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9/11 Black Box Cover-Up At Ground Zero?
(Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News, October 28, 2004)
Two men who worked extensively in the wreckage of the World Trade Center claim they helped federal agents find three of the four "black boxes" from the jetliners that struck the towers on 9/11 - contradicting the official account. . . . Both the independent 9/11 Commission and federal authorities continue to insist that none of the four devices - a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) from the two planes - were ever found in the wreckage. . . . But New York City firefighter Nicholas DeMasi has written in a recent book -- self-published by several Ground Zero workers -- that he escorted federal agents on an all-terrain vehicle in October 2001 and helped them locate three of the four. . . . His account is supported by a volunteer, Mike Bellone , whose efforts at Ground Zero have been chronicled in the New York Times and elsewhere . Bellone said assisted DeMasi and the agents and that saw a device that resembling a "black box" in the back of the firefighter's ATV. . . . Their story raises the question of whether there was a some type of cover-up at Ground Zero. Federal aviation officials - blaming the massive devastation - have said the World Trade Center attacks seem to be the only major jetliner crashes in which the critical devices were never located. . . . [COMMENT: And yet we are supposed to believe that one of the alleged hijackers' passports was found unharmed at ground zero!?! How stupid do they think we are?] . . . The "black boxes" - actually orange - could have provided valuable new information about the worst terror attack to ever take place on American soil. . . . The cockpit voice recorder uses two microphones to capture the sounds of the cockpit for the last 30 minutes of a doomed flight on a tape loop. In the case of the hijacked 9/11 jetliners, the devices should have captured any conversations or actions involving the hijackers, as well as radio transmissions. . . . The flight data recorder records things like airspeed, heading, and altitude. Both devices - located in the tail of the airplane - emit loud "pings" so they can be located even in ocean jetliner crashes, like the 1996 explosion of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island. . . . They are built to survive an impact of enormous force - 3400 Gs - and a fire of 1100 degrees Celsius for one hour, somewhat higher than official estimates of the World Trade Center blaze. . . . "It's extremely rare that we don't get the recorders back. I can't recall another domestic case in which we did not recover the recorders," Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, told CBS News in 2002. . . . DeMasi, an all-terrain vehicles hobbyist - said he donated 4 ATVs to the clean-up and became known as "the ATV Guy." . . . "At one point, I was asked to take Federal Agents around the site to search for the black boxes from the planes," he wrote. "We were getting ready to go out. My ATV was parked at the top of the stairs at the Brooks Brothers entrance area. We loaded up about a million dollars worth of equipment and strapped it into the ATV..." . . . "There were a total of four black boxes. We found three." . . . If the account by DeMasi and Bellone is true, it's not clear what motive federal authorities would have for claiming they weren't found. . . . By the same token, however, it's not clear what incentive either man would have to lie.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 2:55 PM


Nevermind The Polls - Bush Is In Trouble
Markos Moulitsas, The Guardian, October 26, 2004)
Bush gives the finger to AmericaWhile it's tempting to look at the jumble of results and declare polling hopelessly useless, fact is, polls have a great deal to tell us about the state of the race. And not in the way people generally assume: It's not the head to head . . . Polls are always reported as though there's a winner, and there's a loser. So a poll showing Bush leading 45-42 is headlined "Bush leads by three", when the reality is that Bush is actually losing. . . . In US elections, any elected official garnering less than 50% of the vote in polls is considered vulnerable. . . . Thus, in the campaign's last hours, we tend to see 'undecided' voters 'break' for the challenger." . . . Testing this theory, blogger Chris Bowers examined presidential poll results since 1976, and calculated that undecided voters broke for the challenger 86% of the time. . . . While the press is obsessed with horse race national numbers, the fact is that we Americans don't elect our president directly. Rather, we have 51 state elections, including Washington DC. That means that for voters in 35 to 40 states, their votes really don't matter and neither do their responses to pollsters' questions. It is only voters in the small group of "swing states" that essentially elect the US president: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin (give or take a state). . . . Polling is nothing more than educated guessing. Some get it right, some get it wrong, and half the time luck is probably involved. That's why it's best to look at polls in the aggregate - easy to do given the sheer number of them - rather than obsess over any one particular poll. . . . In Ohio, Bush numbers range from 43-49%, failing to break 50% in any of the 12 Ohio polls in October. Indeed, there are signs that Bush has essentially abandoned the state, working to build his electoral majority by winning three out of four in Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Mexico. But October polling in those states also show an incumbent in serious trouble. . . . In 14 Florida polls, Bush hasn't broken 50% since a SurveyUSA poll conducted between October 1 and October 3. A subsequent SurveyUSA poll now gives Kerry a 50-49 lead in the state. In Iowa, a single poll has him at 51% while six others range between 46% and 49%. Wisconsin is giving Democrats heartburn, but Bush breaks 50% in only one of the nine polls this month. Two independent polls put him as far back as 43%. New Mexico has Bush in the 43-49% range, anaemic numbers in a state Gore won by less than 1,000 votes. . . . Much can happen in one week, and Republicans are doing their part to prevent a fair election. Perhaps the Bush campaign is right and the 50% rule won't apply to them this year. But the Bushies haven't been right about much of anything the past four years, while Democrats are vigorously challenging voter suppression efforts around the country. As of this writing, this is Kerry's election to lose.

