Category Archives: The ‘04 Election

Told Yah So – Evidence That the ’04 Election Was Stolen

In Rolling Stone, Robert Kennedy Jr wrote in June of ’06 that his study of the ’04 election had convinced him “that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people”.

Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) — more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio’s Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn’t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes — enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)

(emphasis added; numbers are citations attached to the original article)

The article produced something of a firestorm, with the Bush Admin hunkering down in fervent denial and the mainstream conservative press largely ignoring the survey that provided the evidence.

In this week’s RS (not online yet), Kennedy reports that Ohio’s new Sec of State, Jennifer Brunner, ordered an audit of the state’s e-voting machines by two independent teams of specialists. The results were even worse than she expected.

[The] teams…found that the terminals are so insecure they simply cannot be trusted. “There is the ability,” concludes Brunner, “to mount a wholesale attack on our voting system.”

Researchers were able to alter election results using only a magnet and a personal digital assistant. Forty percent of touchscreen machines manufactured by Diebold – now known as Premier –  flipped votes [overwhelmingly from Democrat to Republican as shown by the ’06 survey-MA], and one of the company’s machines erased votes without warning once its memory card was full. Even more alarming, electronic ballot counters could be rigged by poll workers to disregard votes without anyone knowing. “If that were done for just a few minutes every hour, you will have a vote total that doesn’t look too far off,” Brunner says. “Unless you did a hand count of every ballot, you’d never know it.”

(emphasis added)

All of which would pretty much explain the massive discrepancies Kennedy uncovered in ’06.

Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them too late to vote(4) — after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment — roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush’s victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.(11)

Put what the audit discovered could be done with the machines together with what GOP operatives were actually caught doing – shredding Dem registrations, purging Dem voters, obstructing the vote in Dem districts, and the like – and a clear picture emerges of a stolen election, and stolen on a nationwide scale. Every battleground state seems to have had its Republican ops ready and willing to “play hardball” by breaking election laws wholesale on behalf of George W Bush and his Cult. With a GOP hack like Ken Blackwell Sec of State in Ohio in ’04, there seems to have been no check whatever on Republican dirty tricks.

For those who may say, “This is ancient history. The election is over. Why dig it all up now?” I say, “Neither party can be trusted and all those machines are still out there. If one side can rig an election, so can the other side. If one side goes unaccountable and unpunished, they will both be emboldened to do it again. Our democracy is on the ropes as it is. Do you want to kill it for good?”

Diebold changing its name is like a tiger pretending to be a zebra by adding a pair of pointy ears – a superficial disguise that will only fool the dumbest antelopes in the herd. If we are going to use evoting machines, we MUST have machines that leave a paper trail so ballots can be hand-counted if necessary (as bad as these machines are even when they aren’t being hacked, verified hand counts probably ought to be a regular part of the process).

Until and unless we do, our elections are not safe or reliable in the hands of either party.

How To Wage a Campaign When Your Record Is a Disaster

Mark Fiore: The Political Attack

Michael Moore Praises Bush and Offers Some Suggestions

August 26, 2004

It Takes Real Courage to Desert Your Post and Then Attack a Wounded Vet

Dear Mr. Bush,

I know you and I have had our differences in the past, and I realize I am the one who started this whole mess about “who did what” during Vietnam when I brought up that “deserter” nonsense back in January. But I have to hand it to you on what you have uncovered about John Kerry and his record in Vietnam. Kerry has tried to pass himself off as a war hero, but thanks to you and your friends, we now know the truth.

First of all, thank you for pointing out to all of us that Mr. Kerry was never struck by a BULLET. It was only SHRAPNEL that entered his body! I did not know that! Hell, what’s the big deal about a bunch of large, sharp, metal shards ripping open your flesh? That happens to all of us! In my opinion, if you want a purple heart, you’d better be hit with a bullet — with your name on it!

Secondly, thank you for sending Bob Dole out there and letting us know that Mr. Kerry, though wounded three times, actually “never spilled blood.” When you are in the debates with Kerry, turn to him and say, “Dammit, Mr. Kerry, next time you want a purple heart, you better spill some American red blood! And I don’t mean a few specks like those on O.J.’s socks — we want to see a good pint or two of blood for each medal. In fact, I would have preferred that you had bled profusely, a big geyser of blood spewing out of your neck or something!” Then throw this one at him: “Senator Kerry, over 58,000 brave Americans gave their lives in Vietnam — but YOU didn’t. You only got WOUNDED! What do you have to say for yourself???” Lay that one on him and he won’t know what to do.

