Friday, September 03, 2004




GOP Prism Distorts Some Kerry Positions

GOP Prism Distorts Some Kerry Positions

By Glenn Kessler and Dan Morgan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 3, 2004; Page A01

Speakers at this week's Republican convention have relentlessly attacked John F. Kerry for statements he has made and votes he has taken in his long political career, but a number of their specific claims -- such as his votes on military programs -- are at best selective and in many cases stripped of their context, according to a review of the documentation provided by the Bush campaign.

As a senator, Kerry has long been skeptical of big-ticket weapons systems, especially when measured against rising budget deficits, and to some extent he opened himself to this line of attack when he chose to largely skip over his Senate career during his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention last month. But the barrage by Republicans at their own convention has often misportrayed statements or votes that are years, if not decades, old.

For instance:

• Kerry did not cast a series of votes against individual weapons systems, as Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) suggested in a slashing convention speech in New York late Wednesday, but instead Kerry voted against a Pentagon spending package in 1990 as part of deliberations over restructuring and downsizing the military in the post-Cold War era.

• Both Vice President Cheney and Miller have said that Kerry would like to see U.S. troops deployed only at the direction of the United Nations, with Cheney noting that the remark had been made at the start of Kerry's political career. This refers to a statement made nearly 35 years ago, when Kerry gave an interview to the Harvard Crimson, 10 months after he had returned from the Vietnam War angry and disillusioned by his experiences there. (President Bush at the time was in the Air National Guard, about to earn his wings.)

• President Bush, Cheney and Miller faulted Kerry for voting against body armor for troops in Iraq. But much of the funding for body armor was added to the bill by House Democrats, not the administration, and Kerry's vote against the entire bill was rooted in a dispute with the administration over how to pay for $20 billion earmarked for reconstruction of Iraq.

In remarks prepared for delivery last night, Kerry denounced the Republican convention for its "anger and distortion" and criticized Cheney for avoiding the military draft during the Vietnam era.

Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt defended the statements made by convention speakers, though he declined to address details beyond supplying the campaign's citations of votes. "Whether it was in the '70s, '80s or '90s, Sen. Kerry has demonstrated a general pattern of hostility to a strong national defense," Holt said.

Votes cast by lawmakers are often twisted by political opponents, and both political parties are adept at combing through legislative records to score political points. Former senator Robert J. Dole's voting record was frequently distorted by the Clinton campaign eight years ago -- as well as by his GOP rivals for the Republican nomination.

One document frequently cited by Republicans is a 350-word article in the Boston Globe, written when Kerry was lieutenant governor of Massachusetts and battling to win the Democratic nomination for senator in 1984 -- a period of soaring deficits in the wake of a huge defense buildup by President Ronald Reagan. Calling for a "strong defense," the article said, Kerry proposed to slow the rate of growth in defense spending by canceling 27 weapons systems, in part to reduce the deficit and also restore cuts Reagan had made in domestic programs.

While Cheney said Kerry opposed Reagan's "major defense initiatives," the campaign does not cite any votes against such defense programs while Reagan was president, relying instead on a campaign speech before he was elected senator.

Six years later, Kerry took part in a complex and serious debate in Congress over how to restructure the military after the Cold War.

Cheney, at the time defense secretary, had scolded Congress for keeping alive such programs as the F-14 and F-16 jet fighters that he wanted to eliminate. Miller said in his speech that Kerry had foolishly opposed both the weapons systems and would have left the military armed with "spitballs." During that same debate, President George H.W. Bush, the current president's father, proposed shutting down production of the B-2 bomber -- another weapons system cited by Miller -- and pledged to cut defense spending by 30 percent in eight years.

Though Miller recited a long list of weapons systems, Kerry did not vote against these specific weapons on the floor of the Senate during this period. Instead, he voted against an omnibus defense spending bill that would have funded all these programs; it is this vote that forms the crux of the GOP case that he "opposed" these programs.

On the Senate floor, Kerry cast his vote in terms of fiscal concerns, saying the defense bill did not "represent sound budgetary policy" in a time of "extreme budget austerity." Much like Bush's father, he singled out the B-2 bomber for specific attention, saying it is "one of the most costly, waste-ridden programs in a long history of waste, fraud and abuse scandals that have plagued Pentagon spending."

Asked why the campaign was attacking Kerry for having similar positions as Cheney, White House communications director Dan Bartlett responded: "I don't have the specifics of [when] then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney was in charge of the Pentagon, but I think we'd be more than willing to have a debate on whether Dick Cheney or John Kerry was stronger on defense."

Appearing on CNN, Miller said he had "gotten documentation on every single one of those votes that I talked about."

Cheney, in his own speech, skipped over that period, going directly from Kerry's vote against authorization for the first Persian Gulf War to the post-Sept. 11, 2001, period.

Republican documents also cite a long list of Kerry votes against various weapons systems, including the B-2 bomber. But Kerry's opposition in the 1990s often hinged on his concerns about the impact on the budget deficit of congressional efforts to add money for the plane.

"We are going to build B-2 bombers even though the Pentagon does not want the B-2 bombers, even though the Pentagon never submitted a request for the B-2 bombers," Kerry said during a budget debate in October 1995.

Kerry's vote last year against the administration's $87 billion proposal to fund troops in Iraq and pay for Iraqi reconstruction has also been the focus of Republican attacks. "My opponent and his running mate voted against this money for bullets, and fuel, and vehicles, and body armor," Bush said last night.

Kerry actually supported all those things, but as part of a different version of the bill opposed by the administration. At the time, many Republicans were uncomfortable with the administration's plans and the White House had to threaten a veto against the congressional version to bring reluctant lawmakers in line.

In a floor statement explaining his vote, Kerry said he favored the $67 billion for the troops on the ground -- "I support our troops in Iraq and their mission" -- but faulted the administration's $20 billion request for reconstruction. He complained that administration "has only given us a set of goals and vague timetables, not a detailed plan."

Yesterday, the State Department said that only $1 billion of that money has been spent in the 11 months since the bill was passed.


Feel the Hate

NY Times
September 3, 2004

Feel the Hate

I don't know where George Soros gets his money," one man said. "I don't know where - if it comes from overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from." George Soros, another declared, "wants to spend $75 million defeating George W. Bush because Soros wants to legalize heroin." After all, a third said, Mr. Soros "is a self-admitted atheist; he was a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust."

They aren't LaRouchies - they're Republicans.

The suggestion that Mr. Soros, who has spent billions promoting democracy around the world, is in the pay of drug cartels came from Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, whom the Constitution puts two heartbeats from the presidency. After standing by his remarks for several days, Mr. Hastert finally claimed that he was talking about how Mr. Soros spends his money, not where he gets it.

The claim that Mr. Soros's political spending is driven by his desire to legalize heroin came from Newt Gingrich. And the bit about the Holocaust came from Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of The Washington Times, which has become the administration's de facto house organ.

For many months we've been warned by tut-tutting commentators about the evils of irrational "Bush hatred." Pundits eagerly scanned the Democratic convention for the disease; some invented examples when they failed to find it. Then they waited eagerly for outrageous behavior by demonstrators in New York, only to be disappointed again.

There was plenty of hatred in Manhattan, but it was inside, not outside, Madison Square Garden.

Barack Obama, who gave the Democratic keynote address, delivered a message of uplift and hope. Zell Miller, who gave the Republican keynote, declared that political opposition is treason: "Now, at the same time young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief." And the crowd roared its approval.

Why are the Republicans so angry? One reason is that they have nothing positive to run on (during the first three days, Mr. Bush was mentioned far less often than John Kerry).

The promised economic boom hasn't materialized, Iraq is a bloody quagmire, and Osama bin Laden has gone from "dead or alive" to he-who-must-not-be-named.

Another reason, I'm sure, is a guilty conscience. At some level the people at that convention know that their designated hero is a man who never in his life took a risk or made a sacrifice for his country, and that they are impugning the patriotism of men who have.

That's why Band-Aids with Purple Hearts on them, mocking Mr. Kerry's war wounds and medals, have been such a hit with conventioneers, and why senior politicians are attracted to wild conspiracy theories about Mr. Soros.

It's also why Mr. Hastert, who knows how little the Bush administration has done to protect New York and help it rebuild, has accused the city of an "unseemly scramble" for cash after 9/11. Nothing makes you hate people as much as knowing in your heart that you are in the wrong and they are in the right.

But the vitriol also reflects the fact that many of the people at that convention, for all their flag-waving, hate America. They want a controlled, monolithic society; they fear and loathe our nation's freedom, diversity and complexity.

The convention opened with an invocation by Sheri Dew, a Mormon publisher and activist. Early rumors were that the invocation would be given by Jerry Falwell, who suggested just after 9/11 that the attack was God's punishment for the activities of the A.C.L.U. and People for the American Way, among others. But Ms. Dew is no more moderate: earlier this year she likened opposition to gay marriage to opposition to Hitler.

