Wednesday, October 27, 2004


A child in Iraq gives a "thumbs-up" to a US soldier on a humanitarian mission

Children crowd around truck providing humanitarian aid in Iraq

photos/credit: A member of the Armed Forces serving in Iraq

"Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man."

- Rabindranath Tagore

"Remarkable" Success

"Remarkable" Success

"I think it has been a remarkable success story to date when you look at what has been accomplished overall and I think the president deserves credit for it."

- Dick Cheney offers his assessment of US policy in Iraq.

"Eleven hundred American soldiers have lost their lives, more than 8,000 have been wounded. Terrorists are flowing in. Americans are being kidnapped. We see beheadings on television. The costs are now $225bn and counting. And, knowing all of this, yesterday all Dick Cheney could say was that Iraq is a remarkable success."

- John Edwards, in reply

credit: seen at this site

Updating an Explosive Story

Hannity, Blitzer, and The Note (ABC) mischaracterized NBC report on NYT missing-explosives article

According to the media watchdog known as Media Matters, following the New York Times' disclosure on October 25 that "nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives -- used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons -- are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations," members of the media incorrectly reported that a subsequent NBC Nightly News story refuted aspects of the New York Times article.

Hannity, Blitzer, and ABC's "The Note" either suggested or falsely asserted that NBC reported that the weapons were gone by the time the troops first arrived at the Al Qa Qaa site. But at no point did the NBC report claim that the arrival of its embedded crew at Al Qa Qaa on April 10 was the first time U.S. troops visited the site.

At the Guardian, it is insinuated that this story may be a slow-burning 'October surprise'. They say that Tom Brokaw, the evening anchor of NBC News, said, on last night's broadcast, that the network had never said the explosives were not there. It said US troops had not found them, but it was not clear whether the whole compound had been searched.

"We simply reported that the 101st did not find them," Brokaw told the viewers. "For its part, the Bush campaign immediately pointed to our report as conclusive proof that the weapons had been removed before the Americans arrived. That is possible, but that is not what we reported."

This is important to understand, because the Bush campaign is attempting to use the media to distort a very grave issue for politics' sake. Tom Brokaw let them know, last night, that NBC will not play along with a distortion of facts.

A new report out on Wednesday will contradict the assertions that the 380 tons of missing explosives at Al Qaqaa were not found by the U.S. troops passing through the facility.


Update: Drudge is a stooge for lying Bushites;
Josh Marshall covers the story truthfully; NBC Seems to be "on to" the Drudge-to-mainstream media perversion
From Talking Points Memo:

Late Update, Oct 27th: Drudge's 'the Russians did it' story is up now at the Washington Times, all based it seems on the say-so of John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, whose theory about Russian involvement even Di Rita seems to be distancing himself from.

Shaw does at least provide the adminsitration's 9th or 10th theory of what happened. It had to have been taken out before the war because the US watched the place so closely no other explanation is possible. "That was such a pivotal location, Number 1, that the mere fact of [special explosives] disappearing was impossible," Shaw told the Times. "And Number 2, if the stuff disappeared, it had to have gone before we got there."

You can't make this stuff up.

Or, I guess, actually you can.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, the New York Times talks to some of the folks who looted the place during the early weeks of the occupation.


Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Drezner, Mickey Kaus, and many other Slate writers will vote for John Kerry

Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Drezner, Mickey Kaus, and many other Slate writers will vote for John Kerry

Slate is a journal of opinion, and the opinions of their writers generally differ.

I wanted to share their thoughts about how they plan to vote (some excerpted below) in case you'd missed them.

I was a bit surprised by the choices of particular writers (below), so I decided to showcase them in this particular piece. A few actually sound as if they'll be pained to pull the lever (or punch the card - or touch the screen ) for Kerry, but they explain why see no alternative.

Slate makes their case for full journalistic disclosure here.

"As a Republican, I remain completely unconvinced that Kerry understands the limits of multilateral diplomacy. As a social scientist, however, I can't vote for a president with this track record on foreign policy who doesn't believe that what he believes about international relations might, just might, be wrong."

