Saturday, October 30, 2004

Do You Feel More Secure Than You Did Four Years Ago? 

Of course not. I mean these "security moms," if they really exist, have to be insane if they think sticking with Bush is going to somehow protect us. The 9/11 attacks happened under Bush, remember? Prior to the attacks, Bush spent the majority of his time vactioning at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. On the day of the attacks, the commander-in-chief sat stunned in an elementary school in Florida reading pablum to children as the twin towers and Pentagon were attacked. Following the attacks, our commander-in-chief ran to Louisiana and then Nebraska in a display of unprecedented cowardice. Since then, he has spent more than $140 billion on an unneccecary war in Iraq that has made the U.S. even less secure and created complete chaos in that region of the world. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden remains at large. No wonder he's endorsing Bush.

George W. Bush is undoubtedly the worst U.S. president in modern history. The truly scary part is that half the U.S. electorate still back him. You really have to wonder about the average IQ of the U.S. population.

Dead Heat  

Boston Globe, Oct. 30:

President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are virtually tied in the Electoral College count, fighting over eight to 10 states so close and unpredictable that anything is possible Tuesday night.

After months campaigning and a half-billion dollars spent on attack ads, Bush and Kerry are still at the whim of unexpected events such as Osama bin Laden's sudden emergence on Friday, a videotape appearance that sent both candidates scrambling to pledge victory in the fight against terrorism.

''Under normal circumstances, undecided voters break against the incumbent this late in an election. However, these are not normal circumstances. This is a time of war,'' said Michigan pollster Steve Mitchell.

''The question then becomes, will this be different than most years? Will swing voters decide they don't want to change horses in midstream?'' he said.

The answer comes in two days or more, if there is a repeat of the 2000 recount for a Republican incumbent and his Democratic challenger who are marshaling two vastly different and unproven get-out-the-vote operations in the battleground states, principally Florida and in the Midwest.

Polls suggest the nation is evenly divided or leaning toward Bush, but the popular vote does not determine who wins the presidency. The White House goes to whoever earns 270 state electoral votes, a majority of the 538 available.

According to an Associated Press analysis, 26 states are solidly behind Bush or lean his way for 222 electoral votes. Kerry has 16 states plus the District of Columbia secured or leaning his direction for 211 electoral votes.

It is down to this: Bush needs to scrape together at least 48 of the remaining 105 electoral votes to keep his job. Kerry needs 59 to move into the White House. ...

[read more]

Palast Exposes Repeated Voting Fraud by GOP Ratfuckers 

News Hounds, Oct. 30:

According to Sean Hannity, there is no voter supression in this country and he has been asking anyone to bring him proof that voter fraud by Republicans exists, especially in Florida. Tonight Greg Palast brought him that proof and Hannity was very annoyed. 10/29/04 9:30 PM

Palast told Colmes about the lists found in RNC headquarters in Florida with names of newly registered voters to be stricken from voter rolls. All of the people were African American Democrats. Palast said they denied the claim saying they were fundraising lists and then changed it to a list of address corrections. Palast said that the Florida police could not make any arrests for a couple of weeks because they were too busy.

Palast told another story about students in Pennsylvania who thought they were signing a medical marijuana petition but were actually tricked into signing voter resistration forms. The fraudulent forms made them double registrants and therefore ineligible to vote.

Hannity, unable to debate with facts, used his usual strategy with Palast.
"Are you voting for Kerry" claiming that Palast was not a reporter but a Democratic operative. Palast continued to hit back with the facts and Hannity was out of his league.

Comment: Greg Palast tonight and Phil Donahue last night. These are the people that Fox usually avoids like the plague. Did they think that Hannity would discredit them? Is it about that recent article where Murdoch denies that Fox is pro Bush or did Colmes demand some fairness. Just speculating. ...

[read more]

Romance Writer Pegged as Terrorist by Feds 

Here's a deeply creepy manifestation of the Patriot Act: A writer of "mainstream women's fiction" was working on an adventure novel set in Cambodia and involving terrorists. For research, she was buying books online, checking them out from the library, and looking at Cambodia-related websites.

Her home was raided and her writing material confiscated (including her computers, her files, her contracts, and even her music CDs). She still hasn't gotten most of her stuff back.

I got this information from the November 2004 issue of Romance Writers Report, the monthly magazine of Romance Writers of America. I can't find the article online to link you to, but it's worth reading, so I'll put it under the cut. ...

[read more]

Fear and Loathing in the Keystone State -- Bush Style 

bluelemur.com, Oct. 29:

In a last ditch bid to win Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, where Democratic Sen. John Kerry is leading is most polls, President George W. Bush has engaged in mailings which contain myriad graphic images of the burning World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

The ad is three-fold. RAW STORY has acquired scans of two and a half pages.

On the front side, the ad asks in red print, “How Can John Kerry Lead America In A Time of War?” It adds three subsequent lines, “Kerry: Changing Positions,” “Kerry: Cutting Defense” and “Kerry: Slashing Intelligence.”

Following that, there are nine images of the front pages of Sept. 12, 2001 newspapers (shown below), all of which display the smoking towers of the World Trade Center before they collapsed, killing some 2,600 people. One includes the approach of the plane.

