a
retired Methodist Bishop and another prominent
Republican, as well as the Tampa Tribune editorial
refusing to endorse Bush and declining to endorse
anyone. This conservatie newspaper has endorsed the
Republican every year since Eisenhower in '52, except
for '64 (Goldwater-Johnson) when, like this year, it
refused to endorse either candidate. These three
stories highlight the vast bi-partisan popular front
of resistance to this illegitimate, corrupt and
incompetent regime. There is an Electoral Uprising coming at the Ballo Box on November 2nd. The other two stories in today's
LNS distribution, from Fraudida and Ohio, underscore
the nation-wide efforts of the Bush Cabal and its
wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party
to steal this election, as it did in 2000, with the
complicity of the US regimestream news media, their
full partner in a Triad of shared special interest
(i.e., energy, weapons, media, pharmacueticals,
chemicals, tobacco, etc.) Do not let it happen again.
If enough of us vote they cannot steal it...

Michael Cudahy, www.truthout.org: We will find out in
a few short weeks whether Republican moderates can be
bought off by the occasional bone and a seat at the
children's table, or whether they will regain their
voice and become major players in setting the party's
political agenda for future generations.

William Boyd Grove, Charleston Gazette (WV): Webster
defines blasphemy as “profane or contemptuous speech,
writing, or action concerning God or anything held as
divine.”
Blasphemy is running rampant in our country as this
election campaign proceeds, trivializing holy things
as it moves on. The latest instance of it was the
distribution by the Republican National Committee, in
West Virginia and Arkansas, of a brochure with a
picture of a Bible with the word “banned” across it,
and another with the hands of two men with a wedding
ring with the word “allowed” across it.
The implication is that the election of Sen. John
Kerry would lead to the banning of the Bible and the
approval of same-sex marriage. Those who distributed
the brochure know that the claim is not true and not
possible. The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution
would not allow it, and Sen. Kerry’s election would
not lead to it. The brochure is not only insulting to
the intelligence of West Virginians, targeted to the
stereotype of Appalachians as “dumb hillbillies,” it
is blasphemous; it is profane and contemptuous writing
concerning God and the Bible.

Tampa Tribune Editorial: We find ourselves in a
position unimaginable four years ago when we strongly
endorsed for president a fiscal conservative and
``moderate man of mainstream convictions'' who
promised to wield military muscle only as a last
resort and to resist the lure of ``nation building.''
We find ourselves deeply conflicted today about the
presidential race, skeptical of the promises and
positions of Sen. John Kerry and disappointed by the
performance of President George W. Bush.
As stewards of the Tribune's editorial voice, we find
it unimaginable to not be lending our voice to the
chorus of conservative-leaning newspapers endorsing
the president's re- election. We had fully expected to
stand with Bush, whom we endorsed in 2000 because his
politics generally reflected ours: a strong military,
fiscal conservatism, personal responsibility and small
government. We knew him to be a popular governor of
Texas who fought for lower taxes, less government and
a pro-business constitution.
But we are unable to endorse President Bush for re-
election because of his mishandling of the war in
Iraq, his record deficit spending, his assault on open
government and his failed promise to be a ``uniter not
a divider'' within the United States and the world.

Herald Tribune (S.W. FLA): Several days before the
state's felon voter list was sent to county elections
offices across Florida, state officials expressed
doubts about its reliability.
The doubts were serious enough that Gov. Jeb Bush was
advised to "pull the plug" on the entire project,
according to an e-mail written by a state computer
expert and obtained by the Herald-Tribune.
Bush refused the request, the e-mail said, and told
the Department of State to proceed with the purge of
nearly 48,000 voters.
Two months later, after flaws in the list were exposed
in the press, the state abandoned the effort to purge
voters on the list. Those flaws were revealed after
Secretary of State Glenda Hood lost a court battle to
keep the list hidden from the public.

Associated Press: Presidential votes from Ohio's
predominantly black precincts, most of which use
punch-card ballots, went uncounted at three times the
rate of those from predominantly white precincts in
the 2000 election, according to a newspaper analysis.
The pattern could repeat on Nov. 2, the Columbus
Dispatch reported Sunday based on its
precinct-by-precinct computer analysis comparing 2000
election results from U.S. Census race data.
Ohio had 94,569 uncounted presidential votes in 2000,
which would not have been enough to sway the outcome.
President Bush won Ohio by about 167,000 votes over
Democrat Al Gore.
In precincts where 90 percent or more of the
voting-age population is black, 4.8 percent of ballots
had no votes counted for president.
In precincts where the population was more than 90
percent white, the rate of uncounted presidential
votes was 1.7 percent. The statewide rate was about 2
percent.

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_04/101804F.shtml

The Power of GOP Moderates to Defeat George W. Bush
By Michael Cudahy
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 18 October 2004

If President George W. Bush is reelected, the
direction of the Republican Party is likely to undergo
a massive and fundamental shift. Long-held principles
of liberty, integrity and respect for human rights -
established by Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and
Dwight Eisenhower - could be relegated to the pages of
history books.

Should the president win reelection we could see
national identity cards, a continuation of
irresponsible fiscal policies, and a foreign policy
that rejects a decades long respect for
multilateralism. These are positions that have defined
the party for the better part of the 20th century and
are deserving of this president's consideration.

Ironically, the decision rests in the hands of the
centrist or "moderate" wing of the Republican Party -
the very people whose values will be devalued if this
administration is permitted another four years in
office. Representing only 18-20% of registered
Republicans nationwide, they are in a position to
supply Democrat John Kerry with the 3-5% points he
needs to win an extremely close presidential election.


During the 2000 presidential campaign, George W.
Bush mesmerized many of his party's centrist members
with talk of "compassionate conservatism," and a
desire for bipartisanship cooperation.

"President Bush's rhetoric during the 2000
campaign held the promise for a significant change of
direction," said Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI). "There
was a strong bipartisan desire for mutual respect and
cooperation - for the good of the country. We were
exhausted by the bitter partisan infighting, but this
administration's behavior has only made the problem
worse."

"We are seeing policy initiatives that are
diametrically opposed to the promises we heard four
years ago," Chafee says. "The president is advancing
an extreme agenda that rejects everything from
worldwide environmental cooperation to the banning of
access to abortions for service members overseas."
"Moderates were in a position to provide significant
assistance to this president," says Chafee. "Sadly, he
chose a different direction."

The question that needs to be addressed is the
commitment and courage of rank and file Republican
centrists. Are they prepared to overthrow the
neo-conservative Republicans that betrayed President
George H.W. Bush in 1992, or has their will been
broken by the strong-arm tactics of the last 12 years?


"The problem with moderates," says Ann Stone
Chairman of Republicans for Choice, "is that they are
so moderate, so civil, and generally so silent.
Nonetheless," Stone says, "only 38% of her membership
will be supporting President Bush."

In talking with Republican activists who have
consistently supported moderate positions for decades,
I discovered that none were willing to speak on the
record.

To a person they are intimidated by the extremely
personal and well organized attacks by members of the
Bush administration's political operation.

"When I talk anecdotally to moderate Republicans,
it's very hard to find one who is going to vote for
Bush," said John Zogby, president and CEO of the
polling firm Zogby International, in an interview with
Salon.com. "On the other hand, it's not showing up in
our polling." In fact, Zogby's latest polls show 87
percent of Republicans backing Bush. "I'm just
watching and waiting and saying to myself maybe
there's something going on here, because I'm hearing
it."

Consequently, it is hard to understand why
respected and visible moderate Republican leaders like
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator John McCain,
and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani went to
such lengths at the Republican Convention in New York
to provide President Bush with important political
cover. It is particularly difficult to understand when
this administration has done virtually nothing to
support their concerns.

While some political analysts suggest it is a
strategy to reestablish influence for the centrist
Republican agenda, other observers question whether
the benefits will be worth the price.

"A second Bush term would be a disaster for
American women," said, Evelyn Becker Deputy
Communications Director at NARAL. "We would see an
effort to pack the U.S. Supreme Court with
ultraconservative justices in an attempt to overturn
Roe v. Wade, as well as continued and aggressive
legislative moves to limit women's access to birth
control, proper family planning and health care
services," she said.

The November election will also decide other major
legislative battles critical to party moderates. We
are certain to see the Bush administration set new
standards in partisan politics. This extreme behavior
could precipitate a serious conomic crisis, as a
result of irresponsible tax policies and out of
control government spending, while threatening the
American tradition of free speech with measures such
as the USA Patriot Act.

We will find out in a few short weeks whether
Republican moderates can be bought off by the
occasional bone and a seat at the children's table, or
whether they will regain their voice and become major
players in setting the party's political agenda for
future generations.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Michael Cudahy is a political writer and analyst
from Massachusetts. He was a former national campaign
staff member for President George H.W. Bush, Executive
Director for Elliot Richardson's Committee for
Responsible Government, and National Communications
Director for the Republican Coalition for Choice.
-------

http://www.wvgazette.com/section//200410071

October 08, 2004
William Boyd Grove

Republican presidential campaign blasphemous

Webster defines blasphemy as “profane or contemptuous
speech, writing, or action concerning God or anything
held as divine.”

Blasphemy is running rampant in our country as this
election campaign proceeds, trivializing holy things
as it moves on. The latest instance of it was the
distribution by the Republican National Committee, in
West Virginia and Arkansas, of a brochure with a
picture of a Bible with the word “banned” across it,
and another with the hands of two men with a wedding
ring with the word “allowed” across it.

The implication is that the election of Sen. John
Kerry would lead to the banning of the Bible and the
approval of same-sex marriage. Those who distributed
the brochure know that the claim is not true and not
possible. The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution
would not allow it, and Sen. Kerry’s election would
not lead to it. The brochure is not only insulting to
the intelligence of West Virginians, targeted to the
stereotype of Appalachians as “dumb hillbillies,” it
is blasphemous; it is profane and contemptuous writing
concerning God and the Bible.

Clergy usually do not take public, partisan positions
in an election. I have never before done so in more
than 50 years of ministry as a pastor and a bishop.
But in this election, the use of false teaching
concerning scripture and the Christian faith by a
political campaign demands response from religious
leaders.

It is now widely believed that, of course, nearly all
persons of religious faith will vote for President
Bush. That “conventional wisdom” has originated in the
Republican Party and been advanced by an uncritical
media. The claim is not correct, and the statistics
supporting it have been distorted and oversimplified.
The “religious right” is not the only voice of
religious faith in this country!

The issues on which the religious right has focused in
this campaign are almost solely abortion and same-sex
marriage. While those are important issues that need
and deserve discussion, they are not the only, or even
the primary, issues to which the Bible is relevant. On
the other issues in the campaign, the president’s
policies are not in accord with Biblical teaching, or
with the teaching of his own church.

The media has made much of the fact that Sen. Kerry’s
position on abortion contradicts the teaching of the
Roman Catholic Church and, as a result, some bishops
may deny him the Eucharist. Why does the media not
investigate whether or not President Bush’s policies
are consistent with the teachings of his church, the
United Methodist Church? Such an investigation would
reveal that the president’s policies are contrary to
the Social Principles of his church (official church
teaching), and to the broad consensus of ecumenical
church teaching on many significant issues. I will
name only three:

War and Peace: The Social Principles of the United
Methodist Church, and the dominant position among the
churches of the world is that war is always a last
resort. Pre-emptive war, now official U.S. government
policy, can never be justified by church doctrine.
Care of the environment, or “stewardship of creation”:
According to Genesis, the human was made responsible
for the creation “to till it and to keep it.” In
violation of the Social Principles of the president’s
church, the policies of the administration have rolled
back legislation protecting the environment that has
been in force for many years under presidents of both
parties, and our government has refused to sign
international treaties on global warming and other
threats to the environment.
Concern for the poor: Jesus, quoting the prophet
Isaiah, said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
because he has sent me to bring good news to the
poor.” The teaching of the president’s church seeks
fulfillment of that promise to “bring good news to the
poor.” However, these last years have seen a dramatic
increase in the number of persons living in poverty in
the United States and millions have been added to the
number without health care. The gap between the
wealthy and the middle class and poor has increased
each year under the policies of the government.
Not only are the policies of this government in
conflict with scripture and the teachings of the
president’s church, but President Bush has been
unwilling to listen to the counsel of religious
leaders unless he knows in advance that they agree
with him. Being open to other points of view within
the Christian community is one of the marks of mature
Christian life. The bishops of the president’s church
repeatedly and unsuccessfully have sought a meeting
with the president. He is only the second president
since Washington who has refused to have a discussion
with Methodist bishops.

In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the National
Council of Churches sent small delegations of
Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant leaders to meet with
the leaders of Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia,
the Vatican and the United States of America. In
nearly all of those visits, the delegation met with
the head of state. Of those governments, only the
president of the United States and his administration
refused to receive a delegation.

I do not question President Bush’s personal faith. But
he has not studied the scriptures in relation to
issues of justice and peace, or else he has ignored
those teachings. The result is that he has allowed his
religious beliefs, dominated by his political
ideology, to make him absolutely certain that he is
right, and unwilling to listen to other voices.

He is slow to admit a mistake because he believes his
decisions are just and righteous. The dogged
determination and staying on message that some so
admire is self-righteous and very dangerous. It casts
the current struggle against terrorism in “holy war”
terms, as a conflict between absolute good on one side
and absolute evil on the other, the same perspective
held by the terrorists. The issues are between good
and evil. The methods of the terrorists are evil. But
it is very dangerous for us to see ourselves as
totally righteous.

A mature understanding of scripture could help the
president avoid the arrogance and hubris that have so
offended the rest of the world. And in such a
situation, to exploit, distort and manipulate religion
for political advantage is blasphemous. It is to
trivialize the holy for self-serving purpose.

Religious talk can be very cheap. Jesus said, “Not
everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the
kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will
of my father in heaven.” What is the will of “my
father in heaven”? That is a huge question. The
president and his campaign would do well to reflect on
that question, and to avoid the tendency to believe
that they already know the answers. They also might
consult with others who have studied the question who
might have a different point of view. And meanwhile,
they should be careful to avoid the sin of blasphemy.

Grove, a former West Virginia United Methodist bishop,
lives in Charleston.


http://www.tampatrib.com/News/MGBU3UEHF0E.html

Why We Cannot Endorse President Bush For Re-Election

Published: Oct 17, 2004

We find ourselves in a position unimaginable four
years ago when we strongly endorsed for president a
fiscal conservative and ``moderate man of mainstream
convictions'' who promised to wield military muscle
only as a last resort and to resist the lure of
``nation building.''
We find ourselves deeply conflicted today about the
presidential race, skeptical of the promises and
positions of Sen. John Kerry and disappointed by the
performance of President George W. Bush.
As stewards of the Tribune's editorial voice, we find
it unimaginable to not be lending our voice to the
chorus of conservative-leaning newspapers endorsing
the president's re- election. We had fully expected to
stand with Bush, whom we endorsed in 2000 because his
politics generally reflected ours: a strong military,
fiscal conservatism, personal responsibility and small
government. We knew him to be a popular governor of
Texas who fought for lower taxes, less government and
a pro-business constitution.

But we are unable to endorse President Bush for re-
election because of his mishandling of the war in
Iraq, his record deficit spending, his assault on open
government and his failed promise to be a ``uniter not
a divider'' within the United States and the world.

Neither can we endorse Sen. Kerry, whose
undistinguished Senate record stands at odds with our
conservative principles and whose positions on the
Iraq war - the central issue in this campaign - have
been difficult to distinguish or differentiate.

It is an achingly difficult decision to not endorse a
candidate in the presidential contest, and we do not
reach this decision lightly.

The Tribune has endorsed a Republican for president
ever since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, with one
exception. We did not endorse in the 1964 presidential
race because, as we said at the time, ``it is our
feeling that unless a newspaper can recommend a
candidate with complete conviction that he be the
better choice for the office, it should make no
endorsement.''

Like the country, this editorial board finds itself
deeply divided about the president's prosecution of
the war and his indifference to federal spending.


Bush Overstated The Evidence

Although Bush came to office having lost the popular
vote, the nation rallied behind him after the
terrorist strikes of 9/11. He transcended the
political divide and became everyone's president the
moment he picked up that bullhorn on the ashes of
ground zero and promised the terrorists that they
would hear from us. Aside from a few dancing
extremists, the world stood with us.

Bush told us to wait, and we confidently stood with
him. With surety and resolve, he struck Afghanistan
and the hillside holes of al-Qaida extremists. For
taking out the Taliban and bringing about national
elections in Afghanistan this month, the president
deserves much credit. While we still haven't caught
Osama bin Laden, the ace of spades, our troops have
successfully caught and imprisoned many other al-Qaida
leaders.

But before securing Afghanistan, Bush grew convinced
that Iraq posed an imminent threat to America and so
directed soldiers and supplies there.

His administration terrified us into believing that we
had to quickly wage war with Baghdad to ensure our
safety. Vice President Dick Cheney said he had
``irrefutable evidence'' that Saddam had reconstituted
his nuclear program. National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice wrongly asserted that aluminum tubes
found in Iraq could be used only for nuclear weapons.
And the president himself said he couldn't wait for a
smoking gun in the form of a ``mushroom cloud.''

Again, this editorial board stood solidly with the
president in his resolve to take the fight to the
terrorists where they live, forever changing American
foreign policy with our first-ever ``pre-emptive''
war.

Once we got to Baghdad, however, we found out that the
president was wrong and that the reasons for launching
the war were either exaggerated or inaccurate. There
were no stockpiles of WMD and no link between Saddam
and the terrorists that struck on 9/11.

As it turns out, the neoconservatives in the Bush
administration were bamboozled by dubious sources
named Curveball and Chalabi, whose integrity and
access to real- time information was repeatedly
questioned by our own intelligence services.


No Dissension Allowed

But groupthink took hold among the neocons, while
those with contrary points of view, like Secretary of
State Colin Powell, were sidelined until after key
decisions were made. It was almost as though someone
who asked tough questions was seen as siding with the
terrorists.

When Gen. Eric Shinseki, then Army chief of staff,
said that hundreds of thousands of troops would be
needed to secure a postwar Iraq, his argument was
dismissed and the general summarily pushed aside.

But after Baghdad fell, we saw how insufficient troop
numbers led to the looting of hospitals, businesses
and schools - everything but the Oil Ministry, which
our forces secured.

At the time, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said
with great hubris that the uprising was ``untidy'' but
not unexpected. And the president himself challenged
the enemy to ``bring it on.''

Now we learn from Ambassador Paul Bremer, former
presidential envoy to Iraq, that ``we never had enough
troops on the ground'' to stop the insurgency. Baath
party loyalists went underground only to launch a
guerrilla campaign that makes Iraq less safe today
than immediately after Baghdad fell.

The insurgents have taken back cities like Fallujah,
which we mistakenly ceded to them last April. And they
continue to undo the reconstruction of schools, roads,
clinics and the electrical grid built by our troops
and an array of mostly American contractors. Most
problematic, they keep blowing up rebuilt oil
pipelines whose revenues were supposed to pay for the
reconstruction.

In one of his too-rare press conferences, the
president stood strong in promising that Iraq would be
sovereign by June 30, even though no one could
identify who would get the keys to the country. Bush's
resolve in meeting the deadline for the creation of an
interim government was commendable.

Still, despite deliberate steps to rebuild Iraq, we
find ourselves today in an open-ended war that has
taken the lives of 1,081 American servicemen and
women, and wounded or maimed 7,862 more. Financially,
the war has cost us $126 billion - money that could
have been better spent securing the homeland - and is
a major reason for the largest federal deficit in
history.


More Fear Ahead

What bothers us is that the president says that even
knowing what he knows now, he still would have invaded
Iraq because Saddam had the ``intent'' to make nuclear
weapons and was a ruthless dictator who killed his own
people. If this nation-building succeeds, the
president says, we will have built a friend in the
Middle East.

Because of the invasion, one other renegade country -
Libya - decided to disarm its nuclear program, a real
success for the president.

Still, we are troubled by Bush's talk about a broad
``forward strategy of freedom'' to ``transform'' the
Middle East. We believe it unwise to use our military
to impose democracy on Arab countries, which would
rather determine their own future. We fear this model
of forced democracy will only fuel recruiting
campaigns for terrorism.

And how about Iran and North Korea, who have
considerably more advanced nuclear capabilities than
Iraq ever had? Are we going to brashly send our
overstretched military to war there too?

An American president should take the country to war
only as a last resort, only after exhausting every
diplomatic channel and only after asking demanding
questions and weighing concrete evidence. On the Iraq
war, President Bush failed on all counts.

The Iraq war came about because of a profound failure
of intelligence that went unchecked and unquestioned
by the president, who shows no sign of having second
doubts. He admits to making no mistakes except for a
few presidential appointments - presumably disloyal
people who dared to speak up.

Bush's re-election campaign continues to stoke fear.
``You better have a president who faces these
terrorists down before they hurt us again,'' he said
in the first debate.

Cheney, who continues to maintain that Iraq was in
league with al-Qaida despite evidence to the contrary,
went so far as to say that electing Kerry would invite
another terrorist strike.

We don't like Kerry's talk about a ``global test,''
but neither should we summarily dismiss the court of
world opinion, which, you will remember, was with us
less than three short years ago.

And finally, Bush has done little to broker peace
between the Israelis and Palestinians, a conflict that
continues to ferment hatred in the Arab world.


Bush's Spending Ways

While his prosecution of the war is the principal
reason we cannot endorse the president's re-election,
we are also deeply disappointed by his failure to
control federal spending.

It must be said that Bush has been a friend to
business, and his promise to simplify the tax code is
alluring. He also has dramatically reduced government
regulations that slow commerce and cost money. As one
example, he rightfully ended the requirement that
businesses report any employee complaint of carpal
tunnel syndrome.

It should also be noted that his tax cuts spurred a
sputtering economy and benefited not only the rich,
but the middle class too. He doubled the child credit
to $1,000, reduced the marriage penalty and favored
elimination of the death tax, all positions we
supported.

However, although the numbers from recent months are
more promising, the tax cuts did not spur the expected
job growth. The nation has lost jobs during the Bush
presidency, the first administration since Herbert
Hoover's to oversee a net loss of jobs.

But while the recession, 9/11 and profligate spending
by Congress have grown the deficit, two-thirds can be
traced back to the president's tax cuts, according to
the Office of Management and Budget.

Bush's mistake was failing to couple tax cuts with
reduced spending. Instead of asking some sacrifice
from the public, he allowed Congress to keep spending,
including a giveaway program of farm subsidies.

Bush has yet to veto a single spending bill. Even
Franklin Roosevelt scaled back New Deal programs after
Pearl Harbor.

The result: Bush has turned the $150 billion surplus
he inherited into a $450 billion deficit.

At one point, Congress tried to impose some fiscal
discipline. Lawmakers said they would not pass the
Medicare prescription drug benefit if the cost
exceeded $400 billion over 10 years.

So what did the administration do? It fudged the
numbers.

Thomas Scully, former head of the Medicare agency,
threatened to fire chief actuary Richard Foster if he
dared to tell lawmakers that the true cost stood
between $500 billion and $600 billion.

To make matters worse, the president's law prohibits
Medicare from negotiating the best prices from
pharmaceutical companies.

Against this backdrop of spending, Bush announced a
mission to Mars and support for a missile shield
defense system, a Cold War throwback that would be
nice to have but wouldn't stop the car bombs and
speedboats that are today's terrorists' weapons of
choice.

At the same time, Bush has done nothing to shrink the
size of the federal government. He has not cut one
agency's budget. In fact, at the Department of
Education, he has actually increased spending by 68
percent.

We support a strong and accountable education system,
but we do not support the added layer of federal
regulation that Bush has imposed on Florida schools
through his No Child Left Behind act.

The president modeled his plan after Florida's A-Plus
Plan, which was doing well enough by itself. Now we
have two government programs that send conflicting
messages to Florida parents, teachers and students.

Yet, while throwing money at programs of questionable
urgency, Bush has failed to adequately fund the
Department of Homeland Security. Penny- pinching there
means firefighters and police still lack radios that
can talk to one another, cargo shipments at airports
and seaports are not screened, and hospitals and
biohazard labs feel underfunded and underequipped.

Government Behind Closed Doors

At the birth of the 9/11 millennium, President Bush
rallied us around a new world order that required some
loss of freedoms so that the government could do a
better job of protecting us.

He passed the Patriot Act, which, while not perfect,
gives law enforcement agencies the much-needed ability
to talk with one another.

While we supported the Patriot Act, we are concerned
by the president's relentless attack on open
government.

According to the libertarian Reason Foundation, Bush
has nearly doubled the number of classified documents,
urged agencies to refuse Freedom of Information Act
requests and invoked executive privilege wherever
possible.

His administration doesn't want citizens to know when
hazardous chemicals are routed through their towns,
how the repair of tenuous electric grids is going or
who was at the table to form the nation's energy
policy.

Typical of this administration, only industry
lobbyists and like-minded people were allowed at the
table to craft the energy plan. People who might
dissent - consumer groups and conservationists - were
not invited.

Within a year of Cheney's energy task force, the
administration had given billions in subsidies to
energy firms and begun weakening pollution laws while
opening up wilderness areas to exploitation. The
administration misled people by calling a plan to
weaken pollution controls the Clear Skies initiative.
As one example, the new law allows coal- burning power
plants to avoid installing pollution-control equipment
during renovations.


The Failed Compassionate Conservative

President Bush told us that he was ``uniter, not a
divider,'' but shortly after taking office, his
administration took a sharp right turn that has
divided this country.

We were glad to see him sign the ban on late-term
abortions. While we don't favor the criminalization of
abortion, we want to see the number of abortions
reduced. It is not uncommon to place limits on
freedoms, such as freedom of speech or freedom of
assembly. Limits on abortion can be justified too.

We also agree that religion and tradition define
marriage as the union of a man and a woman. However,
we believe marriage laws should rightfully be left to
the states. We don't support the president's decision
to engage this country in a fight for a constitutional
amendment to ban gay marriage.

Probably most disappointing, however, is his
leadership in Washington.

Besides the White House, Republicans control the House
and the Senate and all committee chairs. But rather
than reach across the aisle, this president has
deepened the divide in Congress, where Republican
leaders have uninvited Democrats from conference
committees where differences are reconciled. We would
not condone such behavior from Democrats and shouldn't
accept it from Republicans.

We had expected something different, given Bush's
tenure in Texas.

People view Bush as a man with strong convictions. And
while he's clearly convinced of the rightness of his
ways, that doesn't mean he's always right.

This president doesn't try to hear from people who
disagree, choosing instead to keep the counsel of
staunch supporters. He disdains news conferences and
brags that he doesn't read the newspapers. He counts
on his core group of insiders to tell him what he
needs to know.

When asked if he consulted his father, the only other
president to have waged war against Iraq, Bush
unabashedly said that he spoke to a ``higher father.''
Presidential decisions about sending men and women to
war should be based on fact, not prayer.

Still, the president seems like a nice guy. He is
plain-spoken and says what he means. People who've met
him come away impressed. If he were a drinking man,
they say, they would enjoy having a beer with him. But
we're not electing Mr. Congeniality. We're electing
the leader of the free world and should set a higher
standard than likability.

On a large scale, Bush has failed to deliver on his
promise to be a compassionate conservative.


Kerry Concerns Us Too

We have written today mostly about Bush because he was
our choice the last time around and we believed his
conservative principles were most closely aligned with
ours.

But neither do we see the senator from Massachusetts
as someone we can endorse.

We're not sure what Kerry thinks. He supported the war
in Iraq, then opposed adequately funding the troops.
His plan to secure the peace in Iraq is to cozy up to
European countries that don't have our interests at
heart.


This is the same man who as a senator for 20 years has
no significant legislation to his name and voted
against all of the major weapons systems that have
made America the most powerful country in the world.

Kerry would repeal Bush's tax cut for Americans who
earn more than $200,000, but he doesn't say how he
would create his promised 10 million jobs. And he
promises to lower health insurance premiums, though
the math looks fuzzy.

He made veracity an issue by putting his noble service
in Vietnam front and center in his campaign. He wants
to be treated as a hero, but 30 years ago he claimed
Americans committed atrocities. He seems shocked that
people doubt him and don't consider him a hero.


Early Voting Starts Tomorrow

When early voting opens in Florida on Monday, you can
begin going to the polls to pick the leader you think
will best protect us and move our country forward.

The president's backers argue that his resolve and
strength prove him to be the best leader for the next
four years. Kerry's people argue that it's time for a
change.

You've heard from the candidates and you've heard our
analysis.

Now it's time for you to vote.

Voting is a matter of faith, since no one can predict
what either candidate will do. Voting is a personal
choice, one of the most personal things we do. We
encourage you to look deep within yourself and choose
the candidate you think most clearly represents your
views.

Of one thing we are certain: America is the greatest
country on earth and will survive, no matter the
outcome on Nov. 2.


http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041016/NEWS/410160348

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Article published Oct 16, 2004
Bush urged to 'pull the plug' on voter purge

By Chris Davis and Matthew Doig
STAFF WRITERS

Several days before the state's felon voter list was
sent to county elections offices across Florida, state
officials expressed doubts about its reliability.

The doubts were serious enough that Gov. Jeb Bush was
advised to "pull the plug" on the entire project,
according to an e-mail written by a state computer
expert and obtained by the Herald-Tribune.

Bush refused the request, the e-mail said, and told
the Department of State to proceed with the purge of
nearly 48,000 voters.

Two months later, after flaws in the list were exposed
in the press, the state abandoned the effort to purge
voters on the list. Those flaws were revealed after
Secretary of State Glenda Hood lost a court battle to
keep the list hidden from the public.

Bush said Friday that he was never warned about any
problems before the list was released.

But his denial contradicts a May 4, 2004, e-mail in
which Florida Department of Law Enforcement computer
expert Jeff Long describes how election officials told
Bush the list needed to be abandoned.

"Paul Craft called today and told me that yesterday
they recommended to the Gov that they 'pull the
plug,'" on the voter database, Long wrote in an e-mail
to his boss, Donna Uzzell.

Long added that state election officials "weren't
comfortable with the felon matching program they've
got."

"The Gov rejected their suggestion to pull the plug,
so they're 'going live' with it this weekend," Long
wrote.

Long was recounting a conversation he had earlier that
day with Craft, the Department of State's top computer
expert and the point man on the felon purge list.

Long's primary responsibility was to provide Craft
with his department's database of convicted felons.

Friday, Long confirmed the contents of the e-mail,
saying that he didn't remember the specifics, but
Craft told him about the meeting with Bush.

"I think Paul was saying he was experiencing some
difficulties with" the felon list, Long said.

But the governor wanted state elections officials to
fix the problems and get the list released, Long said.

"The governor's office, I think, was wanting to move
forward anyway with making it right," he said.

Craft oversaw the process of matching the felon data
with voter registration rolls to create the felon
purge list. Florida is one of a handful of states that
prohibit convicted felons from voting.

Democrats and civil rights groups, wary of the purge
list from the beginning, blasted Bush because
Democrats outnumbered Republicans on the list 3-to-1
and nearly half the list was made up of black voters.

They also noted that Hood had spent more than $100,000
in legal fees fighting to keep the list secret.

After a judge made the purge list public in July, the
Herald-Tribune reported that only 61 Hispanics, who
tend to vote Republican in Florida, were on the list.

Subsequent reports revealed that the FDLE data did not
include Hispanic as one of the race categories,
virtually assuring that Hispanic felons would not be
matched to Hispanic voters.

So far, Hood's office has characterized the flaws as
honest mistakes.

But Ralph Neas, president of People for the American
Way, said Long's e-mail shows that Bush was
responsible for the creation of a flawed list that
could help his brother win the presidential election.

"This isn't functionaries making decisions below the
governor. This is the governor directly overruling the
recommendations of state employees," said Neas, whose
group serves as the legal arm of the NAACP. "This
shows a direct, personal involvement of the governor
in the decisions of state employees directly related
to the conduct of elections. It is nothing short of
astonishing."

In a written statement, Hood spokeswoman Alia Faraj
said, "Paul Craft has never recommended anything to
the governor about the central voter database."

But Faraj didn't address whether other state
department officials asked Bush to scrap the project
on May 3.

It is not clear from the e-mail if the Hispanic flaw
was among the problems that led election officials to
consider ending the list before it was created.

Faraj said Long was referring to other technical
issues that were later resolved, not the Hispanic
flaw.

Long said he could not recall what specific problems
Craft cited as reasons the list should be scrapped. He
also said he could not characterize Craft's level of
concern over Bush's decision to push ahead with the
list.

Craft hung up on a reporter seeking comment Friday.

In the e-mail, however, Long wrote that the governor's
decision forced FDLE and election officials to
complete last-minute work that had not been started.

"They'll be putting on 4 training workshops around the
state, starting Monday here in Tallahassee … none of
which has been scheduled, noticed, or sites arranged
for as of yet!!" Long wrote. "Needless to say, Paul's
going NUTS!"

The e-mail was among more than 1,000 pages of FDLE
documents on the felon voter purge obtained by the
Herald-Tribune under Florida's public records law.

Long's e-mail cites two problems that election
officials had with their list.

Department of State officials had discovered some
unanticipated problems with the FDLE database of
felons. In addition, they didn't know how to deal with
conditional clemency, a process that restores voting
rights if a felon fulfills certain requirements, such
as drug treatment.

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, called the
e-mail a "smoking gun" that ties Gov. Bush to the
flawed effort to purge felons.

"This governor has overseen the most biased, the most
unfair election effort in modern Florida history,"
Wexler said. "He's essentially trying to rig the
election for George Bush."

Wexler said the revelation of Bush's involvement in
decisions about the purge list underscores the need
for an internal investigation into how the list was
created.

He called on state Attorney General Charlie Crist to
investigate.

A Herald-Tribune reporter gave Bush a copy of the
e-mail at a press conference Friday in Punta Gorda. In
a brief interview afterward, Bush denied that any
meeting took place May 3 with Craft or other election
officials.

"He didn't call me," Bush said of Craft. "Once it
became clear after talking to the secretary of state
that there were problems with the list (in July),
that's when we decided to end it."

So far, the only review of the purge list project is
being conducted by Hood's inspector general.

That investigation has been going on for more than
three months with no published findings. Under state
public records law, records generated from such
investigations become public after 60 days.

But Department of State officials have not turned over
any documents from the investigation despite repeated
requests from the Herald-Tribune.

"The Florida Department of State is processing the
Sarasota Herald-Tribune's requests -- plural," Faraj
said. "We'll get them to you as soon as we're at that
point."

Faraj told the Herald-Tribune last week that Kirby
Mole, Hood's inspector general, had not finished his
review. She said she had no idea whether it would be
completed before the November election. Faraj said it
would be inappropriate for Mole to talk with the
press.

In addition, the Herald-Tribune has received no
response to repeated requests to interview Hood.

http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/10/18/loc_loc1elex2votingb.html

Monday, October 18, 2004
Newspaper: More votes uncounted in black areas


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


The Associated Press


COLUMBUS - Presidential votes from Ohio's
predominantly black precincts, most of which use
punch-card ballots, went uncounted at three times the
rate of those from predominantly white precincts in
the 2000 election, according to a newspaper analysis.

