GOP sees Osama's message as 'little gift'
GOP strategist tells the New York Daily News "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush." He called Osama Bin Laden's pre-election message to the America people "a little gift," saying it helps the president but doesn't guarantee his reelection. See the rest. Apparently they figure that neglecting to capture Bin Laden won't be held against Bush. (10/30/04)
This just in ...
Max Sawicky translates Osama's message (10/29/04)
Kids predict Kerry win
James Wolcott notes that Kerry got 57% of the vote in a Nickelodeon Poll, in which 400,000 youngsters took part. The poll has correctly picked the winners in the last four elections. "Since kids are naturally exuberant, until it's beaten out of them by the System, I shaved off two points from Kerry, gave those two to Bush," Wolcott wrote. "Kerry 55, Bush 45, that's my lighter than air prediction." (10/29/04)
Media keep voters in the dark
If you heard editor Jim Cullen on "America's WorkForce" today on WERE-AM in Cleveland, this is the story on Project Censored he was referring to (from the 10/15/04 TPP). (10/29/04)
Bush talked of Iraq invasion in '99, ghost writer says
Two years before the 9/11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography, Russ Baker wrote for GNN.tv.
"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said to me: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invade·.if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency." Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. "Suddenly, he's at 91 percent in the polls, and he'd barely crawled out of the bunker." See more. (10/28/04)
College Republicans scam seniors
The College Republican National Committee has raised $6.3 million this year through an aggressive and misleading fund-raising campaign that collected money from senior citizens who thought they were giving to the election efforts of President Bush and other top Republicans, the Seattle Times reported Oct. 28. Many of the top donors were in their 80s and 90s. They wrote checks — sometimes hundreds and, in at least one case, totaling more than $100,000 — to groups with official sounding-names such as "Republican Headquarters 2004," "Republican Elections Committee" and the "National Republican Campaign Fund." But all of those groups, according to the small print on the letters, were simply projects of the College Republicans, who collected all of the checks. And little of the money went to election efforts.
Some of the elderly donors wound up bouncing checks and emptying their bank accounts. "I don't have any more money," said Cecilia Barbier, a 90-year-old retired church council worker in New York City. "I'm stopping giving to everybody. That was all my savings that they got." See more. (10/28/04)
Video refutes Bush excuse on lost munitions
George Bush says no one knows if nearly 380 tons of high explosives were taken by insurgents and/or looters before or after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003, when coalition troops moved in to the area. But a news crew from KSTP-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul was embedded with the 101st Airborne Division on April 18, 2003, when the troops near al Qaqaa found "bunker after bunker of material labelled 'explosives.' Usually it took just the snap of a bolt cutter to get into the bunkers and see the material identified by the 101st as detonation cords. 'We can stick it in those and make some good bombs.' a soldier told our crew."
The bunkers were within the US military perimeter and were supposed to be protected. But once the doors to the bunkers were opened, they weren't secured. They were left open when the news crew and the military went back to their base, which was several miles away. Photojournalist Joe Caffrey and reporter Dean Staley said Iraqis were coming and going freely.
"At one point there was a group of Iraqis driving around in a pickup truck," Staley said. "Three or four guys we kept an eye on, worried they might come near us." (10/28/04)
Eyewitness to Iraq failure
'I hope I am not responsible for Armegeddon.'
Peter Galbraith, a former US diplomat, writes in the Boston Globe Oct. 27 of the chaos he observed in the days following Saddam Hussein's overthrow. He relates his report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz:
"For nearly an hour, I described the catastrophic aftermath of the invasion -- the unchecked looting of every public institution in Baghdad, the devastation of Iraq's cultural heritage, the anger of ordinary Iraqis who couldn't understand why the world's only superpower was letting this happen.
"I also described two particularly disturbing incidents -- one I had witnessed and the other I had heard about. On April 16, 2003, a mob attacked and looted the Iraqi equivalent of the Centers for Disease Control, taking live HIV and black fever virus among other potentially lethal materials. US troops were stationed across the street but did not intervene because they didn't know the building was important.
"When he found out, the young American lieutenant was devastated. He shook his head and said, 'I hope I am not responsible for Armageddon.' About the same time, looters entered the warehouses at Iraq's sprawling nuclear facilities at Tuwaitha on Baghdad's outskirts. They took barrels of yellowcake (raw uranium), apparently dumping the uranium and using the barrels to hold water. US troops were at Tuwaitha but did not interfere.
