Sunday, October 31, 2004

Quote of the Day

John Kerry interviewed by Tom Brokaw, responding to questions about the missing explosives in Iraq and a statement by Tom Brokaw that Kerry would not have gone to war against Saddam:

"It's absolutely impossible and irresponsible to suggest that if I were president, he wouldn't necessarily be gone. He might be gone. Because if he hadn't complied, we might have had to go to war. And we might have gone to war. But if we did, I'll tell you this, Tom. We'd have gone to war with allies in a way that the American people weren't carrying the burden, and the entire world understood why we were doing it."
--John Kerry

Redskins Lose Predicting Kerry Victory

With the polls being so close, we need to look at other indicators of which way the election is going. We are encouraged by the victory in the Nicelodeon Poll, which historically has been predictive (most likley as the kids know how their parents will vote, even if the parents arent't talking to pollsters).

A number of historical trends favor Kerry, such as the fact that no President elected after losing the popular vote has been reelected, and no President named George Bush has ever won a second term. Now we have something else on our side as Green Bay beat Washington. Since 1932 this game has been predictive, with the incumbent winning if Washington won their last home game, and the challenger winning if Washington lost.

There was another good omen for us on the football field this weekend. Michigan trailed by 17 points to Michigan State and has only come back to win when down by 17 twice. Michigan tied it up and went on win in triple overtime. The MVP's name was Edwards.

Between the Red Sox victory and the Redskin loss, Kerry would certainly win if only the election was held in a sports arena. Hopefully our ground game will also be enough to clinch a victory on Tuesday.

Polls Still Show A Close Race

With the election less than two days away, the polls continue to show a very close race. Virtually all national polls are showing the race within the margin of error. Those which have a different result show signs of poor methodology, with considerable over-polling of Republicans. Even Fox News has Kerry leading by two points among registered voters (with a tie among likely voters), upsetting many over at some of the Republican blogs.

Polls in the battle ground states show similar results. With more polls out than there are states today, supporters of either candidate can find evidence of a lead in key states. Kerry does appear to be regaining the lead in the midwest. Over the last few days Iowa looked like Bush's best chance of picking up a Gore state, but the Des Moines Register shows Kerry now leading. The polls in traditional Democratic states which showed Bush with a lead recently remind me of the final polls in Wisconsin before the 2000 election which incorrectly predicted a Bush victory.

With the polls generally being within the margin of error, and with many contradictory polls out, anything can still happen. Polling so far suggests that the bin Laden tape is having little impact, but it is too early to be certain. This still could help Bush if people rally behind the President out of fear (and a false perception that he is fighting terrorism effectively). It may also help Bush simply by drawing attention away from the issues which have been helping Kerry move up in the polls over the last week. On the other hand, this could hurt Bush by reminding people of three things:
  • Osama bin Laden is still free, despite George Bush's earlier statements that he will catch him dead or alive
  • Osama's admission that he was behind the 9/11 attacks reminds people that he, not Saddam, is our more serous threat
  • Bringing up Bush's failure to respond to the attacks while reading My Pet Goat could may bring more attention to Bush's failings as Commander in Chief, as well as to the questions of Bush's mental instability raised by doctors and psychologists who have observed him at public appearances and the debates
Kerry is in a far stronger position the polls than Al Gore was at this point in 2000, before he went on to win the popular vote. The usual trend for undecided voters to break for the challenger on election day suggests a Kerry victory if Bush remains under 50%, with Karl Rove attempting to counter this by spending fortunes on distorting Kerry's positions and record.

The large number of newly registered voters could prove the polls wrong, as people who did not vote in 2000 are often ignored as not being likely voters. We will not know the effects of the new voters until election day, but polls of early voters do show a significant lead for Kerry. Rove's attempts to counter the effects of new voters includes a number of methods to suppress the vote, including intimidating minorities from turning out to vote.

We also cannot be certain of the accuracy of telephone polls. The Washington Post recently reported that a tremendous number of people are refusing to answer, and question if those who do answer are representative of the entire voting population. Zogby believes that pollsters are missing many young voters who only use cell phones. Zogby conducted a text message poll of young voters showing a lead of 55% to 41% among young voters. It remains unclear how large a population of cell phone only users there are, and how many really will turn out to vote. As with other groups, the results may come down to how successful Get Out The Vote efforts are, wtih Demorats traditionally having the advantage here.

Two More Views on Bush's Wrong Approach to Terrorism

Al Jazeera expresses views similar to those quoted from James Zogby on Friday regarding how George Bush has played into al Qaeda's hands. They report the following from the al Qaeda declaration on March 7 after the Spanish bombing:
"A word for the foolish Bush. We are very keen that you do not lose in the forthcoming elections as we know very well that any big attack can bring down your government and this is what we do not want.

"We cannot get anyone who is more foolish than you, who deals with matters with force instead of wisdom and diplomacy.

"Your stupidity and religious extremism is what we want as our people will not awaken from their deep sleep except when there is an enemy.

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization.

"Because of this we desire you [Bush] to be elected."
This statement may explain why bin Laden chose to release a statement rather than an attack prior to the election. While al Qaeda may be misjudging the effects on voters of an attack, they do understand how Kerry's approach to foreign policy and terrorism would be much more dangerous to them than George Bush.

Of course we are not going to take the judgement of al Qaeda and Al Jazeera alone on this. A similar view of the differences between George Bush and John Kerry is seen in today's endorsement of John Kerry by conservative columnist Thomas Friedman:
Vote for the man who you think would have the same gut feel for nurturing allies and restoring bipartisanship to foreign policy as him. Vote for the man you think understands the importance of facing up to our fiscal responsibilities for the sake of our children. And vote for the man who has the best instincts for balancing realism and idealism and the man who understands the necessity of using energetic U.S. diplomacy to make Israel more secure - by helping to bring it peace with its Arab neighbors, not just more tours from American Christian fundamentalists.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bush is Scary--Vote For Kerry (Halloween Pics II)

Quote of the Day

On being a War President:

"A War President isn't self-proclaimed. A president becomes a true War President by leadership that inspires followers at home and abroad. And most importantly, a War President never loses sight of the goals of true peace with honor.

"For Bush to grant himself this title is an insult to my grandfather and the inspired leaders who led this country in wars that were just. To put it simply, George W. Bush has not earned the right to be called a War President." --James Roosevelt, Jr. (FDR's grandson)

Bush is Scary--Vote for Kerry

Bush is Scary--Vote for Kerry

With Halloween falling so close to the election, some see this as a last opportunity to go door to door with this message, as Kerry Gear replaces traditional costumes. Kids have a lot at stake in this election, from wanting to grow up in a world where America is respected to not wanting to be stuckwith George Bush's huge debt. Holiday decorations are also different this year.


Under George W. Bush, the fundamental right to Freedom of Speech is violated:

(AFP/Stephen Jaffe)

Supporters of President George W. Bush tear up a sign from a protestor that said "Republicans for Kerry" during a campaign rally at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.

He's No Longer the One

The Bush campaign stopped using the song He's Still the One at campaign rallys after John Hall, who co-wrote the song with ex-wife Johanna Hall, requested that it not be used. Both support John Kerry.

