Friday, October 29, 2004

Surprise! He's Alive... And We Don't Have Him

Drudge & Co. is already spinning this latest videotape to surface from Osama bin Laden as an endorsement of John Kerry, but of course it's nothing of the kind.

Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al-Qaida. Your security is in your own hands...
From what I've heard, and I'm still working on getting my hands on a full transcript of the tape, bin Laden is -- incredibly -- trying to bargain with the American people to get them to advocate for a change of policy in the Middle East.

While I think that the American people are open to the idea of shifting Middle East policy, WE SURE AS F@#% AREN'T OPEN TO ANY IDEAS COMING FROM OSAMA BIN F@#%ING LADEN!!!

Basically, it seems that bin Laden thinks we're all stupid. He knows that no matter who the American President is, he's going to spend the rest of his life on the run. So he's kindly asking us to ignore the Middle East. Ignore religious persecution and oppression. Ignore war in Israel and Palestine. Ignore it all.

Well f@#% you, you monster. No one but total isolationist dimwits are going to buy that bullshit. Any acceptable shift in our policy would not be nearly enough to satisfy bin Laden.

Both campaigns have now made statements attacking bin Laden, but not each other.

It's going to be a long four days now...

posted by Scott | 10/29/2004 | |

Bremer Goes Insane On The Today Show

This will be a really quick item as I don't have the transcript to back it up.

This morning, on The Today Show, Matt Lauer attempted to interview former Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, about the explosives gone missing from al Qaqaa and the new videotape from 4/18/03 of the explosives in the compound.

Instead of trying to explain the situation with some semblance of logic, Bremer stuck to talking points to the point that he sounded insane. His narrative was something like this: Saddam took the explosives out of al Qaqaa prior to the invasion; after the invasion, the only vehicles on the roads around al Qaqaa were American military and could not have been used to move the explosives out of al Qaqaa.

When confronted with the news video showing American troops opening the al Qaqaa vaults on 4/18, Bremer went back to talking points, saying that the facts weren't clear and that the weapons were removed prior to the invasion. An incredulous Lauer didn't seem to know what to say. His comments were along the lines of, "but... the tape..."

The way Bremer just maneuvered around irrefutable facts scared me in a way I have never been scared by a politician before. As soon as I get a transcript, I'll put it up.

UPDATE: There's some info about Bremer's logical meltdown in this dKos thread. Knowing dKos, quotes will be up soon.

posted by Scott | 10/29/2004 | |

Surprise! Kaddafi Lobbyist Works For Bush Campaign

Michael Isikoff at Newsweek has quite the bombshell. A Washington Republican, who also serves as lobbyist for Libya, has been working for the Bush/Cheney campaign, coordinating Arab-American support. Campaign officials are trying to play it off as if the woman, Randa Fahmy Hudome is just another volunteer.

Asked about Hudome's role, Steve Schmidt, deputy communications director for the Bush campaign. said: "We have hundreds of thousands of people who have volunteered their time to the Bush campaign. She is one of them." He declined further comment.
No wonder they're declining further comment. Apparently, Hudome has played a major role in the campaign, speaking at rallies on behalf of Bush and helping to craft the Bush message as communicated to the Arab-American community.

But don't take my word for it. Here's the woman herself:

While Phares told NEWSWEEK he only asked Hudome to advise him on press strategy, Hudome said she actually did much more than that. "When he [Phares] sent it to me, I told him this was way, way too long and had too much mishmash," Hudome said. "I rewrote the press release and told him you need to have these points."

Although Phares insisted his organization has no formal connection to the Bush-Cheney campaign, Hudome's e-mail exchanges with Phares were copied to Jafar Karim, a top Bush-Cheney campaign official who serves as "national coalitions director." He did not return a telephone call and e-mail request for comment today.

In another Oct. 25 e-mail, in which Karim was also copied, Hudome said she had used Google to search for information about the prospective signatories of the Bush endorsement and advised that one of them, an Arab-American activist in Virginia, should not be included "for the reasons we discussed."

Hudome then continued: "Remember this: We do not want to do anything that might harm the President's chances of re-election by exposing him to any controversy. If you have doubts about these names -— perhaps we don't need to do this press release."
Gee whiz, what ever could she mean when she talks about covering up Bush's support from an Arab-American activist "for the reasons we discussed" because it "might harm the President's chances of re-election by exposing him to any controversy"?

