Eminem weighs in on the Bush administration in his new video, "Mosh."
[Thanks to P.O. for this one.]
Pity the military commanders who dare to raise objections to sweetheart deals doled out to Dick Cheney's former employer, like the $165 million contract in question below that raised red flags.
Bunnatine Greenhouse, the Corps of Engineers' chief contracting officer, questioned a decision by commanders to award a contract extension to Halliburton, the oil services company run by Dick Cheney until he became vice president, without the competitive bidding designed to protect U.S. taxpayers.
The FBI is seeking to question Greenhouse, her lawyer said Thursday, marking an expansion of the bureau's ongoing investigation of other Halliburton contracts.
"I cannot approve this," Greenhouse wrote on one version of the proposal that is filled with her handwritten scrawls such as "Incorrect!"; "No! How!"; and "Not a valid reason."
Greenhouse, who was threatened with demotion after raising objections to the Halliburton contract, sent her complaints to acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee. Portions of her letter to Brownlee were obtained by Time magazine last week.
Even the ultra-partisan Ashcroft couldn't muzzle the FBI from investigating more criminal behavior on the part of cronies of Bush and Cheney.
Never underestimate, though, just how far the Bush camp will stoop: The IRS is reviewing the tax-exempt status of the NAACP because its chairman "condemned the administration policies of George W. Bush on education, the economy and the war in Iraq" in a July 11 speech.
Frances Hill, an authority on non-profit groups at the University of Miami Law School, called it "amazing" that the IRS would audit a group based on a public speech.
"Usually you would look for some activity other than disagreeing with policies," she said.
More than three years after the deadliest terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Saudi mastermind Osama bin Laden remember the guy Bush vowed to catch "dead or alive"? released a new videotape in which he appears to be in good health.
Bin Laden took direct responsibility for ordering the attacks, unwittingly highlighting Bush's abject failure to capture him.
"It appeared to him (Bush) that a little girl's talk about her goat and its butting was more important than the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers. That gave us three times the required time to carry out the operations, thank God," he said.
Could this be the October surprise theorized about by conspiracy theorists? In some ways, it's worse: Chasing bad guy du jour Saddam Hussein in what Cheney calls a "spectacular success," the Bush administration has failed the United States and its people.
As part of another discussion with L.C., this time on health care, it sounds like someone is being sold a bill of goods that somehow the poorest among us are responsible for a failing health care system, surely an easy scapegoat but as erroneous an argument as we'll ever encounter.
the problem is that there is so much exploitation of our health care system now that ends up getting paid for by the taxpayers...i do not feel i should be liable to pay for someone's abortions, you know? yes, it is unfair that kids do not have health care and i am not sure what the answer is to that but i know i do not want to sacrifice my health care as a hard working middle class contributor that does pay for it...i should not be forced to wait for treatment or for better technology because the government tells me i have to.
You're ABSOLUTELY correct that there's exploitation of our health care.
Pharmaceutical companies and their price-rigging cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, such as PROHIBITING Medicare from using its tremendous buying power to negotiate better prices something that is outright anti-competitive and anti-capitalist (it's what Wal-Mart does).
My sister lives in Canada and has NEVER waited for access to a doctor or a dentist any longer than I have, nor does she have to go to a government doctor. She's 29 ... and her take-home pay is the same as mine.
The US has the best treatments available because of the money the pharmaceutical companies make on the sales of their drugs...they are the primary innovators of new drugs marketed, especially for cancer research and heart disease...the # 1 killers in the country. Who is going to pay for the billions of dollars that go into R&D?? Medicare?? I don't think so...they are too busy paying for abortions and health care to illegals, Bruno...with my tax dollars to boot!!
Expecting Medicare to step in and regulate the drug companies would only hurt the welfare of the citizens of the US.
By the way, I know a lot of young healthy people in Canada too and they say the same thing you did about your sister. However, bottom line, I do not want socialized healthcare because I never want to be put in the position where I could become ill and not just need to go get a yearly physical, but need chemo or specific treatments that are life-saving. I doubt your sister and neither my friends use the Canadian health care system in that capacity.