In light of the loss of the use of this campaign song, I'd like to make a suggestion for a song which sums up the Bush philosophy, Cher's If I Could Turn Back Time.

Taking It To The Streets!

For weeks, Kerry supporters have been rallying in Studio City, CA on Friday evenings to show their support for John Kerry and John Edwards. Last night with the election just 4 short days away, the weekly “United For A New President” Rally nearly tripled in size with about 250 to 300 Kerry/Edwards supporters out enforce.

I arrived a short time after 6:00 p.m. and was pleasantly surprised to see a sea of Kerry/Edwards signs flooding the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Ventura Boulevards. As I searched the crowd for familiar faces, I was laughing heartedly at the antics of Billionaires for Bush (a satire group) who had come out to entertain the crowd. Motorists at the intersection wailed on their horns and pumped up Kerry supporters danced from one corner to another.

Here in Los Angeles, thousands of volunteers have been doing their part to help GOTV! With all of the action focused on the Battleground States, there have been weekly bus trips to Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico and every local Democratic Headquarters office is teaming with volunteers who are phone banking both locally and across the country.

I ran into actors Ed Begley, Jr. and Jere Burns when I ventured across the street to see what was happening on the other side. I had met Ed Begley, Jr. back in late February when he came out to introduce Teresa Heinz Kerry when she received the California LCV endorsement on John Kerry’s behalf. Begley himself is a noted environmentalist who is always happy to turn out for a cause. I chatted briefly with Ed and Jere about the prospect of John and Teresa in the White House.

While all eyes are on the Battleground States right now, our efforts did not go unnoticed by the local media who came out to cover our rally. NBC4 managed to weed some footage into their piece about the Bin Laden tape and John Kerry’s response.

Finally, at the end of the rally I ran into Blogger Sam Park who I first met back in August ’03 at the first San Fernando Valley Meet-Up. It’s been a long year, we both agreed, but here we are now with the big event just 4 days way! No rest yet, for weary Bloggers and Kerry volunteers… It’s time to take it to the streets and GOTV!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Neither Bush or Kerry a Possibility?

There has been some interesting speculation about the election recently.

Speaking on Larry King Friday night, Walter Cronkite predicted that we will not know the winner of the election until April due to litigation. I doubt this will be the case as most likely any court battles, to be meaningful, will have to be concluded around the scheduled mandated by the Constitution for the electors to choose the next President. On the other hand, do we dare distrust anything Walter Cronkite has to say?

There have been a number of scenarios published in which the electoral college winds up in a tie and goes to the House. It has been noted recently on some blogs that the Constitution then calls for the House to choose the next President by deciding among the top three candidates in the electoral college. This opens up the possibility of someone besides Kerry or Bush becoming President.

The Republicans would dominate any such vote (assuming they retain control of the House, which appears likely) virtually guaranteeing that a Republican would be chosen. However, many Republicans realize that George Bush is not fit for the job, and has caused considerable harm to the country. They might support Bush in a two way race out of party loyalty, but what if there was another Republican choice? If the race winds up with neither candidate achieving 270 electoral votes, perhaps the Democrats should cast a few votes for a moderate Republican. This would allow the House to still chose a Republican, but one who would be less damaging to the country than George Bush. John McCain's name has been the obvious suggestion here.

False Attacks on Teresa Heinz Kerry Resurface

The Bush campaign, in an attempt to distract attention from George Bush's failed record, has attempted to avoid discussion of the issues by instead running a disinformation campaign to smear John Kerry. In addition to multiple attempts to distort Kerry's positions and record, they have also launched several attacks against Teresa Heinz Kerry based upon untrue information. As these attacks have appeared in our comments section this weekend, I will post the response to these attacks from Fact Check here:

Internet "Whispering Campaigns" Falsely Accuse Teresa Heinz Kerry

Bogus e-mail messages claim she's given millions to "radical" groups, some linked to terrorists, and located Heinz factories overseas. Both claims are false.

August 4, 2004

Modified:August 12, 2004


False allegations about Kerry's wife have been circulating for months, but the velocity of the Internet "whispering campaign" picked up substantially with the approach of the Fall campaign.

One false message claims Teresa Heinz Kerry gave $4 million to a foundation that used the funds to support a list of "radical" groups including one with alleged links to Hamas and another that is said to have offered to provide a lawyer for Saddam Hussein. But public records show otherwise. Heinz Kerry's foundation money was directed to projects such as "Sustainable Pittsburgh," which promotes "smart growth" strategies.

Another widely circulated e-mail claims Kerry and his wife "own" dozens of H.J. Heinz Company factories in Europe and Asia. It accuses Kerry of hypocrisy for denouncing offshoring of US jobs while "making millions off that cheap labor."

That's also false: neither of them own Heinz. Public records show Heinz Kerry isn't an officer of the company, isn't on the company's board of directors, and isn't even close to being the largest shareholder. The Heinz Endowments do own Heinz stock -- less than 4% of the company -- but income from that stock goes to charity, not to the Kerrys personally.

Analysis has received hundreds of copies of these two e-mails from subscribers who asked us to check out whether there's any truth to them. They have been circulating like a virus, relayed by people who either don't bother to check out whether they are true, or don't care. It's the modern equivalent of the old "whispering campaign" in which false rumors served as political weapons.

Teresa Heinz Kerry and the Tides Foundation

The more virulent of these nasty, false mailings alleges that she's given more than $4 million to the Tides Foundation of San Francisco to fund a variety of "radical" groups including some that the message suggests are supportive of terrorists.

To start, that's flatly denied by Maxwell King, the President of the Heinz Endowments. King told

King: Neither she nor her foundations has ever funded any of the extremist organizations or unpatriotic causes listed in the email you forwarded. Period.

The Tides Foundation also says that no Heinz funds have gone to any of the groups named in the e-mail. Further, it says Tides itself gives little or no money to several of them. Christopher J. Herrera, Director of Communications of the Tides Foundation, told us that the allegation about a Ramsey Clark group is utterly false, for example.

Herrera: We have made no grants to this organization nor can we find any association with it in our records.

According to Herrera, Tides Foundation gifts to the National Lawyers Guild total "approximately $30,000 over the last ten years," and donations to the Council on Islamic Relations amounted to a single $5,000 grant in 2002 for a Southern California project called the "Interfaith Coalition Against Hate Crimes." But even those relatively small sums didn't come from Heinz money as alleged.

Where $8 million went

Both groups say the only money given directly to the Tides Foundation by the Heinz Endowments was $230,000 given between 1994 and 1998, all used to support a pollution-prevention initiative and other environmental projects in Western Pennsylvania.

Much larger sums have gone through a related legal entity called the Tides Center, which administers grants for groups receiving donations that are not themselves incorporated as a nonprofit organization. The Tides Center takes a fee, typically between 7% and 9%, for handling payrolls, disbursing, legal and administrative work, but the rest legally must go to the group for which the donor intended it.

The Heinz Endowments released a list of grants totaling $8.1 million given through Tides since 1994. None of the money went for the "radical" groups named in the e-mail.Instead, the grants included such sums as:

  • $1.6 million for "Sustainable Pittsburgh," which promotes such projects as "bike to work week."
  • Just over $1 million for the "Chemical Strategies Partnership," which looks for ways to cut the use of chemicals in industry.
  • $800,000 for the "Green Building Alliance ," which promotes buildings that use less energy.
  • Nearly $1.4 million for the "Pennsylvania Energy Project," which spun off several renewable-energy projects before going out of business at the end of 2000.

