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October 31, 2004

 


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October 30, 2004


October 29, 2004

Study Puts Iraqi Deaths of Civilians at 100,000
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL,
International Herald Tribune


PARIS, Oct. 28 -
An estimated 100,000 civilians have died in Iraq as a direct or indirect consequence of the March 2003 United States-led invasion, according to a new study by a research team at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. 


 


October 28, 2004


Excuse me?

June 27, 2004
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Bush, breaking his silence on the disappearance of 380 tons of high-grade explosives in Iraq, slammed his Democratic rival for making "wild charges" and rushing to judgment without the facts. "A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief," Bush told supporters.

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons... Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon."
- President Bush on September 12, 2002 to the UN General Assembly

"It [Iraq] possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons... And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons."
- President Bush on October 7, 2002 in Cincinnati

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
- President Bush on March 17, 2003 in his Address to the Nation


October 27, 2004


October 26, 2004


October 25, 2004


October 24, 2004

Consider the source...

The following are excerpts from a newly-published political column.  Please read the excerpts before scrolling down to find the source.

The libertarian writer Lew Rockwell has mischievously noted parallels between Bush and Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II: both gained office as a result of family connections, both initiated an unnecessary war that shattered their countries’ budgets.  Lenin needed the calamitous reign of Nicholas II to create an opening for the Bolsheviks.... 

Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations.  The launching of an invasion against a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the nation’s children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliché about predatory imperialism and turn it into administration policy.... 

During the campaign, few have paid attention to how much the Bush presidency has degraded the image of the United States in the world.  Of course there has always been “anti-Americanism.” After the Second World War many European intellectuals argued for a “Third Way” between American-style capitalism and Soviet communism, and a generation later Europe’s radicals embraced every ragged “anti-imperialist” cause that came along.  In South America, defiance of “the Yanqui” always draws a crowd.  But Bush has somehow managed to take all these sentiments and turbo-charge them.  In Europe and indeed all over the world, he has made the United States despised by people who used to be its friends, by businessmen and the middle classes, by moderate and sensible liberals.  Never before have democratic foreign governments needed to demonstrate disdain for Washington to their own electorates in order to survive in office.  The poll numbers are shocking. In countries like Norway, Germany, France, and Spain, Bush is liked by about seven percent of the populace.  In Egypt, recipient of huge piles of American aid in the past two decades, some 98 percent have an unfavorable view of the United States.  It’s the same throughout the Middle East.... 

Bush has accomplished this by giving the U.S. a novel foreign-policy doctrine under which it arrogates to itself the right to invade any country it wants if it feels threatened.  It is an American version of the Brezhnev Doctrine, but the latter was at least confined to Eastern Europe.  If the analogy seems extreme, what is an appropriate comparison when a country manufactures falsehoods about a foreign government, disseminates them widely, and invades the country on the basis of those falsehoods?  It is not an action that any American president has ever taken before. It is not something that “good” countries do.  It is the main reason that people all over the world who used to consider the United States a reliable and necessary bulwark of world stability now see us as a menace to their own peace and security.... 

These sentiments mean that as long as Bush is president, we have no real allies in the world, no friends to help us dig out from the Iraq quagmire.  More tragically, they mean that if terrorists succeed in striking at the United States in another 9/11-type attack, many in the world will not only think of the American victims but also of the thousands and thousands of Iraqi civilians killed and maimed by American armed forces.  The hatred Bush has generated has helped immeasurably those trying to recruit anti-American terrorists—indeed his policies are the gift to terrorism that keeps on giving, as the sons and brothers of slain Iraqis think how they may eventually take their own revenge. Only the seriously deluded could fail to see that a policy so central to America’s survival as a free country as getting hold of loose nuclear materials and controlling nuclear proliferation requires the willingness of foreign countries to provide full, 100 percent co-operation.  Making yourself into the world’s most hated country is not an obvious way to secure that help....

The Bush foreign policy also surfs on deep currents within the Christian Right, some of which see unqualified support of Israel as part of a godly plan to bring about Armageddon and the future kingdom of Christ...  The only way Americans will have a presidency in which neoconservatives and the Christian Armageddon set are not holding the reins of power is if Kerry is elected.... 