And thanks, also, Mr. Bush, for exposing the fact that Mr. Kerry might have actually WOUNDED HIMSELF in order to get those shiny medals. Of course he did! How could the Viet Cong have hit him — he was on a SWIFT boat! He was going too fast to be hit by enemy fire. He tried to blow himself up three different times just so he could go home and run for president someday. It’s all so easy to see, now, what he was up to.

What would we do without you, Mr. Bush? Criticize you as we might, when it comes to pointing out other men’s military records, there is no one who can touch your prowess. In 2000, you let out the rumor that your opponent John McCain might be “nuts” from the 5 years he spent in a POW camp. Then, in the 2002 elections, your team compared triple-amputee Sen. Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden, and that cost him the election. And now you are having the same impact on war hero John Kerry. Since you (oops, I mean “The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth!”) started running those ads, Kerry’s polls numbers have dropped (with veterans, he has lost 18 points in the last few weeks).

Some people have said “Who are you, Mr. Bush, to attack these brave men considering you yourself have never seen combat — in fact, you actively sought to avoid it.” What your critics fail to understand is that even though your dad got you into a unit that would never be sent to Vietnam — and even though you didn’t show up for Guard duty for at least a year — at least you were still IN FAVOR of the Vietnam War! Cowards like Clinton felt it was more important to be consistent (he opposed the war, thus he refused to go) than to be patriotic and two-faced.

The reason that I think you know so much about other men’s war wounds is because, during your time you in the Texas Air National Guard, you suffered so many of them yourself. Consider the paper cut you received on September 22, 1972, while stationed in Alabama, working on a Senate campaign for your dad’s friend (when you were supposed to be on the Guard base). A campaign brochure appeared from nowhere, ambushing your right index finger, and blood trickled out onto your brand new argyle sweater.

Then there was the incident with the Crazy Glue when your fraternity brothers visited you one weekend at the base and glued your lips together while you were “passed out.” Though initially considered “friendly fire,” it was later ruled that you suffered severe post traumatic stress disorder from the assault and required certain medicinal attention — which, it seems, was provided by those same fraternity brethren.

But nothing matched your heroism when, on July 2, 1969, you sustained a massive head injury when enemy combatants from another Guard unit dropped a keg of Coors on your head during a reconnaissance mission at a nearby all-girls college. Fortunately, the cool, smooth fluids that poured out of the keg were exactly what was needed to revive you.

That you never got a purple heart for any of these incidents is a shame. I can fully appreciate your anger at Senator Kerry for the three he received. I mean, Kerry was a man of privilege, he could have gotten out just like you. Instead, he thinks he’s going to gain points with the American people bragging about how he was getting shot at every day in the Mekong Delta. Ha! Is that the best he can do? Hell, I hear gunfire every night outside my apartment window! If he thinks he is going to impress anyone with the fact that he volunteered to go when he could have spent the Vietnam years on the family yacht, he should think again. That only shows how stupid he was! True-blue Americans want a president who knows how to pull strings and work the system and get away with doing as little work as possible!

So, to make it up to you, I have written some new ads you can use on TV. People will soon tire of the swift boat veterans and you are going to need some fresh, punchier material. Feel free to use any of these:

ANNOUNCER: “When the bullets were flying all around him in Vietnam, what did John Kerry do? He said he leaned over the boat and ‘pulled a man out of the river.’ But, as we all know, men don’t live in the river — fish do. John Kerry knows how to tell a big fish tale. What he won’t tell you is that when the enemy was shooting at him, he ducked. Do you want a president who will duck? Vote Bush.”

ANNOUNCER: “Mr. Kerry’s biggest supporter, Sen. Max Cleland, claims to have lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam. But he still has one arm! How did that happen? One word: Cowardice. When duty called, he was unwilling to give his last limb. Is that the type of selfishness you want hanging out in the White House? We think not. Vote for the man who would be willing to give America his right frontal lobe. Vote Bush.”

Hope these help, Mr. Bush. And remember, when the American death toll in Iraq hits 1,000 during the Republican convention, be sure to question whether those who died really did indeed “die” — or were they just trying to get their face on CNN’s nightly tribute to fallen heroes? The sixteen who’ve died so far this week were probably working hand in hand with the Kerry campaign to ruin your good time in New York. Stay consistent, sir, and always, ALWAYS question the veracity of anyone who risks their life for this country. It’s the least they deserve.


