Saturday, August 07, 2004

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Nader Doesn't Make Cal Ballot
now trying to splinter Greens

San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Ralph Nader failed to get enough signatures to make the ballot in California. So now he wants the California Green party to break with its national organization and put him on the ballot as the Green candidate.

Dave O in SF, writing at the Daily Kos, gives the Bay Area perspective on Ralph the Wrecker's latest slick trick:
Nader, who refused to turn over his supporter lists to the Green Party following his 2000 presidential campaign, is now trying to splinter the national Green Party. He wants the California Green Party to ditch David Cobb, break from the national Green Party and instead give the California ballot line, which he couldn't gain access to by himself, to him.
I think Avedon Carol has the best take on Nader and the Greens:
I don't know why the Greens chose him, since he certainly has never been green. The green candidate in 2000 was Al Gore.

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Another Election Year Best Seller
Pre-Order from Amazon Now!

South Knox Bubba nailed a major weekend scoop as the first blogger to publish excerpts from the soon-to-be-released election year best seller Alabama Mail Room Veterans for Bush. Reserve your copy today!

Thanks to Kevin Drum for the hot tip.

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Help David Brooks Get a Clue
Send him a "Dear Bobo" Email

Atrios wonders why NY Times columnist David Brooks gets paid to write shit without ever doing his research. Brooks is looking for policy from the Kerry Campaign and says, "Where's the beef?"

Help David get a clue. Send him a "Dear Bobo" email, and tell him that, if he would bother to just look, the Kerry/Edwards positions are out there, just a click away at

It's not really a big deal, and I don't care if Bobo remains inept. But those of us who blog for tips have to scratch our heads about guys who take down six figures for writing such shallow columns.

By the way, the term Bobo was coined by Brooks. In fact he wrote a book titled Bobos in Paradise: the upper class and how they got there (thanks to
R C Sanders). Atrios commenter mondo dentro adds:
"Bobo" means "bohemian bourgeoisie" and was invented by Brooks himself as a mocking label for middle and upper middle class lefty-leaning cultural creatives, or just plain consumers of counter-culture.

His implication is that it's somehow inconsistent or even hypocritical to be both "countercultural" and to have money to spend on cool stuff like lattes and Volvos.
You can send your "Dear Bobo" email to: dabrooks@nytimes.com.

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Administration Burns Another Agent
This one close to Al Qaeda

In an effort to spring the July Surprise and look tough on terrorism at the peak of the Democratic National convention last week, the administration apparently blew the cover of a Pakistani agent who was penetrating an Al Qaeda cell. Billmon's got the story.

Wouldn't it be nice to have an administration that doesn't actively subvert its own war on terrorism?

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Anti-Immigration Group
shows its true colors

Protect Arizona Now (PAN), an organization that is pushing a ballot inititative in Arizona that would make it a crime for public employees to fail to report suspected undocumented immigrants seeking public benefits, is drawing fire for naming an avowed seperatist to lead its national operations.

According to an article in
The Arizona Republic (registration required):
The anti-illegal-immigration group Protect Arizona Now has named a white supremacist to lead it's national operations, an anti-bigotry group charged on its Web site Friday.

[. . .]

Abernethy denied the allegation from her Nashville, Tenn. home. She's a separatist, not a racist, she said.

"There's a huge difference," said Abernethy, 69. "We're not saying anything about supremacy, not at all. We're saying that each ethnic group is often happier with its own kind."
According a report by the Center for New Community (pdf format), Abernethy has earned the racist lable through her association with groups such as the Council of Conservative Citizens.
Abernethy is intensely involved with the Council of Conservative Citizens, sitting on the editorial advisory committee and contributing articles to its publication, The Citizens Informer, and speaking at CCC conferences.

It would appear difficult for Dr. Abernethy to feign ignorance about racism, the CCC, and her role with the group, given that she has been confronted about the problem on numerous occasions. When asked about her role with the CCC by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2002, Abernethy retorted, "My view of the Council of Conservative Citizens is that they support traditional values and the freedom of people to associate with people that they want to associate with."
The CCC has its roots in the White Citizens Councils which were formed to resist integration in the wake of Brown v. the Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

The report from the Center for New Community conludes:
PAN’s appointment of Dr. Virginia Abernethy, an individual active in the leadership of multiple white supremacist organizations, has numerous disturbing ramifications. It legitimizes racism and xenophobia in the political arena, helping to “mainstream” white supremacy. It conveys respectability on white supremacist organizations. And, as California’s Proposition 187 campaign demonstrated, it forebodes the likelihood of an even uglier and more divisive situation in Arizona.
PAN's appointment of Dr. Abernethy comes on the heals of a spat between PAN and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a Washington-based anti-immigrant group that has spent tens of millions in the last two decades to roll back the rights of both legal and illegal immigrants living in the United States (see Arizona Petition Fights), as well as reports linking the PAN petition drive to the failed effort to get Ralph Nader on the ballot in Arizona.


