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Kerry Wins Debate

I thought Kerry spoke concisely and forcefully and left Bush speechless several times. I will say that Bush did what he always does, he stayed "on point". No matter what the question was his response was always the same, "We can't send mixed messages to the troops or our enemies" and "how can you lead the nation and build a coalition if you say 'wrong war, wrong place, wrong time'. Half the time it made no sense in the context of the question that was asked, but he did keep saying it over and over again.

One thing that really bothered me was when Bush kept asking how it would sound to the world if he said what Kerry said. It always went something like, "How would it look for the President of the United States to say 'wrong war, wrong place wrong time?' Does he really think we are that stupid or is he that stupid? It would sound pretty ridiculous for the man who chose to go to war to say what Kerry is saying, on the other hand, if Kerry where President he wouldn't have to say it because it wouldn't have happened that way. It was very frustrating to watch. I'm not sure if it matters but I think Kerry won handily.

Some poll results as of 12:20 pm CDT:

MSNBC has Kerry winning 70% to 30% with about 614000 votes

CNN.com has Kerry winning 78% to 14% with 4% saying it was even with about 1.8 million votes

The instant polls where closer but still showed Kerry winning: Gallup had it at Kerry 46% Bush 37%, CBS had Kerry at 44% Bush at 26% and 30 said it was even, ABC had 45% Kerry 36% Bush 17% even. The polls also showed that Kerry didn't gain much with his victory in terms of support, Bush still leads in these polls 51% to 47%.

Why Does South Dakota Vote For Bush?

A recent poll shows Bush leading Kerry in South Dakota 58%-39%. I just can't figure it out. Time and time again Bush has slapped South Dakota in the face and we just keep coming back for more. As more and more of our Guard units get called up (as Daschle pointed out, if South Dakota where a country we would be the 7th largest member of the coalition), he just keeps saying "NO!" to drought relief for South Dakota's farmers and ranchers. Peter Cohn reported yesterday that
"Aides involved in the talks said the White House is demanding the package be offset with spending cuts elsewhere, although one top GOP aide said so far the administration has not threatened a veto. House conservatives want the drought package to be offset."
Funny how when it comes to giving farmers and ranchers money it has to be "offset", but when it comes to giving rich people a tax break while fighting a war, there is no such need.

Cohn goes on to point out that
"The Bush administration has requested $10.2 billion, limited to covering losses related to the four hurricanes that have ravaged Southern and Eastern states"
Do you think it is just a coincidence that Florida is getting aid while good old South Dakota gets nothing? I mean it seems pretty clear that Bush realizes that no matter what he does South Dakota will vote for him, so he's better off saving that money to bribe Floridians for their votes.

Of course our would-be "independent voice for South Dakota in the Senate" had a response,
"John Thune has been very clear; he supports what the Senate did," said Thune's spokesman. "He would be on the other side of the White House on this issue."

He doesn't say he would do anything about it, but at least he is on the other side.

Thune Compared to McCarthy

Eric Boehlert at Salon is comparing our very own John Thune to Senator Joe McCarthy.

"By adopting divisive rhetoric suggesting terrorists are working to elect John Kerry, Republican leaders are posing a challenge not only for the Democratic presidential candidate but also for the press. For the first time in decades journalists find themselves reporting on a kind of public character assassination that's reminiscent of McCarthyism, according to several distinguished journalists and historians."

Boehlert goes on to say,

"In a Sept. 24 article, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank catalogued the spate of loaded Republican statements suggesting alliances -- direct or indirect -- between Democrats and terrorists, revealing that many are coming from senior party and administration officials:

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, announced that terrorists are going to do everything they can between now and November "to try and elect Kerry." Appearing on MSNBC this week, Hatch suggested al-Qaida's primary target today is Bush's political prospects, not necessarily the United States.

Republican Senate candidate John Thune of South Dakota said of his opponent, Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle: "His words embolden the enemy." Thune, on NBC's "Meet the Press," declined to disavow a statement by the Republican Party chairman in his state saying Daschle had brought "comfort to America's enemies."

At a campaign rally on Sept. 18, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., told Republicans that al-Qaida "would like to influence this election" with an attack similar to the train bombings in Madrid days before the Spanish national election in March. Asked by a reporter if he thought terrorists would operate with more comfort if Kerry were elected, Hastert said, "That's my opinion, yes."

The previous day, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said terrorists in Iraq "are trying to influence the election against President Bush."

The Post also noted, "Earlier this month, Cheney provoked an uproar when he said that on Election Day, 'if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating,' adding that the United States would not respond vigorously. Cheney later said that he was not suggesting the country would be attacked if Kerry were elected. But a few days later, he said: 'We've gone on the offense in the war on terror -- and the president's opponent, Senator Kerry, doesn't seem to approve.'"

Watch For Negative Patriotism Tonight

Since tonight's debate is on foreign policy, see if you can count how many times Bush uses negative patriotism. Negative patriotism is defined by Robert Reich as patriotism that "stifles dissent at home and insists that America be so much stronger militarily than any other nation that we can bully others into submission."

It's easy to see that all conservatives subscribe to this notion. John Thune has said that Tom Daschle's words
"embolden the enemy" implying that debate about something as serious as our nation going to war is unpatriotic. Not long after that President Bush used the exact same words "embolden the enemy" when talking about John Kerry questioning Bush's rosy portrayal of the situation in Iraq. On Tuesday night Michael Savage said on his radio show that "Liberals are seditious vermin and should all be burned" while ranting and lying about comments made by Senator Ted Kennedy.