So, anticompetitve measures should be enacted wherever possible in order increase profits (not R&D budgets, but profits) over the public good and affordable health care? That's domestic protectionism. Yet drugs can be purchased more cheaply in Mexico, Canada and abroad the same ones Americans are turning to in order to bypass pharmaceutical profiteering.
Medicare doesn't pay for abortions. Plus, the amount of money it pays for health care to "illegals" are but a drop in the bucket for the amount of labor they perform at below-market levels and the extent to which they buoy the American economy. (How many people do you know who would pick lettuce for 60 cents a head or wash dishes at a restaurant for $40 a night?)
Yet taxes can go down as we spend upwards of $330 billion a MONTH in Iraq?
My grandfather (and several aunts, uncles and cousins) also lived in Canada, and he had great health care throughout his declining health, eye surgeries and long-term hospital stay before he died last December. He had top specialists from all over the world, including the U.S., because, bottom line, Canada takes care of its citizens.
His quality of life was excellent and he lived to be 89.
A friend of a friend has a penchant for partisan sparring, which I am more than happy to oblige, even if I don't quite have the time to devote to it that I should. What follows is part of our exchange from this afternoon, sparked by my forwarding of an endorsement of Kerry by American Conservative magazine co-founder Scott McConnell.
It's quite an interesting study to see the twisted reasoning behind support for Bush. His comments are in italics.
This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that there is a difference of opinion within a party. For example, Ronald Regan was a president who fired more people in his administration than many other presidents combined. Why? Because to get the job done, bureaucracy sometimes needs to break ranks. The America Conservative is not one of the more favored Conservative outlets, compared to the National Review (founder of Conservative periodicals) or the Talk Radio circuit with more than 50 million avid followers. But back to Regan, so many Republicans broke ranks with him, and even tried to undermine his position. Bush has not fired anyone, and very few Republicans have broken ranks with Bush. ...
Every time a conservative breaks ranks with the extreme, reactionary right-wing factions, he seems to attack their credentials. I could just as easily say, "Zell who?"
Howard Stern, the No. 1 radio personality among listeners 18 to 34 and second among the 25-to-54 set, has exposed much of the hypocrisy of the Bush administration.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes: "Though he supported Bush after the 9/11 attacks, Stern now blasts the president for his positions on the war in Iraq, stem-cell research, the environment, gay marriage and religion."
He makes his millions from ant-Conservative views, like indecency. He is not a Conservative.
Never said he was, but I'd bet a bunch of his listeners never voted before. Perhaps now they will.
The reason why Bush will win is because Republicans are more united as a whole under Moderates, Conservatives and Liberal Republicans. The Democratic party has no uniform base of ideas under which the entire party believes in as a whole. No core of its own, no central message. Disparate, almost.
Oh, by the way, there are overwhelmingly more registered Dems than Repubs in this country always have been. In this election, Dems will re-elect Bush http://democrats.bushblog.us/ for many reasons:
1. Jews are Dems and like Bush's Israeli policy:
Jewish voters see the dangers posed by Bush's reckless, devil-may-care attitude in the Middle East.
The Washington Post writes: "Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) is gaining support among Jewish voters as growing numbers disapprove of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, according to a poll commissioned by the American Jewish Committee.
If the election were held today, 69 percent of Jewish voters would support Kerry, 24 percent would back Bush and 3 percent would give their votes to Ralph Nader, the survey found. That's an increase of 10 percentage points for Kerry since December, when the previous AJC poll showed him with 59 percent of the Jewish vote."
False again!!! Show me poll that is not dominated by liberal biased. Freidman and crew continue to blame Jews for the problems of the Islamic ideology and you think Jews want more of that? One word for Al Gore on the way to Hawaii, FLORIDA!!!
I'm not the one who started quoting polls. Israel has a myriad of issues to deal with, none of which can be simplified like "My Pet Goat." Bush campaign workers I know in Florida are worried, and with good reason.