The party made sure to put social moderates like Rudy Giuliani in front of the cameras. But in private events, the story was different. For example, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas told Republicans that we are in a "culture war" and urged a reduction in the separation of church and state.

Mr. Bush, it's now clear, intends to run a campaign based on fear. And for me, at least, it's working: thinking about what these people will do if they solidify their grip on power makes me very, very afraid.


Heads in the Sand

NY Times
September 3, 2004

Heads in the Sand

When asked this week on CNN how long the U.S. military is likely to remain in Iraq, Senator John McCain replied "probably" 10 or 20 years. "That's not so bad," he said, adding, "We've been in Korea for 50 years. We've been in West Germany for 50 years."

Reporters have come to expect candor from Senator McCain, and in this case he didn't disappoint. But there weren't any speakers mounting the podium at the Republican National Convention to hammer home the message that G.I.'s would be in Iraq for a decade or two.

That's not the understanding most Americans had when this wretched war was sold to them, and it's not the view most Americans hold now.

If Senator McCain is correct (and the belief in official Washington is that he is), then boys and girls who are 5 or 10 years old now will get their chance in 2015 or 2020 to strap on the Kevlar and engage the Iraqi "insurgents" who, like the indigenous forces we fought in Vietnam, will never accept the occupation of their country by America.

Marcina Hale, a protester who came to New York this week from suburban Westport, Conn., said she has two teenage boys and that Iraq "is not a war that I'm willing to send my sons to." As the years pass and the casualties mount, that sentiment will only grow.

The truth is always the first casualty of politics. But there was a bigger disconnect than usual between the bizarre, hermetically sealed perspective that was on display in Madison Square Garden this week and the daunting events unfolding without respite in the real world.

Iraq is a mess. While the cartoonish Arnold Schwarzenegger was drawing huge laughs in the Garden and making cracks about economic "girlie men," reports were emerging about the gruesome murder of 12 Nepalese hostages who had traveled to Iraq less than two weeks earlier in search of work.

At the same time, an effort to disarm insurgents in the militant Baghdad slum of Sadr City collapsed, and the death toll among American forces in Iraq continued its relentless climb toward 1,000.

The Los Angeles Times noted yesterday that a report by the respected Royal Institute of International Affairs in London has concluded that Iraq will be lucky if it avoids a breakup and civil war. The often-stated U.S. goal of a full-fledged Iraqi democracy is beyond unlikely.

In Afghanistan, a legitimate front in the so-called war against terror, much of the country remains in the hands of warlords, and the opium trade is flourishing. Experts believe substantial amounts of money from that trade is flowing to terrorist groups.

In Israel, 16 people were killed by suicide bombers who blew themselves up on a pair of crowded buses on Tuesday. In Russia, a series of horrific terror attacks, in the air and on the ground, have cast a pall across the country.

Despite all the macho posturing and self-congratulating at the Republican convention, the wave of terror that's been unleashed on the world is only growing. The American-led war in Iraq is feeding that wave, causing it to swell rather than ebb.

Any serious person who looked around the world this week would have to wonder what the delegates at the G.O.P. convention were so happy about.

The Republican conventioneers spent the entire week reminding America that we were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. But interestingly, there was hardly a mention by name of those actually responsible for the attacks - Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

Discussions about the nation's real enemies were taboo. We don't know where they are or what they're up to. The over-the-top venom of some of the speakers and delegates was reserved not for Osama, but for a couple of mild-mannered guys named John.

What Americans desperately need is a serious, honest discussion of where we go from here. If we're going to be in Iraq for 10 or 20 more years, the policy makers should say so, and tell us what that will cost in money and human treasure. The violence associated with such a long-term occupation is guaranteed to be appalling.

Vietnam tore this nation apart. As we've seen in this campaign, the wounds have yet to heal. Incredibly, we're now traveling a similarly tragic road in Iraq.


Mr. Bush's Acceptance Speech

NY Times
September 3, 2004
Mr. Bush's Acceptance Speech

hen President Bush accepted his party's nomination last night, he energetically presented himself as the man who could keep America safe in a time of international terrorism. His handlers believe that is the key to his re-election. But if Mr. Bush intends to have a second term, he needs to do something more - particularly if he hopes to win by more than 500 votes this time. The president needs to speak to the large number of moderate voters who feel that things have been going in the wrong direction over the last four years, and convince them that he has the capacity to learn from mistakes and do better. On that count, his acceptance speech fell short.

Despite the enormous changes the United States has undergone since the last election, from terror attacks to recession, Mr. Bush has been sticking resolutely to the priorities he brought into the office in 2001. He won his tax cuts and his education initiative. American foreign policy managed to wind up focused on the same country on which Mr. Bush and his advisers had fixated from the beginning.

Each of those policies has cost the nation dearly: the tax cuts have exploded the budget deficit, Mr. Bush has failed to finance his education programs adequately, and the war in Iraq has been fumbled from the day Baghdad fell. Nobody expected the president to admit that any of his initiatives had turned out to be less than smashing successes, but wavering voters might have been buoyed by at least a hint that the administration realizes that the course needs adjustment.

Instead, the president presented troubled, half-finished initiatives like his prescription drug plan as fully completed tasks, just as he presented the dangerous and chaotic situation in Iraq as a picture of triumphant foreign policy on a par with the Marshall Plan. He tossed out a combination of extremely vague concepts - like creating an ownership society - along with small-bore ideas like additional college scholarships. The combination of minor thoughts and squishy generalities was typical of John Kerry's convention speech as well. But Mr. Bush's contribution doesn't raise many hopes for the level of campaign discussion to come.

The president, who dropped his laudable attempt to begin desperately needed immigration reform as soon as he ran into political resistance, gave the idea not a mention last night. There was no hint that he realizes his "uniter, not a divider" vow ran aground on the administration's insistence on right-wing judicial nominees and inflexibility on social issues like stem cell research.

There was nothing in the speech last night that suggested a new era of frankness from the White House, or hope that any of those fundamental problems would be approached with anything but the "my way or the highway" attitude Mr. Bush has used on issues like tax cuts and Iraq.

If Mr. Bush is rigid in his policies, he is remarkably flexible in marketing them. Once again, the Republican convention has led with its left, with a parade of prime-time speakers from what might be called the far moderate side of the party. Aside from a bizarre and nasty assault on Mr. Kerry by Senator Zell Miller, a registered Democrat, the tough talk was left mainly to the vice president.

It was depressing to hear Dick Cheney, who spoke on Wednesday night, repeat his crowd-pleasing snipe against Senator Kerry for calling for "a more sensitive war on terror." It was a phony criticism, given that Mr. Bush has used almost identical language in the past. But, worse, it signaled that Mr. Cheney and the administration's other hit men will spend the next two months trying to sell their failed approach to foreign policy, and encouraging Americans to believe that anyone who acknowledges that the United States needs to take a more patient and humble approach to the world is in league with the girlie men.


Why Democrats shouldn't be scared

USA Today
September 3,2004

Why Democrats shouldn't be scared
By Michael Moore

NEW YORK — If I've heard it once, I've heard it a hundred times from discouraged Democrats and liberals as the Republican convention here wrapped up this week. Their shoulders hunched, their eyes at a droop, they lower their voice to a whisper hoping that if they don't say it too loud it may not come true: "I...I...I think Bush is going to win."
Clearly, they're watching too much TV. Too much of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Zell Miller, Dick Cheney and Rudy Giuliani. Too much of swift boat veterans and Fox News commentators.

Action heroes always look good on TV. On Wednesday night, the GOP even made an action-hero video and showed it at the convention. There was White House political czar Karl Rove and other administration officials dressed up for "war" and going through boot camp on the National Mall in Washington.

I could only sit there in the convention hall and wish this were the real thing: Rove, national security adviser Condi Rice and Co. being sent to Iraq, and our boys and girls being brought home. But then the lights came up, and everyone sitting in the Bush family box was having a grand ol' hoot and a holler at the video they just saw.

For some reason, all of this has scared the bejabbers out of the Democrats. I can hear the wailing and moaning from Berkeley, Calif., to Cambridge, Mass. The frightening scenes from the convention have sent John Kerry's supporters looking for the shovels so they can dig their underground bunkers in preparation for another four years of the Dark Force.

I can't believe all of this whimpering and whining. Kerry has been ahead in many polls all summer long, but the Republicans come to New York for one week off-Broadway and suddenly everyone is dressed in mourning black and sitting shivah?

Exactly what moment was it during the convention that convinced them that the Republicans had now "connected" with the majority of Americans and that it was all over? Arnold praising Richard Nixon? Ooooh, that's a real crowd-pleaser. Elizabeth Dole decrying the removal of the Ten Commandments from a courthouse wall in Alabama? Yes, that's a big topic of conversation in the unemployment line in Akron, Ohio. Georgia Sen. Miller, a Democratic turncoat, looking like Freddy Krueger at an all-girls camp? His speech — and the look on what you could see of his strangely lit face — was enough for parents to send small children to their bedrooms.