Friday, August 06, 2004

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Krugman asks the questions
that every Army general should have asked,
but which no one can answer:
What's the military mission in Iraq? Can it be clearly defined? Is it achievable? At what cost and over what time frame? How many troops will be needed? How many casualties are we willing to accept? And how much suffering are we willing to endure here at home in terms of the domestic needs that are unmet?
Those who have studied war know that to engage in any military undertaking without answering those questions up front is a sure guarantee of failure, and probably disaster, too.

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More Haliburton

Accused of systemic accounting fraud. Imagine that.

According to the
New York Times (registration required):
Four former finance employees at the Halliburton Company contend that a high-level and systemic accounting fraud occurred at the company from 1998 to 2001, according to a new filing in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of investors who bought the company's shares.

The filing accuses the company of accounting improprieties that go far beyond those outlined by the Securities and Exchange Commission in its civil suit against Halliburton, which the company settled on Tuesday, paying $7.5 million.
I'm sure Haliburton's former CEO knew nothing about it.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

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Bush Finally Tells the Truth

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
That explains a lot of things.

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Noonan: Bad Crazies
and serious hallucinations

A month ago
I suggested that it was time for Reagan idolatress Peggy Noonan to change her meds. Suburban Guerrilla confirms it:
And even though it might seem like all that encouraging, advice-giving, and Reagan-idolotry tending would leave Peggy with enough time to dash off a weekly column, the WSJ said they don't employ "political operatives," even on an occasional basis, so Peggy would have to take unpaid leave.

And she bought it! If she would take the time to read their editorial section and see how many political hacks get stuff published there, she'd know they were just using this as a graceful way of telling her that her services are no longer required because she's loony.
One more mentally unstable wingnut true believer, ready to do her part to try and salvage Bush/Cheney, Inc. as it goes down in the flames of its own fear and loathing. Peggy's going to fit right in.

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God Bless Bruce Springsteen

Writing in the
New York Times (registration required):
Over the years I've tried to think long and hard about what it means to be American: about the distinctive identity and position we have in the world, and how that position is best carried. I've tried to write songs that speak to our pride and criticize our failures.

These questions are at the heart of this election: who we are, what we stand for, why we fight. Personally, for the last 25 years I have always stayed one step away from partisan politics. Instead, I have been partisan about a set of ideals: economic justice, civil rights, a humane foreign policy, freedom and a decent life for all of our citizens. This year, however, for many of us the stakes have risen too high to sit this election out.

Through my work, I've always tried to ask hard questions. Why is it that the wealthiest nation in the world finds it so hard to keep its promise and faith with its weakest citizens? Why do we continue to find it so difficult to see beyond the veil of race? How do we conduct ourselves during difficult times without killing the things we hold dear? Why does the fulfillment of our promise as a people always seem to be just within grasp yet forever out of reach?

I don't think John Kerry and John Edwards have all the answers. I do believe they are sincerely interested in asking the right questions and working their way toward honest solutions. They understand that we need an administration that places a priority on fairness, curiosity, openness, humility, concern for all America's citizens, courage and faith.
See Rockin' for Regime Change below for concert tour link.

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When National Guard Troops Decide
that they've had enough fun for one war

Phil Carter quotes the Wall Street Journal:
Six months ago, the company's 109 soldiers were greeted as heroes when they returned from Iraq. A column of police cars, sirens blaring, escorted them from the airport to a welcome-home parade. Businesses closed. The whistle at the local paper mill shrieked to announce their arrival.

But on this July morning, only 52 soldiers showed up for roll call. Four were AWOL, or absent without leave. About 30 had decided to get out of the Guard for good. Another 26, who had been temporarily assigned to the company to beef it up before combat, had returned to their regular units.
Phil thinks a little combat every now and then is good for a reserve component unit. The problem here is that, in wasting America's reserve strength on a war that was completely unnecessary, the Bush administration has seriously depleted the military's ability to respond to a real threat.

We have every right to feel less safe than we did four years ago. We are.


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

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Rockin' for Regime Change

Thanks to
Kos for picking up on Vote for Change concert tour that ACT and Move On are putting together to movtivate voters in battleground states.

Great line up of performers who span two generations of rock and roll and include: Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, Dave Mathews, Pearl Jam, R.E.M, and the Dixie Chicks.

