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Sunday, October 31, 2004

More Proof That Bush Supporters Tend To Be Misinformed. 

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From A Kevin Drum Guest Blogger:

FUN FACTS... From two Boston Globe columnists, two interesting poll numbers I'd not seen on which groups are predisposed to believe falsehoods about Iraq. There's this from Ellen Goodman:

As recently as two weeks ago, the Harris Poll showed that 41 percent of Americans still link Saddam Hussein with the hijackers. What's more disheartening is the gender gap of misinformation: 51 percent of women compared with 29 percent of men connect Iraq and al Qaeda.

And this from Dan Payne:

Nonpartisan, academic poll found 72 percent of Bush supporters still believe Iraq had WMD. 75 percent think Iraq gave substantial support to Al Qaeda. Some 63 percent believe evidence of this support has been found. Should US have gone to war if our intelligence concluded Iraq was not making WMD or supporting Al Qaeda? 58 percent said no.

—Paul Glastris



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Americans Are Not The Only Ones Completely Tired Of Bush 

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Blair’s Wife, Next To Last person Who Still Likes Bush, Finally Turns

Cherie Blair has been accused of criticising George W Bush's policies in a private address she gave during a United States lecture tour


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Sunday Science Thread 

been meaning to catch up on these



Indonesia's Hobbit-Sized Humans Find Humble Home



JAKARTA (Reuters) - Newly unearthed remains of hobbit-sized humans, perhaps one of the most significant finds involving human evolution in recent years, are being stored in an office drawer in the Indonesian capital.

A lack of funds and strict laws on the removal of national treasures from the country mean the bones of several Homo floresiensis, who stood about one meter (three feet) tall and walked the earth about 13,000 years ago, are being kept at a modest government office in Jakarta, archaeologists said.

The small hominids, dubbed "Flores man," were first unearthed in a limestone cave on the remote island of Flores in 2003 by Australian and Indonesian scientists and the findings published to great acclaim this week in the journal Nature.

"They are now stored in a steel cabinet in the office," Thomas Sutikna, the archaeologist who first discovered the prized skull of a "Flores man," told Reuters on Friday, referring to the National Archaeology office in Jakarta.

"In 2004 we also found the lower part of a jaw, parts of legs and arms and some teeth."





Scientists are shocked to learn that human remains found in Indonesia in 2003 belong to a previously unknown miniature human species that lived on a south Asian island just 18,000 years ago.

The full-grown female human was barely a meter tall, with a skull the size of a grapefruit. The discovery is proof, the researchers say, that human species in the recent past are much more diverse than previously thought.


Excavators discovered the remains of a cranium, right and left leg, hand and other bone fragments in a cave called Liang Bua on the Indonesian island of Flores, about 400 miles east of Bali.

The archeology world is agog. Researchers previously believed that people with such a small brain and body last walked the Earth 3 million years ago.

"I would have been less surprised if my colleagues had found an alien spacecraft," said Peter Brown, an associate professor of archaeology at Australia's University of New England in Armidale, who describes his analysis of the remains in the Oct. 28 issue of Nature.

The fact that the remains date to just 18,000 years ago is remarkable, Brown said. "In evolutionary terms, this was yesterday."

Indonesian Folklore About Tribes Of Little People Apparently Were Not Folklore






PASADENA, Calif., Oct. 25 - Scientists are about to get their first really close and revealing look at Titan, the invitingly mysterious giant moon of Saturn.

The Cassini spacecraft is on course to pass within 750 miles of Titan at 12:44 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday. Its cameras and imaging radar system are expected to break through the moon's opaque atmosphere and for the first time map wide swaths of its hidden surface.

Because Cassini's antenna will be pointing away from Earth through the flyby, at least nine hours will pass before the spacecraft is expected to begin transmitting the first pictures.

At a diameter of 3,200 miles, Titan is half again as large as Earth's Moon and only slightly smaller than Jupiter's Ganymede, the goliath of solar system satellites. Unlike all other known moons, Titan is enveloped in a thick atmosphere of nitrogen gas mixed with a permanent smoggy haze, to the frustration of astronomers.


Just Like A Tourist, Italian Space Probe Visits Saturn's Moon, Takes Pictures






File This Under Could-Get-Any-Weirder

Oct. 22, 2004 — A University of Florida scientist has created a living "brain" of cultured rat cells that now controls an F-22 fighter jet flight simulator.

Scientists say the research could lead to tiny, brain-controlled prosthetic devices and unmanned airplanes flown by living computers.

And if scientists can decipher the ground rules of how such neural networks function, the research also may result in novel computing systems that could tackle dangerous search-and-rescue jobs and perform bomb damage assessment without endangering humans.

Additionally, the interaction of the cells within the lab-assembled brain also may allow scientists to better understand how the human brain works. The data may one day enable researchers to determine causes and possible non-invasive cures for neural disorders, such as epilepsy.

For the recent project, Thomas DeMarse, a University of Florida professor of biomedical engineering, placed an electrode grid at the bottom of a glass dish and then covered the grid with rat neurons. The cells initially resembled individual grains of sand in liquid, but they soon extended microscopic lines toward each other, gradually forming a neural network — a brain — that DeMarse says is a "living computational device."

The brain then communicates with the flight simulator through a desktop computer.

"We grow approximately 25,000 cells on a 60-channel multi-electrode array, which permits us to measure the signals produced by the activity each neuron produces as it transmits information across this network of living neurons," DeMarse told Discovery News. "Using these same channels (electrodes) we can also stimulate activity at each of the 60 locations (electrodes) in the network. Together, we have a bidirectional interface to the neural network where we can input information via stimulation. The network processes the information, and we can listen to the network's response."





Einstein dead For 49 Years, Still Kicking Ass

By measuring variations in satellite orbits, scientists have found the first direct evidence of one of the hallowed tenets of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity -- that the Earth and other large celestial bodies distort space and time as they rotate.

Researchers reporting yesterday in the journal Nature said improved satellite data had enabled them to show the effect known as "frame-dragging" with a degree of precision never previously possible.








Scientists Look To Recreate….Creation. Uh…Good Luck With That.


GENEVA (Reuters) - It has revolutionized physics, made Nobel Prize winners and given birth to the World Wide Web -- now its successor looks set to answer some of the natural world's most fundamental questions.


CERN the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has made many formidable discoveries since its launch 50 years ago, but these achievements could be dwarfed by findings from a 17-mile accelerator, or particle-smasher, being assembled outside Geneva.

From 2007 it will be firing particles at speeds nearing that of light, before smashing them together to re-create the conditions scientists believe existed less than one billionth of a second after the Big Bang -- the birth of the cosmos some 14 billion years ago.

"(We) have achieved very, very important results in what we call particle physics, which is to say, what happened after the Big Bang," said CERN Director-General Robert Aymar.






Aging but still on the go, climbing in and around craters, tapping into the mysteries of strangely cracked rocks, the two roving vehicles Spirit and Opportunity have explored Mars about three times as long as originally scheduled and keep finding evidence of past liquid water shaping the now arid surface.

Two Robots On Mars Still Roving, Find More Evidence Of Water




Tyrannosaurus rex may have had a coat of fluffy feathers.

This conclusion comes from US and Chinese scientists who today announce the discovery of a 130m-year-old forerunner of the lumbering Cretaceous predator.

Dilong paradoxus - its generic name comes from the Mandarin for emperor and dragon, and its species name from its unusual features - was the size of a turkey, had a single nose bone, a massive jaw, a long neck, and hands with three fingers.

Mark Norell of the American Museum of Natural History, Xing Xu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and other colleagues report in Nature that its fossils were unearthed in Liaoning province in China.

Dilong is the most primitive of the tyrannosaurid family found so far. But what shook the discoverers was that the region's unique volcanic ash and sandy muds preserved not just the skeleton but also some soft tissue - and the first direct evidence that tyrannosaurs had feathers, or at least branching structures an inch long called protofeathers.




Links Between Dinosaurs and Birds Grows Stronger With Chinese Find: Terrasaur With Feathers!!!!

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Saturday, October 30, 2004

these costumes are honestly too scary for children  


Tangled Web, Meet Weaver 

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Before Karen Hughes did an emergency rewrite, Mickey Herskowitz was hired to ghostwrite Bush's autobiography. Herskowitz states, among other stunners, that Bush planned to invade Iraq two years before 9/11 because Republicans were so impressed by the political capital Margaret Thatcher gained by invading the Falklands.

'According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush's beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House - ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. "Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade."'

Other revelations: Bush admitted he didn't fulfill his National Guard service, lied about flying inner-city kids in a plane in 1973; confessed his businesses were "floundering" before Hughes re-spun it; Bush Senior disagreed with his son's invasion of Iraq but kept mum...




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Partisan To The Bitter End 

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One last chapter of the investigation by the Sept. 11 commission, a supplement completed more than two months ago, has not yet been made public by the Justice Department, and officials say it is unlikely to be released before the presidential election, even though that had been a major goal of deadlines set for the panel.