"There was nothing secret about the Disease Center or the Tuwaitha warehouses. Inspectors had repeatedly visited the center looking for evidence of a biological weapons program. The Tuwaitha warehouses included materials from Iraq's nuclear program, which had been dismantled after the 1991 Gulf War. The United Nations had sealed the materials, and they remained untouched until the US troops arrived."
But the troops had no orders to protect the Disease Center or the warehouses of radioactive material, just as they had no orders to protect the munitions bunkers at Al Qaqaa. So the US troops moved on and nearly 380 tons of high explosives, suitable for detonating nuclear weapons or killing US troops, were looted systematically and now are likely in the hands of insurgents and/or al Qaeda operatives.
Galbraith, former US ambassador to Croatia, supported Bush's decison to overthrow Hussein and wrote, "In spite of the chaos that followed the war, I am sure that Iraq is better off without Saddam Hussein."
He concluded, "It is my own country that is worse off -- 1,100 dead soldiers, billions added to the deficit, and the enmity of much of the world. Someone out there has nuclear bomb-making equipment, and they may not be well disposed toward the United States. Much of this could have been avoided with a competent postwar strategy. But without having planned or provided enough troops, we would be a lot safer if we hadn't gone to war." (10/27/04)
Nine most important reasons to vote for Kerry
From Bob Harris: "[Of the nine current Supreme Court justices, three of whom are cancer survivors and one of whom is currently hospitalized with thyroid cancer] Only Thomas is below conventional retirement age. And while Bush has played coy about whom he would appoint, his record is clear.
"Charles Pickering, for example, has been consistently hostile to civil rights and voting rights issues while siding with cross-burners (literally) and advocating increased enforcement of Mississippi's laws making interracial marriage a crime.
"Bush announced his appointment, in defiance of Congress while they were recessed, on the Martin Luther King holiday weekend.
"Bush's other recess appointment that weekend was Alabama's William Pryor, who has called Roe v. Wade "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history" -- even when pressed to consider the Plessy v. Ferguson separate-but-equal ruling or the Dred Scott black-have-no-rights-at-all decision.
"Spend a little time researching Pickering and Pryor. Please don't take my word for it. Google around. See what Bush really considers important in his judges.
"And don't lose sight of the wink-at-his-base symbolism involved: Bush appointed these two horrific nutjobs... on the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. You can almost hear him snickering.
"Fortunately, because Pickering and Pryor were end-run recess appointments, they expire at the end of the year. We're not stuck with them forever... yet.
"But make no mistake. Giving George W. Bush another shot at one, two, or three seats on this court would change the course of civil rights, voting rights, women's rights, and every issue most Americans dear for a generation.
PS: Amy Sullivan of WashingtonMonthly.com notes that, according to US News & World Report, the Bush White House may be considering a recess appointment (requiring no Senate approval, remember) to replace Chief Justice Rehnquist if he steps down for health reasons.
GOP plans Fla. voter 'caging'
A secret document from Bush-Cheney's Florida campaign tells of plans to disrupt voting in African-American prcincts by challenging voter registrations. Greg Palast, reporting for BBC's NewsNight, reports that emails prepared for the executive director of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington, D.C., contain a 15-page so-called "caging list" of 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democratic areas of Jacksonville, Fla.
An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."
Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot. Mass challenges have never occurred in Florida, but Sancho said the process "can be used to slow down the voting process and cause chaos on election day; and discourage voters from voting."
In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists or other means of intimidating voters, a BBC crew filmed a private detective filming every "early voter" -- the majority of whom are black -- from behind a vehicle with blacked-out windows.
The private detective claimed not to know who was paying for his all-day services.
On the scene, Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown said the surveillance operation was part of a campaign of intimidation tactics used by the Republican Party to intimate and scare off African-American voters, almost all of whom are registered Democrats. (10/26/04)
Right already excusing Bush defeat?
James Wolcott wonders if conservatives already are pre-rationalizing a Bush defeat. He finds Fox News commentators laying the groundwork with claims that the media are "in the tank" for Kerry and could swing as many as 5 percentage points in the vote. "They are taking the first baby steps to denying the legitimacy of a Kerry win, preparing the first batch of sour grapes," Wolcott writes." He adds that there are no coincidences at Fox: "Roger Ailes claps his hands and the monkeys go into their little dance." (10/16/04)
377 TONS of high explosives missing in Iraq and they don't bother Bush with the news?
First Scott McClellan said the US was not informed that the high explosives had gone missing until Oct. 15. National Security Adviser Condi Rice was informed "days after that," and she then told Bush, McClellan said.