The only problem seems to be a dearth of concerts scheduled west of the Mississippi. Concert dates and locations are still being developed. Hopefully everyone will remember that Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico are all still in play.

Tickets will go on sale on Saturday, August 21.

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Veterans for Kerry:
the numbers are becoming real

I've written before about anecdotal evidence that suggests Bush is losing significant support among the veteran community (see, for instance,
Bush's Disappearing Base and Report from an Old Soldier: Epilogue). Now there are some poll numbers that are actually confirming that shift in veteran support. According to a CBS News poll:
While President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney held a 47 percent to 41 percent lead among vets in mid-July, the tickets are now in a statistical tie: Kerry-Edwards with 48 percent, and Bush-Cheney with 47 percent.
(Thanks to both Steve Benen and Mark Kleiman for the tip, although CBS seems to have changed the link since they posted.)

I think one of the things the Kerry campaign did very successfully at the convention was juxtapose Kerry's Band of Brothers (who certainly resonate with many Vietnam veterans) with the dozen retired flag officers who are supporting Kerry. I think it's hard to ignore a group that includes the likes of
Tony McPeak, John Shalikashvili, Wes Clark, Claudia Kennedy, and Stansfield Turner. In that group alone you've got an Air Force chief of staff, a chairman of the Joint Chiefs, a NATO commander, an Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, and a former Director of Central Intelligence.

Collectively, these twelve retired generals and admirals simply can't be ignored by anyone who has served in the military during the past 30 years. If it were just one or two, it would be easy for the Republicans to say it was all about sour grapes or they were looking for their next job. But collectively, their presence and their voices are too strong to ignore.

While their support for Kerry is certainly bringing some frustrated Republicans into the Kerry camp, it also serves to shore up those "Scoop Jackson"Democrats (veterans and those still in the military), who would never vote for, say, Michael Dukakis, but will vote for a fellow veteran like John Kerry, especially when he has the endorsement of such a significant portion the nation's former military leadership. It's time to start watching the polling of veterans in the battleground states. It's one more key sector that could tip the balance for Kerry.


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

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How to Win This Election:
you'd be surprised where the votes are

First, let me say that I'm not surprised that the latest polls show that a majority of registered voters don't want to see Bush re-elected. Let's face it, a majority of voters didn't want him elected in the first place. Since then he's done nothing but create disaster at home and abroad. And then, of course, there are all those flag-draped caskets.

And yet, when I look at the numbers, the election remains gut-wrenchingly close. I can only conclude that the millions of Republicans who remain loyal to Bush/Cheney, Inc. are either terminally stupid or in such denial that they are in serious need of long-term behavioral health services. But their health insurance plans probably don't cover that sort of thing, so let's not go there.

I'm encouraged by the unity and enthusiasm among Democrats this year. We understand what is at stake for America and we're willing to put our foolishness aside, at least until after the election. As I heard Madeline Albright say last week, "It's so nice to see that we're not using our usual modus operandi of forming a circular firing squad."

Which brings me to the real subject of this post. Former Texas Governor Ann Richards spoke at a breakfast I attended last week in Boston (I understand she gave a similar talk in Austin the same week). She talked about where the votes could be found in a race that will be decided in a dozen or so battleground states where 95 percent of the voters have already made up their minds.

She said that, if you're going to target undecided voters, it's important to know what you're getting. White men, she noted, have only voted for a winning Democrat once in recent history. That was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Men, she said, might be useful in terms of money, but don't count on them for the votes to win an election.

Governor Richards said that, if we really want to find the extra votes to ensure victory in November, there is one demographic that is being virtually ignored by both parties. She is a single (usually divorced) working class mother. She is under 40, probably has a couple of kids, never went to college, and you see her everywhere you go. She's the checker the chain store, she's pouring your coffee at the restaurant, she's behind the counter at the convenience market.

She probably is not registered to vote. She doesn't have time to read the paper (much less the blogs). She might get her news from David Letterman. On election day, she'll be lucky if she has time to vote.

And she's there, just waiting for someone to tell her that she is important, that her vote matters, that this election might change her life a little, might make it a little bit better if Kerry wins. Or if she likes things the way they are and the way they've been going, she could vote for Bush.

She's there, waiting for someone to take 2 minutes with her to get her registered and help her request an early ballot so she won't have to miss work or be late picking up her kids from day care. She's ubiquitous, interwoven into the fabric of our society, and yet completely overlooked.

I'm going to be walking the streets of my neighborhood during the next few weeks, knocking on doors, registering voters, giving out early ballot requests, providing some campaign literature. I'm going to be looking for her. If she is the key to this election, I'm going to make sure that she votes. Four years of Bush was more than enough for me. I want her help with this one.