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Eleanor Clift Goes For It 

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It's hard to game the election with all the conflicting polls, but my prediction is that it will break at the last minute for Kerry. With more than two thirds of the undecided voters saying the country is on the wrong track, Kerry should win. Bush got 47.9 percent of the vote in 2000, and that's where he is stuck today. A record voter turnout is expected, and that signals change, not four more years of the status quo.





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GOP To Poor: Fuck U  


A Little Late, But Gladly Kristoff Fully Turns On Bush 

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Taking Bush at His Word
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF


I often criticize statements by President Bush, so today let me praise some of his real wisdom:

• Oct. 11, 2000: "If we're an arrogant nation, [foreigners] will resent us. If we're a humble nation but strong, they'll welcome us. ... We've got to be humble."

It's a good thing Mr. Bush tried to be humble, or the U.S. would have an approval rating even lower than 5 percent in Jordan, and Osama bin Laden's approval rating in Pakistan would be higher than 65 percent.

• Feb. 27, 2001: "I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years. ... We should approach our nation's budget as any prudent family would."

But Mr. Bush, with the help of a weak economy, has transformed the Clinton budget surpluses into huge deficits. Since Mr. Bush took office, the federal debt has increased by $2.1 trillion, or 40 percent.

• Sept. 25, 2000: "It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas."

Hmm. And many of our exports go abroad. Meanwhile, despite the lackluster economy, oil imports are 1.3 million barrels per day higher than in Mr. Clinton's last year in office.

• June 11, 2001: "My administration is committed to a leadership role on the issue of climate change."

Great! Because America's carbon dioxide emissions, associated with global warming, have risen 1.7 percent since then.

• June 26, 2003: "Notorious human rights abusers, including, among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Zimbabwe, have long sought to shield their abuses from the eyes of the world by staging elaborate deceptions and denying access to international human rights monitors."

It takes a big man to admit mistakes, like his administration's practice of hiding certain Arab prisoners from Red Cross and other inspectors.

• Nov. 5, 2003: "In the debate about the rights of the unborn, we are asked to broaden the circle of our moral concern. ... We're asked by our convictions and tradition and compassion to build a culture of life, and make this a more just and welcoming society."

Abortions declined in the U.S. in the Clinton years; the abortion rate dropped by 22 percent in the 1990's. But while data are incomplete, abortions appear to have increased sharply since Mr. Bush took office. Glen H. Stassen, a Christian pro-life theologian, estimates that 52,000 more abortions occurred in 2002 than would have been expected based on the previous trend. Professor Stassen attributes the rise in abortions in part to the troubled economy and concerns among pregnant women that they cannot afford to have babies.

• May 25, 2004: "One of the challenges we face is to make sure the health care system responds to the needs of the citizens."

But five million more Americans don't have health insurance, compared with when Mr. Bush took office.

• Sept. 9, 2003: "We must focus early to make sure every child can read and write and add and subtract."

But Mr. Bush's budget guidelines translate into inflation-adjusted reductions in 2006 alone of more than $900 million for Head Start and childhood education.

• May 24, 2003: "We will not tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea."

On Mr. Bush's watch, North Korea is generally believed to have gone from two nuclear weapons to about eight.

• 2001: "Not on my watch."

Scrawled note by Mr. Bush on a report to him about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that had occurred under President Clinton.

That's reassuring to the 100,000 or more people in Darfur who have died in a spasm of murder and rape that Mr. Bush acknowledges as genocide.

• Sept. 30, 2004: "The biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network."

But the single most important step to reducing the risk that a nuclear weapon will destroy New York is to secure loose nukes abroad, and Mr. Bush has been lackadaisical about that. Only 135 out of 600 metric tons of Russian nuclear materials have been given comprehensive upgrades, and Mr. Bush initially proposed cutting funds for that program.

• Sept. 2, 1999: "Effective reform requires accountability. ... It is a sad story. High hopes, low achievement. Grand plans, unmet goals. My administration will do things differently."

Oh?



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8 More Marines  


Friday, October 29, 2004

1111 

remember this number when pulling that lever

Brilliant Idea here from Kos Diarist 

build Bush a fake Oval Office
by richardcownie
[Subscribe]

Fri Oct 29th, 2004 at 15:50:19 GMT

Since Bush and his followers obviously don't
care about actual facts, here's my suggestion:

Tell Bush he's won (maybe GHW can even be persuaded
to ring and congratulate him)

Build a fake Oval Office in Crawford TX and let
him spend the next 4 years there with Condi & Karl

Let Fox News keep him informed about his great
success, the progress of democracy in Iraq,
the construction of giant statue of W The Liberator
in Baghdad, and anything else to keep him happy.

Then Kerry and the rest of us can get on with trying
to repair the damage in the real world ...


Rude Pundit Must read 

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Fiddle On, Motherfuckers, Fiddle On:


If you take a moment and you sniff the air, what you get is the assaultive whiff of desperation coming from the Bush administration and the right wing of this country. The Rude Pundit refuses to make predictions, but there's a palpable sense growing in America that Kerry may actually win this long, lingering nightmare of a campaign. You get it from the shit smell of the dying Bush/Cheney campaign, the faded deodorant and armpit sweat stink from the conservative punditry.

You get it from the sight of Bush flailing about, like a jackrabbit on an electrified metal floor. It's a pathetic thing, as he hops around on the dais at his various events, searching for some spot where's there's comfort, peace, rest. God, you think, throw some water on that motherfucker so he just fries. Here's Bush's bizarro explanation of the failure to consider 760,000 pounds of powerful explosives worthy of securing: "If Senator Kerry had his way, we would still be taking our global test, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, he would control all those weapons and explosives, and could have shared them with our terrorist enemies." Let's see if we can follow the crazed leaps of logic here: because the United States under George W. Bush invaded Iraq, 40 to 60 semi-truckloads of the most dangerous explosives in the world were (more than likely) looted from a site that had previous been sealed and monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, thus placing the explosives in the hands of (more than likely) terrorist, insurgents, and/or unfriendly countries. However, had a theoretical United States under a theoretical President Kerry not invaded, Saddam mightmaybecouldhave shared the sealed, monitored explosives with terrorists with whom he had no working relationship. At a minimum here, we're talkin' a zero-sum gain, no? But the more likely scenario is this: Bush and the Bushettes fucked up. Big time. And the price for that fuck up is being paid in soldiers' arms, legs, nuts, and guts, blown all over the fuckin' place with car bombs and RPGs. And we're just bidin' our time until the real big time explosions happen. In other words, Bush spends his time talking about what might have been under Kerry instead of what actually happened under his "leadership." Meanwhile, Bush's minions are out there blaming the troops, just like Abu Ghraib, just like so many other things. God, we're all such a bunch of squalid losers when compared to the infallibility of the President and his cabinet. (Strangely, today, Bush made no mention of the missing explosives in his speech in Saginaw.)

The other truly, madly, deeply pathologically cynical thing is Bush's invocation of past Democratic Presidents as a way of trying to lure Democrats to him, like a camouflaged lizard on a branch lures gnats and beetles. With the batshit mad Zell Miller, a man whose eyes can't stop spinning long enough to focus on the objects of his hatred, by his side, Bush said, "The Democratic Party has a great tradition of leading this country with strength and conviction in times of war and crisis. I think of Franklin Roosevelt's commitment to total victory. I think of Harry Truman's clear vision at the beginning of the Cold War. I think of John Kennedy's brave declaration of American ideals. President Kennedy said: 'The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.'" Sure, Bush'd be right if Roosevelt attacked Peru after Pearl Harbor, if Truman had refused to direct talks with the Soviet Union while denegrating the just-established United Nations, and if Kennedy hadn't been attacked by Republicans for his Catholicism or if he hadn't said that if he could not reconcile his conscience with the national interest, "I would resign the office, and I hope any conscientious public servant would do likewise." Bush then invoked Bill Clinton, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and other Democrats who would rather get fucked by Nixon's decayed femur than vote for Bush.

Meanwhile, Fox "News" is spinning like a weasel on speed with its constant attempts to prop up the Bush adminstration on the missing explosives, even though NBC and reality are closing in on Bush. Paul Bremer was on to say, "We don't know;" Brit Hume keeps on screeching, "We don't know and it's CBS's fault;" and Bill O'Reilly doesn't seem to understand that no one wants to talk to the guy who might jack off while shoving a vibrator up his ass.

As Josh Marshall and others have pointed out, the right wing media is already getting prepared for the post-election story of "blame the liberal media," which would be unnecessary if Bush was seen as a shoo-in. Jonah Goldberg questions the "timing" of the New York Times report on the looted explosives, as if the story should be squelched until after the election so that we can't judge Bush based on his mistakes. Rush Limbaugh is huffing and puffing like a whore on nickel night trying to turn this against Kerry and the U.N. and, of course, the Times and CBS. If they lose, they will be flinging their shit at anything that limps left.

Yes, we can smell the sweat of fear, we can see the spinning dance of death, we can hear the frantic fiddling, we can touch the potential future, and we can taste the acrid flames that are licking at their feet. It's all crumbling. Let's just hope it collapses soon enough.