That contradicts what the New York Times reported, that Iraqis claim they told Jerry Bremer about the missing explosives last May. Josh Marshall also notes that it contradicts what the Iraqis have told the IAEA, which is that the US pressured them not to report the disappearance to the IAEA.
"It also stands in what I guess you'd have to call simple defiance of the fact that the US had formal charge of these facilities for more than a year ending in late June of this year. To say that we knew nothing about the theft of these materials during that entire time is simply not credible. And if it's really true, it's considerably worse than if it's a lie."
Marshall notes that the IAEA inspected the munitions in January 2003 and then returned to the site and saw that the seals were in place in March, just a week or so before the war started.
Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita on Oct. 25 claimed that the explosives were taken away in a two or three week period in late March or very early April 2003. But a Pentagon "official who monistors developments in Iraq" told the Associated Press that "US-led coalition troops had searched Al-Qaqaa in the immediate aftermath of the March 2003 invasion and confirmed that the explosives, which had been under IAEA seal since 1991, were intact."
Marshall wrote: "That would mean that the explosives were not removed from the facility until some point after the war. And that would be in line with what the Iraqis two weeks ago told the IAEA."
See Marshall's Talking Points Memo and Juan Cole's Informed Comment for more details.
The revelations confirm suspicions that the Bush administration was so intent on protecting Iraqi oilfields that they didn't even assign troops to guard known arms caches, which were then looted by Iraqi insurgents. (10/26/04)
Cal. Media Mogul gives GOP candidates airtime
In another argument for the restoration of "Equal Time" provisions for the public airwaves, the owner of a chain of California Central Valley television and radio stations has donated $325,000 in airtime for GOP candidates in many of the state's hottest legislative elections, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The contribution by Harry J. Pappas comes in the final days of campaigning, and those involved in the campaigns couldn't recall another instance in which a California media mogul donated time on public airwaves for advertisements to benefit one party over another.
KTNC, a Spanish-language station in the Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto and San Jose areas; KMPH Fox and KFRE, Fresno and Visalia; KBFX Fox and KABZ, Bakersfield; KAZA, Los Angeles; and KSWT, El Centro.
The radio stations are KTRB 860 AM in the Stockton-Modesto areas and KMPH 107.5 FM in Fresno and Visalia.
Democrats demanded equal time, but Mike Angelos, a spokesman for Harry Pappas and his media chain, Pappas Telecasting Cos., said the legality of the $325,000 in contributions was researched thoroughly. Rather than give away free airtime, which is illegal under federal law, Pappas Telecasting Cos. essentially is footing the bill for broadcasting minutes it is setting aside for GOP candidates, Angelos said. "We're not denying (Democrats) any opportunity," he said. "They have the opportunity to purchase an equivalent amount of airtime.
Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, an advocacy group that battles media consolidation, denounced the Pappas move: "This is yet another example of a huge media company abusing the public's airwaves to advance their own political agenda. Pappas is making a bogus claim that the ads are not contributions, that they're 'buying' ad time from themselves. This is nothing but smoke and mirrors to avoid what appears to be a violation of federal laws requiring equal time."
During the past two weeks, hundreds thousands of citizens mobilized and stopped Sinclair Broadcast Group from airing “Stolen Honor,” a pro-Bush documentary that the company was calling ‘news’ to avoid FEC and FCC rules. “This is not about liberal vs. conservative. We would cry foul just as loudly if a Democrat-leaning conglomerate did this,” said Free Press president Robert McChesney. Free Press is launching a national campaign to stop Pappas at www.freepress.net/pappas. (10/26/04)
This is the movie that could turn the election around, if we can just get Sinclair Broadcast Group to run it in prime time before the election. It dares to tell the truth about our 43rd President. It could earn Don Knotts his long overdue Oscar (or an Emmy, I suppose, if it shows on TV before it hits the big screens.) See the trailer. (10/25/04)
Tricked by George Bush
"They told us we were shooting a Greenpeace commercial," alpha wolf says of Bush-Cheney commercial featuring "terrorist" lupines. (10/23/04)
The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush administration
Judd Legum of The Nation with chapter and verse on damage done by the Bushites so far. Also available: a PDF version to download and circulate amongst your undecided friends. (10/22/04)
America has embraced paranoia since World War 2. Dr. William F. Fry, a psychiatrist and professor emeritus of the Stanford University School of Medicine, examines the role of this peculiarly American derangement in the presidential campaign. (10/21/04)
Why Ralph should not run
More than 75 former Nader Raiders and other associates release a letter to voters urging them not to support Nader. "Nader's Raiders to Defeat Bush" plans a campaign of press outreach and ads in battleground states where Nader may act as a spoiler in the election outcome. In its letter to voters, the group said, "This November, none of us will vote for Ralph. We believe there is nothing more important than defeating George W. Bush." (10/20/04)
Why Ralph Nader is running
See his Aug. 25, 2004, speech in Omaha, Neb. (10/20/04)
They're speaking out "because blood is thinner than oil!"