As Reich points out "The radcon version of patriotism requires no real sacrifice by most Americans, nor does it ask anything of the more fortunate members of our society. Radcons don't link patriotism to a citizen's duty to pay his or her fair share of taxes to support the nation. And they don't think patriotism requires that all citizens serve the nation. Theirs is a shallow patriotism that derives its emotional force from disdaining foreign cultures and confronting foreign opponents. As such, it imperils the future security of America and the world,"

When Bush starts to call Kerry unpatriotic tonight (and he will), Kerry should ask him how patriotic it is to fight a war on the cheap and run up the largest deficit in history and all the while give rich Americans a tax break. He should ask him how patriotic it is to force National Guard and Reserve members into combat situations for which they where never trained. He should ask him how patriotic it is to force these brave men and women to
re-enlist or be sent back to Iraq. He should ask the President how patriotic it is for himself and his Vice President to be running around telling people that if they elect John Kerry (a decorated war hero) that we will be attacked by terrorists again.

If Bush and other Conservatives where really concerned about patriotism they would be willing to pay for this war instead of leaving the burden our kids and grandkids. If they where true patriots they would institute a system of mandatory national service for all young Americans regardless of who your daddy is. Just like Rumsfeld taking "responsibility" for the prison abuse scandal was easy considering there where no ramifications for taking responsibility, so is it easy to be patriotic when it only requires calling others who don't agree with you unpatriotic.

So let's count tonight and see how many times Bush says, in one way or another, that he is more patriotic than Kerry and see just how ridiculous it all sounds. I'll be back tomorrow with my count, let me know how many you counted too.

By the way, everyone should Reich's new book
"Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America" it will make you proud to be a Liberal.


Overseas Ballots

According to The New York Times many states are late in mailing overseas ballots. This will cause many ballots to come back late and of course set up more legal challenges in a tight election. We found out how Florida dealt with this problem in 2000, they counted the overseas ballots that had Bush marked and didn't count the ones with Gore marked. Lucky for us all that Florida is the only state with a Bush as governor.

Bush's Hometown Paper Endorses Kerry

The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford Texas, home of the Western Whitehouse, has endorsed John Kerry. "Four items trouble us the most about the Bush administration: his initiatives to disable the Social Security system, the deteriorating state of the American economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding terrorism and Iraq."

"The publishers of the Iconoclast differ with Bush on other issues, including the denial of stem cell research, shortchanging veterans’ entitlements, cutting school programs and grants, dictating what our children learn through a thought-controlling “test” from Washington rather than allowing local school boards and parents to decide how young people should be taught, ignoring the environment, and creating extraneous language in the Patriot Act that removes some of the very freedoms that our founding fathers and generations of soldiers fought so hard to preserve."

Makes sense to me.


Good News - Bad News

According to Electoral-Vote.com Bush is now ahead of Kerry in the Electoral College by a margin of 317-207. The good news is that they are also projecting that the Democrats will take back the Senate come November (counting Sen. Jeffords as a Democrat) by a margin of 51-49. That means, of course, that our own Tom Daschle would be Majority Leader again. As if you needed it, there's another reason to vote for Daschle come November 2.

The key close Senate races are:
Alaska: Knowles (D) 46% - Murkowski (R) 45%
Colorado: Salazar (D) 46% - Coors (R) 51%
Florida: Castor (D) 43% - Martinez (R) 42%
Oklahoma: Carson (D) 44% - Coburn (R) 39%
South Dakota: Daschle (D) 50% - Thune (R) 45%

Let's make sure we do our part here in South Dakota to ensure that we take back the Senate.


WMD and Nuclear Scientists

So let me just see if I follow: Iraq has WMD so we must invade. OK, they don't really have them, but they had the ability to make them and besides, they probably just moved all the weapons to Syria before the invasion. Now, apparently not only did Saddam move his WMD to Syria, but he moved his nuclear scientists as well. World Net Daily is reporting that "A group of about 12 middle-ranking Iraqi nuclear technicians and their families were transported to Syria before the collapse of Saddam's regime, says the report. The transfer was arranged under a combined operation by Hussein's Special Security Organization and Syrian Military Security, which is headed by Arif Shawqat, the Syrian president's brother-in-law."

They go on to say that "There is evidence Syria has acquired a number of gas centrifuges -- probably from North Korea -- that can be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb."

Yeah, that war in Iraq is sure making me feel a lot safer. Now Syria and Iran both have access to Saddam's scientists and North Korea is providing the material required for both nations to join the nuclear fraternity. I wonder when Bush-Cheney are going to get around to doing something about Syria, Iran, North Korea, etc. and Osama bin Laden?

No Blogging Recently

No new posts recently, I had a family medical emergency over the weekend. Things are starting to look up, so I may be able to start posting again as soon as today. Talk to you soon!


Judicial Nominees

Remember those poor judicial nominees that had been "denied" an up or down vote by Tom Daschle and the Senate that John Thune complained over and over about on Sunday? Lets meet some of those fine people:

Thomas B Griffith has been practicing law in Utah for the last four years without a license.

Claude Allen while working on Jesse Helms re-election campaign in 1984 said that challenger James Hunt's campaign was in trouble because of Hunt's "links with the queers"

William Haynes was the architects of the policy of the Bush Administration allowing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison to be treated outside the Geneva Conventions.