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posted by Lorenzo 8:02 AM

Florida Vote Fraud Begins, 58,000 Absentee Ballots "Missing"
(Local10.com, October 26, 2004)
Local 10 has learned that many as many as 58,000 ballots that were supposed to mailed out on Oct. 7 and 8 could be missing. . . . The Broward County Supervisor of Elections office is saying only that the situation is "unusual," and they are looking into it. . . . An elections office representative told Local 10 that the office has investigated with the U.S. Post Office what might have happened to the ballots, but so far, no one has been able to figure it out. . . . "It is unusual. It's a puzzle on the part of our office and the postal service," Salas said. "Our office did make the delivery and the post office assures us they were processed. What happened is in question." . . . The postal service told Local 10 late Tuesday that they don't have 58,000 ballots floating around. They did say that they have several employees assigned to deal only with ballots and they are being delivered in one to two days -- once they get them. . . . Since many who request absentee ballots cannot physically vote in their county, there are likely to be some angry voters.

[COMMENT: What do you want to bet that those 58,000 ballots were for Democratic voters? The Rebublicans, by totally destroying our faith in the elections, have essentially brought an end to democracy in the U.S.]

. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 2:18 PM

BBC Uncovers Criminal Vote Fraud in Florida 2004
Republican "Caging List"

(Greg Palast, October 26, 2004)
A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state's African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals. . . . Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list". . . . It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida. . . . 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. . . . "Quite frankly, this process can be used to slow down the voting process and cause chaos on election day; and discourage voters from voting." . . . Sancho calls it "intimidation." And it may be illegal. . . . In Washington, well-known civil rights attorney, Ralph Neas, noted that US federal law prohibits targeting challenges to voters, even if there is a basis for the challenge, if race is a factor in targeting the voters. . . . The list of Jacksonville voters covers an area with a majority of black residents. . . . There was no explanation as to why such clerical matters would be sent to top officials of the Bush campaign in Florida and Washington. . . . In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists or other means of intimidating voters, we 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.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 3:54 PM

Bush's Crimes
Impeach the president? Yes. A well-documented case ties him to Abu Ghraib.
(BOB NORMAN, New Times, 30 Sep 04)

President Bush is coming to town... (to) try to earn your vote. But the question emerging now is not whether he should be elected but if he should be impeached for war crimes. Remember when the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal broke with all those detestable pictures and the administration repeated that it was the fault of a "few bad apples"? Well, they were right. Thankfully, the bad apples have been identified: John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and President Bush. Bush decided to ignore the federal War Crimes Act, which is punishable by death. But impeachment will do. It takes a very high crime to justify removing the president, especially during time of war -- even an unpopular and disastrous war like the one in Iraq. But Bush, unfortunately, has risen to that height. ...In the February 7 directive, Bush wrote that Taliban soldiers don't qualify as prisoners of war. Instead, he declared them "unlawful combatants," a new and legally ambiguous designation that strips detainees of many of the Geneva protections. In short, that move introduced the opportunity for torture. Since Afghanistan is a party to Geneva, Bush needed a rationale. White House records show it came from Cheney's office, Ashcroft's Justice Department, Rumsfeld's Defense Department, and Bush's own chief counsel, Alberto Gonzales. In a January 22, 2002 memo, Justice lawyer Jay S. Bybee wrote that the president could "determine that Afghanistan was not a functioning state and therefore the Taliban was not a government." After Bush signed his historic order, Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay were subjected to treatment outside the Geneva Conventions. That alone is an impeachable offense, argues McGovern, since the president authorized those soldiers to break Geneva and, therefore, the federal War Crimes Act. "This is really, really important -- Americans aren't supposed to torture people," he says. "[White House counsel] Gonzales says there is a reasonable basis in law where they can escape prosecution, but there isn't a decent lawyer that agrees with that." ...Most chillingly for the president, the so-called Schlesinger Report revealed that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez specifically used Bush's February 7 directive to justify the use of dogs and other unlawful techniques at Abu Ghraib. "Interrogators and lists of techniques circulated from Guantanamo and Afghanistan to Iraq," Schlesinger wrote in the August 24 report. There you have it. Not only did Bush break federal law but his actions led to Abu Ghraib, creating a mess that will haunt this country long after Bush has vacated the Oval Office. And that's all it would take, one courageous congressman -- you listening, Robert Wexler? -- to file a resolution for impeachment. Even with all the damning facts on the table, the House would vote against it, just as surely as it voted to authorize the foolhardy debacle in Iraq.

