Saturday, September 18, 2004
Just Another Bush Coincidence:
Air Force began drug tests in '72
I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but back when W had to get out of Houston and stop flying and go to Alabama and miss his flight physical, just happened to be right around the time that the Air Force began instituting drug testing. And, no doubt, their first priority was to test the pilots who were flying those airplanes that cost millions of dollars. Wouldn't want any stoned little boys getting into the cockpits of those babies, now would we?
That Colored Fella (who's recently had some unexpected Freeper visitations) pointed me toward Media Matters, which kindly clarified one of the many lies Republicans keep telling about this:
During the September 10 edition of FOX News Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume, retired Colonel William Campenni, who claims to have served with President George W. Bush in the Texas Air National Guard, suggested that Bush did not avoid a physical for fear of failing a drug test because the Air Force did not conduct drug tests at that time. "The formal Air Force drug-testing program -- and they can check this in the record -- I believe began in 1981," Campenni claimed.But I'm sure it's all just a coincidence. Honest.
This is, in fact, false. Drug testing in the Air Force actually began in the spring and summer of 1972; then-Lieutenant Bush was officially grounded from flying in September 1972 due to his failure to take a required physical by the end of July of that year.
Phone Polls are Missing Younger Voters:
They only talk on their cell phones
Rodger Payne points out that that telephone surveys are likely to miss a major demographic. Nobody is calling cell phone numbers.
Just another reason not to trust the polls.
Who Politicized the Secret Service?
Or maybe we should just start calling them the SS
Via The Sideshow we found this piece in the WaPo:
Officially, the Secret Service does not concern itself with unarmed, peaceful demonstrators who pose no danger to the commander in chief. But that policy was inoperative here Thursday when seven AIDS activists who heckled President Bush during a campaign appearance were shoved and pulled from the room -- some by their hair, one by her bra straps -- and then arrested for disorderly conduct and detained for an hour.Maybe it's time to really recognize the invaluable service these guys provide. How about if we get them some really striking black uniforms and some jackboots to go with them. And maybe some SS (you know -- for Secret Service) insignia to wear on the collars. They could be in the shape of twin lightning bolts. That would look really cool. Don't ya think?
After Bush campaign bouncers handled the evictions, Secret Service agents, accompanied by Bush's personal aide, supervised the arrests and detention of the activists and blocked the news media from access to the hecklers.
[. . .]
One uniformed Secret Service agent complained to a colleague that "the press is having a field day" with the disruption -- and the agents quickly clamped down. Journalists were told that if they sought to approach the demonstrators, they would not be allowed to return to the event site -- even though their colleagues were free to come and go. An agent, who did not give his name, told one journalist who was blocked from returning to the speech that this was punishment for approaching the demonstrators and that there was a "different set of rules" for reporters who did not seek out the activists (emphasis added).
The CBS Docs were a Rove operation
Using the new laws of journalism and truth, this is all that's needed as proof that this was a Rovian operation from the get-go. This guy is no expert on typography, and he's an extremely well connected Republican operative who has worked at the highest level of GOP legal circles. That's good enough for GOP government work.
This was a Republican dirty trick.
Friday, September 17, 2004
Not Enough Troops to Cover Iraq
and the Neocons want to invade Iran
When I get hit from 3 different directions with variations on a theme, I try to pay attention to what's going on. That was the case today.
First there was Phil Carter at Intel Dump, noting a report in the Financial Times that said the Neocons are planning their next not-so-excellent adventure. This time they want to invade Iran.
There are slow learners, then there are slow learners who can't do simple arithmetic. Perhaps they haven't noticed that several divisions of American troops in Iraq are not enough to keep the whole country from spinning violently out of control. But maybe those bright neocon boys figure they can take Iran down with plenty of air power and a couple Ranger battalions. Since none of them ever served in the military, it's all just another wet dream to them, anyway.