David W. McKeague presided over a high profile case in Michigan in 1994 involving the Department of Justice and the state of Michigan. Several female prisoners in the state prison had filed complaints about prison guards that include rape. McKeague refused to give the DOJ access to the prison or the prisoners to investigate these claims, and nothing was ever done about it.

James Leon Holmes has actually already been confirmed, but this guy is a piece of work. In 1980 Mr. Holmes penned this, "as the Church subordinates herself to Christ, in that manner the wife is to subordinate herself to her husband."
Also in 1980 he gave us this gem in regards to allowing rape victims access to abortions, "concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami"

I think Thune should be thankful any nominees got through the process.

Beware Another "Mission Accomplished" Claim

As mentioned here earlier this week, Robert Novak is advancing the theory that if re-elected George W Bush will pull all US troops out of Iraq in January. I was, and still am, skeptical about anything Novak would say, but after listening to Ayad Allawi and Bush trying to convince everyone today that elections in Iraq will go on as scheduled in January regardless of the disarray and violence there, I think he may be correct.

Here is what I could envision happening. Elections are held in Iraq in January. Because of violence and inability to protect voters, turnout is abysmal, but now they can say free elections have been held. That will enable Bush to proclaim "Mission Accomplished". I mean we said we would get rid of Saddam and we did, then we said we would make sure elections took place and we did. We won the war! Let's go home!

Of course as we already know, simply saying "Mission Accomplished" doesn't make it so. It was May 1, 2003 when Bush declared the war in Iraq over the first time. If he declares it over for good in January, naturally it won't really be over. All estimates indicate that Iraq is very near civil war even now, what about when we leave? Despite Bush claims that we are safer now than before, you may have noticed that there are many more terrorists operating in Iraq now than before. And our leaving would open the door for Pro-Iranian cleric Muqtada al-Sader to seize control. You may remember that Iran probably has nuclear weapons already, so if al-Sader where to come to power, it would only be a matter of time before Iraq had nuclear weapons. Sort of self fulfilling prophecy ain't it.


John Thune and the Environment

The League of Conservation Voters has named our very own John Thune to their "Dirty Dozen" list of anti-environment candidates. In their press release they state that Thune "has a record that shows a blatant bias toward corporate polluters and special interests over South Dakota."

The LCV goes on to point out that "while serving in the House of Representatives, John Thune has repeatedly voted to let corporate polluters off the hook, earning a place on our 'Dirty Dozen' list," said LCV Senior Vice President for Political Affairs Mark Longabaugh. "Thune has a clear record of siding with corporate interests over South Dakota families."

While Thune's new ad features a South Dakota rancher saying that John Thune will always side with ranchers in South Dakota, the LCV has a slightly different take "Among other anti-environmental actions, Thune voted down legislation to help farmers improve water quality in South Dakota and co-sponsored a bill to significantly weaken the Clean Air Act. He also voted to allow more arsenic in South Dakota's drinking water. Thune's lifetime LCV score is a paltry 12 percent, and this is his second trip to the 'Dirty Dozen' list. "

To prove Tom Daschle's point that Thune is a follower and not a leader, guess who is listed
number one on the "Dirty Dozen" list? That's right, our great leader George W Bush. John Thune, an independent voice for South Dakota in the Senate. (Try to say that with a straight face)

Bush Ignores Another CIA Report

According our great leader, the CIA was "Just guessing" when it presented a report to him stating that Iraq is in danger of descending into civil war. I guess his assessment of the situation in Iraq and the CIA report is "don't worry about it" which is also his position on the possibility of a military draft. Does anyone remember what happened last time Bush ignored a CIA report and decided not to worry about it? That's right, he was presented with his only campaign theme... 9/11. And this is the man we have to elect to keep us safe? Be afraid...be very afraid.


More Good News in the Polls

According to Zogby in the 16 battleground states Kerry is now leading in 11 with Bush ahead in only 5. They have the popular vote dead even at 48% each. The Wall Street Journal says that if the election where held today Kerry would win 297-241. When the Journal takes out the states that have a margin for either candidate within the margin of error, Kerry still comes out ahead 254-236 with 48 votes still on the table. According to Zogby, not only is Kerry now ahead in Florida and Arkansas, but Ohio is now a tie. Watch for the momentum to pick next week when Kerry exposes Bush in the first debate.

All Volunteer Army?

Many Conservative bloggers are posting letters home from GI's in Iraq, trying to paint a rosie picture of the chaos in Iraq. They are trying to paint the picture that the the fighting men and women of America are all 100% behind this administration and their flawed policy in Iraq. Well, it seems all may not be so rosie for some of our men and women in uniform.

Members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Carson, Colorado have been forced into re-enlisting to avoid combat duty in Iraq. I guess Bush does have a special knack for avoiding combat, but this is amazing.

"They said if you refuse to re-enlist with the 3rd Brigade, we'll send you down to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is going to Iraq for a year, and you can stay with them, or we'll send you to Korea, or to Fort Riley (in Kansas) where they're going to Iraq," said one of the soldiers, a sergeant.

The second soldier, an enlisted man who was interviewed separately, essentially echoed that view.

"They told us if we don't re-enlist, then we'd have to be reassigned. And where we're most needed is in units that are going back to Iraq in the next couple of months. So if you think you're getting out, you're not," he said.
The brigade's presentation outraged many soldiers who are close to fulfilling their obligation and are looking forward to civilian life, the sergeant said.
"We have a whole platoon who refuses to sign," he said.