// posted by Rude One @ 1:32 PM





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What Utter Bullshit 

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The Internal Revenue Service has threatened to revoke the NAACP's tax-exempt status because the civil rights group's chairman, Julian Bond, "condemned the administration policies of George W. Bush" during a speech this summer, according to documents the group provided yesterday.


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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Ass Face McKinnon Now Egg Faced McKinnon 

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"The Bush campaign's advertising has been consistently dishonest in what they say. But today, it's been exposed for being dishonest about what we see. If they won't tell the truth in an ad, they won't tell the truth about anything else," Lockhart said.

McKinnon said a video editor he declined to identify was told to edit the picture to focus on a young boy waving a flag.

On his own initiative, the editor removed the podium and copied the faces, McKinnon said.

"I didn't even know it was done," he said. The doctoring was first revealed on an Internet site. "There was no intention on anybody's part to try to represent anything that wasn't true," McKinnon said



Mark McKinnon caught In Another Lie. Say It Ain't So

"Wild Charges" turn out to...be...true. Ooops 

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One of the funniest things that ever happened has happened tonight the Daily Show. Bush gave a speech and made the point “If John Kerry were President today Saddam Hussein still have all those weapons and he would have shared them with our terrorist enemies…”

To which Jon Stewart buried his face in his hands and said “Our terrorist enemies have them NOW.
That’s…the…poooint..”





W Stands For Woops

A videotape made by a television crew with American troops when they opened bunkers at a sprawling Iraqi munitions complex south of Baghdad shows a huge supply of explosives still there nine days after the fall of Saddam Hussein, apparently including some sealed earlier by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The tape, broadcast on Wednesday night by the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis, appeared to confirm a warning given earlier this month to the agency by Iraqi officials, who said that hundreds of tons of high-grade explosives, powerful enough to bring down buildings or detonate nuclear weapons, had vanished from the site after the invasion of Iraq.

The question of whether the material was removed by Mr. Hussein's forces in the days before the invasion, or looted later because it was unguarded, has become a heated dispute on the campaign trail, with Senator John Kerry accusing President Bush of incompetence, and Mr. Bush saying it is unclear when the material disappeared and rejecting what he calls Mr. Kerry's "wild charges."


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Frank Rich Puts Bush In Perspective 

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Mr. Bush was, of course, far more entertaining in the debates than his opponent; he may be the most facially expressive president since the invention of television. But in 2004, this may not be the winning formula it was four years ago. Because the audience had seen the unplugged, petulant Bush in the first debate, it knew that his subsequent reinventions were as contrived (if not as effective) as Sally Field's in "Sybil." Unlike such natural performers as Reagan and Bill Clinton, he lets you see all the over-rehearsed preparation that goes into his acting. By the time he tried to mask his rage with inappropriate grinning in debate No. 3, he seemed as fake as the story line by which he had sold the country on the war in Iraq.

Mr. Kerry, by contrast, was nothing if not consistent - consistently leaden. He may flip-flop on policy - though no less so than a president who once opposed nation building and a Homeland Security Department - but he doesn't flip-flop on personality. It wouldn't matter if Hugh Jackman were his running mate or how many of his daughters' hamsters he rescued; charm is not his forte. He'll never be, in that undying pollster's formulation, a guy you want to have a beer with - or even a pinot noir.

But he's also not a man likely to prance around on an aircraft carrier to foment the fiction that a happy ending is imminent. He's already announced his intention to jettison a favorite administration special effect, the color-coded terror alerts. His sepulchral looks and stentorian manner suggest he'd bring us any bad news straight up. Mr. Kerry may seem like the closest thing this country has ever had to an Audio-Animatronic chief executive, but Mr. Bush's action-hero theatrics may have defined "presidential" down to the point where Audio-Animatronics can pass for gravitas.

To Mr. Bush and his cronies, who see the world as an arena in which performance is all and circumspection is antithetical to manly decisiveness, Mr. Kerry is a farcical weakling. That's why they were so obsessed with smearing the senator's Vietnam record, the main refutation of that argument. What they didn't count on is that their man's "Top Gun" stagecraft carries its own baggage. When a real war goes wrong, a considered plan, as Mr. Kerry pedantically refers to his every policy prescription, can start to look preferable to a slam-dunk Jerry Bruckheimer stunt. While the mantra of this election season has it that Kerry voters are voting against Bush, not for Kerry, it's equally possible that some of them see their choice as a vote for mundane, nuances-and-all reality over a hyperbolic fantasy whose budget in blood and money has spiraled out of control. After three years of nonstop thrills, Americans will just have to decide on Nov. 2 whether there could be fates even worse than spending the next four years being bored.




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BBC Correspondent Finds Out Americans Don’t Trust US Media At All 

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here's the url: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/10/27/eyewitness_to_a_failure_in_iraq?mode=PF

ironically, this isn't reported in US media

What has helped to spur this trend? It has to be about far more than the simple continued growth of the internet. Two factors seem to be central. When I was travelling through the United States making a series of reports for BBC News, many voters described how their faith in much of the mainstream media had been shattered by the flawed exit poll predictions in the tumultuous 2000 election, which saw President Bush elected after a tortuous recount that was finally decided by the Supreme Court. The second factor is a slowly growing unease within America about the current situation in Iraq. Here again, one detects a sense that many Americans are beginning to doubt what they are getting from much of the mainstream press. News organisations themselves have admitted to failures. The New York Times was one of the first to declare that it had failed to be robust enough in its coverage of the build-up to the invasion of Iraq. Some local newspapers have told their readers the same thing. In March this year, Rick Mercier, a columnist for The Free Lance-Star in Virginia wrote: "The media are finished with their big blow-outs on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and there is one thing they forgot to say: We're sorry. Sorry we let unsubstantiated claims drive our coverage. Sorry we were dismissive of experts who disputed White House charges against Iraq. Sorry we let a band of self-serving Iraqi defectors make fools of us. Sorry we fell for Colin Powell's performance at the United Nations. Sorry we couldn't bring ourselves to hold the administration's feet to the fire before the war, when it really mattered. Maybe we'll do a better job next war."

But before any "next war" happens, the first and most important challenge that the mainstream US media faces is getting it right this election, one that many predict will be just as closely run as its predecessor. Whether it succeeds or not could determine just how many people decide to consult the mainstream media on defining national issues in the future.



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WSJ Actually Said This: 

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Lost the Link, here are the authors: SHAILAGH MURRAY and GREG HITT

Mr. Bush believes the key to victory lies in his party's conservative core. He gave a rare interview over the weekend to Fox News, a network sympathetic to the Bush cause and popular with Republicans. Among other things, Mr. Bush voiced doubts about whether the country can be fully protected from future terror attacks. "Whether or not we can be ever fully safe is up -- you know, up in the air," he said.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Un Fuckin Believeable 

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Thanks to Collective Sigh, I found this horrible reference to Democrats trying to get out the vote. Those SCUMBAGS!

MILWAUKEE - Republicans are criticizing a Wisconsin get-out-the-vote campaign involving public school students, saying Democrats are exploiting the students for political gain.

Young people in the program organized by the Wisconsin Citizen Action Fund take time from regular classes to go door to door in minority neighborhoods and areas with historically low voter turnout, urging people to cast ballots.

The students, ranging in age from 11 to 18, also use phone banks to call homes and urge people to vote.

Chris Lato, spokesman for the state Republican Party, called the program "a disgraceful use of taxpayer money."

"To spend this time on a clearly partisan effort when these kids should be in school learning is shocking," Lato said.





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We all run in our own circles 

this just occurred to me

New Species of Bird  


What Do The Wingnuts Do Lookin Defeat In The Face? 

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With defeat looking them in the face, the wingnuts are softening the ground to the idea that it was all the Liberal Media that resulted in Bush’s failure.

Read about it here and and here and and here.




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TPM Night 

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Squirming under the bright lights of scrutiny, Scott McClelland, arguably the biggest idiot the world has ever seen and the worst liar, cannot hold his ground under the weight of facts.
From TPM

(October 25, 2004 -- 02:05 PM EDT // link // print)

Could the al Qa Qaa debacle be a sinister and ingenious ploy on the part of the White House to give the public one more view of the goofball buck-passing that has been such an asset to the president's administration?

Look at the latest from Scott McClellan on Air Force One. This from CNN ...
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President Bush wants to determine what went wrong.

McClellan, on Air Force One, stressed that the missing explosives were not nuclear materials, and said the storage site was the responsibility of the interim Iraqi government, not the United States, as of June 28, when the United States turned over the nation's administration to the Iraqis.


The president wants to determine what went wrong.

This reminds me of when I wanted to know why my Palm Pilot stopped working after I dropped it in the bath tub.

Doesn't this capture Bush's entire presidency?

The thing happened more than a year ago, his administration has taken active steps to cover it up and now that the truth finally comes out, he 'wants to determine what went wrong.'