Susan at Suburban Gurrilla is noticing the signs of an expanded call-up of Army Reserve and National Guard personnel. Via Drudge she quotes Republican Rep. John P. Murtha (PA):
I have learned through conversations with officials at the Pentagon that at the beginning of November, 2004, the Bush Administration plans to call up large numbers of the military guard and reserves, to include plans that they previously put off to call up the Individual Ready Reserve.Gee, ya think? Right after the election, maybe? Wouldn't want to piss off a bunch of Reserve Component family members right before the election, now would we?
Of course, John Kerry has referred to Bush's over-reliance on Reserve Component forces in Iraq as nothing more than a back door draft. Here's what he had to say on Friday:
And there's lots of talk out there about bringing back a real draft, especially if Bush wins. I got this email from a friend yesterday:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Democratic Sen. John Kerry on Friday accused the Bush administration of hiding a plan to mobilize more National Guard and reserve troops after the election while glossing over a worsening conflict in Iraq.
"He won't tell us what congressional leaders are now saying, that this administration is planning yet another substantial call-up of reservists and guard units immediately after the election," Kerry said. "Hide it from people through the election, then make the move."
I don't know how each of you feels about this proposed legislation to institute the draft but it scares me. I have 4 teenagers, and it effects each one of them in a negative way. I don't want my children being drafted to fight a senseless, poorly planned war such as Iraq. What about you?Good mom that she is, she was at her local campaign headquarters last night, calling Democrats and Independents in her precinct and encouraging them to cast an early ballot for Kerry/Edwards, who have promised to not brink back the draft.
Why Would Gallup
Fudge their Numbers?
Lots of talk today on how the Gallup Poll gets its results. Steve Soto at The Left Coaster dug deep and discovered that Gallup is working from an assumption that more Republicans than Democrats will go to the polls this November.
Gallup weights their sample favoring the GOP by 7 points among likely voters (40 - 33) and 5 points among registered voters (38 - 33).
This is, of course, a load of horse shit. It would be in any presidential election year. But this year, with Democrats more motivated and united than at any time anyone still breathing can remember, it is absolutely ludicrous.
John Zogby explains why:
If we look at the three last Presidential elections, the spread was 34% Democrats, 34% Republicans and 33% Independents (in 1992 with Ross Perot in the race); 39% Democrats, 34% Republicans, and 27% Independents in 1996; and 39% Democrats, 35% Republicans and 26% Independents in 2000. While party identification can indeed change within the electorate, there is no evidence anywhere to suggest that Democrats will only represent 31% of the total vote this year. In fact, other competitors have gone in the opposite direction. The Los Angeles Times released a poll in June of this year with 38% Democrats and only 25% Republicans.That raises the question: Why would an established polling organization like Gallup skew their numbers so badly?
Forget for a moment that Gallup's CEO is a Republican donor. Would he sacrifice the credibility of one of the oldest polling organziations in the country?
If we're going to get conspiratorial, let's go whole hog. What if Gallup assumes (or what if they flat out know) that the Republicans intend to cheat big time, stealing the election on a scale never seen before (think of all those new voting machines with no paper trail).
Maybe Gallup just wants to be able to say, "See. We were right all along."
Maybe I'll move to Canada.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Could key the Kerry victory
Jusiper sees good numbers in Colorado, and thinks it may be THE battleground state:
Bush is only one point ahead in Colorado (46-45, according to This ARG poll), even after his convention.New Mexico has already shifted to solid Blue. The Hispanic vote (which some think is underrepresented in polling samples) could be the difference in Colorado.
Kerry can win the Gore states. I don't see MN or NM going to Bush, while IA, PA and WI remain in contention. That gives Kerry 264 from the Gore states, plus 3 from NH, or 267, three short of a victory. Colorado's 9 electoral votes would give him 276 (of course if the EV's are split as per the proposed referendum, Kerry would still get a minimum of 4, which would bring him to 271).
Colorado and Florida, at this point, seem to be the only remaining Bush 2000 states that remain winnable in a close national race, far more so than West Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas or Ohio.
Ken Salazar's presence on the ballot, furthermore, may also increase turnout among Hispanics, who in the Southwest are backing Kerry by a 2-1 margin.
Note that Nader is at 3, while "don't know" is at 6. Kerry should be able to make inroads among these voters as well.
Colorado, not Ohio, may be the key to a Kerry presidency.
