Friday, August 06, 2004

Anti-Kerry Vets Exposed

Two key members of 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' have been outed as liars.

In the recent smear ad aimed at Kerry's service in Vietnam, Lt. Cmdr. George Elliott says on camera that "John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam."

But it appears that it's Elliot who has not been honest. In an interview with The Boston Globe, Elliot characterized his involvement with the ad as "a terrible mistake."

Another vet, Coast Guard Captain Adrian Lonsdale, appears in the ad to say that Kerry "lacks the capacity to lead." And yet according to ABC News, in 1996, Lonsdale spoke out on Kerry's behalf.

As far as I was concerned, the war was won over there in that part for that period. And it was mainly won because of the bravado and the courage of the young officers that ran the boats, the SWIFT boats and the Coast Guard cutters and Senator Kerry was no exception. He was among the finest of those.
Maybe Lonsdale has a different standard, but that sure sounds like the stuff that exhibits "capacity to lead" to me.

For his part, Elliot also had nothing but praise for Kerry in the past. Again in 1996, he said that "the fact that he chased armed enemies down is not something to be looked down on."

If the media insists on continuing their coverage of this 'story', one can only hope that they'll start looking into the blatant lies contained in the ad and the people backing them.

posted by Scott | 8/06/2004 | |

Thursday, August 05, 2004

McCain Blasts Anti-Kerry Attack Ads

"Dishonest and dishonorable," is how Republican Senator John McCain describes the new television ads set to air from the so-called 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth'. Describing the attack ads, which absurdly question John Kerry's record of military service, as "the same kind of deal that was pulled on me," McCain reopens the wounds of the 2000 GOP primary battle. In 2000, especially in the lead-up to the South Carolina primary, vicious partisans were deployed by the Bush campaign to smear McCain and his military record.

McCain's completely understandable bitterness bubbles up when he stops short of blaming the Bush campaign for masterminding this latest round of attacks on John Kerry. When asked if he believed the Bush campaign was behind the ads, he responded, "I hope not, but I don't know." If he were not bitter and did not harbor a certain amount of suspicion toward Rove & Co., he would never have added that last part. But that's the beauty of John McCain. Once he starts, he doesn't stop until he's done. He wisely followed that comment with a call for Bush to "specifically condemn the ad."

Even after an official denial from the Bush campaign, McCain still showed quite a bit of fire. "I can't believe the president would pull such a cheap stunt." Note that McCain never says that they didn't pull such a cheap stunt. Note that he doesn't deny that Bush had any involvement with the ad. That is a very open-ended statement from a man who knows personally what kind of cheap stunts Bush's political team are willing to pull.

To date, McCain's repudiation of the 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' has got to be the strongest, most credible attack on the group on record. "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."

So many of my fellow bloggers are dismissing this group as worthless and are ignoring them. I'm not so confident, though. Group leader John O'Neill was groomed by the Nixon White House specifically to attack Kerry in the early seventies. This is something that Nixon's dirty-tricks enabler Charles Colson has since apologized to Kerry for.

O'Neill is backed by powerful forces and is incredibly well-connected. He is partnered in his law firm, Clements, O'Neill, Pierce, Wilson and Fulkerson, for example, with former Bush General Counsel Margaret Wilson. That firm is closely linked to Vinson & Elkins, the law firm which both gave rise to another Bush General Counsel Alberto Gonzales and helped Enron put together their extensive fraud schemes.

Currently, O'Neill's book, which is set to be released within weeks, is number one on the best-seller list.

We ignore these psychopaths at our own peril.

posted by Scott | 8/05/2004 | |

A 9/11 Commission Endorsement Of Kerry?

Call me crazy, but that is absolutely how I read GOP Commissioner Tom Kean's remarks on the potential political impact of the 9/11 Report. Kean told The New York Times that the response of both Bush and Kerry to the suggestions in the Commission's final report should influence people's votes in November.

So how is that an endorsement for Kerry?

Even before the 9/11 Commission's report was released, Kerry immediately called for all of its recommendations to be adopted by the White House and Congress. He made it known that, as President, he would implement their intelligence restructuring plans immediately. Bush on the other hand, who opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commission from the start, has rejected outright a majority of the Commission's recommendations.