The idea of accepting responsibility for anything is simply alien to the man. He doesn't even have the good grace to scam us by finding a scapegoat to pin the blame on.

And what about Scott McClellan trying to pin it on the Iraqis?


Does he not read the newspapers or does he think everyone else to too stupid to remember what they just read in them this morning. The stuff was taken more than a year before the Iraqis took over the US occupation authority. And even the highly-cautious Times piece makes clear that Jerry Bremer was told about it no later than May of this year.
-- Josh Marshall



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This Is How Crazy Bushies Are- Read The Commitment Just To Attend An Event 

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From Atrios comment section


* All attendies must submit to a body cavity search, sign a loyalty oath, not wear any clothing signifying support for or reference to any another candidate or party but that of the republican party and george w. bush and be willing to voice concern, consternation, laughter, admonition and praise when prompted. Any and all participants not willing to submit to these rules and regulations hereby relinquishes their rights and will be subject to arrest and summary incarceration. Bush/Cheney '04 and it's affiliates, the Southern Baptist Ministry, John Hagee Ministries, The 700 Club, the Ministries for God, the Assemblies for God, there members and their sponsors have paid for this event. Not recognizing God or His son by signing this loyalty oath may be grounds for dismissal and possible ex-communication.

Paid for by Bush/Cheney '04.




Black Watch, Famed Scottish Regiment Called On Again 

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The troops' self-assurance was more than matched by their commanding officer, Lt. Col. James Cowan.

"There's been much sensationalist talk about the threat we will face," he said. "Frankly, this regiment beat Napoleon, beat the Kaiser and beat Hitler.

"For the Jocks of the Black Watch this is just the latest chapter in our history and another job to be done."



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Are We Still The Best? 

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Is America Losing Its Edge


With innovative capacity rapidly spreading across the Pacific, the United States cannot simply assume that it will remain the epicenter of scientific research and technological innovation. Instead, it should meet the challenge from Asia head-on. The United States must actively engage with new centers of innovation and prepare itself to integrate rapidly and build on new ideas emerging in China, India, and South Korea. Above all, it must not assume that future innovation will occur automatically. Only through renewed attention to science funding, educational reform, the health of labor and capital markets, and the vitality of the business environment can the United States maintain its edge-and the most innovative economy in the world.




This is a great topic. Not only has the tightening of our borders since 9/111 made it harder for foreign engineering students to get into the United States, it has made it more common already for some of the brightest minds in the worlds to just simply choose other countries to conduct their studies in.

This is very shortsighted and dangerous as many Americans, primarily Bush supporters, are just uninformed as the positive impact foreign scientists have made on our economy and culture.

Consider the aircraft industry. For the last three years, French Airbus has out sold Boeing in the commercial airline industry. And if that doesn’t wake you up, look at this article about a recent meeting between USAF F-15s vs Indian Su-30 aircraft in aggressor training. Yes, the Indians and their Sukhoi Fighter apparently won the day handily.




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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Gordon Housworth Is Brilliant 

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Stewart earned my undying respect when he passed from comedy and parody to scathing commentary during his Trojan Horse interview on CNN Crossfire (transcript here). I share with my younger generation Stewart's comment that, "We feel a frustration with the way politics are handled and the way politics are handled within the media." I am thrilled to see that "Daily Show fans are more knowledgeable about current events than those of other comedy shows, rivaling newspaper readers and network news viewers."


In an environment where I now find even the interviews of Tim Russert to fail to press the point, where Fox is beyond the pale, where CNN has lost its way, where broadcast anchors admit to self-censorship in an effort to avoid commercial attack, where the only TV news that I seek out is PBS (Lehrer, Moyers, Frontline et al), I will continue to rely on primary source materials -- the stuff from which the high street press is crafted, and a broad spectrum of offshore sources to form my opinions.

And the Daily Show.





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I’m Tired Of This Shit 

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By ADAM ZAGORIN & TIMOTHY J. BURGER

A whistle-blower objected to the government's Halliburton deals—and says now she's paying for it



In February 2003, less than a month before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Bunnatine (Bunny) Greenhouse walked into a Pentagon meeting and with a quiet comment started what could be the end of her career. On the agenda was the awarding of an up to $7 billion deal to a subsidiary of Houston-based conglomerate Halliburton to restore Iraq's oil facilities. On hand were senior officials from the office of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and aides to retired Lieut. General Jay Garner, who would soon become the first U.S. administrator in Iraq.


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TPM Night 

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KERRY AND THE CIA....I'm out of town this weekend, so I've been a little out of the loop, but I'm glad to see that the Bush campaign is living up to expectations. When I first saw their new "Wolves" ad, I thought it was kind of derivative and amateurish, but basically within the normal bounds of political truth stretching. But via Fred Kaplan, I see that I wasn't paying nearly enough attention:


John Kerry voted to reduce intelligence spending after our "first terrorist attack"? Sure, as long as you realize that this refers to 1993, not 9/11. Needless to say, the admakers do their best not to make this clear.

• Kerry was actually trying to get the National Reconnaissance Office to return money it had fraudulently failed to spend. That's not a cut, it's good governance. Good conservative governance, in fact.

• Another Kerry bill did propose overall spending cuts as part of a deficit reduction package, including about a billion dollars a year in intelligence spending. It never went anywhere, though, and in any case Republican Porter Goss proposed bigger and more specific cuts the very next year. But that apparently didn't make Goss too wishy washy on terror to be President Bush's nominee to head the CIA this year, so it's a little hard to see why it speaks poorly of Kerry.


If Kerry were genuinely weak in the war against terrorism, the Bush campaign would be able to come up with something a lot better than this. The fact that this is the best they can do probably says more about Kerry's strength than anything the Democrats could say for themselves.
—Kevin Drum 1:45 PM Permalink | TrackBack (1) | Comments (81)




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Bush Contradicts....Bush 

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Bush Caught In A …Lie

”Now my opponent is throwing out the wild claim that he knows where bin Laden was in the fall of 2001, and that our military passed up the chance to get him in Tora Bora. This is an unjustified criticism of our military commanders in the field.”

Except For This


U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at

The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.

Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan's mountainous eastern border. Though there remains a remote chance that he died there, the intelligence community is persuaded that bin Laden slipped away in the first 10 days of December.




Bin Laden Escapes



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TPM 

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(October 25, 2004 -- 02:05 PM EDT // link // print)

Could the al Qa Qaa debacle be a sinister and ingenious ploy on the part of the White House to give the public one more view of the goofball buck-passing that has been such an asset to the president's administration?

Look at the latest from Scott McClellan on Air Force One. This from CNN ...
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President Bush wants to determine what went wrong.

McClellan, on Air Force One, stressed that the missing explosives were not nuclear materials, and said the storage site was the responsibility of the interim Iraqi government, not the United States, as of June 28, when the United States turned over the nation's administration to the Iraqis.


The president wants to determine what went wrong.

This reminds me of when I wanted to know why my Palm Pilot stopped working after I dropped it in the bath tub.

Doesn't this capture Bush's entire presidency?

The thing happened more than a year ago, his administration has taken active steps to cover it up and now that the truth finally comes out, he 'wants to determine what went wrong.'

The idea of accepting responsibility for anything is simply alien to the man. He doesn't even have the good grace to scam us by finding a scapegoat to pin the blame on.

And what about Scott McClellan trying to pin it on the Iraqis?

Does he not read the newspapers or does he think everyone else to too stupid to remember what they just read in them this morning. The stuff was taken more than a year before the Iraqis took over the US occupation authority. And even the highly-cautious Times piece makes clear that Jerry Bremer was told about it no later than May of this year.
n Josh Marshall




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Wolfowitz And His Pathetic Life  

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The big miscalculation underlying the American-led intervention in Iraq was that the enemy would recognize defeat, and submit. When the Administration was faced with a insurgency, a new calculation—one that was advocated by Wolfowitz—was made: putting an Iraqi imprimatur on the mission would defuse the insurgency. The first step wa the hastened transfer of sovereignty, last June. Yet the insurgency rages on, and Allawi worries about appearing to be an American puppet. Although he assured President Bus in his letter that he had “absolutely no intention” of changing his convictions or policies, he warned, “I am concerned by the concerted effort by some Iraqis and foreigners t paint my government as too close to the US and her allies.” He went on, “This is likely to get worse as elections approach, and makes it harder to rebuild political unity and t isolate the insurgents.” Now the Bush war policy depends upon a final calculation—that an Iraqi security force can be made strong enough, soon enough, to allow the mostl American multinational force to recede

Wolfowitz seems more confident about this prospect than Allawi does. Speaking in Germany to the spouses of the 1st Infantry Division’s soldiers, Wolfowitz said, “I think you’re going to see a major change over the course of the next six months or a year.” He said he hoped that progress with the Iraqi force might go even faster than expected. “At the moment, we’re just planning for the worst,” he said. Then he added, “But a lot of good should happen this coming year.”