While the Bush-Cheney campaign has routinely used 9/11 as a keystone of their campaign, these are the first print advertisements this site is aware of which actually display multiple images of the burning twin towers. The ad states that it was paid for by the Republican National Committee, with the approval of Bush-Cheney ‘04.

The second side blames Kerry for “slashing intelligence,” though it neglects to note that the CIA did not believe there was a solid case for war. President Bush took America to war over the CIA’s objection, leaving it unclear what the relevance of Kerry’s alleged “slashing intelligence” means in this election.

The third side details the programs Kerry allegedly voted “to cut.” These programs were part of broad Defense Department packages, which Kerry is believed to have voted against in protest of excessive Pentagon spending. ...

[read more]

Rampant Voting Fraud Reported 


There are already hundreds of alarming stories this election year, and as a public service, I've immersed myself in this hideous sump of pond scum. It's deep here. So deep, that to give you even a bare sense of the sheer profundity of this abyss, I'm going to have to resort to one of the oldest gimmicks in radio broadcasting. That's right, speeded up music.

[begin music]

Nevada: Dan Burdish, former director of the state's Republican Party, filed a complaint to remove 17,000 voters from the rolls because they had failed to file a change of address card. State law doesn't require it and, in fact, allows you to vote after moving. When asked why he did it Burdish told the press, "I am looking to take Democrats off the voter rolls."

Florida: Senior citizens in Democratic precincts are calling their election boards by the hundreds reporting that strangers claiming to be from the elections office are offering to "hand deliver" their absentee ballots for them, even though there is no such program.

Wyoming: Secretary of State Joseph Meyer interpreted the statutes there to outlaw voter registration drives, like the kind where a group sets up a card table at a mall or library. One of Meyer's oldest friends, a classmate in both high school and college, is Dick Cheney.

Philadelphia: Three weeks before the election, a white Republican alderman named Matt Robb requested that 63 polling stations in African American neighborhoods be relocated, thereby making it more confusing for 37,000 Democrat leaning voters.

Florida: Once again, as in the 2000 election, the state compiled a list of felons to be barred from voting. Throughout this election year, Governor Jeb Bush's administration struggled to keep this list secret. After a lawsuit forced it into the open, people quickly saw that, while some 23,000 Democrat leaning black felons were barred from voting, almost the same number of hispanic felons in Florida, who tend to vote Republican, were somehow not on the list.

Ohio: Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has ruled that anyone showing up in the wrong precinct will not be able to vote there, even by provisional ballot. Immediately afterward, people begain to report odd phone calls telling voters that their voting place had changed, sending them to the wrong precinct.

Arizona: Students at Arizona State University were told by a reporter at Fox News and the Republican county vote registrar that registering students was a federal crime unless students planned to stay in Arizona "indefinitely" after graduation. The Supreme Court of the United States long ago ruled otherwise.

[end music]

[read more]

Bin Laden Tape Upstages FBI Probe of Halliburton 

How convenient.

World Socialist Web Site, Oct. 30

On the eve of the 2004 presidential election, allegations about the corrupt relationship between the Bush administration and Halliburton Corp., the company formerly run by Vice President Richard Cheney, have taken center stage once again. Press reports Friday said that the FBI has expanded an ongoing investigation into contracts obtained by Halliburton’s subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), in Iraq and Kuwait.

The FBI sought an interview with Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, a senior Army civil servant who objected to the KBR no-bid contract and complained that it represented preferential treatment. The Army gave KBR a secret $7 billion contract to restore Iraq’s oil fields just before Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Greenhouse is the chief contracting officer for the Army Corps of Engineers. In a letter to acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee on October 21, she said that Army officials had not justified the no-bid award by satisfying procedural requirements such as showing that KBR had “unique attributes” that no other contractor could match. She also charged that her repeated complaints were ignored, and that the Army allowed KBR officials to sit in on Pentagon meetings ...

[read more]

Osama Been Forgotten Stages Comeback  

But consider this. If this is the real Osama, doesn't his appearance now prove that Bush has wasted two hundred billion dollars and a thousand American lives (plus 100,000 Iraqi lives) without making us any safer from Osama? Doesn't this tape, if it is genuine, prove that Bush is a total failure in his own "war on terror" ...

[read more]

Osama Tape Fake, Critic Alleges 

Bin Laden's last video appearance was late in 2001. Howcome he hasn't aged? Why isn't his beard now totally grey - that's what generally happens over time.

"He's actually quite similar. I mean, in terms of his demeanor and his voice -- these kinds of things are quite similar. The big difference is that he's aged enormously between '97 and October of last year [2001].

This is a man who was clearly not well. I mean, as you see from these pictures here, he's really, by December he's looking pretty terrible. But by December, of course, that tape that was aired then, he's barely moving the left side of his body. So he's clearly got diabetes. He has low blood pressure. He's got a wound in his foot. He's apparently got dialysis ... for kidney problems."

Bin Laden "aged enormously" between 1997 & 2001, yet between 2001 & 2004 he's "unaged". Truly amazing...