The pattern could repeat on Nov. 2, the Columbus
Dispatch reported Sunday based on its
precinct-by-precinct computer analysis comparing 2000
election results from U.S. Census race data.

Ohio had 94,569 uncounted presidential votes in 2000,
which would not have been enough to sway the outcome.
President Bush won Ohio by about 167,000 votes over
Democrat Al Gore.

In precincts where 90 percent or more of the
voting-age population is black, 4.8 percent of ballots
had no votes counted for president.

In precincts where the population was more than 90
percent white, the rate of uncounted presidential
votes was 1.7 percent. The statewide rate was about 2
percent.

"Those variations are strikingly associated with
poverty and lower education," said Herb Asher, an Ohio
State University political-science professor who began
studying punch-card voting more than two decades ago.

All the predominantly black precincts are in Cuyahoga,
Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery and Summit counties.
Only Franklin County uses electronic ballots; the rest
use punch cards, which are in 68 of Ohio's 88
counties.

The rate of uncounted votes is also high in Ohio's
Appalachian counties, which are associated with higher
poverty and lower educational levels, Asher noted.

Holmes County, home to the state's highest
concentration of Amish, also had many uncounted votes
because Amish voters typically skip the presidential
question.

There is no way to tell for sure how many voters
intentionally did not cast a vote for president, but
exit polls indicate the percentage of uncounted votes
is higher than the rate of purposefully skipped votes.

Punch cards were vilified after the 2000 recount in
Florida, marred by incompletely punched holes, more
than one vote for president or improperly aligned
cards.

A federal judge has postponed trial until after the
election in a 2002 American Civil Liberties Union
lawsuit that seeks to declare Ohio's punch-card system
unconstitutional. The ACLU said the aging machines are
too error prone and violate the voting rights of
blacks, who are more likely to live in punch-card
counties.

Posted by richard at 08:14 AM

October 17, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 16 Days to Go -- More doubts about _resident's mental health, Scowcroft dissents, F911 blocks from pre-election pay per view, real journalism from Knight Ridder, Votergate, former Rep. Gov. calls Cheney "evil"

There are only 16 days to go until the national
referendum on the CHARACTER, COMPETENCE and
CREDIBILITY of the _resident and the VICE
_resident...At least seven more US soldiers have died
in Iraq over the last twenty-four hours. For what? The
neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich...
There *is* an Electoral Uprising coming. The race is
not as close as the US regimestream news media, with
its cooked polls, craven propapunditgandists and
besotted anchor men, want you to believe. As Theoden
said to the Rohirrim, just before they plunged into
the multitude of orcs who had already broken through
the outer walls of Minas Tirth and were beginning to sack
the city, "Fear no darkness."
Here are EIGHT very compelling pieces. Please read
them and share them with others. Please vote and
encourage others to vote. Please remember that the US
regimestream news media is a full partner in a Triad
of shared special interest (e.g., energy, weapons,
media, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, tobacco, etc.) with
the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party...

www.buzzflash.com: Every year for the last three years
President Bush has had his annual physical in August.
This year the Bush administration has announced that
the president will not be taking his physical until
after the election. Time constraints of his
re-election campaign are given as the major reason for
the change. Exactly how long does a physical take? Not
that long really. So is the President really skipping
his physical because of time constraints or is he
hiding something?
There are many reasons to suspect the President is
hiding something. First is the physical evidence
visible in the three presidential debates. In the
first debate the President was relatively subdued.
Most notable was a persistent scowl that seldom left
his face unless he was the one speaking. But in the
second debate there was a completely different version
of the President. He seemed overly aggressive and kept
making an odd side to side motion with his lower jaw.
Many, including doctors and other medical
professionals, suggested the changes were symptomatic
of someone who had been given cocaine or a drug with
similar effects.
The aggressive behavior and the jaw movement were gone
in the third debate but that time the President had an
odd white spittle in the corner of his mouth, seemed
to have a more reddish than usual complexion, and the
left side of his face seemed to droop
uncharacteristically. Many, again including doctors
and other medical professionals, wondered if the
President had suffered a minor stroke or perhaps
developed a heart condition. Some noted that the size
and placement of the odd bulge evident under the
President’s suit jacket at the debates were consistent
with a type of special defibrillator that can be worn
under one’s clothing. Others suggested that if the
President had been medicated at the second debate he
could have been given a different medication before
the third debate and that the flushing and salivation
could be side effects of that medicine.
If there were no other evidence besides what was
plainly visible during the debates, the President’s
decision to delay his annual physical until after the
election would definitely still give the appearance of
hiding something. But the questions about the
President’s health don’t stop there. As noted by James
Fallows in the July/August 2004 edition of Atlantic
Monthly, the contrast between the President, as he is
today and the George W. Bush who debated Ann Richards
in 1994 is startling. Over the last ten years the
President’s speaking ability has declined
dramatically. Another video made recently by the
President for the Iraqi Survey Group was leaked to the
website dailykos.com. In that video the President
struggled even more than usual to speak clearly and
form complete thoughts. Something definitely seemed
amiss.
In addition to the President’s documented
deterioration in speaking ability there have been what
seem an unusual number of falls and bad bruises. The
President fell off a Segway scooter, which is
supposedly difficult to do. He reportedly choked on a
pretzel and then briefly passed out. He reportedly
fell off a bicycle on his ranch after hitting a slick
spot caused by rain (even though weather reports
contradicted the rain part of the official story). In
another incident he injured his knee and had to give
up running. And these are just some of the episodes
that have been reported. The President also has a
curiously low resting heart rate (43 bpm).
A piece by Ron Suskind published in the New York Times
Magazine on October 17, 2004 also raised anew
speculation about the President’s temperament. Insider
witnesses confirm that the President has a certainty
of mind that sometimes defies the facts and that he
often displays belligerent impatience with those who
tell him what he does not want to hear.
Previously, a handful of professional analysts had
publicly speculated in print that such behavior might
be a symptom of dry drunk syndrome and that the
President’s past alcohol and/or drug abuse might be
affecting his health. Along those lines, some doctors
have specifically noted that spider lesions, like ones
that have been removed from the President’s face, can
be evidence of liver problems.

Andrew Stephen, Observer: The evidence has been before
our eyes for some time, but only during the course of
this election campaign has it crystallised - just in
time, possibly, for the 2 November election. The 43rd
US President has always had a much-publicised knack
for mangled syntax, but now George Bush often searches
an agonisingly long time, sometimes in vain, for the
right words. His mind simply blanks out at crucial
times. He is prone, I am told, to foul-mouthed temper
tantrums in the White House. His handlers now rarely
allow him to speak an unscripted word in public.
Indeed, there are now several confusing faces to the
US President, and we saw three of them in the live,
televised Presidential debates with John Kerry that
culminated last Wednesday night in Tempe, Arizona. In
the first debate on 30 September, watched by more than
62 million viewers, we saw Bush at his most
unattractive: slouching, peevish, pouting, pursing his
lips with disdain at what his opponent was saying. But
he was unable to marshal any coherent arguments
against Kerry and merely spewed out prepared talking
points - in what, even his ardent supporters concede,
was Bush's worst-ever such performance.
In the second debate on 8 October in St Louis, Bush
could not stay on his stool and leapt up to dispense
what were - certainly in contrast to Kerry's cogent
recital of statistics and arguments - frequently
defensive, shouting rants. I assume that he was told
by his handlers not to show displeasure at Kerry's
words this time around, but, instead, he revealed his
anger by blinking repeatedly...
By the time of the third debate on 13 October, this
one witnessed by more than 50 million people, Bush had
adopted yet another baffling persona. This time, he
was peculiarly flushed, leading a colleague to
speculate whether he was on something. He had clearly
been told to look positive - that was his main thrust
of the evening, with frequent assertions that 'freedom
is on the march' - and spent the evening with a
creepy, inane grin on his face, as though he was
red-faced after a festive Christmas dinner.
So what is up with the US President, and why is this
election so crucial not only for America but for the
world? I have been examining videos of his first 1994
debate with Ann Richards, the Governor of Texas, who
he was about to supplant, and of his 2000 debates with
Al Gore. In his one and only debate with Richards a
decade ago, Bush was fluent and disciplined; with
Gore, he had lost some of that polish but was still
articulate, with frequent invocations of his supposed
'compassionate conservatism'.
It is thus hard to avoid the conclusion that Bush's
cognitive functioning is not, for some reason, what it
once was. I am not qualified to say why this is so. It
would not be surprising if he was under enormous
stress, particularly after the 9/11 atrocities in
2001, and I gather this could explain much, if not
everything.
But I have heard wild speculation in Washington that
he is suffering from a neurological disorder, or that
the years of alcoholism might finally be taking their
toll on his brain.
I think it unlikely that Bush was wearing a bug so
that he could be fed lines in at least one of the
debates, but it is indicative of how his capabilities
are regarded these days that the suggestion that he
needed advice is given credence, as well as passing
mentions in the powerful Washington Post and New York
Times .
It does not help that Bush now lives in a positively
Nixonian cocoon. He does not read newspapers; he sees
television only to watch football; he makes election
speeches exclusively at ticket-only events, and his
courtiers consciously avoid giving him bad news. When
he met John Kerry for their first bout on the debating
platform, it was almost a new experience for the
President to hear the voice of dissent.
A senior Republican, experienced and wise in the ways
of Washington, told me last Friday that he does not
necessarily accept that Bush is unstable, but what is
clear, he added, is that he is now manifestly unfit to
be President.
This, too, is a view that is widely felt, but seldom
articulated and then only in private, within the
Republican as well as Democratic establishments in
Washington. Either way, the choice voters make on
Tuesday fortnight should be obvious: whether he is
unstable or merely unfit to be President - and I would
argue that they amount to much the same - he should
speedily be turfed out of office.

HERB KEINON, Jerusalem Post: Brent Scowcroft, a former
US national security adviser, said in an interview
with London's Financial Times that Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon has Bush "wrapped around his little
finger."
Scowcroft, considered a mentor to US National Security
Adviser Condoleezza Rice, was also quoted as saying
that Iraq is a "failing venture." Sharon, Scowcroft
said he has Bush "mesmerized."

Ron Suskind, NY Times: The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Associated Press: A cable pay-per-view company has
decided not to show a three-hour election eve special
with filmmaker Michael Moore that included a showing
of his documentary ``Fahrenheit 9/11,'' which is
sharply critical of President Bush.
The company, iN DEMAND, said Friday that its
decision is due to ``legitimate business and legal
concerns.'' A spokesman would not elaborate.
Moore has just released his movie on DVD and was
seeking a TV outlet for the film.
Earlier this week, trade publications said Moore
was close to a deal with iN DEMAND for ``The Michael
Moore Pre-Election Special,'' which also would include
interviews with politically active celebrities and
admonitions to vote. The Nov. 1 special was to be
available for $9.95.
Moore said Friday he signed a contract with the
company in early September and is considering legal
action. He said he believes iN DEMAND decided not to
air the film because of pressure from ``top Republican
people.''
"Apparently people have put pressure on them and
they've broken a contract,'' Moore told The Associated
Press.
``We've informed them of their legal responsibility
and we all informed them that every corporate
executive that has attempted to prohibit Americans
from seeing this film has failed,'' Moore said.
``There's been one struggle or another over this, but
we've always come out on top because you can't tell
Americans they can't watch this.''
The New York-based iN DEMAND, owned by the Time
Warner, Cox and Comcast cable companies, makes
pay-per-view programming available in 28 million
homes, or about one-quarter of the nation's homes with
television...
This spring, Moore did battle with the Walt Disney
Co., which refused to release ``Fahrenheit 9/11''
through its Miramax Films because it was too
politically partisan for the company's taste...
Also Friday, Moore offered to let Sinclair Broadcast
Group Inc. air the movie for free. Such a deal would
likely get a chilly reception at Sinclair, a
broadcaster with a reputation for conservative
politics that plans to air a critical documentary
about John Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activities on
dozens of TV stations two weeks before the election.

Editors & Publishers: Knight Ridder's Washington
bureau, which in the past two years has produced a
string of important exclusives related to the Iraq war
(and pre-war), offered evidence today about poor or
"non-existent" planning for the U.S. occupation of
Iraq, as well as the failure to provide 100,000 more
troops military commanders had wanted.
The article carries the byline of Warren P. Strobel
and John Walcott but was also reported by Joseph
Galloway and Jonathan Landay. It was based on official
documents and on interviews with more than three dozen
current and former military and civilian officials who
participated directly in planning for the war and its
aftermath.
Some senior officials spoke about their concerns for
the first time, the story said.
"A Knight Ridder review of the administration's Iraq
policy and decisions has found that it invaded Iraq
without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and
rebuild the country," the article declares.
"The administration also failed to provide some
100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military
commanders originally wanted to help restore order and
reconstruct a country shattered by war, a brutal
dictatorship and economic sanctions. In fact, some
senior Pentagon officials had thought they could bring
most American soldiers home from Iraq by September
2003. Instead, more than a year later, 138,000 U.S.
troops are still fighting...."
The Bush administration's failure to plan to win the
peace was the product of many of the same problems
that plagued the administration's case for war, the KR
report continues, "including wishful thinking, bad
information from Iraqi exiles who said Iraqis would
welcome American troops as liberators and contempt for
dissenting opinions.
However, the administration's planning for postwar
Iraq differed in one crucial respect from its
erroneous pre-war claims: "The U.S. intelligence
community had been divided about the state of Saddam's
weapons programs, but there was little disagreement
among experts throughout the government that winning
the peace in Iraq could be much harder than winning a
war.

Terry McAulifee's Letter to RNC Chairman: In recent
weeks, all over the country, the Republican Party has
been engaged in systematic efforts to disenfranchise
voters—to impose unlawful i.d. requirements in New
Mexico, to throw eligible voters off the rolls in
Clark County Nevada and to deprive voters of their
rights to vote a provisional ballot in Ohio, among
other examples...You can either let this burgeoning
Republican scandal fester, or you can come clean with
the American people by giving the Election Officials
in Nevada and Oregon, the press and the public answers
to these questions immediately:
Why is the Republican National Committee funding an
organization that is ripping up voter registration
forms of Democrats?
Who's behind "Voters Outreach for America" and what is
their link to Sproul & Associates?
How much has the RNC paid for "Voters Outreach" and
similar groups to engage in voter registration?
Exactly what were these groups instructed to do about
voters they registered who freely chose to register as
Democrats?
Disclosing to Election officials, attorneys in Nevada
and Oregon and press immediately, all documents,
correspondence and invoices between the RNC and
"Voters Outreach," Sproul and all other groups
employed by the RNC to register voters;
Refusing to pay Sproul and any other groups engaged in
GOP "registration activities" until all questions can
be answered and information disclosed.
Voluntarily agreeing to make knowledgeable RNC
officials available for depositions in the litigation
being brought by the Democratic Party of Nevada
seeking a remedy for the victims of Republican voter
registration fraud in that state and any other state
or party seeking relief based on RNC funded efforts.

Elmer Anderson, Star Tribune: Throughout my tenure and
beyond as the 30th governor of this state, I have been
steadfastly aligned -- and until recently, proudly so
-- with the Minnesota Republican Party.
It dismays me, therefore, to have to publicly disagree
with the national Republican agenda and the national
Republican candidate but, this year, I must.
The two "Say No to Bush" signs in my yard say it all.
The present Republican president has led us into an
unjustified war -- based on misguided and blatantly
false misrepresentations of the threat of weapons of
mass destruction. The terror seat was Afghanistan.
Iraq had no connection to these acts of terror and was
not a serious threat to the United States, as this
president claimed, and there was no relation, it's now
obvious, to any serious weaponry. Although Saddam
Hussein is a frightful tyrant, he posed no threat to
the United States when we entered the war. George W.
Bush's arrogant actions to jump into Iraq when he had
no plan how to get out have alienated the United
States from our most trusted allies and weakened us
immeasurably around the world.
Also, if there as well had been proper and careful
coordination of services and intelligence on Sept. 11,
2001, that horrific disaster might also have been
averted. But it was a separate event from this brutal
mess of a war, and the disingenuous linking of the
wholly unrelated situation in Iraq to 9/11 by this
administration is not supported by the facts...
I am more fearful for the state of this nation than I
have ever been -- because this country is in the hands
of an evil man: Dick Cheney. It is eminently clear
that it is he who is running the country, not George
W. Bush.
Bush's phony posturing as cocksure leader of the free
world -- symbolized by his victory symbol on the
aircraft carrier and "mission accomplished" statement
-- leave me speechless. The mission had barely been
started, let alone finished, and 18 months later it
still rages on. His ongoing "no-regrets," no-mistakes
stance and untruths on the war -- as well as on the
floundering economy and Bush administration
joblessness -- also disappoint and worry me...
As taxes for the wealthy are being cut, jobs are being
outsourced if not lost and children are homeless and
uninsured, this administration is running up the
biggest deficit in U.S. history -- bound to be a
terrible burden for future generations.
This imperialistic, stubborn adherence to wrongful
policies and known untruths by the Cheney-Bush
administration -- and that's the accurate order -- has
simply become more than I can stand.
Although I am a longtime Republican, it is time to
make a statement, and it is this: Vote for
Kerry-Edwards, I implore you, on Nov. 2.

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.buzzflash.com/buzzscripts/buzz.dll/sub2

BUZZFLASH REPORT Sunday October 17, 2004 at 8:00:02 AM


Why is President Bush skipping his physical? (As He
Did During His Nation Guard days.)
October 17, 2004

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION

Every year for the last three years President Bush has
had his annual physical in August. This year the Bush
administration has announced that the president will
not be taking his physical until after the election.
Time constraints of his re-election campaign are given
as the major reason for the change. Exactly how long
does a physical take? Not that long really. So is the
President really skipping his physical because of time
constraints or is he hiding something?

There are many reasons to suspect the President is
hiding something. First is the physical evidence
visible in the three presidential debates. In the
first debate the President was relatively subdued.
Most notable was a persistent scowl that seldom left
his face unless he was the one speaking. But in the
second debate there was a completely different version
of the President. He seemed overly aggressive and kept
making an odd side to side motion with his lower jaw.
Many, including doctors and other medical
professionals, suggested the changes were symptomatic
of someone who had been given cocaine or a drug with
similar effects.

The aggressive behavior and the jaw movement were gone
in the third debate but that time the President had an
odd white spittle in the corner of his mouth, seemed
to have a more reddish than usual complexion, and the
left side of his face seemed to droop
uncharacteristically. Many, again including doctors
and other medical professionals, wondered if the
President had suffered a minor stroke or perhaps
developed a heart condition. Some noted that the size
and placement of the odd bulge evident under the
President’s suit jacket at the debates were consistent
with a type of special defibrillator that can be worn
under one’s clothing. Others suggested that if the
President had been medicated at the second debate he
could have been given a different medication before
the third debate and that the flushing and salivation
could be side effects of that medicine.

If there were no other evidence besides what was
plainly visible during the debates, the President’s
decision to delay his annual physical until after the
election would definitely still give the appearance of
hiding something. But the questions about the
President’s health don’t stop there. As noted by James
Fallows in the July/August 2004 edition of Atlantic
Monthly, the contrast between the President, as he is
today and the George W. Bush who debated Ann Richards
in 1994 is startling. Over the last ten years the
President’s speaking ability has declined
dramatically. Another video made recently by the
President for the Iraqi Survey Group was leaked to the
website dailykos.com. In that video the President
struggled even more than usual to speak clearly and
form complete thoughts. Something definitely seemed
amiss.

In addition to the President’s documented
deterioration in speaking ability there have been what
seem an unusual number of falls and bad bruises. The
President fell off a Segway scooter, which is
supposedly difficult to do. He reportedly choked on a
pretzel and then briefly passed out. He reportedly
fell off a bicycle on his ranch after hitting a slick
spot caused by rain (even though weather reports
contradicted the rain part of the official story). In
another incident he injured his knee and had to give
up running. And these are just some of the episodes
that have been reported. The President also has a
curiously low resting heart rate (43 bpm).

A piece by Ron Suskind published in the New York Times
Magazine on October 17, 2004 also raised anew
speculation about the President’s temperament. Insider
witnesses confirm that the President has a certainty
of mind that sometimes defies the facts and that he
often displays belligerent impatience with those who
tell him what he does not want to hear.

Previously, a handful of professional analysts had
publicly speculated in print that such behavior might
be a symptom of dry drunk syndrome and that the
President’s past alcohol and/or drug abuse might be
affecting his health. Along those lines, some doctors
have specifically noted that spider lesions, like ones
that have been removed from the President’s face, can
be evidence of liver problems.

Many, perhaps even all, of the questions raised here
about the President’s health might have innocent
explanations. But taken together they raise a huge red
flag about the President delaying his annual physical
until after the election. If he has nothing to hide he
should take a short break from campaigning and spend a
few hours getting his official check-up.

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION


http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,6903,1329254,00.html

Has Bush lost his reason?

The President's apparent mental fragility should give
US voters pause for thought at the ballot box

Andrew Stephen
Sunday October 17, 2004
The Observer

It will, we are confidently told, be the most
important American election for generations. In the
words last week of Dick Cheney, the voice of what
passes for gravitas in the Bush Administration,
Americans will have to make 'about as serious a
decision as anybody is ever asked to make' when they
go to the polls in 17 days' time.
The prophets of doom, whom Cheney exemplifies, are
precisely right about the importance of this election.
But the momentous decision awaiting Americans is not
whether they return to power a President who is
uniquely qualified to protect the US against
terrorism, as Cheney et al would have us believe. It
is whether they re-elect a man who, it is now clear,
has become palpably unstable.

The evidence has been before our eyes for some time,
but only during the course of this election campaign
has it crystallised - just in time, possibly, for the
2 November election. The 43rd US President has always
had a much-publicised knack for mangled syntax, but
now George Bush often searches an agonisingly long
time, sometimes in vain, for the right words. His mind
simply blanks out at crucial times. He is prone, I am
told, to foul-mouthed temper tantrums in the White
House. His handlers now rarely allow him to speak an
unscripted word in public.

Indeed, there are now several confusing faces to the
US President, and we saw three of them in the live,
televised Presidential debates with John Kerry that
culminated last Wednesday night in Tempe, Arizona. In
the first debate on 30 September, watched by more than
62 million viewers, we saw Bush at his most
unattractive: slouching, peevish, pouting, pursing his
lips with disdain at what his opponent was saying. But
he was unable to marshal any coherent arguments
against Kerry and merely spewed out prepared talking
points - in what, even his ardent supporters concede,
was Bush's worst-ever such performance.
In the second debate on 8 October in St Louis, Bush
could not stay on his stool and leapt up to dispense
what were - certainly in contrast to Kerry's cogent
recital of statistics and arguments - frequently
defensive, shouting rants. I assume that he was told
by his handlers not to show displeasure at Kerry's
words this time around, but, instead, he revealed his
anger by blinking repeatedly.

The moderator tried to stop him talking at one point
(both campaign organisations had agreed the order in
which the candidates could speak, with time limits
imposed on both), but Bush insisted on riding
roughshod over the briefly protesting moderator,
Charles Gibson. (What, I wonder, would have happened
if Gibson had kept to the rules and insisted that Bush
stop talking? We will never know.)

By the time of the third debate on 13 October, this
one witnessed by more than 50 million people, Bush had
adopted yet another baffling persona. This time, he
was peculiarly flushed, leading a colleague to
speculate whether he was on something. He had clearly
been told to look positive - that was his main thrust
of the evening, with frequent assertions that 'freedom
is on the march' - and spent the evening with a
creepy, inane grin on his face, as though he was
red-faced after a festive Christmas dinner.

So what is up with the US President, and why is this
election so crucial not only for America but for the
world? I have been examining videos of his first 1994
debate with Ann Richards, the Governor of Texas, who
he was about to supplant, and of his 2000 debates with
Al Gore. In his one and only debate with Richards a
decade ago, Bush was fluent and disciplined; with
Gore, he had lost some of that polish but was still
articulate, with frequent invocations of his supposed
'compassionate conservatism'.

It is thus hard to avoid the conclusion that Bush's
cognitive functioning is not, for some reason, what it
once was. I am not qualified to say why this is so. It
would not be surprising if he was under enormous
stress, particularly after the 9/11 atrocities in
2001, and I gather this could explain much, if not
everything.

But I have heard wild speculation in Washington that
he is suffering from a neurological disorder, or that
the years of alcoholism might finally be taking their
toll on his brain.

I think it unlikely that Bush was wearing a bug so
that he could be fed lines in at least one of the
debates, but it is indicative of how his capabilities
are regarded these days that the suggestion that he
needed advice is given credence, as well as passing
mentions in the powerful Washington Post and New York
Times .

It does not help that Bush now lives in a positively
Nixonian cocoon. He does not read newspapers; he sees
television only to watch football; he makes election
speeches exclusively at ticket-only events, and his
courtiers consciously avoid giving him bad news. When
he met John Kerry for their first bout on the debating
platform, it was almost a new experience for the
President to hear the voice of dissent.

A senior Republican, experienced and wise in the ways
of Washington, told me last Friday that he does not
necessarily accept that Bush is unstable, but what is
clear, he added, is that he is now manifestly unfit to
be President.

This, too, is a view that is widely felt, but seldom
articulated and then only in private, within the
Republican as well as Democratic establishments in
Washington. Either way, the choice voters make on
Tuesday fortnight should be obvious: whether he is
unstable or merely unfit to be President - and I would
argue that they amount to much the same - he should
speedily be turfed out of office.

But Bush and his handlers like Cheney are driven, if
nothing else, by a primal and overriding need to win,
to destroy enemies who are blocking their way (shades,
again, of Nixon?). Thus the speeches Bush now reads to
the Republican faithful at his campaign meetings
reflect their intent to demonise and annihilate
Kerry's character in the eyes of the electorate;
policy statements made by Kerry are wilfully distorted
and then endlessly repeated so that, in the end, the
distortions gain a credence among the majority who do
not follow such matters closely.

Whether the American electorate choose to see the
mounting, disturbing evidence about their President or
whether they rally to Cheney's obscenely manipulative
appeals for their patriotic support is still up in the
air.

Kerry is a poor candidate who has only recently woken
to the need to fight. Bush manages to maintain a
peculiarly American, ordinary bloke image -
mystifyingly so, given that he is the privileged
product of Andover, Yale and Harvard - that still
contrasts well, in the eyes of many Americans, with
Kerry's patrician manner.

The polls taken since Wednesday night's debate are
infuriatingly contradictory, too. The only consoling
thought is that soon we should know the result of that
very serious decision the American people have to make
on polling day. There are not many occasions when I
agree with anything that Dick Cheney says, but this is
one of the rare moments when I concur totally with
those chilling words.


http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1097915022656

Oct. 16, 2004 23:41
Former national security adviser blasts Sharon
By HERB KEINON

Brent Scowcroft, a former US national security
adviser, said in an interview with London's Financial
Times that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has Bush
"wrapped around his little finger."

Scowcroft, considered a mentor to US National Security
Adviser Condoleezza Rice, was also quoted as saying
that Iraq is a "failing venture."

Regarding Sharon, Scowcroft said he has Bush
"mesmerized."

"When there is a suicide attack [followed by a
reprisal] Sharon calls the president and says, 'I'm on
the front line of terrorism,' and the president says,
'Yes, you are...' He [Sharon] has been nothing but
trouble," said Scowcroft, who has also come out
against the Gaza disengagement plan.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/101704A.shtml

Without a Doubt
By Ron Suskind
The New York Times

Saturday 17 October 2004

Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to
Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first
President Bush, told me recently that "if Bush wins,
there will be a civil war in the Republican Party
starting on Nov. 3. " The nature of that conflict, as
Bartlett sees it? Essentially, the same as the one
raging across much of the world: a battle between
modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true
believers, reason and religion.


(Photo: Kevin LaMarque / Reuters)

"Just in the past few months," Bartlett said, "I
think a light has gone off for people who've spent
time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always
talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of
what he thinks God has told him to do." Bartlett, a
53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian
Republican who has lately been a champion for
traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's
governance, went on to say: "This is why George W.
Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic
fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill
them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're
extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands
them, because he's just like them. . . .

"This is why he dispenses with people who confront
him with inconvenient facts," Bartlett went on to say.
"He truly believes he's on a mission from God.
Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for
analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe
things for which there is no empirical evidence."
Bartlett paused, then said, "But you can't run the
world on faith."

Forty democratic senators were gathered for a
lunch in March just off the Senate floor. I was there
as a guest speaker. Joe Biden was telling a story, a
story about the president. "I was in the Oval Office a
few months after we swept into Baghdad," he began,
"and I was telling the president of my many concerns"
- concerns about growing problems winning the peace,
the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanding
of the Iraqi Army and problems securing the oil
fields. Bush, Biden recalled, just looked at him,
unflappably sure that the United States was on the
right course and that all was well. "'Mr. President,'
I finally said, 'How can you be so sure when you know
you don't know the facts?"'

Biden said that Bush stood up and put his hand on
the senator's shoulder. "My instincts," he said. "My
instincts."

Biden paused and shook his head, recalling it all
as the room grew quiet. "I said, 'Mr. President, your
instincts aren't good enough!"'

The democrat Biden and the Republican Bartlett are
trying to make sense of the same thing - a president
who has been an extraordinary blend of forcefulness
and inscrutability, opacity and action.

But lately, words and deeds are beginning to
connect.

The Delaware senator was, in fact, hearing what
Bush's top deputies - from cabinet members like Paul
O'Neill, Christine Todd Whitman and Colin Powell to
generals fighting in Iraq - have been told for years
when they requested explanations for many of the
president's decisions, policies that often seemed to
collide with accepted facts. The president would say
that he relied on his "gut" or his "instinct" to guide
the ship of state, and then he "prayed over it." The
old pro Bartlett, a deliberative, fact-based wonk, is
finally hearing a tune that has been hummed quietly by
evangelicals (so as not to trouble the secular) for
years as they gazed upon President George W. Bush.
This evangelical group - the core of the energetic
"base" that may well usher Bush to victory - believes
that their leader is a messenger from God. And in the
first presidential debate, many Americans heard the
discursive John Kerry succinctly raise, for the first
time, the issue of Bush's certainty - the issue being,
as Kerry put it, that "you can be certain and be
wrong."

What underlies Bush's certainty? And can it be
assessed in the temporal realm of informed consent?

All of this - the "gut" and "instincts," the
certainty and religiosity -connects to a single word,
"faith," and faith asserts its hold ever more on
debates in this country and abroad. That a deep
Christian faith illuminated the personal journey of
George W. Bush is common knowledge. But faith has also
shaped his presidency in profound, nonreligious ways.
The president has demanded unquestioning faith from
his followers, his staff, his senior aides and his
kindred in the Republican Party. Once he makes a
decision - often swiftly, based on a creed or moral
position - he expects complete faith in its rightness.


The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many
viewers were surprised to see in the first
presidential debate are familiar expressions to those
in the administration or in Congress who have simply
asked the president to explain his positions. Since
9/11, those requests have grown scarce; Bush's
intolerance of doubters has, if anything, increased,
and few dare to question him now. A writ of
infallibility - a premise beneath the powerful Bushian
certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains - is
not just for public consumption: it has guided the
inner life of the White House. As Whitman told me on
the day in May 2003 that she announced her resignation
as administrator of the Environmental Protection
Agency: "In meetings, I'd ask if there were any facts
to support our case. And for that, I was accused of
disloyalty!" (Whitman, whose faith in Bush has since
been renewed, denies making these remarks and is now a
leader of the president's re-election effort in New
Jersey.)

The nation's founders, smarting still from the
punitive pieties of Europe's state religions, were
adamant about erecting a wall between organized
religion and political authority. But suddenly, that
seems like a long time ago. George W. Bush - both
captive and creator of this moment - has steadily,
inexorably, changed the office itself. He has created
the faith-based presidency.

The faith-based presidency is a
with-us-or-against-us model that has been enormously
effective at, among other things, keeping the workings
and temperament of the Bush White House a kind of
state secret. The dome of silence cracked a bit in the
late winter and spring, with revelations from the
former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke and also,
in my book, from the former Bush treasury secretary
Paul O'Neill. When I quoted O'Neill saying that Bush
was like "a blind man in a room full of deaf people,"
this did not endear me to the White House. But my
phone did begin to ring, with Democrats and
Republicans calling with similar impressions and
anecdotes about Bush's faith and certainty. These are
among the sources I relied upon for this article. Few
were willing to talk on the record. Some were willing
to talk because they said they thought George W. Bush
might lose; others, out of fear of what might
transpire if he wins. In either case, there seems to
be a growing silence fatigue - public servants, some
with vast experience, who feel they have spent years
being treated like Victorian-era children, seen but
not heard, and are tired of it. But silence still
reigns in the highest reaches of the White House.
After many requests, Dan Bartlett, the White House
communications director, said in a letter that the
president and those around him would not be
cooperating with this article in any way.

Some officials, elected or otherwise, with whom I
have spoken with left meetings in the Oval Office
concerned that the president was struggling with the
demands of the job. Others focused on Bush's
substantial interpersonal gifts as a compensation for
his perceived lack of broader capabilities. Still
others, like Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a
Democrat, are worried about something other than his
native intelligence. "He's plenty smart enough to do
the job," Levin said. "It's his lack of curiosity
about complex issues which troubles me." But more than
anything else, I heard expressions of awe at the
president's preternatural certainty and wonderment
about its source.

There is one story about Bush's particular brand
of certainty I am able to piece together and tell for
the record.

In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president
met with a few ranking senators and members of the
House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days,
there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored
"road map" for the Israelis and Palestinians would be
a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day
was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping
forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed,
was that a number of European countries, like France
and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by
either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -
the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from
California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress
- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were
viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for
the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal
candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a
well-trained force of about 25,000. The president
looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room
recall.

"I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,"
Bush said. "They're the neutral one. They don't have
an army."

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a
gentlemanly reply: "Mr. President, you may have
thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that
are historically neutral, without an army." Then
Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss
do have a tough national guard to protect the country
in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view. "No, no, it's Sweden that
has no army."

The room went silent, until someone changed the
subject.

A few weeks later, members of Congress and their
spouses gathered with administration officials and
other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party.
The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the
shoulder. "You were right," he said, with bonhomie.
"Sweden does have an army."

This story was told to me by one of the senators
in the Oval Office that December day, Joe Biden.
Lantos, a liberal Democrat, would not comment about
it. In general, people who meet with Bush will not
discuss their encounters. (Lantos, through a
spokesman, says it is a longstanding policy of his not
to discuss Oval Office meetings.)

This is one key feature of the faith-based
presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen
as something of inherent value. It may, in fact,
create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result
in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and,
just as important, by the decision-maker. Nothing
could be more vital, whether staying on message with
the voters or the terrorists or a California
congressman in a meeting about one of the world's most
nagging problems. As Bush himself has said any number
of times on the campaign trail, "By remaining resolute
and firm and strong, this world will be peaceful."