W won't be kissing these cousins. (10/20/04)
Keep the heat on Sinclair
Since Sinclair Broadcast Group executives ordered their stations to air the anti-Kerry propaganda film "Stolen Honor" in its entirety, Sinclair's stock fell 17%, costing shareholders $105 million. In response to a threatened lawsuit filed by MediaMatters on behalf of stockholders, Sinclair on Oct. 19 issued a statement (we added the italics):
Contrary to numerous inaccurate political and press accounts, the Sinclair stations will not be airing the documentary "Stolen Honor" in its entirety. At no time did Sinclair ever publicly announce that it intended to do so. In fact, since the controversy began, Sinclair's website has prominently displayed the following statement: "The program has not been videotaped and the exact format of this unscripted event has not been finalized. Characterizations regarding the content are premature and are based on ill-informed sources."
Of course, Sinclair did announce that it planned to air the documentary in question. BoycottSBG.com noted that its local Kansas City Sinclair affiliate had precisely that listing for Oct. 21. Now Sinclair says it might only air parts of the documentary.
Not good enough. Sinclair has abused its license to use the public airwaves on a nonpartisan basis but the Republican Federal Communications Commission won't stand in its way. Since Republican regulators won't interfere with programming that promotes the Republican agenda, that leaves the rest of us with the option of putting pressure on their "bottom line" by letting their advertisers know that their sponsorship of Sinclair stations alienates the rest of us. BoycottSBG.com says nearly 100 advertisers have pulled out after hearing from outraged consumers who have threatened to consume elsewhere, but it's no time to let the pressure off.
The following advertisers have been selected by Boycottsbg.com for its top ten call list "because of various reasons, either due to their adamant refusal to pull their advertising or their significance to the campaign (Democratic candidates, etc.). When an advertiser drops their ads, a new company will be added to the list. Please send any confirmed advertising pull-outs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you live near some of the local advertisers, you might want to drop them a line to tell them who disappointed you are that they have chosen to sponsor programs on this right-wing station. Don't be abusive; just tell them that they can't expect your business as long as they support these right-wingers' agenda.
See hotlinks to websites and email addresses.
Circuit City (National)
Folmar Gun & Pawn (Tallahassee)
850-224-6836 | 850-224-3335
General Mills (National)
(763) 764-7600 | 612-540-7092
Hannaford Supermarkets (Portland)
Homemakers Furniture - Rick (Des Moines)
515-309-4673 | 888-818-7283 | 515-265-3481
IAMS Pet Food (Dayton)
Once Upon A Child / Winmark (Minneapolis)
(763) 520-8500 | (800) 567-6600
Pineworks Furniture (Portland)
207-777-7009 | 207-786-4849 | 1-866-876-746
Rank & Son Buick Pontiac GMC (Milwaukee)
810-239-4392 | 989-779-8900 | 989-835-8143
U.S. Cellular (National)
Watson's (Kansas City)
913-888-SPAS | (513) 326-1100
See a more complete list of Sinclair advertisers. Let them know you hope they will keep their advertising on nonpartisan stations. (Because, let's face it, there are no Democratic TV stations.) (10/20/04)
The People's Choice for President lays out the Bill of Particulars against the Supreme Court's Choice. Al Gore tells the truth on Bush's disastrous performance. (10/19/04)
Sinclair Boycott Working
Some 80 advertisers have stopped sponsoring Sinclair Broadcast Group TV stations as a result of the uproar over Sinclair executives' order that 62 local stations broadcast an anti-Kerry propaganda film before the election. For a list of Sinclair advertisers, including websites and email address, see http://boycottsbg.com/advertisers/default.aspx
Kerry had actual proposals for health care, protecting American jobs and getting the economy moving. Bush lied about ignoring Osama Bin Laden, appointing judges who will overturn Roe vs. Wade and exaggerating the costs of Kerry's health care plan.