George W. Bush has come to embody a politics that is antithetical to almost any kind of thoughtful conservatism.  His international policies have been based on the hopelessly naïve belief that foreign peoples are eager to be liberated by American armies—a notion more grounded in Leon Trotsky’s concept of global revolution than any sort of conservative statecraft.... 

This election is all about George W. Bush, and those issues are enough to render him unworthy of any conservative support.... 

 






These are excerpts from a column written by Scott McConnell, the Executive Editor of The American Conservative magazine and Pat Buchanan's boss. 

Click the link to read the entire column.

The American Conservative 
November 8, 2004


Bill Maher:  "God told us to beat our swords into plowshares.  God - wrong on defense, wrong for America."

"This one goes out to all the conservative women out there.  If you're so sure that the embryos needed for stem cell research are precious human life that can't be destroyed, then plant one in your uterus and bring it to term.  Put your cervix where your mouth is."


October 23, 2004


October 22, 2004


October 21, 2004


NOT! 


The Flu Shot Crisis...

Do you think it is unfair for Kerry to blame Bush for the flu shot crisis?

Bush continues to blame "a production flaw" for the vaccine shortage, but the administration received warnings about the vaccination supply and could have taken steps to diminish the problem.  After Chiron Corp. informed British and American officials on Sept. 13 that there were unresolved contamination problems at its Liverpool, England plant, the British government responded by contacting other manufacturers and securing alternative supplies.  The Bush administration, on the other hand, failed to act before all doses of the flu vaccine had been purchased.  The administration had already ignored two GAO reports which warned of impending production shortfalls.

Do you still think it is unfair for Kerry to blame Bush for the flu shot crisis?


October 20, 2004

Jay Leno:  "Today, Martha Stewart got her first phone call. The bad news is, it was from Bill O'Reilly. You know what's fascinating about this?  You've got Bill Bennett gambling, Rush Limbaugh on drugs, and Bill O'Reilly being sued for sexual harassment.  Apparently being conservative is a lot more fun than it used to be."


Click on the photo of Andrea Makris to view the actual lawsuit filed by her against Bill O'Reilly. 


October 19, 2004

Early voting begins in Florida...

I can personally tell you that at least one vote has been cast for John Kerry in Florida.  Will it be counted?  

We no longer have the infamous hanging chad ballots.  Yesterday, I voted on the new, fancy-shmancy touch screen voting machines.  It was very easy to use and was as close to idiot-proof as possible.  So, what's the problem?  After you review all of your selections and push the red button to cast your ballot, it is a matter of trust that the computer will electronically log your vote.  Did you ever hit the save button on your computer after typing a letter and never find the document again?  

Florida law provides for a manual recount under certain circumstances.  How do you do a manual recount of ballots which are cast electronically?  You can't.  This is the subject of a federal lawsuit now in trial.  However, even if the federal judge orders a system to print a contempory register of votes, it will be impossible to implement this year.

So, keep your fingers crossed that Jeb keeps his fingers out of Florida's voting.


October 18, 2004


October 17, 2004

What do Republicans say about Bush and Iraq?

Brent Scowcroft (national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush), stated the US engagement with the UN and NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq is "as much an act of desperation as anything else....To rescue a failing venture" and that the administration's unilateralist approach has harmed relations between Europe and the United States.

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer recently said "we paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness.  We never had enough troops on the ground."

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), noting the White House's recent plan to divert $3.4 billion from reconstruction efforts to emergency security efforts, said: "Now, that does not add up, in my opinion, to a pretty picture, to a picture that shows that we're winning. But it does add up to this: an acknowledgment that we are in deep trouble."  Of the $18.4 billion Congress approved last year for Iraqi reconstruction, only $1.1 billion has been spent because of violence and other problems. Hagel called that record "beyond pitiful and embarrassing; it is now in the zone of dangerous."  "The fact is, we're in deep trouble in Iraq ... and I think we're going to have to look at some recalibration of policy," 

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), also "expressed exasperation at the administration's rosy prewar assessments that as soon as Hussein was deposed, a euphoric Iraqi population would embrace democracy."  He charged, "The nonsense of that is [now] apparent."  "This is the incompetence in the administration."