Give the previous fake Osama tapes we have seen, the burden of proof is on the US Government to prove that this really is Osama and not a fake trotted out for Bush's re-election campaign. ...

[read more]

The Flip Side, Courtesy of KOS 

Kos.com, Oct. 30:

Hi. I'm Osama. I did 9/11, Not Saddam.
by DemFromCT
Sat Oct 30th, 2004 at 01:36:22 GMT

I'm still here. You haven't caught me. And you went after the wrong guy. I just thought I'd remind you.

Now, why that helps Bush is beyond me. For months, we saw the offense-is-defense idea pushed by every pundit you can think of who had access to RNC talking points that any discussion of Iraq, no matter how bad, was good for Bush. Whatever bad things surfaced that pointed out how screwed up Iraq was, it was good for Bush. Everything he did wrong was great publicity for him. Like the explosives story all this week. Like Halliburton investigations. Right. ...

[read more]

Bin Laden Endorses Bush 

Whiskey Bar blog, Oct. 29:

If anyone had any doubts about which candidate al-Qaeda prefers in this election, I think you can put them to rest now. This tape -- coming hard on the heels of "Azzam the American" -- is obviously designed to have U.S. voters as obsessively worried about the terrorist threat as possible when they go into the voting booth next Tuesday. Osama, like Bush, understands the electoral value of zapping the deeper reptilian centers of the brain. Call it hypothalamus politics. Or, as one member of the media idiot chorus cheerfully told CNN a few days ago: "Fear works." ...

[read more]

GOP Brain Dead Pledge Allegiance to Bush 

Slate.com, Oct. 28:

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.—"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."

I know the Bush-Cheney campaign occasionally requires the people who attend its events to sign loyalty oaths, but this was the first time I have ever seen an audience actually stand and utter one. Maybe they've replaced the written oath with a verbal one. ...

[read more]

NASA Scientist Analyzes Bush Bulge 

Salon.com, Oct. 29:

George W. Bush tried to laugh off the bulge. "I don't know what that is," he said on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, referring to the infamous protrusion beneath his jacket during the presidential debates. "I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."

Dr. Robert M. Nelson, however, was not laughing. He knew the president was not telling the truth. And Nelson is neither conspiracy theorist nor midnight blogger. He's a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis. Currently he's engrossed in analyzing digital photos of Saturn's moon Titan, determining its shape, whether it contains craters or canyons.

[read more]

Watch Bush Give You the Finger 

This is George W. Bush, and I approved this message.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Kerry Gives Biden Nod as Next Secretary of State 

The Times (London), Oct. 29:

... Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware has been asked by Mr Kerry to become Secretary of State in a Democratic administration, according to Kerry campaign aides. Mr Biden, the leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the past four years, ran for President in 1988. His campaign ended abruptly when it was revealed that a key element of his stump speech had been lifted directly from Mr Kinnock’s general election speeches in 1987.

But Mr Biden has since emerged as a leading foreign policy figure in the Democratic party and is expected to take the job offered by Mr Kerry unless political factors intervene. Were the Democrats to retake control of the Senate, he might prefer to remain as a lawmaker, but those who know him think that unlikely. ...

[read more]

FBI Probes Halliburton's War Profiteering 

If this isn't a whitewash, the FBI will be knocking on Scooter Libby's door very, very soon. Scooter, for those who are unaware, is "Dick" Cheney's butt boy.

New York Times, Oct. 28:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether the Army's handling of a large Iraq contract with the Halliburton Company violated procurement rules, according to lawyers for an Army official who made the charges of improprieties.

F.B.I. agents have requested an interview with the official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, the chief of contracting with the Army Corps of Engineers, on her allegations regarding a 2003 contract with Halliburton to repair Iraqi oil fields, her lawyer, Michael D. Kohn, said in an interview yesterday.

Ms. Greenhouse, in an Oct. 21 letter to the acting Army secretary, charged that officials had shown favoritism toward Halliburton, the Houston-based conglomerate formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney, in the awarding and oversight of the oil contract. She also said officials at the Army Corps of Engineers had tried to remove her as chief contract monitor after she raised persistent questions about Halliburton contracts. The Army says it has referred her letter to the Pentagon's inspector general for review.

The oil contract was awarded in early 2003 without competition to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, as the American-led invasion of Iraq began, and was initially for five years and up to $7 billion. ...

[read more]

100,000 Civilians Killed Since Bush Ordered the Invasion of Iraq 

and Bush claims to be a Christian, which, of course, is a crock of undiluted bullshit.

Voice of America, Oct. 28:  

Medical Journal Estimates 100,000 Civilian Deaths in Iraq War

Baghdad woman weeping A new report in the British-based medical journal The Lancet estimates that more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the March, 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The survey found the major cause of death was from airstrikes, and many of the victims were women and children. A very small proportion of deaths in the study were related to terrorism.

The researchers did not include deaths in the volatile city of Fallujah in their final analysis, saying that would have skewed the death toll much higher.

There has been no official figure for the number of Iraqis killed since the beginning of the war, but some non-governmental groups have estimated it is between 10,000 and 30,000.

