Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Schwarzenegger Says Pro-Bush Speech Irked His Wife

Comment: Ok, Sex Partners of Repubs, Your Duty is Clear (and don't just withhold for 14 days)

Schwarzenegger Says Pro-Bush Speech Irked His WifeTue Oct 19, 2004 07:22 AM ET
MONTEREY, Calif. (Reuters) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Monday that his speech backing President Bush at the Republican Convention in August resulted in a cold shoulder from his wife, Maria Shriver, a member of the famously Democratic Kennedy family.
"Well, there was no sex for 14 days," Schwarzenegger told former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta in an on-stage conversation in front of 1,000 people.
"Everything comes with side effects," he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Panetta, a Democrat, had asked how Shriver, whose uncle was President John F. Kennedy, had reacted to his praised but partisan convention speech.
Schwarzenegger referred to Shriver several times in the 90-minute conversation.
"I don't know why I watched the presidential debates," he said. "If I want to watch a smart liberal Democrat and a Republican leader argue, all we have to do is go out to dinner. They were lucky. They only had to do it three times."
Asked about the difference between following Hollywood movie scripts and being on his own in politics, he quipped: "When you're married to my wife, you're never your own boss."
California is expected to support Democratic challenger John Kerry in the election in two weeks, and Schwarzenegger, who faces re-election in 2006, has been careful not to offend the majority Democratic voters in his state.
"I think both (candidates) are doing a great job; it's very tedious to be out there campaigning a year and a half," he said at the Panetta Institute for Public Policy in Monterey. "You make one mistake and you lose the presidency."
Schwarzenegger said the one state where he might campaign for Bush outside of California was Ohio, where he owns a gym and sponsors an annual body building competition.
"I said to the president I'm perfectly willing to go to Ohio if he needs me there but I can't travel around from state to state because I'm working for the people of California," he said.
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Bush's bad news on black wealth

Bush's bad news on black wealth
Boston Globe
HERE ARE some economics issues to consider on on Election Day. President Bush told a national conference for journalists of color in August, ''Judge me on home ownership in America.'' Bush went on to say, ''More minority families own their home today than ever before in the history of the United States of America. And that's a positive development for ...
Derrick Z. Jackson
October 19, 2004
Bush's bad news on black wealth
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist October 19, 2004
HERE ARE some economics issues to consider on on Election Day. President Bush told a national conference for journalists of color in August, ''Judge me on home ownership in America.'' Bush went on to say, ''More minority families own their home today than ever before in the history of the United States of America. And that's a positive development for this country.''
Bush probably does not really want America to judge him. The small positive hides a huge negative. According to Census Data, 48.1 percent of African-American households own their own home. That is only a slight statistical improvement over the 44.4 percent a quarter century ago. Worse, there has been no closing of the gap between black and white households. In 1979, black home ownership was 24 percentage points behind white households. Today, it is still 24 percentage points behind white households.
Worse still, the wealth of African-American households is actually in decline, according to a new Pew Charitable Trusts study. Despite the recent recession, white household wealth has increased by 17 percent since 1996, to $88,651. Black household wealth dropped by 16 percent, to $5,988. Latino household wealth increased by 14 percent, but only to $7,932, not even 10 percent of white household wealth.
Even though white household wealth has gone up, there is plenty to think about, meaning that black folks might be more a warning sign for all Americans than an aberration. In a speech this weekend, Bush said, ''To help families and to get this economy going again, I pledged to reduce taxes. I kept my word. Because we acted, the recession was one of the shallowest in American history. Over the last three years, our economy has grown at the fastest rate of any major industrialized nation.''
What Bush really meant was that the economy for CEOs has grown at the fastest rate of any major industrialized nation. The average CEO compensation has risen to $8.1 million a year according to Business Week, creating a CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 301-1, according to United for a Fair Economy and the Institute for Policy Studies.
If the minimum wage tracked the rise in CEO pay, it would be $15.76, not its current $5.15. If the salary of the average production worker kept pace with the rises in CEO pay since 1990, workers would be making $75,388 a year instead of $26,899.
As for the great benefit of the tax cuts for average families. The middle fifth of all Americans saw average checks of $756. The top 1 percent saw average checks of $33,864. The check for the wealthiest 1 percent is worth a year and a half of the average tuition of private college. The tax cut for the middle American is worth two months of the average tuition at a public university.
That gets us back to the wealth gap. According to the Century Foundation, the average wealth of the top 1 percent of Americans has exploded since 1989, from nearly $8 million household to $13 million. The wealth of the next 9 percent of Americans is $1.6 million. The worth of the next 40 percent of households shrinks to $272,378. The worth of the bottom 50 percent of American households is $22,079.
According to the Century Foundation's review of federal and think-tank economic data, the tax cuts that Bush promises to make permanent if he is reelected are one of the biggest reasons the nation has gone from a projection of $5 trillion in cumulative budget surpluses by 2011 to a possible cumulative deficit of $4.4 trillion. The foundation estimates that Bush's tax cuts play more of a role than even defense and military spending.
Defense and military spending are 20 percent of the deficit. The downturn in the economy is responsible for another 35 percent. The tax cuts are responsible for 36 percent. The foundation predicts that the tax cuts will grow into an even bigger reason for the federal deficit, responsible for 44 percent of it by 2011.
On the stump, Bush says, ''To create jobs, we've got to be wise about how we spend your money and keep your taxes low.'' The Century Foundation's review says, ''The lurch into massive deficits represents a profound reduction in potential American-owned private investment.'' In two weeks, Americans will lean into the voting booth to accept or reject the rhetoric that promises average Americans the equivalent of a free school lunch, while the rich unfold their napkins for a five-star tax dinner.
Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.
© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