Included in the $8.1 million are grants from the Howard Heinz Endowment and also the Vira I. Heinz Endowment, which collectively make up the Heinz Endowments. Heinz Kerry chairs the Howard Heinz Endowment, the larger of the two, and is a member of the board of directors of the smaller Vira I. Heinz Endowment.

The list appears to be accurate: checked each grant on the list against those that the Heinz endowments reported to the US Internal Revenue Service on their form 990's for the five years 1998 through 2002. We found no discrepancies: all the grants on the master list matched grants reported on the IRS forms, where there could be legal penalties for false reporting. We would have checked 990's for other years but those before 1998 are not readily available, and the two Heinz endowments aren't scheduled to file their forms for 2003 until Aug. 15.

(Anyone who wants to check for themselves can call up the Heinz form 990's here , where they are posted for all to see by Guidestar, a national database of nonprofit organizations. The service is free, but registration is required.)

The Scaife Connection

This false allegation has its roots in a study published in December, 2003 by the conservative Capital Research Center of Washington, DC. It stated that the Tides Foundation and Tides Center "effectively 'launder' donor dollars" so that "the original donor can’t be linked to the ultimate recipient." It said the Heinz Endowments had given $4,298,500 to Tides between 1995 and 2001. That turned out to be much less than the actual amount, and far from being "laundered," donations from Heinz are listed on the endowment's website as well as in publicly available form 990's.

One of the study's authors then wrote an opinion piece that appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, accusing Heinz of teaming with Tides to engage in "secretive funneling of cash . . . to extreme left-wing activist groups." In fact, none of the Heinz money was actually earmarked for any of the organizations listed. Nevertheless, the two articles have been quoted widely on conservative newspaper editorial pages and on conservative websites, one of which is quoted in the bogus e-mail we cite here.

Worth noting is that the publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is conservative Republican donor Richard Mellon Scaife, whose charities also gave $260,000 to Capital Research in 2002, according to a March 7 report in the rival Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Scaife attracted notice in the 1990's when he funded some of the journalistic investigations into Bill Clinton's affairs. It was the editorial page director for Scaife's Tribune-Review, Colin McNickle, whom Heinz Kerry told to "shove it" in a much-reported incident during the Democratic National Convention July 25.

Heinz Kerry and the Overseas Food Factories

Another e-mail that many of our subscribers have asked about claims -- falsely -- that Heinz Kerry and her husband "own" factories overseas and hypocritically are "making millions off all that cheap labor" while denouncing Bush for letting jobs go to other countries.

This one can also be proved false from publicly available records. In fact, Heinz Kerry has no role in running the food company.

As the H.J. Heinz Company reports in its most recent proxy statement on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Heinz Kerry is not on the company's board of directors, nor is she listed among the principal shareholders (those who control 5% or more of the outstanding shares). The charitable foundations she controls once held much more Heinz stock but sold off most of it nearly a decade ago to diversify their investments. The Heinz company said in a recent public statement that she currently controls less than 4% of the company's stock. The largest shareholder is actually a California investment company that owns roughly three times as much as the Heinz charitable foundations.

About all that is true in this e-mail is that the Heinz company has a number of factories overseas.

Its most recent annual report, also publicly available at the SEC's website, lists 32 factories owned in Europe (and three more leased), and 18 in Asia and the Pacific (plus four more leased). Heinz also reported selling just over $3 billion in products in Europe and more than $1 billion more in Asia and the Pacific -- accounting for roughly half the company's global sales.

The company issued a statement back in March, when this e-mail first began circulating, saying that 60% of its sales are outside the US (including those in Mexico and Canada as well as Europe and Asia) and that it locates plants in other countries "to accommodate those customers by providing facilities closer to those markets" and "to pack the freshest ingredients, tailor its recipes to local tastes and deliver the final products in a timely and efficient manner."

The company also distanced itself from the Kerry campaign and Heinz Kerry:

H.J. Heinz Co: In light of some misleading speculation, the H. J. Heinz Company would like to make clear that neither Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry, Senator John Kerry nor any member of their family is involved in the management or board of the H. J. Heinz Company. . . . They have no involvement in the Heinz® Ketchup business or any of the company’s other brands or products.

The Heinz company also said it is "nonpartisan." Worth noting, however, is that the company's Political Action Committee has given nearly all its donations to Republican candidates, including $5,000 to the Bush campaign and nothing to Kerry's as of the most recent reports available. That's additional evidence, as if any was needed, that the company isn't "owned" by Kerry's wife.

Update: On Aug. 9 the H.J. Heinz Company's Vice President for Corporate Communications, Debora S. Foster, sent us a letter stating that its PAC's practice is to support both major-party presidential nominees, "and because the Kerry campaign does not accept PAC contributions, (the Heinz PAC) is donating $5,000 to the Democratic National Committee." We received the letter Aug. 12 and are happy to note the clarification.


Heinz Endowments, "The Heinz Endowments Grants to Tides Center / Tides Foundation," news release, undated.

Howard Heinz Endowment, IRS Form 990PF, fiscal years 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002.

Vira I Heinz Endowment, a Pennsylvania Non Profit Corp, IRS Form 990PF, fiscal years 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002.

Gretchen Randall and Tom Randall, "The Tides Foundation: Liberal Crossroads of Money and Ideas," Foundation Watch, Capital Research Center, Washington DC, December 2003.

Tom Randall, "The Heinz Endowments have teamed with a secretive left-wing group ," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review , 14 Dec. 14, 2003. (Also here ).
Dennis B. Roddy, "Right zooms in on Heinz grants; Heinz Kerry's foundation work provide grist for foes," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , 7 march 2003.

H.J. Heinz Company, "SCHEDULE 14A, Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934," 2 July 2004.

H.J. Heinz Company, "FORM 10-K: ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 For the fiscal year ended April 28, 2004" 17 June 2004.
H.J. Heinz Company, "H.J. Heinz Company Confirms Its Widely Held Public Ownership And Non-Partisan Status," news release, 22 March 2004.

Quote of the Day

"There's no question bin Laden would rather have Bush in the White House. The Iraq war has been a fantastic recruiting tool for him and the behaviour of this administration has played into his hands."
--James Zogby,
President Arab American Institute

Beach Front Sign

The Bush Platform

George Bush is running for President...

But all he does is attack John Kerry. It's been said over and over again that Bush does not have a platform on the issues...

Well his platform was spotted somewhere in Wisconsin!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Somewhere In Wisconsin...

Bruce Springsteen was in Madison, Wisconsin today campaigning for John Kerry.

Meanwhile...somewhere in Wisconsin, there is someone who wanted to express their gratitude to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney...

Watch the video of Bruce Springsteen and John Kerry in Madison, Wisconsin!

