What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

This Week's Column Is Out

Give it a read over at the Democratic Underground, and check out the other articles at DU.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

He said, He said

George W. Bush, not one to admit when he is wrong (or when he has spectacularly screwed up), has been painting a rosy picture of the situation in Iraq. Bush has said repeatedly that he is "pleased" with the progress in Iraq. Life is great in Iraq! Schools are being built, infrastructure repaired, male pattern baldness has been cured, and so on.

For some reason, Secretary of State Colin Powell has a different view on Iraq.

Powell appeared on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, saying the insurgency in Iraq was getting worse and that and that the U.S. occupation of Iraq has created resentment of the United States in Muslim countries.

Also on Sunday, Reuters reported that internal Pentagon documents contradict Bush's claims of progress in Iraq. For instance, Bush's claim of nearly 100,000 Iraqi security forces already on the job does not mesh with reality: only 8,169 of security personnel have received the standard eight weeks of security training, and the documents list nearly 47,000 others as being untrained. In fact, it will be July 2006 before we see the planned 135,000 member Iraqi police force.

Other security personnel remain untrained, which puts our troops at risk, since they will be performing the bulk of police work until Iraq's forces are fully trained.

Meanwhile, new polls released today have President Bush with a strong lead over John Kerry. The Washington Post/ABC News poll has Bush with a six-point lead over Kerry; the USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll has Bush with an eight-point lead; and the Pew poll also shows Bush with an eight-point lead.

This is bad news for John Kerry.

I really, really hope Kerry's debate preparation includes lessons on how to communicate less formally. Kerry needs to connect with voters and if he comes across as stiff and formal he will not make that connection with people watching the debates. Say what you will about George W. Bush, but the man connects with people, just like Bill Clinton did (and still does). It's pretty obvious the presidential race will not have much to do with issues. Instead, it will be that important emotional connection between the voter and the candidate that makes the difference.

One last thing: I forgot to link to this week's Top 10 Conservative Idiots at DU. Enjoy.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Flip-flopping in Iraq

Iraq's appointed interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, was interviewed on the ABC News program This Week with George Stephanopoulos on September 19. On that show, Allawi painted a bleak picture of Iraq: "Terrorists, foreign terrorists ... are still pouring in, and they are trying to inflict damage on Iraq, to undermine Iraq and to undermine the democratic process in Iraq...This is their last stand, so they are putting a very severe fight on Iraq," Allawi told Stephanopoulos.

Yet, just a few days later, Allawi had a very different outlook on Iraq: "We are winning, defeating terrorists in Iraq. Unfortunately the media have not been covering these significant gains in Iraq."

I suspect Allawi's assessment on This Week was closer to the truth than what was said two days later. The question is, when will the Bush administration stop bullshitting us on what's really going on in Iraq?

In Baghdad's Old City, pornography was the hot item to purchase in the stores and markets there immediately following the collapse of Saddam's regime. Yes, porno. But now, a new form of pornography is all the rage: decapitation videos. Videos of hostages being decapitated by terrorists. These videos are even broadcast in coffee shops, and can be purchased for as little as thirty cents.

I think it's safe to say that many Iraqis are not happy with the U.S. occupation of their country. And even if schools and roads are being rebuilt, Iraqis still deal with the reality of the presence of the U.S. military's weaponry; they deal with daily gun battles, awaken to the sound of explosions and gunbattles. I cannot imagine what it must be like for someone living in Baghdad, not knowing if I were going to be the victim of a car bombing. Kidnappings are occurring frequently, a tool used by insurgents to finance their deadly attacks.

And, through it all, the search continues for weapons of mass destruction. Okay, that's a lie, I don't think anyone is looking for WMDs now. After all, this is a war to combat terrorism, not a hunt for WMDs.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have hundreds of articles to read on CBS News' Memogate.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Bush's Alternate Reality of Iraq

"I'm pleased with the progress (in Iraq)," President George W. Bush said on Sept. 18 to a Maine newspaper. "It's hard. Don't get me wrong. It's hard because there are some in Iraq who want to disrupt the election and disrupt the march to democracy, which should speak to their fear of freedom."

What is Bush smoking? Is he hitting the bottle? What the hell is he talking about? What progress? Iraq is in utter chaos right now. What progress is he pleased with? That kidnappers continue to take hostages and decapitate them? The non-stop fighting in Fallujah? The near-daily deaths of American troops?

When Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 was released, conservative pundits who did not actually see the documentary seized on one moment which, to them, demonstrated that Moore somehow supported Saddam Hussein: a scene in Iraq with children playing, men getting haircuts, and people going about daily activities. The conservative pundits are, of course, too obtuse to actually understand the point Moore was trying to make: Iraqis, even under a brutal dictator like Saddam Hussein, tried to live their lives under horrible conditions. Moore was attempting to humanize ordinary Iraqis, by showing them doing things we all do. Conservatives were too stupid to understand this and blasted Moore for his "idyllic" portrayal of an Iraqi "paradise" under Saddam Hussein.

Yet now we have George W. Bush telling us all that we're making "progress" in Iraq, a progress he's "pleased" with. In a Sept. 15 speech to the National Guard Association in Las Vegas, Bush said, "Despite ongoing violence in Iraq...that country now has a strong prime minister, a national council and national elections are scheduled for January. The world is changing for the better."

Changing for the better? How? Does he think scores of car bombings equate a change for the better? Does he consider the deaths of 1,048 Americans a change for the better? Would the thousands of injured soldiers agree that we're making progress in Iraq? Is it progress that insurgents have taken control of cities like Fallujah? What about the thousands of dead Iraqi civilians? That's progress?

Bush and his supporters clearly consider the American public to be rubes, to be so fucking stupid that we all would just forget that the original mission in invading Iraq was to disarm Saddam of his WMDs? And then we changed the mission to removing a brutal dictator, and now the mission is to fight the terrorists. Osama Bin who? We don't care. We'll get the sons of bitches that attacked us...Eventually. In the meantime, we need to spend billions of dollars to ensure that Iraqis get quality medical care. Socialism, bad for America, good for Iraq.

What about the terrorists who attacked us on Sept. 11? Unless my memory is faulty, I don't recall that they hailed from Iraq. But no, Bush has to have his deadly snipe hunt in Iraq. A snipe hunt that has left scores of young men disabled, brain damaged, blind and paralyzed, their lives changed completely due to faulty intelligence that, as Colin Powell told the U.N. Security Council in Feb. 2003, was not assertion but fact. FACT. That mistake has resulted in the deaths of over 12,000 Iraqi civilians. You know, the people we were trying to free from a brutal regime.

How many more decapitations will it take for Bush to admit that our initial intelligence on Iraq WMDs was bad? How many more young men will have their limbs blown off before Bush admits there are no WMDs in Iraq? How many more families will be destroyed before Bush admits he has no idea where the WMDs are?

I guess Americans don't care what happens in Iraq as long as we're fat, dumb and happy, mesmerized by Dan Rather's "memogate" or the latest attack on John Kerry by the Swift Boat Vets. The Bush administration is counting on our complacency, that we will simply ignore what is happening in Iraq. So what if hundreds of billions of tax dollars are going to the reconstruction of Iraq? I can turn on the TV and catch the latest episode of The Apprentice. Ignorance is bliss, especially when your name is George W. Bush.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

It's Column Time

My new column is up at CounterBias, about CBS and the Killian memorandum forgeries. What a story. How Dan Rather and his team got suckered by the fake documents is beyond my comprehension. Apparently CBS was not given the original copies of the documents; they were faxed to CBS from a Texas Kinkos. Had I been in charge I would have asked for the originals.

Also in question is CBS' motive for airing the Bush piece on Sept. 8. Did the Sixty Minutes Wednesday crew think it had a real scoop on its hands? Or was this a real example of liberal bias, with a story that would potentially be damaging to George W. Bush? Whatever the case, the story backfired. Instead of harming George W. Bush, it's helped him and hurt the Kerry campaign. Conservative pundits are claiming a Kerry connection to the forged documents, with charges flying that Kerry advisors Max Cleland and Joe Lockhart were somehow involved. Particularly Lockhart, who allegedly was in contact with Bill Burkett, the man who provided the documents to CBS. Which means the Kerry campaign has to go on the defensive against the Swift Boat vets and conservatives convinced of a Kerry conspiracy. Of course, there is no evidence that the Kerry campaign was involved, but to conservative pundits, Lockhart's conversation with Burkett is proof enough of a conspiracy.

If the Kerry campaign was involved, I think it's a certainty that it will cost him the election, even if Kerry had no knowledge of the events.

Whatever happens, Bush comes out of this with good press, a victim of attack journalism by a network with an agenda. Never mind if the actual subject matter of the story -- that Bush received special treatment in getting into the Texas Air National Guard and had a spotty attendance record in 1972 and 1973 -- is true. People don't seem to mind what Bush did during the Vietnam conflict.

Thanks a lot, CBS.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

It's Feeling Like 1996

When I think about the current presidential campaign, my mind goes back to 1996, when Bill Clinton squared off against Bob Dole in that election and won by a huge margin. Clinton received 379 electoral votes to Dole's 159.

