Recent Entries in Politics

The head of the nation's largest gay and lesbian Republican group slammed fellow Republicans Friday for "feigning outrage" over comments by Sen. John Kerry, and called on President Bush to "stop attacking gay families on the campaign trail."

Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said Democratic presidential nominee Kerry was "not wise" to refer to the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney during the answer to a question about homosexuality during a presidential debate Wednesday night.

But he said Republicans "who are expressing outrage at the debate comments really have been outrageous themselves."

CNN.com - Activist accuses GOP of 'attacking gays' - Oct 15, 2004

Head of gay GOP group

It is rare for an American president to devote an entire speech to the problem of nuclear proliferation. But in February George W. Bush did just that. "America will not permit terrorists and dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most deadly weapons," he said.

In keeping with his promise, and his definition of a dangerous regime, the US has led calls for North Korea to freeze its nuclear programme. The US has also argued that Iran should be reported to the United Nations Security Council, as it claims that Iran has failed to honour its commitments to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

But all is not going to plan. The pleas have been ineffective, and the US stands accused of hypocrisy on nuclear proliferation. "It's like a guy with a cigarette dangling from his mouth telling other people not to smoke," according to Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the organisation responsible for policing the NPT. And many claim this perception, coupled with America's wider foreign policy, is making it more, not less, likely that other countries will seek a nuclear capability.

New Scientist | US Election 2004

merica: Bomb builders or peacemakers?

  Kerry 3, Bush 0

Apparently under strict orders from his wife, President Bush stood up straight last night and avoided those dreaded scowls. He smiled, smiled, smiled, even giggled at times. It was his best performance. It was John Kerry's worst. Kerry still won. He's 3-0.

If you don't believe us, check out the post-debate CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup snap poll, which showed Kerry winning 52 percent to 39 percent. That's roughly the same margin Kerry enjoyed in the CNN survey coming out of Coral Gables, Florida, and we all know how that played out. (More on this below.)

It was a debate about guns, gays and God. It was about jobs, health care and flu vaccines. Tony Soprano even played a cameo role in a colloquy on taxes. But mostly it was a debate about women, whose unique interests were directly addressed by Bush and/or Kerry in response to at least 11 of moderator Bob Schieffer's 20 excellent questions.

CNN.com - Kerry 3, Bush 0 - Oct 14, 2004

A handy reference guide for Bush, in case the question comes up tonight:

During a prime time press conference on April 13, President Bush was asked to name a mistake that he has made since taking office and what he has learned from it. Bush, who was unable to answer the question, admitted "maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with [a mistake]." But weeks later, Bush still hasn't answered the question. In the interest of assisting the President with this surprisingly difficult task we've compiled this list of 100 mistakes he has made since taking office.

100 Mistakes for the President to Choose From - Center for American Progress

Employees of a private voter registration company allege that hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters who may think they are registered will be rudely surprised on election day. The company claims hundreds of registration forms were thrown in the trash.

Anyone who has recently registered or re-registered to vote outside a mall or grocery store or even government building may be affected.

The I-Team has obtained information about an alleged widespread pattern of potential registration fraud aimed at Democrats. The focus of the story is a private registration company called Voters Outreach of America, AKA America Votes.

The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the past few months, registering voters. It employed up to 300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former employees of the company say that Voters Outreach of America only wanted Republican registrations.

Voter Registrations Possibly Trashed

By ordering its stations to pre-empt their prime-time schedule to air an anti-Kerry film, SBG has drawn the country's attention to a gathering threat: Weapons of Mass Deception.

More dangerous than anything a terrorist group or an outcast state like Iraq is our ability to subvert ourselves. By choosing to define an obviously polemical film as "news," Sinclair has finally illuminated the bar between news and entertainment or propaganda.

Admittedly the bar is so low that only a snake could limbo under it, but it's there and it's generating enough publicity to raise questions in the minds of people who might ordinarily spend very little time thinking about the nature and purpose of public airwaves.

Public airwaves are just that: public. They're held in trust; they don't belong to television station owners of any political persuasion, and the owners have an obligation to serve the public by at least adhering to the minimal restrictions imposed by the Federal Communications Commission.

BTC News: Avian Analysis

  War Without Reason

The official rationales for the war in Iraq now lie in tatters. Earlier in the week, the CIA and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld conceded that Saddam Hussein had no links to al-Qaida. Yesterday, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney accepted the findings of Charles Duelfer, their chief weapons inspector, that Saddam didn't have WMD after all.