When Bush's deregulation exposes the serious flaws in our health care system and its utter lack of attention to detail over something so mundane as flu shots (thus our true vulnerability to biological attack), who did we turn to? Canada and its "socialist" health system. Europe, curiously, hasn't faced any shortages whatsoever. The elderly recognize this.
So pay 50% more in taxes for socialized health care like Canada and UK. US still ranks #1 in health services in the world. Quote Canada's MRI wait or UK’s mad cow disease epidemic, but they are so good and the US is so bad.
Hey, I can make out-of-thin-air statistics, too. A little less jingoism and a little more reasoned study of the issue would go a long way.
Earlier, in response to "facts" about military cuts Clinton and Kerry supported (Bubba-obsessed, perhaps?), I wrote:
As for the "facts" below, it might mean something if we still had a superpower we were facing and not 19 guys with boxcutters, a death wish and utter hatred for all the great things that are America 15 of whom were from Saudi Arabia, state sponsor of terror.
So why do Liberals say we are not safe if we are? Reagan defeated Russia and Bush will defeat radical Islam. So far Republicans are more than 4 for 4 but who is counting other than the good people Republicans have helped. Civil War, Cold War and Both Iraq Wars (lets count as 1) and winning war on Terror has freed slaves, Spanish Colonies, Central Americans, Kuwaitis, Iraqis and Afghanis well over 75 million people. Who bombed innocent Japanese? Truman. Who lost China? Roosevelt. Allowed for Communism to take over 90 countries and kill 100 million people? More Dems. Who lost Korea? Kennedy. Vietnam? Johnson. N. Korea nuclear freeze? Clinton. Dems lose wars, kill people and abandoned democracy.
1. We're talking about now, not WWII. That's the problem with folks like Rumsfeld stuck in Cold War mentality. (Kennedy lost the Korean War? Even though it ended in 1953 a full eight years before he took office?)
Bush still ignored an Aug. 6 presidential briefing titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike America," which was not "historical" in nature as Condoleezza Rice attempted to argue (a perfunctory look at the TITLE establishes that).
It was historical in that the info pertained to data of Osama from 1998, it was 2001, hello?. What was Bush supposed to do, arrest Osama as Kerry wrote in his book from the mid 90’s? Or engage in falatio as Bill Clinton was on Airforce 1 with Monica Lewinski while Osama was destroyable under surveillance in the Sudan. Or what about Clinton and Dick Clarke who turned their back while 800,000 people were killed Rumalia. Clinton passed on both accords. 5 terror attacks in the 90’s under Clinton.
2. Fellatio was the Republicans' concern throughout Clinton's presidency, an obsession the Sept. 11 commission noted as creating an atmosphere unwilling to support the president's military actions abroad. Nonetheless, how about the fact that Bush ignored the very report that might have prompted authorities to step up its vigilance? Shouting "Clinton did this! Clinton did that!" does nothing to support the re-election of failed Bush policies at every turn.
It was Bush who allowed Ashcroft to slash domestic antiterrorism funding from the FBI, even as Ashcroft was more concerned about covering up the breast of a STATUE in D.C.
It was Bush who first opposed, then supported the creation of a Department of Homeland Security (the made it toothless).
It was Bush who first opposed, then supported the creation of a Sept. 11 investigation, then opposed and later relented over speaking to investigators.
It was Bush who has not pursued or even mentioned Osama bin Laden for months prior to the debate, much less made capturing him a priority.
It was Bush who has not pressured to shut down or has even mentioned the funding his family's Saudi allies provide to religious, fanatical masadras i.e., sponsors of terrorism.
[Thanks to L.C. for unwittingly facilitating this exchange. It felt like being on "Crossfire."]
How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to change a light bulb?
The answer is 10
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 step ladder under the banner: "Lightbulb 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.
This political season has given rise to a host of the Scariest Halloween Costumes.
Will you be an arrested RNC protester, Jenna Bush's liver or the littlest Abu Ghraib prisoner?
That's a tougher choice than the one on Election Day.
[Thanks to D.K. for this one.]