Gentlemen's Cs (the plural of C)
I'm sure he did well in college, too
King of Zembla picked up on Bryan Curtis' A Reader's Guide to Kitty Kelley's The Family in Slate. Here's a tasty tidbit:
Page 253: At Andover, George W. Bush writes a morose essay about his sister's death. Searching for a synonym for "tears," he consults a thesaurus and writes, "And the lacerates ran down my cheeks." A teacher labels the paper "disgraceful."Let's hear it for long-term consistancy.
The Second Amendment
What were they thinking?
I realize I haven't written anything about the ban on assault weapons being allowed to expire. I have some ambivalence about guns, being a gun owner myself who is generally suspicious of gun owners.
And I've never quite known what to make of the ambiguities inherent in the Second Amendment (all that well-regulated militia stuff).
Tonight I read a take on the Second Amendment I had never heard before. Here it is courtesy of Colorado Luis:
My view of the "original intent" is that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to insure an armed white militia would be available to put down slave rebellions and kill Indians, purposes that are no longer considered legitimate...Actually, there are some folks in my neck of the woods who still consider those (or updated variations on them) legitimate reasons for white people to own powerful, big magazine semi-automatic weapons. They're deathly afraid that Negroes, Mexicans, or other folks of color are going to take over their country, play loud music they don't like, and date their daughter. They shoot at Sikhs because they think they are Muslims (Well hell, Bubba, them rag heads all look the same, anyway. Hand me another beer while I reload).
Ironically, it's those well-armed white folks that make me think that its a good idea to keep that shotgun by the door.*
*My commitment to truth in journalism requires me to say that I don't actually have any guns in my house. A couple of years ago during a bout of depression I gave them to my best friend to hold for me for a while. And yes, I'm am feeling much better now, thank you.
New Killer Ad
Rhetoric and Body Counts
Paul Glastris at Political Animal noticed this new ad from Hold Them Accountable. It will begin running in swing states Wisconsin and West Virginia next week.
While it may be true that people are going to vote based on domestic issues, espeically the economy, I also think that it is critically important that voters have the Iraq disaster on their minds when they step into the voting booth in November. This ad will help make that happen.
View it here, and if you can, lend your support.
9-11 Widows Take a Stand:
Kerry will make us safer
Who ya gonna trust? Via Liberal Oasis:
The "Jersey Girls", the five 9/11 widows who effectively pressed for a 9/11 Commission, endorsed Kerry yesterday.According to the WaPo:
Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, has not flown in a plane since that day three years ago. But yesterday, she stood in front of five television cameras and six American flags and said she was going to try to overcome her anxiety -- to fly to campaign for John Kerry.I think that these women and their story will resonate with swing voters, and especially women swing voters.
Breitweiser, who said she voted for President Bush in 2000, and four other Sept. 11 widows endorsed Kerry at a Washington news conference yesterday, saying they had been bitterly disappointed with the war in Iraq and by the way the White House had "stonewalled" attempts to uncover why the country's intelligence services had failed before the terror attacks.
I am here because I am scared," said Breitweiser, of Middletown, N.J. The nation is not safer today, she contended.
The war with Iraq, said Lorie Van Auken, of East Brunswick, N.J., "has made America more vulnerable to attack, not less," adding, "Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11."
Of course, we should also expect the right wing slime machine to begin cranking out all kinds of negative publicity about these women. And the White House will, of course, disavow any knowledge and say that it's a shame and all that. And then the 9-11 Widows for Truth will step up to the plate with stories of what a courageous and decisive leader the preznit was in the days following 9-11 and blah, blah, blah.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Wingnuts on Parade
Via Atrios: from a Bush rally --
Most confusing sign of the day:
"If Jesus weren't a Jew, he'd be an American."Draw your own conclusions.
Ex-Pats and Out-of-Towners:
You gotta vote, too!
I know Rain Storm has a number of overseas readers -- folks in Australia, Japan, the UK, India, and occasionally some other countries, too.
If any of you are eligible to vote in the November election, I certainly hope you will. If you haven't made arrangements to get your ballot, yet, follow this link:
If you have American friends overseas, please pass it along to them, as well. Let's do everything we can so we can wake up on November 3rd with no regrets. Thanks.