How many of these guys to you think will be voting for Bush in November?


George W Bush...Not Staying the Course?

Lost in all the talk about "Memo Gate" on Fox News, was an article written Robert Novak in which he asserts that a Bush Administration official told him that Bush plans to pull out of Iraq after the election. Interesting that the Conservative media hasn't said one word about this report from one of their golden boys. Now I would say that I'm skeptical about anything Novak says, but as has been demonstrated in the past, Novak seems to have a direct line to Karl Rove, so it should at least be considered that he may be right.

If this story is true, it is disturbing on so many levels. First of all, Bush has no other issue in this election. He has built his entire presidency and his entire campaign on 9/11 and the war on terror. He and all Conservatives are always preaching to us that we have to "Stay the course" in Iraq. That no matter how bleak it is, we have to stay there until the job is finished. Now that job has never really been defined, nor has that end point, but I don't think most envisioned the end being leaving the country in chaos, with warring factions still roaming the streets and civil war just a whisper away. If his plan is to leave in January why does he not say so now? The answer is, of course, that if he did he would absolutely nothing to run his campaign on.

That point being made, one can only conclude that if Bush would indeed pull out of Iraq after the election, that he has made a calculated, conscious decision to sacrifice over 1,000 American lives to simply get re-elected. If that where to be the case that would truly be worse than Watergate, Bush's military record, Kerry's military record, the Supreme Court picking our President, bigger than almost any other story in recent memory. I don't want to criticize the decision (if indeed that is the decision that has been made), but why not pull out now? Is two more months going to accomplish anything besides more American deaths and giving Bush an issue to run on? I think we all know the answer to that question.

After months of Bush and all his neo-con cronies telling us we are unpatriotic to suggest the war in Iraq was a mistake, and that John Kerry is a "Flip Flopper" this would be the ultimate betrayal of American troops and the American people and the ultimate flip flip, with deadly consequences. Again, I have no way to know if Novak has any idea what he is talking about, but I will say again, somebody inside the administration has provided him with credible knowledge in the past, so the possibility, at least, exists that this is true. If it is, every Conservative in the country owes us all an apology and George W Bush should go down as the worst President in history.

Time will tell I guess. Hopefully Kerry will win the election and we will never find out what Bush is planning.


John Thune

On Meet The Press this morning not only did John Thune not distance himself from the remarks made by SD GOP Chair Randy Frederick, but he added to them by saying that Daschle's words "embolden the enemy". Again I ask, are we really supposed to believe that this guy will stand up to the President (assuming Bush is still the President) when he lacks the courage to stand up to third party groups running dishonest negative ads on his behalf or to the chair of the state GOP? I guess if the Democratic leader of the Senate raises questions regarding the President and his policies he is guilty of treason. What does that make Thune guilty of since he voted for the impeachment of President Clinton? I ask, who is the real patriot here? The man who stands up and says we are on the wrong path and America can and should to better or the man who sits down and follows the President right or wrong?

As for all this ridiculous talk about the gas tax, Thune said himself today that he would not vote to repeal the gas tax, so I guess he is criticizing Daschle for doing exactly what Thune would do given the opportunity. What kind of sense does that make?

I also heard a "Flip Flop" from Thune today. As Russert pointed out, back in 1996 Thune said he would not support any more tax cuts until the budget was balanced. When pressed by Russert Thune said that since 9/11 things have changed and he now believes that there is no way to balance the budget at this time and that he would vote to make Bush's tax cut permanent. Again at least we now have proof that Thune is in lock-step with the administration, even if it means being the worst thing known to Republican-kind, the dreaded Flip Flopper.

Very interesting.


South Dakota Senate Race

With a nationally televised debate on Meet the Press looming on Sunday morning, the South Dakota GOP is in total slime mode. As mentioned here before, Randy Frederick, state chair for the SD GOP has been sending around a letter saying that Tom Daschle has given aid and comfort to America's enemies...or in other words has committed treason. Of course in typical Republican form Thune has washed his hands of the entire matter claiming he can't control what others say on his behalf. Here is the latest according to Ben Hanten at Daily Caucus:

"Today, Rapid City veteran Dick Lemke hand delivered a letter to John Thune asking him to end his silence and denounce Randy Fredrick's comments accusing Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of treason. The letter was signed by over 50 veterans from around South Dakota. Lemke delivered the letter to Thune at the South Dakota Trucking Association meeting being held in Rapid City today at the Ramkota Inn. The letter was originally faxed to Thune on Thursday." Then Hanten added this personal story, "I just called Thune's SF office to register my concern. 'We didn't have anything to do with that, you know?' the staffer said. 'But wasn't it a fundraising letter to help defeat Tom Daschle?' I asked. 'Um, well actually I haven't seen it -- just on TV you know -- but we can't... we don't have any control over what they say.'

If it wasn't so typical I would say it's unbelievable.

More Do As We Say Not As We Do

As mentioned here before, as our leaders continue to do whatever they want with no regard for what the rest of the world thinks, we continue to lose our ability to be a voice of reason in the world. Now Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling Washington on the carpet. As we try to to talk Putin into negotiating with the Chechen rebels, Putin is rolling out his "preemptive strike" policy and telling Washington to grow up. Hmm...Preemptive strikes...wonder where Putin got that idea?

