Tuesday, October 05, 2004

My Thoughts: Edwards Won the VP Debate. Here's Why

My Thoughts: Edwards Won the VP Debate. Here's Why.

I believe that Senator John Edwards, with quiet dignity, clarity, honesty, and truth, won this debate.

Why do I call this Edwards' win?

Edwards convinced me he was telling the truth and he convinced me that Dick Cheney, although he might be masterful, is only masterful at distorting the truth.

I can't tell you how many times I detected lies and deliberate distortions from Cheney, who is a master of deception. Where shall I begin?

He totally evaded Gwen Ifill's first question about Paul Bremer's revelation that Bush/Cheney failed to provide proper troop levels to ensure success in Iraq.

When he said, "What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action," he may have sounded more coherent than Bush, but I knew, by his words, he was just as dangerous, wrong, and stubborn as his incurious commander in chief.

"The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there's clearly an established Iraqi track record with terror."
I don't know who Cheney thinks he's fooling. He's spun his web about 9/11 and Saddam's Iraq so many times our heads spin..and then he denies ever saying it. The press should have called Cheney on his lies about these bogus terror connections a long time ago. If they had done their job, perhaps we wouldn't have to look at Dick Cheney still making up more lies today.

When Cheney said, "Gwen, we've never let up on Osama bin Laden from day one," I could envision a multi-color neon sign on Times Square flashing the word "L-I-A-R". It doesn't take a genius to figure that sometime between attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, Dick and George "let up" on making Osama their priority.

When Cheney began to play his distortion harp about John Kerry's lack of conviction, my prayers were answered by Senator Edwards' response. He beautifully pointed Cheney out as the distorter he is. It's all Cheney seems to be good for in this campaign, really. People don't actually like him. He turns them off. He might be a nice fellow in real life, but he turns people off. All he has left is distortion.

For just a moment, when he was pressed by Edwards to justify the war in Iraq, I thought Cheney might actually come out and say "Thank God Zarqawi is out there beheading Americans---because he's all I've got left to try to connect with Saddam Hussein--even though the CIA says it's the weakest possibility!"

Cheney said to Edwards, "The first time I ever met you was when I walked on the stage tonight."
This was a lie from Dick Cheney, disproven quickly at the Kerry/Edwards blog. He didn't fool me. I'm on to his tricks.
Cheney pulled the same trick about "not knowing" Joseph Wilson on Meet the Press last year.

I have absolutely no respect for ABC's Nightline, who used a heavy-laden GOP-participant poll just after the debate to enforce their assertion that Cheney won the debate. In doing so, I was reminded ABC is acting very much like Dick Cheney. I am confident most people believe their own eyes over distortions.


Who Will Be the Victor in Tonight's Debate?

Who Will Be the Victor in Tonight's Debate?

Dick from the Black Lagoon?--Or John of Mayberry?

At The Nation, John Nichols has 10 Questions for the Cave Creature

Best of the Headlines

Now cannot see Iraq-9/11 Connection

Best of the Headlines

More Bush Administration Lies Exposed:
CNN: Rumsfeld: Al Qaeda comments 'misunderstood' and concedes WMD claims about Iraq were proved wrong

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld conceded Monday that U.S. intelligence was wrong in its conclusions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and appeared to back off earlier statements suggesting former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had links to al Qaeda.

Bush Blog- Spin Desperately Needed
The Bushites are begging their supporters to spread their love for Dr. Doom after tonight's debate with John Edwards. Various message boards are being recommended as the chosen platform for Republicans to spout their spin. They provide us with an easy guide to send our own comments. Check it out.

ABC News/Reuters- Bremer Says Not Enough U.S. Troops in Iraq
L. Paul Bremer Tells Group U.S. Didn't Have Enough Troops Upon Arriving in Postwar Iraq

IHT-"Don't Forget Poland"
Poland unexpectedly says troops may quit Iraq in 2005. "Poland is like any other country. The public do not like the war. The government cannot ignore that," said a Polish diplomat, who asked not to be named.

US Newswire- More than 180 Former U.S. Ambassadors from Republican and Democratic Administrations Endorse Kerry
At a news conference at the National Press Club, members of Ambassadors for Kerry-Edwards issued a letter stating, "We believe it is imperative to our national security that we change the leadership of the nation we all love and elect John Kerry and John Edwards." The statement criticized President Bush for needlessly squandering the good will and support of the world following the September 11 attacks and undermining our ability to win the war on terror by eroding our strong international alliances.

USA Today- Nice guy vs. The Ice Guy, Tuesday night in Cleveland
Advisers underline that Edwards has an advantage Lieberman did not have: Cheney now has a nearly four-year record that he'll have to defend.