The psychology of patriotic denial Special Report

Special Report
The psychology of patriotic denial
By Tova GabrielleOnline Journal Guest Writer
Download a .pdf file for printing.Adobe Acrobat Reader required.Click here to download a free copy.
October 14, 2004—Surely I am not the only person who can figure out that if people are secretive and uncooperative, it is probably because they're hiding something (and that the more secretive they are, the more they have to hide). So why has the mainstream press reached the consensus that the Bush Mob has hindered the 9/11 investigations because it wishes to "avoid embarrassment," rather than to "avoid incrimination"? What deeper motives might there be for their stonewalling investigations into one of the biggest crimes in our history?
As far fetched as it may seem, this wouldn't be the first time in history a country planned or executed a major attack on its own soil and blamed foreign factions for political purposes. The Reichstag Fires, which occurred under Hitler's regime in Germany, and Operation Northwoods in the United States, under the Kennedy administration during the early sixties, are two prime examples of such planning.
Unlike the rest of the world, most people in this country insist that there is not a large enough, technologically advanced enough, or rich enough power base in the U.S. that could have orchestrated the events of 9/11. Yet they are perfectly content to believe that people from a less technologically advanced and poorer country could have done so. They are willing to believe that people who are operating out of caves, far across the world from us, have more expertise than we do. These superpowered demons, headed by Osama bin Laden, apparently possess an elusive power base so magical that we cannot locate it, despite all our technology. However, we can still somehow receive updates and videos regularly from them—but, oddly enough, we cannot trace the sources of these communications.
Just like children fearing boogiemen beneath our beds, we seem to assume these dark forces are far trickier and more resourceful than the most powerful country in the world. Educated U.S. citizens, unlike the educated and thinking citizens of other countries, have suspended their common sense as if hypnotized by the shock and denial they experienced in the wake of the vulnerability they felt following 9/11. They have accepted the party line that it was evil "others," far across the world, who, by themselves, planned and executed this amazing feat (and that it is just a coincidence that this was the rationale for Bush's attacks on two sovereign countries). They cannot see that there is no evil demon with such magical, unlimited resources, but that it is our own denial-laced fears that have fueled our false beliefs in the omniscient power of the hidden "others."
Although we can see that our democracy has been taken over by powerful and well-funded religious fanatics who continually terrorize living beings across the globe, we fail to acknowledge that if they have the technology, membership, and organization to foil elections and stage phony wars (in the face of massive protest around the world), they might likewise have the resources and drive to pull off such a massive deception as the 9/11 disaster in their own country.
How long must we remain hypnotized by shock and paralyzed by fear and depression before we realize that only our own whistle-blowing will stop these people? It is well past time to examine in depth the truly terrible agendas operating in our government and to expose how these agendas are being covered up. We, apparently, are the only population that doesn't see through the charade. Every day we read of the degree to which they are willing to go in order to deceive us. Even Colin Powell called Rumsfeld and others "fÇÇÇing crazy" in their masterminding of the Iraq war.
Pride is difficult to swallow. No one wants to be a fool. In this article, I hope to help people understand how it is that we could have been so thoroughly fooled and how so many of us still remain staunchly deluded. For once we understand a problem, we need no longer be subject to its dynamic influences.
Regarding the historical details that prove that our country has indeed been inclined to attack its own people for political ends, I refer readers to historians like Howard Zinn. Herein, I offer insights arising from my expertise in the psychologies of addiction, religious cults, mind control, and hypnosis to explain how an entire country was duped, and how to recover our perspectives.
Let's begin on the level of personal psychology, of which political psychology is a manifestation. George W. Bush is a power addict and a puppet of the factions he represents. Like many power addicts, he has a history of alcoholism (as well as cocaine abuse). He is what is called a "dry drunk"—he may not drink, but he cannot face reality either, and therefore behaves with the same denial as one who does drink. Alcoholics have a compulsive need to be in control of others, since they are unable to control their own impulses and drives. They attempt to assert control by falsely inflating themselves and their causes. Everyone succumbs, on occasion, to denial when their pain becomes too great, but addicts have a particularly flagrant disregard for the truth. They cannot tolerate feelings of vulnerability and when their recovery is not going well, they replace one addiction with another.
Having given up substance abuse, George Bush has adopted fanaticism as a false means of control over his feelings of vulnerability. This is a typical response of people seeking to escape the shame of their past and their disorganized, chaotic experience. Constricting themselves within the bounds of a rigid, fundamentalist, ideological framework allows such people to shelter themselves from the potentially overwhelming levels of anxiety they may experience during the process of healthy recovery. It allows them to substitute authoritative quick fixes for actually having to think (rather than drink). They fail to develop common sense and reasoning powers to heal the disorganization and panic they experience. They are driven by a philosophy which compels them to react first and (try not to) think later.
Grandiosity is a hallmark of addicts and alcoholics because the most difficult thing for them to cope with is powerlessness. "It doesn't matter whether or not you believe in a higher power," author John Bradshaw tells people in recovery, "just that you know that you aren't it." When in power, these people deal with their feelings of powerlessness by continually attempting to convince themselves and anyone opposed to them that they are all right and others are all wrong. Their sense of loss and defeat is so strong that they need to believe, like children needing their parents' divine approval, that they have "God" on their side.
Polarized, black-and-white thinking is the hallmark of mental illness. Bush and his carefully chosen, like-minded mob represent a huge faction of similar-minded fanatics who project their rigid, fear-based internal structures upon others within a black-and-white, good-versus-evil framework of thinking. Bradshaw writes that alcoholics don''t have relationships, but instead "take hostages." We citizens are expected to observe the unspoken but classic rules that protect the alcoholic head of the family: "Don't talk, don't think, don't feel."
Such "addictive scripts" help maintain the power and façade of alcoholics and addicts. And the amazing part is that we, as citizens, may unknowingly play our parts as enablers, just like children of alcoholics. Sadly, many of us, acting as virtual children of alcoholics, play our parts in maintaining what we hope to be some measure of stability in our systems. As loyal children in an alcoholic family, many people will rigidly deny the extent to which our "parental" powers will go to manipulate and control us with fear. The defenses we may employ in our denials arise in infancy and are only finally uprooted through therapy or through insight that is willing to upset the systems we internalized.
Denial is a primitive defense; children understandably don't acknowledge the alcoholic father's insanity—after all he's the only father they've got. The Bush administration depends upon our continued fear and isolation from like-minded others to keep us bonded to it in ignorance of what it does. Inflated patriotism is but a misguided defense of a system that has the will and means to destroy us for power, just like an alcoholic parent will sacrifice all for drink. As long as we feel overwhelmed and disempowered, we won't investigate our intuitions or connect the dots.
It certainly helps the agendas of those in power if we are chronically too tired, broke and scared to think, feel, and talk. Otherwise, we might find the energy to contemplate the truth, to have insights and inspirations, and to organize. The George Bushes of our country are absolutely terrified of the power of the masses.
We have learned to "negatively hallucinate," that is, to not see the obvious, when it contradicts our beliefs. We have been raised and bred in institutions and families where the very persons preparing and conditioning us for the "real world" have hidden their own skeletons in our closets. Without our realizing it, their shames, secrets, and fears become our inheritances. While it is all right to hate Bush and company for being liars and idiots, we stop short of believing they could be evil and powerful enough to have actually organized and pulled off the 9/11 attacks.
