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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Killian Memos Provided by White House : Dan Rather Indicted 

Please note: The following four documents were originally obtained by CBS News and sent to FindLaw by the White House on September 8, 2004. However, CBS News issued a statement Monday, September 20, 2004, stating in part that the network "cannot prove the authenticity of documents used in a 60 Minutes story about President Bush's National Guard service and . . . airing the story was a 'mistake' that CBS regretted."
• Aug. 1, 1972 Memo ordering Bush's suspension from the Texas Air National Guard's 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.
• May 4, 1972 Memo ordering Bush to report for his annual physical examination with the Texas Air National Guard by no later than May 14, 1972.
• May 19, 1972 Memo to the file from Bush's commanding officer about a telephone call from Bush asking about how he "can get out of coming to drill," and suspecting that "he's...been talking to someone upstairs."
• Aug. 18, 1973 ‘CYA’ Memo from Lt. Col. Killian suggesting that his superior officer, Col. Walter B. Staudt, was "pushing to sugar coat" Bush's officer evaluation.

Hmmm. Someone's been busy. USA Today Editor: White House Provided Memos Boston Globe: Copies of the memos were provided by the White House. KWTX: White House Releases Memos On Bush National Guard Service
Is Rather's report accurate? Is George W. Bush a war hero or a privileged little Shirker-in-Chief? Today I saw a goofy two page spread in the Washington Post about a typewriter used to write a memo with no significance to the draft-dodge story. What I haven't read about in my own country's media is about two crucial documents supporting the BBC/CBS story. The first is Barnes' signed and sworn affidavit to a Texas Court, from 1999, in which he testifies to the Air Guard fix -- which Texas Governor George W. Bush, given the opportunity, declined to challenge.

Kerry Carries Crawford 

No 'Flip-Flop' here.

Bringin 'Democracy' To Iraq 

Bombed Into 'Freedom'

Rummy Rummy 

In the last three years, under the leadership of President Bush and the 85 or 90 countries in the coalition, probably the largest coalition in the history of mankind, we've changed strategies, assumptions, and our view of the world.

Consider the world of September 10th and before. Two Americans and six others stood on trial by the Taliban in Afghanistan for the crime of preaching their religion. The leader of the opposition Northern Alliance, Massoud, lay dead, his murder ordered by Saddam Hussein, by Osama bin Laden, Taliban's co- conspirator....

"It's harder for them to travel between countries, it's harder for them to communicate with each other, it's harder for them to raise money, it's harder for them to transfer money, it's harder for them to buy weapons, it's harder for them to do everything,"

Saddam Hussein , if he's alive, is spending a whale of a lot of time trying to not get caught. And we've not seen him on a video since 2001. Now he's got to be busy. Why is he busy? It's because of the pressure that's being put on him.

...the Philippines...will pull out before its August mandate expires...
Norway quietly pulled out its 155 military engineers this month, leaving behind only about 15 personnel to assist a new NATO-coordinated effort to help train and equip Iraqi security forces. New Zealand intends to pull out its 60 engineers by September, while Thailand plans to withdraw its more than 450 troops that same month...
The Netherlands is likely to pull out next spring after the first of three Iraqi elections, while Polish military officials told the Pentagon that Poland's large contingent will probably leave in mid-2005...

As of August 5, 2004, there were 30 non-U.S. military forces contributing to the ongoing stability operations throughout Iraq. These countries were Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Ukraine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Quite the Little Hero 

A local 3-year-old boy is a hero for saving two family members in two separate emergencies in just one week.

Deal with the Issues 

Senator Kerry was in Tacoma recently and I briefly debated about going up to see him speak. It didn't take long to decide not to go. Instead I watched the event live from the comfort of my living room, thankful that I hadn't made the trip.

He wasn't saying anything new, was rather blase`. People were dropping left and right (not sure why, it wasn't hot) with Kerry stopping each time to have the EMT's administer first aid...possibly the most attention getting parts of his speaking engagement.

