Tuesday, October 5

When is somebody going to raise (publicly) the issue of Bush's using the military and federal employees as campaign props? More and more, the U.S.A. is starting to look like one of those third-world countries where "spontaneous" parades of people line up in the streets to show support for herr leader. All we need is the big posters of His Shrubness plastered all over the place.

"They basically rounded up the people and told the military, 'Don't wear your uniforms and get over to the convention center and root for the president,' " said John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union...

Gage and other union leaders are keeping track of such incidents. They say government officials have used agency computers to e-mail federal workers memos highlighting presidential accomplishments and posted politically charged language on a Cabinet department's Web site.

At the same time, federal bosses have tried to restrict their employees from volunteering on their own time for Democratic nominee John F. Kerry and issued guidelines on campaigning on federal property that favor Bush, the administration's critics say.

"It seems like there's not really a level playing field here," said J. Ward Morrow, assistant general counsel for AFGE, which represents about 600,000 federal workers and has endorsed Kerry for president.


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