Saturday, October 9

Bush's stupid debate statements-part one(there's a lot)

After 9/11 we had to look at the world differently. In the old days we'd see a threat we could deal with it if we felt like it or not.
What the hell does he think presidents past did when they knew of threats to the people of the United States? Bush suggests our former presidents sat around the oval office chilling as they lackadaisically decided they'd deal with one threat to the United States, and ignore another. And why didn't these presidents deal with the threats facing our country and the lives of our countrymen? Because prior to Sept. 11th we lived in a world where it was ok to ignore some threats, depending on if we felt like dealing with them or not. And what the hell does Bush mean"WE" could deal with threats or not if "WE" felt like it or not. What he should have said was, "I" could deal with threats if "I" felt like it or not. Tacit admission he was unconcerned of terrorist threats to the American people before September 11th. And afterwards he figured he'd better do his f*%#ing job.

Al Qaeda no longer has a place to plan.

What about Indonesia, IRAQ, Morroco, Mauritania, Algeria, Mali, Niger, Chad, Iran, Pakistan, Honduras, The Phillipines, Georgia, Yemen, or Turkey? Is that all? Nope. Thats just how many news stories I found documenting al-qaeda operations before I got too bored. al-Qaeda is everywhere. And Bush has been like gasoline on the fire. Check out the
State Department list of countries where al-Qaeda is operating.

He was trying to get rid of sanctions for a reason. He wanted to restart his weapons programs.
Can I get some logic please? Man, Bush never met an evidence-less claim he didn't like. Here is another example of the careful crafting of the Bush Spin Machine. Saddam WAS trying to get rid of sanctions for a reason. Probably a host of them. His country's economy had been destroyed. His people were starving and could not get the most basic healthcare. His power was paralyzed by our effective isolation of his country and finances. And he probably would have liked to replace some of the military hardware we destroyed in the first Gulf War. However, to go out on a limb and claim that Saddam wanted to restart his weapons of mass destruction programs, that had not been restarted since the first Gulf War, and further claiming that Saddam's desire to rid his nation of the sanctions asphyxiating it is proof he wanted to restart them is an exersize in stupidity. Bush doesn't have fuzzy reason. He has no reason at all.

I wadn't happy when we found out there wadn't weapons. But Saddam Hussein was a unique threat.
I'm going to let Bush answer/hang himself here. Bush later said, "Saddam Hussein was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destructiuon to terrorist enemies." Ok I may be relatively new to this whole thinking thing, but even a community college student like me can understand that it's kind of hard to be a threat because you had weapons of mass destruction and you might pass them to terrorists if you never had any weapons of mass destruction. It's right there. In Bush's own words! Or what passes for words in his failing mind, "I wadn't happy when we found out there wadn't weapons." No weapons. No threat.
And Bush lies to the American people for the thousandth time.

I'm tired *yawn* I'll have much more tomorrow. Unfortunately for the country, and disastrously if bush is re-elected, there are volumes of material to work with. Love Love Love


Kos, Atrios, and AMERICAblog have taken to calling Dumbya "Furious George," for his "angry, petulant debate antics last night." Sounds perfect to me.

So from now on, Furious George it is. Fits right in with my suggestion that we turn the "fear factor" around on FG, for the same reason. See my post Bush is downright scary.

Oops. I meant Furious George.

SULLY (along with ever more Republican conservatives) IS MOVING OUR WAY

Sully is disconcerted. But why does he "refuse to believe the administration lied?"

ME TOO: Josh Chafetz reflects on where he is in this race. Bottom line: "Undecided ... but leaning more towards Kerry than I was before." That's where I am. Josh's arguments are very close to my own thoughts as well. I cannot support Bush but I'm amazed I'm this close to considering favoring Kerry as president. I'm not there yet. Don't rush me. But after two debates, I feel far more comfortable with the thought of him as commander-in-chief than I once thought possible.


Just call it one of those "nexuses" that Cheney is so fond of, and has tutored Bush in: I just watched a single scene of Doctor Strangelove (I watched the whole movie for maybe the 40th time a few weeks ago) that absolutely stunned me. It was a scene featuring actor George C. Patton, who plays the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the film. Boom! The resemblance to Dumbya, especially during last night's debate, was unmistakable.

Catch it when you can and see if you see what I saw.


I've been too busy and frustrated after losing (courtesy of Blogger) a long post that took me at least 45 minutes to complete (a comprehensive list of Sinclair Broadcast Group TV stations and affiliations via their SEC 10-K filing) to address another one of the debate moments that shocked me: W claimed discretionary non-homeland-security-and-defense spending had only increased what? did he say something like 1%? under his administration. Thank goodness Kevin Drum has the fact check:

THE BIG LIE....I know that budget numbers are b-o-o-o-o-ring, but did anyone notice Bush repeating one of his great whoppers of all time last night?

"Non-homeland, non-defense discretionary spending was raising at 15 percent a year when I got into office. And today it's less than 1 percent, because we're working together to try to bring this deficit under control."

The folks at Cato probably burst a collective vein last night when they heard this. (You can see what they think of Bush's spending record here.)

Here's the truth about non-defense discretionary spending over the past six administrations:

Nixon/Ford: 6.8% per year
Carter: 2.0% per year
Reagan: -1.3% per year
Bush 1: 4.0% per year
Clinton: 2.5% per year
Bush Jr: 8.2% per year

All percentages are adjusted for inflation. The chart on the right shows raw figures for the past three administrations (from the Congressional Budget Office).

Outside of the personal fantasyland Bush seems to inhabit, the truth is simple: spending of all kinds has skyrocketed under his administration and the Republican Congress. They've increased spending twice as fast as Clinton, three times as fast as Bush 1, and four times as fast as Carter. And remember: this doesn't include defense spending, entitlement spending, or homeland security. 9/11 and Medicare have nothing to do with it.

It's laughable for Bush to pretend to be a frugal spender, working his tail off to bring an out-of-control Clinton budget down to earth. He's spending our children's money as fast as he can print it, and debate fact checkers shouldn't let him get away with pretending otherwise.


Ruy Teixeira says, "Democracy Corps Post-Debate Panel Survey Gives Kerry Solid Win":

Democracy Corps, which has been conducting the most extensive post-debate surveys, using larger and more representative national samples than the other public polls, finds John Kerry a solid winner in last night's debate. Here are their key findings:

· Kerry wins debate by 8 points (45 to 37 percent).

· Kerry moves up his vote margin over Bush by 2 points.

· Kerry makes significant gains in personal favorability.

· Kerry made his biggest gains on likeability, giving people confidence, and having clear plans.

· Kerry won especially strongly in the swing electorate -- independents, the undecided, and battleground state voters.


Kerry leads in speculative (my word) electoral vote count.

The news-junkies in my family have made it inevitable that I've now seen and heard last night's debate FOUR TIMES. My assessment hasn't changed but merely solidified. Bush, on second, third and fourth viewings, resembles nothing so much as an arrested-development adolescent -- no! with the experience of giving birth to and raising five young adults, I'd have to say more like an EIGHT-YEAR-OLD. "I know you are, but what am I?" was the gist of Bush's presentation. He has absolutely no achievements to boast of other than the benefits he's heaped upon corporations, his most valuable fundraisers and donors, and other wealthy friends. But who cares? The rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer, but a significant part of the middle class has been persuaded to vote against their economic interests in order to preserve, or renew, some kind of demented social agenda that means pro-choice and pro-separation-of-church-and-state infidels will no longer tempt their children and spouses to threaten their sense of personal emotional security by thinking, and deciding, for themselves.

Bush didn't mention Missouri once. Kerry repeatedly used Missouri statistics as a microcosm of the issues we face. He connected. Bush didn't. Well, maybe with the True Believers who worship at his shrine. But not with anyone outside that cult.

Bush laughed as Kerry cited the Duelfer report, which stated that inspections worked, Saddam was a "diminishing threat" rather than an escalating one, and had no ability, no facilities, to reconstitute a WMD program. Yeah, he laughed. Just like he made fun of the failure to discover Iraq WMD at the National Press Club. I want to wipe that disgusting, arrogant smirk off his face.



William Rivers Pitt of Truthout:

Bush was every inch the angry man on Friday night, which is dangerous enough. But to witness anger combined with belligerent ignorance, with a willful denial of basic facts, to witness a man utterly incapable of admitting to any mistakes while his clear errors in judgment are costing his country in blood, to see that combination roiling within the man who is in charge of the most awesome military arsenal in the history of the planet, is more than dangerous.

It is flatly terrifying.

I think I'm onto something here. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson faced Barry Goldwater in the presidential race. Doubts were already beginning to surface about the wisdom of the Vietnam adventure, but were still largely confined to the fringe elements of each party. Goldwater appealed to a lot of Americans with his image of thoughtful, courageous deliberation, sophistication and poise, and projected strength ("Moderation in pursuit of liberty is no virtue"), compared to Johnson's Texas folksiness, crude language and behavior (pulling up his shirt to show off his surgical scar to the press), and record of political opportunism. The Johnson folks, although way ahead in polls, felt threatened and decided to destroy the Goldwater incursion (something like the Nixon camp in '72 trying to crush McGovern, a weak though principled opponent, which led to Watergate). They effectively did so by juxtaposing images of a "mushroom cloud" with charges that Goldwater's foreign policy intransigence might lead us to a nuclear holocaust.