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We all run in our own circles

Monday, October 25, 2004

Even More Ineptitude From Bushco 

Another Fiasco And Another Cover Up 

Sunday, October 24, 2004

What A Great Day This Is 

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I don’t think anyone realized what just happened last week. Without too much comment, I saw the Left hit the Righties (with a Left Hook) that surprised the Right and knocked it on its ass.

It was the Sinclair Affair, wherein, a public stupid enough to believe that Fox is an actual “news” service might be persuaded to turn on Kerry with the airing of another paid propaganda film about Kerry in Vietnam.

Atrios, Kos, and other bloggers joined in and organized and formed a website. Before you know it, we all made phone calls and brought the Sinclair stock price down, we had advertisers withdraw, and at the end of the day they showed a documentary so well done that it rightly so, engendered empathy for John Kerry.

Two years ago, we would have lost this battle and been ripping at each other’s throats over it. LGF and the freepers would be laughing their asses off at us.

Today, Bush is about to lose the Presidency, and the righties are either drinking the kool aid and standing by their loser, or they’re jumping ship.

Schadenfreude. It is a wonderful feeling. A lovely notion, we will win this all at the end of the day. This is like seeing the Falcons go 5-1 this early in the season. It’s like seeing the Red Sox beat the Yankees like a drum and reading the funny editorials about Jeter and the starting rotation. It’s all so funny. I can feel it in the air. We have found our anger and our voices and we know that the fight will not be easy, but we have a chance.


Yes, The Pope Is Actually Worried That Bush Is The Anti-Christ  

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Pope: Does W = 666?

WASHINGTON DC -- According to freelance journalist Wayne Madsden, "George W Bush's blood lust, his repeated commitment to Christian beliefs and his constant references to 'evil doers,' in the eyes of many devout Catholic leaders, bear all the hallmarks of the one warned about in the Book of Revelations--the anti-Christ."

Madsen, a Washington-based writer and columnist, who often writes for Counterpunch, says that people close to the pope claim that amid these concerns, the pontiff wishes he was younger and in better health to confront the possibility that Bush may represent the person prophesized in Revelations. John Paul II has always believed the world was on the precipice of the final confrontation between Good and Evil as foretold in the New Testament.

Before he became pope, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla said, "We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel."

The pope worked tirelessly to convince leaders of nations on the UN Security Council to oppose Bush's war resolution on Iraq. Vatican sources claim they had not seen the pope more animated and determined since he fell ill to Parkinson's Disease. In the end, the pope did convince the leaders of Mexico, Chile, Cameroon and Guinea to oppose the U.S. resolution.

Madsen contends that "Bush is a dangerous right-wing ideologue who couples his political fanaticism with a neo-Christian blood cult."




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Hunter Thompson Has Seen It All And Still Thinks W Is The Worst 

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Back in June, when John Kerry was beginning to feel like a winner, I had a quick little rendezvous with him on a rain-soaked runway in Aspen, Colorado, where he was scheduled to meet with a harem of wealthy campaign contributors. As we rode to the event, I told him that Bush's vicious goons in the White House are perfectly capable of assassinating Nader and blaming it on him. His staff laughed, but the Secret Service men didn't. Kerry quickly suggested that I might make a good running mate, and we reminisced about trying to end the Vietnam War in 1972.

That was the year I first met him, at a riot on that elegant little street in front of the White House. He was yelling into a bullhorn and I was trying to throw a dead, bleeding rat over a black-spike fence and onto the president's lawn.

We were angry and righteous in those days, and there were millions of us. We kicked two chief executives out of the White House because they were stupid warmongers. We conquered Lyndon Johnson and we stomped on Richard Nixon -- which wise people said was impossible, but so what? It was fun. We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river.

That river is still running. All we have to do is get out and vote, while it's still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House.





Fear And Extreme Loathing

And This Was The Nice Part Of The Endorsement  

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Des Moines Register Endorses Kerry




About half of Americans have lost confidence in President Bush, yet many hang back from embracing the alternative. That's unfortunate, because Senator John F. Kerry is a wise and decent man who has the makings of a fine president.

Still, there's little wonder that voters have doubts. Most of what they think they know about the senator comes from a masterful job of "defining the opposition" carried out by the Bush campaign and its surrogates before most people got a chance to know the real Kerry.

So Americans were introduced to Kerry the flip-flopper. Kerry the softie on defense. Kerry the wild-eyed liberal. Kerry the appeaser who will let terrorists attack America.

It's sad that an incumbent president chose to employ so much of his vast campaign resources to tear down his challenger, and not to cite his own accomplishments or to move the nation ahead. But perhaps that's precisely the difficulty the president faces.

His presidency has been one of bold leadership undermined by a failure to achieve meaningful results. The resolute leader Americans rallied behind after Sept. 11, 2001, sidetracked the country into a mess in Iraq. The fiscally responsible, compassionate conservative Americans thought they elected, the man we hoped would improve schools, lower the cost of health care and find more jobs, has failed to do so and instead run up an unprecedented national debt.



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Republican Florida Newspaper Endorses Kerry 

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Schadenfreude


Kerry for president

Our position: The Bush presidency has disappointed us on almost all counts.

Four years ago, the Orlando Sentinel endorsed Republican George W. Bush for president based on our trust in him to unite America. We expected him to forge bipartisan solutions to problems while keeping this nation secure and fiscally sound.

This president has utterly failed to fulfill our expectations. We turn now to his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, with the belief that he is more likely to meet the hopes we once held for Mr. Bush.



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Kerry By A Landslide?  


Behind Closed Doors, Bush Officials Decide Torture Is OK. 

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At the request of the CIA, the Justice Department drafted a confidential memo that authorizes the agency to transfer detainees out of Iraq for interrogation -- a practice that international legal specialists say contravenes the Geneva Conventions.

One intelligence official familiar with the operation said the CIA has used the March draft memo as legal support for secretly transporting as many as a dozen detainees out of Iraq in the last six months. The agency has concealed the detainees from the International Red Cross and other authorities, the official said…

… But three years later, not a single terrorist has been prosecuted. Of the roughly 560 men being held at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, only 4 have been formally charged. Preliminary hearings for those suspects brought such a barrage of procedural challenges and public criticism that verdicts could still be months away. And since a Supreme Court decision in June that gave the detainees the right to challenge their imprisonment in federal court, the Pentagon has stepped up efforts to send home hundreds of men whom it once branded as dangerous terrorists.


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Wapo Waps Bush 

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In Iraq, we do not fault Mr. Bush for believing, as President Clinton before him believed, that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. We supported the war and believed that the Iraqi dictator posed a challenge that had to be faced; we continue to believe that the U.S. mission to promote a representative government in Iraq has a chance to leave the United States safer and the Iraqis far better off than they were under their murderous dictator.

We do, however, fault Mr. Bush for exaggerating to the public the intelligence given him privately and for alienating allies unnecessarily. Above all, we fault him for ignoring advice to better prepare for postwar reconstruction. The damage caused by that willful indifference is incalculable. There is no guarantee that Iraq would be more peaceful today if U.S. forces had prevented postwar looting, secured arms depots, welcomed international involvement and transferred authority to Iraqis more quickly. But the chances of success would have been higher. Yet the administration repeatedly rebuffed advice to commit sufficient troops. Its disregard for the Geneva Conventions led to a prison-torture scandal in both Iraq and Afghanistan that has diminished for years, if not decades, the United States' image and influence abroad. In much of the world, in fact, U.S. prestige is at a historic low, partly because of the president's high-handed approach to allies on issues ranging far beyond Iraq.

These failings have a common source in Mr. Bush's cocksureness, his failure to seek advice from anyone outside a narrow circle and his unwillingness to expect the unexpected or adapt to new facts. These are dangerous traits in any president but especially in a wartime leader. They are matched by his failure to admit his errors or to hold senior officials accountable for theirs.



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The Cowardice Of Bush And His Secrecy 

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Torture Decided Upon By Bush Officials

WASHINGTON - In early November 2001, with Americans still staggered by the Sept. 11 attacks, a small group of White House officials worked in great secrecy to devise a new system of justice for the new war they had declared on terrorism.

Determined to deal aggressively with the terrorists they expected to capture, the officials bypassed the federal courts and their constitutional guarantees, giving the military the authority to detain foreign suspects indefinitely and prosecute them in tribunals not used since World War II.

The plan was considered so sensitive that senior White House officials kept its final details hidden from the president's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and the secretary of state, Colin L. Powell, officials said. It was so urgent, some of those involved said, that they hardly thought of consulting Congress.


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Saturday, October 23, 2004

Yet Another Bush Crony Gets A Contract Despite Charges Of Fraud 

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More War Profiteering

Managers of a security firm that won large contracts in Iraq warned their bosses in February of what they called a pattern of fraudulent billing practices, internal company memorandums suggest.

The memorandums, written primarily by two company managers, charged that the security firm, Custer Battles, repeatedly billed the occupation authorities for nonexistent services or at grossly inflated prices…


One example captures some of the fog of post-invasion Iraq. With forged invoices, Mr. Miskovich wrote, Custer Battles billed for providing a security detail for the road delivery from Baghdad to Mosul of prefabricated cabins. The housing was urgently required by teams carrying out the currency exchange.