Reagan Adviser Joins Republicans Endorsing John Kerry

Former Reagan adviser Jude Wanniski, who coined term "supply side economics," endorses John Kerry:

A Vote for Senator Kerry

Memo To: Website Fans, Browsers, Clients
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Making Up My Mind

There are a lot of little reasons why I should be voting for the re-election of President Bush, for whom I gladly cast my vote in 2000. The one big reason why I will vote for Senator Kerry next Tuesday is that he is an internationalist, as am I, and Mr. Bush has become an imperialist – one whose decisions as Commander-in-chief have made the world a more dangerous place. Until this week, while I had privately decided to vote for Kerry, I had not planned to share that news with you until after Election Day. But I have been getting lots of mail from website fans urging me to vote for Kerry, or to help them decide between Kerry and Nader. Or from my Wall Street clients urging me to vote for Bush for all the little reasons – economic, social or political – of the kind that led me to the Republican Party in 1968 after my early adult years as a Democrat.

A week ago, my old friend Pat Buchanan endorsed the President’s re-election in his American Conservative magazine, entitled “Coming Home.” I told him his column was well-reasoned and beautifully written, but I could not agree with his argument that conservatives should not vote against Mr. Bush in order to punish him for Iraq because they would only be “punishing America.” The fact is, while neither Pat nor I consider ourselves “imperialists,” I actually believe in the international institutions that were designed in the last year of World War II, with the United Nations at the core, and he does not seem to trust them at all.

As an “America First” nationalist, Pat is an Old Guard Republican who vehemently opposed the war in Iraq because he never believed Baghdad was an imminent threat to our homeland. My opposition was based on the conviction that Saddam Hussein had been rendered powerless as a threat to the region, that he had been disarmed and could be kept that way by the United Nations inspections regime -- and that the goal of Team Bush had from the start been an imperialist one. Yes, the United States is at the pinnacle of world power and has great responsibilities to be the manager of world affairs. I’ve never believed in the neo-con Project for a New American Century’s concept of directing that power at preventing another country from replacing the U.S. at the top of the heap. The very idea is a dark one, I think, even sinister, far more insular than Pat Buchanan’s nationalism. It conveys to the world that we are going to do what we wish and need not even explain our motives -- because we have the power to do so.

If there is anything I’ve learned about Senator Kerry in this campaign, it is that he is an internationalist who believes in hearing out and taking seriously the opinions of the other countries of the world. When he says that if he had been President, we would not have gone to war with Iraq, there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that he is telling the truth. And it would not have been because the U.N. Security Council would not have given him “a permission slip,” but because the rest of the world could plainly see that the diplomacy of the U.N. was working, that UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had concluded there were no existing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and no WMD programs in operation. If Saddam Hussein had shown any resistance, Mr. Bush would have gotten the UNSC resolution he wanted and Senator Kerry would not now be able to make the case that the war was a great mistake.

At the outset, I said I decided this week that Mr. Bush had made the world a more dangerous place with his unilateral decisions, I had to add in the news that came from the IAEA about the disappearance of 380 tons of weapons from a cache 30 miles from Baghdad. Senator Kerry has sharply criticized President Bush for not securing this arms depot from looters. Vice President Cheney responded by pointing out that since the war ended, 400,000 tons of weapons have been destroyed. Cheney misses the point, and in a way so has Mr. Kerry, by saying the missing explosives no doubt have been used to kill American troops with roadside bombs. The reason the IAEA got involved in the 380 tons and not the other 400,000 is that the small cache contained explosives capable of setting off nuclear weapons. It is a far more serious problem than Kerry realizes.

When President Bush 18 months ago indicated he no longer trusted the IAEA inspection regime and would have our forces disarm Saddam, the IAEA inspectors left Iraq and have not returned since. As soon as the war formally ended last year, the IAEA asked U.S. permission to return to secure those sites that contained dual-use materials that could be used for WMD purposes. The Al Qaqaa site near Baghdad was one of them, containing HMX and RDX explosives of the type a terrorist would have to have in order to set off a nuke in an attack. As Gordon Prather explained to me when he learned of the missing explosives: If a terrorist group were to get their hands on 100 pounds of highly enriched uranium, it would be relatively easy for them to make a nuke of Hiroshima power. They could, say, load it into a truck and cart it into Washington on Inauguration Day. But without HMX or RDX, they could not detonate the nuke, and it would be impossible for terrorists to make the explosives suitable for the triggering device on their own. The process is more complex than making the nuke.

What Prather fears is that Iraqi scientists had already cast some of the HMX into the lenses needed in such a device, lenses the IAEA had under its control and seal, and that these are now loose in the region. “Can you imagine, the IAEA had nuclear materials in Iraq under seal dating back to the 1970s and none of the seals were broken even during the Gulf War. It was our responsibility to secure those sites as soon as we went in and instead looters have carted them off. Amazing.”

By this time, with one revelation after another of the mismanagement of foreign policy and national security under President Bush, I’d hoped he would find a way to signal the electorate that things would be different in a second term; that would require a change in personnel at the top. It would have meant Dick Cheney’s replacement with a GOP internationalist. It would also have meant a clean sweep of the neo-cons who cooked up the war -- and who misled a President who did not have the experience to be able to figure out he had been manipulated into realizing their imperial fantasies. Sadly, there is no indication a second term would be any different than a first, as all the speculation we read on personnel still has Cheney in the driver’s seat with Condi Rice, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld readily at hand.

Because Mr. Bush has told us repeatedly about how he is strengthened by his faith in God, with that faith sustaining him through his tough decisions, it goes without saying that it he is re-elected he will be filled with the spirit of vindication. There not only would be no changes in the team’s view of how the world must be dealt with. There would also be less restraint in George W. Bush's willingness to shape the world to his divinely inspired vision.

I’ll still vote Republican for the rest of the ballot on Tuesday, where I find the smaller issues more to my taste in the G.O.P. But I will cast my first vote for the Democrat in a presidential contest since I pulled the lever for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. And I will do so with enthusiasm for the Senator's views on how to manage the world, having come to appreciate the way his mind works. It changes with new and better information. If he does win, he will have a Republican House and probably a Republican Senate to work with, finding acceptable common ground on important domestic issues. But most of all, I think he will little by little make the world a less dangerous place than it has become these last four years.

NASA Scientist Investigates Bush Bulge

NASA photo analyst: Bush wore a device during debate

Physicist says imaging techniques prove the president's bulge was not caused by wrinkled clothing.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

By Kevin Berger

Oct. 29, 2004 | George W. Bush tried to laugh off the bulge. "I don't know what that is," he said on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, referring to the infamous protrusion beneath his jacket during the presidential debates. "I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."

Dr. Robert M. Nelson, however, was not laughing. He knew the president was not telling the truth. And Nelson is neither conspiracy theorist nor midnight blogger. He's a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis. Currently he's engrossed in analyzing digital photos of Saturn's moon Titan, determining its shape, whether it contains craters or canyons.

For the past week, while at home, using his own computers, and off the clock at Caltech and NASA, Nelson has been analyzing images of the president's back during the debates. A professional physicist and photo analyst for more than 30 years, he speaks earnestly and thoughtfully about his subject. "I am willing to stake my scientific reputation to the statement that Bush was wearing something under his jacket during the debate," he says. "This is not about a bad suit. And there's no way the bulge can be described as a wrinkled shirt."