He didn't always talk this way. A precious glimpse
of Bush, just as he was ascending to the presidency,
comes from Jim Wallis, a man with the added advantage
of having deep acuity about the struggles between fact
and faith. Wallis, an evangelical pastor who for 30
years has run the Sojourners - a progressive
organization of advocates for social justice - was
asked during the transition to help pull together a
diverse group of members of the clergy to talk about
faith and poverty with the new president-elect.

In December 2000, Bush sat in the classroom of a
Baptist church in Austin, Tex., with 30 or so clergy
members and asked, "How do I speak to the soul of the
nation?" He listened as each guest articulated a
vision of what might be. The afternoon hours passed.
No one wanted to leave. People rose from their chairs
and wandered the room, huddling in groups, conversing
passionately. In one cluster, Bush and Wallis talked
of their journeys.

"I've never lived around poor people," Wallis
remembers Bush saying. "I don't know what they think.
I really don't know what they think. I'm a white
Republican guy who doesn't get it. How do I get it?"

Wallis recalls replying, "You need to listen to
the poor and those who live and work with poor
people."

Bush called over his speechwriter, Michael Gerson,
and said, "I want you to hear this." A month later, an
almost identical line - "many in our country do not
know the pain of poverty, but we can listen to those
who do" - ended up in the inaugural address.

That was an earlier Bush, one rather more open and
conversant, matching his impulsiveness with a can-do
attitude and seemingly unafraid of engaging with a
diverse group. The president has an array of
interpersonal gifts that fit well with this
fearlessness - a headlong, unalloyed quality, best
suited to ranging among different types of people,
searching for the outlines of what will take shape as
principles.

Yet this strong suit, an improvisational gift, has
long been forced to wrestle with its "left brain"
opposite - a struggle, across 30 years, with the
critical and analytical skills so prized in America's
professional class. In terms of intellectual
faculties, that has been the ongoing battle for this
talented man, first visible during the lackluster
years at Yale and five years of drift through his 20's
- a time when peers were busy building credentials in
law, business or medicine.

Biden, who early on became disenchanted with
Bush's grasp of foreign-policy issues and is among
John Kerry's closest Senate friends, has spent a lot
of time trying to size up the president. "Most
successful people are good at identifying, very early,
their strengths and weaknesses, at knowing
themselves," he told me not long ago. "For most of us
average Joes, that meant we've relied on strengths but
had to work on our weakness - to lift them to adequacy
- otherwise they might bring us down. I don't think
the president really had to do that, because he always
had someone there - his family or friends - to bail
him out. I don't think, on balance, that has served
him well for the moment he's in now as president. He
never seems to have worked on his weaknesses."

Bush has been called the C.E.O. president, but
that's just a catch phrase - he never ran anything of
consequence in the private sector. The M.B.A.
president would be more accurate: he did, after all,
graduate from Harvard Business School. And some who
have worked under him in the White House and know
about business have spotted a strange business-school
time warp. It's as if a 1975 graduate from H.B.S. -
one who had little chance to season theory with
practice during the past few decades of change in
corporate America - has simply been dropped into the
most challenging management job in the world.

One aspect of the H.B.S. method, with its emphasis
on problems of actual corporations, is sometimes
referred to as the "case cracker" problem. The case
studies are static, generally a snapshot of a troubled
company, frozen in time; the various "solutions"
students proffer, and then defend in class against
tough questioning, tend to have very short shelf
lives. They promote rigidity, inappropriate surety.
This is something H.B.S. graduates, most of whom land
at large or midsize firms, learn in their first few
years in business. They discover, often to their
surprise, that the world is dynamic, it flows and
changes, often for no good reason. The key is
flexibility, rather than sticking to your guns in a
debate, and constant reassessment of shifting
realities. In short, thoughtful second-guessing.

George W. Bush, who went off to Texas to be an oil
wildcatter, never had a chance to learn these lessons
about the power of nuanced, fact-based analysis. The
small oil companies he ran tended to lose money; much
of their value was as tax shelters. (The investors
were often friends of his father's.) Later, with the
Texas Rangers baseball team, he would act as an able
front man but never really as a boss.

Instead of learning the limitations of his Harvard
training, what George W. Bush learned instead during
these fitful years were lessons about faith and its
particular efficacy. It was in 1985, around the time
of his 39th birthday, George W. Bush says, that his
life took a sharp turn toward salvation. At that point
he was drinking, his marriage was on the rocks, his
career was listless. Several accounts have emerged
from those close to Bush about a faith "intervention"
of sorts at the Kennebunkport family compound that
year. Details vary, but here's the gist of what I
understand took place. George W., drunk at a party,
crudely insulted a friend of his mother's. George
senior and Barbara blew up. Words were exchanged along
the lines of something having to be done. George
senior, then the vice president, dialed up his friend,
Billy Graham, who came to the compound and spent
several days with George W. in probing exchanges and
walks on the beach. George W. was soon born again. He
stopped drinking, attended Bible study and wrestled
with issues of fervent faith. A man who was lost was
saved.

His marriage may have been repaired by the power
of faith, but faith was clearly having little impact
on his broken career. Faith heals the heart and the
spirit, but it doesn't do much for analytical skills.
In 1990, a few years after receiving salvation, Bush
was still bumping along. Much is apparent from one of
the few instances of disinterested testimony to come
from this period. It is the voice of David Rubenstein,
managing director and cofounder of the Carlyle Group,
the Washington-based investment firm that is one of
the town's most powerful institutions and a longtime
business home for the president's father. In 1989, the
catering division of Marriott was taken private and
established as Caterair by a group of Carlyle
investors. Several old-guard Republicans, including
the former Nixon aide Fred Malek, were involved.

Rubenstein described that time to a convention of
pension managers in Los Angeles last year, recalling
that Malek approached him and said: "There is a guy
who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down
on his luck a bit. Needs a job. . . . Needs some board
positions." Though Rubenstein didn't think George W.
Bush, then in his mid-40's, "added much value," he put
him on the Caterair board. "Came to all the meetings,"
Rubenstein told the conventioneers. "Told a lot of
jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I
kind of said to him, after about three years: 'You
know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you
should do something else. Because I don't think you're
adding that much value to the board. You don't know
that much about the company.' He said: 'Well, I think
I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't
really like it that much. So I'm probably going to
resign from the board.' And I said thanks. Didn't
think I'd ever see him again."

Bush would soon officially resign from Caterair's
board. Around this time, Karl Rove set up meetings to
discuss Bush's possible candidacy for the governorship
of Texas. Six years after that, he was elected leader
of the free world and began "case cracking" on a
dizzying array of subjects, proffering his various
solutions, in both foreign and domestic affairs. But
the pointed "defend your position" queries - so
central to the H.B.S. method and rigorous analysis of
all kinds - were infrequent. Questioning a regional
supervisor or V.P. for planning is one thing.
Questioning the president of the United States is
another.

Still, some couldn't resist. As I reported in "The
Price of Loyalty," at the Bush administration's first
National Security Council meeting, Bush asked if
anyone had ever met Ariel Sharon. Some were uncertain
if it was a joke. It wasn't: Bush launched into a riff
about briefly meeting Sharon two years before, how he
wouldn't "go by past reputations when it comes to
Sharon. . . . I'm going to take him at face value,"
and how the United States should pull out of the
Arab-Israeli conflict because "I don't see much we can
do over there at this point." Colin Powell, for one,
seemed startled. This would reverse 30 years of policy
- since the Nixon administration - of American
engagement. Such a move would unleash Sharon, Powell
countered, and tear the delicate fabric of the Mideast
in ways that might be irreparable. Bush brushed aside
Powell's concerns impatiently. "Sometimes a show of
force by one side can really clarify things."

Such challenges - from either Powell or his
opposite number as the top official in domestic
policy, Paul O'Neill - were trials that Bush had less
and less patience for as the months passed. He made
that clear to his top lieutenants. Gradually, Bush
lost what Richard Perle, who would later head a
largely private-sector group under Bush called the
Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, had described
as his open posture during foreign-policy tutorials
prior to the 2000 campaign. ("He had the confidence to
ask questions that revealed he didn't know very much,"
Perle said.) By midyear 2001, a stand-and-deliver
rhythm was established. Meetings, large and small,
started to take on a scripted quality. Even then, the
circle around Bush was tightening. Top officials, from
cabinet members on down, were often told when they
would speak in Bush's presence, for how long and on
what topic. The president would listen without
betraying any reaction. Sometimes there would be
cross-discussions - Powell and Rumsfeld, for instance,
briefly parrying on an issue - but the president would
rarely prod anyone with direct, informed questions.

Each administration, over the course of a term, is
steadily shaped by its president, by his character,
personality and priorities. It is a process that
unfolds on many levels. There are, of course, a chief
executive's policies, which are executed by a staff
and attending bureaucracies. But a few months along,
officials, top to bottom, will also start to adopt the
boss's phraseology, his presumptions, his rhythms. If
a president fishes, people buy poles; if he expresses
displeasure, aides get busy finding evidence to
support the judgment. A staff channels the leader.

A cluster of particularly vivid qualities was
shaping George W. Bush's White House through the
summer of 2001: a disdain for contemplation or
deliberation, an embrace of decisiveness, a retreat
from empiricism, a sometimes bullying impatience with
doubters and even friendly questioners. Already Bush
was saying, Have faith in me and my decisions, and
you'll be rewarded. All through the White House,
people were channeling the boss. He didn't
second-guess himself; why should they?

Considering the trials that were soon to arrive,
it is easy to overlook what a difficult time this must
have been for George W. Bush. For nearly three
decades, he had sat in classrooms, and then at
mahogany tables in corporate suites, with little to
contribute. Then, as governor of Texas, he was graced
with a pliable enough bipartisan Legislature, and the
Legislature is where the real work in that state's
governance gets done. The Texas Legislature's tension
of opposites offered the structure of point and
counterpoint, which Bush could navigate effectively
with his strong, improvisational skills.

But the mahogany tables were now in the Situation
Room and in the large conference room adjacent to the
Oval Office. He guided a ruling party. Every issue
that entered that rarefied sanctum required a complex
decision, demanding focus, thoroughness and analytical
potency.

For the president, as Biden said, to be acutely
aware of his weaknesses - and to have to worry about
revealing uncertainty or need or confusion, even to
senior officials - must have presented an untenable
bind. By summer's end that first year, Vice President
Dick Cheney had stopped talking in meetings he
attended with Bush. They would talk privately, or at
their weekly lunch. The president was spending a lot
of time outside the White House, often at the ranch,
in the presence of only the most trustworthy
confidants. The circle around Bush is the tightest
around any president in the modern era, and "it's both
exclusive and exclusionary," Christopher DeMuth,
president of the American Enterprise Institute, the
neoconservative policy group, told me. "It's a too
tightly managed decision-making process. When they
make decisions, a very small number of people are in
the room, and it has a certain effect of constricting
the range of alternatives being offered."

On Sept. 11, 2001, the country watched intently to
see if and how Bush would lead. After a couple of days
in which he seemed shaky and uncertain, he emerged,
and the moment he began to lead - standing on the
World Trade Center's rubble with a bullhorn - for much
of America, any lingering doubts about his abilities
vanished. No one could afford doubt, not then. They
wanted action, and George W. Bush was ready, having
never felt the reasonable hesitations that slowed more
deliberative men, and many presidents, including his
father.

Within a few days of the attacks, Bush decided on
the invasion of Afghanistan and was barking orders.
His speech to the joint session of Congress on Sept.
20 will most likely be the greatest of his presidency.
He prayed for God's help. And many Americans, of all
faiths, prayed with him - or for him. It was simple
and nondenominational: a prayer that he'd be up to
this moment, so that he - and, by extension, we as a
country - would triumph in that dark hour.

This is where the faith-based presidency truly
takes shape. Faith, which for months had been coloring
the decision-making process and a host of political
tactics - think of his address to the nation on
stem-cell research - now began to guide events. It was
the most natural ascension: George W. Bush turning to
faith in his darkest moment and discovering a
wellspring of power and confidence.

Of course, the mandates of sound, sober analysis
didn't vanish. They never do. Ask any entrepreneur
with a blazing idea when, a few years along, the first
debt payments start coming due. Or the C.E.O., certain
that a high stock price affirms his sweeping vision,
until that neglected, flagging division cripples the
company. There's a startled look - how'd that happen?
In this case, the challenge of mobilizing the various
agencies of the United States government and making
certain that agreed-upon goals become demonstrable
outcomes grew exponentially.

Looking back at the months directly following
9/11, virtually every leading military analyst seems
to believe that rather than using Afghan proxies, we
should have used more American troops, deployed more
quickly, to pursue Osama bin Laden in the mountains of
Tora Bora. Many have also been critical of the
president's handling of Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of
the 19 hijackers; despite Bush's setting goals in the
so-called "financial war on terror," the Saudis failed
to cooperate with American officials in hunting for
the financial sources of terror. Still, the nation
wanted bold action and was delighted to get it. Bush's
approval rating approached 90 percent. Meanwhile, the
executive's balance between analysis and resolution,
between contemplation and action, was being tipped by
the pull of righteous faith.

It was during a press conference on Sept. 16, in
response to a question about homeland security efforts
infringing on civil rights, that Bush first used the
telltale word "crusade" in public. "This is a new kind
of - a new kind of evil," he said. "And we understand.
And the American people are beginning to understand.
This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a
while."

Muslims around the world were incensed. Two days
later, Ari Fleischer tried to perform damage control.
"I think what the president was saying was - had no
intended consequences for anybody, Muslim or
otherwise, other than to say that this is a broad
cause that he is calling on America and the nations
around the world to join." As to "any connotations
that would upset any of our partners, or anybody else
in the world, the president would regret if anything
like that was conveyed."

A few months later, on Feb. 1, 2002, Jim Wallis of
the Sojourners stood in the Roosevelt Room for the
introduction of Jim Towey as head of the president's
faith-based and community initiative. John DiIulio,
the original head, had left the job feeling that the
initiative was not about "compassionate conservatism,"
as originally promised, but rather a political
giveaway to the Christian right, a way to consolidate
and energize that part of the base.

Moments after the ceremony, Bush saw Wallis. He
bounded over and grabbed the cheeks of his face, one
in each hand, and squeezed. "Jim, how ya doin', how ya
doin'!" he exclaimed. Wallis was taken aback. Bush
excitedly said that his massage therapist had given
him Wallis's book, "Faith Works." His joy at seeing
Wallis, as Wallis and others remember it, was palpable
- a president, wrestling with faith and its role at a
time of peril, seeing that rare bird: an independent
counselor. Wallis recalls telling Bush he was doing
fine, "'but in the State of the Union address a few
days before, you said that unless we devote all our
energies, our focus, our resources on this war on
terrorism, we're going to lose.' I said, 'Mr.
President, if we don't devote our energy, our focus
and our time on also overcoming global poverty and
desperation, we will lose not only the war on poverty,
but we'll lose the war on terrorism."'

Bush replied that that was why America needed the
leadership of Wallis and other members of the clergy.

"No, Mr. President," Wallis says he told Bush, "We
need your leadership on this question, and all of us
will then commit to support you. Unless we drain the
swamp of injustice in which the mosquitoes of
terrorism breed, we'll never defeat the threat of
terrorism."

Bush looked quizzically at the minister, Wallis
recalls. They never spoke again after that.

"When I was first with Bush in Austin, what I saw
was a self-help Methodist, very open, seeking," Wallis
says now. "What I started to see at this point was the
man that would emerge over the next year - a messianic
American Calvinist. He doesn't want to hear from
anyone who doubts him."

But with a country crying out for intrepid
leadership, does a president have time to entertain
doubters? In a speech in Alaska two weeks later, Bush
again referred to the war on terror as a "crusade."

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an
article in Esquire that the White House didn't like
about Bush's former communications director, Karen
Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush.
He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then
he told me something that at the time I didn't fully
comprehend - but which I now believe gets to the very
heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we
call the reality-based community," which he defined as
people who "believe that solutions emerge from your
judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and
murmured something about enlightenment principles and
empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the
world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an
empire now, and when we act, we create our own
reality. And while you're studying that reality -
judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating
other new realities, which you can study too, and
that's how things will sort out. We're history's
actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just
study what we do."

Who besides guys like me are part of the
reality-based community? Many of the other elected
officials in Washington, it would seem. A group of
Democratic and Republican members of Congress were
called in to discuss Iraq sometime before the October
2002 vote authorizing Bush to move forward. A
Republican senator recently told Time Magazine that
the president walked in and said: "Look, I want your
vote. I'm not going to debate it with you." When one
of the senators began to ask a question, Bush snapped,
"Look, I'm not going to debate it with you."

The 9/11 commission did not directly address the
question of whether Bush exerted influence over the
intelligence community about the existence of weapons
of mass destruction. That question will be
investigated after the election, but if no tangible
evidence of undue pressure is found, few officials or
alumni of the administration whom I spoke to are
likely to be surprised. "If you operate in a certain
way - by saying this is how I want to justify what
I've already decided to do, and I don't care how you
pull it off - you guarantee that you'll get faulty,
one-sided information," Paul O'Neill, who was asked to
resign his post of treasury secretary in December
2002, said when we had dinner a few weeks ago. "You
don't have to issue an edict, or twist arms, or be
overt."

In a way, the president got what he wanted: a
National Intelligence Estimate on W.M.D. that
creatively marshaled a few thin facts, and then Colin
Powell putting his credibility on the line at the
United Nations in a show of faith. That was enough for
George W. Bush to press forward and invade Iraq. As he
told his quasi-memoirist, Bob Woodward, in "Plan of
Attack": "Going into this period, I was praying for
strength to do the Lord's will. . . . I'm surely not
going to justify the war based upon God. Understand
that. Nevertheless, in my case, I pray to be as good a
messenger of his will as possible."

Machiavelli's oft-cited line about the adequacy of
the perception of power prompts a question. Is the
appearance of confidence as important as its
possession? Can confidence - true confidence - be
willed? Or must it be earned?

George W. Bush, clearly, is one of history's great
confidence men. That is not meant in the huckster's
sense, though many critics claim that on the war in
Iraq, the economy and a few other matters he has
engaged in some manner of bait-and-switch. No, I mean
it in the sense that he's a believer in the power of
confidence. At a time when constituents are uneasy and
enemies are probing for weaknesses, he clearly feels
that unflinching confidence has an almost mystical
power. It can all but create reality.

Whether you can run the world on faith, it's clear
you can run one hell of a campaign on it.

George W. Bush and his team have constructed a
high-performance electoral engine. The soul of this
new machine is the support of millions of likely
voters, who judge his worth based on intangibles -
character, certainty, fortitude and godliness - rather
than on what he says or does. The deeper the darkness,
the brighter this filament of faith glows, a faith in
the president and the just God who affirms him.

The leader of the free world is clearly
comfortable with this calculus and artfully encourages
it. In the series of televised, carefully
choreographed "Ask President Bush" events with
supporters around the country, sessions filled with
prayers and blessings, one questioner recently summed
up the feelings of so many Christian conservatives,
the core of the Bush army. "I've voted Republican from
the very first time I could vote," said Gary Walby, a
retired jeweler from Destin, Fla., as he stood before
the president in a crowded college gym. "And I also
want to say this is the very first time that I have
felt that God was in the White House." Bush simply
said "thank you" as a wave of raucous applause rose
from the assembled.

Every few months, a report surfaces of the
president using strikingly Messianic language, only to
be dismissed by the White House. Three months ago, for
instance, in a private meeting with Amish farmers in
Lancaster County, Pa., Bush was reported to have said,
"I trust God speaks through me." In this ongoing game
of winks and nods, a White House spokesman denied the
president had specifically spoken those words, but
noted that "his faith helps him in his service to
people."

A recent Gallup Poll noted that 42 percent of
Americans identify themselves as evangelical or "born
again." While this group leans Republican, it includes
black urban churches and is far from monolithic. But
Bush clearly draws his most ardent supporters and
tireless workers from this group, many from a healthy
subset of approximately four million evangelicals who
didn't vote in 2000 - potential new arrivals to the
voting booth who could tip a close election or push a
tight contest toward a rout.

This signaling system - forceful, national,
varied, yet clean of the president's specific
fingerprint - carries enormous weight. Lincoln Chafee,
the moderate Republican senator from Rhode Island, has
broken with the president precisely over concerns
about the nature of Bush's certainty. "This issue," he
says, of Bush's "announcing that 'I carry the word of
God' is the key to the election. The president wants
to signal to the base with that message, but in the
swing states he does not."

Come to the hostings on Labor Day and meet the
base. In 2004, you know a candidate by his base, and
the Bush campaign is harnessing the might of churches,
with hordes of voters registering through
church-sponsored programs. Following the news of Bush
on his national tour in the week after the Republican
convention, you could sense how a faith-based
president campaigns: on a surf of prayer and righteous
rage.

Righteous rage - that's what Hardy Billington felt
when he heard about same-sex marriage possibly being
made legal in Massachusetts. "It made me upset and
disgusted, things going on in Massachusetts," the
52-year-old from Poplar Bluff, Mo., told me. "I
prayed, then I got to work." Billington spent $830 in
early July to put up a billboard on the edge of town.
It read: "I Support President Bush and the Men and
Women Fighting for Our Country. We Invite President
Bush to Visit Poplar Bluff." Soon Billington and his
friend David Hahn, a fundamentalist preacher, started
a petition drive. They gathered 10,000 signatures.
That fact eventually reached the White House
scheduling office.

By late afternoon on a cloudy Labor Day, with a
crowd of more than 20,000 assembled in a public park,
Billington stepped to the podium. "The largest group I
ever talked to I think was seven people, and I'm not
much of a talker," Billington, a shy man with three
kids and a couple of dozen rental properties that he
owns, told me several days later. "I've never been so
frightened."

But Billington said he "looked to God" and said
what was in his heart. "The United States is the
greatest country in the world," he told the rally.
"President Bush is the greatest president I have ever
known. I love my president. I love my country. And
more important, I love Jesus Christ."

The crowd went wild, and they went wild again when
the president finally arrived and gave his stump
speech. There were Bush's periodic stumbles and
gaffes, but for the followers of the faith-based
president, that was just fine. They got it - and "it"
was the faith.

And for those who don't get it? That was explained
to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior
media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting
firm and helps the president. He started by
challenging me. "You think he's an idiot, don't you?"
I said, no, I didn't. "No, you do, all of you do, up
and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks
in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue
you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2
to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy
working people who don't read The New York Times or
Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what
they like? They like the way he walks and the way he
points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith
in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his
jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know
what those folks don't like? They don't like you!" In
this instance, the final "you," of course, meant the
entire reality-based community.

The bond between Bush and his base is a bond of
mutual support. He supports them with his actions,
doing his level best to stand firm on wedge issues
like abortion and same-sex marriage while he
identifies evil in the world, at home and abroad. They
respond with fierce faith. The power of this
transaction is something that people, especially those
who are religious, tend to connect to their own lives.
If you have faith in someone, that person is filled
like a vessel. Your faith is the wind beneath his or
her wings. That person may well rise to the occasion
and surprise you: I had faith in you, and my faith was
rewarded. Or, I know you've been struggling, and I
need to pray harder.

Bush's speech that day in Poplar Bluff finished
with a mythic appeal: "For all Americans, these years
in our history will always stand apart," he said. "You
know, there are quiet times in the life of a nation
when little is expected of its leaders. This isn't one
of those times. This is a time that needs - when we
need firm resolve and clear vision and a deep faith in
the values that make us a great nation."

The life of the nation and the life of Bush
effortlessly merge - his fortitude, even in the face
of doubters, is that of the nation; his ordinariness,
like theirs, is heroic; his resolve, to whatever end,
will turn the wheel of history.

Remember, this is consent, informed by the heart
and by the spirit. In the end, Bush doesn't have to
say he's ordained by God. After a day of speeches by
Hardy Billington and others, it goes without saying.

"To me, I just believe God controls everything,
and God uses the president to keep evil down, to see
the darkness and protect this nation," Billington told
me, voicing an idea shared by millions of Bush
supporters. "Other people will not protect us. God
gives people choices to make. God gave us this
president to be the man to protect the nation at this
time."

But when the moment came in the V.I.P. tent to
shake Bush's hand, Billington remembered being
reserved. "'I really thank God that you're the
president' was all I told him." Bush, he recalled,
said, "Thank you."

"He knew what I meant," Billington said. "I
believe he's an instrument of God, but I have to be
careful about what I say, you know, in public."

Is there anyone in America who feels that John
Kerry is an instrument of God?

"I'm going to be real positive, while I keep my
foot on John Kerry's throat," George W. Bush said last
month at a confidential luncheon a block away from the
White House with a hundred or so of his most ardent,
longtime supporters, the so-called R.N.C. Regents.
This was a high-rolling crowd - at one time or
another, they had all given large contributions to
Bush or the Republican National Committee. Bush had
known many of them for years, and a number of them had
visited him at the ranch. It was a long way from
Poplar Bluff.

The Bush these supporters heard was a triumphal
Bush, actively beginning to plan his second term. It
is a second term, should it come to pass, that will
alter American life in many ways, if predictions that
Bush voiced at the luncheon come true.

He said emphatically that he expects the
Republicans will gain seats to expand their control of
the House and the Senate. According to notes provided
to me, and according to several guests at the lunch
who agreed to speak about what they heard, he said
that "Osama bin Laden would like to overthrow the
Saudis . . .

then we're in trouble. Because they have a weapon.
They have the oil." He said that there will be an
opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice shortly
after his inauguration, and perhaps three more
high-court vacancies during his second term.

"Won't that be amazing?" said Peter Stent, a
rancher and conservationist who attended the luncheon.
"Can you imagine? Four appointments!"

After his remarks, Bush opened it up for
questions, and someone asked what he's going to do
about energy policy with worldwide oil reserves
predicted to peak.

Bush said: "I'm going to push nuclear energy,
drilling in Alaska and clean coal. Some nuclear-fusion
technologies are interesting." He mentions energy from
"processing corn."

"I'm going to bring all this up in the debate, and
I'm going to push it," he said, and then tried out a
line. "Do you realize that ANWR [the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge] is the size of South Carolina, and
where we want to drill is the size of the Columbia
airport?"

The questions came from many directions -
respectful, but clearly reality-based. About the
deficits, he said he'd "spend whatever it takes to
protect our kids in Iraq," that "homeland security
cost more than I originally thought."

In response to a question, he talked about
diversity, saying that "hands down," he has the most
diverse senior staff in terms of both gender and race.
He recalled a meeting with Chancellor Gerhard Schroder
of Germany. "You know, I'm sitting there with Schroder
one day with Colin and Condi. And I'm thinking: What's
Schroder thinking?! He's sitting here with two blacks
and one's a woman."

But as the hour passed, Bush kept coming back to
the thing most on his mind: his second term.

"I'm going to come out strong after my swearing
in," Bush said, "with fundamental tax reform, tort
reform, privatizing of Social Security." The victories
he expects in November, he said, will give us "two
years, at least, until the next midterm. We have to
move quickly, because after that I'll be quacking like
a duck."

Joseph Gildenhorn, a top contributor who attended
the luncheon and has been invited to visit Bush at his
ranch, said later: "I've never seen the president so
ebullient. He was so confident. He feels so strongly
he will win." Yet one part of Bush's 60-odd-minute
free-form riff gave Gildenhorn - a board member of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a former
ambassador to Switzerland - a moment's pause. The
president, listing priorities for his second term,
placed near the top of his agenda the expansion of
federal support for faith-based institutions. The
president talked at length about giving the initiative
the full measure of his devotion and said that
questions about separation of church and state were
not an issue.

Talk of the faith-based initiative, Gildenhorn
said, makes him "a little uneasy." Many conservative
evangelicals "feel they have a direct line from God,"
he said, and feel Bush is divinely chosen.

"I think he's religious, I think he's a
born-again, I don't think, though, that he feels that
he's been ordained by God to serve the country."
Gildenhorn paused, then said, "But you know, I really
haven't discussed it with him."

A regent I spoke to later and who asked not to be
identified told me: "I'm happy he's certain of victory
and that he's ready to burst forth into his second
term, but it all makes me a little nervous. There are
a lot of big things that he's planning to do
domestically, and who knows what countries we might
invade or what might happen in Iraq. But when it gets
complex, he seems to turn to prayer or God rather than
digging in and thinking things through. What's that
line? - the devil's in the details. If you don't go
after that devil, he'll come after you."

Bush grew into one of history's most forceful
leaders, his admirers will attest, by replacing
hesitation and reasonable doubt with faith and
clarity. Many more will surely tap this high-voltage
connection of fervent faith and bold action. In
politics, the saying goes, anything that works must be
repeated until it is replaced by something better. The
horizon seems clear of competitors.

Can the unfinished American experiment in
self-governance - sputtering on the watery fuel of
illusion and assertion - deal with something as
nuanced as the subtleties of one man's faith? What,
after all, is the nature of the particular
conversation the president feels he has with God - a
colloquy upon which the world now precariously turns?

That very issue is what Jim Wallis wishes he could
sit and talk about with George W. Bush. That's
impossible now, he says. He is no longer invited to
the White House.

"Faith can cut in so many ways," he said. "If
you're penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to
repentance and accountability and help us reach for
something higher than ourselves. That can be a
powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics
as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it's
designed to certify our righteousness - that can be a
dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside.
There's no reflection.

"Where people often get lost is on this very
point," he said after a moment of thought. "Real
faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not
- not ever - to the thing we as humans so very much
want."

And what is that?

"Easy certainty."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Suskind was the senior national-affairs
reporter for The Wall Street Journal from 1993 to
2000. He is the author most recently of "The Price of
Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the
Education of Paul O'Neill."

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/101704Y.shtml

Fahrenheit 9/11 Denied Cable Access
The Associated Press

Saturday 16 October 2004

New York - A cable pay-per-view company has
decided not to show a three-hour election eve special
with filmmaker Michael Moore that included a showing
of his documentary ``Fahrenheit 9/11,'' which is
sharply critical of President Bush.

The company, iN DEMAND, said Friday that its
decision is due to ``legitimate business and legal
concerns.'' A spokesman would not elaborate.

Moore has just released his movie on DVD and was
seeking a TV outlet for the film.

Earlier this week, trade publications said Moore
was close to a deal with iN DEMAND for ``The Michael
Moore Pre-Election Special,'' which also would include
interviews with politically active celebrities and
admonitions to vote. The Nov. 1 special was to be
available for $9.95.

Moore said Friday he signed a contract with the
company in early September and is considering legal
action. He said he believes iN DEMAND decided not to
air the film because of pressure from ``top Republican
people.''

``Apparently people have put pressure on them and
they've broken a contract,'' Moore told The Associated
Press.

``We've informed them of their legal
responsibility and we all informed them that every
corporate executive that has attempted to prohibit
Americans from seeing this film has failed,'' Moore
said. ``There's been one struggle or another over
this, but we've always come out on top because you
can't tell Americans they can't watch this.''

The New York-based iN DEMAND, owned by the Time
Warner, Cox and Comcast cable companies, makes
pay-per-view programming available in 28 million
homes, or about one-quarter of the nation's homes with
television.

In a statement, iN DEMAND said any legal action
Moore might take against the company would be
``entirely baseless and groundless.''

This spring, Moore did battle with the Walt Disney
Co., which refused to release ``Fahrenheit 9/11''
through its Miramax Films because it was too
politically partisan for the company's taste.

Moore found other distributors. The movie, which
attacks Bush's handling of the war on terrorists and
war in Iraq and the Bush family's ties to Saudi
royalty, earned more than $100 million at the box
office.

In an interview with a Maine television station
that aired this week, former President George H.W.
Bush called Moore a ``slimeball'' and an expletive.

Also Friday, Moore offered to let Sinclair
Broadcast Group Inc. air the movie for free. Such a
deal would like

Posted by richard at 11:53 AM

October 16, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 17 Days to Go -- Sproul, Sinclair, Mississipians refuses to die for the neo-con wet dream, Plame Grand Jury questions Rove, Stewart bitch-slaps Propapunditgandists, More aWol records appear, Teachers in Tee Shirts

There are only 17 days to go until the national
referendum on the CREDIBILITY, CHARACTER and
COMPETENCE of the _resident, the VICE _resident and
the US regimstream news media…he central issue is
Security: NATIONAL SECURITY, ECONOMIC SECURITY and
ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY...Why does the LNS say
that the Nov. 2 election is a national referendum on
the US regimestream news media as well as the Bush
abomination itself? Because the US regimestream news
media has almost unreservedly for more than four years
acted as a full partner in a Triad of shared special
interest (i.e. oil, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals,
tobacco, chemicals, etc.) with the Bush cabal itself
and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-know-as-the-Republican-Party.
The US regimestream news media OBSCURED the Truth
about the Theft of the 2000 Election, the US
regimestream news media OBSCURED the Truth about the
Bush abomination’s involvement with Enron and its
complicity in the phoney “California energy crisis,”
US regimestream news media OBSCURED the Truth about
the devastating impact of the Bush abomination’s TWO
obscene tax cuts for the wealthiest among us, the US
regimestream news media OBSCURED the Truth about the
Bush abomination’s pre-9/11 negligence and post-9/11
incompetence. The US regimestream news media OBSCURED
the Truth about the Mega-Mogadishu in Iraq as well as
the fabricated rationales that were used to justify
it. The US regimestream news media also OBSCURED the
Truth about Abu Ghraib… Now the US regimestream news
media is OBSCURING the Truth about this campaign, just
as it OBSCURED the Truth about the 2000 and 2002
campaigns. It has only 17 days to REDEEM itself or it
will go into the tank with its Triad partners. Don't
hold your breath. There is an Electoral Uprising
coming at the Ballot Box on Nov. 2…Here are SEVEN
important stories. 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 election, it
wants to DISinform you...

Max Blumenthal, AlterNet: Republican operative Nathan
Sproul's company is under investigation for allegedly
destroying voter registration forms signed by
Democrats. Now comes new evidence about Sproul's
connections to the Bush-Cheney campaign.
Just how close is dirty trickster Nathan Sproul to the
Bush/Cheney re-election campaign?
AlterNet has learned that Sproul, the former Arizona
Republican Party and Christian Coalition director, has
cozy ties to a group of consultants working on the
Bush/Cheney campaign. According to a Democratic source
well-placed in Arizona political circles, Sproul's
firm, Sproul and Associates, operates next door to the
office of Gordon C. James Public Relations (GCJPR) in
Phoenix, a Republican PR company which is coordinating
various Bush/Cheney campaign events nationwide and has
provided PR services for the Coalition Provisional
Authority in Iraq. Last spring, one of GCJPR's
executives, who is an advisory board member of Bush's
re-election campaign, served as the chair of a ballot
campaign Sproul was quarterbacking, while, according
to the source, Sproul collaborated with a GCJPR
employee who is a White House consultant on a scheme
to get independent candidate Ralph Nader on the
Arizona ballot. In both instances, Sproul's company,
Voter Outreach of America, was involved in gathering
signatures.