We were hypnotized on 9/11. Some of the strategies used to bring about a hypnotic state include shock, repetition of phrases and images, and exploiting people's sense of vulnerability so that they relinquish their previously held beliefs and endorse something formerly untenable to them.
The Bush administration has employed what hypnotists refer to as a "yes set" in order to bring us under its spell: The towers were hit. Yes. People died. Yes. The world is unsafe. Yes. We know who did it. Yes. We must react now. Yes. If you are not with us you are against us. Huh? The towers were hit. People died. Yes. And so on until all the answers are the desired "yes."
After the shock and the deepening of our fear reactions through repetitive imagery and continuous intimidation and lies, we found ourselves in a state of disorganization and simulated ego disintegration. Consequently, we have been thinking with our reptilian brains rather than our frontal lobes, which means that we haven't been THINKING at all. (The reptilian brain stem is only capable of fight or flight responses, not reasoned ones).
Opening our minds to the revelations described on 911research.com and websites like it forces us to confront our deepest, survival-based beliefs: it is almost impossible for us to accept that something so extreme could happen here.
Can you imagine that when Hitler was coming into power, the general public believed the rumors? Who would have taken seriously such nightmarish images as concentration camps replete with huge ovens? Who ever had heard of such a thing? The first people who were on to it were, no doubt, dubbed "conspiracy nuts" by the public (they were, interestingly, referred to by the Third Reich as "terrorists").
In time, the truth comes out. The world had to face the ugliest truth, and when it did, it said, "Never again." But how closely now are we watching over our freedom? Are we unknowingly protecting ourselves from highly upsetting truths in order to protect our unconscious, infantile need to believe that this is a democracy and a country devoted to our well being?
Our tendencies toward denial are also enhanced by the messages from the commercial world that constantly bombards us: "Don't get excited." "Take a pill." "Soft, easy, quick." We have been raised as a country of addicts brainwashed into finding a way out of feeling pain. The longer we delude ourselves and try to avoid our pain, the greater is the infection that we create within our collective psyche.
The movie "The Truman Show" features a character who has been set up all his life to believe in a fake reality in which he was being tricked and used. He finally rejects this reality, choosing to enter the unknown and face possible death over living a lie. Why have we been afraid to imagine the worst when there is ample reason for suspicion? Are we afraid of the anxiety such a disruption could evoke in our minds? This is what the protagonist of "The Truman Show" had to face. Like him, we need to become willing to give up our sense of false security in order to stop living a huge lie. Otherwise, we will remain, like children of alcoholics, afraid of our feelings of powerlessness.
Of course it is difficult to confront our fears and insecurities. But the good news is that facing reality is the way to become empowered. Do we fear that if we discovered the worst, we might explode with anger? Or implode with despair? Who ever imagined that we'd have to worry about rigged elections? Heck, that's one of the criteria for fascism, and we hold the true ideals of democracy close to us. The psychological weakness in our collective consciousness that has allowed George Bush to abuse his power needs to be deeply examined, in order for these dynamics to change.
The clarity and thoroughness of the evidence laid out on this website allows us to take the first steps toward being able to believe that the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 attacks. Change happens incrementally. Little waves of inspiration and insight feed bigger waves. The inevitable backlash against the lies of the last three years might even lead to a truth movement. We needn't be despondent; rather, we need to get even by creating this truth movement. The evidence supporting the claims of Bush's complicity in 9/11 is readily available both on the Internet and increasingly in hardcopy. This information is as plain as math, as concrete and physical as anything you've ever learned in school.
It becomes easier to face upsetting, painful facts once we become willing to change our beliefs. George Bush's lies have paved the way for a new wave of believers. Thanks to the Bush mob's relentless lies, we are being prodded to loosen the tightest of our psychological constrictions, our beliefs in what is possible.
Beliefs are the hardest off all psychological mechanisms to change. They are the structures upon which we have built our lives. To challenge our belief system is to threaten our ideas of who we are. Doing so can be disastrously disorienting, which is why people have been so slow to catch on, but it can also be enormously relieving and empowering.
When a problem seems too huge to fix, you can't begin to change it until you change your beliefs. You need to throw out your old lenses in order to be able to perceive what you formerly couldn't see. Then you can begin to emerge from your reptilian, survival-oriented, limited brain and begin to imagine and put together the many available puzzle pieces.
Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. We need imagination now to counter the mindsets we inherited as a result of being raised in systems that were designed to protect power. We learned to believe that those with power over us were truly protecting us, despite their nasty habits and lies. We were trained not to see who our real enemies are.
But we can stop being controlled by fear now. We can utilize our healthy outrage to expose the inconsistencies in what we have been told and leave no stone unturned. Our country's situation is not hopeless for the simple reason that we are not children and we can expose the traitors who have used political power against the people they are supposed to serve.
The Bush administration is not above the law. The more this administration disrespects the citizens of this country, the more pressure it creates in people to break free of it at last and consider the extent of its insanity.
To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The Bush administration's continual lies are bound to generate more and more skepticism toward them and an increasing interest in the truth. We are consequently being led into a sort of "forced individuation."
As our truth movement gains momentum to break free of the excuses and lies, we will see who the true "terrorists" within our own government are. We will know that the so-called "war on terrorism" is a fantasy.
When we break the code of silence, we will have to walk away from the government that we have allowed to morph into an instrument of corporate control. We will then either turn back to our original Constitution or go forth and find a new vision, moving, with a keen eye for truth, into uncharted territories. It will be very exciting. But we will no longer be innocent children, for we will have become aware of what can happen if we don't carefully guard democracy, especially in this new millennium. As adults, we will have to begin by envisioning alternatives. We must begin by brainstorming a new system. No more can we allow such massive failures of our own imagination. No more "intelligence failures." It is healthy to get mad, but use that fuel wisely: Get creative and spread the truth. We can't heal what we can't feel. We can't change what we won't even dare to imagine.
* * * * *
Here is an excerpt from a November 7, 2001 piece that appeared on ABC.com about a book by David Ruppe:
Friendly FireBook: U.S. Military Drafted Plans to Terrorize U.S.Cities to Provoke War With Cuba
NEW YORK, May 1: In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba. Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities. The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro. America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: 'We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,' and, 'casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.'"
The following excerpt is from an article that appeared on September 13, 2002 in CommonDreams.org, by historian Harvey Wasserman, entitled "Bush's 9/11 Reichstag Fire":
"When Hitler was rising to power in 1930s Germany, somebody did him the favor of burning the Reichstag, the German Parliament. It's widely believed the Nazis torched it themselves. Hitler's cynical minions turned that fire into a horrific wave of terror. They blamed 'the communists' and the Jews, the trade unionists and the homosexuals. With the support of a terrified populace, they suspended civil rights and civil liberties, fattened their war machine and rode the fascist tide into a full-blown dictatorship. The rest, as they say, is history."
Tova Gabrielle's articles, short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous publications. She also has worked as a psychotherapist and substance abuse counselor.