Not only did the company provide no guards for the trip, Mr. Miskovich said in his Feb. 28 memo, but the convoy was also somehow lost for a week, officials in Mosul had to sleep in tents, and the company had to offer a reward to locate the cabins.


Is Republican Voter Fraud Redundant? 

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When Republicans Can't Win Out Right, They Cheat. Case In Point.



Republican Party officials in Ohio took formal steps yesterday to place thousands of recruits inside polling places on Election Day to challenge the qualifications of voters they suspect are not eligible to cast ballots.


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Must Read Article About Reporting From Iraq 

70-Year-Old Called Up for Iraq Duty  

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KNTV (NBC's San Francisco Bay Area affiliate) reports that Ted Wallace of Los Gatos just received orders to report for deployment to Iraq.

The 70-year-old Wallace acknowledges that he "probably owes the army two years," but was surprised at being called up many years after he left the military. He checked the documents with his local recruiting office and they told him they were accurate and authentic. He says he is going to report to duty but hopes they don't put him on the front line. He also hopes that the army will put off his deployment until after his upcoming knee surgery.

He seemed pretty spry, but I can see the bottom of the barrel much more clearly.




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Friday, October 22, 2004

What You Get When A US Senator Trusts Fox News 

Republican Senator Gets His Information From Fox News And It Shows

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning said yesterday that he was unaware of reports that a unit of Army Reserve soldiers in Iraq had refused an order to deliver fuel for reasons including that their trucks were lightly armored.

"I don't know anything about that," Bunning said during a news conference after a speech he gave to the Rotary Club of Louisville.

Bunning added that Congress had approved money to upgrade body and vehicle armor. "And I believe that has all been accomplished. And I don't know about your reservists," he said. "Unfortunately, we've had some reports, but I don't know the one you're specifically talking about."

When reporters told him that the unit's refusal was a national news story and involved a soldier from Louisville, Bunning said, "Let me explain something: I don't watch the national news, and I don't read the paper. I haven't done that for the last six weeks. I watch Fox News to get my information."



Well No It's Just A Coincidence that Cabinet Members Are All Giving Policy Speeches In Swing States. 

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WASHINGTON – When Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge leaves the Washington area on official business, nearly three-fifths of his public events are in the 17 states considered the most hotly contested in the presidential election.

Overall, Ridge and his senior executives, who have pledged that the department would not become entrenched in politics, did nearly half their public events in those 17 states, according to a review by The Associated Press. That includes the electoral prizes of Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20041020-1423-homelandsecurity-politics.html
Funny How They Don't Even Try To Hide It Anymore

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Tough Shit Bitch 

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In this humid Southern capital, Florida Secretary of State Glenda E. Hood is feeling the political heat. Lawsuits allege she has disenfranchised poor and minority voters. Critics claim that she's creating a partisan atmosphere.

The Republican appointee, whose predecessor, Katherine Harris, figured so prominently in the 2000 election debacle, is pretty fed up. And this year's election is still 12 days away.



"These people disappoint me," she said of her many critics. "I get to my wits' end with all the continual references to 2000. The last time I checked the calendar, it's 2004."


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LAPD Can’t Shed That Nazi image  

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Despite two decades of reform, the cop-as-gunfighter image still haunts the LAPD. Witness the tale this week of yet another Rampart-spawned rogue officer who led a crew of crooked cops on a four-year crime wave. But a small band of renegade cops does not a department make. A process tilted to protect them is a greater shame.

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Go ahead and scrub. You’re all gonna get a pink slip Nov 3rd anyway. 

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Suffering You Don't Have To See 

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The Unknown Soldiers

By Lakshmi Chaudhry, AlterNet
Posted on October 21, 2004, Printed on October 21, 2004
http://www.alternet.org/story/20254/


Gene Bolles has seen more than his fair share of human suffering. Two years in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center – the U.S. military hospital in Germany that receives all injured soldiers evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan – is no doctor's dream job, especially not if you are a neurosurgeon who specializes in brain and spinal injuries – the kind that can destroy a 19-year-old kid's life. Yet as he speaks of the shattered soldiers who were once his charge, Bolles is neither overwrought nor angry.

The soft-spoken 62-year-old civilian speaks not of politics but of humanity – the terrible toll imposed by all wars, unjust or otherwise, on all involved, soldier or civilian. He speaks not of blame but of compassion and duty – our duty as a nation to pay attention and tend to the young men and women we ask to sacrifice life or limb in battle. At a time when the reality of the suffering in Iraq has been rendered invisible by media hype and partisan battle, Gene Bolles remains a steadfast advocate for the scarred, the maimed, and the tormented – whose numbers are far, far greater than what the Bush administration would like to admit.

So how did you end up working at Landstuhl hospital?

I am a neurosurgeon and have been in the practice for 32 years. I was approached to consider working for the Department of Defense and going to Landstuhl right after 9/11. So I took a leave of absence from my hospital and became the chief of neurosurgery in Germany.

That was right at the time the war in Afghanistan began and carried through Feb. 1, 2004.

Were the 9/11 attacks part of the reason why you agreed to go to Landstuhl?

Sure, in part. I had been in the military years ago, during the Vietnam era. I'd had that experience. So when this came up, I felt honored to have an opportunity to go help out and do what I could.

What kind of cases did you treat in Landstuhl? And these were mostly kids, right?

Well, I call them that since I'm 62 years old. And they were 18, 19, maybe 21. They all seemed very young. Certainly younger than my children.

As a neurosurgeon I mostly dealt with injuries to the brain, the spinal cord, or the spine itself. The injuries were all fairly horrific, anywhere from loss of extremities, multiple extremities, to severe burns. It just goes on, and on, and on. There were just a lot of serious injuries.

As a doctor myself who has seen trauma throughout his career, I've never seen it to this degree. The numbers, the degree of injuries. It really kinda caught me off-guard.


What about the soldiers themselves?

The soldiers, initially because of how they're trained, don't think of themselves. They're thinking of the buddies they've left behind. Almost all of them don't accept the reality of what's happened to them. They're still back in the war zone. And they care about their buddies so much.

And this is what makes the soldiers do what they do so gallantly – this feeling for each other. So when they get injured, they first feel guilty that they're not still back with their buddies. But then as time goes on, they realize that the price they paid for the war and then there is anger. And then there is frustration, then sadness, then depression. They realize they may never walk again or are so disfigured that the rest of their life is going to be very difficult.

But when they're going through this depression, we don't write about them so much. We don't display them. We want to only look at those soldiers who have either recovered from it or those who are acting as though nothing has happened. It's because we want to look at them as heroes. And they are heroes. But it's a reality that is not talked about much.

One of the soldiers interviewed in a recent documentary said that post-traumatic stress disorder is going to be to the Iraq War what Agent Orange was to the Vietnam War. Do you agree?

Yes. I have talked to many people who've been in the war zone. Perhaps I had a unique relationship with these soldiers because I was not an officer but a civilian; I didn't have direct control over them. Many of them felt more comfortable in allowing themselves to talk to me. They would talk about the nervousness they constantly felt, especially after the first part of the war ended and it became more a guerilla war. And they'd get attacked while sitting around waiting for orders to come in or just driving along the road. It started driving them batty. They were afraid and unsettled – it was different from charging ahead.

Many would break down talking about seeing their buddy get hurt or killed. They would even talk about the Iraqi soldiers – how awful it was, all that carnage. One guy hadn't slept for a long time because of nightmares because of what he saw early in the war, when we were killing high numbers of Iraqis. And he saw some of them got run over by tanks. He just couldn't get those images out of his mind.

They talk about hearing screams of comrades or enemies or civilians, or children. To see it and be there creates a lot of reaction. Sometimes they might initially act really tough, but underneath it all most soldiers have a lot of humane feeling. They feel this horror very deeply – more than many are willing to admit.

Do you think that soldiers who suffer from psychological damage get enough help? Their injuries may not look as "bad," but they've suffered terrible emotional damage because of the sheer horror of war.

I've seen experienced officers break down because of what they've seen just as much as young recruits. They're covering up and carrying such deep emotions. A soldier doesn't want to show that emotion. He is fearful that if he does, others will perceive him as weak. And there is some truth to that.

So even when they are going through emotional upheaval, they won't seek out help or admit that they are having these feelings. A lot of it doesn't come out until after they're discharged.

Are they prepared to deal with or not? Probably not. But they are trying to do better than what happened during the Vietnam era.

No I don't think they receive enough help. At the same time, I don't want to be critical of the present system. All of us are learning how to deal with this. What is important is that people need to be made aware of this issue. Rather than attack the system, I would much prefer to raise awareness of this issue and how it affects the soldiers. We're going to see as much if not more as what happened after the Vietnam War. The incidences of alcoholism, substance abuse, homelessness, inability to work, marriages that crumble, and so on. So we need to do something right now.

But many of these soldiers are not included in the numbers put out by the Pentagon for soldiers wounded in action in Iraq, which is right now around 7,500. Is there an important distinction between combat and non-combat related injuries?

