For The Trees

Who is our economy FOR, anyway?

About the Authors:
Dave Johnson
John Emerson
Richard Reich
Thomas Leavitt


Recent Posts:
Moved to Seeingtheforest.com
This Blog Has Moved
Democracy Arsenal
Thought Crimes
Think Progress
Bill Bradley Describes VRWC in NY Times Piece Toda...
Blog Change Coming Friday
How the Liberal Media Myth is Created
Interest Rates
Finally Leaving Blogger


BEST OF STF:

Dave's:

Articles not at STF:

The ATLA Speech on building a progressive infrastructure
Lowering the Bar
The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law
Who's Behind the Attack on Liberal Professors

On the Right and their communications infrastructure:

Why Republicans Win
Win or Lose
The "Conventional Wisdom" Machine
Some History of the Conservative Movement
HOW TO FIGHT BACK
An Amplifier Of Our Own
Don't Blame the Democrats
How They Do It 1 2 3 4
Getting Rolled

Other:

You're Gonna Get Drafted
Scalia and Self-Government
Who is Our Economy For?
Voting Machine Story Link Collection
What's Wrong with this Picture? (Voting Machines)
Like Meat in the Supermarket
Get Active
Thin Line 1 2 3
Fixing Social Security
Seeing the Forest I, II, III
"Incredibly Positive News"
The Breadth of It
The Republican Crony Club
Moon Bush
Ralph Nader is a Scab


John's Best Of:
Kerry Smear Page
Bandar Bush
9/11 Commission Report Damages Bush -- if you read it
Florida Goon Squad Intimidated the Supreme Court
The Use and Abuse of George Orwell
Zizka's Archives (John's previous identity)
Zizka Sampler


News Sources:
AlterNet
BuzzFlash
Common Dreams
Cursor
Drudge Retort
Information Clearing House
Smirking Chimp
TruthOut
What REALLY Happened

Links to Other Weblogs:




10/02/2004
 



Through the Looking Glass

Through Charles Dodgson's blog I discovered that David Neiwert has a new series on the conservative movement.


 



David Brooks Is a Vegetable

At The Mahablog: "David Brooks Is a Vegetable."


 



Another Video

Go see the Bush Focus Group.


 



Repetition

Thanks to Get Donkey I saw this movie over at Oliver Willis' blog.

While you're there, Get Donkey will show you what Kerry REALLY said about a "global test." (Why do the Repubican just lie about everything?) What Kerry SAID was:
"But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."



 



The "Flip-Flopper" Label -- How It's Done

Salon has an article by Matthew Craft today, Winning the war of words, that talks about how the Republicans are so well able to get the public to believe their misleading and distorting slogans. From the article:
"After months of tireless repetition, the Bush-Cheney campaign's 'flip-flop' charge against John Kerry has become a national cliche.
I'm sure you noticed that during the debate Bush kept repeating the "mixed messages" line. Over and over. Whatever the question, Bush returned to this theme, even when it did not seem to be an appropriate answer to the question. This line ties into the "flip-flopper" campaign theme, because what a "flip-flopper" does is send "mixed messages."

You and I are informed and know that Kerry IS NOT a flip-flopper, of course, but what about the general public? The Republicans have spent something like 200 million dollars repeating this message over and over and over and over and over. And not just in TV ads. They are using every channel through which people receive "messages." For example, I've written about receiving e-mail chain-letters -- those things your sister-in-law from Kansas is always forwarding to you, that have about 300 other people's e-mail addresses at the top and have already been forwarded eight times -- that have as the actual message a joke, another joke, a joke about Kerry being a flip-flopper, a joke, and a sign-off about God smiling on little children or something. Well, where do you think those originate? This is just one example of manipulating a channel through which people receive messages.

The result of this comprehensive message communication effort is that people who don't spend a lot of time informing themselves about what is going on in the world have heard this single message repeated on the radio, through the internet, on TV, in articles, and, most importantly, from friends. And so it has become "conventional wisdom," or what you might call "a truth" that you can not trust Kerry because he is a flip-flopper. The Republicans laid out this plan of attack a long time ago and have consistently stuck to this one theme, repeating it over and over, right through the debate and continuing with the ads they are running today. This is how it is done.

From the article,
'That's exactly what research shows,' said George Lakoff, a cognitive scientist at the University of California at Berkeley. 'Repeat something over and over and it gets in people's brains.' Republicans, Lakoff argues, have found success through 'framing' issues along lines that fit their worldview and sticking to them. The Democrats aren't nearly as effective."
Most people do not have time to study issues, and, instead, rely on other cues to decide who to vote for. The Republicans have studied this process and manipulate people using these cues, while Democrats continue to believe that just taking positions on issues is enough. This is why Kerry always talks "positions" and Bush always talks "values." The way to reach people is at a deeper level than "issue arguments."

From the Salon article,
His [George Lakoff's] book "Don't Think of an Elephant," with a foreword by Howard Dean, came out on Sept. 15 and quickly made a cameo among Amazon's bestselling books. What's surprising about Lakoff's analysis is how it can be used to make sense of otherwise conflicting ideas. His theory of political preferences, taken on its merits, offers insights into the Zell Miller enigma and might explain the mystery of why people don't vote in their self-interest.

In the reality show called American politics, you don't need to master the issues to take the White House. In fact, Lakoff and many others now argue, a stance on an issue matters less than the candidate's "values," a recognizable moral system. Many Democrats don't vote for their self-interests, and, as Thomas Franks pointed out in his recent book "What's the Matter with Kansas," most poor Kansans don't either.

"People always vote their values," Lakoff said. Democrats and liberals always assume people vote their self-interests, he said, like shoppers with a grocery list. "Polls and focus groups are based on this metaphor of a political campaign as a marketing campaign. That's just wrong. Cognitive science shows us that's not how people work."

How voters' minds work is, like the study of decision making, a source of endless debate. Political scientists assume that most people skip the hard work of immersing themselves in the issues before picking a candidate and look for shortcuts instead. But what are they, and which come first?
We (Progressives, Liberals, Democrats) need to start thinking past the election cycle. Thinking that a candidate or political party is going to somehow magically know what to say to lead all of us out of this mess is not realistic.

What we need to do is restore in the widespread general public underlying Progressive values, and this will bring support from which candidates can draw their strength. This is what the Right has been doing for thirty years. They have been manipulating the public's underlying values, and THEN their candidates can show up and use code-words to tap into that underlying value "language" they have developed.

