March 2004 Archives

Bush's week in review

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by David R. Remer, PoliWatch.Org, WatchBlog

Pres. Bush is in the N.E. defending his record on jobs and anti-terrorism. He is spending this time and money to shore up his record because it is under major attack from a number of directions. Both Democratic and Republican party members of Congress agree that jobs are critically important to both the economy and the November elections, and they both agree, the jobs growth is a major disappointment to economic recovery. On the other hand, 2003 saw our economy grow at a healthy 4.1 percent pace, a point that is sure to be touted in Bush's speeches and ads from this point forward.

On anti-terrorism, the President is under fire from the 9/11 Investigation Commission which has brought forth testimony indicating that both Presidents Bush and Clinton failed to use intelligence they had to defend American lives on 9/11/2001. President Bush stated today he did not know that planes would be used to attack targets in the U.S. However, the 9/11 Commission has evidenced that our Intelligence Community did in fact know that planes may likely be used in attacks and that the targets such as the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were possible targets. Bush's critics are calling Bush's statement an outright lie. The question of whether the President knew of this intelligence prior to 9/11 has not been answered. The question of whether the President should have known this information is just now being raised.

Of course the main controversy centers on Richard Clarke's testimony that the Administration was so obsessed with Iraq and Saddam Hussein that they misinterpreted intelligence regarding an impending al-Queda attack and failed to take necessary steps to defend against what became the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. Clarke's credibility is the primary target by conservatives both on the Commission and in the media. Nonetheless, Republican attempts to pin Clarke in his own testimony were unsuccessful as Clarke demonstrated remarkable poise and calm in responding to court like inquiries by panel members.

While the President has agreed to testify before the Commission, the person with probably the most detailed knowledge of the policies and decisions on anti-terrorism before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice has refused to testify under oath and in public before the Commission. Ms. Rice is becoming a prime target of progressive attacks for what appears to them to be increasingly a case of having something to hide. While the Administration argues that commanding her testimony is a breach of Executive Branch powers and rights, progressives argue that no person in government should be above investigation by the public's representatives. This is an issue that is sure to fester for months to come and may become a campaign issue.

The stock market tumbled last week amid jitters over terrorist attacks in Spain and Israel, and bombs being found in various locations, as well as intelligence being reported that the U.S. is going to be targeted again, and Donald Rumsfeld has stated it could happen tomorrow. Investors lost big as the markets tumbled, the Dow Jones Average losing almost 500 points in recent weeks. Bearish sentiments are replacing the previous bullish enthusiasm that has lifted the Dow from 7000 plus to over 10,000 since 9/11 according to MSNBC today.

Lou Dobbs began a series on TV over a month ago called The Exporting of America. This program has helped raise the issues of outsourcing jobs to other countries by American corporations, and the transfer of ownership of American assets to foreign investors via America's national debt and rising deficits, has put these issues in the headlines on the campaign trail. Sen. Kerry is making the lack of jobs a central issue in his campaign and putting the President on the defensive on this issue as seen by his speeches today.

Polls are showing the race between Kerry and Bush neck and neck and the near half billion dollars being raised for campaigning by Kerry and Bush are now in play buying ads to tarnish the image if each candidate's opponent. This may be an unprecedented spending year for a Presidential election in American history. Ad agencies are salivating.

Bush's ads are focusing on Kerry's Senatorial voting record making claims which are not factual about Kerry's votes on raising taxes. The Bush camp is using votes that reflect Kerry's votes for alternative amendments and bills that would not have included Bush's tax cuts. Also included in the GOP claim of over 350 votes to increase taxes are votes on in which Kerry opposed the bills on issues other than the taxes included in them. Kerry's camp has launched ads placing the jobless recovery and failure to provide troops and veterans with the funds they say are needed to keep military families from falling into poverty or bankruptcy.

by David R. Remer, PoliWatch.Org, WatchBlog

Testimony today before the 9/11 Investigating Commission was shocking. Among those testifying were Generals, Mr. Armitage, M. Allbright, and C. Powell, D. Rumsfeld, and P. Wolfowitz. Overall, it appears that both administrations, Clinton's and G.W. Bush's governed over a history of intelligence from 1991 right up through the summer of 9/11 which gave a host of indications and warnings of airliners to be used as weapons against the U.S. There were even, though not during 2001, intelligence data indicating the Pentagon and World Trade Center may be targets. Despite this intelligence neither the Clinton nor the Bush administration took any steps to beef up security of our airline industry, or to warn Congress that such action might be necessary.