The survey team visited nearly 1,000 Iraqi homes last month. They concede that their results need further verification, but say the conclusion remains clear:  that violence is a major public-health problem in Iraq.

[read more]

Bush Laughs Off Bug in His Ear 

Isbushwired.com, Oct. 26:

Finally, someone asked the president about the object on his back during Debate 1. And Bush lied straight-faced.

This is from Dan Froomkin's account at washingtonpost.com of Charles Gibson's Good Morning America interview with Bush aired today:

"Brandishing a copy of the photo, he asked: "Final question. What the hell was that on your back, in the first debate?"

Bush chuckled.

Bush: "Well, you know, Karen Hughes and Dan Bartlett have rigged up a sound system -- "

Gibson: "You're getting in trouble -- "

Bush: "I don't know what that is. I mean, it is, uh, it is, it's a -- I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."

Gibson: "It was the shirt?"

Bush: "Yeah, absolutely."

Gibson: "There was no sound system, there was no electrical signal? There was --"

Bush: "How does an electrical -- please explain to me how it works so maybe if I were ever to debate again I could figure it out. I guess the assumption was that if I was straying off course they would, kind of like a hunting dog, they would punch a buzzer and I would jerk back into place. I -- it's just absurd." ...

[read more]

Hello? One Pound of This Shit Can Blow Up a Plane 

If this doesn't prove that Bush is an incompetent, arrogant motherfucker, nothing will.

Washington Post, Oct. 28:

LESS THAN A POUND of the high explosive known as HMX was enough to destroy a Pan Am jumbo jet over Scotland in 1988 in one of the worst terrorist attacks against Americans before Sept. 11, 2001. So it can only be dismaying to learn that nearly 215 tons of the substance -- enough for hundreds of thousands of such bombs -- disappeared from an Iraqi weapons facility sometime after March 2003, when it was last seen by international inspectors. An additional 162 tons of the explosives RDX and PETN also are missing, according to a report to the International Atomic Energy Agency this month by the Iraqi Ministry of Science and Technology, which blamed a "lack of security" for the loss.

It's not clear whether the explosives vanished before or after invading U.S. forces reached the Qaqaa facility near Baghdad in April 2003, though it appears likely that the materiel was gone by May of last year, when the weapons-hunting Iraq Survey Group first visited the site. Nor is it evident that any of the explosives have since been used against U.S. forces in Iraq or any other target. It's possible that some or all of the HMX was destroyed by U.S. bombing. Nonetheless, the disappearance of the substance, which was sealed by the International Atomic Energy Agency because of its potential use as a nuclear bomb trigger, must be counted as a potentially deadly cost incurred by the invasion of Iraq. ...

[read more]

Bush Bund Blocks Black Ballots  

Salon.com, Oct. 28:

Salon spoke to Julian Bond, the chairman of the NAACP, on Wednesday about Republican attempts to suppress the black vote in next Tuesday's election, including the placing of 3,600 election "challengers" at the polls in Ohio. The Republican secretary of state in Ohio, a crucial swing state with 20 electoral votes, asserts the challengers are needed to prevent voting fraud. But Bond countered that if fraud is really the issue, why are the GOP challengers focusing on cities like Cleveland, which have large Democratic-leaning African-American and Hispanic populations?

Nearly 40 years after passage of the Voting Rights Act, dirty tricks and intimidation tactics against black voters are alive and well, Bond said. ...

[read more]

Anyway You Slice It -- Hundred of Tons Are Still Missing 

ABC New, Oct. 28:

Iraqi officials may be overstating the amount of explosives reported to have disappeared from a weapons depot, documents obtained by ABC News show.

But International Atomic Energy Agency documents obtained by ABC News and first reported on "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" indicate the amount of missing explosives may be substantially less than the Iraqis reported.

The information on which the Iraqi Science Ministry based an Oct. 10 memo in which it reported that 377 tons of RDX explosives were missing — presumably stolen due to a lack of security — was based on "declaration" from July 15, 2002. At that time, the Iraqis said there were 141 tons of RDX explosives at the facility.

But the confidential IAEA documents obtained by ABC News show that on Jan. 14, 2003, the agency's inspectors recorded that just over three tons of RDX were stored at the facility — a considerable discrepancy from what the Iraqis reported.

The IAEA documents could mean that 138 tons of explosives were removed from the facility long before the United States launched "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in March 2003 ...

[read more]

Get Ready to Riot, Florida Absentee Ballots Already Missing 

Expect the Worst: George and Jeb are low-down slithering scumbags

BBC, Oct. 28:

Tens of thousands of postal ballots have gone missing in the US state of Florida, sparking fresh concern over irregularities in the poll campaign.
Authorities are investigating the apparent loss of 58,000 absentee forms in Broward County, north of Miami. ...

The missing ballots have fuelled an atmosphere of intense suspicion in Florida, with Democrats already backing nine separate lawsuits in the state, says the BBC's Justin Webb in Washington.

If the outcome is close and decides the result in the presidential race - and both of those eventualities are perfectly possible - it seems virtually certain that protracted legal battles will follow, our correspondent says. ...