This is a long-term war we are in against the Right. They way to win our country back from the "conservative movement" is to work to bring people's underlying values and ideals back to Progressive values and THEREBY win elections. To accomplish this we must start forming AND FUNDING an infrastructure of Progressive "advocacy" and communications organizations. These organizations will study how people receive and interpret messages and how to make them "stick" in people's minds. They will craft language to communicate our shared values and ideals and make them available to other Progressive organizations as well as reaching the public through numerous channels. They would work to restore in the widespread general public an understanding of basic values like Democracy, and to reinforce Progressive values of community, sharing, nurturing and tolerance/understanding. (Read the article to see what I write it this way.)

FROM those underlying values will come the votes on specific issues and for specific candidates! Trying to do it from the candidates is backwards.

I'm not going to give away the rest of this article -- go read it. I will, of course, be writing about all of this a lot more.



So do your homework, read the article, and get Lakoff's book!


 



Earpiece II

Someone else noticed. Bush was Wired in Debate:
"Bush may not have misspoken but there was something very curious about his speaking style: the unnatural way he would be at a loss for words, pause a couple of seconds looking down at his lectern--as if listening--and then looking up, deliver a full sentence as if it had just come to him out of the blue. This occured several times during the 'debate.' He seemed to be getting live help."



 



Cheer up a little!

Cheer up! Diana Moon's debate coverage (go to 2.10.04 and read down, no permalinks) reminds us that Kerry won decisively, so we should gloat a little. (Though she also points out that Bush is plenty smart, but just emotionally unstable, which is less cheering.)

Hesiod at Counterspin Central went on hiatus right when I finally put him on my everyday list. He has a nice partisan attitude and comes up with lots of interesting stuff. Anyway, he's been up and running for awhile now.



 



Saturday Night Live

It has occurred to me to be sure to tape Saturday Night Live tonite. I can't wait to see their version of Bush in the debates!


 



OMG! Get This On The Air!!

Go see this emotional ad, "A Mother's Tears" at Real Voices and then send them a check to help them get it on the air!!!

I cried watching this. THIS is why we are so angry at Bush! Look what he has done to people both here and Iraq! And watch this short video, keeping in mind that Iraq and the people in the video had nothing to do with 9/11!


 



Kerry fucked up: he trusted Bush!

FYI, here's Debra Saunders' attempt to respin the debate -- the first RNC plant I've seen. Nothing new here, just the same old "flipflop / didn't support the troops" stuff: if Kerry doesn't support Bush now, why did he support him then? (Rimshot). Her big point:
"But when Kerry attacked Bush on Iraq, he unwittingly crafted a grand argument against himself."

It's true that a lot of people do blame Kerry for supporting Bush's fraudulent and disastrous war, but it really doesn't seem that Bush supporters should go there.

I doubt that this is the best that the Republicans can do, so we should be keeping our eyes open. And we should keep reminding people that Bush lost the debate because he's spoiled, whiny, uninformed, and incapable of functioning outside his bubble. And because his showpiece issue, the Iraq War, was promoted with lies and turned out horribly.


UPDATE: The Chronicle also has its version of the "Debates don't really matter" spin:
"But Republicans and some independent pollsters, many of whom conceded that Kerry had a stronger night than Bush, expressed doubt that the debate would significantly erode Bush's advantage in the polls. They noted that initial assessments of debates are often short-lived. In 2000, for example, two of the three polls conducted immediately after the first Gore-Bush debate showed Gore the victor, though narrowly, over Bush. Within a week, the conventional wisdom was that Gore's sighing and hyper-aggressiveness had hurt his standing."

In other words, the Republicans are relying on the ability of their media plants to make people forget what they saw with their own eyes. That worked last time -- we can't let it happen again.

SECOND UPDATE:
Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard says the same things: "it won't wear well" and "Kerry contradicts himself".




 



Writing II

As long as we're doing tributes to good writing, try Somerby:

BUZZ, SPIN AND NARRATIVE: It will take a while for spin to form. But we did emit dark chuckles when Aaron Brown asked the Boston Globe’s Nina Easton about last night’s just-concluded debate. The great gods Buzz and Spin weren’t yet active. So Easton bowed low to her cohort’s third great god—Narrative:
EASTON (9/30/00): I think very much tonight you saw—you saw clearly two different men. You saw a thinker and a believer.

You saw in John Kerry—if you want, nuance and complexity, this was your guy. If you. if you want boldness, clarity and so forth, George Bush was your guy. And I do agree with Terry [Neal]. I think it was more of a draw than the initial polls we're seeing.

If you want nuance, your guy was Kerry. If you want clarity, your guy was Bush. And if you want Narrative, just call for Nina Easton! Would anyone have described the debate this way except in fealty to this great god? Brilliantly mouthing these familiar old spins, Easton reminded us how her tribe works. In time, their great god Buzz will send new Spin to earth. But while they wait for Spin to appear, some pundits bow low to Narrative.




 



The tall dude

The tall dude.





10/01/2004
 



Writing

Matt Stoller, writing about Washington, DC at The Blogging of the President: 2004:
"But the most striking thing, to date, is the segregation. This is a black city living next to a white city, and the two interact only in certain stylized ways. The white city fears the black city, the black city resents the white city, serves it, fears it, and occassionally, mugs it. I live in Adams Morgan, which is near a lot of bars and yuppies. Nearly every retail outlet or Starbucks I enter is staffed entirely by blacks, and the customer base is mostly white. It's amazing, not good, not bad, like a couple that has resolved to not get divorced while making no plans to stay together, and above, angrily sleeping in the same bed, night after night. "



 



Don't let anyone forget "President Whiny"

The post-debate spin is on the way. Immediately after the debates, everyone but Bush's near-psychotic core constituency knew that Kerry had crushed Bush. (When Karl Rove says that the debate won't change anyone's mind, you know that his guy lost really bad.) But memories fade quickly, and the Republican plants in the media will soon be talking about a completely different debate which is more to their liking.

Here's
Busybusybusy's summary of David Brooks, a couple of months ago:


"If you were impressed by Kerry's convention speech then trust me, I re-read the transcript and it's really not nearly as good as it sounded when you heard it with your own ears."


That's what they're going to try to do. In 2000, people who had actually watched the Bush-Gore debates mostly thought that Gore had won. But the mighty Wurlitzer went into action, and within a few days it came to be believed that Bush had won. Hopefully Democrats will be smarter and tougher this time around.

David Brock's Media Matters has compared what various Republican tools said before and after the debates. Before the debates, they said that the debates were very important, and that Kerry was really going to have to come through, or else he was dead meat. After the debates, the same people said that debates are really no big deal. (Digby is also tracking the post-debate spin, and Cursor's Derelection 2000 page is a great source.)

The Bush team's immediate response to the debates was mostly a rehash of old stuff, especially the old flipflop/waffle smear. That's a good sign: it means that they haven't been able to come up with anything new. But the RNC vermin are resourceful and diligent, and we should be keeping our eyes open for whatever new BS they manage to cook up. In the meantime, we should just keep asking "What the hell's going on in Iraq?". "Whatever happened to Osama anyway?", "What was Dubya doing when he was supposed to be in the Alabama Guard?", and so on all the way through the Bush Top Ten Fuckup List.