The making of the terror myth

The making of the terror myth
Since September 11 Britain has been warned of the 'inevitability' of catastrophic terrorist attack. But has the danger been exaggerated? A major new TV documentary claims that the perceived threat is a politically driven fantasy - and al-Qaida a dark illusion. Andy Beckett reportsAndy BeckettFriday October 15, 2004
The GuardianSince the attacks on the United States in September 2001, there have been more than a thousand references in British national newspapers, working out at almost one every single day, to the phrase "dirty bomb". There have been articles about how such a device can use ordinary explosives to spread lethal radiation; about how London would be evacuated in the event of such a detonation; about the Home Secretary David Blunkett's statement on terrorism in November 2002 that specifically raised the possibility of a dirty bomb being planted in Britain; and about the arrests of several groups of people, the latest only last month, for allegedly plotting exactly that.
Starting next Wednesday, BBC2 is to broadcast a three-part documentary series that will add further to what could be called the dirty bomb genre. But, as its title suggests, The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear takes a different view of the weapon's potential.
"I don't think it would kill anybody," says Dr Theodore Rockwell, an authority on radiation, in an interview for the series. "You'll have trouble finding a serious report that would claim otherwise." The American department of energy, Rockwell continues, has simulated a dirty bomb explosion, "and they calculated that the most exposed individual would get a fairly high dose [of radiation], not life-threatening." And even this minor threat is open to question. The test assumed that no one fled the explosion for one year.
During the three years in which the "war on terror" has been waged, high-profile challenges to its assumptions have been rare. The sheer number of incidents and warnings connected or attributed to the war has left little room, it seems, for heretical thoughts. In this context, the central theme of The Power of Nightmares is riskily counter-intuitive and provocative. Much of the currently perceived threat from international terrorism, the series argues, "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media." The series' explanation for this is even bolder: "In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power."
Adam Curtis, who wrote and produced the series, acknowledges the difficulty of saying such things now. "If a bomb goes off, the fear I have is that everyone will say, 'You're completely wrong,' even if the incident doesn't touch my argument. This shows the way we have all become trapped, the way even I have become trapped by a fear that is completely irrational."
So controversial is the tone of his series, that trailers for it were not broadcast last weekend because of the killing of Kenneth Bigley. At the BBC, Curtis freely admits, there are "anxieties". But there is also enthusiasm for the programmes, in part thanks to his reputation. Over the past dozen years, via similarly ambitious documentary series such as Pandora's Box, The Mayfair Set and The Century of the Self, Curtis has established himself as perhaps the most acclaimed maker of serious television programmes in Britain. His trademarks are long research, the revelatory use of archive footage, telling interviews, and smooth, insistent voiceovers concerned with the unnoticed deeper currents of recent history, narrated by Curtis himself in tones that combine traditional BBC authority with something more modern and sceptical: "I want to try to make people look at things they think they know about in a new way."
The Power of Nightmares seeks to overturn much of what is widely believed about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. The latter, it argues, is not an organised international network. It does not have members or a leader. It does not have "sleeper cells". It does not have an overall strategy. In fact, it barely exists at all, except as an idea about cleansing a corrupt world through religious violence.
Curtis' evidence for these assertions is not easily dismissed. He tells the story of Islamism, or the desire to establish Islam as an unbreakable political framework, as half a century of mostly failed, short-lived revolutions and spectacular but politically ineffective terrorism. Curtis points out that al-Qaida did not even have a name until early 2001, when the American government decided to prosecute Bin Laden in his absence and had to use anti-Mafia laws that required the existence of a named criminal organisation.
Curtis also cites the Home Office's own statistics for arrests and convictions of suspected terrorists since September 11 2001. Of the 664 people detained up to the end of last month, only 17 have been found guilty. Of these, the majority were Irish Republicans, Sikh militants or members of other groups with no connection to Islamist terrorism. Nobody has been convicted who is a proven member of al-Qaida.
In fact, Curtis is not alone in wondering about all this. Quietly but increasingly, other observers of the war on terror have been having similar doubts. "The grand concept of the war has not succeeded," says Jonathan Eyal, director of the British military thinktank the Royal United Services Institute. "In purely military terms, it has been an inconclusive war ... a rather haphazard operation. Al-Qaida managed the most spectacular attack, but clearly it is also being sustained by the way that we rather cavalierly stick the name al-Qaida on Iraq, Indonesia, the Philippines. There is a long tradition that if you divert all your resources to a threat, then you exaggerate it."
Bill Durodie, director of the international centre for security analysis at King's College London, says: "The reality [of the al-Qaida threat to the west] has been essentially a one-off. There has been one incident in the developed world since 9/11 [the Madrid bombings]. There's no real evidence that all these groups are connected." Crispin Black, a senior government intelligence analyst until 2002, is more cautious but admits the terrorist threat presented by politicians and the media is "out of date and too one-dimensional. We think there is a bit of a gulf between the terrorists' ambition and their ability to pull it off."
Terrorism, by definition, depends on an element of bluff. Yet ever since terrorists in the modern sense of the term (the word terrorism was actually coined to describe the strategy of a government, the authoritarian French revolutionary regime of the 1790s) began to assassinate politicians and then members of the public during the 19th century, states have habitually overreacted. Adam Roberts, professor of international relations at Oxford, says that governments often believe struggles with terrorists "to be of absolute cosmic significance", and that therefore "anything goes" when it comes to winning. The historian Linda Colley adds: "States and their rulers expect to monopolise violence, and that is why they react so virulently to terrorism."
Britain may also be particularly sensitive to foreign infiltrators, fifth columnists and related menaces. In spite, or perhaps because of, the absence of an actual invasion for many centuries, British history is marked by frequent panics about the arrival of Spanish raiding parties, French revolutionary agitators, anarchists, bolsheviks and Irish terrorists. "These kind of panics rarely happen without some sort of cause," says Colley. "But politicians make the most of them."
They are not the only ones who find opportunities. "Almost no one questions this myth about al-Qaida because so many people have got an interest in keeping it alive," says Curtis. He cites the suspiciously circular relationship between the security services and much of the media since September 2001: the way in which official briefings about terrorism, often unverified or unverifiable by journalists, have become dramatic press stories which - in a jittery media-driven democracy - have prompted further briefings and further stories. Few of these ominous announcements are retracted if they turn out to be baseless: "There is no fact-checking about al-Qaida."
In one sense, of course, Curtis himself is part of the al-Qaida industry. The Power of Nightmares began as an investigation of something else, the rise of modern American conservatism. Curtis was interested in Leo Strauss, a political philosopher at the university of Chicago in the 50s who rejected the liberalism of postwar America as amoral and who thought that the country could be rescued by a revived belief in America's unique role to battle evil in the world. Strauss's certainty and his emphasis on the use of grand myths as a higher form of political propaganda created a group of influential disciples such as Paul Wolfowitz, now the US deputy defence secretary. They came to prominence by talking up the Russian threat during the cold war and have applied a similar strategy in the war on terror.
As Curtis traced the rise of the "Straussians", he came to a conclusion that would form the basis for The Power of Nightmares. Straussian conservatism had a previously unsuspected amount in common with Islamism: from origins in the 50s, to a formative belief that liberalism was the enemy, to an actual period of Islamist-Straussian collaboration against the Soviet Union during the war in Afghanistan in the 80s (both movements have proved adept at finding new foes to keep them going). Although the Islamists and the Straussians have fallen out since then, as the attacks on America in 2001 graphically demonstrated, they are in another way, Curtis concludes, collaborating still: in sustaining the "fantasy" of the war on terror.
Some may find all this difficult to swallow. But Curtis insists,"There is no way that I'm trying to be controversial just for the sake of it." Neither is he trying to be an anti-conservative polemicist like Michael Moore: "[Moore's] purpose is avowedly political. My hope is that you won't be able to tell what my politics are." For all the dizzying ideas and visual jolts and black jokes in his programmes, Curtis describes his intentions in sober, civic-minded terms. "If you go back into history and plod through it, the myth falls away. You see that these aren't terrifying new monsters. It's drawing the poison of the fear."
But whatever the reception of the series, this fear could be around for a while. It took the British government decades to dismantle the draconian laws it passed against French revolutionary infiltrators; the cold war was sustained for almost half a century without Russia invading the west, or even conclusive evidence that it ever intended to. "The archives have been opened," says the cold war historian David Caute, "but they don't bring evidence to bear on this." And the danger from Islamist terrorists, whatever its scale, is concrete. A sceptical observer of the war on terror in the British security services says: "All they need is a big bomb every 18 months to keep this going."
The war on terror already has a hold on western political culture. "After a 300-year debate between freedom of the individual and protection of society, the protection of society seems to be the only priority," says Eyal. Black agrees: "We are probably moving to a point in the UK where national security becomes the electoral question."
Some critics of this situation see our striking susceptibility during the 90s to other anxieties - the millennium bug, MMR, genetically modified food - as a sort of dress rehearsal for the war on terror. The press became accustomed to publishing scare stories and not retracting them; politicians became accustomed to responding to supposed threats rather than questioning them; the public became accustomed to the idea that some sort of apocalypse might be just around the corner. "Insecurity is the key driving concept of our times," says Durodie. "Politicians have packaged themselves as risk managers. There is also a demand from below for protection." The real reason for this insecurity, he argues, is the decay of the 20th century's political belief systems and social structures: people have been left "disconnected" and "fearful".
Yet the notion that "security politics" is the perfect instrument for every ambitious politician from Blunkett to Wolfowitz also has its weaknesses. The fears of the public, in Britain at least, are actually quite erratic: when the opinion pollsters Mori asked people what they felt was the most important political issue, the figure for "defence and foreign affairs" leapt from 2% to 60% after the attacks of September 2001, yet by January 2002 had fallen back almost to its earlier level. And then there are the twin risks that the terrors politicians warn of will either not materialise or will materialise all too brutally, and in both cases the politicians will be blamed. "This is a very rickety platform from which to build up a political career," says Eyal. He sees the war on terror as a hurried improvisation rather than some grand Straussian strategy: "In democracies, in order to galvanize the public for war, you have to make the enemy bigger, uglier and more menacing."
Afterwards, I look at a website for a well-connected American foreign policy lobbying group called the Committee on the Present Danger. The committee features in The Power of Nightmares as a vehicle for alarmist Straussian propaganda during the cold war. After the Soviet collapse, as the website puts it, "The mission of the committee was considered complete." But then the website goes on: "Today radical Islamists threaten the safety of the American people. Like the cold war, securing our freedom is a long-term struggle. The road to victory begins ... "
· The Power of Nightmares starts on BBC2 at 9pm on Wednesday October 20.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Statement by William G. Milliken