Well, you should probably look up a military manual to get the definitions exactly right, but here's how I understand it: Say you're on duty, something blows up or you get shot, that's what they call a combat injury. But if you get in a truck accident or a Humvee rolls over you, that's defined as non-combat. So you can get a Purple Heart for the former and not for the latter.

And yes, we don't hear about the non-combat injuries and illnesses. I've seen figures that are now upwards of 30,000. I know that at least 20,000 have been air-evacuated into the Landstuhl system. These are also people who have suffered doing what we as a country are asking of them. As to why they're not recognized, they seem to be of lesser importance in that they're not mentioned. I don't think that's fair.

The numbers are even higher when you look at the numbers once the soldiers return to the country from Iraq or Afghanistan. According to some of the veteran groups, 33,000 have sought VA care, 26,000 have filed VA disability claims, and 10,000 have sought VA counseling. When you look at these huge, huge numbers, what do they indicate?

It's just starting and it's only going to get worse. Those numbers are going to do nothing but increase. You have the physical injuries which speak for themselves. I've seen the breakdown of that 33,000 number (who've sought VA care) and they include a significant percent of spine injuries. As a neurosurgeon, I saw all the complaints in that area and I can only say that there's an overwhelming number of them.

These are people in a lot of chronic pain. They're seeking help from our VA system, which is undergoing changes and is still under-funded. So these people don't get the help they really need. There's a lot of people suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome – that number is going to go up, and up, and up as time goes on.

So what is at stake in this undercounting of the casualties in Iraq – in not making clear what the toll of the war has imposed on our soldiers?

I really don't know why it's not out there for all of us to see. The question is why isn't our news media reporting this night after night so the American people can know about it. If you know about it, then why isn't CNN or NBC pushing this stuff?

What you see on TV and what you see in reality, is like night and day. The embedding of the journalists seemed to sterilize the war. When I heard them report, it was like it was a football game. The true effects of war are just awful. I'm now hearing estimates of upward of 30,000 in terms of civilian deaths. Let alone, all the Iraqis who have been injured.

Do you get the sense with this administration that even talking about the costs of the war is equivalent to challenging it?

I think wars should be challenged because they're absolutely devastating. The way it's made out is that if you're against what's happening in Iraq, you're against the present government or against the soldiers. And no, it doesn't have to be that way at all.

Why does the government make these differentiations? Why do they not talk about the reality of war? I suspect it's because they don't want upset all of the people who may then turn against the war. This is a war that has been debatable from the beginning.

But the soldiers don't seem to be questioning the war even though the initial reasons for the war such as WMDs have crumbled. I saw a CNN report on how many of them now see the reason for doing their job is to take care of their buddies – to make sure that everyone gets to go home in one piece.

My personal feeling is that the average soldier doesn't go to war because of the country. The reality is that the reason why they fight is the community that they've been a part of in the military. They don't look at the rationale or reason for war with that degree of depth. Maybe many soldiers would argue with me, I didn't really hear that in my conversations with them. It's more about their buddies. So it makes sense that it's more so now than ever.

But maybe now we're seeing some cracks. Depending on how this ends up – maybe not if the war ends better than we expect – but I suspect we're going to see a lot of anger among the GIs and veterans when they come back.

How have these very emotional years affected you?

I think about it a lot when I go to bed at night. I can't get it out of my head. It haunted me then and it haunts me now – the horrific, horrific injuries that these young people will now have to deal with for their rest of their lives. And I don't know if I'll ever stop thinking about them. I just feel a tremendous sadness – and that's just the way it is. I just hope everything in the world can be done to make what they have left for the rest of their lives as positive as possible. I sometimes fear that once they come back – with all the injuries and damage – they'll be forgotten about very quickly.


© 2004 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.





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Same Clown, Different Circus 

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An ostensibly nonpartisan voter registration drive in Western Pennsylvania has triggered accusations that workers were cheated out of wages and given instructions to avoid adding anyone to the voter rolls who might support the Democratic presidential nominee.



Sproul & Associates, a consulting firm based in Chandler, Ariz., hired to conduct the drive by the Republican National Committee, employed several hundred canvassers throughout the state to register new voters. Some workers yesterday said they were told to avoid registering Democrats or anyone who indicated support for Democratic nominee John F. Kerry.

"We were told that if they wanted to register Democrat, there was no way we were to register them to vote," said Michele Tharp, of Meadville, who said she was sent out to canvass door-to-door and outside businesses in Meadville, Crawford County. "We were only to register Republicans."



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Why Does This Not Surprise Me? 

Modo On Faith 


Predictions 

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Consider three things and connect the dots and you come to one conclusion. First this: Bush is coming to Crawford. Texas this weekend. That seems a little unusual given the tight poll numbers right now within weeks of the election. What could he be doing except resting up because he is not well, or planning to campaign out of this hole? Consider as the second point the fact that the national security Advisor is delivering policy speeches but only in swing states. Remember the National Security Advisor’s role is to advise the President on the best ways to protect U.S. and U.S. interests, not campaign for the Presidency. Finally, Cheney and Rumsfeld are arguing that a vote for Kerry will invite a terrorist attack.

Politics as usual? Or controlled panic?

Look, they know they’re going to lose this contest. They know Bush is running against Iraq and against the economy. Kerry is easy to run against. I mean after all, they’ve slathered him with every invective from traitor to coward to liar. They’ve tried, in many ways successfully, to get people to question following a real soldier and instead consider pulling the lever for a drunk rich kid trying to avoid service. They’ve spent as much as a major car company advertising. They have all the AM radio stations, and most of the rest of the paid broadcast news media on their side.

THey are just pulling even and/or slipping despite all this.

Here’s what I think you can count on in the next few days:

One- a desperate measure or two from Karl Rove to scare voters or allow the government to usurp the vote. Perhaps even an attempt to hack the vote.

Two- A near landslide victory. Upwards of 56-57% for Kerry.

Three- Desperate, vile lame duckism.




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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

GO SOX fuck u Steinbrenner 

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Go Sox

The Yankees are the Republicans. All money and power and influence. More like a cosa nostra than a baseball team.

The Red Sox are from liberal mass, where Kerry 44 hails from.

As the Red Sox route the Yankees, the Dems will route the Rethuglicans.

Thousands Of Soldiers In Their 50s Being Deployed 

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Charles Thomas tended to wounded soldiers on the sweltering killing fields of Vietnam, helped hurricane victims in Honduras and oversaw finances for soldiers in Bosnia.

Sometime in the next few weeks, the 58-year-old Army National Guard command sergeant major will leave his wife, Jeanette, their 11-year-old Maltese, Pebbles, walk through the door of his Old Bridge home one final time and head to Iraq.

"I don't want to leave my wife, but I have to go," Thomas said during an interview last week at his house, which the couple is selling. "I made her a deal. I promised her this is my last tour of duty, and she gets a new house."




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Writer Argues That Republicans Due For Huge Meltdown 

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But both of these historical analogies are hopeful fantasies about what the GOP might someday become, not reasonable guesses at the near future. The truth is, for all its apparent strength, the modern Republican Party has worked itself into a position of profound and growing decay. Worried Republicans are right to look to the past to help sort out their future. But the right date isn't 1994 or 1904. It's the late 1970s--and the party to look at isn't the Republicans, but the Democrats. Like the Democrats of that period, the current version of the Republican Party is supremely powerful but ideologically incoherent, run largely by and for special interests and increasingly alienated from the broader voting public. Today's GOP is headed for a profound crackup. The only questions are when, exactly, the decline will start--and how long it will last.




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Bush Family Old Hands At Smears  


Marines PISSED 

Marines: “This is Bullshit!”:



QAIM, Iraq - The sound of the Black Hawk medical helicopter is an ominous sign for the Marines patrolling this forgotten western corner of Iraq that borders Syria. It means that one of them is seriously wounded or killed by their elusive enemy.


The sound of roaring engine, shattering evening calm, gets immediately followed up with a quick whisper among the troops, trying to find out who it was — this time.

At this Marine base, at the far west of the restless Anbar province only miles from the Syrian border, the news spreads quickly.

"We are losing guys left and right," says Cpl. Cody King, 20, of Phoenix, not hiding his anger. "All we are doing around here is getting blown up."

Most of the incidents these days, in this land of endless desert, dried-up river beds and winding dirt roads, include 155 mm artillery shells, mines and other sorts of crude homemade bombs. They make the Marines' enemy faceless and only heighten the feeling of vulnerability. The armor at their disposal is in short supply.


Researcher Claims To Know Why Bush Lost His Wings  


Bush Rally Throws Out Three Teachers Over T Shirts  

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CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- Three Medford school teachers were threatened with arrest and thrown out of the President Bush rally at the Jackson County Fairgrounds Thursday night, after they showed up wearing T-shirts with the slogan "Protect our civil liberties."

Three Medford school teachers who were thrown out of a Bush rally because of their t-shirts.