But we should not let them forget this debate, when President Whiny made his grand entry. Allow me to quote myself from this morning:

Bush feels sorry for himself. "It's mean to talk about our allies like that". "I do too know the difference between Saddam and Osama". "It's hard work...."

Where did the John Wayne Leader of the Free World go to? He was fluffing his sound bites. You have to nail them -- otherwise they sound as stupid as they really are. He was hesitating for as much as a second, with that panicked President Bunnypants look on his face. During large parts of the debate, he was backpedaling, treading water, or running out the clock.

Rove says that it was one of Bush's best debates, but that it didn't change any minds. Go figure -- that must be one of the mysteries of faith-based spin.

Rove knows that Bush lost.

Reuters relays Bush spin

Mehlman's spin fails: his first three call-ins were pro-Kerry

Bush spin on debates (from Racicot)

(Note that "What They're Saying: Debate One, Volume One" is missing, as is "What They're Saying: Debate One, Volume Two": the early reviews were pretty uniformly anti-Bush. If anyone can find a cache, send it in.

Racicot: "Truth and optimism are not competing ideals". Sounds like denial to me. Bush always chooses optimism over truth.)

Bush on national security: Be very afraid





 



In Case You Missed It

Repeat


 



Oil, California, Iraq :: OIL

YURICA REPORT: Fraud Traced to the White House: How California's energy scam was inextricably linked to a war for oil scheme.


 



Investigate Lehrer!!!

Michael Bérubé:
The liberal media paid attention when Bush’s hometown paper delivered a long, detailed endorsement of Kerry, but were strangely, suspiciously silent about the color of Kerry’s face! I demand an investigation!! Send those left-wing Sun-Times editors to Gitmo!!

It’s very sad and a little bit scary, but this really is what the wingnuts are reduced to. They’ve lined up behind the most incompetent U.S. President since Garfield lapsed into that coma, they’ve spent four years comparing him to Churchill, Henry V, and Jesus Christ, and now they’re demanding that media coverage of the 2004 election concentrate on the challenger’s appearance-- or else they’ll take down Jim Lehrer just like they did Dan Rather!



 



The Party Taking Over CIA

Well, lots of Senate Democrats voted for Porter Goss to be head of the CIA, and guess what? No, he's not turning it into an arm of The Party, is he? No! They wouldn't do THAT! Would they??!!

DUH!

SO MUCH FOR THAT 'DE-POLITICIZING INTELLIGENCE' THING


 



Fox Forges Picture

Boing Boing: Did Fox News Photoshop a picture to make President Bush look taller?


 



Bush's Hair

Counterspin Central: LIVE AND LET DYE.


 



Even Frank Luntz.calls it for Kerry!

Buried inside bloomberg.com:
http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=email_us&refer=top_world_news&sid=aJyjmfDHdRJ4

Frank Luntz is the eminent Republican wordsmith (contract with America) and consumate pollster and spinster.



 



Last Few Days to Register!

There are only a few days left to get registered to vote. And, if think you already are registered, but you live in a state with a Republican Secretary of State, it might be a good idea to be sure you are STILL registered!


 



America's Moral Choice

From another reader:
Kerry was good in his debate against Bush, but not good enough. Here he is debating the worst president in the history of the United States, this should be a piece of cake for him. But first and foremost, Kerry didn't bring up the fact that US troops have been torturing enemy prisoners under Bush’s watch, and Bush and his administration have taken none of the responsibility for this.

Rumsfield and the military hid this fact for around six months, making them accomplices to the acts of torture by not acting responsibly and putting a stop to it. Rumsfield also ordered secret prisoners in Iraq, another blatant attempt at hiding the torture of Iraqi prisoners, and an obvious indication that he condoned the practice of torture from the beginning. The fact that Bush has not fired the man who should have been responsible for not allowing the torture to happen and should have put a stop to it, directly implicates his own approval and complicity in these acts of torture.

Because of the Bush administration's obvious stance on the torture of Iraqi and other prisoners of Islamic faith, they have lost the moral and ethical principals of this war in the eyes of the rest of the world. It is up the the people of the United states to choose a new leader and show the world that we are not tyrants and torturers, and put an immediate stop to all forms of torture to all of the prisoners of the United States. Only in this we can we even attempt to claim any moral ground for being the defenders of liberty, democracy, and freedom for all.

Instead of attacking Bush more affectively, Kerry is forced to defend himself against Bushes nursery rhyme rhetoric, and name calling such as "flip flop candidate". Accusing Kerry incorrectly of claiming that the war in Iraq was "the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time", repeatedly like some catchy phrase that even Bush at one point had trouble saying correctly. Forcing Kerry to repeatedly state that he felt it was the right war against a tyrant that needed to be dealt with, but was prosecuted extremely poorly, without the proper planning, military strength, international support, and against the advice of Bush's own military advisors. And that Bush did not prosecute the war as he swore he would do. Apparently Bush thinks so little of the American voter's intelligence that he thinks we will be convinced that he is right by his catchy little phrase, and overlook the facts of his administrations culpable incompetence, and complete denial of the true and dire state of affairs.

I believe it is Kerry's moral duty to the people of the United states to bring up the issue of this administrations culpability and involvement in the torture of enemy prisoners in Guantonimo Bay, Afghanistan, and its spread to Iraq, as an issue of national defense. Clearly the resistance fighting in Iraq intensified significantly after the news of the torture of Iraqi prisoners became public world wide. The fact that Americans have been torturing Iraqi prisoners, and the Bush administration officials did not respond promptly to stop this torture while trying to bury it, implicates this administration in these acts against humanity, and the whole world knows it. This one issue alone has severely increased the risks that our troops must now face in the defense of our country abroad. Because of our recent history of torture, we no longer represent the defenders of freedom, liberty and the American way. We now represent tyranny and oppression as we now occupy a foreign country. These kinds of actions are generally associated with fascist governments, not a democracy that upholds the rights of individuals.

Even if no clear evidence is ever found that will implicate this administration of direct involvement in the torture of the Iraqi prisoners, the Bush administration will forever be tainted by its slow response to the torture, and that it occurred under their watch. Therefore this administration must at all costs be removed from power if America is to ever again regain its former dignity with respect to the rest of the world. Kerry should implore the American people to reject this form of tyranny by voting against Bush and his administration, and place their vote for a candidate who will do everything in his power to put a stop to all forms of torture perpetrated by Americans against enemy prisoners, as prescribed by the Geneva Convention that we have sworn to uphold. We the people of the United States must show the world that we do not stand for the torture of innocent and unconvicted prisoners, and allow these prisoners to face their accusers.