I can't shake the feeling that John Kerry will be this election's Bob Dole.

I know some Democrats will say I'm being negative, or being pessimistic. I think I'm being a realist.

The problem with the Kerry campaign, and John Kerry, is that he is not connecting on a personal level with voters. Not for a lack of trying. Kerry's been on programs like The Daily Show and Live with Regis and Kelly in an effort to present himself as a "regular" guy. I don't think it's working. Kerry comes across as very formal and somewhat cold and, yes, almost aristocratic.

Kerry has also had trouble in communicating his vision for America to voters. People aren't sure where he stands on issues like the war in Iraq, and he's a bit verbose when atriculating that message.

Don't get me wrong, I want John Kerry to win, but I believe he has a tough battle ahead of him. Some Democrats are predicting a Kerry landslide, which would be great. I know I'll be watching the polls closely and am especially interested in the upcoming presidential debates. I think these debates will be crucial to each candidate's campaign. It will come down to how they communicate their message, their vision, and their plans on what direction they will take America in the next four years. Bush usually comes across in a more folksy kind of way, a sort of "ah shucks" attitude that many folks relate to.

I'm crossing my fingers for a Kerry victory. Here's hoping that the one group of voters that have not been polled extensively, the young people voting for the first time, cast their vote for John Kerry. That might make the difference in a John Kerry administration.

Monday, September 20, 2004

CBS News: Documents Cannot Be Verified

As expected, CBS News is now saying the four memorandums it obtained that were supposedly from George W. Bush's former National Guard squadron commander, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian are fakes. Well, they're not using the word "fake," instead saying they no longer could vouch for the document's authenticity.

The documents were featured in a Sixty Minutes II Segment on Sept. 8 about how George W. Bush got into the Texas Air National Guard. The memorandums conveniently seemed to back claims made by Bush opponents that Bush had skipped out on some of his Guard obligations.

CBS News initially stood behind its claims of the authenticity of the memorandums -- stubbornly, I might add -- and Dan Rather, in one newscast, said the documents came from "un-impeachable sources."

On Sept. 15, CBS News released a lengthy statement, still standing behind its claims of the authenticity of the documents.

Many Democrats insisted the documents were genuine, and bloggers took crash courses in vintage typewriters to offer up evidence that the memorandums were not forgeries.

As you have read here, I initially believed the documents to be fake. Democrats seemed almost desperate in their hopes that the documents were genuine. Even if they were, I doubt it would have changed the outcome of the presidential election. Bush supporters do not appear to be bothered by questions surrounding Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. Right now the only group that could potentially be affected by this controversy are the swing voters.

There you have it: CBS News was tricked into believing the Killian memorandums were genuine. Apparently CBS received the documents via fax. Why CBS insisted on using faxed documents as a source, and not the originals, is a mystery. Someone with genuine Killian documents could very easily create forgeries using his signature.

Another question to be answered is, was anyone affiliated with the national Democratic party responsible for the forgeries? If so, it's going to be a real setback for the Kerry campaign. People will believe the Kerry people were somehow responsible for the documents, even if no one actually is. That's the nature of the political beast.

Finally, here's the Top 10 Conservative Idiots list from DU. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Thirty-six years young...nah, old

Today is my 36th birthday, and What's In Scott's Head is a year old. What a day. I've been sick all week, which is why I haven't updated the site as often as I should have. Not to worry, I'll be back to my America-hating ways before long.

One of the big news items this weekend is the numbers in a recent Gallup poll. The USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, conducted Sept. 13-15, has Bush with a huge lead over John Kerry, 55% to 42%.

However, two other polls show the two candidates tied. The Pew Research Center's most recent poll has Bush at 47% and Kerry at 46%. A poll by Harris Interactive also shows the candidates tied.

The polls would indicate we're in for a very tight race. This could very well be one of those elections that are decided by a small number of voters. Bush and Kerry have their eye on eight swing states: Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In the 2000 campaign, Nevada and New Hampshire barely went to Bush, and the rest barely went to Gore. We're talking very small percentages.