This is absolutely outrageous, but again, don't take my word for it:

Hudome's role in helping to shape the endorsement -— as well as her ties to the Bush campaign—was also sharply criticized by some of the family members of the victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. That attack has been linked to the Libyan government and was considered the most deadly terrorist act against American civilians until September 11.

"I think it's appalling," said Victoria Pimentel, whose husband, John B. Cummock, was killed in the Lockerbie bombing, and who has objected to the president's rapprochement with the Libyan government. "Clearly, you can buy policies and you can buy votes with this administration. Obviously, if you have a lobbyist for the Libyans who is out there trying to get Muslim votes for the president, it's a good indication of what this administration is all about."

"It's so blatantly obvious that there is coordination between the Bush campaign, the Kaddafi regime and the oil companies," said Dan Cohen, whose daughter was killed in the Lockerbie bombing. "If it weren't so serious, it would be laughable."

posted by Scott | 10/29/2004 | |

International Greens Endorse Kerry

From Greens for Impact:

We write as Greens from across the globe who are united in their desire to see the American electorate remove George W. Bush from office.

The Bush administration has acted with a unilateralism that discounts the opinions of, and demeans the humanity of, non-Western peoples. Though John Kerry is far from the ideal candidate, he will in most respects be a significant improvement to Bush.
We ask Greens in the United States to not act with the unilateralism, which Bush has made your country famous for, and see to it that Bush is defeated, for the benefit of untold people across the globe. Indeed, this year's election will be close enough that the votes and actions of Green Party members could tip the balance.
We ask you to vote Bush out of office by supporting Kerry in contested states, and to focus energies on important electoral reforms.
As I've said here before, I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. I did so because I believe -- still -- in the potential for a dedicated Green Party to focus political attention on environmental issues. I was well within my right mind to do so, as well, living in a solidly Democratic state. Still, it's something I regret.

This year, of course, I urge all progressives to vote Kerry, even though I can understand and appreciate the appeal of a candidate like David Cobb. Or even Michael Badnarik. (Not Nader, though. By not working with a viable third party like the Greens, Nader has shown that he's not interested in serious change -- just shouting to the wind.) Still, if you live in a swing state, or even a state whose polls are within the outer limits of the margin of error, please vote Kerry.

It's much easier, after all, to influence someone when he knows he can't win without your support.

posted by Scott | 10/29/2004 | |

Minority Voter Suppression In Milwaukee

I've been asked a number of times for proof that the GOP is trying to hold down the black vote. Here and there, I've offered up little bits of proof, but the challenges are not something I take very seriously. I'm not a minority. I don't live in the inner city. If minority voters in the inner city say that they're being intimidated, then I believe it.

But for those of you that need the hard proof, how's this?

Pretty gross if it's real, and it seems that it is. I'm not saying that mainstream Republicans are racists, but if suppressing the minority vote helps the GOP, which it does, then I have no doubt that there are unscrupulous Republicans who will work to hold the minority vote down. That's just logic.

posted by Scott | 10/29/2004 | |

Springsteen And Kerry In Madison, Wisconsin

"The country we carry in our hearts is waiting..."

Absolutely beautiful.

Madison Assistant Fire Chief Carl Saxe told AFP that at least 80,000 people were in the main crowd, while at least 20,000 more were trying to get in on sidestreets, making the rally the biggest event in Madison's history.

posted by Scott | 10/29/2004 | |

FBI Investigating Pentagon, Halliburton

The FBI joins NASA and the CIA in endorsing Kerry by implication.

The FBI has begun investigating whether the Pentagon improperly awarded no-bid contracts to Halliburton Co., seeking an interview with a top Army contracting officer and collecting documents from several government offices.

The line of inquiry expands an earlier FBI investigation into whether Halliburton overcharged taxpayers for fuel in Iraq, and it elevates to a criminal matter the election-year question of whether the Bush administration showed favoritism to Vice President Dick Cheney's former company.
I have a feeling that Bush administration heads are going to roll no matter the outcome next week. It will of course be much less messy if Kerry wins.

My favorite part of the piece has to be the Halliburton spokeswoman betraying her right-wing lean in attempting to sound nonpartisan.

Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman...

We look forward to the end of the election, because no matter who is elected president, Halliburton is proud to serve the troops just as we have for the past 60 years for both Democrat and Republican administrations,” she said.
"Democrat administrations."

Incredible. It's Democratic, Wendy. The Halliburton spokeswoman speaks in focus-tested GOP code. Who woulda' thunk it?!?!

While I'm not complaining about the timing of all of this, it would have been nice if this investigation had begun much earlier in the year...

posted by Scott | 10/29/2004 | |

Biden Offered State?

I don't really buy that Joe Biden was offered the State Department, but that's what's being reported. Biden's been lobbying for the top spot for some time now and doing so very publicly. I would not be at all surprised if Biden and his people put this out just to make it hard for Kerry not to offer him the job.

For a while, I really did think it would be Biden, but ever since the emergence of Richard Holbrooke as Kerry's chief foreign policy spokesman, I've been far less convinced. But you've got to love that our biggest problem is having too many good people and not enough high level positions for them all. That's a problem I'll take any day.

Mind you, we still have to win on Tuesday or all of this is a moot point.

posted by Scott | 10/29/2004 | |

Thursday, October 28, 2004


I'm a big fan of all things space. So for those of you keeping track, that's progressive politics, baseball, and outer space. In college, I did pretty damn well in astronomy even though science isn't really my strong suit. I'm such a big fan of space that I thought it was kinda cool when Bush announced we were going to Mars. Then I realized my great-great-great grandkids would have to foot the bill, so I backed off.

And of course I'm a big fan of NASA. The history of the American space program is awe inspiring. Of course, there have been missteps. Like when they cut corners in safety matters. But I digress... Here are two more reasons to love NASA.

1. This one's a few days old, but what the hell...

IOWA CITY, Iowa Oct 26, 2004 — The Bush administration is trying to stifle scientific evidence of the dangers of global warming in an effort to keep the public uninformed, a NASA scientist said Tuesday night.

"In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it is now," James E. Hansen told a University of Iowa audience.

Hansen is director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and has twice briefed a task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney on global warming.

Hansen said the administration wants to hear only scientific results that "fit predetermined, inflexible positions." Evidence that would raise concerns about the dangers of climate change is often dismissed as not being of sufficient interest to the public.

"This, I believe, is a recipe for environmental disaster."

2. Again, another oldie but goodie in terms of timeliness of the story, but the connection is unmistakable. NASA must not like the President. From Salon...

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

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

For the past week, while at home, using his own computers, and off the clock at Caltech and NASA, Nelson has been analyzing images of the president's back during the debates. A professional physicist and photo analyst for more than 30 years, he speaks earnestly and thoughtfully about his subject. "I am willing to stake my scientific reputation to the statement that Bush was wearing something under his jacket during the debate," he says. "This is not about a bad suit. And there's no way the bulge can be described as a wrinkled shirt."
Too funny. I didn't think the Bush-was-wired story was still a story. I've got to admit it brings a smile to my face to learn that it still is.

posted by Scott | 10/28/2004 | |


Howzabout Kick-Your-Assachusetts?!?!

And I'm a freakin' Yankees fan!

Hey, if it helps make Kerry look like a winner in the homestretch, I'm all for it.

But seriously Lowe, I heard you in the postgame. If you really think we're going to stop chanting 1918 when you're in the Bronx, you're completely deluded. It's now 26-to-5 6. You've still got quite a bit of catching up to do.

Two-Part Update:
1. Yankees - 26, Red Sox - 6. I stand corrected. Why do people attracted to politics also seem to love baseball? I guess a lot of people love both and therefore there's going to be an overlap, but still... Imagine you could heckle politicians the way you're allowed to heckle baseball teams? Well, I guess you can. Just not at a Bush rally.
2. Schilling's a dick. I'm trying to be cool to the Red Sux Sox for Kerry's sake and he goes and wrecks it for me. And he wanted to be on the Yankees anyway!!! Ugh. Whatever. I won't digress anymore here. There's an election to win.

posted by Scott | 10/28/2004 | |

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Surprise! It's October!

In the last few days, I'd gotten kind of brave, thinking that time had run out for a GOP-sponsored October Surprise. How in the world could I have been so naive?