Veterans also might have some contrary opinions about his statement that they are getting "very good health care under my administration." Some of them seem to feel that the VA is severely understaffed, resulting in waits of several months to see a doctor.
Kerry once again had a good answer reconciling his Catholic faith with his support for women's choice. He also scored with his support for an increase in the minimum wage to $7 an hour that will help 15 million Americans, including 9.2 million women, closing with the line, "I'm tired of politicians who talk about family values but don't value families." Kerry also got an effective rebuttal of Bush's claim that he supported the extension of the assault weapons ban, but just didn't push it. And comparing Bush with Tony Soprano was a nice touch.
I wish Kerry would have taken on Bush again over his preposterous claim that limiting lawsuits would help anybody obtain health insurance. And Kerry might have pointed out that there is no Social Security crisis, but at least he pointed out that Bush's plan to privatize younger workers' Social Security would put the system $2 trillion in the hole in paying for currently promised benefits to people now in the workforce.
Of course, Bush's most glaring "lapse" was when he replied to Kerry, "Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations."
Within minutes the blogosphere produced the relevant lines from a March 2002 White House press briefing:
Q: "But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?"
THE PRESIDENT: "Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run."
Can we vote now?
A principal of Voters Outreach of America, a GOP-funded voter registration outfit accused of destroying Democratic registration forms in Nevada and Oregon (see below), reportedly has been claiming that his group is part of America Votes, a non-partisan voter education and registration coalition. Josh Marshall reports that Nathan Sproul, the head of VOA and a Republican political consultant who used to be the executive director of the Arizona state Republican party, made the claim in an attempt to gain access to venues such as public libraries to register voters. Partisan groups cannot use public library facilities in Multnomah County.
When a librarian in Medford, Ore., checked on the request by Sproul & Associates Inc. of Phoenix, Ariz., to set up a voter registration booth in the library, it was discovered the company had not been hired by America Votes, as the company stated in a letter to the library in September, according to the Medford, Ore., Mail Tribune.
America Votes is a nonpartisan coalition of liberal groups, such as the AFL-CIO, Emily's List, the Sierra Club and others, that is conducting voter registration drives, but the state organizing director for America Votes said Sproul has nothing to do with the nonpartisan group.
Sproul told the Mail Tribune it was an innocent mistake and claimed he had never heard of America Votes. "You telling me that they even exist was really the first time I’d heard it," Sproul told the newspaper. He said his company was hired by clients to register voters and came up with what he believed was a generic name.
Kevin Looper, the state organizing director for America Votes, was skeptical about Sproul's explanation. "You’ll have to forgive me for not finding it credible that they would not have heard of a group that is one of the largest in the country and is in every one of the 17 swing states and that could hardly be missed in any political circle," he told the newspaper. "While we appreciate their word that they will cease and desist, we will want to see that in writing."
Sue Noel, a temporary employee at Sproul & Associates, told the newspaper the voter drive is called Project America Votes and she knew about the redundant name. "What we try to do is tell people we are not affiliated with America Votes," she said. She said the company already has set up registration drives in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Nevada. In addition to libraries, they’ve set up registration drives in front of businesses and grocery stores, she said.
Josh Marshall noted that a quick scan of Nexis shows Sproul's outfit is also operating in West Virginia (see Charleston Gazette, August 20th), where they've already raised some controversy for misleading tactics if not destroying legally valid registrations. (10/13/04)
UPDATE: Voter Fraud Clearinghouse notes that Sproul & Associates has received half a million dollars from the Republican National Committee since July 2004.
MORE VOTE TRICKS
(Thanks to Salon.com's War Room for the leads)
OREGON OFFICIALS PLAN TO INVESTIGATE allegations that a paid canvasser might have destroyed voter registration forms. KGW-TV in Portland interviewed Mike Johnson, 20, a canvasser who said he was instructed to only accept Republican registration forms. He told the TV reporter that he "might" destroy forms turned in by Democrats. Secretary of State Bill Bradbury said the law requires that groups registerig voters submit forms no later than five days after they were filled out. He added that canvassers can't turn away a voter because of party affiliation.
STUDENTS TRICKED INTO REGISTERING REPUBLICAN. Students at Portland State University who signed a petition "to lower auto insurance costs for young people" were asked to fill out part of a voter registration card, and may have been registered Republican, the university's newspaper, the Vanguard, reported Oct. 13.