But at least the people might hear the truth.

*****COMMENT***** I think Mikey likes it!!!

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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 8:30 PM

Bush and Kerry dance to the tune of Ariel Sharon
(Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, October 20, 2004)
In the Middle East maelstrom, all parties acknowledge one fixed point: forceful US diplomatic engagement is essential if the central Israel-Palestine conflict is ever to be resolved.
But far from taking the lead over the past four years, the Bush administration has been mostly led by the nose. The man responsible for this extraordinary feat is Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon. . . . Mr Sharon was running a "war on terror" when George Bush was still running a baseball team in Texas. So not surprisingly, perhaps, it is Mr Bush who, since 9/11, has followed Mr Sharon's example rather than the other way round. In his many visits to the Bush White House, Mr Sharon has exerted telling influence on America's post-9/11 agenda. Knowing Mr Bush was bent on war in Iraq, he helpfully highlighted Saddam Hussein's links to terrorist groups and financial aid to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Now he eggs on the US in its confrontations with Israel's enemies, Iran and Syria. . . . It was Israel that, as far back as 1967, perfected the concept of pre-emptive war. It is Mr Sharon, not Mr Bush, who is the present master of the targeted assassination and mass detention without trial. It is Israeli military tactics that the US now apes in places like Falluja and Najaf. . . . Deeming him unreliable, Mr Sharon refused to deal with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat - and Mr Bush followed suit. His insistence on absolute security as a precondition for negotiations and his contemptuous dismissal of contrary UN and European views won support - and a broader, damaging emulation - in Washington. . . . Most of all, Mr Sharon's basic contention, that the homeland is under attack by ruthless forces bent on its utter destruction, has been adopted wholesale by Mr Bush and applied to the US itself. These politics of fear now form a central plank in his re-election platform. . . . Whether the issue is Israel's illegal security fence, unilateral disengagement from Gaza, expanding West Bank settlements, the fate of the moribund road map for peace, or US vetoes at the UN, Mr Sharon calls the shots. He has the world's only superpower dancing to his tune. Unless Mr Sharon loses office - a not impossible scenario given the rebellion in his Likud party over Gaza - this well-established dynamic is unlikely to change during a second Bush term. . . . Dismayingly for the Palestinians and others opposed to Mr Sharon's policies, it also seems unlikely that a John Kerry presidential victory would make any significant difference. Like Mr Bush, Mr Kerry in theory supports a viable Palestinian state. "The conflict will not be an afterthought but a priority," he has said. . . . But he also wants a new Palestinian leadership as a precondition for progress. He backs Mr Sharon's Gaza withdrawal plan, rejects the right of return, and says it is "unrealistic" to try to reinstate the 1949 armistice lines. These positions coupled with his strongly pro-Israel Senate record hardly suggest an even-handed approach - or the forceful US engagement so lacking under Mr Bush. . . . "When I am president of the United States, my promise to the people of Israel will be this," Mr Kerry told the Anti-Defamation League in May. "We will never pressure you to compromise your security. We will never expect you to negotiate for peace without a credible partner. And we will always work to provide political, military and economic help for your fight against terror. . . . "Building a stronger Israel and a stronger America means working together to combat the terror that threatens us all." Not much wiggle-room there; and no corresponding list of promises for the Palestinians. . . . Mr Bush could not have said it better. As for the guileful Mr Sharon, he must be laughing all the way to the West Bank.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 5:36 PM

Pledge of Action to Stop a Stolen Election
"I remember the stolen presidential election of 2000 and I am willing to take action in 2004 if the election is stolen again. I support efforts to protect the right to vote leading up to and on Election Day, November 2nd. If that right is systematically violated, I pledge to join nationwide protests starting on November 3rd, either in my community, in the states where the fraud occurred, or in Washington DC."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 4:48 PM