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), "We made serious mistakes."  McCain cited as mistakes the toleration of looting after the successful U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and failures to secure Iraq's borders or prevent insurgents from establishing strongholds within the country.  McCain said Bush had been "perhaps not as straight as maybe we'd like to see." (Presumably referring to Bush on Iraq, not Bush's sexual preference.)

Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ)"Allowing the Iraqis to make the decisions not to go into some of these sanctuaries, I think, turns out to have not been a good decision, which we're going to have to correct now by going in with our Marines and Army divisions."


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A majority of U.S. troops serving in Iraq and their families said the Bush administration did not send enough forces to Iraq and relied too heavily on the National Guard and reserve troops, a poll showed on Saturday.  Almost two-thirds of those surveyed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, or 65 percent, said they believed President Bush "had underestimated the number of troops needed in Iraq," the poll said. 


October 16, 2004

WORD OF THE DAY:  disingenuous

Main Entry: dis·in·gen·u·ous  
Pronunciation: "di-s&n-'jen-y&-w&s
Function: adjective
: lacking in candor; also : giving a false appearance of simple frankness : CALCULATING

August 25, 2004
Waterford, Mich. -- Vice President Dick Cheney for the first time discussed the sexual orientation of his gay daughter in a public setting. "Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue that our family is very familiar with..."

October 5, 2004
Vice Presidential Debate --
Edwards expressed "respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing."

Cheney thanked his opponent for the "kind words he said about my family and our daughter. I appreciate that very much."

October 13, 2004
Presidential Debate --
When asked by moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News whether homosexuality is a choice:

Bush's response to Schieffer's question was: "I don't know.

"We're all God's children," Kerry said. "And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."

October 14, 2004
Reaction -- 
Dick Cheney: "You saw a man who will do and say anything to get elected. And I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father."

Lynne Cheney:  "This is not a good man. Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick."  

Rep. Dick Gephardt (whose daughter is a lesbian):  "I think what John Kerry said was very kind."

October 16, 2004
Reaction --
The Daily Rant:  Disingenuous?  Sometime a good example makes the meaning of a word clear.  Am I too cynical because I think that the Republicans are thrilled to be able to talk about something other the issues facing the country or Bush's record?

The Daily Rant:  This was one of a number of crappy questions asked by Bob Schieffer.  Contrast that with no questions about the environment or stem-cell research. 


October 15, 2004

Miami Hurricanes 41

Louisville Cardinals 38

WOW !


October 14, 2004


David Letterman:  "There are photographs of President Bush from the first debate and he's got some kinda lump in the back of his coat, and the rumors are flying that he had a special radio receiver and he was getting answers from someone off stage.  Wow, it's like he's back at Yale." 


October 13, 2004

Bill Maher:  "During the debate, Bush was asked by a lady to name three mistakes he's made. And Bush responded, this debate, the last debate and the next debate." 


October 12, 2004


Bill Maher:  "During the debate, Bush was asked by a lady to name three mistakes he's made. And Bush responded, this debate, the last debate and the next debate." 

"This was the town hall debate, and Bush says he likes the personal feel of a town hall. There's something about getting out there and lying directly to people's faces." 

"There was one awkward moment where a black man stood-up to ask a question and out of habit, Bush said 'Clemency denied.'" 

"I don't know what's worse -- watching Bush try not to scowl, or watching him scowl for 90 minutes." 


October 11, 2004


October 10, 2004


October 9, 2004


Yesterday, good news, bad news...

The final jobs report before the election was released and it was some 50,000 jobs below what the administration had been predicting.  Bush pretends that 98,000 new jobs in one month is significant but it is not.  There are about 150,000 new people in the job market every month.  So, in a month where we gain 98,000 jobs, we actually have 52,000 more people who are unemployed.  Also, increasingly, the new jobs are in the public sector rather than in private sector jobs such as manufacturing.  Public sector jobs do nothing for our GNP or to reduce the deficit.  The jobs issue will continue to be an important Democratic talking point until the election.