- Daniel Drezner


"The ironic votes are the endorsements for Kerry that appear in Buchanan's anti-war sheet The American Conservative, and the support for Kerry's pro-war candidacy manifested by those simple folks at I can't compete with this sort of thing....Kerry should get his worst private nightmare and have to report for duty."

- Christopher Hitchens


"I'm voting for Kerry, mainly because I think Bush is prosecuting the fight against terrorism in a way that will make us dramatically less safe unless we have a conspicuous change at the top."

- Mickey Kaus


"Here's what I wrote about Bush when we disclosed our votes four years ago: "He's shallow, obtuse, and proud of it. He's disdainful of reflection and indifferent to work. ... Congress can restrain either of them, but a president can catastrophically botch a foreign policy crisis all by himself. I trust Gore in that situation. I don't trust Bush."

Looks like I was wrong about Congress."

- William Saletan

Conservative Pundit Andrew Sullivan Supporting John Kerry

Conservative Pundit Andrew Sullivan Supporting John Kerry
Link: New Republic

" a democracy, you sometimes have to have faith that a new leader will be able to absorb the achievements of his predecessor and help mend his failures. Kerry has actually been much more impressive in the latter stages of this campaign than I expected. He has exuded a calm and a steadiness that reassures. He is right about our need for more allies, more prudence, and more tactical discrimination in the war we are waging. I cannot say I have perfect confidence in him, or that I support him without reservations. But not to support anyone in this dangerous time is a cop-out. So give him a chance. In picking the lesser of two risks, we can also do something less dispiriting. We can decide to pick the greater of two hopes. And even in these dour days, it is only American to hope."

Endorsement Chatter

Endorsement Chatter

Denver Post Bush Endorsement Fallout

See some of the fallout from the Denver Post's endorsement of George Bush.

Discussion About Swing State Endorsements

At Daily Kos, there is a good discussion about newspaper endorsements in the swing states.

Cleveland Plain Dealer sits this one out

After last weekend's revelation (via a leak) that The Cleveland Plain Dealer's publisher, Alex Machaskee was planning to override the editorial staff's endorsement of Kerry ( causing subsequent public outrage ), they have decided to endorse no one.

Liberal Media?

On a recent appearance on CNN, RNC chairman Ed Gillspie said to Wolf Blitzer:
"Look, Wolf, you know, the Republican candidate will never win the contest for editorial board endorsements. The major dailies across the country tend to skew liberal, their editorial boards. The New York Times the premiere liberal newspaper in America. No surprise they today endorsed the..."
According to the publication Editor & Publisher, which has been tracking newspapers during presidential elections, only two Democratic candidates -- Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Bill Clinton in 1992 -- have ever won more endorsements than their Republican opponent. That's because newspaper publishers, who usually sign off on endorsements, tend to vote Republican (like lots of senior corporate executives), which means GOP candidates pick up more endorsements.

Editor and Publisher discusses, analyzes, and lists many recent endorsements in this article.

The most recent analysis by Editor and Publisher is here.

Art Spiegelman on the Presidential race

Art Spiegelman on the Presidential race

"I’m so grateful [John Kerry] has a chance to win because the alternative is to go to hell very quickly. By people who’d, in fact, like us to go to hell quickly so that they can get raptured up. I would rather go to hell more slowly, and I think that Kerry’s the go-to-hell-slowly party at this point. That’s the only one you can root for. If it goes slowly enough, I’d be glad to return to my life and business as usual..."

-Political cartoonist Art Spiegelman, October 18, 2004

The Flip-Flop Flim Flam

The Flip-Flop Flim Flam

If you look at the facts, John Kerry has been a model of consistency when compared to George Bush. Here are a few examples:

Prescription drugs from Canada: For, then Against (Big campaign contributions from pharmaceutical corporations)
Assault weapons in our streets: Against, then For (Pandering to the NRA and gun manufacturers)
The creation of a homeland security agency: Against, then For (Public outcry and political expediency)
McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform: Against, then For (Unprincipled opportunism)
Nation-building: Against, then For (A double somersault to justify neocon invasion plans)
Steel tariffs: Against, then For, then Against (A free-trader becomes a protectionist to win votes in Pennsylvania and Ohio)
Arsenic in water: For, then Against (Public outcry...those darned scientists)
Mandatory caps on carbon dioxide: For, then Against (The power of the coal and power companies)
Outside investigation into WMD: Against, then For (Public outcry and world opinion)
WMD: We found them and then we didn't find them (Confusion, convenience and "flexibility")
Gay Marriage: First it's an issue for the states and then a federal issue (An opportunistic, red-meat, divisive wedge issue)
Osama bin Laden: In 2001 he was our No. 1 public enemy; in 2002, "I truly am not that concerned about him" (Failure to prosecute the real war against terror)
North Korea's nuclear threat: First it was extremely important; now it's not much of a threat (A parry to divert attention from misplaced priorities)
Cutting troops in Europe: Against, then For (Bad planning for the number of troops needed in Iraq and Afghanistan)
Immigration reform: For liberalization, then Against (A conflict between wooing the Hispanic vote and angering his nativist base)
AmeriCorps funding: For, then Against (A favorite target of congressional reactionaries)
Patriot Act II: For, then Against (The need to appear more moderate in the middle of an election; even angered Republican civil libertarians)
The 9/11 commission: Six flip-flops, Against and then For: 1) The creation of the commission; 2) the composition of the commission; 3) the extension to allow it to complete its work; 4) his testifying; 5) the testimony of his national security advisor; and finally 6) the implementation of the findings (Public outcry, particularly from the families of 9/11 victims and then commision members -- Republicans and Democrats)
The war in Iraq: At least nine different rationales as to why the U.S. invaded, and still counting (Reality catching up with fantasy)
The war in Iraq: "It will be a cakewalk," then, "It will be long and difficult." (Talking out of both sides of the mouth; depending upon audience)

"This is not a case of one or two isolated switches; it's a deliberate pattern of manipulation designed to deceive the American electorate. What we find behind the pattern, and the mask, is a candidate who lacks character, principles, and integrity. George W. Bush cannot be trusted to govern."

- Professor Arthur I. Blaustein, teaches public policy and politics at the University of California, Berkeley

From article seen here.

Howard Dean Statements

Howard Dean Statement on Bill Maher's "Real Time"

"The truth is that what I have in common with the 700,000 people who are really cranked up about our campaign, or whatever the number was, is that we want fundamental change. So, sure, it'd be great to be president.

What would be really great – you know what would be really great?

What'd be really great is to have health insurance for every American, right? That's what we really want, you know. It'd be really great to have a president who thought that it was important to be the moral leader of the free world again. Those are the kinds of things we want. So, you know, sure, do I wish I were the nominee? Of course, I wish I were the nominee. But the truth is, I'm not, so I've got a great choice. I can pick somebody who's going to do the right thing, or I can pick somebody who's been doing what they've been doing for the last four years to the greatest country on the face of the earth. He needs to go back to Crawford, Texas."

- Howard Dean. October 15, 2004


At the Kerry-Edwards Campaign Site:

Why I Am Voting for John Kerry
by Howard Dean


Pennsylvania Watch

Pennsylvania Watch

From (registration required to see articles)

Election changes could snarl Nov. 2; Officials worry that rules on poll watchers and ID cards will confuse voters. LINK
Democrats are concerned that the requirement for new voters to produce an I.D. card will create long lines at the polls and discourage voters from sticking it out long enough to cast their ballot.

Why Pennsylvania is key to Kerry's chances LINK
Even while his aides are loath to say it, John Kerry has scant chance of garnering 270 electoral votes if he is denied Pennsylvania's 21. Kerry has sustained a modest lead in virtually all the polls conducted in Pennsylvania since the first presidential debate.

21 Reasons to Elect Kerry LINK
To help voters in the Philadelphia Inquirer's closely contested region make an informed choice in this critical 2004 presidential election, The Inquirer Editorial Board offers a series of editorials documenting its reasons for endorsing John F. Kerry. The series also includes rebutting essays from supporters of President Bush.

Pittsburgh Gazette:

Rendell vows action on voter scams; Pitt students tricked
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dennis Roddy reports that Gov. Ed Rendell will be referring allegations of possible voter registration fraud to Attorney General Jerry Pappert's office.