Michael Moore

Swift Boat Lying Sacks of Sh*t

The Daily Show has it right:

STEWART: Here’s what puzzles me most, Rob. John Kerry’s record in Vietnam is pretty much right there in the official records of the US military, and haven’t been disputed for 35 years?

CORDDRY: That’s right, Jon, and that’s certainly the spin you’ll be hearing coming from the Kerry campaign over the next few days.

STEWART: Th-that’s not a spin thing, that’s a fact. That’s established.

CORDDRY: Exactly, Jon, and that established, incontravertible fact is one side of the story.

STEWART: But that should be — isn’t that the end of the story? I mean, you’ve seen the records, haven’t you? What’s your opinion?

CORDDRY: I’m sorry, my *opinion*? No, I don’t have ‘o-pin-i-ons’. I’m a reporter, Jon, and my job is to spend half the time repeating what one side says, and half the time repeating the other. Little thing called ‘objectivity’ — might wanna look it up some day.

STEWART: Doesn’t objectivity mean objectively weighing the evidence, and calling out what’s credible and what isn’t?

CORDDRY: Whoa-ho! Well, well, well — sounds like someone wants the media to act as a filter! [high-pitched, effeminate] ‘Ooh, this allegation is spurious! Upon investigation this claim lacks any basis in reality! Mmm, mmm, mmm.’ Listen buddy: not my job to stand between the people talking to me and the people listening to me.

STEWART: So, basically, you’re saying that this back-and-forth is never going to end.

CORDDRY: No, Jon — in fact a new group has emerged, this one composed of former Bush colleages, challenging the president’s activities during the Vietnam era. That group: Drunken Stateside Sons of Privilege for Plausible Deniability. They’ve apparently got some things to say about a certain Halloween party in ’71 that involved trashcan punch and a sodomized piñata. Jon — they just want to set the record straight. That’s all they’re out for.

STEWART: Well, thank you Rob, good luck out there. We’ll be right back.

(Thanks to Atrios.)

Mark Kleiman has succinctly summarized Bush’s response to demands that he condemn the ads: “I’ll ask my friends to stop lying about John Kerry, if he’ll ask his friends to stop telling the truth about me.”

Bush Proposes Killing 527 Ads

In a post last Friday, I said the SBV ad was a stalking horse and that the real target was the elimination of all 527 groups. Yesterday, Junior took the next step and proposed exactly that. Meeting with reporters at his so-called ‘ranch’ (I haven’t been paying attention–is he on vacation again?), he ordered all 527’s to ‘stop all this stuff’. He has a way with words, don’t he?

CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush on Monday criticized the broadcast of a political advertisement that accused Sen. John F. Kerry of lying about his military record in Vietnam, as he called for independent groups to stop “all the stuff” aimed at influencing the November election.But Bush did not address the charges that have turned the presidential campaign into a series of daily skirmishes over Kerry’s military service and his subsequent protests against the Vietnam War. And after Bush’s comments, a White House spokesman said the president had not intended to specifically denounce the anti-Kerry ad.

Allies of the Democratic candidate said Bush’s remarks — coming more than a week after the ad stopped running — were too little and too late.

The president was asked about the ad, sponsored by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, as he met with reporters at his ranch near Crawford. “I think we ought to be debating who best to be leading this country in the war against terror,” he said.

Pressed on the subject, Bush called for an end to ads paid for by independent organizations, such as the Swift boat group, and said “all of them” should stop running. “That means that ad, every other ad,” he said.

And just in case anybody missed the point that the enemy was all 527’s, not just the lying, inaccurate, or misleading ones, Scott-baby–and the rest of the sycophants–drove the point home.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said later that despite the president’s mention of the Swift boat ad, he had not meant to spotlight it.Bush and his aides, when asked previously about the ad, had skirted a direct mention of the group while broadly assailing negative commercials by organizations unaffiliated with either presidential campaign or major political party. The president’s aides have stressed that most of the advertising has been financed by pro-Democratic groups and has targeted the president for attacks.