The petitioners, who refused to identify themselves and gave conflicting accounts of who they were working for, handed students voter registration cards and told them to fill out only the name and address section, in order to "verify" their signature on the petition. According to one of the petitioners, the group's intent is to register everyone who filled out the voter registration card, with "Republican" selected under the party affiliation.
Many students who had signed the petition where surprised or outraged to learn that they may have inadvertently registered to vote as a Republican.
SOUTH DAKOTA VOTER REGISTRATION SCANDAL. Commenting on the resignation of several people connected to the South Dakota Republican Party over improper absentee ballot applications (a nephew of the GOP Senate candidate was signing up college students even though he isn't an official notary) former Gov. Bill Janklow said the national GOP is encouraging campaign workers to cheat, according to KELO-TV in Sioux Falls.
Janklow, the state's at-large congressman until he was forced to sept down earlier this year when he was found guilty of manslaughter in a traffic wreck, told the AP the GOP's Victory program was guilty of breaking election rules.
"These people are cheating," Janklow said. "When you tamper with it, you cheat the system. And cheating in elections is the worst form of cancer because it's uncontrollable." The Victory program is funded in part by the national Republican Party and run by the state party to help candidates, the AP reported.
The chairman of the state Republican Party's get-out-the-vote effort and four contract workers lost their jobs after students on South Dakota college campuses questioned the absentee ballot application process, saying their applications were taken by men but the notarization of those documents was signed by a woman. Voters need either a copy of their photo identification or a notarized application to receive an absentee ballot, according to state law. (10/13/04)
Toledo Dem Party HQ burglarized
Computers taken, while cashbox, other items left behind
From the Toledo Blade:
Thieves shattered a side window overnight at Lucas County Democratic headquarters in Toledo, stealing computers with sensitive campaign information and triggering concern of the local party's ability to deliver crucial votes on Nov. 2.
Among the data on the stolen computer of the party's office manager were: e-mails discussing campaign strategy, candidates' schedules, financial information, and phone numbers of party members, candidates, donors, and volunteers.
Also taken were computers belonging to Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak and to a Texas attorney working with the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign to ensure election security.
The thefts have prompted the Kerry/Edwards campaign and Democrats in Washington to offer help and have left local officials fretting about the crime's impact on the upcoming election, in which Ohio plays a high-profile role.
Officials stopped short of publicly blaming partisan politics, but at the same time, they all but ruled out run-of-the-mill criminals.
Two other computers, holding less sensitive information, were untouched, as were a petty cash box that usually holds $80 to $100, televisions, portable radios and other electronics. Moreover, other offices inside the building, 1817 Madison Ave., were not entered. ...
"They knew what they wanted," [party spokesman] Chabler said, calling the incident a 'third-rate burglary,' " a not-so-subtle reference to the break-in at National Democratic Committee offices in 1972 that began the Watergate scandal that eventually led to the President Nixon's resignation. (10/13/04)
GOP firm shreds Dem voter cards
RNC appears to fund voter suppression efforts
Employees of a voter registration firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in Nevada allegedly trashed hundreds and perhaps thousands of Democratic voter registration cards, KLAS-TV in Las Vegas reported Oct. 12. The out-of-state firm, Voters Outreach of America, worked in Las Vegas for several months, registering voters outside malls and convenience stories. It employed up to 300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former employees said the company only wanted Republican registrations. Two former workers say they saw company supervisors rip up and trash registration forms signed by Democrats.
"We caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her assistant and he ripped them up right in front of us. I grabbed some of them out of the garbage and she tells her assisatnt to get those from me," said Eric Russell, former Voters Outreach employee.
Russell managed to retrieve a pile of shredded paperwork, including signed voter registration forms, all from Democrats. The Clark County Election Department confirmed that they had not, in fact, been filed with the county as required by law.
According to KLAS, similar complaints have been received in Reno, where the registrar of voters has asked the FBI to investigate. The firm reportedly has gone on to Oregon.
(Don't try this at home. Fraudulent voter registration is a violation of state and federal laws.)
Josh Marshall found a careerbuilder.com ad by Voters Outreach seeking canvassers for the RNC. According to The American Prospect, a principal in Voters Outreach also collected signatures for Ralph Nader in Arizona.