Bush is clearly starting to scare many Americans. It's time to capitalize on that fear, a strategy especially fair since Bush himself has used the fear tactic to divert attention from his own failed policies. It might be framed as, "What does the world need now? What does America need? An arrogant, hairtrigger gunslinger who 'dares all comers' or a sheriff who sees to the defenses of the town as best he can but then is also willing to fight if necessary?" What kind of future do we want, a nation perpetually at war and increasingly isolated from the world community, or a future where our leaders are first, last and always centered on what's best for Americans and American values, both AT HOME and abroad. (Am I crazy, or did Bush during last night's debate in his tirade on "what's popular" confess that although he loves American values, he has taken actions that have given a false picture of those values to the world?)

I know Americans are perceived to be anti-intellectual, but isn't it time that we remember that the USA has long been a "shining light" to the world, a fact we can take great pride in, UNTIL this present administration? The world doesn't hate us, they despise George Bush. And they fear him, but it's not a healthy fear -- it's a pervasive dread that the country that could once be counted on to lead the world in the right and just direction is now veering dangerously from rational, considered policies to initiatives that threaten the security and advancement of our allies and those populations struggling to discover and make a place for themselves in a stable community of nations.

Let's dump this loser and get on with the task of strengthening our homeland and recouping our lost prestige and influence in the world before he completely destroys our legacy and leadership position in the world.

The Sage asks, "Would you say that the current coalition in Iraq is the Bush League?"


The Washington Post does some fact checking on tonight's debate responses:

Kerry at one point said that "the president has presided over an economy where we've lost 1.6 million jobs." Kerry misspoke. He meant to qualify that statistic by referring to "private sector" jobs. The net number of jobs lost since Bush became president is about 800,000, because of growth in the public sector. For "public sector," read "government." Yeah, those conservative Bushies really love small government.

Plus, Kerry was "technically incorrect" in asserting that Gen. Shinseki was retired early (in fact, his replacement was named 14 months before his retirement, effectively ending his authority).

Let's see, compared to those major gaffes, (1) Bush lied about the generals looking him in the eye and saying they didn't need more troops in Iraq. (2) Bush lied about Kerry saying it was a mistake to remove Saddam Hussein from power. (3) Bush lied about Kerry being "the most liberal Senator." (4) "Bush said Kerry's tax-cut rollback would raise taxes on 900,000 small businesses. This is misleading." (5) Bush lied about Kerry's healthcare plan being a "goverment takeover" of the U.S. health system. (6) Bush implied that he might reverse his position on the reimportation of drugs from Canada. That would be a HUGE flip-flop. (7) Bush stated, "I haven't yet," when asked about the White House blocking "legislation opening the borders to the reimportation of U.S.-made pharmaceuticals." He lied. He did. (8) Bush insisted that tort reform would reduce healthcare costs. The Congressional Budget Office estimates Bush's plan for capping damage awards at $250,000 "would lower health care costs by only about .4 percent to .5 percent, and the likely effect on health insurance premiums would be comparably small."

That darn Kerry. He keeps getting his facts right and exposing Bush's talking points to ridicule. How disrespectful of him.

If one more friend or relative says to me, "I just can't trust John Kerry" in the face of Bush and Cheney's serial prevarications, I won't gag, I'll just throw up all over them.

UPDATE: I meant LAST night's debate. I've been up too long.

Just what WAS under his jacket?

The New York Times joins the battle of the bulge.


Billmon's back:

If Kerry and the Dems can't make an issue out of the fact that the president of the United States is utterly incapable of controlling his hairtrigger temper, they don't deserve to win this election.

I mean, the man is a walking time bomb.


James Wolcott:

My provisional opinion, contingent upon no unforseen events altering the current dynamics (i.e, a meteor crashing through the ceiling of the auditorium), is that Kerry is grinding Bush into such fine pencil shavings that even Peggy Noonan will not be able to sweep him up and make him whole.


Dad Wonkette writes in with his summation: "Kerry waxed Bush's ass." And you wonder why I turned out this way.


Kerry Rocked

It's a bit of a habit to judge these things on the basis of how Bush did. But, in this debate it's fair to say that Bush was a bit better than he was in the last one, but more importantly... Kerry was a lot better than he was last time.

Lead Balloons at Bad Attitudes:

This election is not about George Bush anymore; most people feel he should be replaced if possible. The election now is about John Kerry, and whether he is a plausible president. (I mean, of course, ready to be president in a personal, not policy sense, because any voter who remains undecided at this point is either uninterested in policy, or unable to understand it. So, all that is left to be decided are the questions of personal impression, chemistry, feel, and aura.)

And, in tonight's debate, John Kerry for the second time delivered. The man looks like our dream of a president: tall, slim, well-spoken, well-informed, with an air of firmness of purpose and inner confidence, and just a little bit (not a lot) better than the rest of us (including George Bush).

And, after tonight, we now know that Kerry is a steady, consistent performer who will win at least a tie in the final debate. In short, we know we can count on John.

Barring an October surprise or catastrophe, John Kerry won the election in St. Louis tonight.

Athenae of First Draft:

Kerry just made a Red Sox joke. And said labels don't mean anything. I love him so much right now. I get it, people who have shrines to John Kennedy in their houses next to pictures of the pope. I GET IT.

Mark Kleiman:

Overall, it looks to me as if Kerry won this big, but didn't hit Bush as hard as he might have on the character/infallibility/detachment from reality issue. No one who just watched him tonight would imagine that he had a reputation for being glum and boring. Once again, he seemed the more Presidential of the two contestants; he hit Bush hard without seeming nasty. Bush acted more like the challenger.

Barbara at The Mahablog:

In any normal world, Kerry would be the winner. I think Bush was losin' it halfway through, nearly hysterical. although he got himself under control by the end.

However, I was relieved that Bush is opposed to the Dred Scot decision. I just hate it when people take slaves into the free-soil territories. (WTF??)

Pacific View:

This magpie calls the second presidential debate for John Kerry. It was pretty much a slam dunk, in fact.

Roger Ailes:


You certainly are, George.

Susan of Suburban Guerrilla:

Man, this one's not even close. I wonder if he's doing coke again?

Talk Left:

John Kerry won, hands down. He had concrete answers. He was Presidential. He showed his knowledge and exposed Bush's mistakes.

Bush was defensive, belligerant and condescending at times. He keeps playing up the fear factor. He doesn't get it. He's detached. He's scary.

Friday, October 8

I can't restrain myself any longer, it's the editor in me. Hey, Dubya, here's the definition of FACILE:
1. Done or achieved with little effort or difficulty; easy. See Synonyms at "easy."
2. Working, acting, or speaking with effortless ease and fluency.
3. Arrived at without due care, effort, or examination; superficial: proposed a facile solution to a complex problem.
4. Readily manifested, together with an aura of insincerity and lack of depth: a facile slogan devised by politicians.

No, Mister pResident, our military doesn't need to be more "facile." But it's a real good description of your arguments.

Andrew Sullivan thinks it was close to a draw, but gives the edge to Kerry on style and substance:

But he was also evidently flailing at times. Throwing around the old "liberal" label was hackneyed and seemed a substitute for argument. His distortion of Kerry's healthcare plan didn't flirt with being mendacious; it was an outright lie. His answer on the environment sounded okay but isn't going to convince anyone. That he has to concede the complete absence of WMDs in Iraq is inevitably brutal on him and his argument about the war. The facts are simply against him, and it shows. He had absolutely no answer on his spending spree. None. If you're a one-issue voter on fiscal responsiblity, Kerry is obviously your man; and this debate rammed that point home. And then there were some simply bizarre moments. Does anyone in America ever use the term "internets"? Plural? I've never heard anyone in my life use this formulation. The mandatory malapropism: Bush promised at one point that he'd be more "facile" in future. That's going to be a hard promise to keep. After four years of defending the homeland, the president should also not be giving soundbites like "I'm worried. I'm worried about our country." Hey, Mr president. Join the gang. And then ythere was the hilarious answer on the judicial appointments. Bush won't appoint anyone who still believes in the Dredd Scott decision. That's a relief. But, to be honest, it's the kind of question a high-school president might give, not the president of the United States. Bush's biggest failure was to detail Kerry's record, rather than just describing it as "liberal". "Show, not tell" is a good rule of thumb for effective criticism. And then there was the inevitable "mistakes" question. Bush didn't answer it - except to say he wish he hadn't hired Paul O'Neill. You'd think by now he'd have some kind of answer. But he seems to think he is incapable of error. That, in fact, is an obvious part of the problem...

But here's the money quote:

The contrast between a man who can make an argument and one who can simply assert what he believes to be a truth was striking. If we have learned anything these past three years, it is that conviction is not enough. Skepticism, openness to other arguments, thinking outside the box or against a bubble mentality: all these are useful in a war leader and Bush has none of them. In some ways, Kerry seemed more experienced than Bush, which, of course, he is.