That champion of all things true, Matt Drudge, is headlining a big **Exclusive** right now, claiming that ABC News is sitting on a videotape of an American terrorist, possibly American al Qaeda member Adam Gadhan, warning of a massive attack on the United States that "will dwarf 9/11." NBC is already reporting that ABC passed the tape to the CIA, who doubt its authenticity. In Drudge's mind, however, ABC is not airing the tape because they want to help John Kerry.

Say what?!?

Check out this classic piece of Drudgery:

The terrorist claims on tape the next attack will dwarf 9/11. "The streets will run with blood," and "America will mourn in silence" because they will be unable to count the number of the dead. Further claims: America has brought this on itself for electing George Bush who has made war on Islam by destroying the Taliban and making war on Al Qaeda.
Note that the "further claims" are not in quotes, yet they're still repeated in the first person. I'd be shocked if the speaker on the video actually says any of that. For one thing, since when do Islamic terrorists talk about Bush "destroying the Taliban"? That's something they would never admit, even if it was true, which it is not. And they would never blame us for "making war on Al Qaeda" either. The way they see it, al Qaeda is defensively fighting a war America brought on Islam. That's certainly not the case, but that is the way Islamofascist terrorists frame things.

So if those claims are made on the tape, I'd seriously have to question exactly who is on the tape and what his real agenda is.

Let me say this -- I have no doubt that the tape is real. But like Josh Marshall, I doubt that it's recent (I don't doubt that it was recently leaked) and I doubt it's anything out of the ordinary. There are a ton of kooks over there making a ton of tapes, predicting America's demise any day now, and distributing them to the media. Only the media ignores 99% of them because they're silly nonsense and airing them would not be productive for the same reason too many terror alerts aren't productive -- threats not followed up by actions are likely to lull people into complacency.

Call it, 'the boys who cried terrorism'.

This is the October Surprise, and it's lower than low. At least ABC had the decency to pass it to the CIA and not take the bait. Hopefully the American people will follow suit and see this for what it is.

posted by Scott | 10/27/2004 | |

Brokaw To Bush: "That Is Not What We Reported"

FINALLY! Someone in the mainstream media just comes out and instead of reporting the 'he said/he said', calls it like it is. This could only be better if Brokaw had said, "okay dude, you just totally made that up."

Republican officials have sought to discredit the initial reports and seized on an NBC News account, broadcast Monday night, that said when troops from the 101st Airborne arrived at the vast site on April 10, 2003, they found conventional weapons but none of the extremely powerful high explosives, HMX and RDX, which can be used to set off a nuclear weapon. In an e-mail message sent to reporters on Monday evening, Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said, "The weapons were not there when the military arrived, making John Kerry's latest ripped-from-the-headlines attack baseless and false."

But Tuesday evening, NBC again reported on the issue. This time it reported that it had not said that the explosives were gone before American troops arrived at Al Qaqaa. Instead, it reported that troops from the Third Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne searched bunkers at the site and had not found the powerful explosives. NBC reported that it was not clear whether American troops searched all of the bunkers.

"Last night on this broadcast we reported that the 101st Airborne never found the nearly 380 tons of HMX and RDX explosives," Tom Brokaw, the NBC anchor, said. "We did not conclude the explosives were missing or had vanished, nor did we say they missed the explosives. We simply reported that the 101st did not find them."

"For its part, the Bush campaign immediately pointed to our report as conclusive proof that the weapons had been removed before the Americans arrived," Mr. Brokaw added. "That is possible, but that is not what we reported."

For the second day Mr. Bush did not speak about the issue, twice ignoring questions from reporters.
Who knew that the biggest surprise coming out of Bush's October Surprise would be that said surprise would actually benefit John Kerry? Surprise!!!

There has been some suggestion by Republicans in and out of the campaign that the missing 380 tons of explosives are really no big deal. The most famous example of this has to be Dick Cheney claiming that, if they had not been stolen by anti-American insurgents, the explosives "would be in the hands of Saddam Hussein, who would still be sitting in his palace, instead of jail."

But that's a total canard. This is one instance where it's irrefutable that the international inspections and sanctions program was working. These explosives had long been out of the hands of Saddam Hussein. They were under tight security by the International Atomic Energy Agency. It was not until the United States invaded Iraq that this cache of explosives was let loose.