Catholic Bishops Adopt Fascist Tactics
(Maureen Dowd, New York Times, October 17, 2004)
Now the Catholic bishops have upped the ante, indicating that voting for a candidate with Mr. Kerry's policies could lead to eternal damnation. . . . Conservative bishops and conservative Republicans are working hard to spread the gospel that anyone who supports the Catholic candidate and onetime Boston altar boy who carries a rosary and a Bible with him on the trail is aligned with the forces of evil. . . . In an interview with The Times's David Kirkpatrick, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said a knowing vote for a candidate like Mr. Kerry who supports abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research would be a sin that would have to be confessed before receiving communion. "If you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil?" the archbishop asked. "Now, if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes." . . . As Mr. Kirkpatrick and Laurie Goodstein wrote, Catholics make up about a quarter of the electorate, many concentrated in swing states. These bishops and like-minded Catholic groups are organizing voter registration and blanketing churches with voter guides that often ignore traditional Catholic concerns about the death penalty and war - the pope opposed the invasion of Iraq - while calling abortion, gay marriage and the stem cell debate "nonnegotiable." . . . "Never before have so many bishops so explicitly warned Catholics so close to an election that to vote a certain way was to commit a sin," the Times article said. . . . The conservative bishops, salivating to overturn Roe v. Wade, prefer an evangelical antiabortion president to one of their own who said in Wednesday's debate: "What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn't share that article of faith. I believe that choice ... is between a woman, God and her doctor." . . . Like Mr. Bush, these patriarchal bishops want to turn back the clock to the 50's. They don't want separation of church and state - except in Iraq. . . . Some of the bishops - the shepherds of a church whose hierarchy bungled the molestation and rape of so many young boys by tolerating it, covering it up, enabling it, excusing it and paying hush money - are still debating whether John Kerry should be allowed to receive communion. . . . These bishops are embryo-centric; they are not as concerned with the 1,080 kids killed in a war that the Bush administration launched with lies, or about the lives that could be lost thanks to the president's letting the assault weapons ban lapse, or about all the lives that could be saved and improved with stem cell research. . . . In today's Times Magazine, Ron Suskind writes that Mr. Bush has created a "faith-based presidency" that has riven the Republican Party. . . . Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a Treasury official for the first President Bush, told Mr. Suskind that some people now look at Mr. Bush and see "this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do." He continued: "This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them." . . . The president's certitude - the idea that he can see into people's souls and that God tells him what is right, then W. tells us if he feels like it - is disturbing. It equates disagreeing with him to disagreeing with Him. . . . The conservative bishops' certitude - the idea that you can't be a good Catholic if you diverge from certain church-decreed mandates or if you want to keep your religion and politics separate - is also disturbing. . . . America is awash in selective piety, situational moralists and cherry-picking absolutists.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 4:29 PM

U.S. Military Faults Lack of Troops in Iraq
(Susan Heavey, Reuters, October 16, 2004)
A majority of U.S. troops serving in Iraq and their families said the Bush administration did not send enough forces to Iraq and relied too heavily on the National Guard and reserve troops, a poll showed on Saturday. . . . Almost two-thirds of those surveyed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, or 65 percent, said they believed President Bush "had underestimated the number of troops needed in Iraq," the poll said. . . . Forty percent of National Guard members and reservists surveyed said they did not have enough training or supplies for their mission in Iraq, compared with 35 percent who said they were adequately prepared, the poll found. . . . "The military, without focusing on Bush himself, also has serious doubts about how the war has been managed," said Adam Clymer, political director of the National Annenberg Election Survey. . . . Despite those doubts, the military generally supports Bush and the efforts in Iraq, the poll showed. But support from those who spent time in Iraq was lower by about 10 percent.

[COMMENT: So let's see, the military thinks Bush is setting them up for failure, death, and serious injury but they still support this insane madman. Apparently the intelligence level of our troops is even lower than that of Bush. At least during the American war on Viet Nam our troops were smart enough to realize that the people back in Washington were not on their side. Today we see the sad scene of young men and women praising the man who they admit is sending them on a fools mission.]
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:30 PM

FDA approves use of the Big Brother Implantable Chip
(Diedthra Henderson, AP, October 13, 2004)
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved an implantable computer chip that can pass a patient's medical details to doctors, speeding care. . . . VeriChips, radio frequency microchips the size of a grain of rice, have already been used to identify wayward pets and livestock. And nearly 200 people working in Mexico's attorney general's office have been implanted with chips to access secure areas containing sensitive documents. . . . Delray Beach, Fla.-based Applied Digital Solutions said it would give away $650 scanners to roughly 200 trauma centers around the nation to help speed its entry into the health care market. . . . The company is targeting patients with diabetes, chronic cardiac conditions, Alzheimer's disease and those who undergo complex treatments like chemotherapy, said Dr. Richard Seelig, Applied Digital Solutions' vice president of medical applications. . . . [COMMENT: I know it sounds outrageous to say this, but wouldn't Nazi Germany have loved to have these chips so they could more easily track the movements of the "weaker" members of their society?] . . . It's the first time the FDA has approved medical use of the device, though in Mexico, more than 1,000 scannable chips have been implanted in patients. The chip's serial number pulls up the patients' blood type and other medical information. . . . With the pinch of a syringe, the microchip is inserted under the skin in a procedure that takes less than 20 minutes and leaves no stitches. . . . Silently and invisibly, the dormant chip stores a code -- similar to the identifying UPC code on products sold in retail stores -- that releases patient-specific information when a scanner passes over the chip. . . . At the doctor's office those codes stamped onto chips, once scanned, would reveal such information as a patient's allergies and prior treatments. . . . The FDA in October 2002 said that the agency would regulate health care applications possible through VeriChip.