Since none of these prisoners have even been allowed a hearing, there is no way to even determine exactly how many of them are actually innocent. The longer we wait to give these prisoners any type of hearing to try and determine their guilt as enemy combatants, the less accurate the evidence against them will become, allowing some guilty prisoners to potentially go free. These prisoners are human being just as we are and therefore deserve the basic human right to face there accusers and not be tortured, just the same as we do. By taking away these inherent human right from our enemies, we have inadvertently taken away those rights from our own soldiers when they are captured by the enemy.

Al Gore was absolutely correct in his responce to the tortures in Iraq, “How dare they”! I would suggest that Kerry watch that speech again, and get mad mad as hell.



 



"They are trying to to convince us to lose faith in John Kerry"

From a reader:
I approached the debate tonight with a lot of anxiety because I knew that the media would be merciless if Kerry made any mistake and would forgive Bush anything.

John Kerry could not have done a better job. No matter how it gets spun by the Bush people or the media, Kerry had the best performance I have seen in a debate, and I have been watching since Kennedy Nixon.

There have been a number of times in the campaign when the media story was, "Everything depends on Kerry not fucking this one up" from Iowa to the choice of VP to the acceptance speech. In each case he did the right thing, hit it out of the park and guess what, the next day the story was something different.

We have to remember that the Republican lies are not just for their base and the undecided, they are also trying to undermine our faith in John Kerry.

That is what is behind the media narratives about losing the women's votes, the security moms, the "likely voters" who happen to be 10 points more Republican than any turnout has ever shown. That is why all the NY Times stories are process stories about how effective the Bush campaign is and how much Kerry is struggling. When the Dems out register Republicans 10 to one, it gets buried in the middle of a story about how there seems to be a lot of new voters. Try to find the last positive news article about Kerry in the NY Times, the ultimate so called liberal media.

It is all lies, They are trying to to convince us to lose faith in John Kerry. Well John Kerry may lose as will the rest of the country and the planet but he has my trust and faith.

After the debate, I went to the nearest computer and donated money. Then I came home to write this.





 



"This is the Road to the Draft"

Steve Gilliard's News Blog : You're in the Army now:
The Army needs about 75K new enlistees a year, a number they usually get. The real issue is that they may not make their numbers even then. If the number of non-hs grads drops below 80 percent, then a draft may really be around the corner.

Yes, my opinion is evolving on this because of one simple fact, the pool of soldiers isn't growing while the demands for US troops is. 40 percent of the troops in Iraq are Guardsmen and reservists and once they get out, they aren't going back. The Guard and Reserve are having even more problems getting and retaining troops, especially Army vets which provide the backbone of Guard units. Once they don't enlist, you have a problem.

Something has to give and Bush's assurences on the draft are as credible as anything else he says.
Gonna vote THIS TIME?


 



President Whiny

Bush feels sorry for himself. "It's mean to talk about our allies like that". "I do too know the difference between Saddam and Osama". "It's hard work...."

Where did the John Wayne Leader of the Free World go to? He was fluffing his sound bites. You have to nail them -- otherwise they sound as stupid as they really are. He was hesitating for as much as a second, with that panicked President Bunnypants look on his face. During large parts of the debate, he was backpedaling, treading water, or running out the clock.

Rove says that it was Bush's best debate, but that it didn't change any minds. Go figure -- that must be one of the mysteries of faith-based spin. Rove knows that Bush lost.




 



Faces of Frustration

Go see the new video, Faces of Frustration. Go see this, e-mail the address to friends. This video says it all! Remember the way hearing LATER about Al Gore's "sighs" changed people's perceptions of that debate? Watch this video, spread it around...




 



Take Them Out

This is what your country is doing in Fallujah.




9/30/2004
 



Now Things Get Dangerous

Kerry did very well, and even the Republicans admit it. Bush kept repeating "mixed messages" as he was supposed to but the focus-group magic didn't seem to work so well this time. Bush is actually everything we've all been saying -- a spoiled rich-guy who has always had someone show up and bail him out, and consequently hadn't prepped for the debate -- he kept expecting $150,000,000 of "flip-flop" ads to have already eliminated this guy -- or maybe he just couldn't believe that after being hit by that kind of money Kerry even showed up.

So what happens now? We can let up a bit from worrying that the election is going to just continue rolling down a path toward Bush actually winning more votes than Kerry. After this debate it does not look very good for Bush. But are the Republicans going to accept that things are turning against them in the election? Are the corporations that have been enjoying no-bid open-ended defense contracts and huge subsidies and tax breaks going to calmly start figuring out how to make an honest living? Are Tom Delay and Dennis Hastert ready to loosen their hold on the balls of the Ethics Committee and take their medicine?

No, now is when they get dangerous. How many people do you think are going to jail if the Republicans lose their power over the Justice Department and the FBI and the investigative committees of the House and Senate? How many of them stand to lose their heads to raving mobs if there is ever an audit of what has been happening to the Treasury since Bush took office?

Nope. Now is when they get dangerous. You think the Swift Boat Vets smears were bad?

Watch your backs.


 



Trippi on Kerry

Joe Trippi at Hardblogger - "Why this guy waits til the last days of a campaign to show this fighting side is beyond me— but it seems to work for him and it worked for him tonight."


 



Complete online polls list, with URLs

Pay particular attention to Florida, Ohio and other swing states.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132x927474





 



He is

And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderack!



 



ABC Poll

ABC poll: Kerry 45% Bush 36%


 



Scorpion

Remember the story about the frog and the scorpion? Bush smirked -- he can't help it, it's what he does.


 



Mixed Messages

As I click through channels, most of the Republican commentators are repeating "mixed messages" undermine our safety. So that's the prepared message of the debate.

It's clearly a POWERFUL focus-group message. And they know it. It is repeated over and over, especially by Bush, so it might be the only thing people remember tomorrow.


 



Online Polls

Go vote in online polls:


ABC News: http://www.abcnews.com/

CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/

Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.com/

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/




 



Bush Just Over His Head

Bush is just a guy in waaayy over his head. It's obvious.


 



ON HIS WATCH!

Kerry said it! Kerry said that North Korea got nukes ON HIS WATCH!


 



Kerry Stomping Bush

I never thought I'd be saying this, and there is still a half hour left, but it appears that Kerry is just fucking stomping Bush. Maybe the rest of the country will be under the focus-group-tested spell, but I think Kerry is just stomping him.


 



Iraq Attacked Us?

Bush just said that Iraq attacked us, and that is why he sent troops there?


 



Two Faced

Bush says "you gotta have a president who'll pursue the terrorists"

But he also said, "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and
really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." and, responding to a question about bin Laden's whereabouts "I am truly not that concerned about him."