I'm starting to think that Fox is more honest about the debates at moments than either CNN or MSNBC...or maybe it's just they think they've earned so many points with the Repugs, unlike the other cable networks, that they can get away with a little honesty here and there: Mort Kandracke and Bill Kristol just called the debate for Kerry.

More from the punditocracy, spinners and so-called journalists.

CNN's John King is making all of Bush's arguments for him.

Candy Crowley is scowling. She must think Kerry did really well. She says Kerry said nothing new, and we shouldn't be surprised that he's eloquent. She said he was particularly strong in Iraq and used some of this week's news against Bush.

Joe Johns and CNN's fact checkers: Exaggeration by Bush that Kerry is "the most liberal Senator." Kerry's lifelong voting record makes him the 11th most liberal Senator. Kerry "overstated the number of lost jobs," a number which "is true if you're just considering private sector jobs." Of course, if you add new government jobs (keep that government spending down, W!), the number of new jobs doubles, and Kerry is wrong.

Jeff Greenfield thinks Kerry's strongest moments were importation of drugs, healthcare in general, and embryonic cell research. He says the two candidates were talking to two different constituencies.

Aaron Brown says Bush moved like a "Texas gunslinger," and "Kerry just glides." Jeff Greenfield says Bush's base wants to see Bush tough and in Kerry's face. Kerry was "the kind of debater he learned to be in school."

First quick poll: Bill Schneider reports on CNN that there was no clear winner, as Kerry got 47% and Bush 45%. Among debate watchers, he says, Republicans outnumber Democrats, so Kerry did better than it seems.
Economy: Kerry 49% Bush 49%. Iraq: Bush 53%, Kerry 46% (a decline for Kerry). Aaron asks, how much over the course of the next 72 hours will the numbers change? To what degree are people influenced by the poll itself? Schneider: These were immediate polls, we'll see after a couple of days how much effect the spin has.


An hour after the debate ended, John Kerry is winning the on-line polls:

Fox 70% 30%

CNN 82% 16%

NBC 73% 27%

CBS let me vote, but won't display the results.

L.A. Times 64% were and still are for Kerry; 21% were undecided and now leaning toward Kerry.


Bush lost the election tonight. Kerry hit a grand slam homerun. Bush didn't win a single exchange. Kerry won on all style points (no sly repetitive winks, as from Bush). His posture and demeanor were presidential. Bush had all the marks of a used car salesman. Bush was rude, repeatedly interrupting and even arguing with moderator Charlie Gibson, and sporting his trademark smirk and gunslinger swagger.

Kerry gave public evidence of the passion that motivates him. He was master of every issue. He was polite and by-the-rules. His physical responses to Bush and Gibson were respectful.

Bush never defended himself, but was on constant Kerry-attack, but Kerry was the better aggressor -- he scored point after point, even on controversial subjects such as abortion, while sounding thoughtful and sincere and in touch with the concerns of ordinary people. It was as if he'd given serious consideration to every problem that middle-class Americans face. You felt, why would he have done that unless it was because he cared?

Bush was challenged to name his three biggest mistakes during his presidency. Bush said he's sure he's made some little ones, and he'll take responsibility for them as soon as someone tells him what they are. But big mistakes? No, absolutely not. He hasn't made any. If he had, he'd take the responsbility. Because he's the president.

Bush has been on the edge of his seat all evening, jumping in before Kerry hardly finishes his thought. Now, for the last question, Bush once again jumps up and tries to pre-empt JFK, who graciously and smilingly asks, "Would you like to go first?"

Bush's closing statement, it's all about who can lead. Think of what we've all been through together and think of where we are (I don't think that was a good thought to provoke, George). Everything's going so WELL! I've made you safe. But there's more work to be done. Our long-term security requires freedom being on the march. God bless.

I want Kerry to adopt me. He makes me feel safe. He's the strong, wise and temperate father figure. Bush scares me. He's a big bully who doesn't like people like me.

UPDATE: Favorite debate moments. (1) "Offroad diesel engines..." Huh? Would those be snowmobiles, or maybe tractors? (2) Bush trying to explain how he wouldn't appoint a Supreme Court justice who would see anything in the Constitution that he (Bush) disagreed with, or conversely, one that wouldn't see in the Constitution anything Bush agrees with. (3) Bush arguing with Charlie Gibson. Repeatedly. (4) The six or seven winks Bush cast at audience members (I stopped counting at some point) after he finished speaking but before he stopped preening ("Got him THAT time, didn't I?" No man, you didn't).

UPDATE: I forgot (5) The importing-drugs-from-Canada flack and (6) Bush ranting to the audience that, "He's going to break all these promises." Oh, kettle.

UPDATE: Was I so emotionally engaged that it's taking me forever to remember and REFLECT? Another of my absolute-favorite moments was when Kerry said, "It's the military's job to win the war. It's the president's job to win the peace."

Conspiracy theory: Silmarill just noticed that our new channel designations (Dallas cable just changed) favor Fox News: it's now channel 41, the easiest numbers to key in on the remote. "Do you realize how hard it is to key in 40?" he said (40 is CNN's channel). As it happens, I do. I constantly hit 49 when I want 40. It's a pain.

It's a plot.


Salon has insight into the burning question, "Was Bush wired during the first debate?"


Don't forget the vote in the on-line polls after the debate tonight:

At 7:00 p.m. CST 78% of poll responders want the candidates to spend more time talking on the economy than Iraq)

(At 7:03 p.m. CST 80% of poll responders think Bush has more to lose than Kerry in tonight's debate)

(As of 7:05 p.m. CST 61% of poll responders thought the debate was more important for Bush than for Kerry)

Fox News
(As of 7:50 p.m. CST 48% of poll responders say they're equally interested in domestic and foreign policy, 23% say they're more interested in hearing the candidates talk about foreign policy than domestic issues, 8% opt for talk about domestic policy)

Do some surfing...that's all I can find for now. Quite a difference from last Thursday and this past Tuesday.


the New Republic analyzes Kerry and Bush so-called "flip-flops" and concludes which is more deserving of the term.

Pre-debate dynamic: Are You Ready To Rock?

Bush can hardly do worse than the first debate. But I wonder about the 180 degree change in the dynamic between Bush and Kerry. Bush spent nearly 200 million dollars to demonize Senator Kerry. Untold millions more were spent by PAC's and individual Bush cronies. Bush and his wagon of fools had convinced much of the country of his lies. However John Kerry threw a screw into the Bush-Rove works when he kicked the living crap out of Dumbya in the first debate. Everyone had been saying he's weak, he's a flip flopper, blah blah... When the American people were confronted with the realities of John Kerry, the Bush campaign lies and spin fell on it's head with a thud heard round the world. What's in people's minds now? Are watchers wondering if they can trust a stammering, smirking, hesitating, President whose policies, by all accounts, have lead to disaster in Iraq with another four years to twirl his moustache and screw things up? Are they wondering if Bush will fall on his face? Who knows? I feel good about going into this debate because the premises going in seem to favor John Kerry. I think the momentum has clearly shifted. No one in the news is talking about whether John Kerry will do well. The "burden of proof" is all on Bush. The American people are obviously un-easy about the presidents last performance. Is this the debate where Kerry puts the race out of reach?
Kerry's first debate success has clearly put the dynamic in his favor and most of the "objective" spin has been going his way. We know the media is obsessed with the horse-race aspect of elections. And in that aspect Kerry is on top. So when the media wants to jaw on what will happen tonight in the debate they naturally talk about what stuck out in everyone's minds last time. Bush's horrible performance. He looks bad and everyone wants to know if he'll do better tonight or repeat his previous failure. For the first time in my memory of this presidential race I think Kerry has the momentum and a true chance to win this election. This is the most important moment in Kerry's bid for the presidency. He can win tonight if his game is at its best. They call it the race for the Presidency. Godspeed John Kerry.


I was in an almost-all-day-meeting today with marketing directors from our commercial construction operation and the consulting company advising us. The energy generated...the in-depth probing into the consequences of specific responses to challenges as well as possible adverse consequences...the give-and-take in intense seeking of resolutions regarding competing interests...and the amazingly creative solutions resulting, all reminded me of what is lacking in the Bush administration.

In Bush World, only happy talk is acceptable. Insular thinking is the norm. It all reminds me of "What's good for General Bullmoose is good for the USA" (for the too-young, that's a song title from the Broadway musical Li'l Abner). That was a song completely analogous with the Bush theme, "What's good for our business cronies and super-rich buddies is good for the USA." But that's typical of the BushCo mindset -- it's all so simple: tax cuts and business incentives (read: tax cuts) are a tide that "will lift all boats." No negative voices are welcomed, we've made up our ideology (oh excuse me, minds).