Kerry needs to get beyond 'blah' and speak to the issues. He's been getting a bit more of a spark, but needs to be more dynamic.

Frankly, the only presidental candidate I've seen so far that has addressed the real issues of the day is Ralph Nader. The next time you have to stop suddently and your seatbelt keeps you from hitting the dashboard, remember whose idea it was. Nader was ridiculed when he was fighting for those, too. Because he speaks to the issues, he's had a difficult time drumming up support. Because he speaks to the issues, he'll likely be left out of the Presidential Debates. (Wouldn't want to challenge the 'real' candidates with real current events, would we?)

Mainstream America would rather spend time chasing down rumors of rumors and becoming outraged at those exposing the lies of the administration. Major news outlets spend hours debating about the latest superscript th, deriding Dan Rather, and ignoring the fact that tens of thousands innocent civilians are being murdered in Iraq, thousands of our soldiers are dying, with plenty more soon to join them.

If Bush and his neo-cons have their way, we will be involved in more wars, further economic deprivation, a higher cost of living; and all the while, that little smirk and the Cheney scowl will be secretly laughing--all the way to the bank.


More Than 10,000 Iraqis Die Violently in Baghdad Region Alone

Suffer The Children 

"...we are defeating the terrorists where they live and plan, and making America safer...the people of Iraq no longer fear being executed."
George Bush RNC speech

Monday, September 13, 2004

The 'Outdoors President' 

Operation Greenwatch has reported that the wild salmon count has dwindled even more drastically since the elections of 2004. “We’ve only found one salmon this year," said Alvin Finney, of the EPA (Environmental Pollution Agency). The Bush administration lifted environmental standards, clearing the way for industrial pollution, logging in previously protected lands, and tossing out the ‘Roadless Area Conservation Rule’. “The President has said that salmon is not endangered," Finney added, “there's lots of eggs in that fish."

When the question was posed to the President at a recent press conference, he refused to answer. “I’ve got more important things on my mind right now," he replied. "See, the war in Iran and the protection of the American people is more critical at this point in time. We’re moving into Korea soon, so naturally I’ve got more crucial things to deal with besides some smelly fish. Shady organizations like Greenwatch will be dealt with by the Secretary of Terror."

Inferior Secretary Gale Norton has accused environmentalists are ‘overreacting’. “We still have farmed salmon," she insisted. “You can’t say that the salmon are extinct when only one returns to spawn, she has thousands of eggs. Farmed salmon is just as viable as wild salmon."

Norton refused to answer questions regarding the loss of other wildlife, or the drastic increase of deformities among what wildlife does remain. Scientists have blamed high levels of selenium, mercury, and other industrial pollutants for the demise of many species.

Henry Scales, press secretary for the president, has dismissed the claims as ‘outrageous’. “We have a responsibility to protect industry," he added. They helped us get into office, so we owe them something." Scales, formerly head of Diebold, was appointed shortly after the inaguration. Over 50 wildlife refuges were opened for hunting during this administration. He’s like Roosevelt. The President should be known as the ‘Outdoors President’," he added.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Bush World 

What will happen if he wins...
...to award Bush another four years--provided he really wins this time--would signal that a majority of Americans not only tolerates but endorses his anti-democratic style...

Go Ahead. Ask The Question. I Dare You! 

via Blah3

'Free' Elections 

Before the 2000 election, ChoicePoint unit Database Technologies held a $4 million no-bid contract under the control of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to identify felons who had illegally registered to vote. The ChoicePoint outfit altogether fingered 94,000 Florida residents. As it turned out, less than 3,000 had a verifiable criminal record; almost everyone on the list had the right to vote.

Iraq Watch 

These crucial discussions should not be relegated to the midnight hour in an empty House.

The President recently made the accusation, I believe at his speech in New York, implying that when Senator John Kerry voted against the $87 billion, he was voting to deprive our troops of body armor, and so I would just like to share the truth about the body armor issue.