Terry McAuliffe, DNC: "Two and a half hours is a long
time to spend in front of a federal grand jury – a lot
of information must have been shared," said McAuliffe.
"Karl Rove needs to come clean and tell us what he
told the grand jury today, and the President should
show some leadership by making sure Karl Rove does
just that. There are important questions about this
criminal investigation that the White House needs to
stop ducking and start answering.
"Tell us who is responsible for leaking Valerie
Plame's identity. This is a serious matter; the person
from the Bush White House who leaked this information
is guilty of treason. This should have been resolved a
long time ago. It needs to be resolved now. The
American people deserve no less from their President."

Eric Boehlert, Salon: The right-wing network's
decision to force its affiliates to air anti-Kerry
propaganda is one of the lowest moments in the history
of television news, says the former head of the FCC.
And it may unleash a backlash.
Kerry campaign officials aren't the only ones
outraged over Sinclair Broadcasting's order to its 62
television stations nationwide to preempt regular
programming days before votes are cast Nov. 2 to air
"Stolen Honor," a highly charged documentary critical
of Sen. John Kerry. The move breaks with a
long-standing tradition among broadcasters of covering
presidential campaigns as part of their obligation to
serve the public interest, and to do so with at least
a patina of honesty.
Sinclair's unprecedented move once again raises
questions about the effects of rampant media
consolidation, the deregulation that allows a small
number of large conglomerates to own so many outlets,
let alone use them to advance an obvious political
agenda. The controversy over "Stolen Honor" has also
thrust little-known Sinclair before the klieg lights,
drawing attention to its news department, whose public
spokesman has no experience whatsoever in journalism.
And it reveals a publicly held corporation, operating
on the public airwaves, run by a hypocritical chief
executive, preaching conservatives values by which he
himself has been unable to live.
"Ordering stations to carry propaganda? It's
absolutely off the charts," says former Federal
Communications Commission chairman Reed Hundt, who
served under President Clinton. "Any FCC chairman,
from the left or the right, would agree with me. I'd
be shocked if you could find any other broadcast
conduct like this" in the history of American
television.

MTV: In what could well be the strangest and most
refreshing media moment of the election season, "The
Daily Show" host Jon Stewart turned up on a live
broadcast of CNN's "Crossfire" Friday and accused the
mainstream media — and his hosts in particular — of
being soft and failing to do their duty as journalists
to keep politicians and the political process honest.
Reaching well outside his usual youthful "Daily Show"
demo, Stewart took to "Crossfire" to promote his new
book, "America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to
Democracy Inaction" (see "Jon Stewart Writes A History
Textbook That — At Last! — Features Nudity"), but
instead of pushing the tome, Stewart used his time to
verbally slap the network and the media for being
"dishonest" and "doing a disservice" to the American
public. After co-host Tucker Carlson suggested that
Stewart went easy on Senator John Kerry when the
candidate was a guest on "The Daily Show," Stewart
unloaded on "Crossfire," calling hosts Carlson and
Paul Begala "partisan hacks" and chiding them for not
raising the level of discourse on their show beyond
sloganeering.
"What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan
hackery," Stewart said. "You have a responsibility to
the public discourse, and you fail miserably...
"The thing is, we need your help," Stewart said.
"Right now, you're helping the politicians and the
corporations and we're left out there to mow our
lawns."
While the audience seemed to be behind Stewart, Begala
and Carlson were both taken aback. The hosts tried to
feed Stewart set-up lines hoping to draw him into a
more light-hearted shtick, but Stewart stayed on point
and hammered away at the show, the hosts, and the
state of political journalism. Carlson grew
increasingly frustrated, at first noting that the
segment wasn't "funny," and later verbally sparring
with the comedian.

Jeremy Hudson, Clarion Ledger [Mississippi]: A
17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from
Jackson and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is
under arrest for refusing a "suicide mission" to
deliver fuel, the troops' relatives said Thursday.
The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to
Taji, Iraq — north of Baghdad — because their vehicles
were considered "deadlined" or extremely unsafe, said
Patricia McCook of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Larry O.
McCook.
Sgt. McCook, a deputy at the Hinds County Detention
Center, and the 16 other members of the 343rd
Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, S.C., were read
their rights and moved from the military barracks into
tents, Patricia McCook said her husband told her
during a panicked phone call about 5 a.m. Thursday.

Associated Press: Weeks after Texas National Guard
officials signed an oath swearing they had turned over
all of President Bush's military records, independent
examiners found more than two dozen pages of
previously unreleased documents about Bush.
The two retired Army lawyers went through Texas files
under an agreement between the Texas Guard and The
Associated Press, which sued to gain access to the
files. The 31 pages of documents turned over to AP
Thursday night include orders for high-altitude
training in 1972, less than three months before Bush
abruptly quit flying as a fighter pilot.
The discovery is the latest in a series of
embarrassments for Pentagon and Texas National Guard
officials who have repeatedly said they found and
released all of Bush's Vietnam-era military files,
only to belatedly discover more records. Those
discoveries — nearly 100 pages, including Bush's pay
records and flight logs — have been the result of
freedom of information lawsuits filed in federal and
Texas courts by AP.

Associated Press: Three Medford [Oregon] school
teachers were threatened with arrest and escorted from
the event after they showed up wearing T-shirts with
the slogan "Protect our civil liberties." All three
said they applied for and received valid tickets from
Republican headquarters in Medford.
“We chose this phrase specifically because we didn't
think it would be offensive or degrading or obscene,"
said Tania Tong, 34, a special education teacher.
Thursday’s event in Oregon sets a new bar for a
Bush/Cheney campaign that has taken extraordinary
measures to screen the opinions of those who attend
Bush and Cheney speeches...
When Vice President Dick Cheney visited Eugene, Oregon
on Sept. 17, a 54-Year old woman named Perry Patterson
was charged with criminal trespass for blurting the
word "No" when Cheney said that George W. Bush has
made the world safer.
One day before, Sue Niederer, 55, the mother of a
slain American soldier in Iraq was cuffed and arrested
for criminal trespass when she interrupted a Laura
Bush speech in New Jersey. Both women had tickets to
the event.

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://alternet.org/election04/20194/

Republican Dirty Tricks

By Max Blumenthal, AlterNet. Posted October 15, 2004.


Republican operative Nathan Sproul's company is under
investigation for allegedly destroying voter
registration forms signed by Democrats. Now comes new
evidence about Sproul's connections to the Bush-Cheney
campaign.

Just how close is dirty trickster Nathan Sproul to the
Bush/Cheney re-election campaign?

AlterNet has learned that Sproul, the former Arizona
Republican Party and Christian Coalition director, has
cozy ties to a group of consultants working on the
Bush/Cheney campaign. According to a Democratic source
well-placed in Arizona political circles, Sproul's
firm, Sproul and Associates, operates next door to the
office of Gordon C. James Public Relations (GCJPR) in
Phoenix, a Republican PR company which is coordinating
various Bush/Cheney campaign events nationwide and has
provided PR services for the Coalition Provisional
Authority in Iraq. Last spring, one of GCJPR's
executives, who is an advisory board member of Bush's
re-election campaign, served as the chair of a ballot
campaign Sproul was quarterbacking, while, according
to the source, Sproul collaborated with a GCJPR
employee who is a White House consultant on a scheme
to get independent candidate Ralph Nader on the
Arizona ballot. In both instances, Sproul's company,
Voter Outreach of America, was involved in gathering
signatures.

In Nevada, Voter Outreach of America is accused by
former employees of shredding the registration forms
of thousands of Democrats; in West Virginia, Voter
Outreach of America employees say they were instructed
to mislead voters into registering Republican and
voting for Bush; in Oregon, yet another swing state,
the state attorney general has opened a criminal
investigation into allegations that Sproul's firm,
which is Voter Outreach of America's parent company,
was involved in intentionally destroying or discarding
voter registration forms signed by Democrats.
According to OpenSecrets.org, Sproul's firm received
$125,000 this year from the Republican National
Committee for voter registration and another $500,000
for "political consulting."

The cozy ties between Sproul and Bush operatives
should raise a serious question: Is Sproul simply an
overzealous lone wolf, or are his activities part of a
concerted effort by the Bush/Cheney campaign to
subvert the democratic process?

Gordon C. James, the founder and director of GCJPR, is
a longtime Bush apparatchik. According to his bio on
GCJPR's website, James helped handle media relations
for President George H.W. Bush as the White House
"lead advance representative." During George W. Bush's
2000 presidential campaign, James' firm handled PR and
event management for Bush's Iowa Caucus campaign, all
three debates against Al Gore, two campaign train
trips and his election night festivities in Austin,
Texas. Recently, GCJPR organized a Bush mega-rally in
Phoenix and an appearance by Laura Bush at another
campaign rally in Minneapolis. James also worked for
five months as L. Paul Bremer's spinmeister in
Baghdad.

James said all of his firm's activities on behalf of
the Bush/Cheney campaign were performed "on a
volunteer basis," though GCJPR has received funding
this year from the Republican National Committee. And
James maintained that though he knows Sproul, they
don't work together. "Nathan works more on the
political side," James stated. "We're a PR firm."

Sproul did not respond to requests for an interview.

James did not mention that one of GCJPR's executives,
George W. Bush for President advisory board member
Lisa James, served as chairwoman of an Arizona ballot
initiative that Sproul spearheaded last spring called
"No Taxpayer Money For Politicians." The ballot
measure, which was soundly defeated, was a right-wing,
corporate-funded effort to ban candidates for state
office from receiving public money for their
campaigns. Sproul's Voter Outreach of America
spearheaded the measure's petition drive. In her
capacity as chairwoman, Lisa James operated directly
out of Sproul's office.

What's more, according to a well-placed source who
spoke on condition of anonymity, a GCJPR employee,
Meghan Rose, worked with Sproul on a clandestine
campaign to get Nader on the Arizona ballot last
spring. Last June, Derek Lee of Lee Petitions told me
that while his company was handling various signature
drives in Arizona, Sproul's Voter Outreach of America
was paying petitioners to collect as many signatures
as they could for Nader's ballot qualification
campaign. Once rumors began emerging about covert
Republican assistance to Nader, Sproul "put the
hush-hush on it real quick," Lee said.

In order to cover his tracks, Sproul devised a clever
scheme. According to the source, Sproul tasked GCJPR's
Rose to drive the Nader petitions to a "low-end" motel
in Scottsdale where Jenny Breslyn, the person
officially contracted by the Nader campaign to oversee
its signature drive, was staying. There, Breslyn and
her employees mixed the petitions in with their own,
in effect, brushing them clean of Sproul's
fingerprints.

Rose has worked as a consultant for the Bush White
House Easter Egg Roll, the State Department and the
Republican National Committee. She is currently
working out of James' RNC-funded shop and as a
volunteer on Bush's re-election campaign. Confronted
with the accusation that she served as the baglady for
Sproul's Nader ballot scheme, Rose would not issue an
outright denial.

"I do not work for Nathan Sproul," she stated
repeatedly. "I don't even know how you got my name."

Asked again to confirm or deny the accusation, Rose
became testy. "I didn't do anything. I've shaken
Nathan Sproul's hand once," she said.

Reached by cellphone, Jenny Breslyn refused to speak
directly to the accusation that Rose delivered
Sproul's Nader petitions to her, referring the
question to Sproul, who could not be reached. However,
she did volunteer that in her dealings with Sproul, "I
do know a Meghan."

Sproul's dirty tricks may have finally caught up with
him, though far from his stomping grounds in Arizona.
In Oregon, Sproul's firm is being investigated by the
state attorney general and could face a class-C
felony, punishable by five years in jail, for
allegedly altering and destroying voter registration
forms. And in Nevada, state election officials have
just launched an investigation into whether Sproul's
Voters Outreach of America destroyed the registration
forms of exclusively Democratic voters.

On Wednesday, Democratic National Committee Chairman
Terry McAuliffe wrote a letter to his Republican
counterpart, Ed Gillespie, demanding that the
Republican National Committee detail its involvement
with Sproul's alleged voter fraud. "We are deeply
concerned these reports of Republican National
Committee funded felonious activities in these states
could serve to discourage all voters from voting
because of concerns of problems with their ballot,"
McAuliffe wrote. "Regardless of party or candidate, it
is the civic and moral duty of both parties to
encourage complete and full participation in the
democratic process."

Max Blumenthal is a freelance journalist based in Los
Angeles. Read his blog at maxblumenthal.blogspot.com.

http://www.democrats.org/news/200410150002.html

MORE HEADLINES 'Women's Group' Against Equal Pay for
Women
Big Victory For Voting Rights
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DNC Launches "APIA Voice"
more…
Oct 15, 2004

McAuliffe Statement on Rove Grand Jury Testimony
DNC Chairman Calls on Bush to Ask for Full and Public
Disclosure

WASHINGTON, DC – Responding to breaking news today
that Bush Senior Advisor Karl Rove spent over two
hours testifying before the grand jury investigating
the CIA leak which revealed Valerie Plame's name while
she was an undercover agent, Democratic National
Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe released this
statement.

"Two and a half hours is a long time to spend in front
of a federal grand jury – a lot of information must
have been shared," said McAuliffe. "Karl Rove needs to
come clean and tell us what he told the grand jury
today, and the President should show some leadership
by making sure Karl Rove does just that. There are
important questions about this criminal investigation
that the White House needs to stop ducking and start
answering.

"Tell us who is responsible for leaking Valerie
Plame's identity. This is a serious matter; the person
from the Bush White House who leaked this information
is guilty of treason. This should have been resolved a
long time ago. It needs to be resolved now. The
American people deserve no less from their President."

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/101604F.shtml

Sinclair's Disgrace
By Eric Boehlert
Salon.com

Thursday 14 October 2004

"We do not believe political statements should be
disguised as news content."
Policy statement, Sinclair Broadcasting, April 2004.

The right-wing network's decision to force its
affiliates to air anti-Kerry propaganda is one of the
lowest moments in the history of television news, says
the former head of the FCC. And it may unleash a
backlash.
Kerry campaign officials aren't the only ones
outraged over Sinclair Broadcasting's order to its 62
television stations nationwide to preempt regular
programming days before votes are cast Nov. 2 to air
"Stolen Honor," a highly charged documentary critical
of Sen. John Kerry. The move breaks with a
long-standing tradition among broadcasters of covering
presidential campaigns as part of their obligation to
serve the public interest, and to do so with at least
a patina of honesty.

Sinclair's unprecedented move once again raises
questions about the effects of rampant media
consolidation, the deregulation that allows a small
number of large conglomerates to own so many outlets,
let alone use them to advance an obvious political
agenda. The controversy over "Stolen Honor" has also
thrust little-known Sinclair before the klieg lights,
drawing attention to its news department, whose public
spokesman has no experience whatsoever in journalism.
And it reveals a publicly held corporation, operating
on the public airwaves, run by a hypocritical chief
executive, preaching conservatives values by which he
himself has been unable to live.

"Ordering stations to carry propaganda? It's
absolutely off the charts," says former Federal
Communications Commission chairman Reed Hundt, who
served under President Clinton. "Any FCC chairman,
from the left or the right, would agree with me. I'd
be shocked if you could find any other broadcast
conduct like this" in the history of American
television.

Bob Zelnick, chairman of the Department of
Journalism at Boston University, a self-described
conservative who says he intends to vote for President
Bush, calls Sinclair's decision "an unfortunate
precedent" that runs counter to "good journalism" and
"is not what network news ought to be about." A former
Pentagon correspondent for ABC News, Zelnick says,
"Whether you're liberal or conservative, if you have
roots in the journalism profession, there are core
values that transcend and need to survive election to
election. You avoid airing, very close to election,
highly charged, partisan material that takes the guise
of a documentary."

"If I were a Sinclair news director I'd quit,"
says Dow Smith, professor of journalism at Syracuse
University and a former NBC news director in Detroit.
"I'm certainly not going to encourage any of my
students to work for Sinclair."

But for many Sinclair employees, already
embarrassed by the company's blatant political agenda,
which is broadcast daily through partisan,
name-calling commentaries that local stations are
commanded to air, without even the pretense of
balance, the controversy hasn't been shocking.
Instead, they have a feeling of déjà vu. "It's so
bizarre it's almost dreamlike," one Sinclair manager
told me, speaking on condition of anonymity. (Sinclair
employees are warned that talking to the press
represents grounds for dismissal.) "I can't imagine
this isn't going to blow up in their faces.

"Working for Sinclair," says the manager, "you're
used to news decisions being made that are influenced
by marketing and promotion. You get that stuff. You
understand that's the way the world works. With this,
you just go, 'What's the point?' What are they trying
to do?' This shows me that Sinclair doesn't give a
shit about their employees because there's no
communication plan [about "Stolen Honor"]. They just
decide it [at corporate headquarters] and let
everybody deal with the mess."

Six months ago many Sinclair employees were
embarrassed when Sinclair took the extraordinary step
of banning its ABC affiliates from showing a special
edition of "Nightline" in which anchor Ted Koppel read
the names of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. The move
prompted picket lines at some its affiliates and blew
out phones lines and e-mail servers at others. Yet
that may have been only a dry run for the current
controversy, which is shaping up as perhaps the media
battle of the election. Angry Democrats are contacting
Sinclair's advertisers urging them to pull their
business or face consumer boycotts. On Friday,
organizers from StopSinclair.org will deliver a
protest petition with 100,000 signatures to Sinclair's
headquarters in Hunt Valley, Md. On Wednesday, 85
members of Congress demanded that the FCC investigate
Sinclair. The main phone line to Sinclair was
alternately busy or went unanswered for virtually the
entire business day, making it impossible to get a
response from company officials for this story. "They
have no idea what they've unleashed," says the local
Sinclair manager.

Sinclair's stock, which is already
underperforming, dragged down by the weight of the
company's enormous debt, a consequence of
mismanagement at the top, drooped even more following
the "Stolen Honor" announcement. And that comes on the
heels of the stock hitting its 52-week low in late
September. (Sinclair trades for roughly $7. In 1995
the stock traded for $45, and that was before the late
'90s stock market surge.)

"Sinclair corporate has an identity they've
decided on, but they're having a hard time getting
folks in the hinterland to jump onboard," said one
television news insider. Referring to the directive to
local stations to run daily right-wing commentaries
dubbed "The Point," delivered by Sinclair's vice
president of corporate relations Mark Hyman, the
source says, "People who work at the local stations
hate it. They just cringe."

The "Nightline" imbroglio was bad enough. In a
written statement, Sinclair claimed ABC's "action
appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed
to undermine the efforts of the United States in
Iraq." Sinclair's general counsel said of
"Nightline's" tribute to the American dead, "We find
it to be contrary to the public interest."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., blasted Sinclair's
decision: "There is no valid reason for Sinclair to
shirk its responsibility in what I assume is a very
misguided attempt to prevent your viewers from
completely appreciating the extraordinary sacrifices
made on their behalf by Americans serving in Iraq." In
response, Sinclair V.P. Hyman tried to demean the
military service of the decorated former prisoner of
war, "To be perfectly honest, it's been 25 years since
[McCain's] worn a military uniform."

But the "Stolen Honor" flap has gotten uglier. The
film was made by Carlton Sherwood, a Vietnam veteran
and former reporter for the conservative Washington
Times. He also authored a book that served as a
vigorous defense of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the alleged
cult leader who owns the newspaper. Sherwood is a
personal friend of Homeland Security Secretary Tom
Ridge and worked as a media consultant for Ridge while
he was Pennsylvania governor. Appearing on Fox News
this week, Sherwood insisted he had been "slandered
and vilified" by Kerry's antiwar activities more than
three decades ago. Two of the Vietnam veterans who
appear in "Stolen Honor" were also part of the Swift
Boat Veterans for Truth smear campaign this summer.

Prominently featured in "Stolen Honor" is retired
Air Force Col. Leo Thorsness, a Vietnam prisoner of
war for six years, with a long political career as a
Republican. In South Dakota, he ran for the U.S.
Senate against George McGovern in 1974 and Tom Daschle
in 1978, losing both times. Then he moved to
Washington state, where he was elected a state
senator. Thorsness claims Kerry's antiwar activity
helped prolong the war and made POW's suffer. Twelve
years ago during the 1992 presidential campaign
Thorsness made the same accusations against Democratic
candidate Bill Clinton - that his antiwar protests as
a student had aided and abetted the enemy.

Although "Stolen Honor" is available online on
DVD, Sinclair insists that airing the tilted
documentary constitutes a news event, which thereby
lifts any obligation Sinclair has to grant Kerry equal
time. (It was during the "Nightline" controversy that
Sinclair issued a statement: "We do not believe
political statements should be disguised as news
content.")

The Fairness Doctrine, which required television
and radio stations to present an opposing side, was
destroyed by President Reagan's veto of congressional
renewal. Still, broadcast stations - in exchange for
being given broadcast spectrum for free - are
obligated during campaigns to offer each candidate
equal time.

"Sinclair's acting more like a cable channel,"
says Hundt, who notes that broadcasters have unique
responsibilities. "Broadcasters are given spectrum for
free with a quid pro quo to serve the public
interest."

Founded by Julian Smith, Sinclair started out as a
single UHF station in Baltimore in 1971. In 33 years
it has grown into 62 stations in 39 markets, capturing
24 percent of the national TV audience. The company
touts itself as "the nation's largest commercial
television broadcasting company not owned by a
network." Sinclair's stations air a variety of
programming from all the various networks. Most of
Sinclair's stations are second- and third-tier outlets
- the company doesn't have any ABC, CBS or NBC
affiliates in top 10 markets. Instead, a typical
Sinclair station would be WMMP, a UPN affiliate in
Charleston, S.C. Sinclair is now run by four of
Smith's sons, including CEO David Smith.

According to the Washington Post, "Little is known
about the views of David Smith, who told the Baltimore
Sun in a rare 1995 interview that he and his brothers
try 'to maintain as much anonymity as we can.' As for
Smith's view, he was quoted in a January 5th
'Television Week' article, complaining about the
'political agenda' of the 'liberal media.'"

Smith's anonymity was inadvertently peeled back
during the summer of 1996 when he was arrested in
Baltimore for picking up a female prostitute who
performed what arresting police officers reported as a
"perverted act" on him as he drove north on the Jones
Falls Expressway in a company-owned Mercedes. Smith
was charged with a misdemeanor sex offense.

The company expanded in the 1990s by taking
advantage of local marketing agreements in which it
effectively operated another company's stations,
including selling the ad time. These arrangements
allowed Sinclair to run more than one station in a
single market, creating de facto duopolies. But
Sinclair has been stuck at roughly the same number of
television stations for several years. In order to
grow dramatically it needs the federal government to
further relax the number of outlets one company can
own. Business Week noted last year, "If ownership
restrictions are eased, Sinclair is poised to reap
huge benefits by being able to add more TV stations,
further reducing costs." As it happens, the Bush
administration, and the Bush-appointed FCC chairman,
are in favor further relaxation of media ownership
rules, but they have run into bipartisan opposition in
the Congress.

Sinclair has other business interests that may
also explain its aggressive support of the Bush
administration. The company happens to be a major
investor in Jadoo Power Systems, a producer of
portable power systems that was recently awarded a
military contract from the Pentagon with U.S. Special
Operations Command. (Sinclair Ventures, a wholly owned
subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, is one of
Jadoo's two major owners.)

Like Clear Channel Communications, which
symbolizes deregulation on the radio side, inside the
television business Sinclair is known for being cheap,
playing hardball with its competitors and suppliers,
rampant cost cutting, a conservative tilt, and
centralized programming that takes decision-making
away from local stations and coverage away from local
communities. (Sinclair's even been labeled "the Clear
Channel of local news.")

In St. Louis, Sinclair fired the entire 47-person
news team at KDNL, making it among the first
major-market television stations to broadcast without
local news. At Sinclair's Rochester, N.Y., station, it
fired the entire news, weather and sports anchor team,
and half of the remaining staff. Variety reported that
Smith assembled station employees in the company
parking lot, climbed onto the hood of a car, read a
list of names, and announced that those on the list
were fired. (Smith denied the account.) On a smaller
but still telling scale, after Sinclair took over WCWB
in Pittsburgh, the company ditched the station's three
public affairs programs, including "Girl Scouting
Today," and replaced them with infomercials.

Typically, when Sinclair guts local news
operations, it replaces them with a newscast beamed in
from its Maryland studio, which is packaged as a
homegrown broadcast. Dubbed "NewsCentral," the
maneuver is first and foremost a money-saving
enterprise. But an indirect consequence of beaming
uniform newscasts across the country is that it has
given Sinclair some political clout. "I don't think
they anticipated the power they would generate with
NewsCentral," says one news industry source. "They
created a political animal."

But none of Sinclair's maneuvers, even the
"Nightline" stunt, prepared observers for its most
recent moves. Sinclair has shown no previous interest
in documentaries. "It's never happened before - ever,"
says filmmaker Robert Greenwald, who told Salon he
offers all his films for Sinclair to broadcast,
including "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq
War." George Butler, director of "Going Upriver: The
Long War of John Kerry," as well as Paul Alexander,
maker of "Brothers in Arms," a documentary of Kerry's
Vietnam experience, have made similar offers,
suggesting Sinclair, if it were interested in balance,
would show their films to counter the attacks of
"Stolen Honor." Sinclair has failed to respond to
their offers.

Just days before Sinclair made its announcement,
some conservatives posting on the far right Web site
FreeRepublic.com were tossing back and forth the idea
of how they might convince Fox News to run "Stolen
Honor." But the consensus among the Freepers was that
the movie was too controversial and partisan even for
Fox. "It's quite a world we live in when Fox appears
to be the moderate," remarks Greenwald, whose recent
documentary, "Outfoxed," examined the network's
conservative bias.

Once obscure, Sinclair's peculiar brand of
corporate leadership is at last receiving attention
and scrutiny. While defending its "Stolen Honor"
decision, Sinclair's obstreperous vice president Hyman
twice this week turned heads by comparing network news
organizations to "Holocaust deniers" for allegedly
refusing to cover the anti-Kerry accusations of a
small gaggle of Vietnam veterans. Aside from his
incendiary language, Hyman obviously neglected to
account for the wall-to-wall coverage the
Republican-financed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
received during the month of August.

After the Democratic National Committee filed a
complaint with the Federal Election Committee charging
that Sinclair's airing of the one-sided "Stolen Honor"
amounted to a corporate, in-kind donation to the
Bush-Cheney campaign, Hyman told the Associated Press,
"Would they suggest that our reporting a car bomb in
Iraq is an in-kind contribution to the Kerry
campaign?" Eighteen Democratic senators wrote to FCC
chairman Michael Powell this week asking him to
investigate Sinclair's move, but Thursday Powell said
the FCC would do nothing to interfere with the
network's plans.

"He's certifiable," says one Sinclair employee.
"At least that's all coming out now. It's like the
Wizard of Oz; the curtain gets pulled back and there's
this weird guy running things."

In a profile of Hyman that appeared this summer,
the Baltimore Sun reported wryly, "He came to
journalism in a roundabout way." In fact, the public
face of Sinclair's news department has no newsroom
experience whatsoever. A 1981 U.S. Naval Academy
graduate, Hyman worked for the Office of Naval
Intelligence and later as a weapons inspector focusing
on arms reductions in former Soviet bloc countries.
During the mid-1990s, during the heyday of the
Gingrich Republican "revolution," Hyman served as a
congressional fellow. After less than two years on
Capitol Hill, Hyman in 1997 was tapped as Sinclair's
chief lobbyist, director of government relations, and
then promoted to vice president of corporate relations
in July 1999.

For two years Hyman often made trade-industry
headlines for challenging the FCC's guidelines on
digital television. And then came Sept. 11. Sinclair
went far beyond affixing American flags to the lapels
of its news anchors. Its news team at the company's
flagship station in Baltimore received edicts to read
on air: "[The station] wants you to know that we stand
100 percent behind our President." Hyman has kept up
the patriotic coverage: Last February, a Sinclair news
crew set off for Iraq determined to find the "good
news" stories that other news organizations were
supposedly ignoring. Since that expedition, nearly 600
U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq. During an
interview last September with Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld, a Sinclair reporter inquired, "Is
negative press emboldening the terrorists in Iraq, do
you think?"

Soon after Sept. 11, Hyman's commentaries, "The
Point," became a daily must-carry on Sinclair
stations. Critics of the Iraq war are "whack-jobs,"
the French are "cheese-eating surrender monkeys,"
progressives "loony left," and Democratic members of
Congress who argued against Bush policies are
"unpatriotic politicians who hate our military." At
first only Sinclair stations that aired its
NewsCentral broadcast were required to carry "The
Point." But recently all Sinclair stations have been
told to feature Hyman's broadsides, often by
shortening their sportscasts.

Sinclair boasts that 1.8 million adult viewers see
Hyman's "The Point" every day, making him among the
most-watched conservative commentators on television.
But the figure is somewhat misleading, because
Sinclair news viewers in 39 markets across the country
tune in for news, sports and weather. Hyman's simply
there, part of the Sinclair package.

Sinclair is the only group owner, from either side
of the political spectrum, beaming out editorials
across the country to television stations without any
local input. "Sinclair's always claiming they're the
symbol of localism and that local broadcasters best
reflect the values and tastes of the community," says
Gene Kimmelman, director of the Washington office of
Consumers Union. "How does running a so-called
documentary which independent observers say is not
factually accurate, how does that serve the community?
And has Sinclair asked the communities if they wanted
to see documentaries from the other side to balance it
out?"

Smith at Syracuse University says the fracas
represents a strategic defeat for the broadcast
industry, which continues to lobby Congress and the
FCC for further media ownership concentration. "This
plays right into the hands of people who are opposed
to media consolidation," he says. "Sinclair's become
the poster child for abuse of consolidation.
Broadcasters always claim consolidation doesn't hurt
localism, but this [Sinclair episode] is incredibly
damaging to localism. Privately, I think broadcasters
are furious with Sinclair."

Reed Hundt, the former FCC chairman, encapsulates
the latest Sinclair travesty in a line: "It's about a
company that's forgotten the standard of behavior for
broadcast television."


http://www.mtv.com/chooseorlose/headlines/news.jhtml?id=1492305

Jon Stewart Bitchslaps CNN's 'Crossfire' Show
10.15.2004 6:43 PM EDT

In what could well be the strangest and most
refreshing media moment of the election season, "The
Daily Show" host Jon Stewart turned up on a live
broadcast of CNN's "Crossfire" Friday and accused the
mainstream media — and his hosts in particular — of
being soft and failing to do their duty as journalists
to keep politicians and the political process honest.

Reaching well outside his usual youthful "Daily Show"
demo, Stewart took to "Crossfire" to promote his new
book, "America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to
Democracy Inaction" (see "Jon Stewart Writes A History
Textbook That — At Last! — Features Nudity"), but
instead of pushing the tome, Stewart used his time to
verbally slap the network and the media for being
"dishonest" and "doing a disservice" to the American
public. After co-host Tucker Carlson suggested that
Stewart went easy on Senator John Kerry when the
candidate was a guest on "The Daily Show," Stewart
unloaded on "Crossfire," calling hosts Carlson and
Paul Begala "partisan hacks" and chiding them for not
raising the level of discourse on their show beyond
sloganeering.

"What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan
hackery," Stewart said. "You have a responsibility to
the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

"I watch your show every day, and it kills me. It's so
painful to watch," Stewart added as it became apparent
that the comedian was not joking. He went on to hammer
the network, and the media in general, for its
coverage of the presidential debates. Stewart said it
was a disservice to viewers to immediately seek
reaction from campaign insiders and presidential
cheerleaders following the debates, noting that the
debates' famed "Spin Alley" should be called
"Deception Lane."

"The thing is, we need your help," Stewart said.
"Right now, you're helping the politicians and the
corporations and we're left out there to mow our
lawns."

While the audience seemed to be behind Stewart, Begala
and Carlson were both taken aback. The hosts tried to
feed Stewart set-up lines hoping to draw him into a
more light-hearted shtick, but Stewart stayed on point
and hammered away at the show, the hosts, and the
state of political journalism. Carlson grew
increasingly frustrated, at first noting that the
segment wasn't "funny," and later verbally sparring
with the comedian.

"You're not very much fun," Carlson said. "Do you like
lecture people like this, or do you come over to their
house and sit and lecture them; they're not doing the
right thing, that they're missing their opportunities,
evading their responsibilities?"

"If I think they are," Stewart retorted.

The conversation reached its most heated moment when
Carlson said to Stewart, "I do think you're more fun
on your show," to which Stewart replied, "You're as
big a dick on your show as you are on any show."

"That went great," Stewart could be heard
sarcastically saying as the show went off the air (a
transcript of the show is available on CNN.com).

In an era when the media is increasingly fragmented
and viewers can surround themselves with programming
that falls right in line with their own views, be they
on the right or the left, Stewart's blast seemed
especially on point. It seems fitting that the tirade
came on a day when much of the media attention focused
on the presidential race was directed at the mention
of Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter during the
last presidential debate, as opposed to the issues
addressed at that debate.

—Robert Mancini


http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041015/NEWS01/410150366/1002

October 15, 2004
Platoon defies orders in Iraq


Miss. soldier calls home, cites safety concerns

By Jeremy Hudson
jehudson@clarionledger.com

A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from
Jackson and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is
under arrest for refusing a "suicide mission" to
deliver fuel, the troops' relatives said Thursday.
The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to
Taji, Iraq — north of Baghdad — because their vehicles
were considered "deadlined" or extremely unsafe, said
Patricia McCook of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Larry O.
McCook.

Sgt. McCook, a deputy at the Hinds County Detention
Center, and the 16 other members of the 343rd
Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, S.C., were read
their rights and moved from the military barracks into
tents, Patricia McCook said her husband told her
during a panicked phone call about 5 a.m. Thursday.

The platoon could be charged with the willful
disobeying of orders, punishable by dishonorable
discharge, forfeiture of pay and up to five years
confinement, said military law expert Mark Stevens, an
associate professor of justice studies at Wesleyan
College in Rocky Mount, N.C.

No military officials were able to confirm or deny the
detainment of the platoon Thursday.

But today, Sgt. Salju Thomas of the Combined Press
Information Center in Baghdad issued a statement
saying that an investigation has begun.

"The Commander General of the 13 Corps Support Group
has appointed a deputy commander to lead an
investigation into allegations that members of the 343
Quartermaster Company refused to participate in theri
assigned convoy mission on Oct. 13," Thomas' statement
said.

The investigation team is currently in Tallil taking
statements and interviewing those involved, Thomas
said in the statement.

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson said he plans to submit a
congressional inquiry today on behalf of the
Mississippi soldiers to launch an investigation into
whether they are being treated improperly.

"I would not want any member of the military to be put
in a dangerous situation ill-equipped," said Thompson,
who was contacted by families. "I have had similar
complaints from military families about vehicles that
weren't armor-plated, or bullet-proof vests that are
outdated. It concerns me because we made over $150
billion in funds available to equip our forces in
Iraq.

"President Bush takes the position that the troops are
well-armed, but if this situation is true, it calls
into question how honest he has been with the
country," Thompson said.

The 343rd is a supply unit whose general mission is to
deliver fuel and water. The unit includes three women
and 14 men and those with ranking up to sergeant first
class.

"I got a call from an officer in another unit early
(Thursday) morning who told me that my husband and his
platoon had been arrested on a bogus charge because
they refused to go on a suicide mission," said Jackie
Butler of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Michael Butler, a
24-year reservist. "When my husband refuses to follow
an order, it has to be something major."