A top Bush official, who asked not to be named, said the president’s comments Monday “were precisely” along those lines. (emphasis added)

While the corporate media–and way too much of the blogosphere, I’m afraid–is dutifully being sidetracked by the SBV controversy, Bush and Rove are aiming right at the heart of the only tool the Democrats have with the potential to level the financial playing field. If they succeed in killing off the 527’s, there will be nothing to prevent the RMP from buying every election between now and Armageddon.

The 527 Meme

Just for the record.

Every time Bush has been asked to denounce the vicious and slanderous attacks on Kerry’s Viet Nam record by the so-called ‘Swift Boat Veterans’, whose allegations have been thoroughly debunked and whose lack of credibility is second only to Junior’s, he has responded by denouncing not the SBV but all 527 groups. All of his spokesmen, including Scott McClellan do the same; all the B/C’04 spokesmen do likewise. The corporate media Echo Chamber, needless to say, copies both.

This seems to be taken as an attempt to sidestep the B/C campaign’s ultimate responsibility for both the group and its ad, which we now know were each bought and paid for by Bush Buddy and multi-millionaire (that’s redundant, isn’t it) Bob Perry. It isn’t, at least not primarily. If it were, the many voices of the Mighty Wurlitzer would be in full attack mode against SBV critics, and they aren’t. No, the Admin is responding as it is because that’s a sizable chunk of the point for them. It’s part of the plan.

It isn’t hard to figure that Rove is behind this–it’s a fairly standard tactic he’s used with great success the last few years: libel the opposition with outrageous, attention-getting, corporate media-loving lies and then turn all that attention toward the real target. In this case, the real target is the 527 groups who have neutralized the Rich Man’s Party’s fund-raising advantages and closed a lot of glaring loopholes in the Democrats’ spending strategy. Remember, these are people who went before the Supreme Court and argued that ‘money=free speech’. SG Olson said at one point that people were entitled to as much free speech as they could afford to buy. Now that stance has come back to bite them in the form of 527 groups like who have been extremely successful doing just that. The last thing Karl needs is for the left and center to exercise that right, a right that conservatives accept as Gospel, and remove the RMP’s only real weapon–the staggering sums the rich (and those they control) can and do donate to Republican campaigns.

Rove is perfectly aware that that the RMP has nothing and does nothing that the mass of American voters wants from them, that in fact most of the RMP agenda is anathema to them. That’s why so much energy goes into governing in secret, that’s why they tell so many lies, that’s why they distort, deny, and spin the facts at every turn. If people knew and understood what they were doing, their hold on power wouldn’t last five minutes, and preventing that means controlling the debate. Controlling the debate means spending huge sums of money your opponents can’t hope to match. In other words, they can’t win elections so they buy them.

Liberal and progressive 527’s endanger that control by going a long way to level the monetary playing field, so Rove is using the SBV to build a wall of opinion against all 527’s. It’s the ancient lawyer’s trick of attacking the credibility of the witness when you can’t attack his testimony on its merits. While we’re arguing about the SBV’s credibility, Rove is using them to convince the country that 527’s are anti-democratic, laying the groundwork for outlawing them later.

Misdirection: Palm the coin while everybody’s watching the fluttering bird.

Don’t fall for it.

Federal Bureau of Intimidation

There’s nothing new about this administration (and its cronies at the state level) using institutions of state power for political intimidation, but I have the impression that such actions have been carried out more blatently of late. Recent articles point out that:

(1) Potential visitors to this summer’s political conventions were visited by FBI agents and asked three questions: “…were demonstrators planning violence or other disruptions, did they know anyone who was, and did they realize it was a crime to withhold such information” (emphasis added).

(2) Porter Goss, Bush’s nominee to head the CIA (which Stansfield Turner described as “the worst appointment that’s ever been made”), introduced legislation on June 16 that would allow the president to order the CIA to monitor and arrest American citizens within the United States.

“This language on its face would have allowed President Nixon to authorize the CIA to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters,” Jeffrey H. Smith, who served as general counsel of the CIA between 1995 and 1996, told NEWSWEEK. “I can’t imagine what Porter had in mind.”

Somehow I don’t share Smith’s difficulty imagining that.

(On a related topic, check out Atrios’ very interesting comment.)

(3) Jeb Bush’s Florida cops are intimidating elderly black activists who help friends and neighbors get to the polls. This short article will make your blood boil. Take two minutes out of your day and read the whole thing.

McCain Denounces Republican Ad

The anti-Kerry ad Karl Rove rolled out this week is one of the most shameful tricks they’ve ever pulled, right up there with the smear campaigns against Max Cleland and McCain himself, and he’s not having any.

WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry’s military service “dishonest and dishonorable” and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it.”It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me,” McCain said in an interview, comparing the anti-Kerry ad to tactics in his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush in 2000.

The 60-second ad features Vietnam veterans who accuse the Democratic presidential nominee of lying about his record as a decorated Vietnam War veteran and betraying his fellow veterans by later opposing the conflict.

The ad, scheduled to air in a few markets in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, was produced by Stevens, Reed, Curcio and Potham, the same team that produced McCain’s ads in 2000.”I wish they hadn’t done it,” McCain said of his former advisers. “I don’t know if they knew all the facts.”

Asked if the White House knew about the ad or helped find financing for it, McCain said, “I hope not, but I don’t know. But I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad.”

“I deplore this kind of politics,” McCain said. “I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat [Kerry] commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. I think George Bush served honorably in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.”

Yeah, well, one out of two ain’t bad.

Touch-Screen Problems in Florida

Jeb is still insisting ‘there’s no problem’ with the voting machines in Florida, but a report by the Florida Division of Elections says otherwise.

The Florida Division of Elections’ report found that the rate of so-called undervotes, or blank or incomplete ballots, in the 2002 gubernatorial election was nearly three times higher in counties using touch-screen machines as in those with optical scan systems.In the election, which incumbent Republican Gov. Jeb Bush won by a wide majority, more than 44,000 votes were ruled invalid because of undervotes, overvotes (when a voter chooses more than one candidate) or flawed absentee ballots, the report said.

The document, the basis for an article in Thursday’s editions of the Miami Herald, was seized upon by critics of the screens, which Florida’s most populous counties have purchased to prevent a repeat of the election debacle of 2000. The report attracted little notice when it was issued last year.

Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way Foundation, a voters’ rights group, wrote Bush to suggest that residents of the 15 counties with the touch screens, which are akin to bank ATM terminals, be given the option of casting paper ballots in the upcoming presidential election.

“This would send a signal that election officials are willing to go the extra mile to let voters use technology they trust, even if it’s just a pencil and a piece of paper,” Neas said from Washington. Neas’ group has joined with the American Civil Liberties Union in suing Florida to force the state to install backup systems on the touch-screen terminals so a paper trail would be generated for use in any recount.

The Division of Elections and Bush’s office did not return calls for comment Thursday. But the agency, in a statement issued July 27, maintained that because of new hardware and voter education, Florida’s undervote rate was at its lowest level ever. An undervote is not a lost vote or error, it said, but occurs when citizens exercise their right to withhold their vote.

However, the day before the article on the report was published, Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, a Democrat, asked the county manager whether their jurisdiction should shift from touch-screen machines to paper ballots and optical scanners for the Nov. 2 election.

Last week, election workers in Miami said computer crashes had led to the loss of 2002 election data for the county, yet more proof of the touch-screen system’s unreliability, according to its critics. The computerized records were later found. (emphasis added)

Jeb has stubbornly refused to provide a paper-trail for Florida voters, claiming at various times that all the problems with touch screens have been fixed (they haven’t), that adding printers to them is too expensive (it isn’t), or that there just isn’t time before the election (there’s more than enough). As each of these excuses has been shot down, Jeb has become more rather than less adamant on the subject, insisting again and again that nothing needs to be done, yet–

Bush’s own party, in a flier sent to voters in July, has expressed wariness about the touch screens, advising Republicans in South Florida: “Make sure your vote counts. Order your absentee ballot today.”

We trust the Florida Democrats are doing likewise?

Keyes to the Kingdom

The latest move to stop the Obama landslide in Illinois by a–can we say, beleaguered?–state GOP is a sad attempt to recruit serious right-wing fruit-loop Alan Keyes, ex-fringe Pub Prez candidate, current ultraconservative talk-show host (yes, another one), and presently a resident of–wait for it–Maryland. Unfortunately for the Ill GOP, Mr Keyes, who is reported to be ‘thinking it over’, will be unable to accept their desperate gracious offer because he has very strong views on such things. He’s against ’em.