[read more]

Explosives in Iraq Left Unguarded, TV Station Reports 

KSTP (Minneapolis), Oct. 28:

A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew in Iraq shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein was in the area where tons of explosives disappeared, and may have videotaped some of those weapons.

The missing explosives are now an issue in the presidential debate. Democratic candidate John Kerry is accusing President Bush of not securing the site they allegedly disappeared from. President Bush says no one knows if the ammunition was taken before or after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003 when coalition troops moved in to the area.

Using GPS technology and talking with members of the 101st Airborne Division, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has determined the crew embedded with the troops may have been on the southern edge of the Al Qaqaa installation, where the ammunition disappeared. The news crew was based just south of Al Qaqaa, and drove two or three miles north of there with soldiers on April 18, 2003. ...

"We weren't quite sure what were looking at, but we saw so much of it and it didn't appear that this was being secured in any way," said photojournalist Joe Caffrey. "It was several miles away from where military people were staying in their tents".

Officers with the 101st Airborne told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the bunkers were within the U.S. military perimeter and protected. But Caffrey and former 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Reporter Dean Staley, who spent three months together in Iraq, said Iraqis were coming and going freely.

During that trip, members of the 101st Airborne Division showed the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS news crew bunker after bunker of material labelled "explosives." Usually it took just the snap of a bolt cutter to get into the bunkers and see the material identified by the 101st as detonation cords. ...

[read more]

Guiliani: The Buck Stops Anywhere But the White House 

Talking Points Memo, Oct.

If you look through the right-wing media universe this morning you will hear that perhaps the explosives were never at al Qaqaa at all. Or if they were there perhaps Saddam's men carted them off in March. Or if Saddam's men didn't cart them off
for the insurgency then the Russians carted them off to Syria. Or if, God forbid, it really did happen as the critics say, well, President Bush wasn't there. It was the fault of the troops on the ground.

If you can't quite get your head around the audacity of that last one, that's what the president's surrogate Rudy Guiliani said this morning on one of the morning shows.

"The actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there," said Mr. Guiliani, "Did they search carefully enough? Didn't they search carefully enough?"

But, please, let's see through the snowstorm of mumbojumbo the president's handlers and liegemen are trying to toss in our eyes and focus on the essence of the matter.

The president and his advisors insisted on a warplan that had far too few troops to secure even the key facilities in Iraq that were the reason for the invasion in the first place. ...

[read more]

Bushwhacked: Worldwide Web Not 

BBC, Oct. 27:

Bush website blocked outside US; access to the site is blocked

Surfers outside the US have been unable to visit the official re-election site of President George W Bush.

The blocking of browsers sited outside the US began in the early hours of Monday morning.

Since then people outside the US trying to browse the site get a message saying they are not authorised to view it.

The blocking does not appear to be due to an attack by vandals or malicious hackers, but as a result of a policy decision by the Bush camp. ...

[read more]

Edwardsville Intelligencer Endorses Kerry 

Editor and Publisher, Oct. 26:

As editorial endorsements wind down along with the election campaign, only a few major papers remain on the sidelines, with their picks expected this Sunday or before. This small group includes, among others, The Providence Journal, The Sun in Baltimore, and the Saint Paul Pioneer Press.

But in today's updated E&P list of endorsements, mainly adding small and midsized papers, President Bush made some gains, picking up 20 while Sen. John Kerry added 15. Kerry now leads in endorsements 142 to 123 and in the circulation of those papers (roughly 17.5 million to 11.5 million).

Kerry picked up two more "switches": both the Edwardsville (Ill.) Intelligencer and the Monterey County (Ca.) Herald were Bush backers in 2000. The president nabbed one Gore supporter from 2000, The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wis. So Kerry now holds a lopsided margin in switchers (that we know of), picking up 37 flip-flops compared to Bush's six.

The Huntsville (Ala.) Times, which backed Gore in 2000, ran twin endorsements this year.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, as we have noted elsewhere, chose not to endorse this year after backing Bush in 2000. In the same category: the Texas daily, The (Bryan) Eagle. ...

[read more]

Secret Government Grows Under Bush Bund 

In October 2003, the office that provides legal counsel to government
agencies began keeping the subject of all of its legal opinions secret,
contrary to previous practice.

The Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice regularly writes
opinions on important legal matters for not only the DOJ but also other
agencies in the government.

In the fall of 2003, the office changed its previous policy of "issuing"
(releasing) selected opinions. From this time on, no opinions were released
and the subject of all opinions is secret.



1998: 57 opinions, 30 secret, 27 released - 53% secret
1999: 37 opinions, 14 secret, 23 released - 38% secret
2000: 47 opinions, 27 secret, 20 released - 57% secret


2001: 74 opinions, 67 secret, 7 released - 91% secret
2002: 54 opinions, 48 secret, 6 released - 89% secret
2003: 35 opinions, 28 secret, 7 released, 80% secret
2004: APPROX. 30 opinions to date, all secret, 0 released - 100% secret

You can obtain a list of opinions, in redacted form, from the Office of
Legal Counsel, at:

Paul P. Colborn, Special Counsel
Office of Legal Counsel
Department of Justice
Room 5515, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530-0001
telephone 202-514-2038

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

CNN Report on Explosives Is Dead Wrong 

News organizations are stumbling all over themselves trying to refute revelations first posted on Talking Point Memo by Josh Marshall indicating that the U.S. military failed to secure hundreds of tons of highly explosive materials after the fall of Baghdad last year.