 



Bush On Defensive

Bush is totally on the defensive, and he seems to only have one talking point that he repeats over and over: "What kind of message does criticism of the President send to our troops?" And "Sending mixed signals."

Yes, it's a great, tested, focus-group line, but repeating it over and over to EVERY question?

Update He has repeated that SEVERAL times now. He just said that Kerry driticizing the Prime Minister of Iraq undermines the war effort. It must have tested very powerfully in the focus groups!


 



Earpiece?

In the iddle of an answer, Bush was getting heated up, starting to shout. Suddeny he stumbled, looked down like he was listening to something, and completely changed the pace, smiled a little...

I think he has an earpiece! Someone told him to calm down!

Update After Kerry answered the last question, the camera was showing both of them. As soon as Kerry finished and before it was Bush's time Bush cocked his head to listen to something, then gave an answer.

Update - Remember, Bush DOESN'T KNOW that he's on camera! It's against the rules, but the networks are doing it anyway.


 



Another Lie

"Saddam had no intention of disarming."

Disarming WHAT?


 



First Lie

Bush lasted less than a minute. He said ten million Afghans are registered to vote. From June: Karzai Reports 3.8 Million Afghans Now Registered to Vote. (Karzai is President of Afghanistan.)


 



Did Bush Whiten His Teeth?

Take a look when it starts. Word is that Bush whitened his teeth!


 



Help Me Make Truth and Facts Matter

I want to make truth and facts matter. During and after the debate tonite please post comments here with details of Bush's misrepresentation or distortions of facts, outright lies, and other twisting of the truth.

We know he is going to do this, it's what he does.

I want to collect these and then get people to start contacting the media, local and national, to try to get them to report on this. Seeing the Forest is not one of the hugely trafficked sites, but there are enough people reading here to swamp phones and e-mail, and this DOES make a difference.

If Bush lies or distorts I want us to pin it down, and drive it home. Help me.


 



Republican Intelligence Bill Allows Torture

Surprised? Why?

Go read at The Sideshow.


 



Rox Populi's Own Best Political Bloggers Contest

Rox Populi : I Call Bullshit and Offer My Own Best Political Bloggers Contest.

Go see what Seeing the Forest is nominated for, and add your own categories and nominations in the comments.




 



Jobless Claims Up

In case you missed this today: U.S. weekly jobless claims rise:
"The number of Americans seeking first-time jobless benefits jumped unexpectedly last week as the impact of recent hurricanes battering the Southern United States continued to be felt.

For the week, first-time claims rose to 369,000 for the week ended Sept. 25, from 351,000 the week before."
Not good at all. We're a big country -- lots of people lose jobs and find jobs each week. Brad DeLong has said that approx. 350,000 is a break-even level for our economy -- anything higher than 350,000 means the overall economy is losing jobs.

They say this is beause of the weather in Florida, and it may be. But that's still a lot more people who have lost jobs than are finding them.


 



After The Debate Tonite

Some post-debate ideas from an e-mail I received:
National and local news organizations will be conducting online polls during and after the debate asking for readers' opinions. Look for online polls at these national news websites, and make sure to vote in every one of them:

ABC News: http://www.abcnews.com/

CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/

Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.com/

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/

And be sure to check the websites of your local newspapers and TV stations for online polls. It is crucial that you do this in the minutes immediately following the debate.



 



Blatant

Tax dollars blatantly spent to propagandize Americans and influence the election: U.S. Effort Aims to Improve Opinions About Iraq Conflict (washingtonpost.com):
"The Bush administration, battling negative perceptions of the Iraq war, is sending Iraqi Americans to deliver what the Pentagon calls 'good news' about Iraq to U.S. military bases, and has curtailed distribution of reports showing increasing violence in that country.

The unusual public-relations effort by the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development comes as details have emerged showing the U.S. government and a representative of President Bush's reelection campaign had been heavily involved in drafting the speech given to Congress last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Combined, they indicate that the federal government is working assiduously to improve Americans' opinions about the Iraq conflict -- a key element of Bush's reelection message." [all emphasis added]
This is the kind of thing people go to jail for in free countries, unlike here. Bush brings us closer to the old Soviet model every day, with The State promoting The Party and The Party making all decisions.




9/29/2004
 



Sedition Act Coming

See this story, Bush camp rips Kerry rhetoric:
"President Bush's campaign manager yesterday accused Sen. John Kerry's campaign of parroting the rhetoric of terrorists, signaling a new level of aggressiveness in advance of tomorrow's presidential debate.

'The enemy listens,' Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman told reporters on a conference call. 'All listen to what the president said, and all listen to what Senator Kerry said.' "
Criticizing the President in wartime... 'FIRE BAD!'

My prediction: After the election - if Bush is the one in office (notice how I never say "elected" or "wins." We have learned that there are other ways to take office...) - the Congress will pass a partner to the Patriot Act. It will be a Sedition Act, making it illegal to criticize the govenment, especially the President, in time of war.


 



Boobs

Confined Space says CBS is learning the lesson: "Don't try exposing boobs on television."


 



A thought experiment ...

A Thought Experiment, over at Media Matters for America:
"A thought experiment
Substitute the name 'President George W. Bush' wherever Senator John Kerry's name appears in this Amazon.com interview with Ann Coulter and ask yourself if the FBI wouldn't be knocking on her door right about now."





9/28/2004
 



Because We Want To

skippy the bush kangaroo writes, "we blog because we want to. when we stop wanting to, that's when it's time to quit."

And I use capital letters because I want to.


 



The Draft -- Will They Do That?

The Draft. Will they do that? (Video clip)

Will they do that?


 



Welcome

New on the blogroll, Tough Luck Charlie, Debunking The Myth of the Frivolous Lawsuit.


 



Is E.J. Dionne Becomming a Blogger?

In How to Win the Heartland, E.J. Dionne says what us bloggers have been all about ever since 9/11 happened:
"The reluctance to explore what Bush knew before Sept. 11 and what he did about it stands as one of the great mysteries of American journalism."
Yes, it does. Perhaps THE great mystery of American journalism - what's left of it, anyway.


 



What Kerry Actually Said -- Entirely Consistent

To people who accuse Kerry of "flip-flopping": If you want to be an honest person you owe it to yourself to actually read and understand Kerry's position before you accuse him of things like changing positions. Fair enough?

I encourage anyone who really wants to know what Kerry's position on the war was to read the statement he made to the Senate when he voted to allow the use of force. He says his vote was based on President Bush's promises to get sufficient UN authorization (Bush didn't) if he was going to use force, and only to use that force as a last resort if Iraq did not let weapons inspectors in. (Bush didn't.)