I'm Confused (Again)

The way I understand the Administrations line is that the more dangerous things in the world are, the closer we are to being attacked again the more one should want to vote for Bush & Co. It always seemed odd to me that they claimed they where making us safer given the fact that last year there where more terrorist attacks in the world than in any year EVER before. Now, I guess they are changing their tune. According to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage the escalating violence in Iraq is an attempt by insurgents and terrorists to "influence the election against President Bush," He then went on to say "It's quite obvious that they would like to raise [the] costs to President Bush. I think this is their cynical effort to do that and to somehow influence our elections, and they will fail,"

So on one hand Bush is the only person in the free world who can keep us safe, but at the first sign (or at least the latest sign) of escalating violence in Iraq, Armitage seems to be saying that the American people may realize Bush can't keep us safe if he can't control Iraq. Which is it? If Bush is the only person who can keep us safe Armitage and boys should be delighted with the news in Iraq. Guess he better check the team playbook.


Who Would the Terrorists Vote For?

Our old pal Sean Hannity is always asking people to ask themselves who the terrorists would vote for and then vote for the other person. He, of course, thinks that terrorists would vote for Kerry. For sometime I've been asking why wouldn't they want to keep Bush in office, especially Osama bin Laden? I mean Bush shows no interest in tracking him down at this point, or any other terrorist group for that matter. If your a ruthless dictator of a country rich with oil and you once threatened the life of his father though, you better watch your step. Anyway, now there seems to be proof that the terrorists would prefer Bush to Kerry. Eric Alterman had this on his site today;

"The next time someone tries to tell you that nobody but fundamentalist Christians, corporate CEOS, and neoconservative ideologues support George Bush's election as president, you tell them that's not fair.
Terrorists do too. Here's a statement from Abu Hafs al-Masri, the Islamic militants who claimed credit for the Madrid train bombings, in support of Bush's election campaign:
"We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections," it said.Addressing Bush, it said: "We know that a heavyweight operation would destroy your government, and this is what we don't want. We are not going to find a bigger idiot than you." The statement said Abu Hafs al-Masri needs what it called Bush's "idiocy and religious fanaticism" because they would "wake up" the Islamic world. Comparing Bush with his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry, the statement tells the president, "Actually, there is no difference between you and Kerry, but Kerry will kill our community, while it is unaware, because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish infidelity and present it to the Arab and Islamic community as civilization."

Oh, by the way, yesterday on Hannity's radio show he actually said that "guns equal peace" I guess that explains why they issue you a gun before you go into battle, because it's so darn peaceful with all those weapons around.

Interesting Information on Polling

As with all polling, I don't know how much of this is actually true, but at Electoral Vote Predictor 2004. They have Kerry leading the nationwide race among likely voters by 48% to 45% without Nader and 46% to 45% with Nader. However, they have Bush winning in the Electoral College yet again 307 - 211. The really interesting thing that they mention here that pollsters only call land lines and many young voters no longer have land lines, only cell phones. As a result the polls may be badly under-representing young voters who tend to vote Democratic. As the site points out, with no polling being done on cell phones or of overseas voters, there may still be some surprises left on election day.

Moral Relativism

We hear a lot these days from the "Right" side of the country about so called "moral relativism". The argument usually goes something like this; "John Kerry and the Democrats can't possibly be trusted with power in the United States because they made excuses for the personal behavior of Bill Clinton. They have no moral compass and will not stay the course. President Bush and the like have moral clarity and are willing to make tough decisions and stand by them." There are variations, but basically that is it.

Well, I've noticed some moral relativism on the other side as well lately. It started right up at the top with the President himself. See, he didn't mislead us or lie to us about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, or his ties to 9/11, he simply had bad information. Why should he say he was wrong when he wasn't? He believed it when he told us Saddam had the WMD, so it's not a lie. It's all the CIA's fault.

And sure there may have been some wrong doing at Abu Ghraib but compared with what went on there under Saddam's rule it looks like fraternity hazing, so we still don't need to say we were wrong. Oh sure Donald Rumsfeld says he will take "full responsibility" for what happened there, but what does that mean? He wasn't fired. He was even reprimanded. With consequences like that I may take full responsibility for what happened at Abu Ghraib. Talk about taking liberty with morality.

As has been noted here before, we are fond of telling everyone else in the world that they are not allowed to develop any nuclear bombs and of course they should never contemplate using them (with good reason of course), while at the same time trying to secure funding for R&D on our own new nukes to be used presumably on terrorists.

So let me be sure I understand. You must treat American prisoners humanly and justly, but we will treat yours however we wish. You may not mess with nuclear weapons, however we will develop new and better nukes for our own amusement. Just try and stop us from using them!

Oh yeah and George W Bush was for the 527's before he was against them, or more specifically before they where against him.

Well, now this moral relativism has filtered to the state level. In two heated races in South Dakota the two Republican candidates sit back and let 3rd parties and even their own state party apparatus take cheap pot shots at the Democratic incumbents and simply wash their hands of the matter entirely. "We aren't the one's make those statements, why should we apologize or do anything to make them stop?" seems to be their rationale.

South Dakota congressional candidate Larry Diedrich attended an event yesterday that promised to
"Help Larry defeat "Washington Witch' Stephanie Herseth." Of course Mr. Diedrich would take no responsibility for this statement, instead he sent a young college supporter out to say it was all her fault. That's just the kind of "the Buck stops here" attitude we need in power today.