My friends — and I include all Democrats, independents and recovering Republicans in this salutation — do not be afraid. Yes, the Bush Republicans huff and they puff, but they blow their own house down.

As many polls confirm, a majority of your fellow Americans believe in your agenda. They want stronger environmental laws, are strong supporters of women's rights, favor gun control and want the war in Iraq to end.

Rejoice. You're already more than halfway there when you have the public on board. Just imagine if you had to go out and do the work to convince the majority of Americans that women shouldn't be paid the same as men. All they ask is that you put up a candidate for president who believes in something and fights for those beliefs.

Is that too much to ask?

The Republicans have no idea how much harm they have done to themselves. They used to have a folk-hero mayor of New York named Rudy Giuliani. On 9/11, he went charging right into Ground Zero to see whom he could help save. Everyone loved Rudy because he seemed as though he was there to comfort all Americans, not just members of his own party.

But in his speech to the convention this week, he revised the history of that tragic day for partisan gain:

As chaos ensued, "spontaneously, I grabbed the arm of then-police commissioner Bernard Kerik and said to Bernie, 'Thank God George Bush is our president.' And I say it again tonight, 'Thank God George Bush is our president.' "


There were the sub-par entertainers nobody knew. There was the show of "Black Republicans," "Arab-American Republicans" and other minorities they trot out to show how much they are loved by groups their policies abuse.

And there were the Band-Aids. The worst display of how out of touch the Republicans are was those Purple Heart Band-Aids the delegates wore to mock Kerry over his war wounds, which, for them, did not spill the required amount of blood.

What they didn't seem to get is that watching at home might have been millions of war veterans feeling that they were being ridiculed by a bunch of rich Republicans who would never send their own offspring to die in Fallujah or Danang.

Kerry supporters and Bush-bashers should not despair. These Republicans have not made a permanent dent in Kerry's armor. The only person who can do that is John Kerry. And by coming out swinging as he did just minutes after Bush finished his speech Thursday night, Kerry proved he knows that the only way to win this fight is to fight — and fight hard.

He must realize that he faces Al Gore's fate only if he fails to stand up like the hero he is, only if he sits on the fence and keeps justifying his vote for the Iraq war instead of just saying, "Look, I was for it just like 70% of America until we learned the truth, and now I'm against it, like the majority of Americans are now."

Kerry needs to trust that his victory is only going to happen by inspiring the natural base of the Democratic Party — blacks, working people, women, the poor and young people. Women and people of color make up 62% of this country. That's a big majority. Give them a reason to come out on Nov. 2.


Denying the Obvious; Bush Flip-Flops and Lies; Secrets they don't want you to know

Multiple items from

by David Sirota, Christy Harvey, Judd Legum and Jonathan Baskin

September 3, 2004

Put Put Put

New labor Department data
( show the U.S. added
144,000 jobs
( to
payrolls in August, signifying a modest gain "slightly below Wall Street
analysts' forecasts." Revised June and July job numbers "created a
moderately more favorable picture for summer job growth, but [are] likely to
leave unresolved for now whether the economy was successfully shaking
off" a midsummer soft patch. Other indicators are less inspiring: The
retail sector continues to lose jobs, reflecting weakness in consumption,
and long-term unemployment is up again
( . In addition, wages continue to
stagnate, boosting the numbers of Americans sinking into poverty
( . The
economy has still shed more than one million
( jobs since March 2001, assuring Bush will end his four-year term
with the worst jobs record since Herbert Hoover. American Progress' Scott
Lilly writes that Bush's jobs record is "particularly striking...since
tax cuts, the core of the administration's economic policy agenda,
have been justified year after year primarily on the grounds of job

Domestic Deja Vu

Meet the new term, same as the old term. A speech that President Bush
himself hyped as " 43 minutes of sheer wisdom
" ended up being an hour of the same weary formula: a series of
warmed-over and ill-conceived domestic policy proposals paired with naive
happy talk about an "ownership society." Throughout, "his biggest ideas
were not really new
( ,
and he left the daunting details of the agenda items...a comprehensive
overhaul of Social Security and Medicare, a reining in of federal
spending, a reshaping of immigration law -- almost entirely unaddressed."
Moreover, "the major items he did mention face significant opposition in
Congress, and many would cost far more than his own party seems likely to
be willing to spend."

JOB TRAINING FLIP-FLOP: In a second term, Bush pledged to "double the
number of people served by our principal job training program." That is
a nice idea, but he has spent the last four years cutting funding for
job training programs. His 2005 budget, for example, proposed to cut
job training and vocational education by 10 percent
-- that's $656 million -- from what Congress pledged to those programs
in 2002.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE FLIP-FLOP: Bush also promised to increase funding for
community colleges. But he was for cutting funding for community
colleges before he was for increasing it. Last year, the Bush administration
proposed cutting the largest direct aid initiative to community
colleges (
, the Perkins program for technical and vocational training, from $1.3
billion to about $1 billion. Congress had to step in to save the

THE PELL GRANT FLIP-FLOP: Another Bush reversal: his pledge to expand
Pell Grants for low- and middle-income families. For three straight
years, Bush has proposed freezing or cutting Pell grants
( . This,
despite pledging in 2000 to raise Pell grants to a $5,100 limit. The
maximum Pell grant is currently $4,050.

SOCIAL SECURITY REDUX: Last night, President Bush pledged to
"strengthen Social Security by allowing younger workers to save some of their
taxes in a personal account." What he didn't mention: establishing the
privatization scheme could cost $1 trillion or more over the next decade
( ,
expanding already record federal deficits. Administrative costs could
consume up to 40 percent of the funds
( placed in private accounts.
And, since returns in the stock market vary, many retirees would do quite
poorly. Bush may realize this is a bad idea. He proposed the exact
same thing in his last acceptance speech
( , but during four years in
office with a Republican Congress, nothing has been done. For more the
hazards of Social Security privatization read this new American
Progress column
( .

HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS REDUX: Bush also plans, if reelected, to "offer
a tax credit to encourage small businesses and their employees to set
up health savings accounts, and provide direct help for low-income
Americans to purchase them." What he didn't mention: HSAs will likely drive
up the annual deductibles paid by workers
. And because of their adverse effects on employer-based coverage,
HSAs could swell the ranks of the uninsured
( .

COMP-TIME/FLEX-TIME REDUX: In another nod to business interests, the
president reiterated his proposal to "change outdated labor laws to offer
comp-time and flex-time." But while the proposals have attractive
sounding names, they actually open the door for employers to pressure
to "accept time off instead of overtime pay." Even absent explicit
pressure, employers would be free to "channel overtime work to those who
were willing to take comp-time." Moreover, "employees would have to take
their earned time off when it suits their employer rather than when it
suited the employee." Bottom line: no one is against giving workers
more flexibility to take vacations, but when an hourly worker exceeds 40
hours in a week, he or she should receive overtime.

TAX CUT REDUX: As expected, the president renewed his calls to make his
tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. But making the tax cuts permanent
would be of great benefit to only very high-income households. Estimates
based on data from the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy
Center show that if the tax cuts are made permanent, the top 1 percent
of households will gain an average of $58,200 a year
( (in 2004 dollars) when the tax
cuts are fully in effect, reflecting a 7.3 percent change in their
after-tax income. By contrast, people in the middle of the income spectrum
would secure just a 2.5 percent increase in their after-tax income, with
average tax cuts of $655 -- a little more than one-ninetieth of what
those in the top 1 percent would receive. Moreover, making the tax cuts
permanent would swell the deficit and could destabilize the world
economy. It would cost $2.2 trillion over the next 10 years, forcing Americans
to give up important domestic programs or add to the $374 billion
annual deficit. A report by the IMF said the U.S. deficit has already
gotten so out of control, it could threaten the stability of the world

Denying the Obvious

President Bush last night made many claims about his national security
record -- many directly contradicted by the facts. In an effort to turn
his inflexible and ideologically driven foreign policy into a political
asset, the president sugarcoated his record to claim " America and the
world are safer
( "
because of his leadership. But both experts and the record show that is not
true. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in July that " I cannot
say the world is safer
today than it was two, three years ago." According to Bush's own State
Department, the number of significant terrorist attacks last year
reached a 21-year high
( . Osama bin
Laden and Mullah Omar are still not captured, as the Bush administration
shifted special forces off the hunt for al Qaeda
( in
Afghanistan and into Iraq. The International Institute for Strategic
Studies says that al Qaeda has taken advantage of the U.S. invasion in
Iraq and grown to 18,000 potential operatives
( in more than 60

claimed, "we have tripled funding for homeland security
( and
trained a half a million first responders." What he did not say was that
independent, nonpartisan experts agree that he has dangerously
underfunded homeland security and the nation's first responders. A task force
headed by former Sen. Warren Rudman (R-NH) found that "the United States
remains dangerously ill-prepared to handle a catastrophic attack on
American soil." It specifically said the Bush budgets would leave a $98.4
billion funding gap
( for first
responders over the next five years -- a finding the Rand Corporation
essentially seconded
( . This year, the
president is proposing to slash more than $600 million
(14 percent) from first responder funding. Similarly, the Bush
administration has allocated less than $500 million for port security, even
though the Coast Guard estimates that $7.5 billion is needed
in the next decade.