October 18, 2004
Statement by William G. Milliken October 17, 2004

As a lifelong Republican, I have had mounting concern watching this year's presidential campaign. I have always been proud to be a Republican. My Republican Party is a broad-based party, that seeks to bring a wide spectrum of people under its umbrella and that seeks to protect and provide opportunity for the most vulnerable among us. Sadly, that is not the Republican Party that I see at the national level today. My Republican Party has always been a party that stood for fiscal responsibility. Today, under George W. Bush, we have the largest deficit in the history of our country - a deficit that jeopardizes economic growth that is so desperately needed in a nation that has lost 2.6 million jobs since he took office. To make matters even worse, this president inherited a surplus, but squandered it with huge tax cuts structured primarily to benefit the wealthy and powerful. My Republican Party is the party of Michigan Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg who helped forge a bipartisan foreign policy that served this nation well and produced strong alliances across the globe. This president has, in a highly partisan, unilateral way rushed us into a tragic and unnecessary war that has cost the lives of more than 1,000 of our young men and women. In this arrogant rush to war, he has alienated this nation from much of the world. What's worse, the basic premises upon which we were taken to war proved to be false. Now, we find ourselves in the midst of an occupation that was largely unplanned and has become a disaster from which we cannot easily extricate ourselves. My Republican Party is the party of Theodore Roosevelt, who fought to preserve our natural resources and environment. This president has pursued policies that will cause irreparable damage to our environmental laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the public lands we share with future generations. My Republican Party is the party of Lincoln, who freed an enslaved people. This president fought in the courts to strike down policies designed to provide opportunity and access to our own University of Michigan for minority students. My Republican Party is the party of Eisenhower, who warned us to beware of the dangers of a military-industrial complex. This president has pursued policies skewed to favor large corporations in the defense and oil industry and has gone so far as to let those industries help write government policies. My Republican Party is a party that respects and works with the men and women of the law enforcement community who put their lives on the line for us every day. This president ignored the pleas of law enforcement agencies across America and failed to lift a finger to renew the assault weapons ban that they strongly supported as an essential safeguard for public safety. My Republican Party is a party that values the pursuit of knowledge. But this president stands in the way of meaningful embryonic stem-cell research that holds so much promise for those who suffer from diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries and other conditions. My Republican Party is the party of Gerald R. Ford, Michigan's only president, who reached across partisan lines to become a unifying force during a time of great turmoil in our nation's history. This president has pursued policies pandering to the extreme right wing across a wide variety of issues and has exacerbated the polarization and the strident, uncivil tone of much of what passes for political discourse in this country today. Women's rights, civil liberties, the separation of church and state, the funding of family planning efforts world-wide - all have suffered grievously under this president and his administration. The truth is that President George W. Bush does not speak for me or for many other moderate Republicans on a very broad cross section of issues. Sen. John Kerry, on the other hand, has put forth a coherent, responsible platform of progressive initiatives that I believe would serve this country well. He wants to balance the budget, step up environmental protection efforts, rebuild our international relationships, support stem-cell research, protect choice and pursue a number of other progressive initiatives that moderates from both parties can support. As a result, despite my long record of active involvement in the Republican Party, and my intention still to stay in the Republican Party, when I cast my ballot November 2, I will be voting for John Kerry for President.