John Kerry has a lot of work ahead of him. He's got to get on track with a campaign message that connects with voters. So far, I don't think he's been very successful in that regard. Kerry got himself tangled up in a campaign focused almost entirely on Kerry's service in Vietnam. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were able to successfully launch a campaign to cast doubt on Kerry's service. A willing media allowed the Swift Boat vets to communicate their message to the world, and that media was not particularly interested in challenging their claims. Never mind the fact that most of the Swift boat vets never met or served with John Kerry. Never mind the fact that the accounts given by some of the Swifties contradicted other claims, and in some cases supported Kerry's version of events, not the Swifties. Never mind the fact that the U.S. Navy's investigation into John Kerry's medals and ribbons showed the medals and ribbons were awarded properly. The media has ignored the truth in favor of the version of the truth presented by the Swifties. So much for that liberal bias.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Thursday Musings

My column is out at The Smirking Chimp. If you've already read the column, head on over to The Chimp to read the other articles posted today. There are some great articles. And I have to plug my other home on the World Wide Web, CounterBias. Robert Furs runs CounterBias and is a columnist for the site as well. I can't say enough good things about CounterBias, The Smirking Chimp, and other progressive news outlets on the web. They offer a real alternative to the corporate media machine.

Speaking of big media, CBS News is now dealing with the possibility that the Killian memorandums are forgeries. Last week on Sixty Minutes II, Dan Rather broke the story of a few newly-discovered documents, supposedly written by George W. Bush's Air National Guard squadron commander, that supported claims of George W. Bush skipping out on some of his military obligations. Right after that broadcast, questions were raised about the authenticity of the memorandums, and some document experts believed the documents had been composed on a computer and not on a typewriter. CBS stood behind its story, and Dan Rather, insisting that the documents were genuine. Today, in an interview with the Washington Post, Dan Rather considered the possibility that the documents were forgeries. "If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story...any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong,'" Rather told the Post.

I'm going to stick with my original prediction: CBS will retract the story. The big question will be, who created the documents? I'm not expecting the news to be good for Kerry's campaign. Stay tuned for more on this breaking story...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Cold Watch '04: Day Three

My new column is out at CounterBias. This week's column is about the media's obsession with the Vietnam conflict. Drop me a note and let me know what you think, and make sure to check out the other columns at CounterBias.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Cold Watch '04: Day Two

Damn this cold. My head is swimming, I'm stuffed up and cranky.

It looks like attention is finally shifting from John Kerry's military record to George W. Bush's record. And while this is an entertaining diversion, I wish the DNC leadership would drop this issue.

In question is a flyer from Bush's 1978 campaign for the House of Representatives. The flyer states that Bush served in the Air Force. Democrats are saying that the flyer is further proof of Bush's duplicity as he served in the Air National Guard and not the Air Force. Bush's campaign has countered this by saying Bush had been placed on active duty for a period of time, and while on active duty he was considered a member of the Air Force.

I think the DNC is hoping this latest example of Bush's lying about his military service will influence the group of voters that will not vote for Bush on the basis of his military service (or lack thereof): the swing voters. In a close election, they might make the difference in a Kerry presidency or a second term for Bush.

I can understand the reasoning behind the DNC jumping on this issue. I just wonder why the Kerry campaign, and the Democrats, don't just focus on Bush's record as president. It's not a great record. It's the kind of record that can cost an incumbent a second term. Instead, we keep going back to what the candidates did or did not do during the Vietnam conflict. I don't know if Bush was ever on active duty and considered part of the regular Air Force. I really don't care. I know he's not been truthful about his past. His tour of duty in the Air National Guard has always been an issue for Bush when running for public office. And when it comes up, Team Bush simply says that since Bush received an honorable discharge, he fulfilled his obligations to the Guard. Yes, that logic is flawed. But so far no one has come up with a "smoking gun" to show that Bush was AWOL from the Guard. Even if he was, I doubt that revelation would affect voters much.

I suppose it's a good thing that attention has shifted from John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans to George W. Bush's service in the Guard. This would be a great time for Kerry to come in swinging with attacks against Bush's domestic policy and the war in Iraq. Keep him on the ropes through the debates and on to the election in November. Hopefully the media will lose interest in what happened 30+ years ago and focus on what is happening now.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

I Hate Being Sick

Usually I get a head cold once a year (sometimes less), and what do you know, today is my day to be sick. So now my head is swimming in a fog as I wait for the cold medicine to work its magic. Yet, dear reader, here I am, typing through a tightening noose of confusion to provide you with the quality commentary and analysis you've come to expect from my award-winning blog. I'm trying to think of the upside, which will be no sleep and hours spent vegetating in front of the TV playing XBOX as my sinuses drain and my head pounds. I'll be useless to do anything else but get the high score on Burnout 2. Which is a great game, by the way. Ummm...what? Oh, yeah, Bush. Stay focused. Must write about Bush.

Newsweek's new poll is interesting. The last Newsweek poll had Bush leading John Kerry by 11 points. That lead has been narrowed to six points. Which is fascinating, because this poll was taken right before the September 11 anniversary, and Bush has campaigned on his leadership skills following the attacks on September 11, 2001. I would have thought his lead would have increased. Shows you what I know.