Kean is not oblivious to this fact. His comments to the Times can be seen as a warning shot across the bow, but that's not likely with three long months to go before the election. Rather, Kean seems to be laying down the gauntlet to the Bush administration. While it's hard to imagine the Commission as a whole endorsing one candidate over another, there will certainly be serious fallout if Bush continues to completely ignore their work. Rove & Co. cannot seriously expect to wait out the shot clock on this one.

posted by Scott | 8/05/2004 | |

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Bruce Springsteen, Dixie Chicks, R.E.M. And Others Tour For MoveOn And ACT

There aren't many details right now, but America Coming Together and have joined forces with a number of artists for the Vote for Change Tour, aimed at serving George W. Bush with a pink slip in November. According to the website, the tour will take place from October 1 through October 10, targeting nine battleground states.

The details aren't set in stone yet, but there will apparently be a 1PM press conference today to announce more specifics. The best information right now is coming from the AP.

States: Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Artists: Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, the Dixie Chicks, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, the Dave Matthews Band, Jurassic 5, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt, Babyface, and Bright Eyes.

Bruce Springsteen, whose liberal politics are well known, put it this way. "We're trying to put forward a group of progressive ideals and change the administration in the White House... very clear cut and very simple."


The tour will be made up of simultaneous mini-tours in spread out in different cities in each battleground state...
October 1 - Pennsylvania
October 2 - Ohio
October 3 - Michigan
October 5 - Missori, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota
October 6 - Missouri, North Carolina, Iowa
October 8 - Florida

The rosters will be...
Pearl Jam/Death Cab for Cutie
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band/REM/John Fogerty/Bright Eyes
Dave Matthews Band/Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals/Jurassic 5/My Morning Jacket
Dixie Chicks/James Taylor
Jackson Browne/Bonnie Raitt/Keb’ Mo
John Mellencamp/Babyface

Some of those are quite odd pairings, but I'm not complaining.

posted by Scott | 8/04/2004 | |

More GOP Celebrities!

I hate Vincent Gallo. I have for a long time now. He's an overrated hack of a 'filmmaker' and 'musician' who suffers from rampant cancer of the ego and appeals only to hateful white hipsters with something to prove.

Whew! I'm glad I have that off my chest!

So why am I posting this now after I've harbored such a long-standing dislike of Gallo? Do you even have to ask?

Vincent Gallo loves George W. Bush.

I have no proof that the feeling is mutual, but that's really neither here nor there. In this day and age of nuclear-force vitriol politics and breathless demands of Democratic politicians to disavow their celebrity supporters, turnabout is more than fair play. It's absolutely necessary.

For the uninitiated, here's a little something Gallo wrote as part of his biography on

1971. My first band. The Blue Mood. A fat Jew named Mark Suchman on vocals. A Sephardic Jew, poorly named Irwin Ashkanasi, who was ugly and couldn't play a note but had a brand new two channel amp and a basement, miming rhythm guitar with his amp volume turned off. An already drinking eleven year old redheaded Irishman named Keith Ice on guitar. By the way, did you ever notice the smell of redheads? I think that's why a lot of redhead girls have Black boyfriends. They smell compatible.
I was nine. I played drums which I acquired from another Jew friend by trading his parents my cleaning, gardening and handyman skills for the summer. Along with the drums, I got a brace face blow job from my Jew friend's fat older sister. It was my first one. I also fingered her. It was a cheap drum set bought by cheap Jews, but it made sound and I loved it.
Uh, wow. I've been told by Gallo fans that this is 'ironic' and 'humorous.' Nice try.

Here's some more vintage Gallo.

Let's talk about what a wonderful president George Bush has been so far. Let's talk about how ridiculous handicap parking is. Let's talk about why the Puertoricans think they need to have a parade down fifth avenue. Or for that matter why the gays do too. Why isn't the Veterans Day parade down fifth avenue? The people who secure our nation get a couple blocks in Brooklyn while the fags and spics get Fifth Avenue.
Neither of these are new quotes. But Gallo has been in the news lately, both pimping his hero Dubya and his new porno flick movie, "The Brown Bunny." NY Daily News gossip columnists let it be known a few days back that Gallo will be making an appearance at the GOP convention in New York in a few weeks, "trying to help out in any way that I can. I have made it clear that I am open in any way to promote and protect the Republican administration."

Meanwhile, on the other side of America, the billboard for "The Brown Bunny" has gone up on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. The movie, which Roger Ebert said was less entertaining than watching his own colonoscopy, features a prolonged scene of full-contact, non-simulated oral sex.