promised last night that " the Taliban are history
( ." But
according to the Wall Street Journal, that's not true: "Two-and-a-half
years since the Taliban abandoned Afghanistan's major cities, the war
here goes on
" in the vast rural areas. Taliban leaders have vowed to derail
elections in the country. Over the last year, some 50 Westerners and 1,000
Afghans have been killed in fighting with Taliban forces. The threat has
become so dangerous that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was forced to
admit he "is seeking the support of former Taliban officials
( " to stabilize
the country.

said, "I deeply appreciate the courage and wise counsel of leaders"
like Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. What he did not say was that
Kwasniewski has expressed outrage over the Bush administration
deceiving his country about Iraq. In March of this year, the Polish president
went on TV and said America " deceived us about the weapons of mass
destruction ( " and that
his country was "taken for a ride." Kwasniewski isn't the only member
of the "coalition of the willing" to become disillusioned. Six
countries -- Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Spain, the Philippines, Norway,
and Nicaragua -- have already pulled their troops out of Iraq
( .
Three others -- Poland, the Netherlands, and New Zealand -- are
planning to withdraw shortly.

of a letter about Iraq that he attributed only to an "Army specialist."
That specialist doubles as a scholar
( at the National Center for
Public Policy Research -- a far right-wing organization funded by
extremists like the Richard Mellon Scaife

that "four years ago, Afghanistan was the home base of al Qaeda
( " and
that now it is not. But according to the Bush administration, al Qaeda
remains a threat in Afghanistan. As CNN reported in July, senior
intelligence officials said "a plot to carry out a large-scale terror attack
against the United States in the near future is being directed by Osama
bin Laden and other top al Qaeda members" who "are overseeing the
attack plans from their remote hideouts somewhere along the
Afghanistan-Pakistan border ( ."

The Reaction

Editorial boards around the country are expressing their frustration
with the president's lack of specifics about how he plans to turn around
a first term "marked by terrorist attacks, three years of war, job
losses ( and massive
deficits." The Washington Post:
"The chief difficulty with Mr. Bush's speech wasn't so much what he put
in, but what he left out: the missteps and difficulties that have marred
his first term and will make many of the goals he cited difficult to
obtain." The New York Times:
( "Despite the
enormous changes the United States has undergone since the last election,
from terror attacks to recession, Mr. Bush has been sticking resolutely
to the priorities he brought into the office in 2001... Each of those
policies has cost the nation dearly." The Houston Chronicle:
( "Bush
promised to expand freedom at home, although Americans have lost to the war
on terror the right to keep their library and bank records safe from
government scrutiny. He promised to simplify the tax code, which became
more complicated and less predictable on his watch. The Boston Globe:
"Few would doubt President Bush's intention to stay the course in a
second term...What is at issue, however, is not his resolve but the path

Under the Radar

HOUSING - HUD AVERTS DISASTER: The government is restoring millions of
that were to be cut by the Bush administration, threatening housing
provisions for millions of America's poor, elderly and disabled. Saying they
had " averted a major housing crisis
," New York City officials announced yesterday that the federal
government had agreed to restore almost all of the $55 million that had been
scheduled to be cut under a recent regulatory change affecting Section 8,
the government's main housing program for the poor. "For years, the
federal government has paid the full cost of rent vouchers...[but] in
April, HUD informed housing agencies that, for the current fiscal year, it
would pay only an amount based on the cost of a voucher in August 2003,
plus an inflation adjustment." Housing agencies denounced that
decision, saying it would shortchange New York and other places
where the cost of providing vouchers has outpaced inflation.

congressional subcommittee last week investigated the 9/11 Commission's
conclusion that unnecessary secrecy is "undermining efforts to thwart
They found a confusing array of classified documents. Both critically
important information and the "comically irrelevant" alike have been
classified in recent years, including everything from Chilean dictator
Augusto Pinochet's fondness for Pisco Sour cocktails to a study concluding
that 40 percent of Army chemical warfare masks leaked. And
responsibility for this extreme resides with the Bush White House: as Republican
Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) notes, "The tone is set at the top...This
administration believes the less known, the better." According to J. William
Leonard, director of the oversight office of the National Archives,
officials in the Bush administration classified documents 8 percent more
often last year than the year before. (And don't expect help any time soon
from the public interest declassification board created in 2000 to
recommend the release of secret information in important cases: President
Bush never appointed any members.)

a front page story today on the investigation into the charges Pentagon
official Lawrence Franklin gave classified information to Israel. The
probe is wider than originally reported: now the FBI investigation is
examining whether "several Pentagon officials" gave secrets to both the
now-discredited neocon favorite Ahmad Chalabi as well as the pro-Israel
lobbying group AIPAC.
The common denominators: "First, the FBI is investigating whether the
same people passed highly classified information to two disparate allies
-- Chalabi and a pro-Israel lobbying group. Second, at least some of the
intelligence in both instances included sensitive information about

"Guess who's the latest victim of Cheney Potty Mouth Syndrome? Hard as
it may be to believe, it's none other than the man formerly known as
Mr. Family Values, one-time presidential candidate Gary Bauer
( ." Walking
outside Madison Square Garden, a protester yelled at the Christian activist.
"Bauer, without skipping a beat, popped off the now commonly procured
and deployed F Bomb. 'F--- you,' Bauer said as he kept walking."


Ziz Zag Zell Miller's Attack on Kerry: A Little Out Of Date


Zell Miller's Attack on Kerry: A Little Out Of Date

Miller slams Kerry for opposing bombers, fighters, and helicopters. That WAS true - 20 years ago - but not lately.



Sen. Zell Miller, the Georgia Democrat who delivered the Republican National Convention's keynote address Sept. 1, said Kerry "opposed" weapons including the B-1, B-2, F-14, F-15, and Apache helicopters. "This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our US Armed Forces?" Miller exclaimed. "Armed with what? Spitballs?"

Miller said "Americans need to know the facts" about Kerry's record, but his applause-getting recital is a decade or so out of date. Kerry did oppose all the weapons Miller cited when he was a candidate for the Senate in 1984, and did vote against the B-2 bomber, Trident nuclear subs and "star wars" anti-missile system more than a decade ago. Kerry also voted in three different years against the entire Pentagon budget.

But in his nearly 20 years in office Kerry's record has evolved. Kerry hasn't opposed an annual Pentagon appropriation since 1996. And he's voted for them far more often than against them.

Zell Miller's Spitball

(excerpt from keynote speech to Republican National Convention)

Miller: But Americans need to know the facts. The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40 percent of the bombs in the first six months of Enduring Freedom.
The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq. The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Gadhafi's Libyan MiGs over the Gulf of Sidra.
The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora. The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War. The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's capital and this very city after 9/11.
I could go on and on and on -- against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel; against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile, against, against, against.

This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?
U.S. forces armed with what? Spit balls?



This is a Republican line of attack that we first took on back in February. Nothing much has changed. Miller was a bit more careful in his wording than some previous Republican critics, and avoided saying anything factually incorrect.

Kerry the 1984 Candidate

Miller didn't say that Kerry voted against the weapons on the list he rattled off, only that he opposed them. And indeed Kerry did, in 1984, as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Senate from Massachusetts.

All the weapons cited by Miller are listed in a memo from the 1984 Kerry campaign, which we posted along with our Feb. 26 article on Republican distortions of Kerry's defense record. In that 1984 memo Kerry called for "cancellation" of the very weapons Miller cited.

Kerry the Senator

Once elected, however, Kerry's voting record evolved. He did cast votes more than a decade ago against the B-2 Stealth Bomber in 1989, 1991 and 1992. But by 1992 even President Bush (the current incumbent's father) was calling for cancellation of the B-2 and promising to cut military spending by 30% in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was no secret -- Bush did that in his 1992 State of the Union address. But Miller left out that little detail.

Miller did avoid some earlier Republican excesses, as when Miller's fellow Georgia senator, Republican Saxby Chambliss, told reporters on Feb. 21 in a Bush campaign conference call with reporters that Kerry had a "a 32-year history of voting to cut defense programs and cut defense systems." Since Kerry has only been in Congress for just under 20 years, the Chambliss statement was an impossibility. Republicans have also accused Kerry of voting against more mainstream weapons including the M-1 Abrams tank and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, but have been unable to cite any specific votes against those weapons. The best they can do is point to occasional votes Kerry cast against the entire Pentagon budget, which hardly constitutes opposition to any specific weapon.