Bush's approval rating has fallen, down to 48%. Interestingly, 60% of voters expect Bush to be re-elected.

Almost 80% of all voters are finding the campaigns to be too negative, and 53% say they are not satisfied with the "way things are going."

Another surprise in the poll is Bush's rating for personal honesty. 55% of voters say Bush is honest and ethical; 40% say he is not. That's a big change from last week. Seven days ago, 62% said Bush was honest and ethical, and 33% said he was not.

Another interesting find in the poll is that 16% of "swing" voters would vote for Kerry based on his Vietnam service; 19% said they would not vote for Bush based on his service to the Air National Guard.

Again, it looks like it's just too close to call. The poll numbers I'm most interested in will be the numbers released after the first presidential debate. It's going to be a tight race up until the end.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Bush Memos, Pt. II: America Goes Crazy

Holy crap, this whole CBS/Killian memos business has captivated the nation and suddenly everyone is trying to become experts on 1970s-era typewriters. It's crazy. I don't know what to think anymore. Since I wrote my last blog entry I've read many accounts of how the memos probably were typed in 1972/73. I'm not going to retract my last post, but I'm going to change my position to: I don't know what the hell to think. The documents certainly look like something typed up using MS Word. However, the company that created the Times New Roman typeface says it's been available since the 1930s, and apparently some IBM typewriters in use in 1972/73 were capable of the formatting used in the Killian memos.

CBS is standing firm behind their story.

Now, I guess the real question to be asked is, does any of this matter?

As far as Bush goes, I don't think this issue will have any affect on his campaign. People have known for years about Bush's spotty Air National Guard record, and Bush's supporters apparently do not care if Bush skipped out on his Guard obligations.

The media circus has come to town. I think it'll be here for a while.

The Bush Memos: A Hoax?

In a segment about George W. Bush's service in the Air National Guard, the CBS program Sixty Minutes II produced memorandums supposedly written by a man named Jerry B. Killian, who was held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was George W. Bush's squadron commander. The documents, supposedly written in 1972 and 1973, appear to support the claim that Bush had not fulfilled his military obligations in the Air Guard.

There's just one small problem: the documents may very well be forgeries.

The Washington Post is reporting that a number of experts in the field of authenticating documents believe the memorandums to have been written using a computer or word processor, and not a 1972-era typewriter. The experts believe the font used is "Times New Roman," a common font of word processing programs and a font not used in those old typewriters. The formatting of the documents also suggest they were created on a computer.

Killian's widow, Marjorie Connell, dismissed the documents as "a farce."

(The memos can be read at the CBS web site).

I've looked over the documents. I'm not an expert on authenticating documents, but it's very clear that the documents do not appear to have been created on a typewriter. I fired up MS Word and typed out some of the text from one of the memos, selecting Times New Roman. The result is an exact match in style of the document supposedly from 1972, including the formatting of the address "111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron." MS Word even formats 111th to look the same as the 1972 memo.

For comparison, here is one of the documents supposedly from 1972. I then typed out the text of that document using MS Word. The line formatting is a little different but to me the two documents look the same. Here's my version of the document.

CBS is standing by its claim that the documents are authentic, having had the documents examined by their own experts.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I'll make a prediction: CBS News will retract the story.

Oy vey.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Hypocrites At The Gate

Over the last few months, as John Kerry's Vietnam service has been questioned and torn apart by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for The Truth, many conservatives have watched in glee. Conservative columnists and conservative message boards have discussed the issue ad nauseum, trading lies, speculating that Kerry had orchestrated some kind of "master plan" to get himself elected president but making himself out to be a war hero, speculating that he had injured himself to get a Purple Heart, and even suggesting he falsified records to be awarded medals he did not deserve. A group at the GOP convention even handed out "Purple Heart Band-Aids" to delegates to further ridicule John Kerry. Conservatives were having themselves a grand old time destroying a man's reputation.

The tables have suddenly turned on George W. Bush regarding his service in the Air National Guard. The Boston Globe has investigated Bush's service and, according to the Globe, there are still periods of time unaccounted for in Bush's service. Some new documents have been discovered that also support the Globe's conclusions regarding Bush's service.

Team Bush has dismissed the charges, using the logical reasoning that, since Bush was honorably discharged, he fulfilled all of his obligations of service. Never mind the fact that Bush received favorable treatment to get into the Guard; it stands to reason that strings were pulled to get Bush his honorable discharge.