CNN earlier today broke the story that claims by the UN and the Iraqi interim government regarding the looting of the stockpiles were false, according to an NBC journalist embedded with the unit that made a "pit stop" at the facility in question in April 2003.

Those responsible for hunting down the missing materials actually didn't arrive at the scene until more than a month later, when they found the explosives missing.

The false CNN report was pushed by rumor monger and neo-conservative asshole Matt Drudge, the man who brought us Monicagate.

[read more]

Bush Damage Control Handled by NBC 

CNN, Oct. 26:

The mystery surrounding the disappearance of 380 tons of powerful explosives from a storage depot in Iraq has taken a new twist, after a television news crew embedded with the U.S. military during the invasion of Iraq reported that the material could not be found when American troops arrived.

NBC News reported that on April 10, 2003, its crew was embedded with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division when troops arrived at the Al Qaqaa storage facility south of Baghdad. ...

[read more]

Blow Up: How Many Presidents Does It Take to Kill Us All? 

One -- Bush

Nelson Report via Talking Points Memo, Oct. 24:

Despite pressure from DOD to keep it quiet, the IAEA and the Iraqi Interim Government this month officially reported that 350-tons of dual-use, very high explosives were looted from a previously secure site in the early days of the US occupation in 2003. Administration officials privately admit this material is likely a primary source of the lethal car bomb attacks which cause so many US and Iraqi casualties. In the first presidential candidate debate, on foreign policy, Democratic nominee John Kerry charged that captured munitions and weapons were being turned against Coalition Forces, with US troops suffering 90% of the casualties. But the specifics of the losses from the Al Qa Qaa bunker and building complex, only now being reported, were apparently unknown outside of DOD and the US occupation authorities. The Bush Administration barred the IAEA from any participation in the Iraq invasion and occupation process, and blocked IAEA requests to help in the search for WMD and other dangerous materials. As part of the UN sanctions regime still in place when the US invaded, the IAEA had “under seal” 350 tons of RDX and HDX explosives, since singly, and in combination, these materials can be used in the triggering process for a nuclear weapon. However, the explosives were allowed to remain in Iraq due to their conventional use in construction, oil pipe lines, and the like. Since the explosives went missing last year, sources say DOD and other elements in the Administration sought to block the IAEA from officially reporting the problem, and also tried to stop the new Iraqi Interim Government from cooperating with the IAEA. But finally, on Oct. 10, the Iraqi’s formally notified the IAEA, and on Oct. 15, the IAEA formally notified the Bush Administration. In press guidance prepared for release in the event news got out, but not released until today, when requested by The Nelson Report, State Department spokesmen confirmed the Iraqi government and IAEA report dates, and that 350 tons of dual use high explosives could not be accounted for. State says DOD has now authorized the Iraq Survey Group to investigate the situation, which, by all accounts, took place in April, 2003. The official press guidance claims “no indications of WMD” at the Al Qa Qaa site, but concedes that the IAEA-sealed explosives were already missing at that time. Some sources say that in addition to the explosives, 20,000 RDX-armed rockets were lost, but we cannot confirm this. However, sources do say that parts of Iraqi Scud engines, and other metal components, have turned up in scrap metal yards in Amsterdam.
1. The Summary gives you the sum total of what we have been told, starting Friday, by informed observers and directly involved officials. There was an expectation of a major newspaper story on it this morning, and perhaps also a segment on tonight’s 60 Minutes, on CBS Television. The newspaper report failed to materialize, the TV show may yet appear...stay tuned.

-- the information confirmed by the State Department Press Guidance, prepared, but not called for Friday, is important in that it provides, for the first time, explicit details on exactly what was lost to “looters” of the Al Qa Qaa bunker and building complex in the early days of the Iraq invasion and occupation, in April, 2003. The importance of the information? A highly informed official offered the assessment that, “this is the stuff the bad guys have been using to kill our troops, so you can’t ignore the political implications of this, and you would be correct to suspect that politics, or the fear of politics, played a major role in delaying the release of this information.”

Further down in this evening's edition of The Nelson Report comes this ...

3. The Iraqi authorities were caught in a similar bind, observers feel. Under heavy pressure from their sponsors in DOD and US occupation authorities not to cooperate with the IAEA, by confirming that all 350 tons of sealed explosives could not be accounted for, the Iraqi’s had to wait until the formal turnover of authority before notifying the IAEA, sources here suggest. So the Iraqis failed to act until Oct. 10, and the IAEA did not formally notified the US, by letter, until Oct. 15, according to the State Department’s official press guidance.
-- “What the hell WE were doing in the year and a half from the time we knew the stuff was gone, is obviously a huge question, and you can imagine why no one [in the Administration] wants to face up to it, certainly not before the election,” an Administration source says. Other sources also noted the language of the State Department guidance, which they interpret as seeking to deflect from the gravity of the situation in two ways: first, by listing hundreds of thousands of tons of other munitions and weapons already discovered and/or destroyed, “the Guidance has the effect, for unsophisticated listeners, of lowering the profile of ‘only’ 350 tons of RDX and HMX explosives from Al Qa Qaa”.