The debate was not as positive for the Democrats, not because Kerry did poorly (he did well), but because Bush did much better than his undeniably poor performance in the first debate (unless you can deny that things are going poorly in Iraq).  Unfortunately, I think the fact that many now think that Bush can hold his own will buoy the sag which has occurred in his campaign since the first debate.

There are two topics on which I thought Kerry hit line drive singles but missed opportunities to hit home runs.  On the environment, after Bush concluded his two minutes with the conclusion that he has been a "pretty good steward" of the environment, I was chomping at the bit for Kerry to jump up and ask why the Sierra Club and virtually every other credible environmental organization have not only endorsed Kerry but are aggressively beating the bushes to beat Bush.  On stem cell research, I think Kerry was too sensitive to the views of the right-to-lifers who oppose stem cell research.  If he had not wasted so much time trying not to offend people who will never vote for him anyway, he could have spoken much more forcefully about stem cell research, an issue which two-thirds of Americans support and is supported even by Nancy Reagan and Orin Hatch.

The race is tight.  There is one more debate which, along with events in Iraq, will probably make the difference on November 2.  Then, voter turnout will be the key.  Whichever side is more impassioned about their candidate will prevail.

Can I share some of my passion about this election?


October 8, 2004


October 7, 2004

So it turns out that Cheney's best line, that he'd never met Edwards before the night of the debate, was a lie.  Not only did they sit next to one another at a National Prayer Breakfast in 2001, Tim Russert says that when they made separate appearances on the same Meet the Press show, they shook hands on the set of the show.

How low can you get when you lie just to use an effective zinger?


October 6, 2004

I call it a tie...

Like most VP debates, this one won't effect the election.  Even the most devastating loss in a VP debate, Lloyd Bentsen's evisceration of Dan Quayle, didn't result in a victory for Bentsen's ticket.  Last night, unlike the Bush - Kerry debate last week, neither candidate laid an egg.

The positive for Edwards is that he acquitted himself well, not giving ammunition to those who would suggest that he poses a risk being a heartbeat away.

The race is tight.  It will be decided by the two remaining presidential debates, the events in Iraq over the next few weeks, and the ability of the American electorate to discern that Bush is manipulating them when Osama bin Laden is miraculously captured during the last week in October. 


Farewell, Rodney...

We lost Rodney Dangerfield (Jacob Cohen) yesterday.  Unquestionably, Rodney was the master of self-deprecating humor.  All of his fans have their favorite Rodney one-liners.  Mine is, "If it weren't for the pickpockets on the New York subway, I'd have no sex life at all."

While many Rodney fans hail Caddyshack as Rodney's best movie, I vote for Back to School.  If you haven't seen it, buy or rent it and watch.  I can recite a lot of lines from the movie but my favorite gag is the cameo with Kurt Vonnegut.

Rodney will be missed.


October 5, 2004

A preview of tonight's debate...


October 4, 2004

US Service Members Killed in Iraq

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

42

54

66

80


October 3, 2004

The 10 Best Post-Debate Cartoons...

 

 



October 2, 2004


October 1, 2004



Who won?

After listening to the spin on the networks, you have come to the Daily Rant for the definitive, unvarnished, unbiased answer.  Well, the answer is that Round 1 goes to Kerry, but there was no knockout.  Unquestionably, Kerry debated very effectively and credibly and, as a result, will get traction in his campaign, something which has been missing for weeks. This is important because, unlike the conventions, the debates were watched by a broad spectrum of voters.

The question now is whether Kerry can maintain the traction in his campaign and whether Bush will lose traction in his flip-flop attack ads.  If Kerry can maintain the traction, this fight will go a full twelve rounds and will be decided by a split decision. 

Now is a good time to dig deep and donate money to the Democratic Party, Move-on.org, both of whom have extensive get-out-the-vote drives underway, hold your breath and, if you are so inclined, say a prayer.


The Democrats are making a strong run at regaining control of the Senate which is all-important, particularly if Bush is (re-)elected.  I urge you to make a contribution to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

 

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