[COMMENT: So let's see now. The government can track our use of the Internet, our cell phone movements and calls, and reads every piece of our email in their Carnivore System. The next step seems to be to convince us that these chips will save our lives in an emergency. So I guess the Capitalist Elite think we wage slaves should all have ourselves happily injected with an RFID chip. This shit makes Orwell seem like a happy fairy tale. Parents, your children will never forgive you if you have them implanted with one of these medical tracking devices. The Echo Generation is our only hope, please don't wire them into Borg central without their mature consent.]
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 2:10 PM

Who will be the last to die for Bush's mistake?

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. The first of its kind in the nation, a billboard featuring wounded American soldier Spc. Robert Acosta was unveiled Monday to highlight the thousands of American soldiers wounded in Iraq and hidden from public view. . . . They keep saying the war is the most important issue in this election. In my opinion, this war is a mistake. And me and my buddies are paying the price,said Acosta, 21, who lost his arm in a grenade attack in Baghdad. . . . Acosta said he wants the billboard, sponsored by Veterans for Peace in Santa Fe, to create a more balanced discussion about the ongoing war and the real costs to young people fighting in Iraq. . . . The image is by photographer Nina Berman whose book Purple Hearts features wounded American soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. More than 7,500 soldiers have been treated in military hospitals since the war in Iraq began, with one hundred more injured in Afghanistan. More than one thousand soldiers have already been killed in Iraq. . . . The 14x 48 foot image dominates the intersection of Girard and University, two blocks from the Albuquerque airport, which adjoins Kirtland Air Force Base. It shows Acosta and his prosthetic arm and reads: I was lied to about this war. 8500 of us dead and wounded Who will be the last to die for this mistake? Veterans For Peace www. vfp-santafe.org Vote Nov. 2. The billboard was paid for through a grant to Veterans for Peace, a nonprofit organization. . . . Veterans say the image is important to show what wounded soldiers are thinking. . . . "If you watch the news you wouldnt know so many young soldiers have been wounded in Iraq and how severe some of those wounds are," said Tim Origer, a Vietnam Veteran and member of Santa Fe chapter of Veterans for Peace. Too many kids now realize their brave sacrifice was for a lie. . . . Origer says he doesnt want returning veterans to be ignored or forgotten. We dont want them treated the way we were after Vietnam.

. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:20 PM

Bush - The Scary Little Man
(William Rivers Pitt, truthout, 08 October 2004)
In my report on the first debate, I described Bush as, "Shrill. Defensive. Muddled. Angry, very angry. Repetitive. Uninformed. Outmatched. Unprepared. Hesitant." As bad as that display was, it honestly paled in comparison to the frenzied hectoring Bush sprayed at 140 Missouri citizens who had the ill fortune of watching the man come unglued before their eyes. . . . "You tell Tony Blair we're going alone," Bush roared. "Tell Tony Blair we're going alone!" The disturbed murmur from the crowd was audible. Bush, simply, frightened them. . . . More unsettling than Bush's demonstrable agitation was his almost uncanny disconnect from reality. . . . The voluminous report released by Charles Duelfer and the Iraq Survey Group, compiled by 1,625 U.N. and U.S. weapons inspectors after two years of searching some 1,700 sites in Iraq at a cost of more than $1 billion, stated flatly that no weapons of mass destruction exist in that nation, that no weapons of mass destruction have existed in that nation for years, and that any capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction within that nation has been crumbling for the same amount of years. . . . "My opponent said that America must pass a global test before we used force to protect ourselves," said Bush during the Iraq phase of the debate. "That's the kind of mindset that says sanctions were working. That's the kind of mindset that said, 'Let's keep it at the United Nations and hope things go well.' Saddam Hussein was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorist enemies. Sanctions were not working." . . . What? First of all, the Duelfer Report proves beyond any question that sanctions had worked incredibly well. The stuff wasn't there, because Scott Ritter and the UNSCOM inspectors destroyed it all during the 1990s, along with any and all equipment and facilities to make it. The stuff wasn't there because the sanctions put into place against Hussein prevented him from getting any material to develop weapons. The stuff wasn't there because Hussein stopped making it years ago, because the sanctions were breaking his back. The sanctions worked. . . . When Bush made the statement about Hussein giving weapons of mass destruction to "terrorist enemies," the needle edged over from 'Dumb' to 'Deranged.' How many different ways must one say "The stuff wasn't there" before George picks up the clue phone? How does someone give away something he doesn't have? . . . Bush continued in this appalling vein when he said, "He keeps talking about, 'Let the inspectors do their job.' It's naive and dangerous to say that. That's what the Duelfer report showed." Welcome to Bush World, where everything is upside down and two plus two equals a bag of hammers. It is naive and dangerous to point out that the inspectors got the job done in the 1990s, that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever? No, George. It is simply the truth. . . . The mental disconnect reared its shouting head repeatedly throughout the evening. Bush somehow lost track of where he was at one point and called his opponent, "Senator Kennedy." He told one questioner that he would control the deficit by stopping Congress from spending, only a few minutes after defending the fact that he had never, not once, vetoed a spending bill from Congress. . . . He made an accountant crack about "Battling green eyeshades," a statement that immediately became a first-ballot nominee for the Gibberish Hall of Fame. When asked what kind of Supreme Court Justice he would nominate if given an opportunity, he wandered off along a free-association rant about Dred Scott. Clearly, this President will make sure to nominate people to the bench who are opposed to chattel slavery. . . . Perhaps the most telling moment came when questioner Linda Grabel asked Bush, "Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it." . . . As with his April prime time press conference, in which he was asked a very similar question, Bush absolutely refused to admit to any errors in judgment, beyond a cryptic quip about mistakes in personnel appointments which he would not elaborate upon. He opened himself up to the judgment of history, a sad straddle given the simple fact that no President can avoid such a judgment. That was all he was willing to offer. Ms. Grabel did not hear about three mistakes. She did not even hear about one. . . . Bush was every inch the angry man on Friday night, which is dangerous enough. But to witness anger combined with belligerent ignorance, with a willful denial of basic facts, to witness a man utterly incapable of admitting to any mistakes while his clear errors in judgment are costing his country in blood, to see that combination roiling within the man who is in charge of the most awesome military arsenal in the history of the planet, is more than dangerous. . . . It is flatly terrifying.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 12:49 PM

Bush Pre-senile Dementia Video
The big story - "a striking decline in his sentence-by-sentence speaking skills." The reason? One doctor says "pre-senile dementia" a catch-all term for earlier-than-normal cognitive declines (probably "dry-drunk syndrome"). The video available through the link above intercuts footage from 10 years ago with recent footage - the difference is dramatic and disturbing. And obvious.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:59 PM

Bush Lost His Composure in the Second Debate

Andrew Sullivan: "There were moments early on... when he seemed to me to be close to shouting; and his hyper-aggressiveness, having to respond to everything, went at times over the line of persuasiveness."

David Niven, political science professor at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton (from the above article):"Bush seemed wound a bit too tight. He was a little like Nixon sort of jumping out of his suit... He looked bad on the TV close-ups.""

Paul Begala, CNN: "Good debate. The press will say it's a draw, but I think Kerry bested Bush -- or rather Bush made a few errors. Two words for President Bush: anger management. He spent much of the debate nearly yelling at the audience."

John Whitesides, Reuters: "An angry Bush at one point cut off moderator Charles Gibson to upbraid Kerry for criticising the size of the coalition backing the United States in Iraq, saying it denigrated allies like Britain and Poland." [See a video clip of this exchange here.]

Billmon (back from the dead): "If Kerry and the Dems can't make an issue out of the fact that the president of the United States is utterly incapable of controlling his hairtrigger temper, they don't deserve to win this election... I mean, the man is a walking time bomb."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 12:20 PM