Though Bush has always seemed something of a caricature, now you can see the true nature of the beast in this animated short, "Richie Bush, The Poor Little Oligarch."
[Thanks to J.R. for this, too.]
Ever wish you could give the deserter-in-chief a brain?
Now you can.
[Thanks to J.R. for this one.]
The only way the Republicans can return one of their own to the White House this November is the way they did it last time cheating and violence.
They are planning to keep black voters from the polls and have even been caught sending e-mail containing their plans, the BBC reports.
In West Palm Beach, Fla., a Bush supporter was charged with imprisoning and threatening his girlfriend, who was considering voting for Kerry. "I kill you," he said, according to the arrest report. "You want (to) live to see the election?"
Sixty-five miles west in Vero Beach, Fla., AP reports, "anti-John Kerry demonstrator [Michael Garone, 52] was charged with felony aggravated assault with a gun for allegedly pointing a weapon at the head of a Kerry supporter."
More bad news for the Bush camp:
AP writes: The FBI has begun investigating whether the Pentagon improperly awarded no-bid contracts to Halliburton Co., seeking an interview with a top Army contracting officer and collecting documents from several government offices.
And trouble in New Hampshire: "In a Republican state that has never refused a governor of either party a second term, Democrat John Lynch is running a surprisingly strong campaign against freshman Republican Gov. Craig Benson. Polls show the race about even."
A piece by Salon reader Kevin Criss, who argues that black voter opinion is lacking from major polls, makes the following points and predictions:
First, let me just say prepare for the death of polls, as that will be the dominant story coming out of election night. First blacks. I saw Ann Coulter on some show where she was literally speaking for black America. Being that she is an aging white chick with poorly dyed roots, she obviously got it wrong. Those polls saying how Bush will get 16 to 18 percent of the black vote are just wrong. To quote ODB, "Nigga please." ...
Kerry wins Arizona: This state has the most college students per capita. Kerry will win Flagstaff, Tucson and Tempe. Throw in Native Americans, Latins, and even moderate Republicans who will vote Democratic (they got the Democratic governor elected), and oh I forgot all the Independents, Kerry will win this state.
Kerry wins Nevada: This state simply comes down to Vegas. Kerry will win Vegas by a big enough margin to cancel out the rest of the state.
Kerry win Missouri: What people either don't realize or just don't give a fuck to report is that the black mobilization efforts in St. Louis and Kansas City are second to none, literally. Florida got the attention last time, but people seem to have forgotten that blacks there were denied the right to vote at many polling places that were closed on them. Throw in college towns, Kerry wins.
Kerry wins Minnesota: I can't believe people actually think this state is close. What people tend to forget is that voters here can register as you vote. Throw in Ventura's endorsement and the young'ns.
Kerry wins Colorado: Sometimes people just got to listen to the streets. I have family and friends in Colorado, and what they tell me is that "Fahrenheit 9/11" has had a huge impact there, so much so they are still talking about it, and as people watched it they were changed by it. How can a tradtional red state have a rich ass Senate candidate getting his ass kicked and polls showing Bush/Kerry within the margin. Kerry wins.
Kerry wins Texas: PSYCH! But just as people are saying Kerry wins CA, NY, and NJ by closer margins, so does Bush take his own state. I'll go out on a margin and say Bush gets no more than 60 percent in his own state. Holla.
[Thanks to P.O., C.M. and E.F. for these contributions.]
I walk out of work angry sometimes at the media, at the public, at my own friends for not "getting it."
I cannot for the life of me understand how people aren't out rioting in the streets to protest the disgusting excuse for leadership and their simple manipulations of our fears to carry out an agenda for which they have no mandate.
Sometimes, I get angry when people don't care to talk about this first and foremost. Anything short of outrage and you're simply not listening.
While the worst president ever pays meaningless lip service to spreading freedom abroad, his trusty cronies are once again taking steps to prevent votes from counting.
Amy Sherman and Erika Bolstad of the Miami Herald write:
After a brief inquiry, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has closed its investigation into why thousands of absentee ballots have not reached Broward County voters.