Perhaps most problematic for Keyes is that he has few connections to Illinois and has criticized others for carpetbagging. In 2000, conservatives courted Keyes to drop his presidential bid and run against Hillary Rodham Clinton for U.S. Senate in New York, but Keyes blasted the idea and ripped Clinton.”I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton’s willingness to go into a state she doesn’t even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn’t imitate it,” he said on Fox News on March 17, 2000. (emphasis added)

If Keyes thinks carpetbagging represents ‘the destruction of federalism’ and has already turned down one bunch of pleading whining frantic conservatives, what makes the Ill GOP think he will accept now? That would be…hypocritical. Wouldn’t it? He as much as admitted it to the begging on bended knee committee members who came to make the offer.

“I do not take it for granted that it’s a good idea to parachute into a state and go into a Senate race,” he said before meeting the Republican leaders. “As a matter of principle, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

And there were one or two other itsy-bitsy problems.

But members also became aware that Keyes might not take the nomination if the committee voted for him. The 53-year-old insisted that before accepting the nomination he must have the full support of House Speaker Dennis Hastert and U.S. Sen. George Allen of Virginia, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, several Republican sources said.Keyes also wanted assurances of financial backing for the race.

Now, I don’t imagine Frist or Allen are going to object since they have NOTHING to lose, and we all know the Pubs have rich backers with money to burn in a losing Senate race, but are they really going to want Keyes out there embarrassing them in a high-profile campaign while Junior is running for his life? The person who may have the last word isn’t any of the ones mentioned; the question is, ‘Will Karl Rove OK Alan’s run?’ And that’s a much dicier question. Frist is likely to be the go-between, so he’s the one to watch. If he starts to do the pee-pee dance, Rove’s not happy.

Which leaves them with one Andrea Grubb Barthwell (that middle name is going to be a problem considering how well Chicagoans like a good joke) who is also black–the Ill GOP has obviously decided to play the race card, even if it was hard at first to be sure that’s what they were doing.

Ah, irony! Republicans playing the race card! Although, [when] I saw finalist Andrea Grubb Barthwell (a neighbor, one town over in River Forest, Ill) on the local news, I wasn’t sure if she was ‘Black’, until the USA Today article confirmed it.

Barthwell is something of an unknown, her only apparent experience having been as a deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy for the last couple of years. However the standard good fun/hypocrite signs are up that are usually over the heads of the Pubs’ candidates: it would seem that she, too, despite her brief time in the spotlight, has an ‘incident’ in her past.

Barthwell said the committee asked her about allegations that she engaged in “lewd and abusive behavior” while serving in the White House drug policy office.An internal inquiry found last year that Barthwell made repeated comments about the sexual orientation of a staff member and used a kaleidoscope to make sexually offensive gestures.

A kaleidoscope?!?! I hope it’s her but either of them will be entertaining to watch. I’m beginning to envy TCF’s front-row seat.

(Thanks also to whopundit for the heads-up on the Keyes anti-Hillary statement)

Junior in Minnesota

Apparently fearful of the awesome reputation of Minnesotans for unpredictable and wanton violence perpetrated on anything they find in a cornfield, The Resident wisely took precautions to protect himself while campaigning there.

The less contact with actual humans, the better the chances no one will discover that he’s actually a robot from the star system ANDROMACHUS sent here in advance of the invasion which will turn us all into Pat Robertson clones when they turn their Fruit Loop Ray (pat pending) on the earth.

Either that or he just doesn’t like us very much.

Feel free to provide your own captions.

(Via Philocrates)

Is Barack Obama For Real?

Barack Obama, whom few outside Illinois had ever heard of before last week’s speech, electrified both the convention and the country. I heard it on the radio while I was at work, and a couple of minutes into it I actually stopped working to move closer to the speakers in order to hear it better–something I didn’t do with Kerry or Edwards or any of the other speakers. It was a visceral reaction to a talented orator who was saying things I had desperately wanted to hear a Democrat say for almost 20 years, and saying them passionately, hopefully, and forcefully, but it was also an intellectual reaction: he made sense, and he did it without the usual political promises and cliches.

I knew who he was, vaguely, but only because Bert at ThatColoredFellasweblog, who lives in Chicago, had his picture up and is a big supporter. I knew very little about him and reserved judgment on a lot of Bert’s raving because he’s an obvious fan and fans are rarely terribly objective; some aren’t even rational–Dean ran a smart campaign most of the time but he isn’t the Second Coming of FDR by a long shot, and you wouldn’t know that listening to his still-angry fans. After hearing Obama for myself, however, I can see where Bert is coming from. The guy’s intriguing–smart, personable, knowledgeable, and yet with a connection to ordinary people and their problems that seems to go a lot deeper than something he thought he would throw into the speech that night because it sounded good.