Suddenly conservatives don't want to talk about "ancient history." Who cares what happened 35 years ago? Oh sure, they want to know what happened to John Kerry 35 years ago, but Bush, well, we'll just take his word that he meet his obligations.

The Sept. 8 Crossfire was a perfect example of this attitude, as Tucker Carlson dismissed questions about Bush's service by commenting sarcastically to Paul Begala, "I have to tell you, you know what? I totally -- I was going to vote for him (Bush), but now that I know there are questions about his National Guard service in 1972, you have blown my mind. You have blown my mind."

Personally, I think that what happened 35 years ago has no bearing on whether or not John Kerry or George Bush can lead the country. But if conservatives are going to ask questions about Kerry's service, then it's fair game to go after Bush.

Let the games begin...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Racial Profiling: the Art of Lazy Law Enforcement

Conservatives pundits, for the most part, are big fans of racial profiling. At least for people with dark skin. I can see how this appeals to conservatives: let's make sure minorities are always considered as suspects by law enforcement. None of that innocent until proven guilty bullshit.

The current target of racial profiling are Muslim men. You know, because they account for the majority of crimes committed in the United States. Oh wait, they do not. Yes, 19 terrorists caused the deaths of over 2,800 people on Sept. 11, and the terrorists were Muslim. Also, most of them were from Saudi Arabia. But we'll ignore that in our racial profiling matrix, because the Saudis are heavily invested in the United States, and we do not want to offend them. That's why we sort of look the other way when it comes to the horrific human rights violations committed by that government.

I wonder if law enforcement also has its eye on white Desert Storm veterans? After all, Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.

If it did happen, it wouldn't last long. If white conservatives suddenly found themselves on profiling list, they would do everything in their power to stop it. Conservatives can ramble on about the ACLU and how law enforcement needs all the tools at its disposal to stop the bad guys, but if law enforcement's focus settled on that group, they wouldn't stand for it.

Unlike conservatives, I support the civil rights of everyone. Innocent until proven guilty. Our legal system is what separates us from countries like Saudi Arabia, where there is no concept of innocent until proven guilty.

If terrorists are determined to strike against the United States, they will make that attempt. If law enforcement has its eye on Muslim men, what's to prevent a group like Al Qaeda from recruiting white males to carry out their mission?

Treating minorities as suspects is not the answer. Perhaps conservatives should give the Constitution a read, and take a look at all of the amendments. Section one of the 14th amendment is of particular interest:

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Aside from the ethical issues involved, racial profiling seems to me a direct violation of the 14th amendment.

This isn't a "liberal" or "conservative" issue. All citizens should be aware of the actions the government takes when it comes to civil rights.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Facing Reality: Election '04

I'm a John Kerry supporter, and I will vote for him, but I don't think he's going to win. Not from a lack of trying.

Am I giving up? No.

I think the reality is, George W. Bush is connecting with people the same way Bill Clinton when he was president. John Kerry comes across as aloof and cold. People can imagine sitting down with George W. Bush at their favorite watering hole for a beer; they think he's like them.

Sure, there are domestic issues that can make or break an incumbent. In '92, it was the economy that cost George H.W. Bush his re-election. But I don't recall George H.W. Bush connecting with ordinary folks the same way his son is connecting with them.

The latest Newsweek poll has George W. Bush leading on many fronts, primarily in issues of leadership and, amazingly, his handling of the economy.

This is bad news for John Kerry.

Kerry has been given some horrible advice on his campaign. I admire John Kerry's military service, but surely the time has come to stop talking about it. As much as I despise what the Swift Boat Veterans for The "Truth" have done to John Kerry, there's no denying the campaign has been effective. It shouldn't have been effective. The claims against Kerry come from men who in some case were not eyewitnesses to John Kerry's actions in Vietnam, and official Navy records contradict other claims made by the Swifties. For some reason John Kerry waited too long to respond to the attacks, and by the time he did, it was too late; the damage had been done.

John Kerry should be attacking Bush for his handling of domestic issues. The economy, contrary to what people might think in the Newsweek poll, has not been handled well. In 2003, the number of people in poverty increased, from 12.1 percent to 12.5 percent, bringing that number to nearly 36 million people. Wages have stagnated, meaning people are working harder for less money. Nearly one million people have lost jobs since Bush took office. Senior citizens will be paying more for Medicare coverage next year. These are all issues John Kerry should be focusing on. And it looks like he might be shifting his campaign focus to those issues. Kerry is bringing in new advisors, and even received a pep talk from Bill Clinton, on how to refocus his campaign.

