Thursday, August 26, 2004

Pay No Attention to the Issues, Keep Watching the Swift Boats!
If you want to know why the Swift Boat liars are getting so much help from this administration, just look at the latest depressing results from Dubya's tax breaks

"Ranks of Poor, Uninsured Rose in 2003

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans living in poverty increased by 1.3 million last year, while the ranks of the uninsured swelled by 1.4 million, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.
It was the third straight annual increase for both categories. While not unexpected, it was a double dose of bad economic news during a tight re-election campaign for President Bush.

Approximately 35.8 million people lived below the poverty line in 2003, or about 12.5 percent of the population, according to the bureau. That was up from 34.5 million, or 12.1 percent in 2002.

The rise was more dramatic for children. There were 12.9 million living in poverty last year, or 17.6 percent of the under-18 population. That was an increase of about 800,000 from 2002, when 16.7 percent of all children were in poverty."

and foreign policy. From the invaluable Daily Kos:

"It happened this week almost without notice: The number of Americans killed in Iraq during 2004 now exceeds the number killed in 2003.

More remarkably, the 488 killed thus far this year died in just 239 days (2.04 daily average), while the 482 killed last year died during fully 287 days (1.68 daily average), which means that not only has 2004 been bloodier than 2003 in absolute terms, but in relative terms as well."

If Kerry can keep the liars off of his back and focus on the failures of this administration, it will be a miracle. Even with the Presidency, the House and Senate under one roof, the best Dubya can do this Fall is to run smack at Kerry......what accomplishments can he tout during the last three-and-a-half years?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Back to the Past
What is this, an episode of "I love the 80's?" Dubya is extolling the virtues of a missle defense shield (aka, "Star Wars" back in those heady Reagan years). Unless you are one of the contractors who will profit from this boondoggle, everyone else agrees that this system is overpriced, will not work and sure as hell can't defend you against somebody with a "suitcase bomb." Just what did Dubya think was more of a threat in the days before 9/11? Let's look at the quotes:

"WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a fact sheet from Kerry-Edwards 2004:

"Despite this administration's near obsession with missile defense, the greatest threat facing our homeland comes from terrorists who would do us harm. In the months preceding 9/11 George W. Bush and his closest advisors were preoccupied with missile defense and their misunderstanding about the threats we face continues to this day. John Kerry believes an effective missile defense is crucial to our national security strategy. But John Kerry also understands the importance of facing our most pressing national security threats while continuing to develop and deploy a national missile defense which we know will work," said Kerry National Security Adviser Rand Beers."


"May 2001 -- Bush Said "Most Urgent Threat" Was Ballistic Missiles.

Bush: "Most troubling of all, the list of these countries includes some of the World's least responsible states. Unlike the Cold War, today's most urgent threat stems not from thousands of ballistic missiles in the Soviet hands, but from a small number of missiles in the hands of these states, states for whom terror and blackmail are a way of life. They seek weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbors, and to keep the United States and other responsible nations from helping allies and friends in strategic parts of the world." (Bush, Address at the National Defense University, 5/1/01)

May 2001 - Kerry Said "Immediate Threat" was From Terrorists and "Non-State Actors."

Kerry: "But let me underscore that missile defense will do nothing to address what the Pentagon itself considers a much more likely and immediate threat to the American homeland from terrorists and from nonstate actors, who can quietly slip explosives into a building, unleash chemical weapons into a crowded subway, or send a crude nuclear weapon into a busy harbor." (Kerry, Speech on Senate Floor, 5/2/01)"

Gee, which guy had the best foresight back then??????


"Rumsfeld Threatened Veto Of Plan To Divert Money From Missile Defense to Terroirsm. On September 9, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld threatened to urge a presidential veto of a Senate plan to divert $600 million from missile defense systems to counterterrorism. Instead of anti-terror planning, "the whole Bush national- security team was obsessed with setting up a national system of missile defense." (Time, 8/12/02)

The bottom line is that every country that has the capability to launch some form of dangerous missle also knows how to outsmart missle defense systems; dummy warheads, etc. As we have seen, the real threats are extreme individuals acting under no country's flag.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Don't Take That Medication!
Yes, I admit to being a bit cynical when it comes to the latest round of terrorist alerts, but just when the pressure builds regarding Dubya's Medicare policy which prohibits the importation of cheap drugs from Canada and the result is another al Qaeda plot, well, it does seem a bit coincidental:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- "Cues from chatter" gathered around the world are raising concerns that terrorists might try to attack the domestic food and drug supply, particularly illegally imported prescription drugs, acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester M. Crawford says.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Crawford said Wednesday that he had been briefed about al-Qaeda plans uncovered during recent arrests and raids, but declined further comment about any possible threats.