UPDATE: Kos bloggers report similar voter suppression efforts in Arizona, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia. How deep does this go? (10/13/04)
Sinclair TV's anti-Kerry propaganda
Conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose 62 TV stations reach nearly a quarter of the nation’s homes, is ordering its stations to pre-empt regular programming days before the Nov. 2 election to air a film, Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, produced by right-wingers that attacks Sen. John Kerry’s activism against the Vietnam war after he returned with his three Purple Hearts and Bronze and Silver stars, the *Los Angeles Times* reported Oct. 9. The company owns stations in swing states such as Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Some liberals suggested a boycott of advertisers on Sinclair stations. Steve Soto of TheLeftCoaster.com suggests that Democrats also protest Sinclair license renewals at the Federal Communications Commission. Soto noted that anyone who has an interest in the renewal of a TV license may file an informal objection or a more formal petition. Upcoming deadlines to file objections or petitions are Nov. 1 for Sinclair stations in Asheville, Greensboro and Raleigh, N.C., and Charleston, S.C., Jan. 1 for stations in Pensacola, Tallahassee and Tampa, Fla., and March 1 for Birmingham, Ala. (For more on boycotts, license objections and other responses to Sinclair, see:
* Links to Sinclair Broadcast Group and its stations
* Contact Sinclair advertisers
* Contact Sinclair shareholders
* See list of mutual funds with Sinclair holdings.
See good advice for talking to advertisers and ad sales managers at Sinclair's local TV stations at Josh Marshall's Talking Points. Most important point: Be polite but firm. "Make clear that you're serious. And make your feelings known. But remember that the advertiser in question probably didn't know anything about this until today or maybe yesterday. And the person you'll actually be talking to at the station, and even more so with the advertiser, is as likely as not to be a Kerry supporter. What Sinclair is doing is egregious. But if you start making calls you'll be talking to a lot of folks who don't even know what's going on with all this and certainly aren't directly responsible for it," Marshall wrote.
Also Daily Kos is all over this story. (10/12/04)
Kerry wins on points
Score the second debate a narrow win for Kerry. Both candidates seemed comfortable with the "town hall" format. Neither candidate hit a home run but Kerry reinforced his talking points from the first debate. He made some good points about abuses of the PATRIOT Act, the need for embryonic stem cell research and reconciling his Catholic faith with his pro-choice position on abortion.
Bush made at least two gaffes, misstating the reasoning behind the Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery in 1856 and ridiculing Kerry for saying that Bush owned part of a timber company.
Atrios notes that the Dred Scott decision as not based on property rights; it was based on racism. The court, in its infamous decision, held that because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue for his freedom.
Ironically, Scott found himself in the same legal limbo as the Bush administration nowadays would place "enemy combatants" or other foreigners who are held to be not protected by the Bill of Rights.
Bush also apparently forgot that on his 2001 federal income tax return, he reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise, according to FactCheck.org. (In 2002 and 2003, he reported his timber income as "royalties" on a different tax schedule.) (10/8/04)
Nathan Newman notes that Bush's experiment hasn't added any data in support of the theory that slashing taxes for the wealthy will lead to additional revenue for the federal government (much less jobs, Max Sawicky notes). (10/8/04)
The people who brought you the "This Land" parody follow up with "Good to be in DC!" (10/8/04)
Noted documentarian Erroll Morris ("Fog of War," "Thin Blue Line") has created a series of 30-second ads, apparently for Moveon.org, featuring Republicans who voted for George W. Bush in 2000 but won't make that mistake again. Now he is looking for a "527" group willing to run them. See the ads here. (10/8/04)
At last night's debate, Vice President Cheney had a clear strategy: refuse to respond to tough questions, attack Edwards personally and, when necessary, deceive. Instead of taking responsibility for numerous errors in judgment over the last four years, Cheney reiterated his faith in failed policies. Instead of taking responsibility for his own voting record, Cheney engaged in petty attacks. Instead of coming clean with the American people, Cheney continued to play fast and loose with the facts. (See American Progress Action Fund for fact check on the debate.) (10/6/04)
Max Sawicky writes: "How incoherent is Democratic foreign policy? Remember, the Bushies are just nuts. With Kerry you have disagreements. Big ones." (10/6/04)
Edwards wins Veep debate
John Edwards not only showed he could go toe to toe with Dick Cheney at Tuesday night's debate, he kept hammering as the vice president stuck to his talking points. Edwards, who after all is an experienced trial lawyer, was well-prepared and effectively represented John Kerry's positions in establishing that Saddam Hussein had no role in the 9/11 attacks but that the Bush administration pulled US military and intelligence resources from Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda was cornered, to invade Iraq without building an effective coalition.