I'm hoping these changes will result in a Kerry campaign focused on the issues and putting Bush on the defensive. A lot can happen in two months, and John Kerry has an opportunity to turn things around. Here's hoping he does.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Dick Cheney Hates America

Throughout the current presidential campaign, many conservatives have made references to John Kerry and Democrats voting to cut funding to military programs. A pundit will put in an appearance on a show like Hannity and Colmes and mention how John Kerry voted against funding military aircraft or other military-related programs/systems. Of course the hosts of these shows do not challenge the guest with questions about those votes, and the mainstream media will not do its job in providing to the public information, data and facts to counter those moments when someone says something that is simply not true.

Zell Miller listed several programs he says John Kerry voted against, in his speech to the GOP convention. Why would Kerry do such a thing? Holy crap! Kerry just hates America!

Actually, many of those votes came due to recommendations by a certain Secretary of Defense. And no, I'm not talking about Bill Clinton's SECDEF. I'm referring to President George H.W. Bush's SECDEF, Dick Cheney.

Yes, it was Cheney who made the recommendations to cut spending on military programs. Not John Kerry. Dick Cheney. Here's part of George H.W. Bush's 1992 State of the Union address:

"Two years ago, I began planning cuts in military spending that reflected the changes of the new era. But now, this year, with imperial communism gone, that process can be accelerated. Tonight I can tell you of dramatic changes in our strategic nuclear force. These are actions we are taking on our own because they are the right thing to do.

After completing 20 planes for which we have begun procurement, we will shut down further production of the B - 2 bombers. We will cancel the small ICBM program. We will cease production of new warheads for our sea-based ballistic missiles. We will stop all new production of the Peacekeeper missile. And we will not purchase any more advanced cruise missiles.

This weekend I will meet at Camp David with Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation. I've informed President Yeltsin that if the Commonwealth, the former Soviet Union, will eliminate all land-based multiple-warhead ballistic missiles, I will do the following: We will eliminate all Peacekeeper missiles. We will reduce the number of warheads on Minuteman missiles to one and reduce the number of warheads on our sea-based missiles by about one-third. And we will convert a substantial portion of our strategic bombers to primarily conventional use. President Yeltsin's early response has been very positive, and I expect our talks at Camp David to be fruitful. "

But wait! There's more.

"The Secretary of Defense (Dick Cheney) recommended these cuts after consultation with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And I make them with confidence. But do not misunderstand me. The reductions I have approved will save us an additional $50 billion over the next 5 years. By 1997, we will have cut defense by 30 percent since I took office. These cuts are deep, and you must know my resolve: This deep, and no deeper. To do less would be insensible to progress, but to do more would be ignorant of history. We must not go back to the days of "the hollow army." We cannot repeat the mistakes made twice in this century when armistice was followed by recklessness and defense was purged as if the world were permanently safe."

Got it, conservatives? Is the message getting through those thick skulls? George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney are responsible for the cuts in military spending in the 1990s. You cannot blame Bill Clinton or John Kerry. But will our lazy media do its job in presenting this information? Of course not. That would require work, and research. Why, it took me about five minutes to gather the data for this blog entry. And I don't even have access to Lexis-Nexis.

Zell Miller: Traitor

Yes, traitor. Miller betrayed his party and a man he once called a "good friend" in his remarks last night to the GOP convention.

You can read the remarks in the entirety here, and I'll go ahead and post some "out of context" quotes from last night's speech and contrast those remarks to a speech Miller gave in 2001.

From the GOP convention, Sept. 1:

"And, no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.

Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the War on Terror.

Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security but Americans need to know the facts.

The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40% of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom. The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq. The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Khadifi's Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora.

The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War.

The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's Capital and this very city after 9/11. I could go on and on and on: Against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel, Against the Aegis air-defense cruiser, Against the Strategic Defense Initiative, Against the Trident missile, against, against, against.

This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces? U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?

Twenty years of votes can tell you much more about a man than twenty weeks of campaign rhetoric. Campaign talk tells people who you want them to think you are. How you vote tells people who you really are deep inside.

Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations.

Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending. I want Bush to decide. John Kerry, who says he doesn't like outsourcing, wants to outsource our national security.That's the most dangerous outsourcing of all.

This politician wants to be leader of the free world.

Free for how long? For more than twenty years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure."

Now let's go back in time to March 1, 2001. Miller introduced John Kerry at an event in Georgia called the Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Luckily his remarks have been posted to Miller's Senate web site, for all of the world to see his hypocrisy. I'll post some highlights and then the entire speech.

John (Kerry) has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment.

In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington.

My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend.

Nice job stabbing your "good friend" in the back, Mr. Miller.