"While we must assume that such a threat exists generally, we have no specific information now about any al-Qaeda threats to our food or drug supply," said Brian Roehrkasse, spokesman for the Homeland Security Department."

So, once again, here are the vague details of a non-specific threat that just so happens to concern a pretty hot topic among elderly voters.....

"Crawford said the possibility of such an attack was the most serious of his concerns about the increase in states and municipalities trying to import drugs from Canada to save money."


"FDA is under mounting pressure -- and faces a lawsuit filed by the state of Vermont -- to soften its opposition to importing drugs from Canada, which is seen by many consumers and state and local government officials as a way to shave thousands to millions of dollars from drug bills.


"Crawford's top concern is that terrorists could strike at drugs."

Well, of course there are thousands of ways terrorists could strike here.....drugs, water supplies, on and on, but this bit of scary news just seemed a bit timely.......

Monday, August 09, 2004

"Now Hold On A Minute, I Know That One!"
OK, We've all been there, college, grade school or a job interview (or, in my case, oral exams for a Masters degree!): a question comes up that you looked at briefly the night before, decided it wasn't going to be on the test, but then Wham!, there it is. Want to relive those flop-sweat moments? Go listen to Dubya as he tries to explain tribal sovereignty in the 21st Century at last week's Unity 2004 Conference, courtesy of Majority Report Radio.

For a more in-depth review of both candidates' appearances at this conference, go check out this article from the Daily News:

"Candidate George W. Bush made an appearance on Friday in front of nearly 5,000 minority journalists in Washington.

It wasn't one of his best moments, not because of the 40 to 50 protesters outside carrying banners demanding peace. No, it wasn't one of the President's best moments because, even though he was in full campaign mode, his performance did nothing to advance his reelection ambitions."


"That is why it was surprising, disconcerting and even a little frightening to listen to his opening remarks, punctuated by a strange syntax and mysterious logic.

"You can't read a newspaper if you can't read," the President said at one point when he spoke about the success his administration has had in teaching children how to read. When responding to a question posed by a Native American journalist on what he thought about the sovereignty of the Indian tribes in the U.S., Bush could only respond with something like "sovereignty is well ... sovereignty, and if you have sovereignty you are sovereign." Say what?

Conversely, Kerry, who visited Unity the day before, seemed to benefit from his appearance. After the requisite couple of lines about his support for diversity in the newsroom (Bush did the same thing), he proceeded to deliver introductory remarks that made him look self-assured and knowledgeable on the issues. He even looked comfortable in front of such a difficult crowd.

While people were disconcerted by Bush's weak performance, they seemed to have found a new appreciation for Kerry's credentials for the presidency after his appearance. That morning, declaring that health care was everybody's right, the Massachusetts senator promised to send a health care bill to Congress the first day of his presidency if he wins the election."

I've talked about this subject before, and there are literally hundreds of websites devoted to tracking Dubya's gaffes, such as the excellent DubyaSpeak.com. No matter what Dubya's handlers say about his true skills, it is plainly evident that he is uncomfortable fielding unscripted questions from anybody.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Prius Envy......
When I purchased my hybrid car a couple of years ago, I was doing so for a couple of reasons: This was my first ever new car purchase (over 300,000 miles on the 'ol Toyota pickup!), and so I wanted to encourage the continual creation of hybrid car technology, and of course to get a car with kick ass gas milage. More importantly, I had the creeping tinfoil-hat suspicion that this current administration filled with oil bigwigs would reward their friends with high oil prices somewhere along the way....sure enough, here we are, approaching fifty bucks a barrel! When I fill up (which is once every three to four weeks) I get these long looks from SUV owners who are pouring forty to fifty dollars into their gas tanks every week. They often ask me "where did I get that car," and "how many miles per gallon does it get." How many SUV's are headed towards the trading block?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Republican Crusaders for God
Well, our "Uniter in Chief" is at it again, this time trying to drive a wedge between the more liberal Catholics and the over-the-top Crusader faction in an effort to pull Catholic voters away from the Catholic candidate, Kerry. Here's a review of Bush's speech to the Knights of Columbus:

"By Alan Cooperman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

DALLAS, Aug. 3 -- President Bush told an effervescent crowd of 2,500 Catholics at the annual convention of the Knights of Columbus on Tuesday that they have a friend in the White House who will work with them to restrict abortion, provide vouchers for parochial schools and champion a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Bush spoke for 35 minutes without mentioning his Democratic opponent. But there was no mistaking that the nation's largest Roman Catholic fraternal order was turning a cold shoulder toward Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the first Catholic to run for president since John F. Kennedy in 1960 and a supporter of abortion rights.