In big business, challenges in strategic planning processes are necessary, not optional or counter-productive. They are viewed as a goad to our assumptions and facilitate deeper thinking. Why and how else do consulting companies such as Bain, McKinsey, and Boston Consulting Group make their money? It's not for nothing that the saying, "Two heads are better than one" has become an adage. BushCo doesn't understand, or profit, from this generally accepted principle. In Bush World, consensus is defined as "compromise," and for the ideologically obsessed, compromise is anathema. But compromise is basic to the American system of democracy: "Majority rules, minority rights." Politics is the art of compromise, and frankly, the older I get, the more I see the value of compromise. Compromise, to idealogues, is a tool of Satan. Compromise, however, is the lifeblood of civil government. It is not necessarily a dilution of the "correct" to placate or deter the attack of the "incorrect" -- in practical matters, it is a way to reach consensus...and among people of good intentions, consensus is not a dirty word. It is a path to effective action, action that is supported by all parties. We build from there.

UPDATE: Usually, I read Paul Krugman early the day his column comes out. This morning, I went from sleeping to the office in 15 minutes plus commute, and then was out of pocket the whole day in meetings. I finally get to him late this afternoon, and he makes my point better than I could.


I've refrained from commenting on Tom Delay's activities because it gives me such nausea and/or provokes such anger in me to think of him. As a Dallas denizen I have a special interest in seeing him meet justice for his re-engineering of our voting districts in an off-census year for the strictly partisan purpose of fashioning an enduring and sizable Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Aside from this, he's a despicable, slimy man of little character and much vanity who is a net loss for the American legislative system.

That being said, I'm astonished and delighted that he is finally receiving his come-uppance, feeble thought it is. If the House Ethics Panel has any integrity at all, it's just a start.


Okay, the odds of anyone in your family perishing in a terrorist attack are unknown but probably miniscule in a national population close to 300 million. But every day, every family in America, with the exception of the wealthy, is concerned with wages, which provide the essentials: food, shelter, education and healthcare. Success is not all about "hard work" -- witness the fact that too many American families are working harder than ever and falling further behind:

Coming next week are the results of a new study that shows - here at home - how tough a time American families are having in their never-ending struggle to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. The White House, as deep in denial about the economy as it is about Iraq, insists that things are fine - despite the embarrassing fact that President Bush is on track to become the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss of jobs during his four years in office.

The study, jointly sponsored by the Annie E. Casey, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, will show that 9.2 million working families in the United States - one out of every four - earn wages that are so low they are barely able to survive financially.


I am elated and absolutely suspicious. NY Times reporter Judith Miller has been held in contempt by a federal judge for refusing to name her source for a story she never wrote. Judge Thomas Hogan of the Washington D.C. U.S. district court, ordered Miller jailed for up to 18 months, "noting that she contemplated writing such an article and had conducted interviews for it." I'm elated because it couldn't happen to a lousier reporter.

I'm also totally suspicious now that Bob Novak has ratted out his source for a story on the same subject. Novak, as you'll remember, was the actual discloser of the identity of ultra-secret CIA agent Valerie Plame, who specialized in intelligence regarding proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as an attempt to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who disputed BushCo's Iraq-trying-to-obtain-Niger-yellowcake uranium story. To punish Miller before or instead of Novak makes me think the judge has gotten what he wanted from Novak. I'm also, by extension, mightily curious about why Novak would talk and not Miller. Speculations?

Sources here and here.

The New York Times >British Hostage Is Beheaded by Militants in Iraq

The poor man. And his poor family. May Kenneth Bigley rest in peace and his family find an end to their tears. Be with them Father. Do all that can be done for them.

George Bush....this death I lay at your feet and call due. It's the starters of war that bear the blame for all that follows.
May the peace that Bigley finds in death elude you all your days.
Would that it were so! That justice should find the way at last to the sanctuaries of evil men.

The New York Times U.S. Added 96,000 Jobs in September, Fewer Than Expected


Nader sues to force name onto Ohio ballot

Independent Nader sues to get on Ohio's ballot
Staff And Wire Reports 10/08/2004

COLUMBUS -- Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader has sued the state in federal court to force his name onto the November ballot.
A Tuesday hearing is expected in a lawsuit Nader filed in U.S. District Court over a state law requiring people who collect petitions for candidates to live in Ohio.

That law violates the constitutional rights of registered voters who signed the petitions but whose names were discarded because the petition collector didn't live in the state, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Instead, the law is meant for ''the sole convenience of the Secretary of State and local Boards'' to meet procedural requirements for checking a nominating petition, the lawsuit said.

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell ruled last month that Nader failed to collect the 5,000 signatures needed to appear on the ballot after forged signatures and petitions circulated by non-Ohioans left Nader short.

County prosecutors in Michigan reject request to charge Michael Moore

No Moore prosecution.

The Associated Press  

DETROIT (AP) — A request by Michigan Republicans that filmmaker Michael Moore be charged with violating election law has found little sympathy among county prosecutors.

The state Republican Party asked prosecutors in four counties to file charges against Moore for offering underwear and food to college students in exchange for a promise to vote. State law prohibits a person from contracting with another for something of value in exchange for agreeing to vote.

Prosecutors in Isabella, Ingham and Antrim counties said they determined no action was warranted. A spokeswoman for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Thursday that election law violations should be handled by the attorney general's office.

The harshest reaction came from the two Republican prosecutors, Antrim County's Charles Koop and Isabella County's Larry Burdick. Worthy and Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III are Democrats.

"Alleging that a person is attempting to buy votes is a serious allegation, and one that is taken seriously by this office. However, your request to prosecute Mr. Moore trivializes the intent of this section of the election code," Koop said Thursday in a letter to Greg McNeilly, executive director of the state Republican Party.

Burdick said he chooses "to devote our resources to prosecuting those who are delivering cocaine to our young people rather than underwear."

Randall Thompson, a spokesman for Attorney General Mike Cox, said Cox's office would consider the issue only if a complaint was forwarded from the secretary of state's office.

Michigan Republican spokesman Chris Paolino said the party did not file a complaint with the state, deeming it an issue best dealt with at the local level.

Moore is touring the country and imploring "slackers" who usually don't vote to head to the polls this year. During each program, habitual nonvoters are invited on stage to pledge to vote. First-time student voters are offered gag prizes such as clean underwear.

They've got a sickly heart and a tiny little soul
Blacker than blackest of the deepest buried coal.
Care little for their country, and less for their countrymen.
Nothing for the truth and everything for spin.
A thousand soldiers dead and they'd do it all again!
What insanity it is to be a damned Republican.

Trying to put someone in prison for their political beliefs is fascist. Plain and simple. It pisses me off. Also fairly plain and simple. Why does this go on? I can't explain it. Have these Republicans no decency? Uhhh No. Duh Sil. It makes me sick. It takes a special breed of bastard to want for the imprisonment and suffering of their fellow man when they have caused no harm to anyone. "I don't like you. I wish you were in prison. In fact I'm going to keep tabs on everything you do and campaign to have you imprisoned." You may have heard this another way. "Love it or leave it. This country is not yours. It's mine. Your citizenship is not a right. It's a privilege granted you so long as you agree with me."

Certainly tries my faith. It's hard to pause and take the time to see these kinds of Republicans' humanity through the mists of their indifference to suffering and the veil of their intolerance for any ethics save their own mutated morality. How hard it is to see the soul inside. It's one thing to cut a person to pieces in the press. It's another to attack their person. Throwing someone in prison is more than assault. You can get over a bloody lip, a black eye, even a broken nose or jaw. But a few years in prison? There is no cure for a broken heart and mind. It's a little late to be surprised by stuff like this. But it's never too late to take the outrage it inspires in me and turn it into Blog-Power.

I have the Powerrrr!!!

Thursday, October 7

We have nothing to fear but

In one ear...


What a hypocritical, lying liar. From KOS's invaluable diaries, Cheney's attendance record as president of the senate. He emerged from his dark and dismal bunker somewhere in the bowels of Middle Earth to preside over the Senate just TWICE during THEIR ENTIRE ADMINISTRATION. And remember, John Edwards is one of 100 Senators; Dick Cheney is supposed to be the guy in charge:

"Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session." --Dick Cheney

The extended entry has the presiding officers over the last four years for every Tuesday session.
Diaries :: Dave the pro's diary ::

Here is a list of the Senate's Acting Presidents for every Tuesday session for 2001.