Schools are a Cesspool of Germs
My blogging may be a little light today (as it was yesterday). My young ones started back at school last week and they are sick and require my attention. I knew you'd understand.
In the meantime, be sure to take a look at:
George W. Bush's signed contract to serve 5 years with his Texas Air National Guard unit after completion of his undergraduate pilot training (which would mean 5 years from the date he got his wings and was certified to fly his unit's F-102 interceptors). It's up at Paul Lukasiak's AWOL Project. Thanks to Josh Marshall for the link.
Digby's Time to Put on Your Game Face. Looks like we're having a hard time breaking the habit of forming a circle and conducting a firing squad. Let's stop snivling. Time to suck it up, get out there and do battle to win this thing.
Phil Carter's Stories I Missed (good to have you back online, Phil).
Via The Sideshow, Nader 2000 Leaders Organize to Defeat Bush. There are some big names on that list. They're arriving a little late, but there's still plenty of work to do. Welcome aboard, friends.
Rodger Payne notes Colin Powell's assessment of how John Kerry would respond to terrorism:
"As commander in chief, I think he'd respond to it in a robust way."Take that, Dick. And Rodger, I think we all miss Billmon.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
The Flag Burning Amendment:
political cynicism in an election year
The Republican leadership in the Senate, apparently unable to find anything important to do, is planning on introducing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban desecration of the American flag. According to the WaPo:
For some Republicans it is the perfect political storm: a Senate vote on a constitutional amendment to protect the U.S. flag that would put Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, running mate John Edwards and Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle on the spot just a few weeks before the Nov. 2 elections.I have a suggestion. It's not original. I think I heard it on NPR 15 years ago. But since the Republicans maintain that the flag burning amendment is important to veterans groups, I as a veteran will put it out into the blogosphere for consideration. Here's the flag protection amendment I would like to see:
The American Flag shall be made only of asbestos. That way, it cannot be burned. And every chickenhawk politician who attempts to drape himself in the flag runs a high risk of getting cancer.There it is.
Monday, September 13, 2004
How Many More Must Die
for Bush's Blunder?
I agree with Josh Marshall. John Kerry needs a zinger on Iraq -- one slogan or question about the ultimate failure of the Bush administration that the American people will remember when they go to the polls in November. Josh says:
In political rhetoric, coherence and clarity almost always trumps substance. So substance must be rendered very coherent and very clear.I'm willing to offer my suggestion. If you are close to the Kerry campaign, feel free to pass it up the line. Here is what John Kerry needs to ask the American people:
There's a pretty obvious response to the Bush line: Yeah, Saddam sucked. It's great that we're rid of him. But at what cost? A thousand American lives, upwards of half a trillion dollars and blowing up the whole world order?
How many more must die for Bush's Blunder?
Bush is on the Sauce Again.
It's an open secret in D.C.
I've got to quit leaving town. Here's another one I missed. Back on September 4, Mark Kleinman mentioned:
Bush's return to drinking is apparently common knowledge in DC, though it seems unlikely anyone will talk on the record.Well that explains why he keeps falling on his face.
Thanks to EMPHYRIO for catching it.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Looking for Work
A little Monday morning Internet humor.
An Israeli doctor says....."Medicine in my country is so advanced that we can take a kidney out of one man, put it in another, and have him looking for work in six weeks."Thanks to Christine.
A German doctor says........"That is nothing, we can take a lung out of one person, put it in another, and have him looking for work in four weeks."
A Russian doctor says......."In my country, medicine is so advanced that we can take half a heart out of one person, put it in another, and have them both looking for work in two weeks."
The Texas doctor, not to be outdone, says..."You guys are way behind. We recently took a man with no brain out of Texas, put him in the White House for four years, and now half the country is looking for work."
See the new animation from MoveOn.org.
Cocaine or Osama
Cocaine or Osama
Boy howdie -- tough call!