In an even more amazing race, Senatorial candidate John Thune (who previously said thanks but no thanks to incumbent Tom Daschle's request that both ask third party groups to stay out of their race) now can't even stand up to his own
state party. It seems that South Dakota GOP chief Randy Frederick has been sending around an email saying the Daschle has given "comfort to America's enemies" in his role as Senate Minority Leader. So the man (John Thune) who is trying to make South Dakotans think he will be an independent voice in congress, first can't muster the courage to tell out-of-state third party groups to stay out, and then can't even keep his own state party chairman in check. Yeah, I'm sure if Bush and Thune both get elected that Thune won't just be a lap dog for Bush. Sure and also I believe I just saw a monkey fly by my window. Of course Thune has had no response, after all, he isn't responsible for any of this.

Moral relativity? The Republicans should know, they've perfected it


An Interesting Idea

Colorado is voting on splitting their electoral college votes based on the proportion of popular votes that each candidates receives. This seems like a good idea. People who live in traditionally Republican or Democratic states basically never have their vote for President count. Also, if you live in a state that always votes one way or the other you are pretty much ignored by Presidential candidates. This system would change all that. Of course Republicans aren't happy about this. They even have a group with a catchy name...Coloradans Against a Really Stupid Idea. Of course they think it's a really stupid idea because had this system been in effect in 2000 Colorado would have gone 5-3 for Bush instead of 8-0. That would have been enough however to make Al Gore the President of the United States by a count of 270-268. I bet if Kerry was ahead in Colorado the name of the their group would be Coloradans For a Really Cool Idea.

In the article linked above there is a quote from a college professor named George C Edwards III. Mr. Edwards has written a book called "Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America," Mr Edwards is quoted as saying "The basic motivation (for the winner take all electoral college) was greed on the part of the dominant party (Republicans right now)," The funny thing is this guy is a Professor at the George Bush School of Political Science at Texas A&M University. I bet that poor bastard doesn't have a job anymore.


It appears that the Bush Convention Bounce may be gone. This news comes from the Right Wing Wall Street Journal, so it must be right...I mean correct. Anyway, here it is. If Kerry will just get off the whole Viet Nam thing and hit Bush on the real issues that real people care about, this election is ripe for the taking.


Oh That Crazy Alan Keyes

Illinois Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. If it seem like Alan Keyes is saying something ridiculous every day in his Senate race against Democratic Superstar Barack Obama, that's because he is. Now he has admitted as much. At a meeting of top Republican donors in Illinois Keyes said he plans to make "inflammatory" comments "every day, every week" until the election. Apparently it doesn't really matter if the comments are true, only that they are inflammatory.

Earlier in the campaign Keyes asserted that he is in contact with the Almighty by saying that
Jesus would not vote for Obama. Keyes also apparently thinks African-Americans are unable to think for themselves when God is mentioned. He has promised that he can lock up as much as 25% of the black vote by simply saying over and over again that Jesus wouldn't vote for Obama.

Honestly, the Illinois GOP would have been better off just letting Obama run un-opposed.

New Nukes

Now our "Compassionate Conservative" leadership is pushing tactical nuclear weapons so called "Bunker Busters" that could be used against terrorists. The cost of these new nukes would be in the neighborhood of $28 million, plus Bush is asking for another $9 million for tactical nuclear weapons research and yet another $30 million to prepare for the resumption of atomic testing. I have several concerns about this.

First, are we really willing to use nuclear weapons again? I mean are we really going to drop "The Bomb" on somebody again even terrorists? I have my doubts. If we are not going to use them, then why spend the money to develop them? I mean it's a pretty expensive toy to play with and never use.

Next, I would hope we would never use these weapons. Do we really want to contemplate a world that includes nations like Iran, North Korea and maybe even Syria having nuclear weapons and then we actually use nuclear weapons on terrorists? See, those nations don't view terrorists as the bad guys. To these people the terrorists are the good guys. If we use nuclear weapons on terrorists aren't we even a little worried that we will be giving Iran the go ahead to fire on us? Let me assure you that if that happens Iran won't have their warheads pointed at military targets, they will be pointed at you and I.

I know this new United States doesn't care what any other nation (friend or foe) thinks of us. I know we are now willing and even eager to "Go it alone" when we can't strongarm others into our way of thinking. But are we really ready to be the only nation to use nuclear weapons again? How can we tell the rest of the world they shouldn't be developing nuclear weapons while we are doing so? How can we use nuclear weapons and tell the rest of the world they can't? I know the answer from our Conservative leadership...Because we are America...That's why. Well, that's not good enough. At a time when much of the rest of the world hates us and even our traditional allies have been alienated by this administration and it's policies, we are actually considering the use of nuclear weapons. That would permanently injure or completely sever centuries old alliances and partnerships at a time when we need all the allies we can get as we continue to fight a world wide war on terror, a fact that Bush reminds us of daily.

The Bush Administration must be stopped now before it is too late.


Porter Goss

While the Bush Administration is fond of saying John Kerry has in unfit to be President because he voted in the 90's to cut defense spending by 1%, Bush has nominated Porter Goss as the new Director of the CIA. What they fail to mention about Mr. Goss is that back in 90's he actually proposed a 4% cut in defense spending and a 20% cut in personnel. I guess if you vote to cut defense spending by 1% you can't be President but if propose cutting defense spending by 4% while cutting personnel by 20% it's OK if you're Director of the CIA. You just never hear much about this Flip Flop do you.