Note: experts were reluctant to say exactly how much of this stuff it takes for a successful road side bomb, for example, but the guesstimates were “a few pounds, at most.” In other words, “with 350 tons out there, the bombing can go on for years...”

4. Second, several highly informed sources were careful to hint, the “implications” of RDX and HMX, singly, and in combination, “are also an extremely serious issue, which is why they were under IAEA-seal”. One expert pointedly added, “and that’s all I can say on that, even on background.” Another sources noted, however, “it’s interesting that the Press Guidance seems to want us to look past any WMD implications for what was taken.”

-- another obvious question is what’s been done with the 350 tons, if anything, outside of Iraq? Our sources were unanimous in thinking that for reasons noted below, “it’s still in Iraq, and this is the most likely primary source of the explosives which have been used to blow up Humvees and in all the deadly car bomb attacks since the Occupation began.” Sources also discount any possibility except that “this was a highly organized. ...

[read more]

GOP Set to Rig the Election -- Again 

Democracy Now, Oct. 25:

Voters in states across the country have already begun to vote as millions more prepare to head to the polls next week in what many are calling one of the most important presidential elections in U.S. history.
Four years after the battle for Florida in 2000, the country is hoping to avoid another post-election stalemate and with the latest polls showing George W Bush and John Kerry in a statistical dead heat, every vote counts.

But while this election looks likely to be extremely close, the voting system is far from flawless. Voting machines have already begun to break down, accusations of systematic voter suppression and fraud are rampant, and lawyers have flocked to half a dozen states to cry foul.

In addition, a team of international observers who are monitoring the elections for the first time in American history, released a pre-election report that calls for major reforms in the process to promote confidence the voting system. ...

[read more]

Remember the Alamo: Give Texas Back to Mexico 

Gadflyer, Oct. 26:

Today John Kerry opened up a new line of attack on President Bush, charging that his policies and positions are a product of Texas, a state whose political culture lies far outside the American mainstream. "The former governor of Texas has governed like, well, like a former governor of Texas," said Kerry to the laughs and hoots of the crowd. "He's so far out on the right wing, he fell off the plane."

Kerry also brought up Tom DeLay, the ultra-conservative congressman from the Lone Star state. "George Bush makes Tom DeLay look like a Texas moderate!"

[read more]

Bush's Folly: $70 Billion More for War Requested 

Washington Post, Oct. 26:

The Bush administration intends to seek about $70 billion in emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan early next year, pushing total war costs close to $225 billion since the invasion of Iraq early last year, Pentagon and congressional officials said yesterday. ...

[read more]

A Culture of Cover Ups 

The New York Times, Oct. 26:

by Paul Krugman

... Aides to John Kerry say that if he wins, he'll replace Porter Goss as head of the C.I.A. Let's hope so: Mr. Goss has already confirmed the fears of those who worried about his appointment by placing Republican staff members from Capitol Hill in key positions and raising fears about a partisan purge.

But the flap over Mr. Goss is only a symptom of a much broader issue: whether the Bush administration will be able to maintain its culture of cover-ups. That culture affects every branch of policy, but it's strongest when it comes to the "war on terror."

Although President Bush's campaign is based almost entirely on his self-proclaimed leadership in that war, his officials have thrown a shroud of secrecy over any information that might let voters assess his performance.

Yesterday we got two peeks under that shroud. One was The Times's report about what the International Atomic Energy Agency calls "the greatest explosives bonanza in history." Ignoring the agency's warnings, administration officials failed to secure the weapons site, Al Qaqaa, in Iraq, allowing 377 tons of deadly high explosives to be looted, presumably by insurgents. ...

[read more]

Pssst! Bush Can't Be Reelected Because He Wasn't Elected in the First Place, Remember? 

New Yorker, Oct. 25:

... On Tuesday, November 7, 2000, more than a hundred and five million Americans went to the polls and, by a small but indisputable plurality, voted to make Al Gore President of the United States. Because of the way the votes were distributed, however, the outcome in the electoral college turned on the outcome in Florida. In that state, George W. Bush held a lead of some five hundred votes, one one-thousandth of Gore’s national margin; irregularities, and there were many, all had the effect of taking votes away from Gore; and the state’s electoral machinery was in the hands of Bush’s brother, who was the governor, and one of Bush’s state campaign co-chairs, who was the Florida secretary of state. ...

[read more]

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Great Ear Wax Debate 

The many ears of George W. Bush. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

[read more]

Meanwhile, Business as Usual 

Reuters, Oct. 22:

The U.S. Army is laying the groundwork to let Halliburton Co. keep several billion dollars paid for work in Iraq that Pentagon auditors say is questionable or unsupported by proper documentation, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
According to Pentagon documents reviewed by the Journal, the Army has acknowledged that the Houston-based company might never be able to account properly for some of its work, which has been probed amid accusations that Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root unit overbilled the government for some operations in Iraq.