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Tales of the Secret Service:
Selective racial profiling of the press?

There's a strange story out of Tucson about the Bush/Cheney campaign demanding to know the race of a photographer assigned to cover Dick Cheney's visit there last weekend. The Secret Service is backing up the campaign, saying they need the information for identification purposes.

That could be true, but there are some wrinkles to this story that make me wonder about it. According to the report from the Arizona Daily Star, the Tucson paper for whom the photographer works, the race of every member of the press was not requested. Second, the photographer's name is Mamta Popat (as opposed to, say, Whitey Smith). And finally, when the paper refused to disclose any racial information about Popat's race, the campaign backed down.

In my experience in doing security work within the federal governemt, you don't have a rule unless you have a reason for it. If you have a reason for it, it better be a good reason. If you have it for a good reason, you don't make exceptions just because someone doesn't want to comply. For me, this makes the rule and/or its application very suspect. Read the story and decide for yourself. Then tell me what you think is really going on and why.

On an entirely different note, I overheard half of an interesting telephone conversation as I was waiting for my flight out of Boston on Friday. A guy who had the look of a senior civil servant in the federal governemt (you learn to recognize them after years of working with them) was making a cell phone call. He told the party on the other end that the previous evening as he was wandering around on one of the upper floors of a Boston hotel, he saw an open door to a hospitality suite. On the door was a sign that said that it was the suite of (name omited), Director of the Secret Service. The caller said the room was littered with liquor bottles. The caller was asking his associate on the other end if his assoicate thought that such a hospitality suite, identified as it was and in the condition it was in, wasn't a bit unusual and perhaps somewhat inappropriate. I wish I could have heard the other end of the conversation.

They went on to discuss John Kerry's speech the previous night and what his chances of winning the race might be. The caller didn't sound particularly passionate about the outcome of the election either way, although there was just a hint in his voice that made me think that it wouldn't bother him a bit it Bush failed to win re-election.

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Long Night

Was up much of the night with a sick child. I think everybody is okay, now. But I'm moving slow and flying low. Might be a while before I get anything meaningful up here today.

I am going to be checking with a former colleague who works in the counterterrorism community, just to get his take on the the big alert using that was based on old information.

Thanks for your patience.


Monday, August 02, 2004

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A Picture's Worth a Thousand Points of Light


Via The Sideshow


Sunday, August 01, 2004

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Express Yourself
Nominate a Blog and a Candidate

The WaPo wants to know the best blogs for politics and elections. Now they could, of course, figure this out by simply reading. But hey, that's a lot of work. And besides there's no marketing angle in that. So, they're holding an election.

Nominations will be accepted until September 3. Voting begins on September 27. Winners will be announced on October 25.

While Rain Storm certainly doesn't entertain fantasies about winning anything (okay, maybe if there was a category for Best New Blog by an Old Paratrooper, Rain Storm would be in serious contention), we would feel honored just to be nominated. If any readers are so inclined, please accept our heartfelt appreciation in advance. You can enter your nominations here.

While were making nominations, Atrios is accepting suggestions for congressional candidates who are worthy of his mighty blog support for the month of August. Rain Storm is recommending Paul Babbitt in the AZ1 race (see plug in the left-hand column). Babbitt was one of the first candidates to get the endorsement of MoveOn.org, and is a strong environmentalist from the business community who has a long history of public service in northern Arizona. This will be a tough race, with the VRWC throwing in lots of money and dirty tricks. Support from Atrios at this critical point could make the difference for a key battle in a battleground state.

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Baby Bounce ???
What are they smoking at Newsweek?

Email the editors at Newsweek and ask them if they are on drugs: editors@newsweek.com.

published a poll, part of which was taken before Kerry's speech (a 2-point bounce), part taken after Kerry's speech (a 10-point bounce), and golly, the combination of the two parts (4-points) didn't show as much bounce as everybody thought he would get from the convention. Then to demonstrate that they were truly hosed, Newsweek said the speech was on Friday (It was on Thursday. Trust me. I was there).

Atrios pointed out, this came out just in time for those caffinated pundits on the Sunday morning talk shows to jump all over it, and (not checking their facts) pronounce that the Kerry/Edwards ticket didn't get much of a bounce from the convention at all. If that weren't bad enough, Reuters picked up the bullshit numbers from Newsweek and ran with them. Contact Reuters, while you're at it.

Rui Teixeira is all over this, as is Digby. I'm just jumping on the bandwagon from a sense of outrage, and in case you slept in late.


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