The largely Democratic county has received 50,000 ballots out of the 127,000 that were requested.
"Let's face it. It's no surprise that the only county where these absentee ballots go missing is Broward, the most democratic county in the state," writes friend and former colleague C.M., who gets credit for passing along this article.
U.S. Army Lt. Paul Rieckhoff, executive director and founder of Operation Truth, went $20,000 into debt to found the organization running those ads that feature a veteran whose hand was lost during a tour of duty in Iraq.
The ad reminds us: Bush told us there were WMD, but they weren't there.
Its purpose, Rieckhoff told CNN, is not to speak out against the war but "to speak out about the war" and its human costs.
Yes, Bush Can, "the campaign that tells it like it is," has abandoned its effort to support the failed administration and endorsed Kerry for president.
"In the course of our travels, we ended up learning more about Bush's policies than he wanted us to know," said Harmon Spellmeyer, one of the Yes, Bush Can team. "We came to see that this administration is a catastrophe for most people."
Better late than never.
[Thanks to M.H. for this.]
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush could very well deliver the state's electoral votes for his unelected brother this time around if all goes to plan. See for yourself: Florida Election Ballot.
[Thanks to A.S. in Los Angeles for this.]
In its newest display of astounding incompetence, the Bush administration failed to secure nearly 360 tons of high-powered explosives in Iraq.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on CNN this afternoon called it an unfortunate series of "unintended consequences," not unlike the Supreme Court selecting Bush as the "winner" of the 2000 election.
The missing cache includes HMX and RDX, which are "key ingredients in plastic explosives such as C-4 and Semtex substances so powerful that Libyan terrorists needed just one pound to blow up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 170 people."
Q. What's the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?
A. George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War.
[Thanks to C.D. for this.]
If you've wondered what Bush was scribbling during the presidential debates, you're not alone.
I'm just surprised he was so prolific.
[Thanks to D.K. for this one.]
"The lackadaisical international response has already permitted the deaths of about 100,000 people in Darfur, and up to 10,000 more are dying each month," writes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.
Why aren't we doing more over there? Could a misguided war in Iraq, our overburdened military and an election in which Bush can't cut taxes quickly enough in an effort to buy his way to victory?
This is how we "spread freedom," to use Bush's disingenuous words?
How lame do you have to be to have your own relatives oppose your candidacy?
Just ask Bush.
Boston Globe correspondent Sandeep Kaushik writes:
Six blood relatives of President Bush who support John F. Kerry's bid for the presidency have launched a website to publicize their sharp disagreements with Bush's policies.
The site, www.bushrelativesforkerry.com, consists of personal statements from a group of decidedly liberal second cousins of the president, none of whom knows him personally. All are grandchildren of Mary Bush House, the sister of Prescott Bush, a former US senator from Connecticut and the father and grandfather of the two Bush presidents.
Doug Bandow, special assistant to President Reagan and a former visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, lays out very even-headed arguments in the Doonesbury favorite, "Why conservatives must not vote for Bush."
Even Bush's conservative sycophants have trouble finding policies to praise. Certainly it cannot be federal spending. In 2000 candidate Bush complained that Al Gore would "throw the budget out of balance." But the big-spending Bush administration and GOP Congress have turned a 10-year budget surplus once estimated at $5.6 trillion into an estimated $5 trillion flood of red ink. This year's deficit will run about $445 billion, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation reports that in 2003 "government spending exceeded $20,000 per household for the first time since World War II." There are few programs at which the president has not thrown money; he has supported massive farm subsidies, an expensive new Medicare drug benefit, thousands of pork barrel projects, dubious homeland security grants, an expansion of Bill Clinton's AmeriCorps, and new foreign aid programs. What's more, says former conservative Republican Rep. Bob Barr, "in the midst of the war on terror and $500 billion deficits, [Bush] proposes sending spaceships to Mars."
I'm surprised he didn't propose going to Mickey and Pluto.
The New York Times op-ed board comes to the party a tad late, casting the Bush administration as having had a "disastrous tenure." (Never mind that the Times took its sweet time in bringing the facts behind such an assessment to light.)