Democrats making a mistake

John Kerry and his campaign are, in my opinon, making a big mistake by launching what they are calling "Operation Fortunate Son" over the weekend. The idea is to continue to question the service or lack thereof of George W Bush in the Air National Guard in the early 1970's. This is a mistake on so many levels.

First of all, it has already been proven that very few people care what young men did in the 60's and early 70's in regards to Viet Nam when they are selecting a President. Bill Clinton, an admitted draft dodger was elected twice, and Bush was elected in 2000 despite questions surrounding his service even then. The attacks launched on John Kerry by the Swift Boat Vets will, in the end, have very little effect on voters. Most people in America are trying to forget and/or move on from the Viet Nam war, and these two candidates and their supporters won't let it die.

More importantly though, these attacks miss the point. The point should be to get elected and this won't help in the short or long term. In recent years national politics has made the highly coveted suburban undecided voter the focus of the entire campaign. As a result both parties have tried to move to the center to appeal to these voters. In the process however, they have forgotten their base. This is especially true of the Democratic party (unfortunately). We should be forgetting about the reletively small number of suburban undecided voters and focus on the groups that tradionally vote Democratic but stopped voting because of this move to the center. In the case of younger voters in these traditional groups, many are not registerd at all. Instead of fighting a war about a 30 year old war, we should be focusing on getting African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans, women and lower and middle income families back involved in the process. These groups, in general, vote Democratic when they vote. The problem in recent years is that they have stopped voting. Instead of trying to figure out what motivates those suburban undecided (and it changes all the time), why not start talking about things that will motivate those groups mentioned above (which by the way is most of America) to register and vote as they traditionally do. It's easy. Here is what they care about:

1. More and better jobs
2. Affordable health care
3. Good public schools
4. Since most of our "volunteer" army comes from these groups they also want to know what our plan is in regards to finishing the job and bringing their sons and daughters home.

Here is what they don't care about:

1. Viet Nam
2. Viet Nam
3. Viet Nam
4. Viet Nam

By focusing on what Bush did or did not do 30 years ago gives the impression to these disallusioned Democrates that even if we win, they will be no better off, so what is the point?

This tactic will not help Kerry win (it may not hurt him, but it won't help) and even more importantly, it will not help those tradional Democrats to get mobilized again and be a force in coming elections.


Flip Flop?

Republicans like to chant "flip flop, flip flop" everytime John Kerry's name is mentioned. Apparently conservatives find virtue in picking a position and then no matter what else happens or what other information becomes available, sticking with that position. By that logic one would just continue to drive straight down the road even if the road curved to the left or right and then just drive off the road completely. It is ridiculous. As John Kerry himself said in his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention, he sees complexity in issues. Thank God! Almost nothing is as simple as Republicans want you to believe. Two gay people getting married has nothing to do with whether or not my wife and I get a divorce. All Islamic terrorists are not the same, they are not all controlled by Osama bin Laden and they actually have their own agenda. A tax cut is not always a tax cut. Republicans don't want you to look too deeply into issues, they simply want to get you to have a gut reaction to an issue and then act on that gut reaction as opposed to really looking at all sides of an issue and making the best decision from there. Part of this process is to (gasp) change your mind if better information becomes available. Besides, it isn't like "W" has never changed his mind. Just click on the title of this post to see.


Daily Alan Keyes Watch

Chicago Tribune Backlash builds against Keyes' remarks
Is this guy really the best the Illinois Republican Party could dig up? It's a shame he is going to drop off the face of the Earth after the election, he is a daily source of humor at this point. Even Mike Ditka was smart enough to know he wanted no part of Obama. Keep it up Alan!

Typical Conservatives

First a plan to cancel the elections and now trying to stop students from voting. They know they are in trouble so this is all they have. http://activism.diaryland.com/


War on Terror?

The current administration is, in some convoluted way, trying to make the case that we need to elect them again to keep us safe http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040907/D84V15AG0.html. The odd thing is they are doing this by telling us just how unsafe we are. Tom Ridge regular trots to the podium and tells us that we could be attacked at anytime. Oh sure, we don't have any specific or recent information, but we just wanted to remind you how safe you are with the Bush team in office...even though we are in eminent danger...maybe...look, the point is we are all pretty darn safe...see?

Radical Conservative talking heads are constantly screaming at us that we are fighting World War III so we better get on board. If that is the case I have just a few observations. If this is truly WWIII then we don't have nearly enough active duty troops to fight WWIII in a conventional way. Don't misunderstand, I'm not advocating resuming the draft. My only point is that if we are going to fight a world war, we need more troops. We don't even have enough troops to secure Iraq and still keep a presence in Europe and South Korea. How in the world are we going to fight a world war? I will tell you how, we aren't going to. This administration had and continues to have no plan beyond invading Iraq, taking Saddam out of power and cashing in on the oil. This has nothing to do with a world wide war on terror.

Not only do we have not enough troops and no plan for WWIII, but since the "Great Uniter", George W Bush has alienated virtually the rest of the free world, we also have no diplomatic currency in the international community so that we might build a REAL coalition. The kind needed to fight a world war. So now we have no plans, no troops and no allies in our world wide war on terror.

Now for my final point, and this one will be hard for simplistic thinking Radical Conservatives to follow, but the fact is we simply don't fully understand our enemy in this fight. This is nothing new, we do this all the time. We fought a completely unnecessary war in Viet Nam because we failed to understand that Ho Chi Mihn was a nationalist first and a communist second. He only allied with the communists because they provided a means to his end which was independence for Viet Nam. We, of course, thought that if the evil Red Empire took Viet Nam it was only a matter of time before they where marching down mainstream America. This, of course, was not true but our failure to understand this lead to the needless loss of thousands of American lives.