Nelson and a scientific colleague produced the photos from a videotape, recorded by the colleague, who has chosen to remain anonymous, of the first debate. The images provide the most vivid details yet of the bulge beneath the president's suit. Amateurs have certainly had their turn at examining the bulge, but no professional with a résumé as impressive as Nelson's has ventured into public with an informed opinion. In fact, no one to date has enhanced photos of Bush's jacket to this degree of precision, and revealed what appears to be some kind of mechanical device with a wire snaking up the president's shoulder toward his neck and down his back to his waist.

Nelson stresses that he's not certain what lies beneath the president's jacket. He offers, though, "that it could be some type of electronic device -- it's consistent with the appearance of an electronic device worn in that manner." The image of lines coursing up and down the president's back, Nelson adds, is "consistent with a wire or a tube."

Nelson used the computer software program Photoshop to enhance the texture in Bush's jacket. The process in no way alters the image but sharpens its edges and accents the creases and wrinkles. You've seen the process performed a hundred times on "CSI": pixelated images are magnified to reveal a clear definition of their shape.

Full story at Salon or the Kerry 2004 Reference Library.

Does John Kerry Support Killer Cats?

This blog has an item on dogs below, so it is only fair to pay some attention to cats as well:

John Kerry voted for a six million dollar bill to save killer cats!

(This is Aurora, one of my cats, who has nothing to do with John Kerry or the killer cats, but I thought I should include a cat picture here and I had one of her handy.)

Who Says Dogs Can't Read?

Springsteen Brings Out 80,000 To Cheer Kerry

Springsteen, making a rare foray into campaign politics, said his songs were about "who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for now, I believe these essential ideas about America (are) what is at stake on November 2."

"I believe Senator Kerry honours these ideas, he has lived our history for the last 50 years. He has formed an adult view of America and its people," the rocker said, as golden leaves floated from the trees onto his stage.

"The future is now, and it's time to let our passions loose," said Springsteen, clad in a simple dark jacket and blue pants, strumming his black acoustic guitar.

"I am here today to stand alongside Senator Kerry and say that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting, and together we can move America towards its deepest ideas," Springsteen after playing his song "Promised Land."

Army of Clones?

Breaking News: George Bush develops army of clones, first seen in Bush ad (photo above).

It is speculated that the Bush administration developed this clone army, based upon an idea from George Lucas, in order to proceed with the neoconservative agenda of world dominance, without having to resort to a draft. Critics of the plan point out the effects upon the Republic when implemented.

Others speculate that these are actually alien clones, as first revealed by Chris Carter. Under this theory, the bulge on George Bush's back in the debates was either an alien communication device or mind control device.

Proponents of both theories fear that Bush might also be planning to use cloned Republican voters to steal the election next week.

Others speculate that this actually represents use of Photo Shop to create the illusion of a larger attendance at a Bush rally--a rather boring explanation.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

RUSH TO WAR: Between Iraq And A Hard Place

Robert Taicher, the producer of Rush To War will be giving away 40,000 copies of the DVD of the film in several of the swing states including Florida and Ohio in advance of the election. The film was 100% independently financed and produced.

Rush To War examines the issues surrounding September 11th and American foreign policy. Early in October, three weeks after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, director Robert Taicher and a small film crew drove from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. and New York, interviewing a cross-section of Americans in the aftermath of the events.

Following the invasion of Afghanistan and the Administration's un-anticipated war with Iraq, Mr. Taicher interviewed a number of government officials, foreign policy experts, and journalists, including former Senator George McGovern, former ambassadors Joe Wilson and Peter Tomsen, Samantha Power (Harvard University), Zia Mian (Princeton University), Thomas Gouttierre (University of Nebraska at Omaha), and Mark Danner (UC Berkeley); nationally syndicated columnists Robert Scheer, Molly Ivins and Chris Hedges (New York Times). The film also includes commentaries from Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, former Chief UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, former General Anthony Zinni and former Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke.

Among the issues explored are: the Cold War and CIA interventions around the world from the 1950s through the 1970s, America's involvement with the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and the history of the United States' two wars with Iraq, with particular emphasis on the current administration's policies and actions in the war on terror and its consequences for global security in the 21st century.

View the Rush To War Trailer -
Order a copy of Rush To War -
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Play the Give Bush a Brain Game

For Boston: One Down, One to Go

One Down, One to Go

Boston Wins World Series

Now on To Victory for John Kerry on November 2

The Red Sox have broken their curse. On November 2 we will end the "curse" against a north eastern liberal, or a Senator, becoming President.

More importantly, on November 2 we will put an end to a government based upon corruption, secrecy, and dishonesty.

On November 2 we will put to an end a government which uses fear of terrorism for political ends while neglecting the real fight against terrorism.

On November 2 we will put to an end a government which uses its power to transfer the wealth of the country from the poor, middle class, and even upper middle class, to the ultra-wealthy while acting to destroy the social safety net, including Medicare and Social Security.

On November 2, the American people will say No to a campaign based upon spreading disinformation about its opponent and suppressing the vote in a desperate attempt to remain in power.

Looks Like a Prank, But They Make a Point

Sure, it looks like a prank, but their site makes some great points in an entertaining way:

October 27, 2004



"Yes, Bush Can" now says "no, Bush can't!"

Yes, Bush Can, an independent group dedicated to communicating Bush policies directly to the public, has abandoned its campaign and is officially endorsing John Kerry for President.

Before changing sides, the Yes, Bush Can team drove around the country supporting the President in a campaign bus they had equipped with sound and light systems, confetti cannons, and various props and costumes. They gave dozens of stump speeches, distributed campaign videos and "USA Patriot Pledges," and performed patriotic songs to audiences across the country. (See and

Last week, the group officially split with Bush. "In the course of our travels, we ended up learning more about Bush's policies than he wanted us to know," said Harmon Spellmeyer, one of the Yes, Bush Can team. "We came to see that this administration is a catastrophe for most people."

Before breaking with Bush, the Yes, Bush Can team worked earnestly to support him. They went to the Pacific Northwest to promote Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative--and discovered it was enabling the logging industry to cut down our last old-growth forests. They visited a nuclear power plant in Ohio to promote Bush's domestic security policies--and found no one in the guard booth to meet them. In western Pennsylvania, while promoting the President's energy policy, they learned that it allows coal emissions which kill 23,000 people a year. Finally, while defending Bush's war on terrorism, they found out that even Donald Rumsfeld feels the Iraq War has made the world a more dangerous place.

After many similar discoveries and much internal turmoil, the Yes, Bush Can group arrived at the difficult conclusion that they could not continue their work. At a press conference Tuesday, in order to demonstrate how profoundly they are rejecting their former boss's ideas and policies, they defaced and abandoned the campaign bus they had purchased and outfitted.

Until the election, the former Bush campaigners will be doing all they can to make sure that Bush is prevented from winning the presidency. They will be joining many thousands of others in going door-to-door to "get out the vote" in cities throughout Florida--beginning with Jacksonville, a mostly Black city where 11,000 votes were never counted in 2000. (Statewide, 179,000 votes weren't counted, more than half of them Black. 90% of Blacks voted for Gore.)