Here is the complete text of Miller's remarks:

"It is good to be back in Georgia and to be with you. I have been coming to these dinners since the 1950s, and have missed very few.

I'm proud to be Georgia's junior senator and I'm honored to serve with Max Cleland, who is as loved and respected as anyone in that body. One of our very highest priorities must be to make sure this man is re-elected in 2002 so he can continue to serve this state and nation.

I continue to be impressed with all that Governor Barnes and Lieutenant Governor Taylor and the Speaker and the General Assembly are getting done over at the Gold Dome.

Georgia is fortunate to have this kind of leadership.

My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend.

He was once a lieutenant governor – but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984.

In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington.

Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so.

John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its 'Digital Dozen.'

John was re-elected in 1990 and again in 1996 – when he defeated popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country.

John is a graduate of Yale University and was a gunboat officer in the Navy. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple Heart for combat duty in Vietnam. He later co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America.

He is married to Teresa Heinz and they have two daughters.

As many of you know, I have great affection – some might say an obsession – for my two Labrador retrievers, Gus and Woodrow. It turns out John is a fellow dog lover, too, and he better be. His German Shepherd, Kim, is about to have puppies. And I just want him to know … Gus and Woodrow had nothing to do with that.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Senator John Kerry."

Miller has sold out his party and his friend for a few minutes in the spotlight.

One last thing, from Miller's remarks to the GOP convention:

And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.

I guess you'll need to get angry at the man you want to be President, Mr. Miller:

George Bush, press conference, April 13, 2004:

"...finally, the attitude of the Iraqis toward the American people -- it's an interesting question. They're really pleased we got rid of Saddam Hussein. And you can understand why. This is a guy who was a torturer, a killer, a maimer; there's mass graves. I mean, he was a horrible individual that really shocked the country in many ways, shocked it into a kind of -- a fear of making decisions toward liberty. That's what we've seen recently. Some citizens are fearful of stepping up. And they were happy -- they're not happy they're occupied. I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied either. They do want us there to help with security, and that's why this transfer of sovereignty is an important signal to send, and it's why it's also important for them to hear we will stand with them until they become a free country."

Just remember, politicians believe the American people to be stupid, and our so-called liberal media will do all they can to make sure politicians are free to say whatever they want, without being challenged.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

This Week's Column is Up

My column for the week is up at CounterBias. Give it a read and let me know what you think, and check out the other columnists at CounterBias if you have the time.

I'll probably add another entry tonight following the GOP convention coverage. I guess Dick Cheney is going to spend his time attacking John Kerry. I'm sure he'll mention all the GOP talking points about Kerry, and in doing so with no context, assume his audience to be morons. See, politicians know that many Americans do not have any clue about how government works. Ask someone what the House Whip does, and you'll get a blank stare. I didn't even know until I looked it up a couple of years ago. Cheney will talk about Kerry's voting record, again out of context, and will not mention how complicated the process is in the senate to vote on a bill.

Surely Cheney will bring up Kerry's "flip-flopping." In doing so, check out the debate transcripts from the 2000 presidential race, and see how many times Bush himself has flip-flopped.

First debate
Second debate
Third debate

Also, here is the transcript of the debate between Cheney and Joe Lieberman.

Here's a fascinating bit from that debate: the moderator asks Dick Cheney about what should be done about Iraq and WMDs (quoting Bush as saying he would "take them out"). Here's Cheney's response:

"CHENEY: We might have no other choice. We'll have to see if that happens. The thing about Iraq, of course, was at the end of the war we had pretty well decimated their military. We had put them back in the box, so to speak. We had a strong international coalition raid against them, effective economic sanctions, and an inspection regime was in place under the U.N. and it was able to do a good job of stripping out the capacity to build weapons of mass destruction, the work he had been doing that had not been destroyed during the war in biological and chemical agents, as well as a nuclear program.

Unfortunately now we find ourselves in a situation where that started to fray on us, where the coalition now no longer is tied tightly together. Recently the United Arab Emirates have reopened diplomatic relations with Baghdad. The Russians and French are flying commercial airliners back into Baghdad and thumbing their nose at the international sanctions regime. We're in a situation today where our posture with Iraq is weaker than it was at the end of the war. It's unfortunate. I also think it's unfortunate we find ourselves in a position where we don't know for sure what might be transpiring inside Iraq. I certainly hope he's not regenerating that kind of capability, but if he were, if in fact Saddam Hussein were taking steps to try to rebuild nuclear capability or weapons of mass destruction, you would have to give very serious consideration to military action to -- to stop that activity. I don't think you can afford to have a man like Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons in the Middle East."