Bitchin' In Unladylike Terms

Monday, October 18

Bitchin' In Unladylike Terms
by pissed off patricia
Will someone please hold my gloves, because I must take them off.Bush did it again. He is speaking on all the cable news shows and he got this spot under the guise that he was going to make a major speech about national security. Oh yeah, he's talking about national security alright. He's doing the national security part of his stump speech and that's all the hell it is. He is lying up the ying-yang, but what else is new? He is blistering Senator Kerry and the freakin' suck-up audience is whipped into a frenzy as they scream and yell. This is most bizarre because this is the second time he has scheduled a "major speech" and all it turned out to be was a fucking, vote for me or you're all going to die at the hands of the terrorists because that's what would happen if John Kerry wins, speech.The stuff he's saying now on TV, he didn't have the guts to say to Senator Kerry's face during the debates. Now, with his cozy little ass kissing audience, he's tough and as usual, nasty. I find it so very strange that he smiles when he speaks of the most dastardly events. I also find it very strange that so damned many people actually believe the bullshit that he's saying. Meanwhile, the crawl at the bottom of the screen tells about car bombs and people being killed in Iraq. You remember, that's the place where we send soldiers die so they don't die over here. We send our soldiers over there to piss off everyone and then when our soldiers are murdered there, we don't even have to clean up the blood off our hands or anything. How tidy is that for the people of America? Soldiers, we would like you to run over to Iraq, jump into vehicles and ride through the towns so whoever the hell is over there, can shoot at you and kill you. We want you to do that because Saddam might have had an intent to harm America. Okay, maybe intent is a vague word but if you go and get killed over there it will be so much better for bush's re-election and all. We'll kiss you and wave good-bye when you leave, but please, if you return in a flag draped coffin, could you stay out of sight? You know how real a war seems when the public has to see dead soldiers coming home. It's not good for political morale, if you know what I mean.This is going to sound sort of mean I guess, but when I see the flock worshipping at one of bush's bullshit fest, I want to ask everyone of them, if they are such god-damned war worshipers, why the hell don't they sign up and get their asses over to Iraq to fight this damned war. Women and men, if you love this fucking war so much and if you believe in this insane president, then fucking prove it to me. Go the hell over there today. We have a shortage of troops due to an overage of deaths, so put your life where your mouth is. Support bush? Sign up!I'll take my gloves now. Thank you.

Where There's Smoke

October 18, 2004
Where There's SmokeLet's see....so far we've had
a Republican campaign worker accused in irregularities regarding absentee ballot registrations resigne, then get promoted to head of GOTV operations in Ohio,
an outfit paid for by the national Republican party was apparently ripping up registration cards collected from Democrats instead of turning them in, and
Jim Tobin, the New England campaign chairman for the re-election of President Bush, resigned after reports that he'd been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2002 vote suppression case in New Hampshire. He was reportedly named in the plea bargains filed by Chuck McGee, former executive director of the NH Republican party and a GOP consultant.And now, Philadelphia. Kerry needs heavy turnout in the Philly area to win Pennsylvania, and it has now been reported by the Philadelphia Daily News that "high-ranking state GOP and Bush operatives asked local Republicans to try to move 63 polling places at the last minute. Some 53 of the 63 polling places are in districts less than 10 percent white." And they were so open about their reasoning! Consider this quote:
"It's predominantly, 100 percent black. I'm just not going in there to get a knife in my back." -- Matt Robb, Republican ward leader in South Philadelphia, on his last-minute request to move five Philly polling places in African-American neighborhoods. Or this one:
In addition to Robb, the GOP ward leader who acknowledged that race played a role in the request, another Republican ward leader behind the effort was North Philadelphia's Listervelt Ritter, who is black. He said the move isn't aimed at suppression, but he adds:
"The black neighborhoods are the ones that do the funny stuff. What are you supposed to do?" What are you supposed to do? Well, not run a criminal enterprise would be a nice start. Posted by Mike Jones at October 18, 2004 10:39 AM TrackBack

Bush's "major" stump speech

Bush's "major" stump speechThere he goes again. Right now, George W. Bush is delivering what his aides have billed as a "major speech" on terrorism in New Jersey. But after his last "major speech" in Pennsylvania, we knew better than to expect actual news or substance. As Bush would say, "Fool us once, shame on … shame on you … If fooled, you can't get fooled again." Or something. Unsurprisingly, Bush's speech is anything but "major," unless you were looking for a major campaign event. Instead, it's Bush's typical stump speech fare, complete with the usual stretched and mangled truths, trumped up to sound like something more in the hopes of tricking cable networks into carrying the whole thing live -- and to trick viewers into thinking Bush was actually saying something new and substantial. As they did with his last "major speech," the cable networks carried it live, with Fox News obediently labeling it on-screen "a major speech on war on terror."
Delivered to appropriately-timed boos and cheers from a partisan crowd, Bush's "really important speech," as Nicolle Devenish called it on Fox this morning, included gems like: "Senator Kerry's approach would permit a response only after America is hit. This kind of Sept. 10 attitude is no way to protect our country." And then this distortion: "The senator from Massachusetts has now flip-flopped his way to a dangerous postion. My opponent has settled on a strategy, a strategy of defeat," Bush said. Mischaracterizing Kerry's position, Bush said, "'America's overriding goal in Iraq is to leave, even if the job is not done.'"
The Kerry campaign issued rebuttals to the president's address even before he delivered it, with Joe Lockhart mocking the very idea of it: "What the Bush campaign considers to be a major address provides a telling window into this President and his priorities: He considers a nasty, vitriolic attack line to constitute a significant address. What might have been new and significant would have been the President addressing a health care crisis that has forced New Jersey to hold a lottery to decide who should get flu shots. But no, that would involve being straight with the American public and taking responsibility for his Administration's inaction."
John Edwards also went for the flu-shot dig in his response to the president's speech -- wethinks the Democrats have Floridians of a certain age in mind with their two-pronged flu-shot/Social Security assault on Bush. "George Bush is so out of touch," Edwards said. "And he couldn't even manage this latest flu vaccine crisis. How can we trust him to deal with anthrax? This is not leadership. This is incompetence. He has failed and it is time for a change. And John Kerry will bring that change."
-- Geraldine Sealey

More nuance than you'll want to follow


For the sake of argument, let's assume Republicans / Conservatives / Libertarians are correct when they assert that a minimum wage law tends to penalize all or part of the exact population it is intended to serve. That argument, which is not currently stated clearly as much today as it was in the 1980's, would be based on the logic as follows:

1) There is a free labor market that is functioning by the rules of classical economics of supply and demand.