January 30 - Enzi
February 6 - Chafee
February 13 - Chafee
February 27 - Allen
March 6 - Burns
March 13 - Reid
March 20 - DeWine
March 27 - Chafee
April 3 - Smith
April 24 - Chafee
May 1 - Chafee
May 8 - Chafee
May 15 - Frist
May 22 - Chafee
June 5 - Enzi
June 12 - Byrd
June 19 - Carper
June 26 - Bayh
July 10 - Nelson
July 17 - Clinton
July 24 - Byrd
July 31 - Stabenaw
September 25 - Wellstone
October 2 - Clinton
October 9 - Clinton
October 16 - Edwards!!!!!
October 23- Byrd
October 30 - Bingaman
November 13 - Murray
November 27 - Jeffords
December 4 - Stabenaw
December 11 - Carnahan
December 18 - Nelson

A reward to whoever finds a Tuesday in 2002, 2003 or 2004 that Dick Cheney fulfilled his duties as President of the Senate here:


Tue 1/29 - Nelson
Tue 2/5 - Kohl
Tue 2/12 - Stabenow
Tue 2/26 - Landrieu
Tue 3/5 - Edwards
Tue 3/12 - Landrieu
Tue 3/19 - Miller
Tue 4/9 - Cleland
Tue 4/16 - Reed
Tue 4/23 - Wellstone
Tue 4/30 - Nelson
Tue 5/7 - Miller
Tue 5/14 - Cleland
Tue 5/21 - Nelson
Tue 6/4 - Durbin
Tue 6/11 - Corzine
Tue 6/18 - Dayton
Tue 6/25 - Landrieu
Tue 7/9 - Reed
Tue 7/16 - Corzine
Tue 7/23 - Reed
Tue 7/30 - Clinton
Tue 9/3 - Reed
Tue 9/10 - Corzine
Tue 9/17 - Reid
Tue 9/24 - Stabenow
Tue 10/1 - Miller
Tue 10/8 - Miller
Tue 10/15 - Reid
Tue 11/12 - CHENEY! -- WE HAVE A WINNER!
Tue 11/19 - Barkley (MN)


Jan 7 *Cheney*
Jan 14 Stevens
Jan 22 Stevens
Jan 28 Stevens
Feb 4 Stevens
Feb 11 Stevens
Feb 25 Stevens
Mar 4 Stevens
Mar 11 Stevens
Mar 18 Stevens
Mar 25 Stevens
Apr 1 Stevens
Apr 8 Stevens
Apr 29 Stevens
May 6 Talent
May 13 Ensign
May 20 Alexander
June 3 Stevens
June 10 Stevens
June 18 Murkowski
June 24 Coleman
July 8 Stevens
July 15 Stevens
July 22 Chaffee
July 29 Stevens
Sept 2 Stevens
Sept 9 Stevens
Sept 16 Stevens
Sept 23 Stevens
Sept 30 Sununu
Oct 21 Stevens
Oct 28 Stevens
Nov 4 Stevens
Nov 11 Warner
Nov 18 Stevens
Dec 9 Stevens


1/20 - Stevens
1/27 - Enzi
2/3 - Stevens
2/10 - Stevens
3/2 - Stevens
3/9 - Hagel
3/16 - Sununu
3/23 - Stevens
3/30 - Ensign
4/6 - Cornyn
4/20 - Stevens
4/27 - Chambliss
5/4 - Stevens
5/11 - Stevens
5/18 - Stevens
6/1 - Stevens
6/8 - Hutchinson
6/15 - Stevens
6/22 - Allard
7/6 - Burns
7/13 - Stevens
7/20 - Enzi
9/7 - Stevens
9/14 - Chafee
9/21 - Enzi
9/28 - Stevens
10/05 - Stevens

UPDATE: Kevin Drum, the Political Animal, has a nice little summary table of Cheney's lies during the debate.


E.J. Dionne finds Cheney incredible in the exact meaning of the word:

The political take on the debate will see Cheney as a more skillful, more informed debater than Bush, and Edwards as Cheney's equal. But the substantive point is more important: The administration's story is falling apart. Bush and Cheney mercilessly attack their opponents and promote a climate of fear because they are finding it increasingly difficult to defend the choices they made and the words they have spoken.


The new Zogby poll says, "The presidential debate has lifted John Kerry back to where he was in our battleground analysis before the Republican convention energized the Bush campaign."

The latest Zogby Interactive poll puts Mr. Kerry ahead of President Bush in 13 of the 16 closely contested states -- two more states than the Massachusetts senator led before the debate and the most since August. The latest survey was conducted between last Thursday, after the debate ended, and Tuesday afternoon, before vice-presidential contenders Dick Cheney and John Edwards debated.

Mr. Kerry moved ahead in two states (Ohio and Nevada) and increased his lead in seven others -- though Mr. Kerry's margin over Mr. Bush in Ohio, Arkansas and Florida was negligible -- less than one percentage point. Mr. Bush's lead narrowed in the three states (Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia) that he remains ahead of Mr. Kerry. Overall, seven of Mr. Kerry’s leads are within the margins of error, while all of Mr. Bush’s leads are.

If the results on Election Day matched Zobgy's numbers, Mr. Kerry would win.

Zogby gives Kerry 322 electoral votes, Bush 216, a much wider margin than during the last analysis performed Sept. 20. Zogby issues a disclaimer that these numbers are "just one snapshot" of voter sentiment but nonethless seems confident that most of its state polls are backed up by others with similar results.


Today's Tom Friedman:

Of all the shortsighted policies of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, none have been worse than their opposition to energy conservation and a gasoline tax. If we had imposed a new gasoline tax after 9/11, demand would have been dampened and gas today would probably still be $2 a gallon. But instead of the extra dollar going to Saudi Arabia - where it ends up with mullahs who build madrasas that preach intolerance - that dollar would have gone to our own Treasury to pay down our own deficit and finance our own schools. In fact, the Bush energy policy should be called No Mullah Left Behind.

Our own No Child Left Behind program has not been fully financed because the tax revenue is not there. But thanks to the Bush-Cheney energy policy, No Mullah Left Behind has been fully financed and is now the gift that keeps on giving: terrorism.
Where is all the innovation in the Arab world today? In the places with little or no oil: Bahrain is working on labor reform, just signed a free-trade agreement with the U.S. and held the first elections in the Arab gulf, allowing women to run and vote. Dubai has made itself into a regional service center. And Jordan has a free-trade agreement with the U.S. and is trying to transform itself into a knowledge economy. Who is paralyzed or rolling back reforms? Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran, all now awash in oil money.

When did Jordan begin privatizing and deregulating its economy and upgrading its education system? In 1989 - after oil prices had slumped and the Arab oil states cut off Jordan's subsidies. In 1999, before Jordan signed its U.S. free-trade accord, its exports to America totaled $13 million. This year, Jordan will export over $1 billion worth of goods to the U.S. In the wake of King Abdullah II's reforms, Jordan's economy is growing at an annual rate of over 7 percent, the government is installing computers and broadband Internet links in every school, and it will soon require anyone who wants to study Islamic law and become a mosque preacher to first get a B.A. in something else, so mosque leaders won't just come from those who can't do anything else. "We had to go through a crisis to accept the need for reform," says Jordan's planning minister, Bassem Awadallah.

We have the power right now to stimulate similar trends across the Arab world. It's the best way to fight a global war on terrorism. If only we had a president and vice president tough enough to fight this war.


Orcinus is just brilliant. Frightening, enlightening, brutally honest and horrifyingly accurate.



Well, this won't make the splash it should because the Repugs don't want to believe anything positive about the French. Their kind of mind needs, craves betrayers as well as enemies. But a newly released book says France was ready to contribute troops until Bush blew it.

French officials were prepared to provide as many as 15,000 troops for an invasion of Iraq before relations soured between the Bush administration and the French government over the timing of an attack, according to a new book published in France this week.

The book, "Chirac Contre Bush: L'Autre Guerre" ("Chirac vs. Bush: The Other War"), reports that a French general, Jean Patrick Gaviard, visited the Pentagon to meet with Central Command staff on Dec. 16, 2002 -- three months before the war began -- to discuss a French contribution of 10,000 to 15,000 troops and to negotiate landing and docking rights for French jets and ships.

French military officials were especially interested in joining in an attack, because they felt that not participating with the United States in a major war would leave French forces unprepared for future conflicts, according to Thomas Cantaloube, one of the authors. But the negotiations did not progress far before French President Jacques Chirac decided that the Americans were pushing too fast to short-circuit inspections by U.N. weapons inspectors.

Wednesday, October 6


Skippy reminds me that the Dixie Chicks were right. And Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. And Sean Penn. And Barbra Streisand. And Janeane Garafalo. And Al Franken. And Michael Moore. And Whoopi Goldberg. And Alec Baldwin. And...well, you get the picture.

The Repugs have made it a crusade to disparage the patriotism of professional entertainers who have spoken out against the war and the policies of Dumbya. They should "shut up and sing" is the popular attitude. "They have no business talking about politics as if they know anything about it or policy." Of course, exceptions are made for entertainers who espouse Republican talking points. They are welcome in the public discourse, are even encouraged to run for public office. Sonny Bono. Ronald Reagan. George Murphy. Dennis Miller. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ted Nugent. Charlie Daniels.

I suppose it is outside the realm of possibility to expect that any one of those conservative talking heads who have excoriated and even attempted to ruin the careers of those who spoke truth (and it is indisputably now known to be the truth) when it was unpopular to do so, to now grant that they were wrong and to apologize to those they have wronged. But I find it important that just as certain Hollywood figures once stood against the unAmerican McCarthy at great risk to their own careers and lives, some too today are standing up to be counted. And I think they deserve, at the very least, an acknowledgment of their courage and devotion to the best of the American tradition.