The company has hired a consulting firm to estimate what Halliburton's services should cost, the report said. ...

[read more]

Meanwhile, Business as Usual 

Reuters, Oct. 22:

The U.S. Army is laying the groundwork to let Halliburton Co. keep several billion dollars paid for work in Iraq that Pentagon auditors say is questionable or unsupported by proper documentation, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
According to Pentagon documents reviewed by the Journal, the Army has acknowledged that the Houston-based company might never be able to account properly for some of its work, which has been probed amid accusations that Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root unit overbilled the government for some operations in Iraq.

The company has hired a consulting firm to estimate what Halliburton's services should cost, the report said. ...

[read more]

Army Whistleblower Exposes Halliburton Rip Off 

Toronto Globe and Mail, Oct. 24:

The army has agreed to a Pentagon investigation into claims by a top contracting official that a Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, unfairly won no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars for work in Iraq and the Balkans, according to army documents obtained Sunday.

The complaint alleges that the award of contracts without competition to restore Iraq's oil industry and to supply and feed U.S. troops in the Balkans puts at risk "the integrity of the federal contracting program as it relates to a major defence contractor."

It also asks protection from retaliation for the whistle-blower, Bunnatine Greenhouse, chief contracting officer of the Army Corps of Engineers.

In a letter to Mr. Greenhouse's lawyer, an army lawyer said that the matter is being referred to the Defence Department's inspector general for "review and action, as appropriate." It also said the Corps had been ordered to "suspend any adverse personnel action" against Greenhouse "until a sufficient record is available to address the specific matters" in her complaint. ...

[read more]

Six Iraqis Die in Bomb Attacks 

CNN, Oct. 25:

Insurgent bomb attacks in Baghdad and Mosul killed six Iraqi civilians Monday, the U.S. military said.

In the Baghdad attacks, a trio of nearly simultaneous explosions killed three Iraqi civilians and wounded nine others, including six civilians and three Australian soldiers, the U.S. military said.

The largest blast was from a car bomb that killed three Iraqi civilians. The attack targeted an Australian military convoy near the Australian Embassy in central Baghdad, a U.S. military spokesman said. The Australian soldiers' injuries were described as not life-threatening. The military had no details about the six civilian injuries. ...

[read more]

McCain Decries CIA Prisoner Treatment 

Reuters, Oct. 24:

Two senators said on Sunday they were troubled by a report that U.S. intelligence officials secretly transferred as many as a dozen detainees out of Iraq in the last six months, possibly violating international treaties.
In an interview on ABC's "This Week," Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who has campaigned for President Bush in his re-election bid, warned against violating international treaties that aim to ensure humane treatment of prisoners and civilians during a war.

"These conventions and these rules are in place for a reason, because you get on a slippery slope and you don't know where to get off," McCain, who was held prisoner by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, said.

"The thing that separates us from the enemy is our respect for human rights." ...

[read more]

Dozens of Iraqi Recruits Slain 

Los Angeles Times, Oct. 25:

In the deadliest ambush yet on Iraq's armed forces, guerrillas killed dozens of unarmed Iraqi soldiers, many apparently forced onto their stomachs and shot execution-style along a remote eastern highway near the Iranian border, Iraqi officials said Sunday.

Estimates of the death toll ranged from three dozen to 51. ...

[read more]

380 Tons of Explosives Vanish in Iraq 

This, of course, is unbelievalble. But it, nevertheless, did make the front page of the paper of record this morning. How does 380 tons of explosives disappear? I worked in a warehouse for 20 years, I know what it takes to move this amount of materials: it takes time, money, manpower and lots of heavy equipment. If this is true, whoever carted this stuff off had to have done it under the noses of the U.S. military. Which means somebody was obviously negligent in their duties or the operation had the tacit approval of somebody way up in the command structure. What the fuck is goin on here and does Bush have the slightest clue?

Canadian Broadcasting Corportation, Oct. 25

Hundreds of tonnes of high explosives are missing and probably looted from a former Iraqi military facility, the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei is expected to report the missing explosives to the UN Security Council on Monday, a spokesperson told the Associated Press.

Melissa Fleming said the Iraqi Ministry of Science and Technology had told the agency that about 350 tonnes of material was missing from the former Al Qaqaa military installation – once a key facility in Saddam Hussein's efforts to build a nuclear bomb.

Iraqi material missing, says UN nuclear agency

"We do not know what happened to the explosives or when they were looted," said Fleming.
Included in the missing material are HMX and RDX, the New York Times reported on Monday. Those explosives can be used to demolish buildings, but can also be used to produce warheads for missiles and detonate nuclear weaponry.

HMX is used in various kinds of explosives and rocket fuels. RDX is considered the most powerful of the high explosives in military use.

Both are key ingredients in plastic explosives such as Semtex and C-4. About five pounds of either plastic explosive would be enough to destroy a dozen airliners, experts say.

[read more]

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?