2) A minumum wage bill would "artificially" establish a wage rate above the "market rate" for some employees.

3) This artificial rate set by the minimum wage law would move the equilibrium point (the intersection of the suppy and demand curves).

4) Given typical supply / demand curves, the resulting rate of employment would result in fewer hours of labor for employees and therefore a smaller number of hours or no employment for some employees.

Of course there's quite a bit more that could be said on this topic. For example, if the argument above were in fact the key sticking point, it would seem that by govt. subsidizing the employer to pay the difference between the "market wage" and minimum wage would remove the whole of the above objection. This approach would in fact probably push the equilibrium point of low wage labor use in the opposite direction, e. g., one of a larger quantity use, not a smaller one. (Ok, I know the libertarians still aren't going to be happy with a tax payer subsidy to individuals.)

Caveats (I'm sure that there are a huge number of these)

1) Of course, the labor market in the US and throughout the world is not one big market. Rather it is a huge number of small markets based on communities, and their unique supply and demand curves. Does it make sense to localise the minimum wage with a cost of living index? I think I'd be against this, but it's worth considering.

2) How does having a large employment of illegals affect this? If they (illegals) are under the radar, and the supply is relatively large in the US, it would seem to blunt drastically the ability of minimum wage law to accomplish salutory effects.

3) What if, as described above in which the gap is made up by government funding, the employee is required to keep running "due balance", which would be collectable when or if the employee becomes a higher wager earner or wins the lottery, etc. I know I'm way out here, but why not brainstorm.

4) This is one posting where I would enjoy, more than others, comments.

Copyright © 2004 New Progressive Institute Inc. All rights reserved.
Compassionate Conservatism in Action
GOP to low-income Americans: Quit your whining
by Paul Waldman, Editor-in-Chief 10.18.04
Many people noticed that President Bush refused to say in the last debate that he opposes an increase in the minimum wage, offering some vague words about a proposal by Senator Mitch McConnell that Bush has never done anything to support and has never come to a vote. The proposal would have increased the minimum wage only if states could opt out, making for no increase at all.
Bush quickly changed the subject – as on a number of issues, he prefers that his actual position remain hidden, since most Americans don’t share it (if you’re among the lucky few who knows that when Bush says he favors a "culture of life" he means Roe v. Wade should be outlawed and all abortions made illegal, you’ve earned your decoder ring). According to a Pew Research Center poll in January, eight out of ten Americans believe that increasing the minimum wage should be either a "top priority" or "important but a lower priority" for the government Similar numbers in other polls – between two-thirds and four-fifths of Americans – support increasing the minimum wage, about as close to a consensus on a public issue as we have. No wonder Bush didn’t want to talk about it.
On Friday night, Bill Moyers' PBS program Now interviewed Penny Katick, a single mother in Nevada with three kids who works as a waitress, rising at 5 am each day to work full time for around $13,000 a year, well below the poverty line. They also interviewed Lorraine Hunt, the Republican Lieutenant Governor of Nevada, who had this to say about the prospect of raising the minimum wage:
"The minimum wage was originally intended for entry-level people. It's important to try to keep - to have a basic minimum wage. It's not meant to raise a family. It was never intended - when I hear statements like, 'How can I raise a family of four on minimum wage?' that's an inaccurate statement, it would be disingenuous. You're not supposed to raise a family on minimum wage.
I don't want to baby anybody, and I've mentored a lot of young women. I say, 'Don't whine to me, I'll help you but, you know, get out there. My parents went through the Depression and they had it a lot worse than you do. Don't whine, be tenacious, be strong, and there are people that will be out there to help you help yourself.' And that's exactly what the Republican Party does, they want to help people help themselves."
Lorraine Hunt may be shockingly candid in her contempt for people who "whine" about working hard for little money, but her position and the position of President Bush and the Republican Party are exactly the same.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, 7.4 million American workers make less than $7 per hour, the level to which many would like to see the minimum wage raised. "Of these workers, 72% are adults and 60.9% are women. Close to half (44.0%) work full time and another third (33.3%) work between 20 and 34 hours per week. Almost one-third (31%) of the workers who would benefit from an increase to $7.00 are parents of children under age 18, including 682,000 single parents."
Penny Katick's 18-year-old daughter Heather has decided that, given the economic struggles of her family and the prospects open to her, after she graduates high school she'll join the Army. There's a good chance she'll be heading to Iraq, where she may well give her life for the war George Bush so fervently wanted.
It's people like Heather Katick, who get the least from our country - they go to the worst schools, they have the fewest opportunities - who pay the price for the grand designs of the men and women now working so hard to hold on to their jobs.
President Bush likes to show his "compassion" by telling of how many parents he's hugged and cried with, after he sent their sons and daughters off to die. But he will never lie in bed at night wondering whether his children are safe, never open his door to find a man in a dress uniform standing on his porch, knowing that that soldier is there to tell him that Jenna or Barbara Bush is dead.
Nor will he have to worry that his children – or anyone in his family – will have to support a family on $5.15 an hour. That’s for whiners.