I would remind my friends that the war began in March of 2003. March of 2003. And at that time, long before there was ever a vote on the $87 billion, in fact 7 or 8 months before that vote occurred, this administration, this President, this Secretary of Defense sent our American soldiers into Iraq in that initial assault, an invasion of Iraq, without protective body armor.

The body armor that I am talking about is the interceptor vest, the body armor that was first available, I believe, in 1998. It is a high-tech piece of equipment. It is made of Kevlar, with ceramic plates. These ceramic plates have the ability to stop an AK-47 round. We knew, because they were used in the Afghanistan conflict, which was the war on terror, by the way, we knew that they were used in Afghanistan and that they protected American lives. The Pentagon has indicated that a number of American soldiers were probably saved because they had interceptor vests, this body armor.

When we sent our soldiers into Iraq in March of 2003, thousands of them went into that country without this protective body armor. And I repeat, this was months before the $87 billion vote on the supplemental request.

Now, last September, in September of 2003, I received a letter from a young soldier in Baghdad. He happened to be a West Point graduate, a gung-ho Army guy. He said to me in that letter, Congressman, I am so proud of what we are trying to do here, of the effort we are making to help these people. But he said to me in that letter, Congressman, the men that are serving with me are asking me why they do not have this body armor for protection, this interceptor vest.

That was in September of 2003. I wrote Secretary Rumsfeld a letter that September, and I asked him how many of our soldiers had been killed or unnecessarily wounded because they were not protected with body armor. I asked him to commit to us that he would not make this protection available to foreign troops until all of our American troops were protected, because there were reports in the press that we were making these interceptor vests available to some of the foreign troops before our troops were equipped. And I asked him if he could give me a date certain when all of our troops would have this protection.

Now, that letter I sent to Secretary Rumsfeld in September of 2003, long before the vote on the $87 billion supplemental.

I received a letter on October 27 from General Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said that Secretary Rumsfeld had asked him to respond to my letter. And in his letter to me, General Myers said that they expected that our troops would be equipped with this body armor by December of 2003.

Lo and behold, the very next day, on October 28, I received a letter from Secretary Rumsfeld's chief of staff; and in his letter he said it would probably be November of 2003. So even Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers were not able to agree on the issue.

In regard to my question about how many troops had been killed or wounded without this protection, I was told in the letter from Secretary Rumsfeld that they did not collect that information on the battlefield, so he could not answer that question for me. Well, at least, I thought, I can believe what Secretary Rumsfeld has said and General Myers, that our troops will be protected by November or December.

Lo and behold, before we left this city for the Christmas holidays, I am talking about last year, the Pentagon held a briefing; and in that briefing a high-level Pentagon spokesperson told us that our troops would probably not be equipped with this body armor until January of 2004.

Now, I emphasize the war started in March of 2003. Now they are saying it is going to be January of 2004 before they are equipped. So I wrote a second letter to Secretary Rumsfeld in mid-January of this year. I reminded him that he had failed to keep his word regarding having our troops protected with this body armor by November, and I asked him once again to please step up to the plate, accept responsibility, and provide this equipment to our troops.

Finally, in March of 2004, one entire year after the war started, the war started in March of 2003, finally in March of 2004 I get a letter from the Pentagon telling me that at that point all of our troops had been given this lifesaving protection.

It was not Senator Kerry that made the decision to send our troops into combat without this protection. The responsibility rests with George W. Bush, the President; with Secretary Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense. That is where the responsibility rests. And it troubles me that the President would stand before the American people and fail to accept responsibility.

The Bush Regime 

George W. Bush has marched off in a political direction so troubling that American editorial writers don't dare speak its name. He is moving toward a system in which an un-elected leader decides what freedoms his people will be allowed at home and what countries will be invaded abroad. If carried to its ultimate conclusion, this political strategy can degenerate into what would be called in any other country a dictatorship.

Has “democracy” become just another word that has lost its meaning? Has the Bush administration so altered the concept – both inside the United States and in Iraq – that democracy is now just another feel-good expression disconnected from any genuine concept of the people governing?