I love wearing my John Kerry pin. I'm so used to it now, I forget it's on my collar until someone remarks on it. That rarely happens at work. But today, for example, as I stopped into my neighborhood convenience store on my way home from work, a stockboy noticed it and said in obviously English-as-a-second-language, "You voting for Kerry, good!" I said, "You bet. You?" He gave me a thumbs up. This got the cashier's attention, and he said, "Me too!" A customer said, "Where'd you get the pin?" I explained that my beloved nephew is (oops, I almost gave away his position) on staff with the Kerry campaign in Washington, D.C. and that he gave it to me the last time I was in Washington on business. We had a neat little political pow-wow there in the 7-11, two customers, two cashiers, and a stockboy, bemoaning the fact that it was hard to find Democratic campaign materiel in Dallas. From my purse I produced Kerry bumper stickers I ordered from BuzzFlash and passed them out to everyone. All of us except one of the cashiers headed out into the parking lot to apply them.

It wasn't until I got into my car (did I mention I drive a hybrid? I highly recommend it) that I thought about what a motley crew Republicans would think we were: one middle-aged white lady, a perfectly respectable businesswoman now but with a history of anti-war and civil rights activism in her youth; a young Nigerian, an American-born older Hispanic, an Iraqi and an elderly Pakistani, all men...but all of us proud Americans, all serious about our responsibilities as citizens and prizing our American values and way of life. And all voting for Kerry.

When The Sage and I were young newlyweds and dreaming about having a family someday, we would talk about Martin's dream of one day seeing children of all races and creeds working hand in hand, and I would fantasize about multi-colored children dancing joyfully in a circle, all appreciating the wonders and beauties and possibilities of life and and of one another. Over the years that dream has often seemed misty and naive and even puerile. But then there are moments when I connect with strangers and rediscover the wonder of our common humanity. And the dream doesn't seem so impossible.


Susan of Suburban Guerrilla reports that someone's been trying to hack into one of NY Democratic congressional candidate Ginny Schrader's campaign computers:

The McAfee security system that reported the breach Tuesday afternoon listed Virginia-based political consulting firm Campaign Solutions and one of the company's staffers - the employee's name was misspelled in the report - as the source of the alleged hacking attempt.

Whoa! Is that the same Campaign Solutions that boasts a client list including former U.S. Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO), U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA), U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson (R-AR), U.S. Senator John Warner (R-VA), Governor George E. Pataki (R-NY), and Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ), and now represents Bush Cheney '04, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and a host of Senate, House and gubernatorial campaigns?

This could be really, really good. A techno-Watergate.

"Cheney's Checked Out"

From Tom

Like Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty, Cheney was saying that “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”  Truth has no claim on the president or vice president, Cheney seems to suggest, so long as they are the masters.

Olbermann on Foxgate

OLBERMANN:  Fox News makes up quotes from John Kerry and doesn‘t do any background checks on another group claiming to support him.

Apologies issued, but where‘s the national outrage that Dan Rather got?

And the impact on the election of “Saturday Night Live”?

Stand by.


OLBERMANN:  They meant to put that into the public discourse.  Fox News says, it did not.

But the gag reporting by its chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron, including made-up quotes attributed to John Kerry, was not supposed to be put on its Web site last Friday as actual news, entitled “The Metrosexual and the Cowboy.”

Fox says it was drawn from what somebody did not know was a farcical script written by Cameron, placed in the wrong part of its news computer, and simply rewritten by somebody else.

This, even though the mock script quoted the senator as saying, “Didn‘t my nails and cuticles look great?  What a good debate.”  And “I‘m a metrosexual.  He‘s a cowboy.”

The network issued an apology, calling it a poor attempt at humor and a lapse in judgment, and said Cameron had been, quote, reprimanded.

Fox was just getting back on its feet when another political correspondent, Jane Roh, filed a report about a parody group called Communists for Kerry.

One problem—she forgot to mention it was a parody, and she forgot to mention the group was actually pro-Bush.

Fox‘s response to that—Roh was duped.  She actually believed the folks were serious.

The faux news stories got some media attention, but not a fraction of the CBS Killian memos saga.

Is that appropriate?  Or is there a political bias there, or what?

Joining me now, Professor Robert Thompson of Syracuse University, where he founded and directs the Center for the Study of Popular Television.

Professor Thompson, good evening.



OLBERMANN:  Well, let‘s try to get some perspective.  Are these Fox gaffs even in the same league as what we think we know happened at CBS?

THOMPSON:  Well, they‘re not, insofar as they‘re not claiming that Kerry did something that he could be court-martialed for.

It‘s on a Web site, as opposed to “60 Minutes.”  And they apologized for it, really, really quickly, as opposed to CBS, which kept saying, you know, the sources were false, but the spirit was true.

Fox never said the quotes were made up, but the spirit was true. 

Which I suppose they could of.

John Kerry‘s cuticles did look pretty good on Thursday night.

OLBERMANN:  There is an irony to this thing, in particular, because of all the people on the air at Fox News, Carl Cameron probably gets the least amount of grief about purportedly having a political agenda.

But let‘s say somebody, whose neutrality was equally respected at CNN or at MSNBC, made up quotes about George Bush and they wound up on those Web sites for a similar period of time.

Would we not already be living in the middle of a second maelstrom of, these people are trying to influence the election, get Congress to investigate?

THOMPSON:  The first debate would be history.

Could you imagine if Jennings or Brokaw or, heaven forbid, Rather had put this on one of their respective Web sites?

And, you know, there should be a hue and cry about this.  Even though it was a silly story, even though it was relatively easy to find out—or to realize that it was fake—let‘s remember that Rather, in fact, put something on from a source that due diligence was not done upon.

Here you‘ve got a guy who made up the quotes, put them in there.  And I don‘t care how it got on the air, that stuff shouldn‘t be happening.  Those kinds of things shouldn‘t be being written in the newsroom and put in places where they can get on to the Web site.

I think the people at CBS were responsible for that.  Heads ought to roll.  I think the same thing ought to happen over at Fox News.

OLBERMANN:  Is there any chance, any hope, that two gaffs by the troops from fair-and-balanced-land might make any measurable percentage of the news consumers and the politically active people of this country on all sides step back from the brink of politicizing literally everything in news, and say, you know what?  This has just gotten too heated.  We need to go back to the days when fair and balanced was not just some meaningless brand name.

THOMPSON:  Well, you would have thought that this may have really made a splash.

But it‘s—when that Dan Rather story broke, my phone rang all day long.  Today I could hear the crickets in the background and see the sagebrush blowing across my telephone.

This has really been, I think, under-reported.

The second story, the Communists for Kerry thing, you have a hard time locating that story on the Internet when you‘re looking for it.

So, I think in the end, probably, we‘re not going to hear much about this at all after tonight.

OLBERMANN:  To Fox‘s credit, though, as you said, they did—they apologized for it and they damage controlled brilliantly, as opposed to CBS, which did neither brilliantly.

So, that may be a factor in addition to anything else.

Well, Professor Robert Thompson of Syracuse University.  As always, sir, we appreciate your time tonight.

THOMPSON:  Thank you. - News -John Lennon's Killer Denied Parole

Letters from Iraq

Dear Dad, Iraq Sucks

Common Dreams sees Iraq through the eyes of our soldiers via Michael Moore. Bless him.

Here's one for the blogger on the go:

From: Michael W
Sent: Tuesday July 13 2004 12.28pm
Subject: Dude, Iraq sucks

My name is Michael W and I am a 30-year-old National Guard infantryman serving in southeast Baghdad. I have been in Iraq since March of 04 and will continue to serve here until March of 05.

In the few short months my unit has been in Iraq, we have already lost one man and have had many injured (including me) in combat operations. And for what? At the very least, the government could have made sure that each of our vehicles had the proper armament to protect us soldiers.

In the early morning hours of May 10, one month to the day from my 30th birthday, I and 12 other men were attacked in a well-executed roadside ambush in south-east Baghdad. We were attacked with small-arms fire, a rocket-propelled grenade, and two well-placed roadside bombs. These roadside bombs nearly destroyed one of our Hummers and riddled my friends with shrapnel, almost killing them. They would not have had a scratch if they had the "Up Armour" kits on them. So where was [George] W [Bush] on that one?

It's just so ridiculous, which leads me to my next point. A Blackwater contractor makes $15,000 [£8,400] a month for doing the same job as my pals and me. I make about $4,000 [£2,240] a month over here. What's up with that?

Beyond that, the government is calling up more and more troops from the reserves. For what? Man, there is a huge fucking scam going on here! There are civilian contractors crawling all over this country. Blackwater, Kellogg Brown & Root, Halliburton, on and on. These contractors are doing everything you can think of from security to catering lunch!

We are spending money out the ass for this shit, and very few of the projects are going to the Iraqi people. Someone's back is getting scratched here, and it ain't the Iraqis'!

My life is left to chance at this point. I just hope I come home alive.


KOS records my favorite moment in the debate:

The vice president, I'm surprised to hear him talk about records. When he was one of 435 members of the United States House, he was one of 10 to vote against Head Start, one of four to vote against banning plastic weapons that can pass through metal detectors.

He voted against the Department of Education. He voted against funding for Meals on Wheels for seniors. He voted against a holiday for Martin Luther King. He voted against a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.


While waiting for the debate to start last night, Silmarill and I watched the replay of the previous night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Bishop Desmond Tutu was on and was so lovely, loving and endearing, Jon cried out at one point, "You're the nicest man I ever met!"