CIA 'old guard' goes to war with Bush
(Phillip Sherwell, The Independent, 10-10-04)
A powerful "old guard" faction in the Central Intelligence Agency has launched an unprecedented campaign to undermine the Bush administration with a battery of damaging leaks and briefings about Iraq. . . . Jim Pavitt, a 31-year CIA veteran who retired as a departmental chief in August, said that he cannot recall a time of such "viciousness and vindictiveness" in a battle between the White House and the agency. . . . John Roberts, a conservative security analyst, commented bluntly: "When the President cannot trust his own CIA, the nation faces dire consequences." . . . Relations between the White House and the agency are widely regarded as being at their lowest ebb since the hopelessly botched Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba by CIA-sponsored exiles under President John F Kennedy in 1961. . . . There is anger within the CIA that it has taken all the blame for the failings of pre-war intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes. . . . Former senior CIA officials argue that so-called "neo-conservative" hawks such as the vice president, Dick Cheney, the secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld, and his number three at the defence department, Douglas Feith, have prompted the ill-feeling by demanding "politically acceptable" results from the agency and rejecting conclusions they did not like. Yet Colin Powell, the less hardline secretary of state, has also been scathing in his criticism of pre-war intelligence briefings. . . . Fighting to defend their patch ahead of the future review, anti-Bush CIA operatives have ensured that Iraq remains high on the election campaign agenda long after Republican strategists such as Karl Rove, the President's closest adviser, had hoped that it would fade from the front pages. . . . In the latest clash, a senior former CIA agent revealed that Mr Cheney "blew up" when a report into links between the Saddam regime and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist behind the kidnappings and beheadings of hostages in Iraq, including the Briton Kenneth Bigley, proved inconclusive. . . . Other recent leaks have included the contents of classified reports drawn up by CIA analysts before the invasion of Iraq, warning the White House about the dangers of post-war instability. Specifically, the reports said that rogue Ba'athist elements might team up with terrorist groups to wage a guerrilla war. . . . Critics of the White House include officials who have served in previous Republican administrations such as Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA head of counter-terrorism and member of the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan. . . . "These have been an extraordinary four years for the CIA and the political pressure to come up with the right results has been enormous, particularly from Vice-President Cheney. . . . "I'm afraid that the agency is guilty of bending over backwards to please the administration. George Tenet was desperate to give them what they wanted and that was a complete disaster." . . . With the simmering rows breaking out in public, the Wall Street Journal declared in an editorial that the administration was now fighting two insurgencies: one in Iraq and one at the CIA. . . . Earlier, unguarded comments by Paul Bremer, the former American administrator of Iraq who said that America "never had enough troops on the ground", had given the row about post-war strategy on the ground fresh impetus.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 10:14 AM

Mother of a Marine Exposes Bush's Failure to Protect Troops
(Della T. Austin, 07 October 2004)
I am writing this in hope that it will open some eyes, enrage, and disgust everyone that reads it. I am a PROUD mother of a U.S. Marine. My eyes have been opened and I am now enraged and disgusted with "OUR GOVERNMENT! My son is now in Iraq. Before he left Camp LeJuene, my side of the family and his wife had to get money together because my son had to spend over $300 to buy things he was "REQUIRED" to have in his gear. If he were missing one thing, he would not have been allowed to come home on his Block Leave to see his family before being deployed to Iraq! Almost $100 of this money had to be spent on a third set of "new and improved" Digital Cammies. He was lucky! He had been issued one set and had already bought a second set. Some of the Marines were not even issued one set so they spent almost $300 on just their Cammies. Money is being deducted from their pay for "equipment". My son has never really been sure WHAT equipment, but he paid for it.

I was enraged when I found out that the Flack Jacket (their bullet proof vests) were the woodland version, the ones that are supposed to blend in with TREES! No one in Sierra Battery was issued Desert Flack Jackets! These marines will look like a group of trees in the middle of the desert!

Soon after my son arrived in Kuwait, his eyes were hurting so bad from the dust and sand in the air that he could hardly stand to blink. He noticed some Marines were wearing eye-protectors. He asked where they had gotten them. A Marine told him that he was "ISSUED" a pair. Sierra Battery was NOT issued any! My son had to spend another $100 at the PX to buy himself a pair TO PROTECT HIS EYES!! Wouldn’t you think that if the soldiers need their eyes protected in the environment our government is sending them into, that the military would make sure to issue a pair to every single soldier?! HOW DARE THEY!!!

President Bush said we "must support our military personnel." I did not know he meant literally! Support with money to buy equipment they MUST have because it is required or needed to protect their health, eyes, and for their VERY LIVES!! What in the hell is $137 BILLION paying for? The new rifles they were supposed to be issued were not. Some military personnel do have the new rifles that have been modified for the desert conditions. NOT MY SON! How many of our sons, daughters, husbands, and wives are in this situation? Do we need to buy their rifles also??

Support our Military? Why is the government not fully supporting and protecting our Military? Issue everything they need or do not send them until they have it! I was not fortunate enough to have been born RICH. I have to scrounge to help my son. My family, his wife, and her family got together to help my son purchase everything he was "required" to have. I have met other Marines and their families who are in the same situation. Apparently our "Commander and Chief" meant SEND YOUR MONEY TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILDREN AND RELATIVES, because the government is unable to do so. This administration is NOT PUTTING THEIR MONEY WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS!!

This is just one reason why I will vote for Senator Kerry! I believe that under his command, all or our Military personnel will be treated fairly and equally. I also believe that he will have a PLAN to bring ALL our children home! I also support Senator Kerry because I believe if the need arises to call again on our Military, President Kerry will not send our children into situations without everything they need to protect themselves and their lives!