Christian Science Monitor- How VP debate can help - or hurt
"It's Dr. Doom versus Huck Finn," says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "Very little rides on this debate, but it's going to be enormously interesting. People will be interested to see this fairly curious matchup."

Towanda Daily Review- Topic of Bush's Speech to Invitation Only Crowd in PA Will Unexpectedly Change
Bush changes content of planned speech to make up for lost ground in polls
The official said the president might still touch on medical malpractice, but the majority of his speech would be on the war on terror and the economy.
He did not offer a reason why the decision was made.

Reuters-Iraq Muslim Clerics Express Doubts Over Elections
"An influential group of Iraqi Sunni Muslim clerics said Tuesday that elections scheduled for January would be a farce unless they were nationwide."

New York Times- Randal Archibold: Edward Notes Cheney Warned of Getting "Bogged Down" in Iraq
Seizing on a published report that Vice President Dick Cheney warned 12 years ago of getting 'bogged down' in Iraq, Senator John Edwards on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of botching plans for occupying that nation. 'He knew - that's the worse part about this - he knew how dangerous this was,' Mr. Edwards told a crowd here. 'They knew that there were enormous predictors of what would be happening there, and they still didn't have a plan even though they knew what might be coming'.'' (See also Robert Dreyfuss' "Well, Iraq Worked, Right?").

American Prospect-Robert Reich: Where Are the Rational Greedy Bastards?
"Privately, CEOs and Wall Street bankers fret about the mounting red ink. They remember what happened to the economy under previous Republicans, and they know supply-side economics is bunk masquerading as a free lunch... A rationally self-interested greedy bastard who never thought about the future would far prefer the Clinton years to another four years of Bush, even with Bush’s tax cuts. John Kerry promises to continue Clinton’s economic policies, so the greedy bastard should line up behind Kerry."

Guardian (U.K.)-Sidney Blumenthal: Retreat Into a Substitute Reality:
By touching on Bush's ambivalent relations with his father, Kerry exposed his delusions about Iraq.

Vanity Fair (via Make Them Accountable), October 2004 issue- David Margolick, Evgenia Peretz, and Michael Shnayerson: The Path to Florida
Here is a long, detailed examination of the 2000 election fiasco and fraud that was Florida 2000, with questions about how much has changed in Florida since that scandal four years ago. Short answer: Not much. "[The authors zero] in on the frenzied 36 days that followed the 2000 election, investigate the 'Brooks Brothers riot,' Jeb Bush's high-tech felon hunt, and the new voting machines that leave no paper trail, and ask, Could it happen again?

Independent (U.K.)- Andrew Woodcook: War Planned "Months Before Vote"
Britain was involved in planning for war in Iraq for at least nine months before MPs approved military action, according to a document apparently leaked from the Pentagon. Details from the secret briefing paper, published in London's Evening Standard, suggest that military commanders took part in a war planning conference with US counterparts as early as June 2002. At the time, Prime Minister Tony Blair [along with Bush] was insisting that no decisions had been taken on military action. Today's leak, on the eve of a crucial debate on Iraq at Labour's conference in Brighton, will fuel speculation that Mr Blair agreed in principle to join the US in military action at his April 2002 summit at President George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas - something the Prime Minister has always denied.


A Question of Loyalty

A Question of Loyalty
By Ernest Partridge
Co-Editor, "The Crisis Papers."
October 4, 2004

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing.

Anon. (Attributed to Edmund Burke)

Senator Lincoln Chafee, Republican from Rhode Island, has decided not to vote for George Bush in November.

"’ll vote Republican," [Chafee] said, explaining that he would choose a write-in candidate, perhaps George Bush the elder, as a symbolic act of protest. Asked if he wanted Senator John Kerry to be president, Mr. Chafee shook his head sadly, as if to say he could not entertain the question. “I’ve been disloyal enough,” he said. (New York Times, October 4, 2004).

With all due respect for Senator Chafee, and that respect is genuine, I submit that he has not been loyal enough.

It all depends upon the what the Senator regards as the supreme object of his loyalty. To Chafee, it is apparently the Republican party.

But that party is not the entity to which he swore allegiance when he took his oath of office. At that time he, and all his Senate and House colleagues, swore allegiance to the United States of America and its Constitution. And that allegiance requires much more of Lincoln Chafee and others who claim loyalty to the Republican party.

For today, institutions and moral principles cherished throughout our history and held in common today by a majority of Americans -- Democrats, Republicans and Independents -- are being threatened, not by a foreign invader, but by a radical faction that has seized control of our government and our media. The shared prosperity of the American people is being undone by a few greedy plutocrats who now effectively control the Republican party. These individuals have caused the honor and reputation of the American Republic in the world community to sink to an all-time low.

We are at a crossroad in history, one road leads to disaster and the other to restoration and renewal. Neither road is in any way defined by the traditional political differences between Republicans and Democrats.