In the times in which we live, this is what democracy looks like. Thousands of soldiers, calling themselves police, deployed in US cities to protect the power brokers from the masses. /Posse Comitatus/ is just a Latin phrase. Vigilantes like John Timoney roam from city to city, organizing militias to hunt the dangerous radicals who threaten the good order. And damned be the journalist who dares to say it—or film it—like it is.

Shifty Responsibility 

Wasn't it the Bush administration that sent the troops into Iraq without enough body armor or armor for the sides of their battle vehicles?

Democracy At Work In America A shining example for the world 

There is no excuse for turning away eligible voters at the polls, but that is what apparently happened in Florida's primary elections last week...

Begging The Question 

Aside from the usual patriotic cliches, the President has not explained why the security of the United States depends on keeping tens of thousands of Americans deployed in Iraq’s cities where they are being blown up by roadside bombs and shot by snipers. What are they doing there that is worth the loss of lives?

There are encouraging steps as a new Iraqi government takes shape. But they do nothing – nothing – to obscure the grim reality that virtually every day more young American lives are lost. How long will this continue? The President says our troops will be there until they “finish the job.” What job? It is more than a year since the fall of Baghdad, yet we still do not know what the mission is.

Is it to make Iraq a democracy? Is it, as our troops are told, to kill and capture “bad guys?” Is it to protect the oil wells and refineries and Halliburton’s other investments there? Is it to remake the Middle East?

Even the President concedes that other countries are not going to donate significant numbers of their own troops.

The hard truth, which no one in this Administration is willing to admit, is that regardless of almost anything else that happens in Iraq in the coming year, hundreds – perhaps thousands – more of America’s sons and daughters are likely to be killed or wounded.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Purple Heartless Project 

Friday, September 03, 2004

FourFor More Wars? 

Beyond the fluff of balloons and confetti, the catch phrases and innuendo of bandaids penned with purple hearts, beyond the crocodile tears, George Bush's words to the RNC contain disturbing references to America imposing 'liberty' and 'freedom' upon the rest of the world. We are being 'called' from 'beyond the stars", he says, to continue the American tradition of conquest, ' and nothing will hold us back."

The story of America is the story of expanding liberty: an ever-widening circle, constantly growing to reach further and include more. Our Nation's founding commitment is still our deepest commitment: In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of freedom.

The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom....Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend Israel. Young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality and justice is coming...And as freedom advances heart by heart, and nation by nation America will be more secure and the world more peaceful.
I believe that America is called to lead the cause of freedom in a new century. I believe that millions in the Middle East plead in silence for their liberty.

Disturbing, to say the least.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

'Rock Solid' 

But, look, with this latest Medicare prescription-drug thing, which is now a $7 trillion unfunded mandate on top of a $13 trillion unfunded mandate, everybody agrees that Medicare is going to go broke. We are laying a burden of debt on future generations of Americans.

A second point is, you cannot -- any economist will tell you cannot have this level of debt of increasing deficits...
Senator John McCain
"All we are called upon to do is not spend our nation into bankruptcy while our soldiers risk their lives. I fondly remember a time when real Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility. Apparently those days are long gone for some in our party."
Senator John McCain
"I think we need to admit that serious errors have been made, increase our troop strength in Iraq and do what's necessary to turn this thing around."
Senator John McCain
McCain criticized President Bush for blocking a plan to allow career soldiers to receive both retirement and disability pay. "The White House has been the biggest barrier."

...McCain also blamed the president for helping foil a Senate plan to make generic drugs more accessible.

An estimated 850,000 people are homeless in the United States on any given night, according to advocates for the homeless.

About 45 million people were without health care insurance for part of 2003, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report published last week.

The report showed that since Bush took office in 2001, 4.3 million people have fallen below the poverty line. That brought the number of people living in poverty in 2003 to 35.9 million, or 12.5 percent of the population.

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