Setting the matter of who possesses the weapons aside, it's hard to ignore just how dangerous this stockpile truly is. Explosives of the type stored at the al Qaqaa facility were used in both the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland and in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. In both instances, only about a pound of explosives was used. So if less than five pounds of these explosives can be used to pull off two of the most high profile terrorist attacks in the last 25 years, how can anyone claim that 380 tons of explosives in the hands of those who hate America is not a big deal?

If this issue doesn't wake America up to the fact that George W. Bush is not keeping Americans safe at home and on the battlefield, nothing will.

posted by Scott | 10/27/2004 | |

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Polling News

Perhaps you recall that during the primaries, I didn't get wrapped up in the numbers until the end. Expect the next week to be no different. This race is obscenely tight, with all of the national numbers within the margins, but I am starting to really pay attention to the state-by-state numbers.

Looking at 2.004k's latest numbers, Kerry's got a clear advantage in the states that count. Oregon - Kerry up 6%. Pennsylvania - Kerry up 5%. Florida - Kerry up 3%. Ohio - Kerry up 2%. For Bush, the only advantages he's got among the recently updated polls are in Indiana, Oklahoma, and Nebraska -- all very red states.

Of course, other polls show Bush up in Florida and even threatening to pick off the very blue Hawaii. But still, I'm pretty confident that Kerry voters are being underrepresented in the polls. There are a variety of issues -- new registrations, voter intensity (covered so well by E.J. Dionne in today's Post), etc, etc -- that I believe indicate that Kerry is going to do much better than the polls are letting on.

But still the cliche stands. The only poll that matters is the one that happens next Tuesday. Let's all just hope its margin of error isn't quite as high as last time.

posted by Scott | 10/26/2004 | |

Monday, October 25, 2004

Big News For Monday Morning

The 'big news' today was supposed to be a story so huge that it would completely bury the Kerry campaign. I had my doubts when I heard that it was uncovered by right-wing bloggers. I knew it was going to be total garbage when I learned it would be headlining not in a respectable newspaper, but in the Moony-run Washington Times. Now that I've read it?


This is the October Surprise? Holy mackerel, the GOP is in trouble!

In December of 2003, John Kerry spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations. One of the topics he was asked to speak about was his ability to bring in foreign allies where President Bush had failed to do so.

Thanks to some friends in New York, I was invited to come up and meet with the Security Council in the week prior to the vote, and I wanted to do that, because I valued my vote. And I wanted to know what the real readiness and willingness of our partners was to take this seriously.

So I sat with the French and British, Germans, with the entire Security Council, and we spent a couple of hours talking about what they saw as the path to a united front in order to be able to deal with Saddam Hussein.
The big scoop, is that Kerry did not meet with "the entire Security Council," as he had said. Unsurprisingly, the reporters are leaving out a big chunk of the truth.

It turns out that Kerry only met with the permanent members of the UN Security Council. So while The Washington Times is trying to spin this as a monumental fabrication on Kerry's part, the truth is that Kerry did meet with representatives from Russia, Great Britain, France, and China. He apparently did not, however, meet with representatives of temporary member nations like Bulgaria and Colombia.

The Times admits this sloppy fact-checking themselves, noting that they called representatives from only five of the fifteen Security Council member nations. Of those five, only four said they had not met with Kerry prior to the Iraq War.

Right now, you're probably asking yourself what the story is here. Well that makes two of us. John Kerry misspoke about something in a completely inconsequential manner. He didn't make up a story as the GOP is trying to claim. The whole thing smacks of eleventh hour desperation at its worst.

One story breaking in tomorrow's papers, however, is worth some serious consideration. The New York Times has an actual story from Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 24 - The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.
So in case you're keeping score, here's how it shakes out...

John Kerry - He didn't use the word "permanent" when talking about the UN Security Council.

George W. Bush - His mismanagement of the war in Iraq has led to 380 tons of high explosives winding up in the hands of terrorist insurgents.

So much for the "big news" Monday morning that was supposed to end it for Kerry. Today, reality trumps fabrication. Still, my thoughts and best wishes are with the troops in Iraq who have to deal with this 380 tons worth of explosives face to face and not just as a campaign issue.

Once again, George W. Bush is failing to keep Americans safe.

posted by Scott | 10/25/2004 | |
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