Edwards did a better job of answering moderator Gwen Ifill's questions and rebutting Cheney's claims. He not only corrected Cheney's misrepresentations but turned them back on the old pol and got some good lines, such as "a long resume does not equal good judgment." He noted that Cheney as defense secretary under George Bush Sr. opposed many of the same defense systems he now criticizes Kerry for voting against. Edwards also pointed out that Halliburton subsidiaries under Cheney did business with sworn enemies of the US such as Libya and Iran. On health care, while Cheney proposed to control health care costs by limiting the damages that injured patients could collect with malpractice lawsuits, Edwards noted that malpractice awards amount to only 0.5% of health care costs that have been increasing by double digits in recent years. Edwards managed to put himself and Kerry on the side of the people while Cheney and Bush remained in the service of the insurance companies.
Edwards closed with the theme that he and Kerry are on the side of middle America, noting that he grew up in the "bright light of America," but added, "The light is flickering tonight," with working people facing higher costs of health care, education and other areas. Cheney went through a laundry list of conservative ideas and promised unpersuasively, "We'll do everything we can."
Edwards won with poetry as well as rhetoric. It probably won't have that much impact on the presidential race, but he surely left voters feeling better about his qualifications to be vice president, particularly as the trail of Cheney's falsehoods is detailed over the next few days.
[By the way, Kos reports that when Cheney claimed that he had never met Edwards before the debate -- a pretty far-fetched claim considering that he presides over the Senate -- Cheney was lying. Not only did Cheney introduce Edwards at a prayer breakfast in February 2001, shortly after he was inaugurated, but there is a picture of them standing next to each other at the event. Josh Marshall noted that it gives Dems the snark line, "Dick Cheney says he never met John Edwards before last night? I bet he wishes he still never had."]
House rushes draft vote
The Republican House leadership reportedly planned to rush a bill to the House floor without committee hearings or debate in an attempt to end speculation that the government plans a new military draft as the US seeks to extend its influence in the Middle East. The House was to vote on "The Universal National Service Act," which would require Americans aged 18 to 26 to perform two years of national service in a military or civilian capacity.
Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., the sponsor of the bill, said he would vote against his own bill because it had not been given serious consideration. "It should be subject to hearings and to expert testimony. The Administration should come and tell us about our manpower needs, about recruitment and retention, about the extent to which out troops are overextended. And they should give us their views about shared sacrifice. If they did all of those things in a serious way, they would have to admit that my bill is an option.
"But what we are seeing now is election-year politics. They are using the Suspension Calendar, which is reserved for non-controversial items, to make a cynical political statement. The American people are deeply concerned about this issue deserve more than this. So do our troops, who after we leave here today, will still be on ground, and left with the message that we couldn't take the time to discuss their situation and what should be done to relieve them.
"This is hypocrisy of the worst kind. I would not encourage any Democrat running for reelection to vote for this bill."
Josh Marshall is following the story.
The vote is a cynical stunt to provide political cover for Republicans but it shouldn't put to rest the fears that a draft will be needed next year. If anything the GOP stunt shows how a draft could be back in business practically overnight if the White House and congressional leadership decide to back it. As long as nearly 150,000 US troops are tied down in Iraq, trouble elsewhere would make a draft almost inevitable. And if Republicans are still in control of Congress the next draft won't have the good elements of Rangel's plan.
Young Americans already must register for the draft but there have been no callups since 1973. (10/5/04)
John Nichols thinks George W. Bush is tired of being president. (10/1/04)
Porter Goss, who pledged to lead the Central Intelligence Agency in a non-partisan way, moves to stack the CIA leadership with four House Republican aides, further politicizing national security and intelligence services. So much for objectivity and independence at the agency. Nathan Newman has the link. (10/1/04)
Contrarian Max Sawicky: "I thought Kerry advanced the Republican position much more forcefully and competently than Bush. Bush looked chonically irritated and frustrated. Each time the camera cut to Kerry while Bush was talking, JK looked like he was winding up to hit a softball over the fence." Max adds, "When Bush said 'Moo-lahs,' I thought of Far Side cartoons."
Actually, I thought of "Li'l Abner," but further research reminded me of "The Fabulous Moolah," the moniker of former Women's World Wrestling champion Lillian Ellison, who started out as the leopard-skin-clad "Slave Girl Moolah" as ringside accomplice to "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers before she broke out on her own in the mid-1950s. She reigned on and off in the ring from the 1956, when she won her first "world title," through 1987, when, after joining the World Wrestling Federation, the aging Moolah lost her title for the last time, to "Sensational" Sherri Martel on July 24, 1987, in Houston, according to her bio at the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. (10/1/04)