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1.7 million veterans without health coverage  

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 1.7 million military veterans have no health insurance or access to government hospitals and clinics for veterans, according to a report Tuesday from a doctors' group that favors federally financed health care.

The number of uninsured veterans jumped by 235,000 since 2000, meaning they are losing health insurance at a faster rate than the general population, said Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates a universal national health insurance program. About 45 million Americans have no health insurance, including 5 million who lost coverage during the past four years, according to the Census Bureau.




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NYT Notices Jon Stewart On CNN 

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And that is why his surprise attack on the hosts of CNN's "Crossfire" was so satisfying last Friday. Exchanging his usual goofy teasing for withering contempt, he told Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson that they were partisan hacks and that their pro-wrestling approach to political discourse was "hurting America." (He also used an epithet for the male reproductive organ to describe Mr. Carlson.)



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Pat Robertson Warned Bush Of Casualties 

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Wow. You gotta wonder what’s happening when Pat Robertson distances himself from you


NEW YORK (CNN) -- The founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition said Tuesday he told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties, but the president told him, "We're not going to have any casualties."

Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion. He described Bush in the meeting as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life."




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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The CIA Is Withholding A Critical Report Until After The Election. 

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It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.

"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."

When I asked about the report, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she and committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) sent a letter 14 days ago asking for it to be delivered. "We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the report," she said. "We are very concerned."


This one names names.

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Hackworth Lays Out His Plan For Iraq: Fire Current Cabinet 

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• Immediately fire SecDef Donald Rumsfeld, all of his Pentagon senior civilian assistants and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers.

• Replace Rumsfeld with retired Gen. Anthony Zinni and give this tough, smart, proven leader a free hand to bring in the best people to reshape and streamline our armed forces for the long counterinsurgency fight ahead.

• Fire National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and replace her with retired Gens. Wes Clark or John Sheehan.




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Compassionate Christians Protest Memorial Service 

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File this under why I think most Christians are not Christian at all.



A group of about a dozen Christians protested outside an Alabama church where, in July, the funeral was held for Scotty Joe Weaver, a gay Baldwin County man who was murdered outside Bay Minette, Alabama.




Christians Protest That A Gay Man Had A Memorial Service
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The Smartest People In The World Against The Single Dumbest Man 

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This year, 48 Nobel laureates dropped all pretense of nonpartisanship as they signed a letter endorsing Senator John Kerry. "Unlike previous administrations, Republican and Democratic alike, the Bush administration has ignored unbiased scientific advice in the policy making that is so important to our collective welfare," they wrote. The critics include members of past Republican administrations.

And battles continue to erupt in government agencies over how to communicate research findings that might clash with administration policies.

This month, three NASA scientists and several officials at NASA headquarters and at two agency research centers described how news releases on new global warming studies had been revised by administrators to play down definitiveness or risks. The scientists and officials said other releases had been delayed. "You have to be evenhanded in reporting science results, and it's apparent that there is a tendency for that not to be occurring now," said Dr. James E. Hansen, a climate expert who is director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan.




Bush Vs Inconvenient Facts
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Howard Zinn From The Progressive. Must Read 

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Yes, we can try to guard in every possible way against future attacks, by trying to secure airports, seaports, railroads, other centers of transportation. Yes, we can try to capture known terrorists. But neither of those actions can bring an end to terrorism, which comes from the fact that millions of people in the Middle East and elsewhere are angered by American policies, and out of these millions come those who will carry their anger to fanatic extremes.

The CIA senior terrorism analyst who has written a book signed "Anonymous" has said bluntly that U.S. policies – supporting Sharon, making war on Afghanistan and Iraq – "are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world."

Unless we re-examine our policies – our quartering of soldiers in a hundred countries (the quartering of foreign soldiers, remember, was one of the grievances of the American revolutionaries), our support of the occupation of Palestinian lands, our insistence on controlling the oil of the Middle East – we will always live in fear. If we were to announce that we will reconsider those policies, and began to change them, we might start to dry up the huge reservoir of hatred where terrorists are hatched.

Whoever the next president will be, it is up to the American people to demand that he begin a bold reconsideration of the role our country should play in the world. That is the only possible solution to a future of never-ending, pervasive fear. That would be "our" war on terrorism.


One Of The Funiest Writers Ever 

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As any loyal member of the Apocalypse's Official Sponsor, the GOP, will be keen to point out: John Kerry vacillates with the reckless license enjoyed by those not tenacious enough to white knuckle their grip on a three-word policy in the galling face of relentless contrary proof. For, truly, what greater tip-off can there be of a propensity to flip-flop than for someone to be wrong – only to change his mind simply so he can be right? Mr. Bush's refusal to fall prey to the realities of the World the rest of us are forced to live in until Glory (you know, the "Quagmire Accomplished" one with only one Internet) has led some churlish detractors to claim that our President is unable to adapt to changing circumstances.


Pardon me while I stifle the most ladylike guffaw. Thanks to numerous reports and facts being made public, American voters are now able to gauge the actual threat posed by Saddam Hussein without access to state secrets (or becoming complicit in a felony by, more odiously, sharing dinner with Bob Novak). Because of this regrettable increase in awareness of the so-called truth, Mr. Bush has nimbly recalibrated the reason for having American teenagers killed to protect America from an imminent threat of nuclear – no, make that, ur, bringing democracy to Iraq (which is sort of like bringing a veal casserole to a new neighbor – only to discovery that they are not only militantly vegetarian, but armed to the teeth). To prove his alacritous willingness to adapt once a previous rationale has been exposed as a prevarication, our handsome President has had more variations on his reason for invading Iraq than Carrie Bradshaw had shoes. Indeed, I can almost hear Carrie click click clicking away through last night's Marlboro ash on her Apple laptop keyboard:

"I couldn't help but wonder: when does a monomaniac obsession with a warmongering madman start becoming imitation?"


Well, Carrie, our warmonger has promised more tax cuts, apparently planning to slap the escalating bill for Iraq on Uncle Sam's Capital One No Hassle VISA card. But it's only fair that our grandchildren pay for the war. After all, they are the only ones who stand a chance of seeing anything that remotely mimics democracy flourishing in that backwards, tribal hellhole. Liberals accuse our handsome President of stirring up Muslim terrorists in the Middle East with an unnecessary war in Iraq, making a mess of everything he touches and rubbing the rest of the world of the wrong way. Well, frankly, this is music to my ears! According to Scripture, Jesus will not return until the World is in a bellicose shambles. Clearly, the Lord has grown impatient cooling His sandals and has anointed our handsome President to ensure that the planet's demise is put on an accelerated schedule. And, friends, this is why none of you should vote for John Kerry. Someone in the Oval Office who is competent and doesn't make sport out of needling our allies could put off the Rapture for four -- even eight -- years!



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A Reporter Tells Her View Of Iraq  

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In July 2003, when travel around Iraq didn't require armored cars and armed guards, my translator and I took a day trip to Fallujah. Unrest was on the rise there and we were curious about who was behind the violence. Was it indeed former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party? We wanted to get some truth on the ground. Even if the reporting foray was a bust, we planned to stuff ourselves at Haji Hussein, our favorite kebab restaurant.

At the mayor's office and the police station, my translator, Naseer, tried to find someone who would speak with candor. "They're all liars," he declared after a few interviews. Then, as we were about to give up, a mayoral aide told us to look up the city's senior tribal chief, Sheik Khamis Hassnawi. "He'll tell you what's really happening," the aide whispered.

In a city where residents often began conversations with diatribes against the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq, Hassnawi was a refreshing exception. Although he appeared to come from central casting, with his prominent nose, weathered face and checkered headscarf, he talked for much of the afternoon -- over Dunhill cigarettes and takeout from Haji Hussein -- about how Fallujah could be saved with the help of the U.S. military. The Americans, he said, needed to find a way to employ the legions of former soldiers and other disaffected young men milling about the city. Unlike Shiites in the south, who had grown accustomed to unemployment and poverty, Sunnis in Fallujah had thrived on government contracts, smuggling and graft. Postwar joblessness was a new, embarrassing -- and dangerous -- phenomenon. "Either you put them to work," Hassnawi said, "or they will turn to the resistance."




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High Times Weighs In On The…(cough) Election 


Monday, October 18, 2004

Sinclair Stock Is Crashing 

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If you own it, dump it.




Florida Republicans Already Started Hijacking Vote 


New Hampshire Republicans Stifle Student Vote 

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More than 50,000 college students reside in New Hampshire — depending on what you mean by "reside." Granite State Republicans have put forth a new take on that definition, one that some say is intended to disenfranchise young voters.

"They know that New Hampshire is going to come down to one or two thousand votes, so Republicans are trying to keep students from registering here," says Andrew Sylvia, president of the Democrats Club at Keene State College.

Among an array of recently passed New Hampshire election-law reforms is a change in the definition of who has a right to vote there. "An established domicile" in the state is no longer enough; instead, New Hampshire must be the site of a voter’s "a single established domicile" (emphasis added), newly defined as "that one place where a person ... manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence for domestic, social, and civil purposes."

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