The former Yes, Bush Can team recommends the following websites to those who wish to help "get out the vote":

To canvas by phone, visit or Send a "vote" eCard at To offer financial support to "get out the vote" efforts, visit or

Finally, visit the Yes, Bush Can website to follow the Yes, Bush Can team as they join thousands of others in helping make sure that Bush can do no more damage to America's economy, security, and dignity.

Check out their Call to Conservative Bloggers, as they call on conservatives to debunk documents which expose George Bush:
You exposed RatherGate by proving the CBS documents were fake -- nice work! But now the liberals have found a bunch more documents so our work is not done. Let's get to work proving that these are fake, too!
Ultimately they concede the memos are true:
Oct. 26, 2004
We are sorry to report that thousands of bloggers have confirmed for us that these documents are all, in fact, TRUE. Drunk driving, close ties with Big Energy and Enron, ignoring security warnings about Osama Bin Laden until after 9/11. The truth hurts... now, more than ever.

Republican Endorses Kerry Health Care Plan

David Durenberger: For health care security, Kerry has the better plan

David Durenberger
October 27, 2004 DURENBERGER1027

The presidential candidates are debating whether Iraq or the economy is headed in the right direction, but no one can dispute that the health care trend line is going in the wrong direction.

With 5 million more uninsured Americans, bringing the total to 45 million (including a 12 percent increase in uninsured Minnesotans in the last year), family insurance premiums up more than $3,500 (including a 59 percent jump in Minnesota), prescription drug costs up over 70 percent, and businesses struggling to afford health care and stay competitive, there can be no doubt that we need to change our policy course.

Regardless of how voters view the candidates on all other issues, it is clear that the future of health care costs for Minnesotans has already been determined by President Bush's record of accomplishment. As a Republican, with some experience, I sincerely regret having to say the record over the last four years and the prescription for reform the president is proposing give me little confidence that this most challenging of all domestic priorities will be adequately addressed over the next four years.

His Medicare Modernization Act enhances access to prescription drugs for low-income, high-need seniors. It authorizes demonstrations to identify quality of care and chronic care management. But it all comes at a price neither taxpayers nor Medicare beneficiaries will be able to afford.

Drug companies have inflated prices from which "discounts" are derived and the Republican Congress has protected the drug companies from the price competition that Medicare applies to doctors, hospitals, and home health, dialysis and other care providers. President Bush and the GOP Congress have placed the future of Medicare in the hands of America's big health insurance plans and, again, protected them from the reality of competition with a guarantee of up to 123 percent higher payments than traditional Medicare.

The costs of all this will be borne not by those who profit most from health insurance or services, but by seniors and disabled Minnesotans whose Medicare premiums were increased 14 percent this year and will be 17 percent next year. With a budget deficit of more than $400 billion a year, that Medicare premium can only rise faster in the future. Plus, those of us working past age 64 will pay up to 80 percent of the costs to us of a Medicare program we have funded out of family income for the last 38 years.

President Bush's embrace of Health Savings Accounts would make little dent in the uninsured or in overall cost growth, but they would cut benefits and shift costs to workers. His Association Health Plans -- which are designed to pool certain businesses together and permit them to avoid most state consumer protection insurance laws -- would simply attract businesses with younger, healthier workers at the expense of others. His underfunded individual tax credits to be used in the fatally flawed and discriminatory individual market would -- like his other approaches -- undermine and weaken employer-based coverage and make it even more difficult to find insurance coverage for the least healthy among us.

The president constantly refers to Sen. John Kerry's health reform proposals as "big government." Not true. As one deeply involved in developing alternatives to President Bill Clinton's reform proposals, I must say that what Kerry proposes today for coverage expansion is in line with what mainstream Republican senators like Jack Danforth, John Chafee and I, working with Democrats like Bill Bradley, John Breaux and Kent Conrad, tried to accomplish in 1994.

Indeed, the Kerry plan appears designed to be responsive to those most in need -- people forced out of health care coverage by premium cost increases -- without being disruptive.

By providing employers and health plans with financial relief from catastrophic expenses, it should stabilize and make more affordable the employer-based insurance market. It opens up programs like the Congress' own Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) and the Children's Health Insurance Program, and provides new private health insurance options -- not mandates -- for the uninsured.

By providing extra tax breaks for vulnerable groups like 55-to-64-year-olds, workers in between jobs, and small businesses, it ensures that health care is made even more affordable.

While far from perfect, it both builds on and learns from the past and takes us in a long-overdue new direction.

In this election people are making decisions on the basis of the candidates' stands on many issues. I have access to all of the health care I need through both FEHBP and Medicare. Like many Republicans, though, I believe our national goal is access for all, not just some.

For people who cannot afford the health insurance they need, for people whose access to care is threatened, the issue of which presidential candidate is most likely to come to their aid is their most important national security issue. It is the national security position on which President Bush and Sen. Kerry differ most and the one on which Kerry has the clearer vision for restoring security to all Americans.

David Durenberger, who was a U.S. senator from 1978 to 1995, is chair of the National Institute of Health Policy at the University of St. Thomas College of Business.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Day After Tomorrow

In the recent Sci-Fi thiller, The Day After Tomorrow, Dennis Quaid plays an environmental expert who warns of the dangers of Global Warning, only to be ignored by the Vice President. Here's a real life version of that story:

NASA Expert Criticizes Bush on Global Warming Policy
By ANDREW C. REVKIN - Published: October 26, 2004

A top NASA climate expert who twice briefed Vice President Dick Cheney on global warming plans to criticize the administration's approach to the issue in a lecture at the University of Iowa tonight and say that a senior administration official told him last year not to discuss dangerous consequences of rising temperatures.

The expert, Dr. James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, expects to say that the Bush administration has ignored growing evidence that sea levels could rise significantly unless prompt action is taken to reduce heat-trapping emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes.

Many academic scientists, including dozens of Nobel laureates, have been criticizing the administration over its handling of climate change and other complex scientific issues. But Dr. Hansen, first in an interview with The New York Times a week ago and again in his planned lecture today, is the only leading scientist to speak out so publicly while still in the employ of the government...

In a draft of the talk, a copy of which Dr. Hansen provided to The Times yesterday, he wrote that President Bush's climate policy, which puts off consideration of binding cuts in such emissions until 2012, was likely to be too little too late.

Actions to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions "are not only feasible but make sense for other reasons, including our economic well-being and national security," Dr. Hansen wrote. "Delay of another decade, I argue, is a colossal risk."

In the speech, Dr. Hansen also says that last year, after he gave a presentation on the dangers of human-caused, or anthropogenic, climate shifts to Sean O'Keefe, the NASA administrator, "the administrator interrupted me; he told me that I should not talk about dangerous anthropogenic interference, because we do not know enough or have enough evidence for what would constitute dangerous anthropogenic interference."

In the interview yesterday, Dr. Hansen stood by his assertions and said the administration risked disaster by discouraging scientists from discussing unwelcome findings.

Dr. Hansen, 63, acknowledged that he imperiled his credibility and perhaps his job by criticizing Mr. Bush's policies in the final days of a tight presidential campaign. He said he decided to speak out after months of deliberation because he was convinced the country needed to change course on climate policy.