His remarks were extremely relevant to the violent situations in which we, and the world, find ourselves. Tonight I'll transcribe and post in its entirety.


Counterspin Central debunks another Cheney lie:

"Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session."--Dick Cheney

According to the Congressional Record, Dick Cheney did not preside over a single Tuesday Senate session in 2001.

No wonder Cheney never met Edwards in the Senate chamber. BECAUSE CHENEY IS NEVER THERE!

"A spoonful of realism will help things go down"

I just had lunch with one of the smartest guys I know, a Mensa member and all that. How, I asked him, could he possibly support George Bush? "I don't support George Bush," he said. "I just don't trust Kerry. I don't believe he'll handle the Iraq situation any better than Cheney, the real power. I may just forego voting entirely." What timing. I came back to the office and read this editorial that should speak to people like my friend. Because subscription is required, I'm printing it in its entirety:

A few days ago, I asked a retired general I know whom he would vote for on Nov. 2.

"I voted for Bush last time, but I won't make that mistake again," he said, launching into a tirade about the administration's mishandling of the Iraq occupation.

Was he going to vote for John Kerry? He shook his head. Then what?

"I'm thinking of writing in Al Sharpton," he said, laughing.

He was only joking. But I recalled the frustration that underlay the joke as I watched the first presidential debate.

Many undecided voters are angered by the mess that the Bush administration has made in Iraq, and they feel it disqualifies that team from a second term. But they have been uncertain about what Kerry would do better that might extricate us without disaster -- and whether he is up to the challenge.

In a race where both choices are unsatisfactory, I think Kerry got a passing grade on the Iraq test Thursday and the president failed.

George W. Bush's message was certainly more comforting. Never waver, he said. Constantly stay on the offensive against terrorism, and constantly spread liberty. The way to win in Iraq, he said, is to send consistent messages, not mixed messages like Kerry's.

The problem with such stirring rhetoric is that it sets up an impossible dilemma for undecided voters.

One isn't supposed to criticize the conduct of the Iraq war because it will send the wrong message to terrorists. But Bush's Iraq policy has been so wrongheaded that it is impossible to trust those who designed it to do better -- especially when they refuse to admit they made any errors.

It's fine to hail certainty of purpose as a value, but as Kerry noted, "You can be certain and wrong."

It was the very certainty of this administration about what Iraq was and what it would be after Saddam Hussein fell that caused the current Iraq mess. Senior administration officials were so certain that Iraq was a nascent democracy, awaiting only the return of the Pentagon's favorite exile, Ahmed Chalabi, that they never planned for a difficult occupation.

The same officials were so certain that the postwar would be easy, and U.S. troops would be able to return home quickly, that they never sent sufficient troops, despite the warnings of senior officers. Nor did they plan what to do if there were chaos and looting after an invasion.

The resulting chaos in Iraq has set back the fight for freedom in the Middle East. The best that can be hoped for from Iraq elections -- if they're held, and if the United States is very lucky -- is a weak government still dependent on U.S. troops. This will not inspire democracy in the rest of the Middle East.

So what could Kerry do better? Let me say up front that I have had doubts about the Democratic candidate. His continued insistence that allies will come to our aid in Iraq, possibly with troops, is illusory.

But where Kerry is a realist is in facing Iraq's future.

He knows that his choices in Iraq will be constrained by the wrong moves made by Bush. Kerry made clear in the debate Thursday that he sees no prospects for withdrawal until Iraqi elections are held and the country is stabilized.

This policy is similar to the president's (though Bush doesn't admit it) -- with an important difference. Kerry, who understands that Iraq is not headed where Bush claims, will try to repair the damage and repair alliances as well.

Such honesty, at this point in the Iraq drama, is preferable to Bush's clarity. Clarity in the defense of disaster is no virtue.

Howie Kurtz gets it right (for once):

It took Dick Cheney about five seconds to mention 9/11, in the course of justifying the Iraq war (and ducking a question about Paul Bremer saying the administration never sent enough troops).

That enabled John Edwards to say the Bush administration wasn't being straight on Iraq.

It took Cheney just a few minutes more to mention John Kerry's "global test" comment for military action in his debate against the president -- prompting Edwards to say Kerry had made perfectly clear that no other nation would have a veto over American security.

It took John Edwards 25 minutes to mention Halliburton -- and he kept mentioning it, as a symbol of what was wrong with the Iraq venture and corporate America (while never quite saying that the ex-CEO was reaping any financial benefit). Cheney dismissed all that as a "smokescreen."

It took Cheney about two seconds to give up a 90-second response on a followup question about gay marriage, after he'd suggested he didn't agree with the boss on a constitutional amendment. Edwards managed to praise the veep for defending his gay daughter while also saying he and Kerry oppose gay marriage while also accusing Bush of using the constitution as a political tool.

It took about a nanosecond for Edwards to turn a question about his lack of experience into an attack on Bush and Cheney for the wrong kind of experience. Cheney wisely didn't pile on, instead talking about his own selection as VP. Nor did Cheney, somewhat surprisingly, accept Gwen Ifill's invitation to hold trial lawyer Edwards personally responsible for the malpractice crisis.

Edwards closed by talking about his father in the mill. Cheney closed by talking about 9/11 and terrorism.


I can't wait for Friday's debate to see what John Kerry makes of the Iraq Survey Group's report that Saddam posed no "gathering threat" to the U.S., but a diminishing one:

The government's most definitive account of Iraq's arms programs, to be released today, will show that Saddam Hussein posed a diminishing threat at the time the United States invaded and did not possess, or have concrete plans to develop, nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, U.S. officials said yesterday.

The officials said that the 1,000-page report by Charles A. Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, concluded that Hussein had the desire but not the means to produce unconventional weapons that could threaten his neighbors or the West. President Bush has continued to assert in his campaign stump speech that Iraq had posed "a gathering threat."


The full transcript of the vice presidential debate is here.


Atrios asks, "Is Cheney delusional?"

First he claims he never met Edwards when he has at least 3 times. Then he bragged about being the presiding officer of the Senate, and being there most Tuesdays, even though he's only acted as the presiding officer on two Tuesdays. He's been going on and on about links between Saddam and the 9/11 hijackers and between Saddam and al Qaeda, even though no such links exist. He so misrepresents things that Kerry says that he must have a serious mental illness. He simultaneously claims that Kerry is "inconsistent" and then says he's the most consistently liberal senator. We really can only conclude that Cheney needs some serious psychiatric help.


Via The Smirking Chimp, Thomas Oliphant of The Boston Globe says that last night, "Cheney proved his irrelevance."

THE COUNTRY doesn't need Dick Cheney any more. After his 90 minutes on the stage last night, it is clear he is no longer an essential person in politics and government. What he brings to the table are liabilities.

In debate against an opponent with the dangerously attractive attribute of freshness, Cheney paled -- literally. He's not special, it turns out. He doesn't know anything special, he hasn't done anything special, and for the future he doesn't offer anything special.
Cheney is now just another vice president who has had his hour on the stage without really mattering or making a difference. Four years ago, he had a glow of the Wizard of Oz about him, filling an obvious hole in his running mate's background; last night, Cheney was just the grumpy old man behind the curtain.


Listening to Bush's "major speech" -- not a policy speech, oh no, just your average campaign speech, filled with an unceasing litany of cliches, distortions of Kerry's positions, and outright lies. "Freedom on the march," "hope," "threat," ad nauseum, the same old tired justifications for the war (we gave Saddam one last chance to comply with UN resolutions, he chose defiance and war, and we responded). Funny and unfunny flip-flop remarks.

"After September 10th, the path to security is the path of action. And I will continue to defend the United States of America." More distortions of the "global test/Kerry doctrine."

Bush started out looking relaxed and happy in the midst of his as-usual adoring crowd. Like Cheney last night, he's accusing Kerry of saying when he first ran for Congress that American troops should be used only at the direction of the UN. Now it's Kerry's vote against the first Gulf War and joking that "if that coalition didn't pass the global test, nothing will." Kerry's mindset will paralyze America in a dangerous world. Blah blah blah.

Nothing new here. Give Kerry equal time.

UPDATE: I didn't finish my thought (perils of blogging at work amidst interruptions). Bush STARTED OUT looking relaxed and happy, but disintegrated. There were times when the crowd was roaring with pleasure and instead of responding with a satisfied smile, he looked tense and his grin was forced. He lost his place a couple of times and looked panicked. All in all, not much improvement over last Thursday night's debate. The man is coming unglued.

Several of the progressive blogs are buzzing about Bush's BIG SPEECH scheduled for tomorrow and demanding that the media give equal time to John Kerry. The discussion brings back memories. Here's the story I told my kids tonight after reading The Buzz:

When I was a first-grader my boyfriend (now a nationally syndicated cartoonist) was the son of the local TV weatherman (Mr. B), who eventually became a personality on the morning show. A few years later, the daddy decided to run for county tax collector. But because he had such a huge advantage in name recognition, his opponent sued, and the courts ruled that the TV station that employed my friend's father had to give his political opponent an hour per day airtime to compensate for the backlog of airtime Mr. B. had accumulated over his career (a precursor ruling to the Fairness Doctrine). The opponent tried to fill the time for a few days until he must have concluded that he was making a fool of himself and surrendered his "right to air." The Fairness Doctrine was a natural extension of this ruling, and even though Mr. B's case was an extreme application of it, the ruling was right and just. The advantage of a campaigner who has constant exposure to the public must be redressed, in fairness, in order for a challenger to present a viable choice to the public. It has been our great loss that the Fairness Act is no more.