We must now look down that dreadful road, before we travel on. For there we find:

Federal bankruptcy, the end of public services including Social Security and Medicare, and an impoverishment of the public schools.

With the decline of our educational institutions, an end of American leadership in science and technology – both the well-springs of prosperity in an industrial economy.

International isolation, as the United States continues to become an international outlaw, initiating wars at times of its choosing, and violating treaties at its convenience.

A loss of media independence and diversity – “the fourth estate,” recognized by our founders as indispensable to a free society.

A loss of civil liberties and the Constitutional guarantees of free press, speech, assembly and religion. A violation of the rights of fair trial, access to counsel, habeas corpus.

An endless “war on terrorism” legitimizing the erosion of these liberties and the abrogation of the Bill of Rights, and furthermore requiring a permanent draft.

Class warfare, as national wealth flows from the producers of that wealth to the very few who own and control the wealth.

The privatization of the technology and tallying of voting – in effect, an end of the citizen franchise and the “consent of the governed.”

Environmental devastation and economic collapse, as petroleum reserves are exhausted with no national provision made for transition to a post-petroleum energy source. (See my “The Oil Trap?").

This is our future unless, together and regardless of our habitual party preferences, we unite and throw out of national office, those individuals who, due to dogmatism, ignorance or the myopia of greed, fail to recognize or feel obliged to lead us away from these perils.

The challenge transcends party. The Republican Party of Lincoln Chafee’s father, Senator John Chafee, is no more. It has been succeeded by a gang of theocrats, oligarchs, and empire-builders who retain, from the Republican Party of old, little more than the name “Republican.” (See my “Letter to a Republican Friend”).

The Republican Party of Dwight Eisenhower, Earl Warren and Nelson Rockefeller stood for fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets, limited government, opportunity for small business entrepreneurs, citizen autonomy, defense of the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and international law and order. These principles have been abandoned in practice by the Republican part of today.

Nonetheless, with the entire political spectrum having shifted sharply to the right, there now exists a political organization that upholds and defends these principles of moderate republicanism. It is called the Democratic Party.

So what motivates a moderate Republican or an authentic conservative to vote for George Bush and Dick Cheney? What, other than habit and the names, "Republican" and "conservative."

In a generation, the words "Republican" and "conservative" ("liberal" too, for that matter), once a guide to intelligent political discourse, have become weapons in the hands of greedy and power-hungry opportunists – a “Newspeak” devised by PR wizards who have treated George Orwell’s 1984, not as a warning but as a guidebook.

Thus we are now on a precipice of history, and if we are to draw back and escape catastrophe, Americans of all religious creeds and political persuasions must pause, contemplate the morally legitimate objects of their loyalty, and then follow the demands of that loyalty as they vote to protect their Constitution, preserve the rights and liberties of all citizens, demand a just distribution of the nation’s wealth, and restore the honor of their country among the community of nations.

There are a few key individuals who could, by themselves, take a principled stand and favorably change the course of history. Colin Powell and John McCain come to mind. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that they will do so.

And so it is up to the rest of us to do so – powerless as individuals, but together an irresistible force.

Several significant organizations and individuals have done so already. Among them:

Ten Nobel Laureates in Economics.

4,000 scientists, among them 48 Nobel Laureates.

Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. And in particular, “The Jersey Girls” – the courageous and determined widows of 9/11, without whom there would not have been a 9/11 Commission.

Iraq Veterans Against the War.

And many more, too numerous to mention.

And yet, the election contest remains close. If there is to be a favorable outcome, the current of dissent and opposition must become a flood.

Daniel Ellsberg, John Dean, Sibel Edmonds, Colleen Rowley, Karen Kwiatkowski and other “whistleblowers” have demanded that still more patriots, within and outside of the government, who are in possession of crucial information, come forth and expose the corruption and malfeasance of this most secretive Administration.

It is also past time for a few prominent journalists to rip open the media curtain, and let the light of truth at last shine forth. Many media celebrities have become independently wealthy through their careers. Now it is payback time. Where are the I. F. Stones, Ed Murrows and Walter Cronkites of our age? Will they be heard in the month that remains?

The time is short. But with the example of Lincoln Chafee, and other newly-dissenting Republicans such as Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Doug Bereuter, and former Republicans such as Arianna Huffington, John Dean, Jim Jeffords and Kevin Phillips, the demands of duty and loyalty become ever more compelling.

In a mere month, the current of dissent and defection must become a flood, if the usurpers of our liberties, the thieves of our national treasure, and the despoilers of our national honor are to be swept from their ill-gotten offices.

For after November 2, it will be too late, for then we may all be embarked upon the road to disaster from which there will be no return in our lifetimes -- if ever.