In its Sunday endorsement of John Kerry for president, the Times appears to hit all its points. Yet a few revelations were still hair-raising:
We have specific fears about what would happen in a second Bush term, particularly regarding the Supreme Court. The record so far gives us plenty of cause for worry. Thanks to Mr. Bush, Jay Bybee, the author of an infamous Justice Department memo justifying the use of torture as an interrogation technique, is now a federal appeals court judge. Another Bush selection, J. Leon Holmes, a federal judge in Arkansas, has written that wives must be subordinate to their husbands and compared abortion rights activists to Nazis. ...
The Bush White House has always given us the worst aspects of the American right without any of the advantages. We get the radical goals but not the efficient management. The Department of Education's handling of the No Child Left Behind Act has been heavily politicized and inept. The Department of Homeland Security is famous for its useless alerts and its inability to distribute antiterrorism aid according to actual threats. Without providing enough troops to properly secure Iraq, the administration has managed to so strain the resources of our armed forces that the nation is unprepared to respond to a crisis anywhere else in the world.
Better late than never.
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart pulled off a masterful performance on CNN's "Crossfire" this afternoon, in which he was the most sober and lucid person on stage. In the process, he left former Clinton strategist Paul Begala at a seeming loss for words and conservative darling Tucker "Butt Boy" Carlson probably wishing he had been so lucky.
Stewart made a heartfelt plea for honest debate of the issues and a greater responsibility to the public discourse than "partisan hackery." All this, of course, fell on deaf ears.
Highlights from Stewart's skewering of the bow tie-wearing fool include the following:
STEWART: Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America. ... See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations. And we're left out there to mow our lawns.
BEGALA: By beating up on them? You just said we're too rough on them when they make mistakes.
STEWART: No, no, no, you're not too rough on them. You're part of their strategies. You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks.
CARLSON: Jon, Jon, Jon, I'm sorry. I think you're a good comedian. I think your lectures are boring.
CARLSON: Let me ask you a question on the news.
STEWART: Now, this is theater. It's obvious. How old are you?
STEWART: And you wear a bow tie. ...
CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?
CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...
STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. What is wrong with you?
BEGALA: Which candidate do you suppose would provide you better material if he won? ...
STEWART: I don't really know. That's kind of not how we look at it. We look at, the absurdity of the system provides us the most material. And that is best served by sort of the theater of it all, you know, which, by the way, thank you both, because it's been helpful.
CARLSON: But, if Kerry gets elected, is it going to -- you have said you're voting for him. You obviously support him. It's clear. Will it be harder for you to mock his administration if he becomes president?
STEWART: The only way it would be harder is if his administration is less absurd than this one. So, in that case, if it's less absurd, then, yes, I think it would be harder. But, I mean, it would be hard to top this group, quite frankly.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
I'd laugh harder if the crying didn't also get in the way.
Stewart did get in one good jab, for whick Carlson had no real reply.
CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just my opinion. ...
STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.
How do you run a convention on a record of failure?
Independent video producer Brennan Houlihan created "The Real (Abridged) Republican Convention." The Quicktime video feature highlights how politicians repeat the key words they want you to remember and link in your mind to create the fear necessary to benefit them, regardless of the truth.
How many times do you think they mentioned Osama bin Laden or the favorite Bush state sponsor of terror, Saudi Arabia? None.
Now, repeat after me: Worst President Ever.
[Thanks to M.H. for this link.]
Which candidate performed the ultimate flip-flop on the war on terrorism, homeland security, the Sept. 11 commission, nation building, weapons of mass destruction, oil prices, gay marriage, free trade, campaign finance reform and the fictitious link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida?
Hint: It isn't Kerry.
Most of sobering of all is the included quote by Alexander Tyler in 1778:
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates prosmising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."
[Thanks to D.C. for this.]