So is this guy for real? Maybe. MoJo loves him.

Make no mistake, an Obama victory in his Senate race would be a major victory for progressives (and with the Republicans still unable to find a challenger, that outcome is all but assured). He opposed the Iraq war from the start, supports universal health care, wants to renegotiate tariff-free trade deals to include environmental and labor standards, supports affirmative action, supports importing prescription drugs from Canada, supports civil unions, and opposes George Bush’s tax policy. In the Illinois state Senate, he supported tax credits for low-income families and has called for business tax incentives to reward only companies that create jobs in the U.S.

Andy Sullivan is trying to make him out to be a conservative.

What he emphasized [in his speech] was another theme of this conservative convention: that the country must and can unite. It’s a brilliant maneuver to pose as (and exemplify, in some cases) a force to overcome the divisions within the country, divisions that make all of us frayed and often testy in a time of grave danger. America is deeply thirsty for a black leader who is first and foremost an American leader; and for any leader who can reach out to both sides of the culture war. Obama struck many conservative notes: of self-reliance, of opportunity, of hard work, of an immigrant’s dream, of the same standards for all of us.

You have to stop and take note of a guy who can impress MoJo and Sullivan with the same speech. He’s being compared to Paul Simon for his policies and his integrity, which is a hell of a comparison if you know anything about Paul Simon, the legendary liberal Senator and one of my favorite politicians of all time.

I still don’t know if Obama is for real, and probably only time will tell for sure, but so far it’s looking good.

Kerry Backs 9/11C Rec’s: Rush to Judgment 2

I suppose it was inevitable. It’s an election year. But did he have to be so damned enthusiastic about it?

NORFOLK, Va., July 27 – Senator John Kerry called Tuesday for an 18-month extension of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, sharpening his critique of President Bush’s response to the panel’s recent report by declaring, “backpedaling and going slow is something that America can’t afford.”Escalating the political tussle over national security, Mr. Kerry, at a campaign rally in this Navy town, said the commission should stay in existence past its scheduled Aug. 26 expiration to monitor progress on its many recommendations and issue status reports.

“You can’t treat the commission report as something you hope will go away,” he said. “Leadership requires that we act now, not talk, not vague promises, not excuses.”

An 18-month extension so they can ‘make sure we do it right’, he said, or words to that effect (I heard him say it). Like the 9/11CR is the fucking Bible or something and he’s a fundamentalist acolyte. But it’s an election year and the numbers are tight and Junior waffled over the 9/11C from the beginning, stonewalling it, refusing to release documents until it was forced to, playing games around who would testify and how, and all the rest of it. He’s vulnerable here so we have to jump on it.

The problem is: the 9/11CR is NOT the be-all/end-all, NOT the Received Word From On High. It’s just a report by some politicians who’ve made some serious mistakes that we already know about and failed even to ask some of the most vital questions. In an NYT Op-Ed yesterday, Gerald Posner took them to task for their easy dismissal of Saudi complicity.

[E]ven more startling is the report’s conclusion that the panel has “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually” helped to finance Al Qaeda. It does say that unnamed wealthy Saudi sympathizers, and leading Saudi charities, sent money to the terror group. But the report fails to mine any of the widely available reporting and research that establishes the degree to which many of the suspect charities cited by the United States are controlled directly by the Saudi government or some of its ministers.The report makes no mention, for example, of an October 2002 study by the Council of Foreign Relations that draws opposite conclusions about the role of Saudi charities and how “Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem.” The 9/11 panel also misses an opportunity to more fully explore an intelligence coup in 2002, when American agents in Bosnia retrieved computer files of the so-called Golden Chain, a group of Mr. bin Laden’s early financial supporters.

Reported to be among the 20 names on this list were a former government minister in Saudi Arabia, three billionaire banking tycoons and several top industrialists. Yet the report neither confirms nor denies this. Nor does it address what, if anything, the Saudis did with the information, or whether the men were ever arrested by Saudi authorities.