Dr. Hansen rose to prominence when, after testifying at a Senate hearing in the record-warm summer of 1988, he said, "It is time to stop waffling so much and say the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here."

Hat's off to Dr. Hansen for standing up for what he believes in!

Kerry Flip Flops--Passes Bush in Two Tracking Polls

After spending the last year defending Kerry from false charges of flip flopping, I was pleased to see Kerry flip flop not once, but twice today. Today's flip flops were not over Iraq (where he has been consistent) or any other issue, but in two tracking polls.

First, from Rasmussen Reports this morning:
On Monday, the Rasmussen Reports Presidential Tracking Poll shows Senator John Kerry with 48% of the vote and President George W. Bush with 46%. This is the first time Senator Kerry has held the lead since August 23. The 48.4% for Kerry is the Senator's highest total since August 17.
This afternoon the Washington Post results were out with Kerry taking the lead 49% to 48%.
Zogby had an unusually good day for Bush on Saturday, causing his tracking poll to show a three point lead for Bush. Zogby also had Bush leading Gore by three points at this point before the 2000 election, before Gore went on to win the popular vote.

Note that these are polls of likely voters, and tend to exclude newly registered voters, not considering those who failed to vote in 2000 to be likely voters. These newly registered voters favor Kerry by a large margin in all polls, and would tip the election to Kerry if they turn out to vote. The high degree of interest in this election, relatively high turn out for the Democratic primaries, and the degree of opposition to Bush's policies among many people are all signs pointing towards higher than ususal voter turn out.

For those who read the title and are looking for flip flops, check out this site:

President Bush: Flip-Flopper-In-Chief

Criticism of Bush Harsh--But True

George Bush, in his stump speech today, whined that John Kerry's criticism of him for letting Osama Bin Laden get away was overly harsh. Harsh perhaps, but true. Of course Bush was being dishonest again when he called this "unjustified and harsh criticism of our military commanders in the field" as Kerry has made it clear it is not the commanders in the field he is criticizing, but the Commander in Chief.

Ironically, this came on the same day when we saw more evidence of Bush's incompetence as we found out about the the disappearance of 377 tons of high explosives in Iraq.

For those who need a refresher as to how George Bush let Bin Laden escape, here's a quick recap from the Washington Post:

U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight

Failure to Send Troops in Pursuit Termed Major Error

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.

After-action reviews, conducted privately inside and outside the military chain of command, describe the episode as a significant defeat for the United States. A common view among those interviewed outside the U.S. Central Command is that Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the war's operational commander, misjudged the interests of putative Afghan allies and let pass the best chance to capture or kill al Qaeda's leader. Without professing second thoughts about Tora Bora, Franks has changed his approach fundamentally in subsequent battles, using Americans on the ground as first-line combat units.

In the fight for Tora Bora, corrupt local militias did not live up to promises to seal off the mountain redoubt, and some colluded in the escape of fleeing al Qaeda fighters. Franks did not perceive the setbacks soon enough, some officials said, because he ran the war from Tampa with no commander on the scene above the rank of lieutenant colonel. The first Americans did not arrive until three days into the fighting. "No one had the big picture," one defense official said.

The Bush administration has never acknowledged that bin Laden slipped through the cordon ostensibly placed around Tora Bora as U.S. aircraft began bombing on Nov. 30. Until now it was not known publicly whether the al Qaeda leader was present on the battlefield.

But inside the government there is little controversy on the subject. Captured al Qaeda fighters, interviewed separately, gave consistent accounts describing an address by bin Laden around Dec. 3 to mujaheddin, or holy warriors, dug into the warren of caves and tunnels built as a redoubt against Soviet invaders in the 1980s. One official said "we had a good piece of sigint," or signals intelligence, confirming those reports.

The Christian Science Monitor
also described:

A day-by-day account of how Osama bin Laden eluded the world's most powerful military machine.

All 1,000 of the regional tribal leaders rose to their feet and shouted "Zindibad, Osama!" ("Long Live Osama!").

The Al Qaeda chief placed his right hand over his heart, the ethnic Pashtun sign for being honored, while 15 of his elite guards flanked him.

In the last public speech given at the Jalalabad Islamic studies center on Nov. 10, Osama bin Laden painted the battle lines black and white. "The Americans had a plan to invade, but if we are united and believe in Allah, we'll teach them a lesson, the same one we taught the Russians," he said, according to two tribal leaders who attended the speech.

Mr. bin Laden, with that speech, was laying his plans to stay a step ahead of the US campaign. He would travel to his favored fortified redoubt in Tora Bora, as the US expected him to, but he would also pave a way out. After his rousing speech, he bestowed cash gifts on key people who could later help him escape.

The US-led war in Afghanistan was going exceedingly well up to that point. The Taliban regime had been pushed from the northern half of the country; the capital of Kabul and much of the rest of Afghanistan would fall within the next few days.

It was a war like no other. In an evolutionary leap powered by Information Age technology, US ground soldiers were mainly employed as observers, liaisons, and spotters for air power - not as direct combatants sent to occupy a foreign land. The success of the US was dazzling, save for the fight for Tora Bora, which may have been this unconventional war's most crucial battle. For the US, Tora Bora wasn't about capturing caverns or destroying fortifications - it was about taking the world's most wanted terrorist "dead or alive."

In retrospect, it becomes clear that the battle's underlying story is of how scant intelligence, poorly chosen allies, and dubious military tactics fumbled a golden opportunity to capture bin Laden as well as many senior Al Qaeda commanders.

In addition to following the links to the full articles, these articles, and many more on George Bush's failures in fighting terrorism, are at the Kerry 2004 Reference Library.

“If This Isn’t Good For My Heart, I Don’t Know What Is”

As we wind down to the final days of campaigning before the election, former President Clinton joins John Kerry on the campaign trail.

"If this isn't good for my heart, I don't know what is," Clinton said of the enthusiastic response from the lunchtime crowd.

"From time to time, I have been called the comeback kid. In eight days, John Kerry is going to make America the comeback country," Clinton said to cheers. The former two-term president said he recognized that "no one's presence can change a single vote, but I hope my reasons can affect a few votes."

Republicans are "trying to scare the undecided voters about John Kerry and they're trying to scare the decided voters away from the polls," said Clinton, who also planned a solo campaign event in Florida later on Monday.

"Isn't it great to have Bill Clinton back on the trail?" Kerry said, drawing thunderous applause.

Kerry drew cheers of delight when he said that he had asked Clinton "if there's anything you have in common with George W. Bush? He thought for a moment and he said, 'In eight days and 12 hours, we will both be former presidents.'"

"Our friends on the other side want a world where they concentrate wealth and power on the far right ... and cooperate with others only when they want to," Clinton said.

"We can do better and in eight days we're going to do better with President John Kerry," Clinton said.

Eight days before the deadlocked election, the United Nations confirmed a potentially damaging New York Times report that almost 380 tons of explosives had vanished from an Iraqi military installation amid widespread looting after the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

"George W. Bush who talks tough -- talks tough -- and brags about making America safer, has once again failed to deliver," Kerry said. "This is ... one of the greatest blunders of this administration and the incredible incompetence of this president and this administration has put our troops at risk and this country at greater risk."