The petulant misleader-in-chief stormed off stage instead of responding to reporters' questions about his relationship with Enron's former CEO Kenneth "Kenny Boy" Lay, who presided over one of the largest corporate shell games in history but has yet to be brought to justice (as Martha Stewart, sadly, has been).
The White House has, of course, sought to downplay Bush's cozy relationship with the one of the giants of corporate malfeasance. But scores of letters between the two, some handwritten, reveal the ease with which Lay would offer words of support over knee surgery or ask Dumbya for favors, i.e., energy deregulation:
"Your focus on opportunity and responsibility was one that I believe resonates around the country as well as in Texas. As one of those opportunities, we hope that you will again actively support efforts to pass a bill restructuring the electric industry."
Perhaps Bush walked off stage because he lacked the rumored transmitter in his ear used in the debates.
Either way, this is surely the one issue on which Bush can actually claim "Mission accomplished."
Two Faces of Bush, a smartly designed multimedia presentation on our misleader-in-chief's, points out the gaffes that hint at his duplicitous.
The Bush campaign is surely hoping the Kerry camp doesn't run TV spots pointing out his own flip-flops and disingenuous remarks.
It becomes quite an excercise to try to think of a single issue on which the ideological, extremist Bush administration has not been discredited. The latest example comes from the government's 1,000-page report by chief U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer, called "most definitive account of Iraq's arms programs," writes The Washington Post.
The officials said Duelfer, an experienced former United Nations weapons inspector, found that the state of Hussein's weapons-development programs and knowledge base was less advanced in 2003, when the war began, than it was in 1998, when international inspectors left Iraq.
"They have not found anything yet," said one U.S. official who had been briefed on the report.
More than 1,000 American soldiers killed, not to mention tens of thousands of Iraqis, and hundreds of billions of dollars of tax funds wasted on an ideological war that went awry and this guy has the temerity to seek re-election?
Someone has finally started to take Bush to task for his family's coddling of the Saudi royal family in a new series of ads. (Besides Kerry's "sucker Saudi punch" in late May, that is.) The Media Fund announced it would spend $6.5 million to run its damning ads in Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin.
The ad helpfully reminds us that 15 of the 19 hijackers implicated in the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. were carried out by Saudis, among the world's most repressive regimes and funders of extremist madrasas, or Islamic fundamentalist schools, and close friends of the Bush family.
Not surprisingly, a spokesman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., didn't care much for the ads, the Times tells us.
Mr. Jubeir had harsher words for the Media Fund advertisements, one of which calls the Saudi royal family "close Bush family friends" who are "corrupt." It goes on to note "even though 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, top Bush adviser James Baker's law firm is defending Saudi Arabia against the victims' families." The spot includes images of President Bush holding hands with Crown Prince Abdullah and mug shots of the Sept. 11 hijackers superimposed above a shot of rubble from the attacks.
The positive spin from this is: At least Bush isn't afraid to hold hands with a dude.
Although Bush is quick to pay lip service to members of our armed forces, the reality of his actions are a disgusting abandonment of their needs at the time they need it most.
The Washington Post points out that thousands of wounded troops can't find help from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The disability benefits and health care systems that provide services for about 5 million American veterans have been overloaded for decades and have a current backlog of more than 300,000 claims. And because they were mobilized to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 150,000 National Guard and reservist veterans had become eligible for health care and benefits as of Aug. 1. That number is rising.
At the same time, President Bush's budget for 2005 calls for cutting the Department of Veterans Affairs staff that handles benefits claims, and some veterans report long waits for benefits and confusing claims decisions.
Bush hypocrisy knows no bounds.
Salon correspondent Phillip Robertson offers a grim assessment of the situation on the ground in Iraq, and it is one vastly different from the one a misleader offers, ignorant of news reports and expert CIA reports.
A young Apache helicopter gunner who has fought in many of Iraq's major battles wrote me a few days ago and said: "I have a feeling that with every one member of the resistance that we kill, we give birth to ten more." At a distance of hundreds of feet in the air, a perceptive man can say this. Here is what the situation looks like from the ground.