But don't take my word for it! Check out the billboard. The unedited version (available from the previous link) isn't work or family-friendly, so I'll let your imagination run wild with this:

Something else, huh? I wonder if Jerry Falwell has any comment on this piece of good, old-fashioned Republican movie making.

I also wonder if the young Barbara Bush has a comment. She is, after all, a friend of Gallo's.

Is all of this guilt-by-association fair?

As long as the GOP prides itself on being the party of the Christian Right and bogus family values, you bet it is.

posted by Scott | 8/04/2004 | |

Monday, August 02, 2004

Deconstructing The Bounce

It's been said many times that the Bush administration is at its best when it's managing expectations. Aim low, shoot a little bit higher and you look like a champ. Aim high and shoot low, however, and you look like a failure. Over the course of the last five years or so, Karl Rove has lowered the bar so much for George W. Bush that he's going to have to buy a shovel if he wants to get it any lower in time for November.

But it's important for the GOP that the bar be raised for John Kerry as much as it's lowered for Bush. This is the reason that we heard for weeks and weeks before the Democratic Convention that Kerry would be coming out of the convention with a massive bump in the polls. Bush pollster Matthew Dowd had been peddling the story that Kerry "should have a lead of more than 15 points coming out of his convention." (Where else would one expect to find this story, by the way, but in The Washington Times?) Anything else, Dowd implied, would represent a massive failure of the Kerry campaign.

Days after the convention has ended and Kerry has formally accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, post-convention polling is finally starting to come out. The first was the Newsweek poll, which said that Kerry got a "baby bounce," but contained one glaring logical error. Just yesterday, the USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll claimed there was no bounce.

Before I get into the discrepancies between the two polls, let me explain the problem with the Newsweek poll. Actually, I don't even need to explain it. It's right there in the first paragraph. "The poll was taken over two nights, both before and after Kerry's acceptance speech." Can you really have a post-convention poll when it's not yet post-convention? It seems that the media is so hyper for the scoop these days that they aren't even waiting for the story to happen before they break it. (Case in point: stories about convention speeches hitting the wires before they were delivered last week.)

Here's the lowdown on what kind of real bounce Kerry got after accepting the nomination. (The following sentences are out of order, but certainly not out of context.)

Three weeks ago, Kerry’s lead was three points. On Thursday, Kerry had just a two-point lead over Bush (47 percent to 45 percent), suggesting that his Friday night speech had a significant impact. Respondents who were queried after Kerry's Thursday night speech gave the Democrat a ten-point lead over Bush.
So the real story here is not that Kerry got "the smallest in the history of the Newsweek poll" as was written, but rather that Kerry's speech managed not only to give him a statistically significant bump in the polls, but also reverse his downward momentum.

The USA Today poll is more troublesome. Gallup claims to have found no bounce whatsoever, with Kerry actually losing 1% of likely voters during the convention. Again there's a problem with the logic of the poll results. This time, however, the logic problem isn't with the framing of the results but with the results themselves. Despite the loss of support, perceptions of both the candidate and the party improved across the board in the wake of the convention. In fact, Bush lost ground to Kerry on the question who could better handle terrorism and more voters -- 51% vs. 46% -- now trust Kerry with the responsibilities of the Commander-in-Chief.

So the question should be asked of those polled rather than of those doing the polling is this... If Kerry would make a better Commander-in-Chief, why vote for the other guy? Essentially, as has been pointed out at dKos, this poll makes no sense.

But these are only two polls with very different results. A unified picture of post-convention public opinion will come when more results are released. For example, The Note this morning promises some breaking news this evening. "With all due respect to Newsweek and Gallup," they tease, "hold onto your hat and hair for tonight's ABC News/Washington Post poll."

What is all of this polling worth, anyway? Is it really instructive as to how Americans will vote in November?

As many others have already pointed out, the convention may not mean as much this year since about 90% of all likely voters had already made up their minds. Also, the VP bounce, typically tied to the convention, came much earlier this time. Besides, the convention wasn't a grab at a huge pool of undecided voters. It was an appeal on Kerry's behalf to voters who already doubt George W. Bush that John Kerry would make a better President. Whatever the 'bounce,' it would seem to me that Kerry achieved exactly what he needed to last week in Boston.

posted by Scott | 8/02/2004 | |
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