Kerry voted against the entire Pentagon appropriations bills in 1990 and 1995. Kerry also voted against the Pentagon authorization bills (which provide authority to spend but not the actual money) in those years and also in 1996 . However, he hasn't opposed an annual Pentagon appropriation since then, nor did he do so in 16 of his 19 years in office. So by the Republicans' own measuring stick, Kerry voted for the weapons they list far more often than he voted against them.

From "Stupid" to "Responsible"

Kerry himself conceded that some of the positions he took 20 years ago were "ill-advised, and I think some of them are stupid in the context of the world we find ourselves in right now and the things that I've learned since then." That was in an interview published in June, 2003 in the Boston Globe. "I mean, you learn as you go in life," Kerry was quoted as saying. He added that his subsequent Senate voting record on defense has been "pretty responsible."

Other Misleading Remarks

Note: This isn't the only misleading claim made at the Republican convention. Miller falsely claimed "Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations," when in fact Kerry has said no such thing.

And New York Gov. George Pataki made a similarly misleading statement Sept. 2 when he implied that Kerry would "just wait for the next attack" before using military force to defend the US.

What Kerry really said -- in his own acceptance speech -- is this: "I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security." That's the opposite of what Miller said Kerry "made clear."


"The Unemployment Line"

Here is an eyewitness account of "The Unemployment Line," a political
protest, which took place during the Republican National Convention, highlighting the failure of the Bush administration to stem job loss and promote job creation.

by Janet Falk

In the Sunday, August 29 edition of The New York Times, there was an
article listing announced activities to protest the policies of the Bush
administration and the platform of the Republican National Convention,
with maps of expected routes. I hadn't planned on attending any of these
events, but when I saw one called "The Unemployment Line," I had found my

After all, I have lost my job three times since March 2001, each time
due to company downsizings, loss of business and budget pressures. I have
been unemployed for a total of 16 months during this period, which
represents 40% of the Bush era to date.

In my college days, I would have picked up a flyer that told me where
to join a protest. On Tuesday, I searched the Internet and found the Web
site for United for Peace and Justice, an umbrella group organizing many
protests, where I located the details of The Unemployment Line.

The route extended along Broadway from the Wall Street area towards
Madison Square Garden and 5,000 participants were expected. I e-mailed the
contact and registered to stand on Broadway, between Houston Street and West
4th Street, near my home.

Later that day, I received an e-mail confirming my registration. The
night before the protest, I received a second e-mail, telling me to go to
Broadway between West 3 and West 4, at 7:51 a.m., where I would meet a monitor
in a red hat who would give me my "pink slip." From 8:13 to 8:31 a.m., I
would hold up my pink slip and silently protest the disappearance of millions
of jobs.

Needless to say, I was impressed with the organization of the event,
and it had yet to start.

I headed up Broadway at 7:53, and soon saw others carrying a pink flyer
between Bleecker Street and West 3rd. They directed me to continue to
my assigned area, where, happily, I met some people from the neighborhood.
We chatted and held our pink legal-sized flyers. Now we were standing,
roughly arms length apart. I introduced myself to the fellow next to me, who is
the Vice President of a union at NYU. A neighbor passed by, on her way to
the gym, and I persuaded her to join the group.

We stood along a blue-chalked line, were told to face north and given
the signal to hold up our pink flyers. The monitor had a walkie-talkie that
crackled to life and she confirmed that her "group" was in synch with
the protest; I heard the voice seeking confirmation from other monitors up
the line.

As we stood there, cars drove by, some honking in support. One taxi
driver had his left hand out the window making the peace sign as he honed his
horn. Some trucks and MTA buses had the pink slip taped to the side of their
vehicles, by whose hand I do not know.

Some people stared as they walked past, others clapped, one or two
joined the line spontaneously.

A few people drove south on Broadway, filming the scene with video
cameras, crouching in the flatbeds of trucks; one woman sat in a pedicab and
filmed the line. This made me nervous and I felt vulnerable to I don't know

A man walking his dog taunted the group: "There's plenty of work for
you in Iraq." "Fine," I replied, "I'm going there with you." He ignored me,
naturally, and repeated his observation a few times to the others
behind me.

We were given a warning of five more minutes, then two minutes, then
one minute. It ended. Spontaneously, we all clapped for a job well done.

I said goodbye to my neighbors and, one block south, spotted a news
crew from CNN. As a PR professional, I talk to reporters all the time, but I
usually put my boss in from of the camera. It's a bit tougher when it
is yourself up there.

I sidled up to the reporter and said, when I got her attention, "I want
to raise an issue not being talked about: workers over 45 are losing their

I gave her my name and told her, off camera, that I lost my job three
times since March 2001. On-camera I said "Many highly educated, highly
skilled, productive and energetic workers are losing their jobs because they are
over 45 and are high paid. They are being replaced by younger workers, who
are paid less. That makes it harder for workers over 45 to get a new job.
This is not the manufacturing economy, this is the service economy."

I'm pleased to have participated in this very creative event. There
were representatives of different ethnic and age groups, from what I later
saw of the television coverage, which was shot in Lower Manhattan and near
Madison Square Garden.

This election is far more complex than who did or not serve in this or
that branch of the military. It is about ensuring the full participation of
all segments of our society in the original American dream: life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness.

No one can feel their life is secure if they haven't got a job that
pays them adequately so that they have a roof over their head, food on the
table, and a plan for the day when they will no longer be working.

Vote on November 2, because your life depends on it.

Vote on November 2, because every vote counts.


Thursday, September 02, 2004

George W. Bush's missing year

George W. Bush's missing year
The widow of a Bush family confidant says her husband gave the future president an Alabama Senate campaign job as a favor to his worried father. Did they see him do any National Guard service? "Good lord, no."

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Mary Jacoby

Sept. 2, 2004 | NEW YORK -- Before there was Karl Rove, Lee Atwater or even James Baker, the Bush family's political guru was a gregarious newspaper owner and campaign consultant from Midland, Texas, named Jimmy Allison. In the spring of 1972, George H.W. Bush phoned his friend and asked a favor: Could Allison find a place on the Senate campaign he was managing in Alabama for his troublesome eldest son, the 25-year-old George W. Bush?

"The impression I had was that Georgie was raising a lot of hell in Houston, getting in trouble and embarrassing the family, and they just really wanted to get him out of Houston and under Jimmy's wing," Allison's widow, Linda, told me. "And Jimmy said, 'Sure.' He was so loyal."

Linda Allison's story, never before published, contradicts the Bush campaign's assertion that George W. Bush transferred from the Texas Air National Guard to the Alabama National Guard in 1972 because he received an irresistible offer to gain high-level experience on the campaign of Bush family friend Winton "Red" Blount. In fact, according to what Allison says her late husband told her, the younger Bush had become a political liability for his father, who was then the United States ambassador to the United Nations, and the family wanted him out of Texas. "I think they wanted someone they trusted to keep an eye on him," Linda Allison said.


McCain v. Moore

From The Nation
McCain v. Moore
by John Nichols

NEW YORK -- When US Senator John McCain took a shot at film maker Michael Moore in his speech to the Republican National Convention Monday night, he had no reason to know that the man who made the controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9-11" was just a few hundred feet away from him.

But Moore was in Madison Square Garden with McCain and thousands of Republicans who, it would be fair to say, do not rank "Fahrenheit 9-11" high on their list of favorite films.

That was made obvious by the response of the delegates to McCain's unprecedented targeting of Moore in his prime-time address to the convention.

In a speech that was at once a spirited defense of the war with Iraq and a reminder that he is still available for consideration as a 2008 presidential nominee, McCain earned his biggest applause when he rejected any and all criticism of the Bush administration's decision to launch a preemptive war against the Middle Eastern country.

"Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Not our political opponents," the Arizona Republican said, as the crowd began to roar its approval. "And certainly not, certainly not, a disingenuous film maker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace, when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children inside their walls."

Moore, who was seated in the press gallery of Madison Square Garden, pumped his fists in the air and tipped his hat to the McCain and the hooting delegates. As the crowd chanted "Four More Years," Moore used his hand to form an "L" sign to suggest that President Bush would lose in November.

Moore also held up two fingers, recalling a constant theme of the filmmaker this week: That George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have only two more months to go before they are voted out of office.

Everyone in the hall, including McCain and Moore, realized that a rare moment in American politics was playing out. It's not often, outside the context of a debate, that such charges and countercharges fly in close proximity. Nor is it all that often that a film achieves the level of public awareness that leads a prominent politician to attack its maker in a primetime convention speech. And it is certainly not common for the filmmaker to be in a position to respond in real time.

But Moore was there, and he did respond.