Kerry Says Missing Explosives in Iraq Illustrate Bush's Failures

More Illogic From Bush on Terrorism--And More Failures

Today Bush is claiming Zarqawi's activities in Iraq are evidence that going into Iraq wasn't a diversion from the war on terrorism. He forgets that if he had finished the job in Afghanistan rather than going into Iraq, we wouldn't be seeing terrorism in Iraq. The major terrorist problems in Iraq have occured as a result of the United States attack. Previous terrorist activity was primarily limited to the portions of Iraq under United States, not Iraqui, control.

Bush claims a benefit in fighting the terrorists in Iraq rather than elsewhere. By that logic, we should destabilize additional countries should we ever get out of Iraq.

Besides failing to complete the mission in Afghanistan, Bush missed other opportunities, per this article from eariler in the year:

Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind
Abu Musab Zarqawi blamed for more than 700 killings in Iraq

By Jim Miklaszewski
NBC News
Updated: 7:14 p.m. ET March 2, 2004

With Tuesday’s attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.

But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself--but never pulled the trigger.

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.

"Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn’t do it," said Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution.

Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe.

The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

"People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president's policy of preemption against terrorists" according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.

In January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London arrested six terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab connected to the camp in Iraq.

The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.

Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi's operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.

The United States did attack the camp at Kirma at the beginning of the war, but it was too late--Zarqawi and many of his followers were gone. "Here's a case where they waited, they waited too long and now we’re suffering as a result inside Iraq," Cressey added.

And despite the Bush administration’s tough talk about hitting the terrorists before they strike, Zarqawi’s killing streak continues today.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Endorsement Update

After reviewing the endorsements coming in after our earlier post, Kerry has increased his lead. Editor & Publisher states Kerry leads Bush 122-96 in endorsements and leads by about 14.9 million to 8.9 million in the circulation of backing papers.

There are at least 33 papers which endorsed Bush in 2000 which now support Kerry, while only two papers have gone from Gore in 2000 to Bush in 2004. There have also been additional Republican papers to decide to endorse nobody this year in light of Bush's dismal record in office.

Kerry Leads in Newspaper Endorsements: Many Go From Bush to Kerry

While the race is still close in the polls, John Kerry is taking a big lead in newspaper endorsements, including the endorsements of many newspapers which endorsed George Bush in 2000. Editor & Publisher reports that 17 newspapers which endorsed Bush in 2000 have endorsed Kerry, while only two papers which endorsed Gore in 2000 have endorsed Bush. The Orlando Sentinel's switch from Bush to Kerry gives Kerry a sweep of the major papers in hotly contested Florida. Other papers which switched from Gore to Kerry include the Chicago Sun Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the Wausau (Wisc.) Daily Herald, and the Bangor (Maine) Daily News, the Muskegon (Michigan) Chronicle, the (Boulder) Daily Camera, the Columbia (Missouri) Daily Tribune, the Albuquerque Tribune, the Oregonian, and the Seattle Times.

Kerry has also picked up additional endorsements from newspapers in swing states, including the Detroit Free Press, the Des Moines Register, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the (Racine Wisconsin) Journal Times, the St. Petersburg Times, the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Palm Beach Post, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Florida Today, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Kansas City (Missouri) Star, the Nevada Appeal, the Concord (New Hampshire) Monitor, the Charlotte Observer, the Dayton Daily News, the Akron Beacon Journal, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Charleston Gazette.

Several of the papers which endorsed Bush did so with criticism of his record. Perhaps Bush's most signifcant endorsement this week came from the Columbus Dispatch which wrote that it was "less than enthused about the choices." Several other newspapers which endorsed Bush in 2000 decided not to endorse any candidate, such as the Detroit News which has never endorsed a Democratic candidate for President. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's editorial board decided to endorse Kerry this week, but the publisher over road them and ordered an endorsement of Bush. Due to this dispute, the endorsement scheduled for today has reportedly been delayed.

Kerry now leads Bush 70-58 in endorsements. The circulation of the newspapers backing Kerry beat those endorsing Bush by 11.9 million to 7.1 million.

Addendum: Within the first hour after posting this, several new endorsements came in for John Kerry, including several in battleground states. Considering the rate at which endorsements are being reported, it appears to be best to wait a little longer before attempting a new count.

Detroit News Denies Bush Endorsement

The Detroit News, which previously received the nickname of The Nixon News for its support of another President who, like George Bush, disgraced the office of the Presidency with his trampling on the Constitution and lack of respect for the principles upon which this country was founded, has decided not to endorse George Bush. While a paper as consistently Republican as the Detroit News would not be likely to have any good words for John Kerry, they decided not to endorse any candidates in an editorial which had some quite critical words on George Bush:
But this president has a knack for squandering success.

With the nation and the world firmly behind his operation in Afghanistan, he turned his sights too quickly to Iraq and Saddam Hussein, his family's old nemesis.

Acting on intelligence that was faulty and too eagerly interpreted by the administration to match its agenda, Bush moved against Iraq without the support of key allies.

We backed the invasion of Iraq, accepting the Bush assertion that Saddam's weapons programs presented a gathering threat to the United States. While America, the world and the Iraqi people are better off with Saddam gone, we now believe that Iraq was a fight that might have waited, or been avoided altogether.

Regardless, a president who takes the nation to war has an obligation to win that war as quickly, efficiently and painlessly as possible.

Bush has not done that. The management of the conflict in Iraq is abysmal. The United States went into Iraq without enough international support and brought too few of our own troops to complete the job.

In shorting the generals, in allowing political concerns to trump military strategy, in assuming too much cooperation from the Iraqi people, Bush allowed Iraq to become a hotbed of terrorism, the very condition he struck to prevent. The messy result has allowed our enemies to portray the United States as a villain, and use our role as a rallying cry for terrorists elsewhere.

There were too many poor calls, including disbanding the Iraqi army, leaving the borders undefended and trusting shady Iraqi nationals, all of which combined to turn what could have been a stunning liberation into a still uncertain, nation-building morass. Iraq has stretched America's military capabilities, strained friendships and will hamstring future strikes against rogue regimes.

Such bad management cannot be forgiven in a wartime president.

At home, Bush has shocked us with his free-spending ways. Non-defense, domestic spending increased more than 30 percent during his term. At the same time, the president cut taxes. Together, the two resulted in a massive federal budget deficit that could have been mitigated had Bush kept his promise of fiscal conservatism.

This was a failure of leadership. The American people will accept a call to sacrifice in times of crisis. But instead of asking for sacrifice, Bush delivered excess.

He plunged the federal government even deeper into the day-to-day operations of local school districts with the ill-advised No Child Left Behind Act; he failed to veto even one of Congress' pork-laden spending bills; he pushed ahead with his own spending agenda, including a confusing and deceptively expensive prescription drug plan, without regard to the budget demands of homeland security and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On trade, he exhibited protectionist tendencies that hurt American industry.

Finally, on the matter of civil liberties, Bush has turned away from the conservative doctrine that the Constitution must be strictly observed. His Patriot Act contained many important elements to break down the walls between law enforcement agencies and allow them to respond to advancements in technology.

But it also trashed personal privacy protections, suspended due process safeguards and upset the balance between the power of the government and the rights of the individual.

The president's record does not recommend him for re-election.