The Duelfer report, President Bush said to reporters on the South Lawn, "confirms the earlier conclusion of David Kay that Iraq did not have the weapons that our intelligence believed were there." Yet, he quickly added, going to war was still the right�€”the necessary�€”course of action.

Cheney, speaking in Miami, went further, claiming that the Duelfer report bolstered the case for war. "Delay, defer, wait," he said, "wasn't an option."

War Without Reason - The total collapse of Bush's arguments for invading Iraq.

An image that flew around the Internet last week showing a boxy bulge in the back of President George W. Bush's suit jacket during the Sept. 30 presidential debate in Miami has led to widespread cyber-speculation that he was wired to receive help with his answers.

Bush's aides tried to laugh off the controversy, with one official joking about "little green men on the grassy knoll."

Several officials, pressed for a serious answer, flatly denied that anything was fishy about the hump.

They said they'd checked and that there was nothing under Bush's jacket �€” not a wire, not a transmitter, not a garage door opener.

Bush was not wearing a protective vest, sources said.

The White House refused to provide an on-the-record comment, saying such remarks would dignify a baseless issue, and referred questions to the Bush-Cheney campaign.

TheStar.com - Debate on the Internet: Was W wired?

George Bush's campaign team have played down reports that the president was fitted with a transmitter to allow him to receive help during a televised debate.

During the public discussion with presidential opponent Senator John Kerry, an apparent bulge could be seen in the middle of Mr Bush�€™s back under his suit jacket.

A number of internet sites have claimed that the president was wearing a device that allowed an adviser to feed him answers to questions during the debate last week.

It was also alleged that on several occasions Bush stopped speaking for a period and stared ahead as if listening to a voice.

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Bush 'Aided in TV Debate by Transmitter'

The roles have been flipped in the latest AP presidential poll.

John Kerry has taken a slim lead over President Bush on the eve of their second debate.

Among 944 likely voters surveyed in the AP-Ipsos Public Affairs poll, the Kerry-Edwards ticket led Bush-Cheney 50 percent to 46 percent. The race was tied at 47 percent among all voters.

The poll shows Kerry gaining ground on all issues and fewer voters now saying Bush is the man best able to protect the nation.

Bush and Kerry criticize each other, polls change

The Michigan Republican Party is asking four county prosecutors to file charges against filmmaker Michael Moore, charging that he illegally offered underwear, noodles and snacks to college students in exchange for their promise to vote.

"We want everyone to participate in this year's election, but not because they were bribed or coerced by the likes of Michael Moore," said Greg McNeilly, executive director of the state Republican Party.

The GOP said it asked prosecutors in Wayne, Ingham, Antrim and Isabella counties to charge Moore with violating Michigan's election law. The law prohibits a person from contracting with another for something of value in exchange for agreeing to vote.

Moore, a native of Flint, is touring the country and imploring"slackers" who usually don't vote to head to the polls this year, saying they could make the difference in the presidential race.

He made stops at Michigan State University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Central Michigan University and Elk Rapids High School on the first leg of a 60-city pre-election tour.

WOODTV.com & WOOD TV8 - Grand Rapids news and weather - State GOP says Michael Moore illegally offered underwear in exchange for voting

A US report on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which cleared Iraq of possession of such arms, triggered fiery condemnation among the Iraqis on Thursday.

The report, prepared after 1,200 inspectors headed by American chief weapon inspector Charles Dolfer conducted a 18-month search campaign, said that Iraq had no biological, chemical or nuclear weapons before the US occupation of the oil-rich Arab country.

The report virtually overturned the US pretext for invading Iraqin March 2003, igniting angry emotions among Iraqis, who also harbored hatred toward the occupation forces for the war andensuing chaos, destruction and bloodshed.

:: Xinhuanet - English ::

  Scoring the Second Round

It was one of the most powerful moments of the debate. Dick Cheney listed the many votes John Edwards missed in the Senate and, like a school proctor, chided him for his unimpressive performance. The knuckle wrapping was punctuated with a final blow as Cheney noted that in all his visits to the Senate, the two had never met before that evening on stage.

Except it wasn't true. When Elizabeth Edwards joined her husband at the lectern afterwards she pointed out to the Vice President that they had met before. Three times.

In a debate that centered around credibility, it didn't help the Vice President who had come across as so stern and steady to get caught in an inaccuracy. Sure, the meetup mishap was a small detail, but when the Administration is on the defensive about distorting pre-war and post-war intelligence once offered with the same stern and steady aspect, the slip-up was a symbolic groaner.