The platoon being held has troops from Alabama,
Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi and South
Carolina, said Teresa Hill of Dothan, Ala., whose
daughter Amber McClenny is among those being detained.

McClenny, 21, pleaded for help in a message left on
her mother's answering machine early Thursday morning.

"They are holding us against our will," McClenny said.
"We are now prisoners."

McClenny told her mother her unit tried to deliver
fuel to another base in Iraq Wednesday, but was sent
back because the fuel had been contaminated with
water. The platoon returned to its base, where it was
told to take the fuel to another base, McClenny told
her mother.

The platoon is normally escorted by armed Humvees and
helicopters, but did not have that support Wednesday,
McClenny told her mother.

The convoy trucks the platoon was driving had
experienced problems in the past and were not being
properly maintained, Hill said her daughter told her.

The situation mirrors other tales of troops being sent
on missions without proper equipment.

Aviation regiments have complained of being forced to
fly dangerous missions over Iraq with outdated
night-vision goggles and old missile-avoidance
systems. Stories of troops' families purchasing body
armor because the military didn't provide them with
adequate equipment have been included in recent
presidential debates.

Patricia McCook said her husband, a staff sergeant,
understands well the severity of disobeying orders.
But he did not feel comfortable taking his soldiers on
another trip.

"He told me that three of the vehicles they were to
use were deadlines ... not safe to go in a hotbed like
that," Patricia McCook said.

Hill said the trucks her daughter's unit was driving
could not top 40 mph.

"They knew there was a 99 percent chance they were
going to get ambushed or fired at," Hill said her
daughter told her. "They would have had no way to
fight back."

Kathy Harris of Vicksburg is the mother of Aaron
Gordon, 20, who is among those being detained. Her
primary concern is that she has been told the soldiers
have not been provided access to a judge advocate
general.

Stevens said if the soldiers are being confined, law
requires them to have a hearing before a magistrate
within seven days.

Harris said conditions for the platoon have been
difficult of late. Her son e-mailed her earlier this
week to ask what the penalty would be if he became
physical with a commanding officer, she said.

But Nadine Stratford of Rock Hill, S.C., said her
godson Colin Durham, 20, has been happy with his time
in Iraq. She has not heard from him since the platoon
was detained.

"When I talked to him about a month ago, he was fine,"
Stratford said. "He said it was like being at home."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-10-15-bush-guard-records_x.htm?csp=24&RM_Exclude=Juno

Posted 10/15/2004 5:54 PM Updated 10/15/2004 10:36
PM


Independent review finds unreleased Bush military
records
WASHINGTON (AP) — Weeks after Texas National Guard
officials signed an oath swearing they had turned over
all of President Bush's military records, independent
examiners found more than two dozen pages of
previously unreleased documents about Bush.
The two retired Army lawyers went through Texas files
under an agreement between the Texas Guard and The
Associated Press, which sued to gain access to the
files. The 31 pages of documents turned over to AP
Thursday night include orders for high-altitude
training in 1972, less than three months before Bush
abruptly quit flying as a fighter pilot.

The discovery is the latest in a series of
embarrassments for Pentagon and Texas National Guard
officials who have repeatedly said they found and
released all of Bush's Vietnam-era military files,
only to belatedly discover more records. Those
discoveries — nearly 100 pages, including Bush's pay
records and flight logs — have been the result of
freedom of information lawsuits filed in federal and
Texas courts by AP.

A Texas National Guard spokesman defended the
continuing discoveries, saying Guard officials didn't
find all of Bush's records because they are
disorganized and in poor shape.

"These boxes are full of dirt and rat (excrement) and
dead bugs. They have never been sitting in an
uncontrolled climate," said Lt. Col. John Stanford.
"It's a tough task to go through archives that were
not set up in a way that you could easily go through
them."

Two Texas officials had signed sworn affidavits
insisting they had reviewed the files in those boxes
and released copies of all that related to Bush's
1968-1973 Guard service, however.

Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard has come
under scrutiny in this wartime election season. Some
Democrats accuse Bush of shirking his guard duties in
1972 and 1973, when Bush didn't show up for training
for as long as six months at a time. Democrats have
contrasted nominee John Kerry's combat service in
Vietnam with Bush's stateside service as an F-102A
fighter pilot in Texas.

Bush says he fulfilled all of his service obligations
and did nothing wrong. The newly released documents
shed no new light on the most controversial periods of
Bush's guard tenure.

Texas Tech University law school professors Richard D.
Rosen and Calvin Lewis, both former Army lawyers,
reviewed the boxes of files earlier this week under an
agreement in the AP lawsuit. They found three other
boxes with files from Bush's unit that previous
searches did not turn up, Stanford said.

The newly released documents include a January 1972
order for Bush to attend three days of "physiological
training" at Laredo Air Force Base in Texas. His Texas
payroll and attendance records, released earlier, show
Bush was credited for serving on active duty training
for the three days involved.

At the time, pilots had to renew their high-altitude
training every three years, said retired Maj. Gen.
Paul A. Weaver, Jr., a former head of the Air National
Guard. Bush's first altitude training came in 1969
when he was in pilot school at Moody Air Force Base in
Georgia.

The training involved instruction about the effects of
lack of oxygen on the body and exercises in which the
pilots are exposed under supervision to the thin air
of high altitudes. The purpose is to familiarize
pilots with the effects of lack of oxygen so they can
recognize them and take appropriate action to avoid
blacking out at the controls.

The altitude training came six weeks before Bush began
an unexplained string of flights on two-seat training
jets and simulators. On April 12, 1972, Bush took his
last flight in the single-seat F-102A fighter.

The future president skipped a required yearly medical
exam and was ordered grounded as of August 1972. Bush
says he missed the exam because he was planning to
train with an Alabama Air National Guard unit which
did not fly the F-102A.

Bush went to Alabama that year to work on the U.S.
Senate campaign of a family friend.

Records show Bush did no guard training at all between
mid-April and late October 1972. He's credited with
six days of training in October and November 1972,
presumably with the Alabama unit.

The Alabama unit's commanders say they never saw Bush
or any paperwork showing he performed drills there. A
January 1973 document says Bush got a dental
examination at the Alabama unit's base.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Teachers' T-shirts bring Bush speech ouster

http://www.bend.com/news/ar_view^3Far_id^3D18712.htm
>From Bend.com news sources
Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2004 10:24 PM
Reference Code: PR-18712

October 14 - MEDFORD – President Bush taught three
Oregon schoolteachers a new lesson in irony – or
tragedy – Thursday night when his campaign removed
them from a Bush speech and threatened them with
arrest simply for wearing t-shirts that said “Protect
Our Civil Liberties,” the Democratic Party of Oregon
reported.

The women were ticketed to the event, admitted into
the event, and were then approached by event officials
before the president’s speech. They were asked to
leave and to turn over their tickets – two of the
three tickets were seized, but the third was saved
when one of the teachers put it underneath an article
of clothing.

"The U.S. Constitution was not available on site for
comment, but expressed in a written statement support
for “the freedom of speech” and “of the press” among
other civil liberties," a Democratic news release
said.

The Associated Press and local CBS affiliate KTVL
captured Bush’s principled stand against civil
liberties in news accounts published immediately after
the event.

The AP reported:

Three Medford school teachers were threatened with
arrest and escorted from the event after they showed
up wearing T-shirts with the slogan "Protect our civil
liberties." All three said they applied for and
received valid tickets from Republican headquarters in
Medford.

The women said they did not intend to protest. "I
wanted to see if I would be able to make a statement
that I feel is important, but not offensive, in a
rally for my president," said Janet Voorhies, 48, a
teacher in training.

“We chose this phrase specifically because we didn't
think it would be offensive or degrading or obscene,"
said Tania Tong, 34, a special education teacher.

Thursday’s event in Oregon sets a new bar for a
Bush/Cheney campaign that has taken extraordinary
measures to screen the opinions of those who attend
Bush and Cheney speeches. For months, the Bush/Cheney
campaign has limited event access to those willing to
volunteer in Bush/Cheney campaign offices. In recent
weeks, the Bush/Cheney campaign has gone so far as to
have those who voice dissenting viewpoints at their
events arrested and charged as criminals.

Thursday’s actions in Oregon set a new standard even
for Bush/Cheney – removing and threatening with arrest
citizens who in no way disrupt an event and wear
clothing that expresses non-disruptive party-neutral
viewpoints such as “Protect Our Civil Liberties.”

When Vice President Dick Cheney visited Eugene, Oregon
on Sept. 17, a 54-Year old woman named Perry Patterson
was charged with criminal trespass for blurting the
word "No" when Cheney said that George W. Bush has
made the world safer.

One day before, Sue Niederer, 55, the mother of a
slain American soldier in Iraq was cuffed and arrested
for criminal trespass when she interrupted a Laura
Bush speech in New Jersey. Both women had tickets to
the event.

Posted by richard at 10:10 AM

October 15, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 18 Days to Go -- Electoral Theft In NV, WI, OH, FL, "Creeping Fascism, " Oprah warns women

There are only 18 days to go until the national
referendum on the COMPETENCE, CHARACTER and
CREDIBILITY of the _resident, the VICE _resident and
the US regimestream news media that shields them from
the TRUTH and CONSEQUENCES of their abomination...At
least five more US soliders have died in Iraq. For
what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich.
And yet, the USregimestream news media is attempting
to suck the national discourse down into the Cheney
family's faux indignation...Here are SIX stories about
what is really going on in this election struggle, and
about what is really at stake...Please read them and
share them with others. Please vote and encourage
others to vote. Please rememeber that the US
regimestream news media does not want to inform you
about this campaign, it wants to DISinform you...It is
a full partner in a Triad of shared special interest
(i.e. energy, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals,
chemicals, tobacco, etc.) with the Bush Cabal and its
wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party...There
is an Electoral Uprising coming at the Ballot Box...We
have all crossed the Rubicon...It is nothing less than
the Republic itself that is at stake...They cannot
steal it if enough of us vote...

Paul Krugman, NY Times: Earlier this week former
employees of Sproul & Associates (operating under the
name Voters Outreach of America), a firm hired by the
Republican National Committee to register voters, told
a Nevada TV station that their supervisors
systematically tore up Democratic registrations.
The accusations are backed by physical evidence and
appear credible. Officials have begun a criminal
investigation into reports of similar actions by
Sproul in Oregon.
Republicans claim, of course, that they did nothing
wrong - and that besides, Democrats do it, too. But
there haven't been any comparably credible accusations
against Democratic voter-registration organizations.
And there is a pattern of Republican efforts to
disenfranchise Democrats, by any means possible.
Some of these, like the actions reported in Nevada,
involve dirty tricks. For example, in 2002 the
Republican Party in New Hampshire hired an Idaho
company to paralyze Democratic get-out-the-vote
efforts by jamming the party's phone banks.
But many efforts involve the abuse of power. For
example, Ohio's secretary of state, a Republican,
tried to use an archaic rule about paper quality to
invalidate thousands of new, heavily Democratic
registrations.
That attempt failed. But in Wisconsin, a Republican
county executive insists that this year, when everyone
expects a record turnout, Milwaukee will receive fewer
ballots than it got in 2000 or 2002 - a recipe for
chaos at polling places serving urban, mainly
Democratic voters.
And Florida is the site of naked efforts to suppress
Democratic votes, and the votes of blacks in
particular...
In an article coming next week in Harper's, Greg
Palast, who originally reported the story of the 2000
felon list, reveals that few of those wrongly purged
from the voting rolls in 2000 are back on the voter
lists. State officials have imposed Kafkaesque hurdles
for voters trying to get back on the rolls. Depending
on the county, those attempting to get their votes
back have been required to seek clemency for crimes
committed by others, or to go through quasi-judicial
proceedings to prove that they are not felons with
similar names...
The important point to realize is that these abuses
aren't aberrations. They're the inevitable result of a
Republican Party culture in which dirty tricks that
distort the vote are rewarded, not punished. It's a
culture that will persist until voters - whose will
still does count, if expressed strongly enough - hold
that party accountable.

Associated Press: The mayor has requested more ballots
for the Nov. 2 election, but the county executive has
refused to provide them, citing concerns about voter
fraud.
Mayor Tom Barrett complained that the 679,000 ballots
the county agreed to print were less than the number
prepared for elections in 2000 and 2002. He asked for
almost 260,000 additional ballots, expecting a large
turnout next month.
But in a letter, Milwaukee County Executive Scott
Walker said he had ``serious questions'' about the
need for that many ballots because the city reported
having 382,000 registered voters in September. He said
``chaos'' could occur at understaffed polling places
where voters could grab ballots.
City officials said the request for additional ballots
was an effort to prevent shortages because some wards
have run out in the past. They say some ballots will
be ``spoiled'' by voters' mistakes, and Wisconsin's
same-day voter registration makes turnout
unpredictable.
``I'm going to lay this at the footsteps of the county
if there aren't enough ballots in the city,'' Barrett
said.

ROBIN ERB, Toledo Blade: They didn't take the box of
petty cash or other computers. They bypassed portable
radios, a television, and a microwave.
And a pop machine, illuminating an otherwise dark room
in what would seem to be a beacon to any ordinary
burglar, remained untouched.
Instead, what overnight thieves took from Lucas County
Democratic Headquarters were financial data, volunteer
rolls, Election Day strategy, and other sensitive
information just three weeks before voters head to the
polls...
Three computers were taken sometime between 11 p.m.
Monday and 7 a.m. Tuesday, apparently by an intruder
who broke a side window.
One of the computers belonged to office manager
Barbara Koonce, who was responsible for names and
addresses of hundreds of party members, volunteers,
and candidates, a master schedule for all candidates'
events, and financial information.
It also included a list of registered Democrats -
information that had been analyzed as part of the
Democrats' campaign strategy, Ms. Koonce said.
"So for example, if I wanted to target
African-American voters in Ward 10 now, I no longer
have that list," she said.

Norwegian Chief, www.dailykos.com: There are two high
profile voter suppression and intimidation situations
taking place in Nevada right now.
1.0 VOTER REGISTATION FRAUD
This week, Channel 8 Investigative Reporter George
Knapp, broke a story about a company that sought to
register only Republican voters and destroyed voter
registration forms completed by Democrats.
It was exposed that this group hired and trained
employees to solely register Republican voters and
walk away from anyone who considered registering
Democrat.
Even more shocking is the fact that voter registration
forms that were checked Democrat were torn up and
thrown in the trash.
Eric Russell, a former employee of Voters Outreach of
America, said he saw his boss destroy forms and came
forward to shine the spotlight on this problem. The
televised investigation also featured an individual
who, when shown a copy of a completed registration
form that had been destroyed, confirmed the form was
his.
2.0 VOTER SUPPRESSION
On Friday, October 8, Dan Burdish, the former director
of the Nevada Republican Party attempted to throw out
the voting rights of 17,000 Clark County Citizens.
Dan Burdish admitted in the Las Vegas Review Journal
he is "looking to take Democrats off the voter rolls."
[Las Vegas Review Journal, 10/10/04]
The 17,000 votes the GOP is trying to throw away
belong to people who have been categorized as
"inactive voters".

Molly Ivins, www.workingforchange.org: Now is the time
for all good men -- and women -- to race to the aid of
their country. Liberals and libertarians unite! The
Sinclair Broadcasting Group, with their biased
"documentary" on John Kerry, has moved this election
into the realm of creeping fascism, state propaganda,
Big Brother and brainwashing. What me, hyperbole?
This is SO simple -- how would you conservatives feel
if NBC, CBS or ABC decided to pre-empt primetime
programming a week before the election to air Michael
Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11"? And then announced, "But
we've offered President Bush a chance to reply"?
Sinclair has also offered President George W. Bush the
inestimable service of diverting attention from his
record and is using OUR publicly owned airwaves to do
it.
For Sinclair's lobbyist and on-air editorialist Mark
Hyman to claim this long attack ad is "news" is
ludicrous -- almost as strained as his claim,
somewhere between infelicitous and crackers, that
those who disagree are like "Holocaust deniers."

Mark Moford, S.F. Gate: There was Oprah, doing what
she does so freakishly well, cheerleading and
extolling and impressing upon, getting women up and
getting them angry and demanding that they exercise
their hard-won right to vote and demanding that they
quit dissing their feminist ancestors, the ones who
worked so damn hard for suffrage and for freedom of
choice and for the right to tell powerful sexist
Republican men where they can shove their repressive
sexist antichoice bigotry.
This was her fabulous, much-needed message: Take your
rights for granted at your peril, ladies. Move, or
else. Choose how you want the laws to treat and
respect you and your body -- or someone else, someone
who hasn't touched a vagina for 30 years and who
thinks sex is only tolerable in the dark, fully
clothed and with a respectable prostitute, will choose
for you...
Imagine Bush filches another election in November.
Nations mourn, black clouds gather, children cry,
colons spasm, the remaining shreds of the American
experiment wither and die.
And within a very short time, as many as 30 U.S.
states have recriminalized abortion and made
repressing women and hating sex fun again, as young
American females everywhere who thought their right to
choose was pretty much incontrovertible and
indisputable and unfailing and who therefore didn't
bother to vote in '00 or '04 suddenly go, oh holy
freaking hell.
Hello, 1950s. Hello, coat-hanger surgery. Hello,
millions of despondent daughters of uptight parents.
Hello, dead or mutilated teenage girls who suffer
botched procedures. Hello, a fresh national nightmare,
revisited, regurgitated, reborn. And hello again to
smug right-wing males who've wanted to put women back
in their place for the past 50 years. Check that: 200
years. Check that: forever.
Just a silly nightmare? Utterly impossible? A
ridiculous liberal daydream? Not even close,
sweetheart.
It's all about the Supreme Court, of course. Fact is,
our next president will almost surely get to appoint a
number of new high-court justices to replace those who
will likely retire after enduring Bush's toxic first
term. They hung in there, these few -- especially
stalwarts Sandra Day O'Connor and moderate, pro-choice
John Paul Stevens -- hoping to disallow the nation's
highest judiciary from becoming overly stacked with
homophobic self-righteous right-wing neocon wingnuts
(hi, Justice Scalia!) who would have us revert --
morally, sexually, spiritually, misogynistically -- to
1953. Check that: 1853. Check that: 1353.
With the exception of nearly useless neoconservative
sycophant Clarence Thomas, not a single justice now
serving on the court is under 65. Many insiders say
Stevens, O'Connor and bitter old man William Rehnquist
(almost 80) are all likely to retire before 2008.
BushCo's chosen replacements could easily tip the
scales of the court the other direction, from its very
precarious 5-4 progressive tilt to a very sneering 6-3
conservative one, a court that would then very easily
overturn parts or even all of Roe v. Wade. Talk about
a malicious legacy.

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/2004/10/15/opinion/15krugman.html?oref=login

Block the Vote
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: October 15, 2004




Earlier this week former employees of Sproul &
Associates (operating under the name Voters Outreach
of America), a firm hired by the Republican National
Committee to register voters, told a Nevada TV station
that their supervisors systematically tore up
Democratic registrations.

The accusations are backed by physical evidence and
appear credible. Officials have begun a criminal
investigation into reports of similar actions by
Sproul in Oregon.

Republicans claim, of course, that they did nothing
wrong - and that besides, Democrats do it, too. But
there haven't been any comparably credible accusations
against Democratic voter-registration organizations.
And there is a pattern of Republican efforts to
disenfranchise Democrats, by any means possible.

Some of these, like the actions reported in Nevada,
involve dirty tricks. For example, in 2002 the
Republican Party in New Hampshire hired an Idaho
company to paralyze Democratic get-out-the-vote
efforts by jamming the party's phone banks.

But many efforts involve the abuse of power. For
example, Ohio's secretary of state, a Republican,
tried to use an archaic rule about paper quality to
invalidate thousands of new, heavily Democratic
registrations.

That attempt failed. But in Wisconsin, a Republican
county executive insists that this year, when everyone
expects a record turnout, Milwaukee will receive fewer
ballots than it got in 2000 or 2002 - a recipe for
chaos at polling places serving urban, mainly
Democratic voters.

And Florida is the site of naked efforts to suppress
Democratic votes, and the votes of blacks in
particular.

Florida's secretary of state recently ruled that voter
registrations would be deemed incomplete if those
registering failed to check a box affirming their
citizenship, even if they had signed an oath saying
the same thing elsewhere on the form. Many counties
are, sensibly, ignoring this ruling, but it's apparent
that some officials have both used this rule and other
technicalities to reject applications as incomplete,
and delayed notifying would-be voters of problems with
their applications until it was too late.

Whose applications get rejected? A Washington Post
examination of rejected applications in Duval County
found three times as many were from Democrats,
compared with Republicans. It also found a strong tilt
toward rejection of blacks' registrations.

The case of Florida's felon list - used by state
officials, as in 2000, to try to wrongly
disenfranchise thousands of blacks - has been widely
reported. Less widely reported has been overwhelming
evidence that the errors were deliberate.

In an article coming next week in Harper's, Greg
Palast, who originally reported the story of the 2000
felon list, reveals that few of those wrongly purged
from the voting rolls in 2000 are back on the voter
lists. State officials have imposed Kafkaesque hurdles
for voters trying to get back on the rolls. Depending
on the county, those attempting to get their votes
back have been required to seek clemency for crimes
committed by others, or to go through quasi-judicial
proceedings to prove that they are not felons with
similar names.

And officials appear to be doing their best to make
voting difficult for those blacks who do manage to
register. Florida law requires local election
officials to provide polling places where voters can
cast early ballots. Duval County is providing only one
such location, when other counties with similar voting
populations are providing multiple sites. And in Duval
and other counties the early voting sites are miles
away from precincts with black majorities.

Next week, I'll address the question of whether the
votes of Floridians with the wrong color skin will be
fully counted if they are cast. Mr. Palast notes that
in the 2000 election, almost 180,000 Florida votes
were rejected because they were either blank or
contained overvotes. Demographers from the U.S. Civil
Rights Commission estimate that 54 percent of the
spoiled ballots were cast by blacks. And there's
strong evidence that this spoilage didn't reflect
voters' incompetence: it was caused mainly by
defective voting machines and may also reflect
deliberate vote-tampering.

The important point to realize is that these abuses
aren't aberrations. They're the inevitable result of a
Republican Party culture in which dirty tricks that
distort the vote are rewarded, not punished. It's a
culture that will persist until voters - whose will
still does count, if expressed strongly enough - hold
that party accountable.


E-mail: krugman@nytimes.com

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4548203,00.html

Milwaukee Extra Ballot Request Rejected

Wednesday October 13, 2004 5:01 PM


MILWAUKEE (AP) - The mayor has requested more ballots
for the Nov. 2 election, but the county executive has
refused to provide them, citing concerns about voter
fraud.

Mayor Tom Barrett complained that the 679,000 ballots
the county agreed to print were less than the number
prepared for elections in 2000 and 2002. He asked for
almost 260,000 additional ballots, expecting a large
turnout next month.

But in a letter, Milwaukee County Executive Scott
Walker said he had ``serious questions'' about the
need for that many ballots because the city reported
having 382,000 registered voters in September. He said
``chaos'' could occur at understaffed polling places
where voters could grab ballots.

City officials said the request for additional ballots
was an effort to prevent shortages because some wards
have run out in the past. They say some ballots will
be ``spoiled'' by voters' mistakes, and Wisconsin's
same-day voter registration makes turnout
unpredictable.

``I'm going to lay this at the footsteps of the county
if there aren't enough ballots in the city,'' Barrett
said.

By law, the county pays for and prints ballots.

Barrett and Walker both hold nonpartisan offices, but
Walker is a state co-chairman of President Bush's
campaign, and Barrett is state co-chairman of Sen.
John Kerry's campaign.

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041014/NEWS03/410140405/-1/NEWS

Article published Thursday, October 14, 2004

Burglars left plenty in political break-in
Most loot untouched at Democratic office

By ROBIN ERB
BLADE STAFF WRITER


They didn't take the box of petty cash or other
computers. They bypassed portable radios, a
television, and a microwave.
And a pop machine, illuminating an otherwise dark room
in what would seem to be a beacon to any ordinary
burglar, remained untouched.

Instead, what overnight thieves took from Lucas County
Democratic Headquarters were financial data, volunteer
rolls, Election Day strategy, and other sensitive
information just three weeks before voters head to the
polls.

But for all of its apparently political intent, the
break-in at 1817 Madison Ave. this week is most likely
a simple felony.

"It's probably a burglary, maybe a breaking and
entering," Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates said
yesterday.

Officials of both the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys
Office agreed, saying they will monitor the situation
but do not believe a federal crime was committed.

Still, what could be a low-degree felony continued to
cause headaches yesterday for Democrats.

Three computers were taken sometime between 11 p.m.
Monday and 7 a.m. Tuesday, apparently by an intruder
who broke a side window.

One of the computers belonged to office manager
Barbara Koonce, who was responsible for names and
addresses of hundreds of party members, volunteers,
and candidates, a master schedule for all candidates'
events, and financial information.

It also included a list of registered Democrats -
information that had been analyzed as part of the
Democrats' campaign strategy, Ms. Koonce said.

"So for example, if I wanted to target
African-American voters in Ward 10 now, I no longer
have that list," she said.

Also taken was a laptop belonging to Roger Sanders, a
volunteer attorney from Texas working with the Victory
2004 campaign in space that was leased by the
Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign.

The group, which Dems have assigned responsibility for
ensuring election integrity, plans to station
attorneys at every polling site in Lucas County on
Election Day.

Mr. Sanders had been matching as many as 212 local and
out-of-town attorneys to specific polling stations
Nov. 2. That information was stolen, he said, as were
e-mails discussing strategies for counter-attacking
subtle measures that could turn voters away from the
polls.

Still, Mr. Sanders said, the burglary has had an
upside: Volunteers have responded with help and a
local computer consultant dropped off several of his
personal computers yesterday for indefinite loan to
the Democrats.

Contact Robin Erb at:
robinerb@theblade.com
or 419-724-6133.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/10/14/13749/196

LATEST UPDATE ON NEVADA SITUATION
by Norwegian Chef
Thu Oct 14th, 2004 at 17:07:49 GMT

BACKGROUND: There are two high profile voter
suppression and intimidation situations taking place
in Nevada right now.
1.0 VOTER REGISTATION FRAUD
This week, Channel 8 Investigative Reporter George
Knapp, broke a story about a company that sought to
register only Republican voters and destroyed voter
registration forms completed by Democrats.

It was exposed that this group hired and trained
employees to solely register Republican voters and
walk away from anyone who considered registering
Democrat.

Even more shocking is the fact that voter registration
forms that were checked Democrat were torn up and
thrown in the trash.

Eric Russell, a former employee of Voters Outreach of
America, said he saw his boss destroy forms and came
forward to shine the spotlight on this problem. The
televised investigation also featured an individual
who, when shown a copy of a completed registration
form that had been destroyed, confirmed the form was
his.

But what is most disturbing is that the investigation
pointed out that Voter Outreach of America was being
paid by the Republican National Committee. Now, as a
result of the desire of Republicans to steal this
election, thousands of voters may have lost one of the
most fundamental rights of our country, the right to
vote.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) paid to
solely register Republican voters in Nevada. A
Chandler, Ariz., political consulting firm, Sproul &
Associates, was hired by the Republican National
Committee to register Republicans in Nevada, according
to the Associated Press. According to FEC filings,
since July 14, 2004, Sproul and Associates has
received $488,959 form the RNC.

This Classified ad from the RNC ran in the Reno
Gazette Journal:

8.50/hr part-time,
$10.00/hr full-time
Canvassing Neighborhoods in Support of the GOP!

Voter's Outreach of America is hiring door-to-door
canvassers asking people to register to vote. Must be
at least 18 yrs of age, no felonies, registered to
vote and have own transportation. Need good
communication skills and professional appearance.
Hours are 4pm to 8pm Monday-Friday and 8am to noon
Saturday.

Call toll free 702-307-1320 for more information.

Paid for by the Republican National Committee.
www.gop.com . Not authorized by
any candidate or candidate's committee.

Source - Reno Gazette Journal - Reno, NV

NEVADA DEMOCRATIC PARTY FILES LAWSUIT
Nevada State Democratic Party files lawsuit. NSDP
filed a lawsuit near the close of business on
Wednesday, October 13.

The suit filed by the Party seeks to allow Larry
Lomax, the Clark Counter Registrar of Voters, to
re-open voter registration to victims of Voters
Outreach of America.

The suit alleges the company violated four Nevada
laws:
NRS 293.5045 (b) whichprohibits anyone engaging in the
registration of voters from taking anyaction to
discourage an applicant from registering to vote.
NRS 293.805 which prohibitscompanies from paying
individuals based on the number of forms theysubmit.
Voters Outreach of America deducted employee pay if
theyregistered Democrats to vote.
NRS 293.505 (12) whichprecludes the alteration or
defacing of a voter registration applicationthat has
been signed by a registrant.
NRS 293.710 (d) because the actof destroying completed
Democratic voter registration forms constitutesvoter
intimidation and voter fraud.

It is difficult to know how many people may have been
victimized by this company. Voters Outreach of
America was in business for at least 50 days, and it
is unknown how many Democratic voter registrations
were destroyed during that period. It is also unknown
how many people were turned away in malls and other
public venues where the company registered voters.

We are waiting for a hearing.

Additionally, in Washoe County the voter Registrar has
called for an investigation into alleged widespread
voter registration fraud by Republican front groups.

Diaries :: Norwegian Chef's diary ::

2.0 VOTER SUPPRESSION

On Friday, October 8, Dan Burdish, the former director
of the Nevada Republican Party attempted to throw out
the voting rights of 17,000 Clark County Citizens.

Dan Burdish admitted in the Las Vegas Review Journal
he is "looking to take Democrats off the voter rolls."
[Las Vegas Review Journal, 10/10/04]

The 17,000 votes the GOP is trying to throw away
belong to people who have been categorized as
"inactive voters".

Inactive voters still have the right to vote in Clark
County. They have only been moved to that category
because the Clark County Election Department's efforts
to reach them by mail were unsuccessful. But, again,
they still have the legal right to vote.

Burdish filed a challenge with Clark County Voter
Registrar Larry Lomax. Mr. Lomax referred the
challenge to the District Attorney's office. The DA
rejected the challenge and said that it would have to
be filed by an individual living in the precinct of
the challenged voter.

Desperate Republican times call for desperate
Republican measures to suppress the vote. This
situation is regrettable, but not surprising.
Republicans are using these same tricks and pressure
tactics in other Southwestern states and across the
country.

VOTER RIGHTS PROJECT
We saw it in Florida, now we're seeing it here,
Republicans want to steal this election. We won't let
that happen.

This is an election about serious life and death
issues and it is critical that every person who wants
to vote can do so without interference and with
confidence that their vote will be counted. We must
work together to promote voting and voting rights. So
the Nevada State Democratic Party has launched a
statewide "Voter Rights Project". Our efforts are in
conjunction with the Kerry-Edwards Campaign and the
Democratic National Committee.

The goal - a voting rights attorney in every priority
precinct in the battleground states


We have created the world's largest virtual law firm
in the country dedicating to promoting and protecting
the vote.

We have a Kerry-Edwards counsel in every state and
every key county in Battleground states to protect
voting rights on election day.

We have hired DNC Voting Protection Coordinators in
every battleground state to design and implement
voting rights and election protection plans.

Nationally, we will have thousands of Volunteer Voting
Rights Attorneys in every priority precinct on
Election Day.

>From now until election day, we are conducting
intensive trainings on line, in battleground states
and in coordination with our field staff.

We will promote Early Vote and Vote By Mail and
protect voters who vote early or by mail.

We are investing record amounts in voter education and
empowerment via Mail, Phones, Print and Electronic
Media

DNC and VPC lawyers are reviewing the ballots in every
priority county and state to make sure ballots are
clear and easy to vote.
Our Kerry-Edwards, DNC, and VPC lawyers are also
ensuring that election officials have made met all
bi-lingual requirements and have made appropriate
provisions so that disabled voters and older voters
can cast their votes.

We are working to ensure that everyone who is
registered can cast a ballot on Election Day by
fighting to ensure states and counties provide
provisional ballots so that everyone who is eligible
to vote is able to.

Today we will also launch a toll-free number that
voters can call if they feel their right to vote is
being threatened. We are encouraging people to call
this number if they feel they are a victim of voter
intimidation or if they see anything strange at any
point between now and Election Day.

The number to the Voter Rights Project Hotline is
877-WE-VOTE-2.

MESSAGE:
The Republican effort to intimidate citizens and
suppress the vote must not be allowed to succeed.

People must turn their anger into votes. You cannot
allow people who are trying to take away your right to
vote to win. Your vote takes away their power.

You won't see a lot of Republicans in minority
communities urging us to get out to vote - but sadly
you will hear a lot of Republican trash on the radio
and in the mail. Don't be confused, discouraged or
brought down by what they try. They are scared of the
power of your vote .

John Kerry and the Democrats will not stand by quietly
and let them stop you from voting for positive change.
We will be there to promote and protect your rights.

http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?itemid=17871

Molly Ivins
Creators Syndicate
10.14.04 Printer-friendly version
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Creeping fascism at Sinclair
Don't look now, but your local network is a propaganda
machine


AUSTIN, Texas -- Now is the time for all good men --
and women -- to race to the aid of their country.
Liberals and libertarians unite! The Sinclair
Broadcasting Group, with their biased "documentary" on
John Kerry, has moved this election into the realm of
creeping fascism, state propaganda, Big Brother and
brainwashing. What me, hyperbole?
This is SO simple -- how would you conservatives feel
if NBC, CBS or ABC decided to pre-empt primetime
programming a week before the election to air Michael
Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11"? And then announced, "But
we've offered President Bush a chance to reply"?

Sinclair has also offered President George W. Bush the
inestimable service of diverting attention from his
record and is using OUR publicly owned airwaves to do
it.

For Sinclair's lobbyist and on-air editorialist Mark
Hyman to claim this long attack ad is "news" is
ludicrous -- almost as strained as his claim,
somewhere between infelicitous and crackers, that
those who disagree are like "Holocaust deniers."

Sinclair Group is the perfect example of what's wrong
with the concentration of ownership in media: Just a
few companies now own almost all the major information
outlets. Sinclair is the largest owner of local TV
stations in the nation. It controls 62 stations in 39
markets and reaches at least 25 percent of Americans
every day, all day.

As FCC Commissioner Michael Copps noted in a 2001
decision: "Over the last several years (Sinclair) has
pursued a strategy of acquiring interests in or
management of more than one station in each market in
which it has a television station. In so doing, it has
continually pushed against the parameters of ownership
structures prohibited by the commission. With the
investigation before the commission today, Sinclair
has crossed the line into behavior that the majority
has found to violate the commission's rules. In
assessing a fine on Sinclair for this violation, the
majority purports to stop the expansion of Sinclair's
forays ... but in fact it merely points out that lines
have been crossed, while allowing Sinclair to run over
those lines and to continue its multiple ownership
strategy." Truer words were never written.