Excerpts from John Kerry's Statement on Iraq Before the War:

First, he had been told by the Administration that there were WMD. (Remember, the Administration was NOT sharing intelligence reports that contradicted this case for war.):
"... Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? ... Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don't even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? ... Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? ... Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents? [. . .] Although Iraq's chemical weapons capability was reduced during the UNSCOM inspections, Iraq has maintained its chemical weapons effort over the last 4 years. Evidence suggests that it has begun renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard gas, sarin, cyclosarin, and VX. Intelligence reports show that Iraq has invested more heavily in its biological weapons programs over the 4 years, with the result that all key aspects of this program--R&D, production and weaponization--are active. Most elements of the program are larger and more advanced than they were before the gulf war. Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery on a range of vehicles such as bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives which could bring them to the United States homeland."
ALL of these "intelligence reports" given to the Senate by the Bush administration turned out to be untrue, largely based on reports supplied by Chalabi plants -- and the Bush administration KNEW IT.

Eventually he starts to get around to his reasons for voting for the resolution,
... I traveled to New York a week ago. I met with members of the Security Council and came away with a conviction that they will indeed move to enforce, that they understand the need to enforce, if Saddam Hussein does not fulfill his obligation to disarm."

And I believe they made it clear that if the United States operates through the U.N., and through the Security Council, they--all of them--will also bear responsibility for the aftermath of rebuilding Iraq and for the joint efforts to do what we need to do as a consequence of that enforcement.

[. . .] If the President arbitrarily walks away from this course of action--without good cause or reason--the legitimacy of any subsequent action by the United States against Iraq will be challenged by the American people and the international community. And I would vigorously oppose the President doing so.

[. . .] I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. And the administration, I believe, is now committed to a recognition that war must be the last option to address this threat, not the first, and that we must act in concert with allies around the globe to make the world's case against Saddam Hussein.

As the President made clear earlier this week, "Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable." It means "America speaks with one voice."

Let me be clear, the vote I will give to the President is for one reason and one reason only: To disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, if we cannot accomplish that objective through new, tough weapons inspections in joint concert with our allies.

In giving the President this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days--to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough and immediate inspection requirements, and to act with our allies at our side if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force. If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out.

If we do wind up going to war with Iraq, it is imperative that we do so with others in the international community, unless there is a showing of a grave, imminent--and I emphasize "imminent"--threat to this country which requires the President to respond in a way that protects our immediate national security needs.

[. . .] I will support a multilateral effort to disarm him by force, if we ever exhaust those other options, as the President has promised, but I will not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible under any circumstances.

[. . .] The administration must continue its efforts to build support at the United Nations for a new, unfettered, unconditional weapons inspection regime. If we can eliminate the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction through inspections, whenever, wherever, and however we want them, including in palaces--and I am highly skeptical, given the full record, given their past practices, that we can necessarily achieve that--then we have an obligation to try that as the first course of action before we expend American lives in any further effort.
It's all there. It is exactly what he is saying now. He was voting for this in order to force Iraq to let weapons inspectors back in, which Iraq did. Kerry goes on to predict what will happen if we do not build a solid international coalition in conjunction with the UN, and the prediction is what is now occurring.

It's long, really long, and it goes on (and on and on and on) from where I left off, but I encourage you to read it so that you will understand what Kerry said he was voting for, what the President had promised the Congress and the UN, and how the President broke the promise.

The President asked Kerry for his support, appealing to his patriotism. It was a trick and a betrayal, and Bush is now twisting what Kerry did to make him appear unpatriotic!

It is Bush who has flip-flopped all over the place. But worse, Bush conducted a bait-and-switch operation on us, and launched aggressive war, and is using every dirty trick lie in the book, accusing everyone else of what he himself has done, calling people unpatriotic, even treasonous, BECAUSE they supported him when he asked, in the name of the country.




 



The Left Coaster Catches Gallup At It Again!

The Left Coaster: Gallup Is At It Again - Yesterday's National Poll Had 12% GOP Bias:
After supplying CNN and USA Today with a poll two weeks ago that showed a double-digit Bush lead amongst likely voters that turned out to have a significant bias in its sample favoring the GOP, Gallup did it again yesterday.

Except that yesterday, they not only did it again, they apparently felt that a 7% GOP bias wasn't good enough. So they perpetrated the same fraud upon the media (including their partners CNN and USAT) and voters and this time used a 12% GOP bias in their likely voter screen. I kid you not.
This raises two questions in my mind:
    1. The pro-Bush results (using a pro-Bush sample) matches a known Karl Rove strategy of convincing people "it's all over" to demcralize them and lower voting turnout. (Rove sent Bush to campaign in California in the last days before the 2000 election, just to make people think they were SO confident that they were even winning there.) Is Gallup working with Rove? WHY IS GALLUP DOING THIS?

    2. This is exactly what we would expect to happen before the election if there were a conspiracy to undercount Democratic votes in the new voting machines.
Sure, I sound like a nut with a tinfoil hat on. But do you remember that during the 2000 election the exit polls just suddenly DISAPPEARED? And the voting count in places with touch-screen machines did not reflect the polling from just the day before the election? And the differences showed Democrats favored in the polls but Republicans winning, especially in Georgia? This is the kind of statement that the new voting machines encourage because there is no way to verify how people voted. So ANY kind of lunatic conspiracy theory can be floated and can not be knocked down. THIS is what is wrong with these machines. They might be reporting votes accurately, they might not, and there is no way to know. And Gallup might be honestly predicting a 12% greater Republican turnout, and they may be working with Rove, there's just no way to know.

Steve asks,
"By presenting these polls with this kind of bias, and then ensuring through CNN and USA Today the farthest possible media saturation, why is Gallup not guilty of engaging in a political disinformation campaign?"
Indeed. Combine this with stories like the Ohio Repubicans refusing to allow new voter registrations because the paper is not heavy enough - and other irregularities there (another here), pluss all the news coming out of Florida, and it can start to look like this will not be a legitimate election. Surprise. Watch your backs!


 



An Excellent Point

Stirling makes an excellent point over at The Blogging of the President: 2004:
"As the facts later showed, there were half a dozen scams to shave off votes from Gore - no one of which was enough to scew the election by itself, but taken together they were. The media put their thumb on the scales in favor of tax breaks and consolidation, we therefore got Bush. The political system fell into line, we therefore got a strong unilateral control of power. The legitimacy doves said 'tie election! tie election!'. But in a tie election one would get a government of national unity, a group that governed from the center by consensus. The other theory - the unspeakable one that the election had been stolen - predicted a government from the extreme. Which theory has turned out to be more predictive of Bush and his government? The tie election theory, or the election theft theory?"
An excellent point. If it were a CLOSE election, we would have gotten a government of unity, governing from the center. But no, we got a far-right extremist government, governing by decree, excluding the Democrats from participating in legislation, using government agencies to consolidate their power, and launching attacks on the opposition.