Iraq seems modern only at first glance. The highways, factories and cities are familiar enough but they hide a deep tribal sensibility. Insults to family honor in Iraq are usually repaid in blood or money depending on the severity, and this system of revenge and honor fuels the war instead of slowing it down. The United States military, unable to relate to a tribal society, finds itself the player in a nationwide blood feud. To understand the intensity of these feelings of honor and kinship, read "Othello" or watch "The Godfather." This is how many tribal Iraqis perceive the world. It is not necessarily a lack of sophistication but a mark of being outside the West. Tribal culture in Iraq goes back thousands of years. When an Iraqi man loses a family member to an American missile, he must take another American life to even the score. He may not subscribe to the notion that some Americans are noncombatants, viewing them instead as the members of a supertribe that has come to invade his land.
[Thanks to D.P. for passing along word of this author.]
Although he boasts that he doesn't read newspapers and continues to claim sweetness and sunshine in Iraq despite an ever worsening situation (among other flip-flops of reality), Bush handed critics a few doozies during his trouncing by Kerry.
Debate moderator Jim Leher asked Bush a simple question:
"You have said there was a, quote, miscalculation, of what the conditions would be in post-war Iraq. What was the miscalculation, and how did it happen?"
Bush rambles about achieving "such a rapid victory," something about Gen. Tommy Franks, "mixed signals to our troops," NATO and Jordan, our "alliance" and an upcoming summit hosted by Japan. But perhaps most telling was his out-of-the-blue contention that he understands what "hard work" it is to combat terrorism.
"I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day," he said. "I see on the TV screens how hard it is."
[Thanks to A.H. for reminding me of this winner.]
Money whiz Andrew Tobias attended Thursday's presidential debate and came away with some great, common-sense impressions:
Bush was a really handsome 20-something in that airman's photo we see over and over again but what has he ever done that could possibly, conceivably, under even the most ludicrous of circumstances have qualified him to be the most powerful man in the world?
(Or as Andrew Sullivan put it as the debate ended, "We may have just had a man-behind-the-curtain moment. We are at war the most dangerous war we have ever been in. And this guy is in charge?")
(Or as Bush himself reportedly put it to a long-time friend when he was first being encouraged to run for governor: “You know, I could run for governor but I’m basically a media creation. I’ve never done anything.”)
What’s more, he didn't actually look so good Thursday.
But Tobias, whose tax cut software was the first I bought for my Commodore VIC-20 more years ago than I care to count, doesn't stop there.
He plugs the thoughtful and even-handed film, titled "Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry," predicts a record turnout and quotes a surprising endorsement by the son of President Eisenhower:
As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration’s decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.
The fact is that today’s “Republican” Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today’s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.
[Thanks to C.D. for pointing out this article.]
Don't write off Arizona as a red state, argues a Salon.com article. Women turned off by Bush's extremist right-wing rhetoric yet still Republican are veering away from the party line, a trait that signals maturity in the eyes of one longtime Arizona resident and lifelong Republican Judith Allen.
Although it is traditionally conservative, Arizona boasts a fiercely independent and occasionally progressive streak. It's the state that produced Barry Goldwater, the far right-winger who morphed into a maverick conservative, as well as the poster child for political independence, John McCain. In 1998, voters elected the "Fabulous Five," the country's first all-female line of succession: governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and superintendent of public instruction. These days, with its constant influx of new residents and Phoenix's recent designation as the country's fifth-largest city, Arizona's political landscape still is tough to categorize. But the last gubernatorial election signaled what many consider to be a powerful shift.
In 2002, the Republican Party pitted a far-right, pro-life conservative, Matt Salmon, against a moderate, pro-choice Democrat named Janet Napolitano. Napolitano, who was tough on crime and favored the death penalty while serving as the state's attorney general, won by only 1 percent or 11,819 votes to become the state's first elected Democratic governor in 20 years. ...
"I used to think, and I know many people do, you define yourself by your party," she says. "And since I have not been in [elected] office, I've realized, first, that I am an American. And I really don't want to be defined as a party because currently the party doesn't represent me."
[Thanks again to D.P. for this article.]