The Academy Award-winning documentary maker pointed out that "Fahrenheit 9-11" did not argue that Iraq was an oasis of peace. Instead, Moore noted, his film suggested that the Bush Administration stretched the truth when it argued that regime change had to be forced upon Iraq in order to avert the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction that have yet to be found.

Still, Moore was not complaining too loudly.

"To bring up the film in the speech tonight, it's not good for the Republican Party," he explained. "It's just going to make more people say: 'I'd better go see this movie.' And when people see it, they don't feel much like voting Republican."

Moore's documentary, which challenges the Bush Administration's pre-war claims about those weapons of mass destruction and about supposed links between Iraq and the al-Queda network terrorists who attacked the country on Sept. 11, 2001, was a hit. But Moore knows there are still plenty of Americans who haven't seen it.

While what he got from McCain was not exactly a plug, the film maker predicted many of those who had not bought a ticket might do so now. And that, he said, could turn McCain's jab into a problem for President Bush's reelection prospects in a closely contested November vote.

"A Republican pollster told me that, when they do surveys, 80 percent of the people going into the theaters are Kerry voters. But 100 percent of the people coming out are Kerry voters -- or at least they are open to voting for Kerry," Moore said. "The pollster told me that they couldn't find anyone who sees the film and then says they are definitely voting for Bush."

So what was the man who made a film designed to undo a Republican president doing at the Republican National Convention?

Moore's attended the convention on an assignment from USA Today, which has asked him to write a column about the gathering that will renominate two of favorite targets, President Bush and Vice President Cheney. While he had all the press credentials that were required for entry into the hall, Moore was held up for the better part of an hour by Madison Square Garden security and New York City police officers.

Moore was finally allowed to enter and took his place to the right of the podium at a table with other writers for USA Today. Photographers actually turned their cameras from the podium to snap shots of Moore and legions of reporters crowded around him. But, by the time McCain's primetime speech came, Moore was listening intently and taking notes.

That did not mean, however, that he was an impartial reporter.

His observations about the convention were every bit as barbed as the themes he hit in "Fahrenheit 9-11." Noting that most of the primetime speakers at the convention were "gay rights advocates and abortion rights advocates" who are at odds with the party's platform and the positions taken by the Bush administration, such as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who spoke last night, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will speak tonight. "There's no way the Republicans can win if they are really themselves," argued Moore.

A number of Republicans were themselves when they saw Moore had crashed their party.

"I got no use for the man at all -- he's the scum of the earth," said Jimmy Gilbert, an alternate delegate from Lenoir, North Carolina, who followed Moore through the hallways of Madison Square Garden with a "Vive Bush" sign.

Diane Francis, a Texas Republican decked out in full jean shirt and cowboy hat regalia, grumbled about Moore's movie and said, "I hope he's got security. He could get killed in here."

But Moore insisted that he did not feel threatened. "I saw (conservative commentator) Sean Hannity on the floor at the Democratic convention. He was treated well. I'm sure they'll treat me well here. You don't think the Republicans are more mean-spirited than the Democrats, do you?" asked Moore, barely concealing a grin.

Besides, he said, "This is a celebration."

Referring to the coming election, Moore said, "I'm here to celebrate the fact that the Republicans only have a couple of months left. I'm here to celebrate the end of the Republican era. They've had four years. It's been rough, but it's almost over."


The Texas Party Platform

as posted at

The Texas Party Platform

If you want to know what the real wish list is for many Republicans dreaming of four more years of George W. Bush you have to read the Texas Republican Party Platform. Among other things it calls for the abolition of the Envirommental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Health and Human Services and the Commerce Department. Dubya's home party also wants to withdraw from the United Nations, abolish the minimum wage, and declare the United States to a "Christian nation." and "dispel the myth of the separation of Church and State."


Flip-Flop Zig Zag Zell

Here is how Zell Miller introduced John Kerry just three years ago:

Introduction of Senator John Kerry

Democratic Party of Georgia's
Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

March 1, 2001

It is good to be back in Georgia and to be with you. I have been coming to these dinners since the 1950s, and have missed very few.

I'm proud to be Georgia's junior senator and I'm honored to serve with Max Cleland, who is as loved and respected as anyone in that body. One of our very highest priorities must be to make sure this man is re-elected in 2002 so he can continue to serve this state and nation.

I continue to be impressed with all that Governor Barnes and Lieutenant Governor Taylor and the Speaker and the General Assembly are getting done over at the Gold Dome. Georgia is fortunate to have this kind of leadership.

My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend.

He was once a lieutenant governor – but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984.

In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington.

Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so.

John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital Dozen."

John was re-elected in 1990 and again in 1996 – when he defeated popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country.

John is a graduate of Yale University and was a gunboat officer in the Navy. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple Heart for combat duty in Vietnam. He later co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America.

He is married to Teresa Heinz and they have two daughters.

As many of you know, I have great affection – some might say an obsession – for my two Labrador retrievers, Gus and Woodrow. It turns out John is a fellow dog lover, too, and he better be. His German Shepherd, Kim, is about to have puppies. And I just want him to know … Gus and Woodrow had nothing to do with that.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Senator John Kerry.


Don't send more kids to die

Don't send more kids to die
By Michael Moore

NEW YORK — Tonight, it's show time for George W. Bush, and I can't wait to hear what he has to tell the Republican convention.
It has been a pretty thrilling week so far, my favorite moment by far being the rebellious Bush twins who, in just a few short minutes, delivered on their promise to issue "payback" to their parents and all authority in general.

They revealed their parents' pet name for each other: "Bushie" or "Bushy" — no spelling was provided. They seemed to have embarrassed their grandmother with a joke about the TV show Sex and the City as a place to have sex. And they claimed to have seen their boogieing parents "shake it like a Polaroid picture." That's one picture that took the rest of the night for me to shake out of my head.

Nonetheless, I loved the Bush daughters: They were funny, sassy and free spirits. Back in 1999, they told their father in no uncertain terms that they did not want him to run for president. They wanted their dad at home, they wanted their privacy, and they wanted to go to college in peace. He chose to ignore their pleas — and I guess Tuesday night was their way of saying, "Thanks, Dad."

And thank him they should. He and Laura have obviously done a good job raising two bright, independent women. He made their privacy a top priority and did what he could to protect them. They clearly love their parents and, when you see that happen, you know the Bushes did something right in their home. For that, they should be commended.

Other fathers and mothers who loved their daughters and sons across America can no longer celebrate with them. That's because their children are dead on the streets and roads of Iraq, sent there by Mr. Bush to "defend" America.

This week, in an appearance leading up to his arrival here Wednesday night, Bush acknowledged he had miscalculated what would happen in Iraq after he invaded it. He had thought it was going to be much easier. It turned out to be much, much worse.

That must be some comfort to the parents of nearly 1,000 brave soldiers now dead because of his "miscalculation." If I made a miscalculation and ran over a child on the street, what do you think would happen to me? Do you think the cops would simply say, "Hey, Mr. Moore, you did your best driving down this street, you made a miscalculation, the kid is dead, but you are trying to save the world, so be on your way?" Something tells me this is not what would happen. What I don't get is that Mr. Bush makes his mistake and thinks he has a right to continue in his job.

Let's hope he isn't getting his inspiration from Richard Nixon, the same man Arnold Schwarzenegger hailed Tuesday night as his reason for becoming a Republican. You have to give Arnold an award for guts. He must be the first Republican convention speaker to mention Nixon since he resigned. Nixon snuck into office in 1968 with his secret plan to end the Vietnam War. Another miscalculation: The war continued for years, and thousands more died.

I would love to hear Bush apologize tonight to the parents and loved ones of those who have died in Iraq. I would like to hear him say he knows what it means to love your children and that he, in good conscience, cannot send any more children to their deaths.

I would like to hear him say tonight, "I'm sorry. There never were weapons of mass destruction and there never was a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. There was no imminent threat, our lives were not in danger, no missiles were going to hit Cleveland. Because of our desire to get our hands on the second largest supply of oil in the world, we sacrificed a thousand of your sons and daughters. For this, we are greatly sorry."

I guess a boy can dream.

The other thing I would like to hear tonight is: Why haven't you caught Osama bin Laden? You've had three years to find him. The man killed nearly 3,000 people here on our soil.

Maybe Bush has no worse explanation than he just hasn't been able to do it. Well, if your town's dogcatcher couldn't catch a wild dog that has been on the loose biting people for three years, what would be the dogcatcher's chances for re-election? Not good.

And so it should be for Bush.

Unless he has the answers tonight. Perhaps he has a reason or can accept responsibility for his actions and promise to send no one else's child off to die for a cause that has nothing to do with the defense of this country.

If he takes a moment to look into his daughters' eyes tonight, he will know the answer and give the greatest speech of his life.