I sent my letter to John Kerry but I also sent it to the following people. President George W. Bush, Representative Robert S. Rangel/Committee on Armed Services, Senator John Warner/Committee on Armed Services, Representative Robin Hayes, and Senator Elizabeth Dole. The only people who cared enough to read my letter and respond was John Kerry’s office. I wonder why no one else cared!

Della T. Austin
(PMM) Proud Marine MOM of:
Lance Corporal Moore
2nd Marine Division

. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:14 PM

HR 10 legislates the creation of a national ID database that will contain the name and personal information of every person in America. It also standardizes state drivers licenses to pave the way for a national ID card. Worse yet, it authorizes the Attorney General to force businesses to submit information about job applicants to the government for approval, and even to give the government fingerprints and other biometric information. These steps lay the foundation for a police state. These provisions would give unelected bureaucrats the power to make American citizens NON-PERSONS without due process of law. THIS MUST BE STOPPED. At DownsizeDC you can send a message to Congress telling them to vote against HR 10.

One of the problems with HR 10 is that it has received very little media attention or public notice, even though it lays the foundation for a police state. The media has not done its job on this issue.

Radio ads coming soon here
May I See Your Papers? (MP3 clip to be posted soon...)
"You thought it couldn’t happen in America. But your government is about to start saying, 'May I see your papers please?' . . . This very weekend, Congress could pass a law that creates a national database with your most personal information . . . A law that nationalizes your driver's license — that’s right, a national ID card . . . ."

Send a message to congress at DownsizeDC.org. Stop the National ID Database.
. . . Read more!

posted by Hal 8:18 PM

Beware the PATRIOT Act Trojan Horse

Attorney General Ashcroft and his allies in Congress are using the 9/11 Commission report as cover for new government powers that would infringe on the rights of Americans and foreign guests. The new vehicle for their ill-advised efforts -- a new bill in the House of Representatives -- would likely create what amounts to a national identification card, drastically curtail basic fairness in the nation's immigration system and expand on the PATRIOT Act.

This new legislation (H.R. 10) could create a de facto national identification card by imposing standards on the states. For example, after three years from the date of the legislation's House passage, the federal government would be unable to accept a state driver's license as proof of identity unless it conformed to certain requirements set by the federal government. More troubling, however, is that the bill would require the linking of state motor vehicle databases, thereby creating a national database which could be error-prone and a rich target for identity thieves.

The full text of H.R. 10 can be found in the THOMAS database (thomas.loc.gov). See the frightening language here: H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) as introduced in the House.

. . . Read more!

posted by Hal 8:13 PM

The Real (Abridged) Republican Convention
by Brennan Houlihan

I recorded all the main speeches from the Republican Convention [and] put the video together during the weekend that followed.

There was no audio tweaking. Everything was as they said it. There were no repeated clips either. They really said those things that many times. In fact, there were even more instances of these words that I didn't use because the camera had cut away to audience reactions.

My video was limited to the prime time speakers: Bush, Cheney, Laura Bush, Pataki, Giuliani, Miller, McCain, and Schwarzenegger. Bin Laden was mentioned ONE time by Gov. Pataki, but that was it. Still, I think only one mention hints that there was an effort to keep that issue quiet (especially when compared with Saddam Hussein). Outside of the 8 prime time speeches, I don't know if OBL was mentioned or not.

Brennan Houlihan is an independent video producer in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can contact Brennan at houval@earthlink.net.

Originally seen at OliverWillis.com via Atrios.

[COMMENT: Even though you think you've seen it all, it's really worth your time to watch this short video. The Republican's constant playing of the fear card is truly astounding. Do you think these people really that afraid?]
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posted by Lorenzo 4:06 PM

Rockridge Institute - Reframing the Issues
The Rockridge Institute is a group of distinguished scholars and researchers working to help achieve a just, democratic, environmentally sustainable, and humane society. . . . Rockridge works to: Reframe the terms of political debate to make a progressive moral vision more persuasive and influential. . . . Develop public policies that will bring us closer to a society that embodies this vision. . . . Unify progressives around a shared political program and a common moral language. . . . Build links with activists, policymakers, the media, academics, and other key groups to influence the public agenda . . . Over the last three decades, a well-organized and well-funded conservative movement has appropriated fundamental American values and language, from freedom to compassion to patriotism, and redefined them from a conservative perspective. By defining the language of public discourse, they have set the parameters of the political debate, even though a majority of Americans continue to reject much of the conservative worldview and its policy implications. The right has used the support of a dense network of think tanks, intellectuals, and policy analysts, to articulate its moral vision, disseminate it to the public, and translate it into public policies.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 4:12 PM

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