The LiberalOasis Blog :October 18, 2004: The Sunday Talkshow Breakdown

The Sunday Talkshow BreakdownA weekly feature of LiberalOasis(posted Oct. 18 2 AM ET)
The Kerry camp had a nicely coordinated effort yesterday, using a Kerry speech, a new ad, and surrogates on the Sunday shows, to successfully make news about Bush's plans to "privatize Social Security."
The Bushies had a Sunday show game plan also, using its surrogates to attack Kerry as someone who will "say anything to get elected."
This is actually the old 2000 attack line against Gore, drummed so diligently it became an Election Day exit poll question.
But today, as a last-minute gasp, it failed to make news (except as a weak reaction to the Kerry-driven Social Security headlines).
Kerry aides Bob Shrum (NBC), Tad Devine (CBS), Joe Lockhart (Fox) and Terry McCauliffe (CNN) all flagged the following quote from a recent private luncheon with Bush's "most ardent, longtime supporters," reported in this week's NYT Magazine:
"I'm going to come out strong after my swearing in," Bush said, "with fundamental tax reform, tort reform, privatizing of Social Security."
That line was a very minor part of the highly disturbing article, which depicted a Bush White House that crafts policy through messianic faith while brazenly rejecting facts and reality.
But the fact that Kerry chose to stress the Social Security comment, and not the whole of the article, is an indication of the strong position Kerry is in as we head into the final stage.
He successfully used the three debates to turn back the flip-flop attack, and diminish the gap with Bush on foreign policy and terror.
He knows that Bush is in a precarious spot for an incumbent, with most poll numbers below 50% and undecideds ripe to go Kerry's way.
Not being on the defensive, Kerry was freed up to choose a proactive line of attack for the last two weeks.
And he is choosing to drill domestic issues, the well-established Democratic strength, for what he calls the "closing arguments."
While Bush, sensing the fading potency of the flip-flop campaign -- which he wasted 6 months on -- is flailing about for a fresh theme.
So even though the NYT Mag piece was a jaw-dropper (and should be sent to any undecided you know) Kerry did not have to junk his plans and attack Bush's excessive reliance on faith.
He merely picked the quote that easily fit into his desired strategy, aimed at what's on voters' minds.
Interestingly, the Bushies weren't prepared for the Social Security attack, as they did not have a consistent response.
On CNN's Late Edition, RNC Chair Ed Gillespie argued that Bush "never said" what the NYT Mag reported, calling it "Kitty Kelley journalism."
But on Meet The Press, Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman did not deny it was said.
He simply made the case for privatization, disingenuously arguing that "there's no additional cost associated" with "allow[ing] younger workers…to set up personal retirement accounts" when it really will cost $2 trillion.
Similarly, on Fox News Sunday, after Lockhart said Bush wants to "privatize Social Security," Bush campaign chair Marc Racicot responded:
What the president is talking about...is allowing...younger workers to own a portion of their Social Security and invest it and make decisions.
That is sometimes referred to in the terms that Joe is mentioning.
That admission -- that what Bush is proposing can be described as privatization -- is something the Bushies have tried to deny for some time.
In 2002, an internal GOP memo claimed:
'Privatization' is a false and misleading word insofar as it is being used by Democrats to describe Republican positions on Social Security...
...It is very important that we not allow reporters to shill for Democrat demagoguery by inaccurately characterizing 'personal accounts' and 'privatization' as one in the same.
Racicot didn't get the memo.
So while Bushies scramble to figure out if they should admit what their leader said, and if they should call it privatization or not, Kerry's attacks are hitting their mark.
Lie of the Day
That transitional training is the honest answer to how you grow this economy.
Not this kind of pandering that Kerry does about, you know, "We're going to do away with all outsourcing."-- Rudy Giuliani, CBS' Face The Nation, 10/17/04
You can't stop all outsourcing...I've never promised that.
I'm not going to, because that would be pandering. You can't.
But what you can do is create a fair playing field, and that's what I'm talking about.-- John Kerry, 2nd presidential debate, 10/8/04

Safire (NY Times) really does deserve this slap in the face!

William Safire Discovers the Cut and Paste Function Jeff Stanger
Maybe I'm the last one on the planet to notice, but William Safire has outright forgotten how to think for himself. I had to blink, rub my eyes and read slowly again Safire's demand that John Kerry apologize for his statement of fact about Dick Cheney's daughter's sexual orientation during the final presidential debate, which by the way was part of a longer answer that sounded curiously like tolerance and understanding, concepts completely foreign to the Republican party that is stuck in the mud somewhere around 1956.
This from an apologist for the administration that wouldn't know a statement of fact if it was bulging from the back of its $2500 suit? This from a columnist whose chums believe they never have and never will make a mistake? Rather than regurgitating his pals' press releases, shouldn't Safire be using his ink to demand an apology from his president on behalf of the 1101 families that are now minus their daughters, sons, wives and husbands because of the biggest mistake imaginable?
More relevant, since we're on the issue of tolerance, shouldn't Safire be demanding an apology on behalf of the 21,242 victims of bias-motivated offenses ("hate crimes") in the first two years of the Bush presidency? Shouldn't Bill be pounding his manual typewriter in defense of the 3,177 victims of sexual-orientation motivated hate crime in those same years (i.e., the real kind of gay-bashing, rather than the rhetorical flavor practiced by conservatives), 478 of them specifically victims of anti-female homosexual offenses including forced rape, assault and intimidation? (FBI hate crime statistics)
Let's count the number of people who are dead because of Kerry's statement of fact...I thought so. Let's count the number of people who got a little lesson on how to shut their mouths and open their minds on October 13...fifty million. Let's count the number of tolerant, intelligent, enlightened, truly compassionate presidential candidates on the stage during last week's debate...one (hint: the tall dude on the left of your screen).
William Safire, here's $1.50 for a ticket on the time-traveling clue bus. Join us in 2004. Here are some extra tokens for the rest of your party.

More Edification from Sludge Report

Comment: Several weeks ago, there was a Republican sponsored group called Communists for Kerry exposed. This might be a little harder to pin on the Repubs, but there is always the possibility that the Crack came from Al CIA da.

Mon Oct 18 2004 13:26:03 ETOctober 18, 2004 The Defiance County Sheriff's Office arrested Chad Staton, age 22, of Stratton Ave., Defiance, on a charge of False Registration, in Violation of Section 3599.11 of the Ohio Revised Code, a felony of the fifth degree. The SheriffÕs Office alleges that Staton filled out over 100 voter registration forms that were fictitious. Staton was to be paid for each registration form that he could get citizens to fill out. However, Staton himself filled out the registrations and returned them to the woman who hired him from Toledo, Ohio. Deputies allege that Staton was paid crack cocaine for the falsified registrations. Defiance Deputies along with Toledo Police Department detectives conducted a search warrant of a residence on Woodland in Toledo, believed to be the home of the woman who hired Staton to solicit voter registration. Officers confiscated drug paraphernalia along with voter registration forms from the home. The occupant of the home, Georgianne Pitts, age 41, advised law enforcement, along with Ohio B.C.I.&I., that she had been recruited by Thaddeus J. Jackson, II, of Cleveland, to obtain voter registrations. Pitts admitted to paying Staton crack cocaine for the registrations in lieu of money. A business card provided by Pitts indicated that Jackson is the Assistant NVF Ohio Director of the NAACP National Voter Fund. The initial complaint received by the Sheriff's Office came from the Defiance County Board of Elections. The Board had received the 100 plus registration forms from the Cuyahoga Board of Elections that had been submitted to the Cuyahoga Board by the NAACP National Voter Fund. Developing...