"Four more years!" delegates to the convention roared as Bush entered the hall and embraced their leader, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. As a nonprofit charitable organization, the Knights are forbidden by tax laws from making political endorsements. But Anderson gave Bush a warm welcome, thanking him for "supporting the right to life of unborn children" and "restoring moral integrity to the office of the president."

The speech was part of the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign's effort to court Catholic voters, who make up about a quarter of the U.S. population and an equal or higher percentage of the electorate in such battleground states as Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Michigan -- all of which Bush plans to visit in a campaign swing through the Midwest this week."


"Although he's a Catholic, John Kerry doesn't talk about the things I believe in. His support of abortion -- he's got a different agenda," said William M. Mulvihill, a delegate from Richmond."


........and doesn't this sound wacky:
"Surrounded on the podium by rows of Knights in colorful headdresses and matching capes, Bush said he is changing the "culture inside government which resents and fears religious charities, and has discriminated against them."

....and you can't have 'ol fasioned religion without passing the hat:
"Before the speech, Bush picked up $1.6 million at a luncheon at the home of Dallas software entrepreneur Larry Lacerte, according to the Republican National Committee. The fundraiser was closed to the media."

No matter who screwed the other, religion and politics have always been bedfellows. Go check out what Kos has to say about just what issues are really important (if you want to be a good Catholic!)

"Death Penalty
The Catholic Church is vehemently anti capital punishment, while Bush presided over the largest number of executions of any sitting governor in American history.

...and what I have always said is the biggest cop-out for Catholics is the anti-war stance the Pope takes and the Churches simply ignore. It is very easy to take an anti-abortion stance, but it takes true balls to take a true anti-war stance.....and after all, isn't that what Jesus would have done?????

Kos then references an excellent piece below.......

"Iraq War, Preemption, Peace Protesters
From the AP:

Pope John Paul II says the war in Iraq threatens humanity's hope for a better future.

Saying that God's love reaches every person, John Paul said that "human beings, aware of such a great love, cannot not open themselves up to an attitude of fraternal welcome" toward others.Praying to the Virgin Mary for the victims of conflict, he said: "Let's invoke with grief-stricken and confident insistence her intercession for peace in Iraq and in every other region of the world." After the Vatican's diplomatic efforts during the Iraqi crisis failed to avert a war it says has no legal or moral justification, John Paul has continued to use his public appearances as a venue to push for peace."Distressing armed clashes endanger humanity's hope for a better future," the pontiff told pilgrims and tourists who were gathered in St. Peter's Square for his weekly appearance from his studio window.On Saturday the pontiff urged the faithful not to allow the Iraq conflict to stir up hatred between Christians and Muslims, saying this would transform the war into a "religious catastrophe."

Pope John Paul says the anti-war movement shows a "large part of humanity" has rejected war as a means of solving conflicts between nations."


"By now, he said, "it should be clear" that except for self-defence against an aggressor, a "large part of humanity" has repudiated war as an instrument of resolving conflicts between nations.

He cited the "vast contemporary movement in favour of peace" around the world and said he took "comfort and hope" from the efforts for peace by various religions.

In the months before the Iraq war began, John Paul lobbied in favour of a negotiated solution. He has said there was no legal or moral justification for military action."

How many of the talking heads that parrot the anti-abortion stance have mentioned THAT little item???

"VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II urged the faithful Saturday not to allow the Iraq  conflict to stir up hatred between Christians and Muslims, saying that would transform the war into a "religious catastrophe."
The pontiff, who strongly opposes the war, made the comments to bishops from Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country with a small Christian community.
"War must never be allowed to divide world religions," he said. "I encourage you to take this unsettling moment as an occasion to work together, as brothers committed to peace, with your own people, with those of other religious beliefs and with all men and women of good will in order to ensure understanding, cooperation and solidarity."

Kos continues making the relevant points:

"On International Law
Bush has made it clear that he has no respect for international institutions. His first act as President was to abandon the Kyoto Protocols, and that was merely the warm up act. From the international criminal court, to nuclear arms treaties, to the Geneva Convention, to UN-bashing, to unilateral wars, this administration has done what it could to flip the rest of the world the bird.

Kos has more......go and give it a read........

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