But don't expect the media to understand that. Their idea of fairness is "on the other hand." They think they're better qualified to tell us their INTERPRETATION of what both sides say -- not to provide both sides equal access to the airwaves and let us decide what to believe for ourselves.

Tuesday, October 5

Wow. I guess Republicans never read Newsday. John Edwards beats Cheney 9-to-1. In every category.

Akron Journal: Edwards 98%.

Houston Chronicle: Edwards 89%.

Hardball: Edwards 67%.

CNN changed its poll question to "Did the debate change your vote?" but the last time I saw the results of the original "Who won?" poll, it was 78% Edwards. Too one-sided, you chickens?

Most every other poll I saw was Edwards 80%+.

UPDATE: Credit where's due. Gwen Ifill was far better than Jim Lehrer, and I thought her questions were pretty darn good.

They're spinning it for Cheney. But they're all talking about how Cheney's performance tonight feeds into the (tru)(my)th that Cheney is really the commander in chief. Fineman and Scarborough just spoke to the fact that Edwards constantly talked about Kerry while Cheney hardly ever mentioned Bush.

Joe Klein thought Edwards did better than expected and that Cheney did well. Aaron Brown thought Cheney won on the foreign policy side and Edwards on the domestic side. Klein disagreed and thought Edwards did better on foreign policy as well.

One of the clips reminded me of the "who's suffering more of the casualties," 90% of "coalition fatalities," as Edwards asserted, or "50% the Iraqis," as Cheney retorted. The exchange there was interesting: Cheney looked like an idiot defending the honor of "our Iraqi allies," as if Americans at this point are really all that comforted that our 1,000+ losses are mitigated by the losses of some loyalty-suspect Iraqi troops when we didn't seem to care about the tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths we caused and are still causing to defeat those same people. And let's not kid ourselves: we're not defending the Iraqi people against some outside aggressor. Iraqis aren't lining up to join the new Iraqi army and police forces -- they're just guys desperate for a job.

Mike Barnicle is sure that American voters see Cheney, despite his "gloom and doom" demeanor, as a serious guy that comforts.

Howard Fineman says Kerry/Edwards are not speaking up for freedom around the world.

Thank God for the chick from the Christian Science Monitor. She makes a case for a "fresh start."

Susan Esterich is defending Kerry's defense voting record against Bob Woodward. He's losing it, he's insulted that she challenged "(his) truthfulness" by challenging BW's attack by reciting Dick Cheney's history regarding those same defense bills.

I think Susan was just challenging his knowledge.

Did Jeff Greenfield of CNN just say what I think he did? That the debate gives weight to the impression that Cheney is the real president?


I'm completely wasted. The debate wore me out. But nonetheless I voted in every poll I could find, and the results left me stunned.

My take on the debate: I was hugely impressed with Dick Cheney's ability to sound grave, deliberative, reassuring and credible while he fluently spun nonsense. At the beginning, he seemed the professor on stage with the student. But Edwards clearly picked up momentum as the debate wore on. He didn't say everything I wanted him to say, but he had ANSWERS and PLANS and he did an admirable job of representing our side. In style, he recalled that rare "most popular guy at school" who actually WAS popular, loved because he was lovable, deserving because he worked for the honors, close to his humble roots though a spectacular professional success (in Edwards' case, representing worthy clients of similar backgrounds). I doubt there's an American woman who saw tonight's debate who didn't respond to him in a positive way. Still, I thought that the media and the public would probably call the debate for Cheney while acknowledging that Edwards did as well as could be expected against a considerably more seasoned, experienced opponent.

I know the conventional wisdom is that the vice presidential candidates never really influence the election in a significant way. But after seeing the immediate media polls, where all but Fox have Edwards winning by at least 3-to-1 (and Fox has Edwards leading in double digits), I have to believe that this year might be different. Maybe, just maybe, more voters saw these two men as I did. If from here on out Kerry keeps Edwards visibly by his side, I believe he can add significantly to his woman's vote percentages. And every bit of momentum we gain is a step towards a Kerry presidency.

UPDATE: Can't believe I forgot to mention Edwards' absolutely splendid reaction shots to Cheney's answers. Shows how tired I am. (Big branding issues at work, and blogging obsession to boot) There were many more split-screen shots of Edwards' reactions than Cheney's, but I can't complain. Edwards was absolutely perfect. He was constantly in motion, though slo-mo, so you couldn't take your eyes off him and sometimes completely missed what Cheney was saying. It was MASTERFUL.

Debate mid-way through

We're mid-debate and a thought occurred to me while watching the split screen. Who the hell is going to look at Dick Cheney, even when he is talking, when his Chevy Chase(face) appears next to John Edwards? Edwards facial expressions and composure in silence are more engaging than Dick Cheney when he opens his throathole to answer questions.

Don't forget to visit the news polls and vote for John Edwards tonight!

The Daily Show coverage of Foxgate

You want it? We've got it. Here's what John Stewart said about Foxgate on The Daily Show last night at 10pm CST.

But one of Murdoch’s other media outlets tried to repair the damage done to Bush with a hard-hitting look at the world of the imaginary.

Fox News was forced to admit it ran not one, but two fake news stories slamming Kerry this past weekend. One features comments from a group called “Communists for Kerry,” which turned out to be a satirical group of Bush supporters, the other was a post on its web site written by chief political correspondent Carl Cameron, who claimed that after the debate, Kerry called himself “a metrosexual” before proclaiming, “Women should like me, I do manicures.”

A Fox News spokesperson soon apologized for the article, saying it was the result of “fatigue and bad judgment,” which incidentally happens to be the mission statement behind Your World with Neil Cavuto.

It’s kind of a long way to go for a Cavuto joke, ain’t it?

I walked around the block, we looked at some trees, then we came back home and I had a Cavuto joke for you. (Sigh) But you, you were tired.

I love the blogosphere.

The Daily Show joins the Foxhunt!

The Daily Show with John Stewart reported Foxgate last night at 11pm. The hounds are increasing and we're close on Fox's tail. It's a good day. Hope everyone is doing wonderfully. Catch the Daily Show re-run tonight on Comedy Central at 6pm CST. I'll tape it and post what was said about Carl Cameron(author of Fox Fabrication #1), who was specifically mentioned, and Jane Roh(author of Fox Fabrication #2) who was also held to account for her actions by the good people of the Daily Show. Who could have imagined when John Stewart took over that show from Craig Kilborn a few years ago that he would re-make it into the funniest political show in television history? Ya never can tell...

Thank the Daily Show for looking out for us while making us laugh.

Have you read America(the book)?


DailyKOS has a comprehensive list of polls we need to vote in after the debate.



Digby has a must-read-and-pass-around post up regarding Bush and Kerry's relative Good Samaritanism.


A funny e-mail I just got from a Dem friend:

How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to replace a lightbulb?

The Answer is TEN:

1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed

2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed

3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb

4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either: "For changing the light bulb or for darkness"

5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Haliburton for the new light bulb

6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a stepladder under the banner "Light! Bulb Change Accomplished"

7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally "in the dark"

8. One to viciously smear #7

9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light bulb-changing policy all along

10. And finally one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.


More than 180 Former U.S. Ambassadors from Republican and Democratic Administrations Endorse Kerry.

United by a deep concern about the mounting failures of the Bush administration's foreign policy, more than 180 former United States Ambassadors who have served under Republican and Democratic presidents endorsed John Kerry for president on Monday.

Their statement:

"We are more than 180 former United States Ambassadors who had the privilege of representing our country around the world under nine presidents, Democratic and Republican - from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush. Almost half of us were nonpartisan career foreign service officers. We believe it is imperative to our national security that we change the leadership of the nation we all love and elect John Kerry and John Edwards.

"After September 11, the world was fully behind us, but George W. Bush has needlessly squandered much of that support and undermined our ability to win the war on terror. He has also seriously eroded the alliances we need to keep our nation safe. Now, we face a loss of respect and trust amongst our allies such as we have never seen. As a result, our troops and taxpayers must bear the risks and costs of building a safer world virtually alone.

"The Congress and the American people were misled by an ever- changing rationale for launching a preemptive war in Iraq. We failed to finish the mission in Afghanistan and stood on the sidelines while North Korea and Iran advanced their nuclear programs. George W. Bush's failings have made the threat of terrorism worse, not better.

"The Bush administration's go-it-alone polices are making Americans less safe at home and abroad. Even the world's only superpwer needs friends and allies, and we are blessed with the challenge of using our position for good. War should be the last resort -- not the first.

"John Kerry has the experience, strength and wisdom to lead us in fighting the war on terrorism, winning the peace in Iraq, making America more secure, and restoring America as the beacon of democracy and freedom in the world."