Forgetting to Go to Queens

NY Times
September 2, 2004
Forgetting to Go to Queens

The food was ready and so were the little ballroom dancers. The exhibits were open, the panorama of the city was polished and the Unisphere was shining, all for 50 Republican delegates and guests who had promised to spend a morning at the Queens Museum of Art.

Problem was, nobody showed. With workers at the ready, a buffet of South Asian delicacies waiting and a group of grade-school students itching to tango, the planned private tour of the museum was called off after the delegates failed to appear.

All of which left Matthew Mo, an 11-year-old from Forest Hills, feeling a little less than psyched about the G.O.P. "I was pretty excited to see the delegates for the Republican Party, because I could see someone who actually had a sort of power and was really special and important to our country," said Matthew, one of 10 dancers from P.S. 144 in Forest Hills who had come to showcase their ballroom stylings. "We were going to give a show for them, so I was surprised that they weren't here."

The event at the Queens Museum was one of several outings - some well attended, others much less so - organized by the New York host committee for the Republican convention to show off cultural institutions around the city, including the Apollo Theater and the Bronx Zoo.

And while some sites proved more popular than Queens - the Bronx Zoo was quite a draw, the organizers said - the head of the Queens Museum found the appetite for culture a little lacking. "What was so great was that the host committee and the Republican National Committee thought it was a good idea to go see the boroughs," said Tom Finkelpearl, the executive director. "But nobody showed up for the buses."

Ethan Davidson, spokesman for the host committee, said the delegates had planned to go to Queens but that their plans "had just changed."

"It's not uncommon that people change their plans when they go on vacation," he said in a statement. "We offered a number of options and are happy that our convention guests are enjoying themselves, eating in our restaurants and shopping in our stores, and we are confident that they are experiencing some of the best New York has to offer."

That may be true, but delegate apathy also seemed to rule at the Apollo tour, which was briefly canceled after only a handful of people showed up to board the tour's bus in Midtown at 9 A.M. By 9:45, organizers, discouraged by the turnout, had decided to give the event the hook, but then decided to push forward after several more boarded.

At least one young Republican said he was not surprised by the meager turnout. "I knew people were going to drop out," said Bobbie King, 19, an alternate delegate from the United States Virgin Islands and a student at Princeton, who sat at the front of the nearly empty bus. "It's an older crowd. They are not used to being up late. They can't hang. Too much wine and Champagne."

Once in Harlem, those on the bus were treated to a tour and a performance at the Apollo, which included a creaky James Brown impersonator in a well-worn wig doing a well-worn rendition of Mr. Brown's signature tune, "I Feel Good." From there, the group made a brief visit to the Studio Museum of Harlem, where they looked at work by the photographer James VanDerZee and up-and-comers like Wangechi Mutu, whose Pollock-esque painting "Tumors: Inside My Sanctum, Defecating, Satin Death" drew quizzical looks.

"Don't go upstairs," Mr. King said to tour comrades. "The artist up there has a very vivid imagination."

Their final stop was Sylvia's, the legendary soul food restaurant on Lenox Avenue, which served up coconut shrimp, fried chicken, collard greens and ribs. Before lunch, another alternate delegate, Eustis Guillemet from New Orleans, took the opportunity to announce to the small assembly, "My vote is going to make a difference and put Bush back in office again!" The room erupted in applause.

There was similar applause inside the Neil Simon Theater, where former president George H. W. Bush, was in the orchestra of the matinee performance of "Hairspray" with his wife, Barbara, and a half-dozen Secret Service agents. Mr. Bush sat on the aisle checking his BlackBerry and smiling politely even as the show's characters cracked wise about American politics.

"Where do you go after Special Ed?" asked Tracy Turnblad, the show's hero, in the first act.

"Congress!" one of her schoolmates responded, getting a huge laugh from the crowd.

After the show, the Bushes mingled with the cast backstage and took a few questions from reporters. Mrs. Bush defended her granddaughters Barbara and Jenna for poking fun at her on the convention floor on Tuesday night. "I thought they were funny, but apparently the press doesn't have a sense of humor," Mrs. Bush said. "I always rib them."

The former president, meanwhile, asked his opinion of "Hairspray," said: "Fantastic. A wonderful show."

While some producers have blamed the convention for scaring off tourists, Jed Bernstein, the president of the League of American Theaters and Producers, said that several special matinee performances on Sunday proved very popular with delegates and other conventioneers, with some 13,000 people attending eight productions.

Which, as it turned out, is about 12,999 more people than showed up yesterday at the Queens Museum. Undaunted, the P.S. 144 dancers - decked out in sequined dresses and other natty dance attire - toured the museum and even performed a little for the workers.

And while the children put on a brave face, at least one teacher felt put out about being stood up.

"The caveat of politics aside, we thought it was a wonderful opportunity to show off our cultural resources and let the kids meet delegates and people from other parts of the country and understand a little of the process," said Lois Olshan, the arts coordinator at P.S. 144. "So it was really going to be win-win for everybody. Except it turned into lose-lose."


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Most Americans are worse off than they were 4 years ago

Based on the latest report from the Census Bureau, median income has declined by $1,535 since Bush took office , or 3.4 percent. "Median" means that half of all households had more income than that, and half less. What this decline means is that most households are worse off economically now than they were when President Bush was sworn in.


Ahnold Lied to America last night

September 1, 2004

Last night on national television at the Republican National Convention, Arnold Schwarzenegger lied to America. He said that he chose to become a Republican after watching a Nixon-Humphrey debate. There was no such debate. Nixon refused to debate Humphrey, having learned his lesson from his debated with Kennedy. Nixon refused to give Humphrey credibility. In addition, the FCC's equal time rules at that time required that ALL candidates, not just the Democratic and Republican candidates, would have to be included.


What the Swifties Cost Us

What the Swifties Cost Us
By Joe Klein

On the day that the swift boat controversy reached a rabid apogee -- that would be the day a Bush campaign lawyer resigned because of his ties to the Swifties, and Max Cleland made the stagy delivery of a protest letter to the Bush ranch -- a woman named Elba Nieves stood at a town meeting in Philadelphia and told John Kerry that she had recently been laid off.

The candidate proceeded to ask her a series of questions. She answered with quiet dignity. She had worked in a ribbon factory for four years. She said the company was having trouble keeping up with foreign competitors and was forced to close when it was refused a new bank loan. She was given no notice of termination, no severance package. Her shift -- about 300 people -- was simply called together at the end of a workday and dismissed. "They were changing the locks even before we left," she added. The audience, composed mostly of trade unionists, gasped and groaned.

I called Nieves the next day to check the details of her story, and, as it happened, there were some complicating factors.

First, she admitted that her question had been precooked -- her union had asked her to come to the event and tell the story. Kerry turned to Nieves immediately; her question was the first.

This, in itself, isn't a terrible thing: George Bush constantly manages to "find" small-business people at his town meetings whose companies are booming because of his tax cuts. But Nieves went on to tell me that she recently had been called back to work at the ribbon factory and refused to return, on the advice of her union, because the company wouldn't continue her health insurance.

Hmm, I thought: If I were a coldhearted political operative, I could get some rich friends to finance a group of Nieves' fellow employees -- perhaps those who had returned to work without health insurance -- call them Ribbon Workers for Truth and make this poor woman's life a trial. (As it is, I've acted as a Not-So-Swift Columnist for Truth by revealing some of the more problematic details of her story.)

Ribbon Workers for Truth would be a nasty bit of business. It would purposely elide the most important fact -- the larger truth -- of Nieves' story: that she was laid off, and in a particularly brutal way. As she left the factory on August 4, she had no idea how she would support her three children. She still doesn't know.

And the uncertainty of her fate is a question with enormous political ramifications: What do we, as a nation, do about the downside of economic globalization? In fact, the real reason why Ribbon Workers for Truth would exist would be to divert attention from that question.

The Ribbies would also turn Nieves' refusal to return to work without a health plan into a "character" issue -- and thus evade the essential ridiculousness of a health-insurance system that would usually provide Nieves care (through Medicaid) if she were on welfare but doesn't if she is working a full-time job for an employer without a health plan.

But we're not talking only about Elba Nieves here, are we? Now that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have turned out to be anything but -- the only "lies" they've turned up are a mistaken date or a mild Kerry exaggeration about operating in Cambodia and a Purple Heart received for a minor wound -- we are told their real gripe is that Kerry protested the war after he came home and sullied their service by testifying to atrocities committed by American troops in Vietnam.

These are heartfelt gripes, perhaps, but wrong on the merits. Kerry's protest was not only honorable, it was accurate. The war in Vietnam was an unnecessary disaster, entered into under false pretenses -- the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident -- and fought because of a mistaken intellectual theory: that the Vietnamese national liberation movement was part of an international communist conspiracy to overwhelm Asia. (The subsequent war between Vietnam and China put a crimp in that one.)