When Sinclair bought a second station in Pittsburgh,
it sold its existing station to the first station's
manager, an employee of Sinclair, on favorable terms,
and then proceeded to operate both. It repeated this
trick at least twice and then used a new one: The
president of Sinclair had his mother "buy" the new
station. The new corporation's stock was 70 percent
owned by his mother and the same station manager, who
then transferred control of these stations to
Sinclair.

Sinclair sends prerecorded right-wing editorial
commentary to its affiliates to be broadcast as "local
news." Sinclair's management has contributed hundreds
of thousands of dollars almost entirely to Republicans
(97 percent this year), as it continued to lobby for
looser ownership rules. The Bush administration is
pushing aggressively to remove those same rules.

The producer of the alleged "documentary," which is
actually just a very long Swift Boat Liars ad, makes
the same arguments and features some of the same
people as the thoroughly discredited short ads.

Carlton Sherwood, the ad's producer, was part of a
Gannett team that won the Pulitzer Prize for
investigative reporting in 1980, but he has since
moved far to the right and away from anything
resembling actual journalism. In 1986, he joined The
Washington Times, a right-wing daily owned by the Rev.
Sun Myung Moon. In 1991, he wrote a book "Inquisition:
The Persecution and Prosecution of the Reverend Sun
Myung Moon," defending the self-described "Son of
God." Sherwood then went to work for then-Pennsylvania
Gov. Tom Ridge, now homeland security director for
Bush.

I have not seen Sherwood's ad. I am relying on press
reports that its central thesis is that John Kerry's
congressional testimony in 1971 prolonged the Vietnam
War. Sure, the North Vietnamese would have surrendered
long before they never did, if it hadn't have been for
Kerry. Look, 14,000 more Americans died after his
testimony -- how many would it take to make that war
anything other than a mistaken horror?

The ad also alleges that Kerry impugned the good names
of all those who served in Vietnam. That is not only
false but malicious. I heard his testimony at the time
and have reviewed it since during this campaign -- it
is honorable and patriotic. I am also familiar with
the Winter Soldier hearings on which his testimony was
partly based, and they were just as he reported.

I am sick of the right wing claiming patriotism as its
exclusive purview. No one serves this country well who
blindly supports misbegotten wars in the name of
patriotism. The right to dissent is one of the
founding principles of this country and is in itself a
high form of patriotism. What you owe your country is
your best evaluation of whether we are or are not
going in the right direction.

As Huey P. Long once said, "Sure we'll have fascism in
America, but it'll come disguised as 100 percent
Americanism." Read more in the Molly Ivins archive.

Molly Ivins is the former editor of the liberal
monthly The Texas Observer. She is the bestselling
author of several books including Who Let the Dogs In?


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2004/10/13/notes101304.DTL

As Oprah Slaps Bush
With 30 states poised to smack down women's rights
again, the one true savior emerges
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As Oprah Slaps Bush - With 30 states poised to smack
down women'...

So there she was, the nation's most powerful and
popular public female, kicking butt on a recent
installment of her insanely beloved TV show with the
help of celeb guests (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, P.
Diddy, Christina Aguilera) and galvanizing stunned
women across the nation to participate in this
election, or else.

There was Oprah, doing what she does so freakishly
well, cheerleading and extolling and impressing upon,
getting women up and getting them angry and demanding
that they exercise their hard-won right to vote and
demanding that they quit dissing their feminist
ancestors, the ones who worked so damn hard for
suffrage and for freedom of choice and for the right
to tell powerful sexist Republican men where they can
shove their repressive sexist antichoice bigotry.

This was her fabulous, much-needed message: Take your
rights for granted at your peril, ladies. Move, or
else. Choose how you want the laws to treat and
respect you and your body -- or someone else, someone
who hasn't touched a vagina for 30 years and who
thinks sex is only tolerable in the dark, fully
clothed and with a respectable prostitute, will choose
for you.

Sound like a cliché? Same ol' quasi-feminist rally
message? Not exactly. Not this time. Just imagine
this:

Imagine Bush filches another election in November.
Nations mourn, black clouds gather, children cry,
colons spasm, the remaining shreds of the American
experiment wither and die.

And within a very short time, as many as 30 U.S.
states have recriminalized abortion and made
repressing women and hating sex fun again, as young
American females everywhere who thought their right to
choose was pretty much incontrovertible and
indisputable and unfailing and who therefore didn't
bother to vote in '00 or '04 suddenly go, oh holy
freaking hell.

Hello, 1950s. Hello, coat-hanger surgery. Hello,
millions of despondent daughters of uptight parents.
Hello, dead or mutilated teenage girls who suffer
botched procedures. Hello, a fresh national nightmare,
revisited, regurgitated, reborn. And hello again to
smug right-wing males who've wanted to put women back
in their place for the past 50 years. Check that: 200
years. Check that: forever.

Just a silly nightmare? Utterly impossible? A
ridiculous liberal daydream? Not even close,
sweetheart.

It's all about the Supreme Court, of course. Fact is,
our next president will almost surely get to appoint a
number of new high-court justices to replace those who
will likely retire after enduring Bush's toxic first
term. They hung in there, these few -- especially
stalwarts Sandra Day O'Connor and moderate, pro-choice
John Paul Stevens -- hoping to disallow the nation's
highest judiciary from becoming overly stacked with
homophobic self-righteous right-wing neocon wingnuts
(hi, Justice Scalia!) who would have us revert --
morally, sexually, spiritually, misogynistically -- to
1953. Check that: 1853. Check that: 1353.

With the exception of nearly useless neoconservative
sycophant Clarence Thomas, not a single justice now
serving on the court is under 65. Many insiders say
Stevens, O'Connor and bitter old man William Rehnquist
(almost 80) are all likely to retire before 2008.
BushCo's chosen replacements could easily tip the
scales of the court the other direction, from its very
precarious 5-4 progressive tilt to a very sneering 6-3
conservative one, a court that would then very easily
overturn parts or even all of Roe v. Wade. Talk about
a malicious legacy.

It gets worse. It gets nastier, more widespread.
Because should Shrub swipe another term, he will also
be on his way to naming more federal trial and appeals
judges -- hundreds, by most counts -- than either
Clinton or Reagan, the last two-term presidents. Bush
could, in short and for all intents and purposes,
stack the nation's courts with enough neoconservative,
antichoice, antiwomen crusaders to make Strom Thurmond
giggle in his grave.

Which brings us straight back to Oprah. Say what you
will about the often weirdly effusive and overtly
gushy and often slightly smarmy woman who just gave
away 276 Pontiacs to her entire studio audience (hard
to tell if that was an act of astounding generosity
and beneficence, or some sort of weird punishment -- I
mean, they were Pontiacs), but the woman can electrify
and inspire and educate her millions of devoted
viewers like nobody's business.

And if there's one famously disenfranchised and
alienated and apathetic voting bloc that needs to get
off its collective yoga butt and stand up and make
itself known this election lest it lose an even larger
chunk of its basic human rights than it even realizes,
it's youngish women.

This is, after all, what so many women don't seem to
know. That the Bush administration has already, in
just a few short years, managed to roll back a truly
astounding number of their basic rights, making it
more difficult, for example, for doctors to perform
abortions, or making it illegal for schools to discuss
contraception or for hospitals to discuss
pregnancy-termination options.

>From demeaning and ineffectual abstinence-only
programs to biased counseling to cutting all funding
for international women's health organizations that
provide care to poor women in third-world nations
(hell, Bush hacked that one away in his first month in
office), Dubya has done more than any president in the
last 100 years to smack women upside their sexually
empowered heads.

Oh and by the way, that suggestion currently being
floated by some in Congress that the Iraq war has
become so nasty and desperate that we might very well
need to reinstate the military draft? That draft
includes young women. And oh yes, Bush has already
upheld the ban on abortions for servicewomen stationed
overseas, even if they were raped, even if they pay
for it themselves. Feeling patriotic yet?

This has been the GOP's message to women since, well,
forever: Be like Laura Bush -- submissive, matronly,
heavily shellacked and ever flashing a disquieting
mannequin grin, off in the corner reading stories to
the kids and cutting lots of pretty ceremonial ribbons
and keeping quiet about the Important Stuff and never
having sex and always be standing just out of the
spotlight, secondary and inferior and in the
background. You know, right where you belong.

Truly and sadly, few indeed are the powerful and
articulate public female voices in our major media to
counter this ideological poison. Who, Barbara Walters?
Not exactly hotly connected to youth and issues of the
day. Katie Couric? About as female empowering as a
terrier. Martha Stewart? Busy designing barbell cozies
for the prison gym. The wholly queasy pseudo-feminists
on the wholly awful "The View"? Please.

And while plethoric are the powerful women working
behind the media scenes, execs and pundits and
writers, senators and world leaders and even
forthright, independent wives, and while there are
plenty of strong-willed, outspoken female celebs
making their voices known, in terms of visibility and
raw power and sheer reach, nobody can touch Oprah.
Which is exactly why her message was so wonderful.


Here's the bottom line: 50 million eligible women
didn't vote in 2000, and 22 million of them were
single and nearly every one of them probably thought
their vote doesn't matter and it isn't really worth it
and who cares anyway because no matter who wins,
everything's still pretty much run by rich powerful
men anyway. Which is, you know, sort of true. But not
quite.


Because as Oprah knows, there are powerful men who get
it and who love women and who understand their issues
and who have cool articulate daughters and opinionated
self-defined multilingual firebrand wives (Hi,
Teresa), and there are aww-shucks antichoice Texans
with lifeless token wives who think your body is
government property and you should just pipe down and
keep your damn legs closed and go pray to an angry
Republican God to forgive your plentiful
vagina-induced sins.

Hey, it's your choice. But not for long.


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

Thoughts for the author? E-mail him.

Mark's column archives are here
Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every
Wednesday and Friday on SF Gate, unless it appears on
Tuesdays and Thursdays, which it never does. Subscribe
to this column at sfgate.com/newsletters.

Posted by richard at 03:00 PM

October 14, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 19 Days to Go -- Kerry-Edwards 4-0 in debates, Jesse Jackson promises "Fire This Time," 500 national security experts repudiate Bush, Cheney's Halliburton dealt with Saddam's Iraq

There are only 19 days to go until the national referendum on the COMPETENCE, CREDIBILITY and CHARACTER of the _resident, the VICE _resident and the US regimestream news media. At least six more US soldiers have died in Iraq. For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. Sen. John F. Kerry won another debate last night. Final score: Kerry-Edwards 4-0, Bush-Cheney 0-4. However, the _resident, as ridiculous as he came off, did not turn in the worst performance of the night...That DIStinction belonged to debate *moderator* Bob Schieffer, the _resident's golf buddy, who did not ask one question about stem cell research (Christopher Reeves' death should have elicited one), nor did he ask one question about Enron in particular or about Energy or Corporate Governance in general, nor did he ask one question about the just released US Civil Rights Commission report blasting the Bush abomination, nor INCREDIBLY did he ask even one question about the Environment, or campaign finance reform, or Fraudida or the shocking stories of Democratic voter registration forms being torned up and throw away in Nevada, Oregon and elsewhere...Schieffer did, however, make sure he gave the _resident the opportunity to push every Neo-Confederacy hot button for his withering base (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action, etc.) It was a shameful display...Nevertheless, the juggernaut of national redemption continues to gather momentum...There is an Electoral Uprising coming...Here are SEVEN important pieces. Please read them and share them with others. Please vote and encourage others to vote. Please remember that the US regimestream news media is (at least until the Bush cabal's cause is utterly lost) a full partner in a Triad of shared special interest (i.e. energy, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, tobacco, etc.) with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party...

LA Times Editorial: It's no wonder the Bush team, hobbled by such a record, acts as if it can win only if voters treat this election as a referendum on Kerry's fitness for office. It should be clear by now that Kerry is not for some Stalinist government healthcare system, that he won't give Paris a veto over U.S. foreign policy and that he doesn't think terrorism is merely a nuisance. He was thoughtful and firm in all three debates, despite his enduring stiffness. The shrillness of the Bush camp's attacks on Kerry betrays an unbecoming desperation, and adds to the sense that the challenger came out the convincing winner.

William Rivers Pitt, www.truthout.org: Kerry quoted Bush's bizarre statement from March of 2002 about Bush no longer being concerned about Osama bin Laden. Bush tried to claim Kerry was exaggerating, but the White House website says different. Bush: "So I don't know where he is. Nor - you know, I just don't spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you. I...I truly am not that concerned about him." Beyond the glaring silliness of this lie - millions of Americans saw the filmclip of Bush making this statement when they saw Moore's documentary 'Fahrenheit 9/11' - is the frightening truth behind it. If Bush truly does not care about or worry about Osama bin Laden, as his March statement indicates, he is truly an Army of One, divorced from one of the most fundamental concerns within the American mind...
There was a statesman and a salesman on that debate stage on Wednesday night. Kerry, the statesman, was calm and clear, in command of the facts, and not afraid to stare into the camera at the American people and tell some hard truths. Bush, the salesman, left behind the muddled foolishness of the first debate and the screaming histrionics of the second debate, in favor of an aw-shucks smirk and a series of ill-timed snickers that makes one truly wonder if he knows his job is on the line. All the pundits agreed that Bush, having lost the first two debates, needed to dominate during this third and final meeting. He failed completely to do so.
In the end, it comes down to values. When Schieffer asked Bush at one point about the problem of health care for America's seniors, Bush burst into a fit of laughter. If there was ever a moment, in any of these three debates, that let people know exactly where Bush's head and heart and priorities lay, that was it. He laughed.

Jason B. Johnson, S.F. Chronicle: The Rev. Jesse Jackson warned Tuesday that if the November election ends in controversy, Democrats will fight back much more fiercely than they did after the 2000 election.
Jackson's remarks before a meeting of the Commonwealth Club of California at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre reflect a readiness by Democrats to start a legal ground war over perceived voter irregularities. He recently joined the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry as a senior adviser.
"If it's reasonably close, we're headed toward a battle like we've never seen before," Jackson said. "But this time around we must not be passive in the face of it."
Many of the party faithful criticized the Democratic leadership for reacting too timidly to Republican political maneuverings and lawsuits filed in Florida after the 2000 election. And African Americans were angered by reports that thousands of blacks in the state had been purged from the rolls after being improperly included on a list of felons.

ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press: Elections officials have rebuffed an attempt by a former GOP operative to purge about 17,000 Democrats from the voter rolls in the battleground state of Nevada, where the two presidential candidates are in a dead heat.
Larry Lomax, the Clark County registrar of voters, rejected the challenge filed by former state Republican Party Chair Dan Burdish last week that claimed the Democrats should be removed from the rolls because they were inactive voters.
Lomax said Burdish could only challenge voters in his precinct, and then only if he has personal knowledge that they are inactive.
"I don't think pulling names off a database equates to personal knowledge," Lomax said.

Jim Loeb, IPS: Bush administration's failure to accept advice on Iraq from its military and foreign service officers has led to policies that have fuelled the insurgency against U.S.-led forces in the occupied nation, says a letter signed by some 500 national-security specialists.
Released Tuesday by a group called Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy (S3FP), the letter calls the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq the United States' "most misguided" policy since the Vietnam War.
"The results of this policy have been overwhelmingly negative for U.S. interests," according to the group, which called for a "fundamental reassessment" in both the U.S. strategy in Iraq and its implementation.
"We're advising the administration, which is already in a deep hole, to stop digging," said Barry Posen, the Ford international professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the organisers of S3FP, which includes some of the most eminent U.S. experts on national-security policy and on the Middle East and the Arab world.
Among the signers are six of the last seven presidents of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and professors who teach in more than 150 colleges and universities in 40 states.

Jason Leopold, www.commondreams.org: The report on Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, prepared by Charles Duelfer, a former U.N. weapons inspector and head of the Iraqi Survey Group, said Saddam Hussein used revenue from the oil-for-food program and “created a web of front companies and used shadowy deals with foreign governments, corporations, and officials to amass $11 billion in illicit revenue in the decade before the US-led invasion last year," reports The New York Times.
“Through secret government-to-government trade agreements, Saddam Hussein's government earned more than $7.5 billion,” the report says. “At the same time, by demanding kickbacks from foreign companies that received oil or that supplied consumer goods, Iraq received at least $2 billion more to spend on weapons or on Saddam's extravagant palaces.”
The oil-for-food program was supervised by the U.N. and ran from 1996 until the war started in Iraq last year. It was designed to alleviate the effects sanctions had on Iraqi citizens by allowing limited quantities of oil to be sold to buy food and medicine. But the one company that helped Saddam exploit the oil-for-food program in the mid-1990s that wasn’t identified in Duelfer’s report was Halliburton, and the person at the helm of Halliburton at the time of the scheme was Vice President Dick Cheney. Halliburton and its subsidiaries were one of several American and foreign oil supply companies that helped Iraq increase its crude exports from $4 billion in 1997 to nearly $18 billion in 2000 by skirting U.S. laws and selling Iraq spare parts so it could repair its oil fields and pump more oil.

Seymour Hersch, UC Berkley: The Iraq war is not winnable, a secret U.S. military unit has been "disappearing" people since December 2001, and America has no idea how irreparably its torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison has damaged its image in the Middle East. These were just a few of the grim pronouncements made by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour "Sy" Hersh to KQED host Michael Krasny before a Berkeley audience on Friday night (Oct. 8).
The past two years will "go down as one of the classic sort of failures" in history, said the man who has been called the "greatest muckraker of all time" and (paradoxically) the "enfant terrible of journalism for more than 30 years." While Hersh blamed the White House and the Pentagon for the Iraq quagmire and America's besmirched world image, he was stymied by how it all happened. "How could eight or nine neoconservatives come and take charge of this government?" he asked. "They overran the bureaucracy, they overran the Congress, they overran the press, and they overran the military! So you say to yourself, How fragile is this democracy?"

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.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-debate14oct14,1,878488.story

October 14, 2004 E-mail story Print

EDITORIAL
Overall, a Convincing Winner


President Bush's handlers tried to minimize the significance of his three debates with Sen. John F. Kerry, exaggerating Bush's lack of debating skills while insisting that he is the stronger leader. The trouble with this spin is that tens of millions of Americans watching the debates didn't feel they were watching a mere academic exercise. Stitched together, these three extraordinary exchanges amounted to a powerful indictment of the president's leadership.

Even on foreign policy and national security, supposedly the president's strong suit, Kerry had Bush on the defensive in the first debate, attacking him for fighting an unnecessary war in Iraq while failing to capture Osama bin Laden and to prevent the acceleration of nuclear weapons programs in Iran and North Korea.

That the president was on the defensive again Wednesday night, in a debate devoted to domestic policy, is less surprising. Again, Kerry made a compelling case that, for all his plain-talkin' West Texas bravado, Bush had failed to lead. When asked about healthy budget surpluses turning to huge deficits on his watch, the president said the nation needed "fiscal sanity in the halls of the Congress" in a plaintive tone that suggested he had as much influence over what happened there as he did over Jacques Chirac. But Bush's loyal Republican lieutenants are running both chambers of Congress. Moreover, as Kerry noted in debate No. 2, Bush is about to become the first president since the 19th century who failed to veto a single bill in an entire four-year term. That is an abrogation of a president's power to impose "fiscal sanity" on Congress.

Bush's weakness as a leader was also manifest in his response to a question about why he failed to renew the ban on assault weapons, which he professed to support. He basically said he didn't have the votes on Capitol Hill, even though the ban would have passed had GOP leaders allowed a vote, something Bush should have ordered.

That isn't to say that Kerry has all the answers, or that Bush's charm was not in evidence, particularly in Wednesday's meeting. Kerry was in full pander mode on Social Security, and Bush was both profound and sincere in discussing his religious faith and its influence on his policies. But overall, Bush doesn't have a strong hand, and both his opponent and his advisors know it. Bush led the nation to a war that much of the rest of the world, as well as a small majority of Americans, now thinks was unjustified. He wrecked the Treasury's finances with reckless tax cuts that still failed to prevent him from becoming the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss of jobs.

It's no wonder the Bush team, hobbled by such a record, acts as if it can win only if voters treat this election as a referendum on Kerry's fitness for office. It should be clear by now that Kerry is not for some Stalinist government healthcare system, that he won't give Paris a veto over U.S. foreign policy and that he doesn't think terrorism is merely a nuisance. He was thoughtful and firm in all three debates, despite his enduring stiffness. The shrillness of the Bush camp's attacks on Kerry betrays an unbecoming desperation, and adds to the sense that the challenger came out the convincing winner.

If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archives.

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http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/101504Z.shtml

Game. Set. Match.
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 14 October 2004

"Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations."
- George W. Bush, 10/13/04

"So I don't know where he is. Nor - you know, I just don't spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you. I...I truly am not that concerned about him."

- George W. Bush, 03/13/02

The third and final debate between George W. Bush and John F. Kerry was slated to be about domestic issues. It finished as a crystal-clear argument about basic American values, and made clear for all who watched or listened where each of these candidates stand.

Bob Schieffer of CBS News, the moderator for this last debate, put a series of questions to both candidates about the minimum wage, about Social Security, about the assault weapons ban, about health care. It must be noted that Schieffer failed completely, demonstrably and shamefully to put a single question to either candidate about protecting the environment and alternative energy, but the questions he did lay out afforded the American people a long, hard look at where Bush and Kerry stand on a number of lynchpin issues..

The words of the candidates speak for themselves.

Schieffer, questioning Bush: "You said that if Congress would vote to extend the ban on assault weapons, that you'd sign the legislation, but you did nothing to encourage the Congress to extend it. Why not?"

Bush response: "I believe law-abiding citizens ought to be able to own a gun. I believe in background checks at gun shows or anywhere to make sure that guns don't get in the hands of people that shouldn't have them. But the best way to protect our citizens from guns is to prosecute those who commit crimes with guns. And that's why early in my administration I called the attorney general and the U.S. attorneys and said: Put together a task force all around the country to prosecute those who commit crimes with guns. And the prosecutions are up by about 68 percent -- I believe -- is the number. Neighborhoods are safer when we crack down on people who commit crimes with guns. To me, that's the best way to secure America."

Kerry response: "I ran one of the largest district attorney's offices in America, one of the ten largest. I put people behind bars for the rest of their life. I've broken up organized crime. I know something about prosecuting. And most of the law enforcement agencies in America wanted that assault weapons ban. They don't want to go into a drug bust and be facing an AK-47. I was hunting in Iowa last year with a sheriff from one of the counties there, and he pointed to a house in back of us, and said, 'See the house over? We just did a drug bust a week earlier, and the guy we arrested had an AK-47 lying on the bed right beside him.' Because of the president's decision today, law enforcement officers will walk into a place that will be more dangerous. Terrorists can now come into America and go to a gun show and, without even a background check, buy an assault weapon today. And that's what Osama bin Laden's handbook said, because we captured it in Afghanistan. It encouraged them to do it."

In this exchange, Bush sided with the National Rifle Association, which has sadly become an institution that supports any and all weapons, up to and including personal rocket launchers and buzz-saw machine guns, in the hands of any American, regardless of criminal background. Kerry, the former prosecutor, injected a strong dose of law-enforcement reality into the conversation. Supporting the repeal of the assault weapons ban is tantamount to approving of cops walking into a spray of 7.62mm assault rounds while trying to do their jobs.

Schieffer, questioning Kerry: "The gap between rich and poor is growing wider. More people are dropping into poverty. Yet the minimum wage has been stuck at, what, $5.15 an hour now for about seven years. Is it time to raise it?"

Kerry response: "The minimum wage is the lowest minimum wage value it has been in our nation in 50 years. If we raise the minimum wage, which I will do over several years to $7 an hour, 9.2 million women who are trying to raise their families would earn another $3,800 a year. The president has denied 9.2 million women $3,800 a year, but he doesn't hesitate to fight for $136,000 to a millionaire. One percent of America got $89 billion last year in a tax cut, but people working hard, playing by the rules, trying to take care of their kids, family values, that we're supposed to value so much in America - I'm tired of politicians who talk about family values and don't value families...I think that it is a matter of fundamental right that if we raise the minimum wage, 15 million Americans would be positively affected."

Bush response: "Let me talk about what's really important for the worker you're referring to. And that's to make sure the education system works. It's to make sure we raise standards. Listen, the No Child Left Behind Act is really a jobs act when you think about it. The No Child Left Behind Act says, "We'll raise standards. We'll increase federal spending. But in return for extra spending, we now want people to measure -- states and local jurisdictions to measure to show us whether or not a child can read or write or add and subtract. You cannot solve a problem unless you diagnose the problem. And we weren't diagnosing problems. And therefore just kids were being shuffled through the school."

Kerry spoke to millions of Americans who get paid a minimum wage better suited to the economic realities of the Truman administration. A higher minimum wage lifts those millions of Americans working McJobs, which are the lion's share of the 'new jobs' created under this administration, to a place where they can begin to dream of someday possibly joining the oft-ballyhooed middle class. A higher minimum wage opens the entire economy up to the kind of consumer spending that is the lifeblood of our system. Bush, by comparison, avoided the question entirely and wandered off into a confused paean for his tragically underfunded No Child Left Behind bill. This became his refuge several times on Wednesday night; when he had no answer, he flogged NCLB.

Laying it out on the razor, Bush backed machine guns in our neighborhoods toted by people who take the risk of selling drugs instead of working a counter job, because the counter jobs available to them can't possibly begin to pay a living wage thanks to the currently anemic minimum wage. Kerry, by contrast, would get the machine guns off the streets, period, and at the same time make sure anyone working a minimum wage job will make enough money to feed their family and keep a roof over their head.

Beyond the clear delineation of values exposed in this last exchange is the ugly fact that Bush went out of his way to dodge as many hard questions as he could get away from. How does nattering about NCLB answer the question of the minimum wage? Was Bush afraid of offending his corporate backers on that one? The folks who support him are happy to keep the minimum wage where it is, because it increases their bottom line. It was this exchange, above all the others, that displayed where Bush stands when it comes to the American people. He does not stand with you if you don't have a few million, at least, in the bank.

The NCLB refuge received a direct hit from Kerry at one point, when the Senator said, "Five hundred thousand kids lost after-school programs because of your budget. Now, that's not in my gut. That's not in my value system, and certainly not so that the wealthiest people in America can walk away with another tax cut. $89 billion last year to the top 1 percent of Americans, but kids lost their after-school programs. You be the judge."

Dodging the question is not an American value, Mr. Bush.

Consider the question Schieffer put to Bush on Social Security: "We all know that Social Security is running out of money, and it has to be fixed. You have proposed to fix it by letting people put some of the money collected to pay benefits into private savings accounts. But the critics are saying that's going to mean finding $1 trillion over the next 10 years to continue paying benefits as those accounts are being set up. So where do you get the money? Are you going to have to increase the deficit by that much over 10 years?

Bush's answer? "There is a problem for our youngsters, a real problem. And if we don't act today, the problem will be valued in the trillions. And so I think we need to think differently. We'll honor our commitment to our seniors. But for our children and our grandchildren, we need to have a different strategy. And recognizing that, I called together a group of our fellow citizens to study the issue. It was a committee chaired by the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, a Democrat. And they came up with a variety of ideas for people to look at. I believe that younger workers ought to be allowed to take some of their own money and put it in a personal savings account, because I understand that they need to get better rates of return than the rates of return being given in the current Social Security trust. And the compounding rate of interest effect will make it more likely that the Social Security system is solvent for our children and our grandchildren. I will work with Republicans and Democrats. It'll be a vital issue in my second term. It is an issue that I am willing to take on, and so I'll bring Republicans and Democrats together. And we're of course going to have to consider the costs. But I want to warn my fellow citizens: The cost of doing nothing, the cost of saying the current system is OK, far exceeds the costs of trying to make sure we save the system for our children."

Note well that Schieffer asked a pointed question: "But the critics are saying that's going to mean finding $1 trillion over the next 10 years to continue paying benefits as those accounts are being set up. So where do you get the money? Are you going to have to increase the deficit by that much over 10 years?"

Bush had no answer whatsoever. He gassed. This happened repeatedly throughout the night.

Kerry quoted Bush's bizarre statement from March of 2002 about Bush no longer being concerned about Osama bin Laden. Bush tried to claim Kerry was exaggerating, but the White House website says different. Bush: "So I don't know where he is. Nor - you know, I just don't spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you. I...I truly am not that concerned about him." Beyond the glaring silliness of this lie - millions of Americans saw the filmclip of Bush making this statement when they saw Moore's documentary 'Fahrenheit 9/11' - is the frightening truth behind it. If Bush truly does not care about or worry about Osama bin Laden, as his March statement indicates, he is truly an Army of One, divorced from one of the most fundamental concerns within the American mind.

Bush said Pell Grants had increased under his tenure, and had previously promised to increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,100. Yet his fiscal year 2005 budget is the third in a row that has refused to increase the value over the current amount of $4,050. The value of the maximum Pell award has fallen dramatically in the past years from covering 94% of the public two-year institution to just 68% today. Kerry did well to split this lie open by stating, "You know why the Pell Grants have gone up in their numbers? Because more people qualify for them because they don't have money. But they're not getting the $5,100 the president promised them. They're getting less money. We have more people who qualify. That's not what we want."

Bush said he supported Mitch McConnell's minimum wage bill. In fact, he supported minimum wage increase by $1.00 per hour, but only if states could opt out of the increase. According to the Associated Press, Bush's qualification for a minimum wage increase was, "a condition that could render a proposed increase meaningless." Bush and the Republicans are rapidly approaching the record set in the 1980s for the longest period without an increase adjusted for inflation. The minimum wage is 24.5% lower than it was 24 years ago and is rapidly approaching an all-time low set in 1989. Bush has not used his influence to pass a minimum wage law in Congress, where the law cannot even get out of committee. This follows a pattern, as Bush, while governor of Texas, resisted raising that state's decade-old minimum wage, which was only $3.35 an hour.

Lying is not an American value, Mr. Bush.

There was a statesman and a salesman on that debate stage on Wednesday night. Kerry, the statesman, was calm and clear, in command of the facts, and not afraid to stare into the camera at the American people and tell some hard truths. Bush, the salesman, left behind the muddled foolishness of the first debate and the screaming histrionics of the second debate, in favor of an aw-shucks smirk and a series of ill-timed snickers that makes one truly wonder if he knows his job is on the line. All the pundits agreed that Bush, having lost the first two debates, needed to dominate during this third and final meeting. He failed completely to do so.

In the end, it comes down to values. When Schieffer asked Bush at one point about the problem of health care for America's seniors, Bush burst into a fit of laughter. If there was ever a moment, in any of these three debates, that let people know exactly where Bush's head and heart and priorities lay, that was it. He laughed.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.'

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/10/13/BAGEC98SVN1.DTL

-------

SAN FRANCISCO
Jackson warns of legal war after close election
Jason B. Johnson, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Rev. Jesse Jackson warned Tuesday that if the November election ends in controversy, Democrats will fight back much more fiercely than they did after the 2000 election.

Jackson's remarks before a meeting of the Commonwealth Club of California at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre reflect a readiness by Democrats to start a legal ground war over perceived voter irregularities. He recently joined the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry as a senior adviser.

"If it's reasonably close, we're headed toward a battle like we've never seen before," Jackson said. "But this time around we must not be passive in the face of it."

Many of the party faithful criticized the Democratic leadership for reacting too timidly to Republican political maneuverings and lawsuits filed in Florida after the 2000 election. And African Americans were angered by reports that thousands of blacks in the state had been purged from the rolls after being improperly included on a list of felons.

Democratic groups have already filed lawsuits in the battleground states of Florida, Michigan and Colorado over provisional balloting and voter registration rules they say disqualified poor and minority voters.

Jamin Raskin, professor of constitutional law at American University, said there were hundreds of lawyers all over the country on both sides watching to make sure the election is not stolen.

Because each state has its own set of election rules and machines, there is a potential for controversy in states with close election results, Raskin said.

Jackson is stumping for Kerry in several swing states during the final weeks of the campaign. During his speech, Jackson also accused the Bush administration of weakening U.S. credibility abroad with the war in Iraq and of ignoring the environment, workers and minorities.

In the four years Bush has been in office, he's refused to meet with labor unions, environmentalists and the NAACP, Jackson said.

"If China were to attack Taiwan pre-emptively, we couldn't tell them what to do" (because we pre-emptively attacked Iraq), Jackson said. "We can't address the Sudan and Haiti crises because we don't have the strength to reach beyond the sinking sand of Iraq."

"That ideology has driven us to isolation," said Jackson, who ran for president in 1984 and 1988 and was named special envoy to Africa by President Bill Clinton in 1997. "It is driven by a narrow partisan ideology."

E-mail Jason B. Johnson at jbjohnson@sfchronicle.com.

Page B - 4

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/10/13/politics1305EDT0543.DTL


Officials block challenge to 17,000 Democratic voters on rolls in Nevada
ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Writer

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


(10-13) 14:38 PDT LAS VEGAS (AP) --

Elections officials have rebuffed an attempt by a former GOP operative to purge about 17,000 Democrats from the voter rolls in the battleground state of Nevada, where the two presidential candidates are in a dead heat.

Larry Lomax, the Clark County registrar of voters, rejected the challenge filed by former state Republican Party Chair Dan Burdish last week that claimed the Democrats should be removed from the rolls because they were inactive voters.

Lomax said Burdish could only challenge voters in his precinct, and then only if he has personal knowledge that they are inactive.

"I don't think pulling names off a database equates to personal knowledge," Lomax said.

Under state law, voters are placed on "inactive status" if they move and don't update their addresses within 30 days of receiving notice to do so. Their registrations are then canceled if they don't vote in two consecutive federal elections.

Democrats have criticized Burdish for trying to influence the hotly contested congressional race between Republican Rep. Jon Porter and his Democratic challenger, former casino executive Tom Gallagher, in the 3rd District.

But Burdish denied trying to disenfranchise people, saying he only wants to prevent people from voting "in a local district they are not allowed to vote in."

Meanwhile, an Arizona consulting firm denied Wednesday that a group it hired to register Republicans in Nevada deliberately tore up Democratic voter registration forms.

Eric Russell, a former employee of Voters Outreach of America, said he witnessed a supervisor shred eight to 10 Democratic registration forms from prospective voters.

Nathan Sproul, chief executive of Sproul & Associates, said his firm was contracted by the Republican National Committee to register voters, but he denied Russell's accusations that Democratic registration forms were destroyed.

He characterized Russell as a disgruntled former employee who was fired last month.

Federal officials said they have not received any complaints of wrongdoing. A spokesman for the Nevada Secretary of State's office said it was investigating whether any state or federal laws were broken.

The latest polls have showed President Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry running within a few percentage points of each other in Nevada. Democrat Al Gore lost the state by fewer than 22,000 votes in 2000.

http://www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=25848

IRAQ:
Bush Policies 'Fuel Violence', Say 500 U.S. Scholars

Jim Lobe


WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (IPS) - The Bush administration's failure to accept advice on Iraq from its military and foreign service officers has led to policies that have fuelled the insurgency against U.S.-led forces in the occupied nation, says a letter signed by some 500 national-security specialists.

Released Tuesday by a group called Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy (S3FP), the letter calls the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq the United States' "most misguided" policy since the Vietnam War.