I've been a little slow to jump on the Fafblog bandwagon. I have to admit that frequently I don't get it. But this was pretty good:
What if George Bush really did have a coke habit an he is chasin down Osama bin Laden some day an he is closin in on Osama bin Laden an goin "oh I'll get you Osama bin Laden" an Osama bin Laden drops a bag a coke an George Bush is so overpowered by his desire to snort coke that he lets Osama get away?Yessiree. Hard to be macho man when you've got a bad case of the snow shakes.
The Crazy-People Vote
As a follow-on to my post below on Ralph Nader, here's some sage commentary from New Donkey:
In the end, Democrats should recognize that there is an irreducible minimum of roughly one percent of American voters who, basically, are crazy people. They've always been there, and God bless 'em, they always will be there. They have every right to their opinions. Some of them will vote for overtly crazy-people candidates, and some will vote for Ralph, who's staked out a position near the gates of delirium. Some won't vote at all, and nobody knows what they'll do if they show up at the polls and don't see a valid crazy-people option.Still, it never hurts to be there in the parking lots of the polling places on election day, handing out a little something to help the crazies see the light.
The Kerry campaign should obviously make every effort to convince voters that this is a high-stakes election with stark differences between the two candidates, in which every vote counts in the actual, two-party choice. But beyond that, Democrats should leave the fringe votes that Nader and others may receive in the hands of the Lord, or whatever other voices fringe voters happen to hear.
Latest Pentagon Hissy Fit:
Sy Hersh's New Book
Looks like Donald Rumsfeld and his henchmen would love to get their hands around the throats of the unidentified sources in Seymour Hersh's new book Chain of Command: the Road From 9-11 to Abu Ghraib.
As Steve Clemons notes, the Pentagon has issued a press release slamming the book, even though it hasn't even been released yet.
It comes as no surprise that Hersh takes aim at the Pentagon leadership and the White House for their roles in fostering a command environment that not only allowed but encouraged the prison abuses in Iraq. Evidence from Hersh's sources indicates that the White House's "just a few bad apples" theory is perfectly in keeping with the administration's pattern of lies and failure to take responsibility for anything.
Hersh has done some of the best investigative journalism in the country of late. Chain of Command should be just as good.
The General's Inner Frenchman
posts the best 9-11 tribute I've read
My compliments to Ms. Ani who is currently playing over at The American Street.
The GOP has Given Up
on the "Compassionate" part
David Neiwert at Orcinus is doing a good job of tracking photos that caputure the brutality of Republican operatives who encounter non-believers at Bush campaign events (be sure to see pictures here and here -- then when you're done reading this, go visit Suburban Guerrilla and read this).
These have caused me to reflect on the Compassionate Conservative slogan that Bush/Cheney, Inc. sold to the American voters so handily in 2000 (well, maybe not that handily -- important to remember that most of us voted against Bush in 2000). So what happened to all that compassion we should all be feeling by now?
I'm reminded of a moment in the Army. I was a young soldier in my second day at Airborne School, standing in formation out on the PT (physical training) field about an hour before sunrise. A short little buck sergeant named Watson who was one of the Black Hats (the team that was conducting our instruction and prepartation for parachute operations), was standing on an elevated wooden platform to lead us in our morning calisthenics.
Apparently the Black Hats were somewhat underwhelmed by our performance thus far. Standing on that platform Sergeant Watson announced, "We tried being nice to you people. It obviously didn't work."
I think that's how the GOP (God's Own Party?) must view us non-believers.
I never met an old soldier who wasn't capable of an occasional burst of colorful language.
The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency, a new book about Blair's relationship with the U.S., quotes Colin Powell describing others in the Bush administration as "fucking crazies."
According to The Guardian:
Needless to say, Powell got it exactly right. Powell's and Straw's offices both say they plan to vigorously deny the claims, of course. Thanks to Kevin Drum for the link.
A furious row has broken out over claims in a new book by BBC broadcaster James Naughtie that US Secretary of State Colin Powell described neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as 'fucking crazies' during the build-up to war in Iraq.
Powell's extraordinary outburst is alleged to have taken place during a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The two became close friends during the intense negotiations in the summer of 2002 to build an international coalition for intervention via the United Nations. The 'crazies' are said to be Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.