TIME.com: Scoring the Second Round

Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons investigator in Iraq, told Congress today that Saddam Hussein destroyed his stocks of chemical and biological weapons and agents in 1991 and 1992 and that his nuclear weapons program had decayed to almost nothing by 2003.

Duelfer, a former U.N. inspector and the personal representative of the CIA director, said the former Iraqi dictator had intentions to restart his program, but after weapons inspectors left Iraq in 1998, Hussein instead focused his attention on ending the sanctions imposed by Western governments following his incursion into Kuwait and the Persian Gulf war of 1991.

Iraqi Arms Threat Was Waning, Inspector Says (washingtonpost.com)

The former US high-ranking official in Iraq has said that the United States failed to deploy enough troops in the country and curb the violence and looting soon after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, former Iraqi president.

Criticizing his country for making what he called "two major mistakes," Paul Bremer, former head of the US occupation forces in Iraq, said that "we never had enough troops on the ground." Bremer, who returned to the United States after the transfer ofpower from US occupation forces to the Iraqi interim government inJune, made the remarks on Monday while delivering an address to aninsurance group in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

He said that while he arrived in Iraq in May 2003 he found "horrid" looting and a very unstable situation in the country. "we paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness," Bremer added.

:: Xinhuanet - English ::

U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he was "misunderstood" when he claimed Monday night that there was no "hard evidence" linking Saddam Hussein and al- Qaeda.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Rumsfeld said, "To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two."

CBC News: Al-Qaeda remarks 'misunderstood': Rumsfeld

Watching George W. Bush on the hot seat is painful. When he gets that fawn-in-the-deerjacker's-light look, you feel for the guy.

Publicly at least, he's not a mean-spirited man. Near the end of Thursday's debate when he was asked if he had any reservations about John Kerry's character, he was gracious, momentarily generous, and generated the evening's only human moment. And not just because his opponent is a fellow Skull & Bones man (see BW Online, 10/1/04, "Republicrat vs. Democan"). That's usually the way Bush comes across -- a likable Joe, sincere in his beliefs, and comfortable in his own skin.

See Bush Debate. See Him Squirm

Sen. John Kerry scored points against President Bush on the Iraq war during their televised debate, but both men avoided the kind of gaffe that could be a turning point in the presidential election, international analysts and media said Friday.

Whatever the early verdicts were, one thing was clear: the debate attracted a lot of viewers overseas. In Europe, many people had to stay up past 4 a.m. to see the whole debate, and it was not even shown in some Asian countries until Friday morning.

In France and Germany, which opposed the Iraq war, Kerry's promise of a multilateral U.S. foreign policy was welcomed.

World take on U.S. presidential debate: First round to Kerry

The Bush campaign finally has a response to John Kerry's Iraq critique that doesn't involve the word "flip-flop." The new line, in the words of Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt, is that Kerry advocates "retreat and defeat." The president, by contrast, "will complete this mission." As President Bush himself declared during last week's news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, "We will stay the course and stand with these people so that they become free."

This sounds plausible enough. After all, Kerry says he hopes to withdraw all U.S. troops in his first term, while Bush claims to reject any such timetable, saying that America will stay in Iraq "as long as necessary, and not one day more." But in fact Bush has a de facto timetable of his own. And it will probably set in motion an American "retreat" no matter who takes the oath of office next year.

Bush is adamant that Iraq not delay elections due to be held by Jan. 31, regardless of conditions on the ground. That seems consistent with his promise to stay the course. But in fact, quick elections could produce an abrupt change of American course.

Whose 'Retreat And Defeat'? (washingtonpost.com)

A key part of the USA Patriot Act that allows the FBI to secretly demand information from Internet providers violates the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero barred the FBI from invoking that portion of the law in the future, saying it is an "unconstitutional prior restraint of speech in violation of the First Amendment."

The 2001 law requires Internet service providers and any other type of communications provider to comply with secret "national security letters" from the FBI. Those letters may ask for information about subscribers, including what local and long-distance telephone calls they have made.

In a lawsuit filed in April, the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law on behalf of an unnamed Internet company as an undue restriction on free speech and privacy rights. The recipient of a national security letter (NSL) is forever gagged against disclosing its existence "to any person"--a strict requirement that the ACLU argued could not be squared with the U.S. Constitution.

Judge disarms Patriot Act proviso | Tech News on ZDNet

Pregnant chads, vanishing voters... the election fiasco of 2000 made the Sunshine State a laughing stock. More importantly, it put George Bush in the White House. You'd think they'd want to get it right this time. But no, as Andrew Gumbel discovers, the democratic process is more flawed than ever.

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