 



Repetition

Repetition works. Remember that. Repetition works. Poll Shows Bush With Solid Lead:
"Bush's relentless attacks on Kerry have badly damaged the Democratic nominee, the survey and interviews showed. Voters routinely describe Kerry as wishy-washy, as a flip-flopper and as a candidate they are not sure they can trust, almost as if they are reading from Bush campaign ad scripts. [emphasis added]"
Have I mentioned that repetition works?

Someone ought to mention this to the Democratic leadership. They seem to like to pursue a strong theme for about a week, and once it starts looking good they think it worked, and move on. Bush has been on ONE theme since the start of the campaign about six years ago, and repeating that. He does that because repetition works.




9/27/2004
 



Asking Again - Why Did Bush Stop Flying?

I'm asking the question again. Why did Bush stop flying?

The other day I wrote,
Do any of you fly, or know any pilots? Ask ANY pilot if they can understand why a young man would stop flying fighter jets if they didn't absolutely have to. And not only that, why would someone refuse to take a flight physical and stop reporting for Guard drills? MOST of us would face serious consequences for such behaviour. (Of course, most of us would face serious consequences for selling shares of a company when we knew they are about to report a loss. Or for running up a massive deficit. Or for launching a war against a country that did us no harm and was no threat to us, when we were already in the middle of another war.)
Keep asking the question: WHY DID BUSH STOP FLYING?


 



Digby! Digby! Digby!

Please, please read this piece by Digby at Hullabaloo. I just want to repeat this because it is just so right, and should be echoed around the blogosphere":
It is what led me to the point at which I am able to say without any sense of restraint or caution that I would put NOTHING past them --- even a staged terrorist attack. This is because every time I think they have some limits, they prove me wrong. As the old saying goes, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice...won't get fooled again....

Gore and his team knew that the Republicans would fight with everything they had, but they still maintained some faith in the legal system to require basic fairness in something this important. And, even the most cynical of us thought that the egos of the Supreme Court justices would never allow them to make a purely partisan decision because history would remember them as whores.

If I had any political idealism left it died on the day that Antonin Scalia stopped judges from counting votes in Florida."
THIS is what we have all been trying to say to the Democratic Party for more than three years now. This is NOT your father's Republican Party. They are NOT fooling around! This is NOT about America for the people who have seized control of the old, honorable Republican Party, or about the public good. No, it is about getting and keeping power and using that power to further a weird, cultish, ideological/theocratic agenda and they have been working toward this end for decades. This is the old John Birch Society crowd, and their current agenda reflects that right down the line. Read Digby's piece and the pieces it points to -- and WATCH YOUR BACKS!

Update If you're STILL not mad enough, or don't believe that the Republicans are capable of ANYthing, then go read this.


 



Animation

The Dancing Ass


 



Wow! Billionaires For Bush Video

This is a must-see: Billionaires For Bush video.

(Thru Atrios)


 



Cracking the Code

Figuring out what the Republicans are up to is only partly a matter of understanding frames and framing. Sometimes those frames are also codes, a secret, insider language, to which those of us who are not evangelical Christians or otherwise up-to-date on neocon lingo haven't even got a clue. I'll give just one example, but it's a good one. It was recently reported that the RNC had sent out mailings to two states, Arkansas and West Virginia, on September 24 stating that liberals are going to take away their Bibles. I think that neither the press nor the Democratic party had the slightest idea what was really going on or what this means. It was understood as just another dastardly Republican scare tactic. Edwards responded by saying that this was outrageous and Bush should insist that they never do anything like that again.

Ha! Rove must have been laughing up his sleeve, it was so obvious that only the insiders, those with secret knowledge, understood what was being said. The public response, in fact, helped to reinforce and spread the desired message. To most of us it would mean that the RNC is saying that secular liberalism will ban reading the Bible. I don't think that's how they meant their audience to understand it. A Google search on "liberals Bibles" brought up 59,100 hits. The battle about "liberals" and "Bibles" has been going on for many years. This battle is terribly important to those involved with it, and the rest of us not only know nothing about it but could care less. Looking into this immediately takes one into an arcane never-never land where only the initiated dare to go.

I haven't been to West Virginia for years, but I've recently been to Arkansas. I dearly love Arkansas, so what I'm about to say is an explanation, not a criticism. In Arkansas towns, there seems to be a little church on almost every corner. Vastly more churches than, for example, grocery stores. The mainstream churches are represented, often have large impressive buildings just like everywhere else, but what's happened is that the denominations have split and split again into countless little, separate denominations, each accusing all the others of heresy. Heresy is a very important concept, and accusing each other of heresy is pretty much the local game, like bridge or baseball in other parts of the country. Arkansas is a poor state, and people have to have something to do on those long summer evenings.

So what's a heresy? Mostly anything "liberal." "Liberal" does not mean what we think it means. Ultimately, "liberal" means anything that in any way could be traced to the Enlightenment. in other words, although this is never spoken, all the principles on which the Constitution is based, the ideal of society as a contract between reasonable people, everything we think of as the basis for modern civilization. The mainstream churches are understood as having been corrupted by the Enlightenment and to have fallen into "liberalism." The Episcopalians, of course, since they now have a gay Bishop, are the Devil's spawn. But so are the Unitarians, the Presbyterians, and even most of the Baptists. And they mean that literally.

The word Bible is also a coded word. Their Bible, as they interpret it, in no way resembles the Bible most of us recognize. Each word has its own secret, arcane meaning and one has to find out what that meaning really is -- while, at the same time, taking the Bible absolutely literally. No allegorical or literary interpretations allowed. The Biblical controversies have also been raging on for years. How literally should one take it? Which version should one take literally? There are those who equate the King James version with the Antichrist, and those who would kill to preserve every sacred word of it. However, it doesn't really matter what the Bible literally SAYS. What matters is what the Bible is interpreted to MEAN. And each little denomination, each little congregation, has its own interpretation, with everyone else's version considered to be heresy. But the really BIG, dangerous, awful heresies are the interpretations of the Bible one learns in those literally damned, take that seriously because they mean it, mainstream churches like the Presbyterians and the Baptists (but not all of the Baptists.) That's the point on which all these little denominations can unite -- against the really BIG "liberal" Enlightenment inspired heresy.

So -- one would have to somehow know that what the RNC mailing is really saying is something like if the Democrats win those heretics in the mainstream churches and their Biblical interpretations will be more important for setting public policy than yours. It will no longer matter how you interpret the Bible. They're not really saying that anyone is going to ban the Bible, but that they're going to ban their interpretations of it, and maybe the particular translation they've accepted as the Word of God. This could be why the moderate Republicans have become so unwelcome in the party. So many of them tend to be Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, Unitarians, the Devil's spawn (they're actually occasionally called that) liberals corrupted by the Enlightenment, for God's sake! Well, I said this was arcane.