After going over the evidence that Saudis, including members of bin Laden’s family, were allowed to leave the US at a time when other planes were grounded (whether or not they were questioned before they went is unclear), he concludes:

Of course, none of these matters undermine the report’s central conclusions about what went wrong inside the United States leading up to 9/11. And satisfying answers to questions about the relationship between the Saudis and Al Qaeda might not be available yet. But the commission could have at least asked them. By failing to address adequately how Saudi leaders helped Al Qaeda flourish, the commission has risked damaging its otherwise good work. (emphasis added)

Robert Dreyfuss points out in 9/11C–Failure #2 that some of their central recommendations betray an astonishing ignorance of both Islam and what drives Islamic terrorism.

Thing Two. Perhaps it’s too much to expect people like Fred Fielding, Slade Gorton, Jim Thompson, Bob Kerrey and the rest of the 9/11 Commission to say anything intelligent about how to “Prevent the Continued Growth of Islamist Terrorism,” one of the top priorities in the “What To Do? A Global Strategy” chapter of their report. After all, it’s fair to say that they are virtual know-nothings when it comes to understanding Islam, not to mention its radical and fundamentalist manifestations.But this chapter isn’t a road map on fighting “Islamist terrorism.” It is a veritable Bartlett’s of quotable (and meaningless) platitudes. So far, at least, I haven’t seen anyone point this out.

Here are a few of the silliest (and by the way, these are not taken out of context, but are the central observations and “recommendations” of the commission in how to fight Islamic terrorism by “engage[ing] in the struggle for ideas”):

“It is among the large majority of Arabs and Muslims that we must encourage reform, freedom, democracy, and opportunity.”

“The U.S. government must define what the message is, what it stands for. We should offer an example of moral leadership in the world, committed to treat people humanely, abide by the rule of law, and be generous and caring to our neighbors… That vision of the future should stress life over death.”

“Just as we did in the Cold War, we need to defend our ideals abroad vigorously. America does stand up for its values.”

“The U.S. government should offer to join other nations in generously supporting a new International Youth Opportunity Fund.”

These are PPPP’s (Pointless but Positive Political Platitudes) meant to shore up Junior’s ill-advised, inaccurate hyperbole about Islamic fundamentalism arising from a hatred of ‘freedom’, which is such arrant, bigoted, and superficial nonsense that even the neocons who thought this idiotic strategy up never used it as an excuse before he did.

The 9/11CR is just a political document, and it needs to be treated that way: picked apart until the grain is separated from the mountains of chaff, not embraced like Holy Writ. Yet even the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, up to now one of the 9/11C’s most vocal and reliable critics, is jumping on the bandwagon.

We intend to hold any elected official publicly accountable for any obstruction or opposition to the implementation of these recommendations. We will maintain a log on our website that will track the course of this legislation. We will in effect conduct our own oversight – “the people’s oversight”. And we will actively lobby Congress and the White House until these important recommendations are in place.

You can stand down guys; it’s an election year and everybody’s breaking their necks to get in line. We’re apparently going to have this crap hung around our necks at the speed of light, and nobody’s going to bother too much with whether it makes sense or not, will fix anything or not, or count the glaring holes in it.

It’s an election year.

Who says there aren’t real stories at the Convention?

From Atrios:

So, the convention ceiling is of course filled with the customary balloons, awaiting their drop. I hear Ralph Nader is going to sneak in and trigger them early (joke). But, the disconcerting thing is that occasionally they pop, just loudly enough to sound like something other than a balloon popping…

What’s Good About Kerry? Plenty

Adam, of A violently executed blog lays out a compelling case for Kerry in a compact post packed with detail and, as always, no-holds-barred commentary.

Yeah, yeah, I know, Faux News says he’s a “flip-flopper” and that he’s “out of the mainstream”.Shall we take a look at a few of his “out of the mainstream” ideas?
(1) Rebuilding international alliances – seems pretty logical. If we’re fighting a war on terror worldwide, it’d only make sense to work with other governments to fight it effectively, right?
(2) Modernize the military – Whoa! Give our troops the best training and tools we can to allow them to fight effectively? Seriously whackaloon, it isn’t.
(3) Use diplomacy, trade, money, moral pressure and the military to accomplish our goals – another plain idea, that seemed to work well for all the other American presidents except the current.
(4) Develop an energy policy geared towards lessening or removing our dependence on foreign oil – This one’s so mainstream it made me yawn. I mean, I’ve heard this from everyone from the mailman to the bagger at my grocery store.
(5) Cutting middle-class taxes – if you think this is out of the mainstream, you need to go see a shrink.

There’s a lot more, just as pungent. Go read it.