It doesn't stop there. We also trained and equipped a certain Osama bin Laden while he was fighting those pesky communists, this time in Afghanistan. In our blind hatred of communists we missed the fact that the reason bin Laden was fighting the communists wasn't because he was against the evil of communism, but because he and his followers wanted outsiders out of Muslim countries. We failed to look into the future and see that once the Soviets where gone, the only other foreign presence in the Middle East was...um...the United States. We just never saw it coming.

We seem incapable to seeing differences within the same movement. For years we assumed that Soviet Communism and Chinese Communism where some monolithic monster hell bent on destroying America. This, of course was never true. The two movements had many fundamental differences and the proof is that China is a communist state today and the Soviet Union is long since gone.

Radical conservatives want to paint all Islamic movements with the same brush, just like we did with Communism. They want us to believe that Al Quida has the same goals as the Chechyn rebels and so on. To believe this one would have to believe that if we gave in to Al Quida and left the Arabian Peninsula, that the Chechyn rebels would lay down their guns and simply say "I guess we don't really want independence after all." It also assumes that tactics that will work on terrorists like Abu Masab al-Zarqawi will also work on the likes of Muqtada al-Sader. Zarqawi is simply a terrorist interested only in driving all non-Arabs out of Arab countries. al-Sader, on the other hand, actually wants to have a hand in governing Iraq. Both are equally dangerous to us and our safety both at home and abroad, but both have different goals and need to be dealt with differently. The same, is of course, true of all the separate terror groups around the globe. Each is unique and has it's own goals and will require it's own solution. This administration has already proven itself unable to understand this fact and to deal with it effectively.

So, to recap. As this administration tries to scare everyone into thinking they are safer with Bush in office, they have not enough troops, no support abroad to build a real coalition to fight a worldwide war, no plan to prosecute the war and no real understanding of the enemy. I feel safer already.

The only real way these terrorists are going to go away is if their own people rise up and strike back against them. At present we are trying to make those Islamic people rise up by occupying their counties with armed troops. We already know this won't work, it didn't in Viet Nam and it isn't in Iraq. What needs to be done is to figure out ways to lift these countries out of the stone ages. We need to normalize relations with these countries and allow trade with them, which would provide jobs and money and hope for these people. Once they see for themselves the virtues of democracy in action they will logically follow all on their own. Once they have something to live for they will have less reason to blow themselves up to kill us. We know this will work as well, all you have to do is again look at Viet Nam. Once relations where normalized with Viet Nam and free trade began, prosperity followed and Viet Nam is now, what we always wanted it to be back then. Does anyone remember who led the fight to normalize relations with Viet Nam and finally win that war? Oh that's right, it was John Kerry.

What John Kerry Actually Said

Radical Conservative radio talk show host and Fox News "journalist" Sean Hannity rails daily on both radio and TV that John Kerry accused American soldiers of committing atrocities in Viet Nam. Hannity is also fond of saying that Kerry admitted to committing atrocities himself and continues to demand that Kerry tell us exactly what atrocities he committed and why he didn't report the atrocities he saw. Ollie North then comes on the air and actually wants us to believe that not a single atrocity occurred in Viet Nam despite what the Toledo Blade http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20031022/SRTIGERFORCE/110190169 has recently reported.

There are so many ridiculous arguments here that it is difficult to know where to begin. But a good to place to start is by actually reading what Kerry testified to in front of congress on April 22, 1971 http://www.richmond.edu/~ebolt/history398/JohnKerryTestimony.html.

Kerry admitted to only two acts that he called atrocities. Taking part in so called Free Fire Zones, which decreed that American troops should fire on anything that moved, man, woman or child. He also admits burning villages. He himself calls these two acts atrocities, but according the the United States Military, they are not, even though they do violate the Geneva Conventions (sound familiar?). That is because both tactics where official military doctrine in Viet Nam. For North and Hannity to pretend that is not true is simply dishonest and an attempt to mislead the public.

As for the other atrocities Kerry testified to in 1971, if Hannity bothered to check it out he would find that it wasn't Kerry making these accusations, but other Viet Nam Vets. The vets gave him this information at a meeting in Detroit called the Winter Soldier Conference. At that conference Kerry never testified, he only moderated. Kerry then took these comments to congress in 1971.

This is typical of Hannity and most Radical Conservative on the air today.

Republicans Point to Isreal for Homeland Security

Two weeks ago Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois Alan Keyes http://www.suntimes.com/output/elect/cst-nws-sen25.html made his case for allowing the assault weapons ban to expire by pointing to Isreal. Keyes basically said that there are automatic weapons on the street in Isreal, and that if you've ever been to Isreal you know how safe that makes you feel. That seemed odd to me, but now Larry Pratt http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=40363 is advocating arming school bus drivers and teachers in an effort to make our schools safe from terrorism. Again, Pratt points to the fact that in Isreal bus drivers and teachers are in fact armed. I guess this is what we can expect in a second Bush term where Homeland Security is concernced. I guess we will simply put guns in the hands of our kids' teachers and school bus drivers and hope they don't accidently kill our children before the terrorists get them. If conservatives feel Isreal is such a safe place to be, maybe than should go live there for a month and then get back to us.