Somebody in the Democratic party should be paying attention to identifying these insider coded words and what they mean. There are millions of people who know all too well what they mean, relish the fact that the rest of us don't know, since we're going to Hell because we don't know, and they will vote for Bush on that basis. Because Bush knows.


 



Daily Two-Faced Liar Report

A surprising story from Reuters! A press organization is actually investigating whether Bush's statements are true!! Key Bush Assertions About Iraq in Dispute:
"Many of President Bush's assertions about progress in Iraq -- from police training and reconstruction to preparations for January elections -- are in dispute, according to internal Pentagon documents, lawmakers and key congressional aides on Sunday.

Bush used the visit last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to make the case that 'steady progress' is being made in Iraq to counter warnings by his Democratic presidential rival, Sen. John Kerry, that the situation in reality is deteriorating.

Bush touted preparations for national elections in January, saying Iraq's electoral commission is up and running and told Americans on Saturday that 'United Nations electoral advisers are on the ground in Iraq.'

He said nearly 100,000 'fully trained and equipped' Iraqi soldiers, police officers and other security personnel are already at work, and that would rise to 125,000 by the end of this year. And he promised more than $9 billion will be spent on reconstruction contracts in Iraq over the next several months.

But many of these assertions have met with skepticism from key lawmakers, congressional aides and experts, and Pentagon documents, given to lawmakers and obtained by Reuters, paint a more complicated picture.

TROOP, POLICE TRAINING

The documents show that of the nearly 90,000 currently in the police force, only 8,169 have had the full eight-week academy training. Another 46,176 are listed as "untrained," and it will be July 2006 before the administration reaches its new goal of a 135,000-strong, fully trained police force.

Six Army battalions have had "initial training," while 57 National Guard battalions, 896 soldiers in each, are still being recruited or "awaiting equipment." Just eight Guard battalions have reached "initial (operating) capability," and the Pentagon acknowledged the Guard's performance has been "uneven."

Training has yet to begin for the 4,800-man civil intervention force, which will help counter a deadly insurgency. And none of the 18,000 border enforcement guards have received any centralized training to date, despite earlier claims they had, according to Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.

They estimated that 22,700 Iraqi personnel have received enough basic training to make them "minimally effective at their tasks," in contrast to the 100,000 figure cited by Bush.

"Let me tell you exactly what the story is. They're saying they're trying to train them, yet they have not trained," Sen. Joseph Biden (news, bio, voting record), the ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN.

The White House defended its figures, and a senior administration official defined "fully trained" as having gone through "initial basic operations training." Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command that covers Iraq, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the number of trained Iraqi forces "will continue to grow."

[. . .] ELECTIONS, RECONSTRUCTION DISPUTED

The status of election planning in Iraq is also in question. Of the $232 million in Iraqi funds set aside for the Iraqi electoral commission, it has received a mere $7 million, according to House Appropriations Committee staff.

While Bush said the commission has already hired personnel and begun setting election procedures, congressional aides said preparations in other areas were behind schedule.

According to a one-page election planning "time line," registration materials are supposed to be distributed in early October and initial voter lists to go out by the end of October, which is during the holy month of Ramadan.

So far, the United Nations has been reluctant to send staff back into the battle zone. It only has 30 to 35 people now in Baghdad, no more than eight working on the elections.

"The framework for it (free and fair elections) hasn't even been set up. The voter registration lists aren't set. There have to be hundreds of polling places, hundreds of trained monitors and poll watchers. None of that has happened," Madeleine Albright (news - web sites), former Secretary of State for President Bill Clinton (news - web sites), a Democrat, told ABC's "This Week."

With the violence expected to intensify in the run-up to the elections, congressional experts were also skeptical $9 billion could be spent on reconstruction projects within several months, as Bush asserted.

A top Republican aide briefed by the administration said, "at best," the $9 billion would be disbursed by late 2005 or early 2006. A top Democratic aide called Bush's projections "laughable." [All emphasis added]
I reprinted so much of this article because there is just so much in it that is astonishing. One article prints a little bit of the truth about what is going on, and it is just too much to take! It is so different from the news the public has been receiving.

One question is, does Bush even have any idea what is oging on in Iraq, or even care? Another is, will it matter to the public, even if they DO find out this information?

Of course, the Republican line on this is that the "liberal media" lies and should not be listened to.





 



Nationa Guard Callup

http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-ARMYPAPER-359116.php

http://www.charleston.net/stories/091104/sta_11reserve.shtml

http://www.sltrib.com/nationworld/ci_2416732

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&ie=UTF-8&q=%22Individual+Ready+Reserve%22+&btnG=Search+News

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A20794-2004Oct9.html





9/26/2004
 



TalkLeft Suggests Draft Likely

TalkLeft: Newsweek: Are Iran and Syria Next:
Apparently, Bush's advisors agree that a preemptive attack is not on the horizon because we've expended our military wad in Iraq. Doesn't that just make a draft more likely? Not to Bush advisors, who say "covert action of some kind is the favored route for Washington hard-liners who want regime change in Damascus and Tehran."

One thing is pretty clear. With Bush, there's no end in sight to war and destruction. If it's not Iraq, it will be somewhere else. As he lies, our soldiers die. Boot Bush.
Shrill.


 



Too Insider

I started this in the morning but was out all day... a comment on bloggers becomming too "insider" for new readers to understand.

At Eschaton this morning, Atrios has this:
"Balance

Sunday's Meet the Press "roundtable:
David Broder, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robert Novak and William Safire
...All anyone ever needs to know about David Broder is that he actually said this:
He came in here and he trashed the place, and it's not his place.
That's the whole post. This is terribly blogger-centric and insider. I would bet that only a small fraction of his readers understand what he was trying to say.

Compare this to Josh at Talking Points Memo writing about the same show:
"Of the four panelists, one is the profoundly middle-of-the-road David Broder, a paragon of Washington's establishment assumptions. For the sake of discussion, let's call him balanced or neutral.

Two of the other four are Bill Safire and Bob Novak, two of the most prominent and conservative columnists in the country.

Finally, you have Doris Kearns Goodwin. In her personal views, it's probably fair to call her a liberal. But, as you might say, she doesn't play one on TV. She goes in for high-minded commentary, which is fine in itself but makes her little balance for Safire and Novak.

There's your balance. Two against one -- and the one has one arm tied, voluntarily, behind her back."
Atrios, you have new readers at your blog -- especially today! They aren't "in the know" but they are interested and want to explore this online phenomenon. Bring them in, don't scare them away.






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I took out the Amazon "donate button" because they are a red company, helping fund the right.

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