And, yes, there were atrocities aplenty. I spent three years in the 1980s writing about a platoon of former Marines, men I consider heroes, and several unburdened themselves of awful memories before we were done: tossing a Vietnamese prisoner out of a helicopter, shooting an obviously innocent woman civilian in the back, collecting the ears of enemy dead. It was a meaningless, despicable war, and insane brutality was not an uncommon reaction.

But we're not really talking about Vietnam here, are we? We are talking about the politics of misdirection, about keeping John Kerry on the defensive by raising spurious questions about his "character."

We may also be talking about Iraq -- and limiting Kerry's ability to question the President's decision to go to war. If so, the Swifties need not have bothered. Kerry hasn't shown much inclination to raise the real question about Iraq: Was it the right thing to do? And Bush hasn't shown much inclination to talk about the mixed, confusing effects of globalization on people like Elba Nieves. Which means there are nondebates on the two most important issues facing the nation. Not-So-Swift Columnists for Truth is appalled.


Ohio Official Quits Bush Campaign

An Ohio Official Quits Campaign

Published: August 31, 2004

CINCINNATI, Aug. 30 -The chairman of President Bush's campaign in Southwest Ohio resigned on Monday, days after acknowledging a three-year affair with a woman in his office.

The chairman, Michael Allen, who is the Hamilton County prosecutor, also scrapped plans to attend the Republican National Convention as a delegate, partly to address sexual harassment accusations by the woman, Rebecca Collins, an assistant county prosecutor.

The Republican Party has named no replacement.

In a federal lawsuit filed on Thursday, Ms. Collins contended that Mr. Allen had used his position to demand sexual favors from 1999 until this year. The county Board of Commissioners, which Ms. Collins also sued, began an investigation on Friday.


Crowning Prince George

NY Times
September 1, 2004

Crowning Prince George

ASHLAND, Ore. — The most common literary allusion to President Bush is Shakespeare's Prince Hal, the hard-drinking, wild-living young man who sobers up, reforms and emerges as the great English warrior King Henry V.

So, as the Republicans once again crown Mr. Bush as their nominee, I decided to seek lessons from an expert on King Henry who is also one of the shrewdest analysts of current American politics and international affairs. That's right: Shakespeare. I went to Ashland for my annual pilgrimage to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, then started thinking about what Shakespeare might say if he were speaking at the Republican convention this week.

The paramount lesson in Shakespeare's plays is that the world is full of nuances and uncertainties, and that leaders self-destruct when they are too rigid, too sure of themselves or - Mr. President, lend me your ears - too intoxicated by moral clarity.

You see Shakespeare's passion for nuance in the way he portrays Henry V himself (you also see his prurience, for "Henry V" is Shakespeare's most obscene play, laced with X-rated double-entendres that make it an attractive introduction to the Bard for teenagers).

Shakespeare admires Henry, who, like Mr. Bush, is strong, decisive and funny to be around, as well as a victor in overseas battles that help soothe doubts about his legitimacy. Thus for several hundred years, the play "Henry V" was regarded as a celebration of Henry's invasions of France, and for that reason George Bernard Shaw and other liberal critics recoiled from it.

Yet beginning in the 20th century, critics began to see another subtext in "Henry V": an unblinking examination of the brutality and inevitable excesses of war, even depicting the Abu Ghraib scandal of the 15th century: Henry's order to murder French prisoners at Agincourt. Shakespeare's play can be seen as scorning the empty-headed jingoism that inflicts so much suffering as the ruler wraps himself in the flag. As Shakespeare writes in "Henry V" about wars of choice:

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make when all those legs and arms and heads chopped off in a battle shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such and such a place,' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeared there are few die well that die in a battle."

A related lesson for Mr. Bush, if he has time to read Shakespeare, is the inevitability of intelligence failures. In just about every play, characters put their faith in information that turns out to be catastrophically untrue. Lear believes his elder daughters; Romeo believes that Juliet is dead; Othello believes Iago's lies.

Shakespeare begins "Henry IV, Part 2," with the character of Rumor (who could today be played by Ahmad Chalabi), and he shows how kings get in trouble by relying on partial truths or flattery spun by sycophants like Goneril Tenet and Regan Wolfowitz.

"All these figures in Shakespeare suffer from hubris, and that's what W. is suffering from," says Kenneth Albers, a veteran Shakespearean actor who is playing Lear in Ashland.

Indeed, the only person who seems to provide Shakespeare's kings with sound advice is the court fool, who cannot be punished for saying unpalatable truths because jesting is his job. I urge Mr. Bush to appoint a White House fool.

Shakespeare is warning us against rash actions on the basis of flawed intelligence. Hamlet is sometimes seen as an indictment of indecision, but his "to be or not to be" soliloquy is a careful examination of the pros and cons of immediate action - a measured approach that Mr. Bush might have emulated before the Iraq war.

Instead, Mr. Bush emulates Coriolanus, a well-meaning Roman general and aristocrat whose war against barbarians leads to an early victory but who then proves so inflexible and intemperate that tragedy befalls him and his people.

Unless Mr. Bush learns to see nuance and act less rashly, he will be the Coriolanus of our age: a strong and decisive leader, imbued with great talent and initially celebrated for his leadership in a crisis, who ultimately fails himself and his nation because of his rigidity, superficiality and arrogance.


Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Beneath Contempt

August 31, 2004
The Mike Mallloy Show

Kerry passed the word at the Democratic Convention that there were to be no personal attacks on George W. Bush. And the Democrats responded by keeping the focus on Bush's miserable record as an unelected president. Contrast that attitude with the attacks last night against John Kerry by adulterer and home-wrecker Rudolph Giuliani. And now, this: Convention-goers were handed bandages with purple hearts on them Monday night by a GOP delegate in a swipe at Democratic nominee John Kerry. The bandages were handed out by Morton Blackwell, a longtime GOP activist from Virginia, with the message: "It was just a self-inflicted scratch, but you see I got a Purple Heart for it." These people - Republicans - are beneath contempt. How much longer will normal Americans put up with this Republican destruction of our institutions, our military, our social contract, our self-respect and our standing in the world?



CEOS SHIP OUT JOBS, RAKE IN DOUGH: According to a study on
executive compensation being released today, "Chief executives of U.S.
companies that outsourced the greatest number of jobs reaped bigger pay
and benefits last year
." The U.S. Institute for Policy Studies and the non-partisan United
for a Fair Economy found in their study of executive salaries that CEOs
of the leading outsourcing companies earned $10.4 million last year, 28
percent more than the $8.1 million average CEO compensation. Paychecks
of CEOs
at 50 U.S. firms outsourcing the most service jobs jumped by an average
of 46 percent, compared to just a 9 percent average raise among CEOs at
the 365 big companies overall. The study calculated that the "U.S.
minimum wage would be $15.76 an hour, instead of the current $5.15 an hour
if workers' wages had gone up as much as CEO pay has since 1990." Check
out American Progress's graphic illustration
( of
our "upside-down economy."




THE SCIENCE OF SAFETY SLAMMED: The Bush administration has
leveled yet another blow to sound science. The latest attack revolves
around the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH),
a branch of the Centers for Disease Control which is responsible for
conducting research on workplace illnesses, injuries and deaths. NIOSH,
reports the Washington Post, has "long nurtured a reputation for
independence, rigor and scientific credibility, according to both labor and
business interests." That's all about to change. The Bush administration
is reorganizing the CDC to downgrade the branch, in effect removing
NIOSH's independence and threatening its ability to compile scientific
data outside of party politics. The plan has "drawn protests from
virtually every occupational health and safety organization in the country."
Four former NIOSH directors -- from both Republican and Democratic
administrations -- expressed their serious opposition to the move in a
letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson: "To downgrade
NIOSH and blur its mission by combining key functions with other CDC
programs will erode its independence and visibility and weaken the
scientific contribution that has long benefited American workers and


Bush 'Olympics' Ads Could Cost N.Y. in 2012


Bush Ads Could Cost N.Y. in 2012

The Bush campaign's use of the Olympics
( in advertisements
for the president may have cost New York City, now hosting the
Republican convention, a shot at hosting the Summer Olympics in 2012. The Bush
ad (
, touting the inclusion of "two more free nations," Afghanistan and
Iraq, in this year's Olympics, has reportedly outraged Olympic officials
and prejudiced them against the Big Apple. An International Olympic
Committee (IOC) official quoted in the German Newspaper Der Spiegel
( said, "The chances of New York City to host
the games were already not very good. Now they have dropped to near
zero." Last week after Iraq's soccer team advanced to the quarterfinals,
Iraqi midfielder Salih Sadir voiced his own feelings on the ads: "Iraq as
a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign,"
Sadir told Sports Illustrated. " He can find another way to advertise
himself ( ." Olympic
gold medalist Carl Lewis has also spoken out
against the ads, saying, "Of course, we've invaded Iraq and are in
there and are using it for political gain. It bewilders me, and I
understand why the Iraqi players are offended."