"The results of this policy have been overwhelmingly negative for U.S. interests," according to the group, which called for a "fundamental reassessment" in both the U.S. strategy in Iraq and its implementation.

"We're advising the administration, which is already in a deep hole, to stop digging," said Barry Posen, the Ford international professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the organisers of S3FP, which includes some of the most eminent U.S. experts on national-security policy and on the Middle East and the Arab world.

Among the signers are six of the last seven presidents of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and professors who teach in more than 150 colleges and universities in 40 states.

Besides Posen, the main organisers included Stanley Kaufman of the University of Delaware; Michael Brown, director of Security Studies at Georgetown University; Michael Desch, who holds the Robert M Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security Decision-Making at the Bush School of government at Texas A & M University; and Jessica Stern, at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, who also served in a senior counter-terrorism post in the National Security Council during the former Clinton administration.

"I think it is telling that so many specialists on international relations, who rarely agree on anything, are unified in their position on the high costs that the U.S. is incurring from this war," said Robert Keohane of Duke University in North Carolina.

Their critique mirrors an unprecedented statement released by 27 retired top-ranking foreign service and military officials in June, many of whom said they had voted for Bush in the 2000 election.

The 27, called Diplomats for Change, accused the administration of leading the country "into an ill-planned and costly war from which exit is uncertain." As their name suggested, they called for Bush to be defeated in 2004.

The new statement's signatories also includes a number of retired government officials, some career military and foreign service officers, and political appointees in Democratic and Republican administrations, who are currently working at colleges and universities.

Much of their critique echoes arguments voiced by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry who, in recent weeks, has pounded away at alleged failures in the way Bush has prosecuted the "war on terrorism," particularly with respect to Iraq.

"We judge that the current American policy centred around the war in Iraq is the most misguided one since the Vietnam period, one which harms the cause of the struggle against extreme Islamist terrorists," S3FP writes.

"One result has been a great distortion in the terms of public debate on foreign and national security policy -- an emphasis on speculation instead of facts, on mythology instead of calculation and on misplaced moralising over considerations of national interest."

The scholars applauded the Bush administration for its initial focus on destroying Afghanistan bases of the al-Qaeda terrorist group, but charged that its subsequent "failure to engage sufficient U.S. troops to capture or kill the mass of al-Qaeda fighters in the later stages of that war was a great blunder."

The letter noted that "many of the justifications" provided by the administration for the Iraq war, including an operational relationship between al-Qaeda and former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his programmes for weapons of mass destruction (WMD), have proven "untrue" and that North Korea and Pakistan pose much greater risks of nuclear proliferation to terrorists.

"Even on moral grounds, the case for war was dubious: the war itself has killed over a thousand Americans and unknown thousands of Iraqis, and if the threat of civil war becomes reality, ordinary Iraqis could be even worse off than they were under Saddam Hussein," it argues.

Since the invasion, policy errors "have created a situation in Iraq worse than it needed to be," adds the letter, which said the administration ignored advice from the Army Chief of Staff on the need for many more U.S. troops to provide security and from the State Department and other U.S. agencies on how reconstruction could be carried out.

"As a result, Iraqi popular dismay at the lack of security, jobs or reliable electric power fuels much of the violent opposition to the U.S. military presence, while the war itself has drawn in terrorists from outside Iraq."

While Hussein's removal was "desirable," according to the scholars, the actual benefit to the United States was "small," particularly because Iraq posed far less of a threat to the United States or its allies than the administration had asserted.

Worse, the occupation's failures, such as the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere, have acted as a recruitment tool for al-Qaeda and similar groups throughout the region, according to the letter. (END/2004)


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1012-33.htm

Published on Tuesday, October 12, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
Under Cheney, Halliburton Helped Saddam Hussein Siphon Billions from UN Oil-for-Food Program
by Jason Leopold

When the Iraqi Survey Group released its long awaited report last week that said Iraq eliminated its weapons programs in the 1990s, President George W. Bush quickly changed his stance on reasons he authorized an invasion of Iraq. While he campaigned for a second term in office, Bush justified the war by saying that that Saddam Hussein was manipulating the United Nation’s oil-for-food program, siphoning off billions of dollars from the venture that he intended to use to fund a weapons program.

The report on Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, prepared by Charles Duelfer, a former U.N. weapons inspector and head of the Iraqi Survey Group, said Saddam Hussein used revenue from the oil-for-food program and “created a web of front companies and used shadowy deals with foreign governments, corporations, and officials to amass $11 billion in illicit revenue in the decade before the US-led invasion last year," reports The New York Times.

“Through secret government-to-government trade agreements, Saddam Hussein's government earned more than $7.5 billion,” the report says. “At the same time, by demanding kickbacks from foreign companies that received oil or that supplied consumer goods, Iraq received at least $2 billion more to spend on weapons or on Saddam's extravagant palaces.”

The oil-for-food program was supervised by the U.N. and ran from 1996 until the war started in Iraq last year. It was designed to alleviate the effects sanctions had on Iraqi citizens by allowing limited quantities of oil to be sold to buy food and medicine.

But the one company that helped Saddam exploit the oil-for-food program in the mid-1990s that wasn’t identified in Duelfer’s report was Halliburton, and the person at the helm of Halliburton at the time of the scheme was Vice President Dick Cheney. Halliburton and its subsidiaries were one of several American and foreign oil supply companies that helped Iraq increase its crude exports from $4 billion in 1997 to nearly $18 billion in 2000 by skirting U.S. laws and selling Iraq spare parts so it could repair its oil fields and pump more oil.

Since the oil-for-food program began, Iraq has sold $40 billion worth of oil. U.S. and European officials have long argued that the increase in Iraq’s oil production also expanded Saddam's ability to use some of that money for weapons, luxury goods and palaces. Security Council diplomats estimate that Iraq was skimming off as much as 10 percent of the proceeds from the oil-for-food program thanks to companies like Halliburton and former executives such as Cheney.

U.N. documents show that Halliburton's affiliates have had controversial dealings with the Iraqi regime during Cheney's tenure at the company and played a part in helping Saddam Hussein illegally pocket billions of dollars under the U.N.’s oil-for-food program. The Clinton administration blocked one deal Halliburton was trying to push through sale because it was "not authorized under the oil-for-food deal," according to U.N. documents. That deal, between Halliburton subsidiary Ingersoll Dresser Pump Co. and Iraq, included agreements by the firm to sell nearly $1 million in spare parts, compressors and firefighting equipment to refurbish an offshore oil terminal, Khor al Amaya. Still, Halliburton used one of foreign subsidiaries to sell Iraq the equipment it needed so the country could pump more oil, according to a report in the Washington Post in June 2001.

The Halliburton subsidiaries, Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Co., sold water and sewage treatment pumps, spare parts for oil facilities and pipeline equipment to Baghdad through French affiliates from the first half of 1997 to the summer of 2000, U.N. records show. Ingersoll Dresser Pump also signed contracts -- later blocked by the United States -- according to the Post, to help repair an Iraqi oil terminal that U.S.-led military forces destroyed in the Gulf War years earlier.

Cheney’s hard-line stance against Iraq on the campaign trail is hypocritical considering that during his tenure as chief executive of Halliburton, Cheney pushed the U.N. Security Council, after he became CEO to end an 11-year embargo on sales of civilian goods, including oil related equipment, to Iraq. Cheney has said sanctions against countries like Iraq unfairly punish U.S. companies.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Cheney adamantly denied that under his leadership, Halliburton did business with Iraq. While he acknowledged that his company did business with Libya and Iran through foreign subsidiaries, Cheney said, "Iraq's different." He claimed that he imposed a "firm policy" prohibiting any unit of Halliburton against trading with Iraq.

"I had a firm policy that we wouldn't do anything in Iraq, even arrangements that were supposedly legal," Cheney said on the ABC-TV news program "This Week" on July 30, 2000. "We've not done any business in Iraq since U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn't do that."

But Cheney’s denials don’t hold up. Halliburton played a major role in helping Iraq repair its oil fields during the mid-1990s that allowed Saddam to siphon off funds from the oil-for-food program to fund a weapons program, which Cheney and President Bush insist was the case.

As secretary of defense in the first Bush administration, Cheney helped to lead a multinational coalition against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War and to devise a comprehensive economic embargo to isolate Saddam Hussein's government. After Cheney was named chief executive of Halliburton in 1995, he promised to maintain a hard line against Baghdad.

But that changed when it appeared that Halliburton was headed for a financial crisis in the mid-1990s. Cheney said sanctions against countries like Iraq were hurting corporations such as Halliburton.

"We seem to be sanction-happy as a government," Cheney said at an energy conference in April 1996, reported in the oil industry publication Petroleum Finance Week.

"The problem is that the good Lord didn't see fit to always put oil and gas resources where there are democratic governments," he observed during his conference presentation.

Sanctions make U.S. businesses "the bystander who gets hit when a train wreck occurs," Cheney told Petroleum Finance Week. "While virtually every other country sees the need for sanctions against Iraq and Saddam Hussein's regime there, Cheney sees general agreement that the measures have not been very effective despite their having most of the international community's support.

An individual country's embargo, such as that of the United States against Iran, has virtually no effect since the target country simply signs a contract with a non- U.S. business," the publication reported.

© 2004 Jason Leopold

###


http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/101404E.shtml

Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh Spills the
Secrets of the Iraq Quagmire and the War on Terror
By Bonnie Azab Powell
U.C. Berkeley News

Monday 11 October 2004



KQED host Michael Krasny was supposed to be interviewing Seymour Hersh (pictured), but the veteran journalist rarely let Krasny get a word in.
(Photo: Bart Nagel)

Berkeley - The Iraq war is not winnable, a secret U.S. military unit has been "disappearing" people since December 2001, and America has no idea how irreparably its torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison has damaged its image in the Middle East. These were just a few of the grim pronouncements made by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour "Sy" Hersh to KQED host Michael Krasny before a Berkeley audience on Friday night (Oct. 8).

The past two years will "go down as one of the classic sort of failures" in history, said the man who has been called the "greatest muckraker of all time" and (paradoxically) the "enfant terrible of journalism for more than 30 years." While Hersh blamed the White House and the Pentagon for the Iraq quagmire and America's besmirched world image, he was stymied by how it all happened. "How could eight or nine neoconservatives come and take charge of this government?" he asked. "They overran the bureaucracy, they overran the Congress, they overran the press, and they overran the military! So you say to yourself, How fragile is this democracy?"

From My Lai to Abu Ghraib

That fragility clearly unnerves him. Hersh summarizes his mission as "to hold the people in public office to the highest possible standard of decency and of honesty...to tolerate anything less, even in the name of national security, is wrong." He tries his best. More than any other U.S. journalist alive today, he embodies the statement that "a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government," a belief defined by the conservationist Edward Abbey.

His country has not always thanked him for it - neocon Pentagon adviser Richard Perle has called Hersh "the closest thing we have to a terrorist," while his 1998 book on John F. Kennedy's administration, "The Dark Side of Camelot," cost him many friends on the left. But Hersh's reputation remains more bulletproof than most. The author of eight books, he first received worldwide recognition (and the Pulitzer) in 1969 for exposing the My Lai massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War. 1982's "The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House," painted Henry Kissinger as a war criminal and won Hersh the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times book prize in biography.

Most recently, as a staff writer for the New Yorker, Hersh has relentlessly ferreted out the behind-the-scenes deals, trickery, and blunders associated with the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Back in May 2003, he was the first American reporter to state unequivocally that we would not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (A mea culpa from a Slate journalist who doubted Hersh on WMDs also inadvertently confirms his prescient track record.) And in April of this year, he broke the story of how U.S. soldiers had digitally documented their torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqis at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The several articles he wrote for the New Yorker about Abu Ghraib have been updated and edited into his latest book, "Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib."

"Bush Scares the Hell Out of Me"



Hersh was working the phone with sources up until the minute the presidential debate began, which he watched with a crowd in North Gate Hall.
(Photo: Bart Nagel)

Hersh came to Berkeley at the invitation of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and the California First Amendment Coalition. His appearance in the packed ballroom of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union was the fitting end to a week of high-profile events in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement.

The Hersh event began only minutes after the second debate between President George W. Bush and John Kerry concluded. Krasny naturally asked Hersh - who had watched the debate at North Gate Hall stone-faced in the middle of a rowdy crowd - what he thought of the match.

"It doesn't matter that Bush scares the hell out of me," Hersh answered. "What matters is that he scares the hell out of a lot of very important people in Washington who can't speak out, in the military, in the intelligence community. They know in ways that none of us know, the incredible gap between what is and what [Bush] thinks."

With that, he was off and running. One could safely say that for the next hour, Hersh proceeded to scare the hell out of most of the audience by detailing the gaps between what they knew and what he hears is actually going on in Iraq.

While his writing is dense but digestible, in person Hersh speaks with the rambling urgency of a street-corner doomsayer, leaping from point to point and anecdote to anecdote and frequently failing to finish his clauses, let alone his sentences. His train of thought can be difficult to catch a ride on. This evening, it was a challenge for Krasny to slow him down long enough to get a word or question in edgewise. For example, here's a slice of raw Hersh on the current situation in Iraq:

I've been doing an alternate history of the war, from inside, because people, right after 9/11, because people inside - and there are a lot of good people inside - are scared, as scared as anybody watching this tonight I think should be, because [Bush], if he's re-elected, has only one thing to do, he's going to bomb the hell out of that place. He's been bombing the hell of that place - and here's what really irritates me again, about the press - since he set up this Potemkin Village government with Allawi on June 28 - the bombing, the daily bombing rates inside Iraq, have gone up exponentially. There's no public accounting of how many missions are flown, how much ordinance is dropped, we have no accounting and no demand to know. The only sense you get is we're basically in a full-scale air war against invisible people that we can't find, that we have no intelligence about, so we bomb what we can see.
And yet - despite the more than 1,000 deaths of U.S. soldiers and the horrific number of Iraqi casualties - Bush continues to believe we are doing the right thing, according to Hersh. "He thinks he's wearing the white hat," he said, adding that is what makes this administration different from previous ones whose hypocrisy Hersh has exposed. Bush and the neocons "are not hypocrites."

Enter the Utopians

"I think it's real simple to say [Bush] is a liar. But that would also suggest there was a reality that he understood," explained Hersh. "I'm serious. It is funny in sort of a sick, black humor sort of way, but the real serious problem is, he believes what he's doing." In effect, Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and the other neocons are "idealists, you can call them utopians." As Hersh understands them, they really believe that the solution to global terrorism began with invading Baghdad and will end only with the transformation of the last unfriendly government in the Middle East into a democracy.

"No amount of body bags is going to dissuade [Bush]," said Hersh, despite the fact that Hersh's sources say the war in Iraq is "not winnable. It's over." As for Kerry's war plans, Hersh said he wished he could tell him to stop talking as if the senator's plan for Iraq could somehow still eke out a victory there. "This is a disaster that's been going on. It's a civil war, the insurgency. There is no 'win' anymore in this war," he argued. "As somebody said, 'We're playing chess, they're playing Go.'"

Later, Hersh shared something he had yet to write about. Sources were suggesting that the many acts of domestic terrorism in Iraq that U.S. officials have been attributing to suspected Al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are in fact a smokescreen set up by the insurgents. "They decided to wage war against their own population," he said. "It's a huge step, with enormous consequences....The insurgency has simply deflected what they're doing onto this man. And we fell for it."

What is worse, he said impatiently, was that because U.S. forces had "privatized" so many of Iraq's institutions, it had decimated the job market in the country. "This is why Bush can talk about 100,000 people wanting to go work in the police or in the army. It's because there's nothing else for them to do. They're willing to stand in line to get bombed because they want to take care of their family," he said.

Hersh has been accused many times of sympathizing with "the enemy," and told that his publicizing of incidents like the My Lai massacre and the Abu Ghraib torture only fan the flames of anti-American sentiment around the world. He related that he's been asked if he feels guilty about the beheadings of two Americans who were wearing uniforms like those worn at Abu Ghraib. "As if the Iraqis needed me to tell them what's going on in that prison!" he responded. He also repeated a question often posed to him: "Was it immoral to go in ... [T]he idea that Saddam was a torturer and a killer, doesn't that lend a patina of morality to going after him?" The answer to that one, he said unsmilingly, "is of course, Saddam tortured and killed his people. And now we're doing it."



'We operate on guilt, [Muslims] operate on shame…The idea of photographing an Arab man naked and having him simulate homosexual activity, and having an American GI woman in the photographs, is the end of society in their eyes.'
-Seymour Hersh
(Photo: Bart Nagel)

In addition to adding more details to the woeful chronology of the Abu Ghraib scandal, in which the military stopped the abuse only after Hersh's story brought it crashing down onto front pages around the world - four months after it was first reported to the Department of Defense - Hersh speculated on why those dehumanizing techniques had been used. He was sure that they were not, as some have claimed, the "stress outlet" or other spontaneous recreational ideas of young soldiers from West Virginia. Instead, he said, they were the outgrowth of a massive manhunt for information, any information, about first Al Qaida, the Taliban, and then the Iraqi insurgency:

My government has a secret unit that since December of 2001 has been disappearing people just like the Brazilians and the Argentineans did. Rumsfeld decided after 9/11 that he could not wait. The president signed a secret document...There's a team of people, they fly in unmarked planes, they fly in Gulfstreams, they have their own choppers, they don't carry American passports, and they just grab people. And maybe in the beginning I can understand there was some rationale. Right after 9/11 we were frightened, we didn't know what to do ... The original idea behind the sexually humiliating photos taken at Abu Ghraib, Hersh said he had heard, was to use them as blackmail so that the newly released prisoners - many of whom were ordinary Iraqi thieves or even civilian bystanders rounded up in dragnets - would act as informants. "We operate on guilt, [Muslims] operate on shame," Hersh explained. "The idea of photographing an Arab man naked and having him simulate homosexual activity, and having an American GI woman in the photographs, is the end of society in their eyes."
And the fact that Americans had perpetrated such acts - and refused to take responsibility for it - ended America's role as any kind of moral leader in the eyes of not just the Middle East, but the world, Hersh railed. He talked about an Israeli, a longtime veteran of the troubles between his country and the Palestinians, who had emailed him to say, in essence, "We've been killing them for 40 or 50 years, and they've been killing us for 40 or 50 years, but we know that somewhere down the line we're going to have to live with those SOBs...If we had treated our Arabs the way you treated them in Abu Ghraib, the sexual stuff, the photographs, we couldn't live with them. You guys do not begin to understand what you've done, where you have put yourself in the Arab world."

"They Just Shot Them One by One"

There was more - rumors of atrocities around Iraq that to Hersh brought back memories of My Lai. In the evening's most emotional moment, Hersh talked about a call he had gotten from a first lieutenant in charge of a unit stationed halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border. His group was bivouacking outside of town in an agricultural area, and had hired 30 or so Iraqis to guard a local granary. A few weeks passed. They got to know the men they hired, and to like them. Then orders came down from Baghdad that the village would be "cleared." Another platoon from the soldier's company came and executed the Iraqi granary guards. All of them.

"He said they just shot them one by one. And his people, and he, and the villagers of course, went nuts," Hersh said quietly. "He was hysterical, totally hysterical. He went to the company captain, who said, 'No, you don't understand, that's a kill. We got 36 insurgents. Don't you read those stories when the Americans say we had a combat maneuver and 15 insurgents were killed?'

"It's shades of Vietnam again, folks: body counts," Hersh continued. "You know what I told him? I said, 'Fella, you blamed the captain, he knows that you think he committed murder, your troops know that their fellow soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Complete your tour. Just shut up! You're going to get a bullet in the back.' And that's where we are in this war."

The story seemed to leave Hersh sincerely, deeply saddened. While his critics may call him a "muckraker" and unpatriotic, on Friday night it was obvious that Hersh takes the crumbling of America's image, very, very personally.

"My parents were immigrants," Hersh said. "They came here because America meant something...the Statue of Liberty and all that stuff, because America always was this bastion of morality and integrity and a place for a fresh start. And it's right in front of us, not hidden, that they've taken this away from us."

-------

Jump to TO Features for Thursday October 14



http://www.americanprogressaction.org/site/pp.asp?c=klLWJcP7H&b=83323


President's Domestic Agenda Laid Bare

October 13, 2004

President Bush will finish his term with one of the worst economic records of any president in the last 70 years. He will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net decline in employment over a four year period. His tax and budget policies have produced the worst fiscal deterioration in a half century and the largest budget deficits in U.S. history. Five million more Americans have lost health insurance on his watch while those with coverage face double-digit cost increases. Poverty and inequality rates have risen for three straight years.

Jobs record: More than 800,000 total jobs; 1.6 million private sector jobs; and 2.7 million manufacturing lost over the last four years. As the Economic Policy Institute reports, when the president's last tax package (called the "Jobs and Growth Plan") took effect in 2003, the administration promised it would create 5.5 million new jobs by the end of 2004 – more than 300,000 new jobs per month. The economy produced only 96,000 jobs last month, more than 200,000 jobs fewer than predicted. In fact, as EPI states, "job creation [has] failed to meet the administration's projections in 13 of the last 15 months."


Health care record: 5 million more uninsured in the last four years and skyrocketing health care costs for everyone else. The president promised to address America's health care crisis during the 2000 campaign. Yet he did nothing. Now, 45 million Americans lack basic health coverage; health care costs are up nearly 60 percent; and those with coverage face double-digit increases in premiums and deductibles. The president continues to deny Americans the opportunity to import cheaper prescription drugs, choosing to favor the profits of the drug industry over the needs of the elderly.


Fiscal record: $5 trillion in projected budget surpluses turned into $5 trillion in projected debt over the next ten years. Trillions of dollars in tax cuts geared primarily to the wealth have blown a hole in the federal budget that threatens economic growth. When America's foreign creditors decide to pull the plug, average Americans will face steep declines in living standards, steep increases in interest rates, and few good job prospects.
Daily Talking Points is a product of the American Progress Action Fund.


Posted by richard at 10:27 AM

October 13, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 20 Days to Go -- They are tearing up voter registrations, Sy Hersh reports anew on autrocities, the Bush abomination is playing politics with US solders lives while Bob Scheiffer plays golf with the _resident

There are 20 days to go until the national referendum
on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the
increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident. Well over one thousand US soldiers have
died already in the Mega-Mogadishu of the Bush
abomination's foolish and unnnecessary military
adventure in Iraq. The unprecendented US federal
budget surplus has been supplanted with an
unprecedented US federal budget deficit because of the
Bush abomination's TWO foolish, unnnecessary tax cuts.
The Bush abomination's pre-9/11 negligence and
post-9/11 inncompetence have made the world much more
dangerous than it was four years ago. It did not have
to be this way...But it is...Because the Bush cabal,
their wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party
stole the US presidential election of 2000 with the
complicity of their full partners in the US
regimestream news media. Now this triad of shared
special interest (e.g., oil, weapons, media,
pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc.) are going to attempt
to thwart the Electoral Uprising that is coming. They
are freaking out because Nevada, Colorado, Virginia,
New Hampshire, West Virginia and yes, even Ohio,
Fraudida and Misery are slipping away from their grasp
and seceeding from the Neo-Confederacy...BUT remember
that in 2000, in spite of the best (worst) efforts of
the US regimestream news media (more emboldened in its
complicity and cravenness now thah then), the Bush
cabal and their wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party were caught with their hand in the ballot box and had
to rely on Supreme InJustice to install the _resident.
Remember that the Diebolical "Black Box Voting" scheme
has been thwarted in some places and mitigated in
others. Remember, too, that the Deep Fix perpetrated
the US regimestream news media (e.g., the phoney 11
pt. Bush-Cheney "bounce" after the RNC) is NOT taking
hold in the psyche of the Electorate. The craven
*coverage* of the Iraq war has unmasked the US
regimestream news media to many who still clung to its
"objectivity" before, and the Internet-based
Information Rebellion has provided a viable, and
reliable, alternative source for news and commentary.
We are on the verge of a Boston TV party in America.
IF enough of us vote they cannot steal it.
Here are FIVE very important stories. 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 campaign, it wants to DISinform you...

George Knapp, KLAS-TV: Employees of a private voter
registration company allege that hundreds, perhaps
thousands of voters who may think they are registered
will be rudely surprised on election day. The company
claims hundreds of registration forms were thrown in
the trash.
Anyone who has recently registered or re-registered to
vote outside a mall or grocery store or even
government building may be affected.
The I-Team has obtained information about an alleged
widespread pattern of potential registration fraud
aimed at democrats. Thee focus of the story is a
private registration company called Voters Outreach of
America, AKA America Votes.
The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the
past few months, registering voters. It employed up to
300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of
registrations per day, but former employees of the
company say that Voters Outreach of America only
wanted Republican registrations.
Two former workers say they personally witnessed
company supervisors rip up and trash registration
forms signed by Democrats.

RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, Associated Press: Secretary of
State Bill Bradbury and Attorney General Hardy Myers
plan to investigate allegations that a paid canvasser
might have destroyed voter registration forms.
"There have been allegations made that someone threw
out some voter registration forms that had been
submitted to them," Bradbury told The Associated Press
late Tuesday. "This is a violation of the law and I
will meet with the attorney general in the morning to
talk about what we can do to pursue this, and to make
sure it doesn't happen again."
Bradbury learned of the conduct from KGW-TV, which
interviewed Mike Johnson, 20, a canvasser who said he
was instructed to only accept Republican registration
forms. He told the TV reporter that he "might" destroy
forms turned in by Democrats.
"I have never in my five years as secretary of state
ever seen an allegation like the one that came up
tonight — ever," Bradbury said. "I mean, frankly, it
just totally offends me that someone would take
someone else's registration and throw it out."

Seymour Hersh, www.tinyrevoultion.com: They were a
couple weeks together, they knew each other. So orders
came down from the generals in Baghdad, we want to
clear the village, like in Samarra. And as he told the
story, another platoon from his company came and
executed all the guards, as his people were screaming,
stop. And he said they just shot them one by one. He
went nuts, and his soldiers went nuts. And he's
hysterical. He's totally hysterical. And he went to
the captain. He was a lieutenant, he went to the
company captain. And the company captain said, "No,
you don't understand. That's a kill. We got thirty-six
insurgents."
You read those stories where the Americans, we take a
city, we had a combat, a hundred and fifteen
insurgents are killed. You read those stories. It's
shades of Vietnam again, folks, body counts...
You know what I told him? I said, fella, I said:
you've complained to the captain. He knows you think
they committed murder. Your troops know their fellow
soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Just shut up. Get
through your tour and just shut up. You're going to
get a bullet in the back. You don't need that. And
that's where we are with this war.

www.mediamatters.org: With a few noteworthy
exceptions, the media remained largely silent
regarding the Los Angeles Times' revelations, in an
October 11 article, that the Bush administration plans
to delay any major assaults on insurgent strongholds
in Iraq -- where U.S. military casualties could be
highest -- until after the U.S. presidential election
on November 2. The Times also noted: "Any delay in
pacifying Iraq's most troublesome cities, however,
could alter the dynamics of a different election --
the one in January, when Iraqis are to elect members
of a national assembly."
So the Times report amounts to the following:
Notwithstanding the possible harm to Iraq's scheduled
election in January, the administration has decided to
hold off on major combat in Iraq until after November
2 to avoid high casualties that could hurt Bush's
chances for reelection. The Chicago Tribune, The
Boston Globe, and United Press International mentioned
the report. No other major paper, none of the network
news programs, nor the vast majority of primetime news
shows on CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC saw fit to
address it.

www.mediamatters.org: Bob Schieffer, CBS chief
Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation,
is scheduled to moderate the third and final
presidential debate on October 13...
Schieffer may find it "difficult" due to Bush
friendship. According to an August 20 Mother Jones
article, Schieffer "struck up a golfing friendship
with George W. Bush during the 1990s." In 2003,
Schieffer told Washington Post staff writer and CNN
host Howard Kurtz: "It's always difficult to cover
someone you know personally."
...Schieffer used Republican talking points in place
of facts. As MMFA noted the following day, on the July
18 edition of CBS's Face the Nation, Schieffer echoed
Republican Party talking points in questioning
Democratic National Committee chairman Terry
McAuliffe, falsely asserting that Senator John Kerry
"really has laid out no agenda" on Iraq.
Schieffer cited only one poll and extrapolated Kerry
criticism. As MMFA also documented, given five
recently released national polls that painted two very
different pictures of the presidential race -- three
showed an extremely close race, while two showed a
sizeable Bush lead -- Schieffer cited only a poll
favorable to Bush (the CBS News/New York Times poll)
and concluded on the September 19 edition of Face the
Nation: "George [W.] Bush has now opened a nine-point
lead over John Kerry. You don't have to be an expert
to figure that out. Voters may be less than enamored
with President Bush but they are even more uneasy
about John Kerry, whose plans for the country remain a
mystery to them, according to this poll."

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.klas-tv.com/Global/story.asp?S=2421595&nav=168XRvNe

George Knapp, Investigative Reporter
Voter Registrations Possibly Trashed

(Oct. 12) -- Employees of a private voter registration
company allege that hundreds, perhaps thousands of
voters who may think they are registered will be
rudely surprised on election day. The company claims
hundreds of registration forms were thrown in the
trash.

Anyone who has recently registered or re-registered to
vote outside a mall or grocery store or even
government building may be affected.

The I-Team has obtained information about an alleged
widespread pattern of potential registration fraud
aimed at democrats. Thee focus of the story is a
private registration company called Voters Outreach of
America, AKA America Votes.

The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the
past few months, registering voters. It employed up to
300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of
registrations per day, but former employees of the
company say that Voters Outreach of America only
wanted Republican registrations.

Two former workers say they personally witnessed
company supervisors rip up and trash registration
forms signed by Democrats.

"We caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed
them to her assistant and he ripped them up right in
front of us. I grabbed some of them out of the garbage
and she tells her assisatnt to get those from me,"
said Eric Russell, former Voters Outreach employee.

Eric Russell managed to retrieve a pile of shredded
paperwork including signed voter registration forms,
all from Democrats. We took them to the Clark County
Election Department and confirmed that they had not,
in fact, been filed with the county as required by
law.

So the people on those forms who think they will be
able to vote on Election Day are sadly mistaken. We
attempted to speak to Voters Outreach but found that
its office has been rented out to someone else.

The landlord says Voters Outreach was evicted for
non-payment of rent. Another source said the company
has now moved on to Oregon where it is once again
registering voters. It's unknown how many
registrations may have been tossed out, but another
ex-employee told Eyewitness News she had the same
suspicions when she worked there.

It's going to take a while to sort all of this out,
but the immediate concern for voters is to make sure
you really are registered.

Call the Clark County Election Department at 455-VOTE
orclick here to see if you are registered.

The company has been largely, if not entirely funded,
by the Republican National Committee. Similar
complaints have been received in Reno where the
registrar has asked the FBI to investigate.

http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1097647496301300.xml&storylist=orlocal

Bradbury plans to investigate election complaint
10/13/2004, 12:33 a.m. PT
By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Secretary of State Bill Bradbury
and Attorney General Hardy Myers plan to investigate
allegations that a paid canvasser might have destroyed
voter registration forms.

"There have been allegations made that someone threw
out some voter registration forms that had been
submitted to them," Bradbury told The Associated Press
late Tuesday. "This is a violation of the law and I
will meet with the attorney general in the morning to
talk about what we can do to pursue this, and to make
sure it doesn't happen again."

Bradbury learned of the conduct from KGW-TV, which
interviewed Mike Johnson, 20, a canvasser who said he
was instructed to only accept Republican registration
forms. He told the TV reporter that he "might" destroy
forms turned in by Democrats.

"I have never in my five years as secretary of state
ever seen an allegation like the one that came up
tonight — ever," Bradbury said. "I mean, frankly, it
just totally offends me that someone would take
someone else's registration and throw it out."

Bradbury said the law requires that groups registering
voters submit forms no later than five days after they
were filled out. He added that canvassers can't turn
away a voter because of his or her party affiliation.

Rory Smith, a spokeswoman for the Republican Party in
Oregon, said the young man interviewed by KGW-TV was
not in their rolls. "We do not condone this type of
behavior," Smith told the Portland-based station.

In Nevada earlier Tuesday, KLAS-TV, a CBS affiliate,
interviewed an employee of a private voter
registration organization who said hundreds — perhaps
thousands — of Democratic registration forms had been
destroyed.

Eric Russell, a former Voters Outreach of America
employee, told the TV station he had personally
witnessed his supervisor take out Democratic
registration forms from the pile and shred them.

The company has been largely funded by the Republican
National Committee, the station reported.

A spokesman for the Las Vegas bureau of the FBI said
he did not know if an investigation had been
initiated.

http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/000172.html#more

October 12, 2004
Uh Oh
Seymour Hersh spoke at Berkeley last Friday, October
8th. He told a story about recently receiving a call
from an American lieutenant in Iraq who'd just
witnessed other American soldiers massacring Iraqis.

I typed up what he said from the Real Video file here.
The story begins at about 41:45.

HERSH: I got a call last week from a soldier -- it's
different now, a lot of communication, 800 numbers.
He's an American officer and he was in a unit halfway
between Baghdad and the Syrian border. It's a place
where we claim we've done great work at cleaning out
the insurgency. He was a platoon commander. First
lieutenant, ROTC guy.
It was a call about this. He had been bivouacing
outside of town with his platoon. It was near, it was
an agricultural area, and there was a granary around.
And the guys that owned the granary, the Iraqis that
owned the granary... It was an area that the
insurgency had some control, but it was very quiet, it
was not Fallujah. It was a town that was off the
mainstream. Not much violence there. And his guys, the
guys that owned the granary, had hired, my guess is
from his language, I wasn't explicit -- we're talking
not more than three dozen, thirty or so guards. Any
kind of work people were dying to do. So Iraqis were
guarding the granary. His troops were bivouaced, they
were stationed there, they got to know everybody...

They were a couple weeks together, they knew each
other. So orders came down from the generals in
Baghdad, we want to clear the village, like in
Samarra. And as he told the story, another platoon
from his company came and executed all the guards, as
his people were screaming, stop. And he said they just
shot them one by one. He went nuts, and his soldiers
went nuts. And he's hysterical. He's totally
hysterical. And he went to the captain. He was a
lieutenant, he went to the company captain. And the
company captain said, "No, you don't understand.
That's a kill. We got thirty-six insurgents."

You read those stories where the Americans, we take a
city, we had a combat, a hundred and fifteen
insurgents are killed. You read those stories. It's
shades of Vietnam again, folks, body counts...

You know what I told him? I said, fella, I said:
you've complained to the captain. He knows you think
they committed murder. Your troops know their fellow
soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Just shut up. Get
through your tour and just shut up. You're going to
get a bullet in the back. You don't need that. And
that's where we are with this war.


Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at October 12, 2004 11:12
AM | TrackBack

http://mediamatters.org/items/200410120007

Media largely ignored LA Times report of Bush
administration plans to delay major Iraq combat until
after presidential election
With a few noteworthy exceptions, the media remained
largely silent regarding the Los Angeles Times'
revelations, in an October 11 article, that the Bush
administration plans to delay any major assaults on
insurgent strongholds in Iraq -- where U.S. military
casualties could be highest -- until after the U.S.
presidential election on November 2. The Times also
noted: "Any delay in pacifying Iraq's most troublesome
cities, however, could alter the dynamics of a
different election -- the one in January, when Iraqis
are to elect members of a national assembly."

So the Times report amounts to the following:
Notwithstanding the possible harm to Iraq's scheduled
election in January, the administration has decided to
hold off on major combat in Iraq until after November
2 to avoid high casualties that could hurt Bush's
chances for reelection. The Chicago Tribune, The
Boston Globe, and United Press International mentioned
the report. No other major paper, none of the network
news programs, nor the vast majority of primetime news
shows on CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC saw fit to
address it.

From an October 12 Boston Globe article:

Admiral William Crowe, a former chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff who spoke to reporters on Kerry's
behalf, blasted Bush over the troop request and a
separate report, in the Los Angeles Times yesterday,
that the administration plans to delay major attacks
on Iraqi insurgent strongholds until after Election
Day. Crowe said that plan, if true, would be
"dangerous" and "unethical," and added, "Senator Kerry
will not make a distinction between casualties before
an election and casualties after an election."

From an October 11 United Press International report:

The Bush administration is avoiding major assaults on
rebel-held cities in Iraq until after U.S. elections
in November, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
White House spokesmen, however, said the story was not
true. There are almost daily battles with the
resistance in Iraq and nightly attacks on Fallujah and
several other rebel strongholds. Administration and
Pentagon officials told the newspaper they would not
launch major ground offensives in Fallujah or Ramadi
until after Nov. 2, when Americans vote in one of the
closest presidential races in history.

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and FOX News Channel
co-host Alan Colmes did call attention to the
importance of the Los Angeles Times report, with
Colmes raising the question: "Do you really think that
military planning and strategy should be based on a
presidential election or what's the best way to
prosecute a war based on what's safe for our troops?"
FOX News Channel host and FOX News Radio host Tony
Snow and his guest, conservative author Richard
Miniter, downplayed it.


OLBERMANN: As to the current battles in Iraq -- what
current battles in Iraq? The Los Angeles Times today
quoting unidentified senior [Bush] administration
officials who say that major assaults on Iraqi cities
held by insurgents will be delayed until after the
election here for domestic political reasons. Quote:
"Once you're past the election," said the individual,
identified only as being involved in strategic
planning, "it changes the political ramifications of
hitting Fallujah or Ramadi. We're not on hold right
now, we're just not as aggresive." The same official
telling the Los Angeles Times the administration is
doing a balancing act. There are those other elections
to consider as well, the ones scheduled in Iraq in
January. [MSNBC, Countdown with Keith Olbermann,
10/11/04]


COLMES: [O]ne other thing I wanted to bring up,
because there was a report over the weekend that the
Bush administration is planning to delay major
assaults on rebel-held cities in Iraq until after the
U.S. elections. And the reason they're giving is they
don't want to get involved in this while there is an
election going on. Do you really think that military
planning and strategy should be based on a
presidential election or what's the best way to
prosecute a war based on what's safe for our troops?
[FOX News Channel, Hannity & Colmes, 10/11/04]

On the October 11 edition of FOX News Channel's The
O'Reilly Factor, substitute host Snow mused about "the
psychological impact [of the report] on our enemies"
and questioned whether this is "the sort of thing that
actually helps us." His guest Miniter responded, "I
don't really believe that George [W.] Bush is going to
play politics with the war."

SNOW: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Bush
administration says it is not going to have any major
attacks, perhaps on Fallujah, it doesn't quite
specify, but within Iraq until after the election. Now
somebody who is studying not only the war on terror,
but the psychological impact on our enemies, whether
they be Al Qaeda, Iran, or otherwise, is that the sort
of thing that actually helps us?

MINITER: Well, I don't really believe that George [W.]
Bush is going to play politics with the war, because
if he was going to play politics with the war, he
would be trumpeting many of the successes that I talk
about in my book, Shadow War.

Miniter is the author of Shadow War and Losing Bin
Laden: How Bill Clinton's Failures Unleashed Global
Terror, both published by conservative Regnery
Publishing, Inc., the publisher of the discredited
anti-Kerry book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans
Speak Out Against John Kerry.

— N.C.

Posted to the web on Tuesday October 12, 2004 at 4:40
PM EST

http://mediamatters.org/items/200410120011

Schieffer's statements raise questions about
objectivity

Bob Schieffer, CBS chief Washington correspondent and
host of Face the Nation, is scheduled to moderate the
third and final presidential debate on October 13. As
moderator, Schieffer will be responsible for
formulating the debate questions and following up
after the candidates respond. However, Schieffer has
described in the past his "golfing friendship" with
President George W. Bush "during the 1990s" and has
said, "It's always difficult to cover someone you know
personally." These and other past statements by
Schieffer raise the very question that Schieffer
himself suggested: Can he perform the role of
objective moderator given the "difficult[y]" of
"cover[ing] someone you know personally"?

Schieffer may find it "difficult" due to Bush
friendship. According to an August 20 Mother Jones
article, Schieffer "struck up a golfing friendship
with George W. Bush during the 1990s." In 2003,
Schieffer told Washington Post staff writer and CNN
host Howard Kurtz: "It's always difficult to cover
someone you know personally."
Schieffer on Kerry: "[B]efore the first debate, I
think John Kerry was about to go off a cliff." On the
October 11 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris
Matthews, Schieffer stated: "I'm not an expert on
polling, but I think this is a race that could go
either way. I think, frankly, before the first debate,
I think John Kerry was about to go off a cliff. I
think he got himself back in the game."
Schieffer opined in favor of Bush after he debated
Gore in 2000. As Media Matters for America previously
documented, Schieffer joined the chorus of pundits
that lowered the bar for Bush and raised it for former
Vice President Al Gore in 2000. During CBS News
presidential debate coverage on October 3, 2000,
Schieffer stated: "Well, I think, clearly tonight, if
anyone gained from this debate, it was George Bush
because he showed that people will argue back and
forth over the positions they took, but, clearly, he
seemed to have as much of a grasp of the issues as --
as Al Gore did tonight. So in that sense, I think Bush
gained a lot."
Schieffer used Republican talking points in place of
facts. As MMFA noted the following day, on the July 18
edition of CBS's Face the Nation, Schieffer echoed
Republican Party talking points in questioning
Democratic National Committee chairman Terry
McAuliffe, falsely asserting that Senator John Kerry
"really has laid out no agenda" on Iraq.
Schieffer cited only one poll and extrapolated Kerry
criticism. As MMFA also documented, given five
recently released national polls that painted two very
different pictures of the presidential race -- three
showed an extremely close race, while two showed a
sizeable Bush lead -- Schieffer cited only a poll
favorable to Bush (the CBS News/New York Times poll)
and concluded on the September 19 edition of Face the
Nation: "George [W.] Bush has now opened a nine-point
lead over John Kerry. You don't have to be an expert
to figure that out. Voters may be less than enamored
with President Bush but they are even more uneasy
about John Kerry, whose plans for the country remain a
mystery to them, according to this poll."
— N.C.

Posted to the web on Tuesday October 12, 2004 at 6:31
PM EST

Copyright © 2004 Media Matters for America. All rights
reserved.
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Subscribe to MMFA Email Updates

Posted by richard at 10:32 AM

October 12, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising - 21 Days to Go -- The tide, which began to turn months ago, is flowing out, and there is a very dangerous undertow...

There are 21 days to go until the national referendum
on the COMPETENCE, CREDIBILITY and CHARACTER of the
increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident...The tide, which began to turn months ago,
is flowing out, and there is a very dangerous
undertow...The St Louis Post-Dispatch, Seatle Post
Intelligencer, Atlanta Journal Constitution and
Philadelphia Enquirer have already endorsed Sen. John
F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta)...Kerry-Edwards are 3-0 in
the debates...Zogby, a cautious but consumately
professional and highly accurate pollster, gives JFK
the lead -- not only in the popular vote, but more
importantly, in the Electoral College tally. Even
Gallop, who claims he is "polling for God" as he skews
and cooks the numbers, has been forced to acknowledge
JFK has taken back the lead (if he ever lost
it)...Remember there are two kinds of polls, the ones
they show you and the ones they don't show you...JFK
is ahead, or tied, in formerly red Bardoground
States...Nevada, Colorado, New Hampshire, West
Virginia and Virginia are seriously in play, so are
the big neo-confederacy's big three: Ohio, Fraudida
and Misery...There is an electoral uprising coming at
the ballot box on November 2nd...The central issue for
tomorrow night's debate is SECURITY: Economic
Security, Environmental Security, Health Care
Security, Social Security, Constitutional Security and
of course, Homeland Security...Over and over again, in
with a FORCEFUL, DISCIPLINED, WELL-BRIEFED manner, JFK
must hit that central theme: Are you safer than you
were four years ago? Can you afford for more years of
this illegitimate, incompetent and corrupt regime? JFK
must hit him, and hit him hard, over and over again.
The increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident will snap or shrivel up into a
caricature...right there...on prime-time...There is an
Electoral Uprising coming...

MARK LAVIE, Associated Press: The war in Iraq did not
damage international terror groups, but instead
distracted the United States from confronting other
hotbeds of Islamic militancy and actually "created
momentum" for many terrorists, a top Israeli security
think tank said in a report released Monday...the
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv
University said that instead of striking a blow
against Islamic extremists, the Iraq war "has created
momentum for many terrorist elements, but chiefly
al-Qaida and its affiliates."
Jaffee Center director Shai Feldman said the vast
amount of money and effort the United States has
poured into Iraq has deflected attention and assets
from other centers of terrorism, such as Afghanistan.
The concentration of U.S. intelligence assets in Iraq
"has to be at the expense of being able to follow
strategic dangers in other parts of the world," he
said.
Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli army general, said the
U.S.-led effort was strategically misdirected. If the
goal in the war against terrorism is "not just to kill
the mosquitos but to dry the swamp," he said, "now
it's quite clear" that Iraq "is not the swamp."
Instead, he said, the Iraq campaign is having the
opposite effect, drawing Islamic extremists from other
parts of the world to join the battle.
"On a strategic level as well as an operational
level," Brom concluded, "the war in Iraq is hurting
the war on international terrorism."

Erin Neff, Las Vegas Journal-Review: The war in Iraq
continues to dominate news on the campaign trail, even
in Nevada, where it has eclipsed Yucca Mountain as of
late.
Three women with sons or husbands serving in the
military campaigned for John Kerry in Las Vegas last
week, meeting with a local mother whose son is serving
in Afghanistan.
They said they gave up jobs and left Pennsylvania,
Tennessee and Florida to tell other mothers that the
commander-in-chief isn't serving their sons...
Martin's two sons are Marines, and she said one
serving in Iraq bought a helmet online before he was
deployed.
"They had helmets, but not proper equipment," Martin
said.
Martin and the other mothers spent most of their time
not sharing personal stories, but retreading
statements and news articles that criticize everything
from the justification for the war in Iraq to troop
levels and morale.
Asked what her son has told her about the upcoming
election, Maura Satchell of Smyrna, Tenn., started
talking about an article written for the New Yorker by
Seymour Hersh.

EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press: Seven American
activist groups asked the United Nations on Monday to
provide international observers for next month's
presidential election.
A petition delivered to the U.N. Economic and Social
Council said that only the U.N. can ``give us recourse
to international bodies beyond those within our own
national and state governments'' in case of a repeat
of the problems seen in the 2000 election, which
President Bush won after a protracted ballot fight in
Florida.
Grace Ross of the Economic Human Rights Project, based
in Somerville, Mass., said the non-governmental groups
decided to seek action from the Economic and Social
Council, known as ECOSOC, after U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan turned down a request for international
observers from 13 members of Congress, led by Eddie
Bernice Johnson, D-Tex. Annan said the U.N. needed an
invitation from the U.S. government, not Congress.
Ross claimed that while governments need to go through
the U.N. General Assembly, non-governmental
organizations could request observers through ECOSOC.
If its 54 elected member nations approve, the ECOSOC
president could then ask Annan to send observers, she
said...
The petition ``strongly supports'' the presence of
observers from the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, a 55-nation security group
invited by the Bush administration to monitor the
election. Bush faces Democratic challenger Sen. John
Kerry.
But the seven groups say it's not clear that the
European observers will have the force of
international law behind them since they are invited
guests.

Ronald Brownstein, LA Times: The sold-out show at the
MCI Center followed more than a week of barnstorming
across battleground states by prominent artists such
as Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam,
R.E.M., Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, John Mellencamp
and the Dixie Chicks. It represented one of the most
ambitious efforts by entertainers to influence a
presidential election.
In all, sponsors said the 33-city, 11-state Vote for
Change concert tour raised $15 million for America
Coming Together, a group organizing get-out-the-vote
drives for Democrats, and identified 300,000 potential
new members for the political action committee
associated with MoveOn.org, an online liberal advocacy
group.
The shows also generated large amounts of local media
coverage in the hotly contested states...
The tour was unusual in its breadth and strategy.
Traditionally, musicians have supported political
causes by gathering in big cities for one or two
concerts aimed mostly at raising money.
But the Vote for Change tour sent the artists through
major battleground states for a coordinated series of
37 shows intended as much to attract publicity as to
collect cash. On Oct. 1, the artists descended on
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Florida for six shows
in different cities on a single night; they then
dispersed for shows in other states, including
Minnesota and Iowa.
The Monday show had been intended to conclude the
tour, but Springsteen will lead several of the artists
in an additional show Wednesday in his home state of
New Jersey. Springsteen decided to add the show after
several polls in the state showed Bush running
surprisingly close to Kerry.
One of the most pointed moments during the concert
came when Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks
reaffirmed her comment last year that she was
"ashamed" Bush came from Texas, her home state.
She said she had been asked if she wanted to apologize
for the remark, which caused some radio stations to
drop the group's songs from their playlists. "I
thought about it," she said, "and I thought if I did
that, Bush would just call me a flip-flopper."

Brooks Boliek, Hollywood Reporter: The Democratic
Party and 18 senators are seeking a pair of federal
investigations into Sinclair Broadcast Group's plans
to preempt network primetime programing on its 62 TV
stations nationwide later this month to air a
documentary critical of Sen. John Kerry's antiwar
activities...
DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe said the company was
acting as a mouthpiece for the Republican Party rather
than a legitimate news outlet.
"In this election cycle, they have put their money
where their right-wing mouths are," he said.
"Sinclair's owners aren't interested in news; they're
interested in pro-Bush propaganda."
Sinclair executives have given thousands to the Bush
campaign, and the company refused to air the April 30
"Nightline" episode in which hundreds of names of
American troops killed in Iraq (news - web sites) were
read by ABC anchor Ted Koppel.
Democratic FCC commissioner Michael Copps called
Sinclair's decision "an abuse of the public trust."
"It is proof positive of media consolidation run amok
when one owner can use the public airwaves to blanket
the country with its political ideology -- whether
liberal or conservative," he said. "This is the same
corporation that refused to air "Nightline's" reading
of our war dead in Iraq. It is the same corporation
that short shrifts local communities and local jobs by
distance-casting news and weather from hundreds of
miles away."

Mark Moulitsas, Guardian: The evolution of George
Bush's persona over the past few weeks is startling
for even the most casual observers. Only a short while
ago, Bush was a strong, decisive leader and Kerry was
a weak, flip-flopping Massachusetts liberal. The Bush
campaign expected those images to carry them through
the November elections: it had cost them more than
$200m (£112m) to build those caricatures and they had
every reason to expect a solid return on their
investment.
But those images were built on a carefully crafted
stage. Despite all the flaws in the US electoral
process we still force the candidates to exit that
bubble a handful of times during the election, and it
is some credit to the system that those three
90-minute debates can still determine the fate of an
election. This year, they have helped introduce the
nation to Furious George.
Bush's political operators have worked overtime to
make "angry" a pejorative term this political cycle.
They wielded the "too angry" attack against Howard
Dean in the primaries, when it seemed Dean would be
the Democratic nominee, and it helped destroy Dean's
candidacy. Republicans again shouted "too angry" to
discredit Al Gore's series of impassioned anti-Bush
speeches earlier this year.
The "too angry" claims successfully marginalised the
content of those speeches - blistering indictments of
an incompetent administration. But what happens when
your best attack line is a double-edged sword?
Bush's operation has taken stage management to
extremes. His handlers have figured - correctly - that
the press conference format suits their man poorly and
is to be avoided at all costs. His last primetime
press conference was in April 2004, and he has had
only two with the White House press corps since late
August - both of them with the Iraqi prime minister,
Ayad Allawi, at his side. (The Bush campaign actually
wrote Allawi's speech in order to squeeze out precious
political points.)
Bush's campaign appearances are not much better.
While Kerry's events are open to the public, Bush's
affairs require the signing of a "loyalty oath".
Quietly wearing an anti-Bush T-shirt or badge is
grounds for expulsion.
Bush faces only adoring audiences vetted by the
campaign's enforcers. At his town hall events,
questions are planted for maximum political effect. At
one, a veteran merely got up and requested permission
to salute his commander in chief. Compelling visuals?
Perhaps. But it does little to acquaint Bush with
reality...
Given the force of Republican efforts to deify Bush,
his debate performances came as a big shock to many
Americans. They showed a Bush quick to anger,
indecisiveness, pettiness and petulance. The sheltered
Bush was clearly unprepared for the debate and
unprepared to face criticism. In fact, it seemed to
take him by surprise. No one seemed to have told him
he had critics.
After his first debate performance, Bush was in a
quandary. He had to stem his erosion in the polls, but
to do so would require attacking Kerry and furthering
the perception that he was too angry to be president.
So how did he respond? By getting even more angry. He
not only viciously attacked Kerry but also took out
the moderator and several questioners in the process.
Someone, somewhere, labelled Bush Furious George - a
clever turn on HA Rey's Curious George children's
books and an appellation that took firm hold in the
online and, increasingly, offline worlds.
Bush acted like the proverbial ugly American trying to
be understood in a foreign land, cranking up the
volume and shrillness to make his points while Kerry
sat by serenely. The contrast was impossible to miss
as Bush became increasingly unhinged. Even on the
road, Bush's desperation is palpable as the rhetoric
soars to angrier heights.
Bush is now hemmed in. With poll after poll showing
small Kerry leads, he needs to do something to regain
the momentum. His campaign's attack ads have kept him
in the game but he is not pulling away. Furthermore,
he is well below the 50% mark in most key battleground
state polls - a mark of political vulnerability.
If he cannot convince people to vote for him, he will
have to convince people to vote against Kerry, and to
do that he has to attack, attack, attack. And since it
takes more skill than Bush possesses to attack without
appearing angry, well, he's in a real bind.
Bush's political operation has conditioned the
electorate to distrust "anger". It has made the charge
a cornerstone of its smear effort against Democrats
such as Dean and Gore. For a campaign that lives by
the smear, it is poetic justice to see the tables
turned. Furious George is here to stay.

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=/ap/20041011/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_terrorism

Think Tank: Iraq War Distracted U.S.

Mon Oct 11, 2:10 PM ET Middle East - AP

By MARK LAVIE, Associated Press Writer

TEL AVIV, Israel - The war in Iraq (news - web sites)
did not damage international terror groups, but
instead distracted the United States from confronting
other hotbeds of Islamic militancy and actually
"created momentum" for many terrorists, a top Israeli
security think tank said in a report released Monday.

President Bush (news - web sites) has called the war
in Iraq an integral part of the war on terrorism,
saying that deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (news
- web sites) hoped to develop unconventional weapons
and could have given them to Islamic militants across
the world.


But the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel
Aviv University said that instead of striking a blow
against Islamic extremists, the Iraq war "has created
momentum for many terrorist elements, but chiefly
al-Qaida and its affiliates."


Jaffee Center director Shai Feldman said the vast
amount of money and effort the United States has
poured into Iraq has deflected attention and assets
from other centers of terrorism, such as Afghanistan
(news - web sites).


The concentration of U.S. intelligence assets in Iraq
"has to be at the expense of being able to follow
strategic dangers in other parts of the world," he
said.


Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli army general, said the
U.S.-led effort was strategically misdirected. If the
goal in the war against terrorism is "not just to kill
the mosquitos but to dry the swamp," he said, "now
it's quite clear" that Iraq "is not the swamp."


Instead, he said, the Iraq campaign is having the
opposite effect, drawing Islamic extremists from other
parts of the world to join the battle.


"On a strategic level as well as an operational
level," Brom concluded, "the war in Iraq is hurting
the war on international terrorism."


In other findings, Jaffee Center experts disagreed
with the Israeli government's statements that its
four-year struggle against Palestinian militants is
part of the world fight against Islamic terrorism.


Yoram Schweitzer, who wrote the chapter about the Iraq
war, said the local conflict is a "national struggle,"
while international Islamic militant groups like
al-Qaida target not only Israel but also the entire
Western world.


After interviewing Palestinian militants, including
some in prison, Schweitzer said they do not consider
themselves part of the al-Qaida campaign. "Many of
them are critical of Al-Qaida and its methods," he
told a news conference.


The Jaffee report found that Israel has succeeded in
reducing Palestinian violence against Israelis.


Feldman said the motivation of Palestinian militants
to attack the country remained unchanged, but praised
the work of military intelligence in preventing many
attacks.


"The only reason these (anti-terror) operations
succeed is that we have better intelligence," he said.

Feldman said the weekend attacks in the Egyptian Sinai
Peninsula aimed at places where Israelis gather did
not figure in to the assessment. Thirteen Israelis
were among at least 34 people killed in two car bomb
attacks Thursday.


"We regard the attacks in the Sinai in a different
category," he said, likening it to an attack at a
hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, last year that killed 10,
including three Israelis.


The report includes statistical breakdowns of the
military forces and their capabilities in the Middle
East, as well as analyses of regional issues.

http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Oct-11-Mon-2004/news/24941173.html

Monday, October 11, 2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Military moms, wives campaign
against Bush

Women come to Las Vegas to share personal stories of
loved ones who are serving country overseas

By ERIN NEFF
REVIEW-JOURNAL

The war in Iraq continues to dominate news on the
campaign trail, even in Nevada, where it has eclipsed
Yucca Mountain as of late.

Three women with sons or husbands serving in the
military campaigned for John Kerry in Las Vegas last
week, meeting with a local mother whose son is serving
in Afghanistan.

They said they gave up jobs and left Pennsylvania,
Tennessee and Florida to tell other mothers that the
commander-in-chief isn't serving their sons.

"We wanted to tell personal stories," Nita Martin of
suburban Philadelphia said.

Martin's two sons are Marines, and she said one
serving in Iraq bought a helmet online before he was
deployed.

"They had helmets, but not proper equipment," Martin
said.

Martin and the other mothers spent most of their time
not sharing personal stories, but retreading
statements and news articles that criticize everything
from the justification for the war in Iraq to troop
levels and morale.

Asked what her son has told her about the upcoming
election, Maura Satchell of Smyrna, Tenn., started
talking about an article written for the New Yorker by
Seymour Hersh.

Asked whether their campaigning for Kerry could have
ramifications for their sons, Satchell said: "The
failure to speak out is worse. Making sure we have a
change in commander in chief is far more important."

The voluntary campaign by the women wasn't greeted
well by a local Republican whose son, a Marine, just
returned from Iraq on Oct. 2.

Denise Needham said that although she has grave
concerns about the war, she would never campaign for
George Bush on the issue.

"It wasn't until Sunday (the day after he returned)
that I didn't have to pick up the paper because I knew
my son wasn't going to be killed that day," said
Needham, a nurse. "Do I think it's worth losing one
American to be over in Iraq? If it's my son, I'd say
`hell no.' But standing back and looking at it and
being the leader of the United States, I don't know."

Needham said she wouldn't vote for Kerry because she
is "pro-life and pro-family."

Youth vote

John Cusack didn't make it to Las Vegas on Saturday to
stump for John Kerry, but Democrats still did their
part to bring out the youth vote by offering Hollywood
types and those connected to the Massachusetts
senator.

Kerry's daughter Alex Kerry worked throughout the
weekend in Las Vegas, including talking to young
volunteers for her father's campaign Sunday afternoon
at the Democratic headquarters.

She was joined by two cast members of "The O.C." (Adam
Brody and Rachel Bilson) and an actor from "Everwood"
(Gregory Smith) -- not exactly Cusack -- but hip
enough for the younger demographic Dems.

The efforts were part of a weekend push nationally to
reach out to 1 million voters. In Nevada, Democrats
said they either had knocked on doors or phoned 50,000
voters on Kerry's behalf.

Stephens Washington Bureau writers Tony Batt and Steve
Tetreault contributed to this report. Contact
political reporter Erin Neff

at 387-2906 or ENeff@reviewjournal.com.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4544722,00.html

7 U.S. Groups Ask U.N. for Vote Observers

Tuesday October 12, 2004 2:46 AM


By EDITH M. LEDERER

Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Seven American activist groups
asked the United Nations on Monday to provide
international observers for next month's presidential
election.

A petition delivered to the U.N. Economic and Social
Council said that only the U.N. can ``give us recourse
to international bodies beyond those within our own
national and state governments'' in case of a repeat
of the problems seen in the 2000 election, which
President Bush won after a protracted ballot fight in
Florida.

Grace Ross of the Economic Human Rights Project, based
in Somerville, Mass., said the non-governmental groups
decided to seek action from the Economic and Social
Council, known as ECOSOC, after U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan turned down a request for international
observers from 13 members of Congress, led by Eddie
Bernice Johnson, D-Tex. Annan said the U.N. needed an
invitation from the U.S. government, not Congress.

Ross claimed that while governments need to go through
the U.N. General Assembly, non-governmental
organizations could request observers through ECOSOC.
If its 54 elected member nations approve, the ECOSOC
president could then ask Annan to send observers, she
said.

The United States would have to grant permission to
any observers that the ECOSOC wanted to send.

The petition ``strongly supports'' the presence of
observers from the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, a 55-nation security group
invited by the Bush administration to monitor the
election. Bush faces Democratic challenger Sen. John
Kerry.

But the seven groups say it's not clear that the
European observers will have the force of
international law behind them since they are invited
guests.

Other organizations signing the petition include the
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom,
based in Philadelphia; the National Welfare Rights
Union and the Michigan Welfare Rights Union, based in
Detroit; the Independent Progressive Politics Network,
headquartered in Bloomfield, N.J.; Seacoast Peace
Response, based in Portsmouth, N.H.; and the North
Shore Massachusetts chapter of the Alliance for
Democracy.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/whitehouse/la-na-tour12oct12,1,6054921.story?coll=la-news-politics-white_house

THE NATION
Politics the Headliner at Capital Show
Springsteen, R.E.M. and other barnstorming musicians
cap their anti-Bush tour with a sold-out concert near
the White House.
By Ronald Brownstein
Times Staff Writer

October 12, 2004

WASHINGTON — A dozen high-profile musicians capped a
spirited campaign blitz with a nationally televised
concert Monday night that brought their drive to
unseat President Bush within a few blocks of the White
House.

The sold-out show at the MCI Center followed more than
a week of barnstorming across battleground states by
prominent artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Dave
Matthews, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Kenneth "Babyface"
Edmonds, John Mellencamp and the Dixie Chicks. It
represented one of the most ambitious efforts by
entertainers to influence a presidential election.

"We are each of us placing yard signs in our front
yards," said Michael Stipe, the lead singer of R.E.M.,
as the show began. "Our front yards just happen to be
this stage."

In all, sponsors said the 33-city, 11-state Vote for
Change concert tour raised $15 million for America
Coming Together, a group organizing get-out-the-vote
drives for Democrats, and identified 300,000 potential
new members for the political action committee
associated with MoveOn.org, an online liberal advocacy
group.

The shows also generated large amounts of local media
coverage in the hotly contested states. And perhaps
just as important for the tour's sponsors, the
entertainers made it through without producing
incendiary remarks that would have sparked a backlash
from the Bush campaign or its allies.

"Everybody talked about [the tour] being Bush-hating
or Bush-bashing, but that wasn't the way it unfolded,"
said Bertis Downs, manager for R.E.M. "I don't think
anybody was overbearing on the politics."

Jim Dyke, communications director for the Republican
National Committee, agreed that the artists appeared
to avoid controversy during the tour. But he
questioned whether their message affected many voters.

"When you are talking about the war on terrorism … and
our economy and these important social issues, it's no
disrespect to them, but I'm just not sure that
musicians are going to sway the general population in
either direction," Dyke said.

Monday's show attracted two small pockets of
protesters. About a dozen people representing the
conservative group Free Republic.com held signs
accusing the artists of undermining the war on
terrorism; one man in a Saddam Hussein mask waved a
sign that read, "Rockin' 4 Osama." Also, abortion
opponents gathered outside MCI Center's main entrance.

The crowd filing into the concert was more overtly
political than at many of the other shows, with nearly
as many wearing T-shirts promoting Sen. John F.
Kerry's presidential candidacy as shirts touting the
bands.

The tour was unusual in its breadth and strategy.
Traditionally, musicians have supported political
causes by gathering in big cities for one or two
concerts aimed mostly at raising money.

But the Vote for Change tour sent the artists through
major battleground states for a coordinated series of
37 shows intended as much to attract publicity as to
collect cash. On Oct. 1, the artists descended on
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Florida for six shows
in different cities on a single night; they then
dispersed for shows in other states, including
Minnesota and Iowa.

The Monday show had been intended to conclude the
tour, but Springsteen will lead several of the artists
in an additional show Wednesday in his home state of
New Jersey. Springsteen decided to add the show after
several polls in the state showed Bush running
surprisingly close to Kerry.

Jon Landau, Springsteen's manager and one of the
tour's main architects, said he thought its principal
political value could be to "inspire part of the
[Democratic] base."

"While its true that the audiences were largely
already favorable to the concerns of Vote for Change,
I feel that people left these incredible and unified
experiences elevated and more fully motivated and
involved," Landau said.

Not all who attended the shows opposed Bush. For
instance, at the Oct. 3 show in Detroit — featuring
Springsteen and R.E.M. — Craig Felhandler, a financial
advisor wearing a Springsteen T-shirt, good-naturedly
told a MoveOn.org organizer that he couldn't
volunteer. He said he was planning to back Bush
because of the president's aggressive response to
terrorism.

"We have to take action before it gets bad — that's
why I'm voting for Bush," he said. "But I love Bruce
Springsteen."

Still, several of the artists said it appeared that
most of those attending the concerts endorsed the
tour's political message.

"It was incredibly supportive," Stipe said. "The
energy was coming from the crowd, not from us."

Ellen Malcolm, president of America Coming Together,
said the $15 million the group expected to raise from
the concerts amounted to about one-eighth of its total
budget. "We will use the money to put together the
biggest get-out-the-vote operation the country has
ever seen," she said.

With the artists usually making a recruiting pitch
from the stage, MoveOn and America Coming Together
attracted hundreds of workers for its get-out-the-vote
drives.

Artistically, the shows were noteworthy for the
collaborations they produced. Springsteen sang with
John Fogerty on Fogerty's Vietnam-era antiwar song,
"Fortunate Son." Neil Young, who migrated between
several of the different concerts, played Bob Dylan's
"All Along the Watchtower" with Pearl Jam one night
and with Springsteen another.

The tour also was notable for its absence of
politicians or political leaders. All the political
messages — which were generally low-key and brief —
came from the artists themselves.

Political figures remained on the sidelines even at
Monday's show in Washington, which Downs said fit with
the artists' desire to transmit a personal message to
their fans.

One of the most pointed moments during the concert
came when Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks
reaffirmed her comment last year that she was
"ashamed" Bush came from Texas, her home state.

She said she had been asked if she wanted to apologize
for the remark, which caused some radio stations to
drop the group's songs from their playlists. "I
thought about it," she said, "and I thought if I did
that, Bush would just call me a flip-flopper."


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Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20041012/en_nm/television_democrats_dc_3

Democrats Seek Probe of Anti-Kerry Broadcast

Tue Oct 12, 3:56 AM ET Entertainment - Reuters

By Brooks Boliek

WASHINGTON (Hollywood Reporter) - The Democratic Party
and 18 senators are seeking a pair of federal
investigations into Sinclair Broadcast Group's plans
to preempt network primetime programing on its 62 TV
stations nationwide later this month to air a
documentary critical of Sen. John Kerry (news - web
sites)'s antiwar activities.


The Democratic National Committee (news - web sites)
plans to file a complaint with the Federal Election
Commission (news - web sites) that alleges that the
documentary "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" is
an illegal in-kind contribution to President Bush
(news - web sites)'s campaign. Many of the stations
the Baltimore-based company owns are in critical
"battleground states."


Meanwhile, the Democratic senators have asked the FCC
(news - web sites) to investigate whether Sinclair's
plan was an improper use of public airwaves.


The documentary by Pennsylvania-based Carlton
Sherwood, a former journalist and Vietnam veteran,
chronicles Kerry's 1971 testimony before Congress and
links him to activist and actress Jane Fonda (news).
It includes interviews with Vietnam prisoners of war
and their wives who claim that Kerry's testimony --
filled with "lurid fantasies of butchery in Vietnam"
on the part of U.S. troops -- demeaned them and led
their captors to hold them longer.


DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe said the company was
acting as a mouthpiece for the Republican Party rather
than a legitimate news outlet.


"In this election cycle, they have put their money
where their right-wing mouths are," he said.
"Sinclair's owners aren't interested in news; they're
interested in pro-Bush propaganda."


Sinclair executives have given thousands to the Bush
campaign, and the company refused to air the April 30
"Nightline" episode in which hundreds of names of
American troops killed in Iraq (news - web sites) were
read by ABC anchor Ted Koppel.


Democratic FCC commissioner Michael Copps called
Sinclair's decision "an abuse of the public trust."


"It is proof positive of media consolidation run amok
when one owner can use the public airwaves to blanket
the country with its political ideology -- whether
liberal or conservative," he said. "This is the same
corporation that refused to air "Nightline's" reading
of our war dead in Iraq. It is the same corporation
that short shrifts local communities and local jobs by
distance-casting news and weather from hundreds of
miles away."


Mark Hyman, vp corporate relations at Sinclair and
also a conservative commentator for the company, said
Monday that the show would contain some or all of the
42-minute film as well as a panel discussion of some
sort. He said final details had not been worked out
but defended it as a legitimate news.


"Would they suggest that our reporting a car bomb in
Iraq is an in-kind contribution to the Kerry
campaign?" Hyman told the Associated Press. "Would
they suggest that our reporting on job losses is an
in-kind contribution to the Kerry campaign? It's the
news. It is what it is. We're reporting the news."


The specifics of when Sinclair plans to run "Stolen
Honor" in its various markets remained unclear Monday.
Sinclair owns stations reaching nearly 23% of the
nation's TV households. The majority of its stations
are affiliated with Fox, the WB Network and UPN, but
it also owns ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates.


One source familiar with Sinclair's plans said the
group wants to air the program on different nights
depending on the station's affiliation. The source
said that Sinclair was targeting an Oct. 22 airdate
for th