Particularly damning was testimony by Donald Rumsfeld acknowledging heightened intelligence activity warning of possible impending attack throughout the summer preceding 9/11. Mr. Rumsfeld's response was that he was not responsible for domestic security and his focus was on overseas threats. He stated he does not recall being directly informed of a possible threat to the Pentagon, an area of responsibility that was his.

The President, G.W. Bush today also stated very carefully that, had he known there would be an attack on the WTC on Sept. 11, he would have taken action. Note what he did not say. He did not say he was not aware of increased intelligence indicating a possible impending attack. He did not say he was not aware that the WTC was a potential target. He did not say he was not aware the attacks could likely come from hijacked airliners. Testimony by Rumsfeld indicates that our Intelligence officers and head of CIA were aware of all these facts. Rumsfeld stated however, he does not recall if he had been made aware by the intelligence community of this information.

What we can expect from this investigation is tough questions seeking tough answers as the panel appears to be serious in their endeavor to determine what happened, what didn't happen, and why 9/11 occurred at all. What we cannot expect is a confession by anyone that they messed up or were responsible in anyway for allowing 9/11 to occur. Their answers were calculated, and appeared at times rehearsed. Only Wolfowitz however, became defensive and testy when questioned. Cooperative attitudes appear to be the order of the day. We can also not expect to ever hear the whole truth. Their was reference made by one of the panel that certain information specifically about intelligence content would not be disclosed to the public.

The one inescapable fact that came out today, however, was that both administrations reigned over intelligence indicating that something like what occurred on 9/11 was very likely to occur at some point in time, and neither administration took a single step to beef up airline security. The Bush administration is particularly vulnerable on this point since the intelligence community and the head of the CIA were receiving a high volume of indications in the few months preceding 9/11 that something was very likely about to happen against the U.S. resulting from al-Queda actions.

Clark is scheduled to testify tomorrow. There is a very different story to be told between him and Wolfowitz, tomorrow regarding prioritizing Iraq over al Queda. Wolfowitz today denied Clark's charge that Wolfowitz in a meeting had indicated that Iraq was a greater priority.

Posted by D.R. Remer PoliWatch.Org, WatchBlog

There is a story circulating on the net about Americans unloading the kind of parts needed by Hussein in the early 1990's to develop WMD and long range missiles. The source is an Iraqi Government official who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Mehr, an Iranian news agency covering Iraq. The official reports Americans were seen unloading cargo of the kind mentioned above at a port in Southern Iraq and timed to coincide with other big news and events that would overshadow the unloading.

Two sites reporting this are Forum for America and Dread Times.

The implications if the story can be verified are enormous.

The Great Bush Hoax

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by David R. Remer, PoliWatch.Org, WatchBlog

Half the country has been fooled by the Great Bush Hoax. The other half saw it for what it was when it was launched. The Great Hoax is the idea that any amount of money, soldiers, or equipment sent overseas could possibly win the War on Terrorism. If you are a Bush supporter, you won't want to read this, the inescapable logic of it will make you angry. For all others, the simple and elegant logic that follows will vindicate your gut feelings about this President's foreign policy and War on Terrorism.

For centuries China had it's warlords who terrorized their feudal serfs into submission and taxation. The armies of the warlords were terrorists. Ancient Greek history is full of myth, legend, and history regarding terrorists and terrorist tactics by opposing armies. The great Roman Empire ended with the terrorism from the likes of the Visigoths and Huns who with their hit and run tactics, drove fear into the hearts of Roman legions. They did so effectively that Rome actually hired (bribed) the terrorist leaders to join Roman campaigns, only to see the terrorist tactics grow by throngs hoping to get bribed by Rome also.

The Medieval period saw one of the greatest terrorist movements in all of history played out by none other than the Roman Catholic Church via the Inquisition. The epitomy of terrorism was defined during this period. Then there was the conquest of the America's which brought terror in the form of disease, alcohol, land theft, and habitat and cultural destruction. In the 1940's and 50's terrorism was unleashed on 10's of millions in Germany and Russia by monsters named Stalin and Hitler. In the 1950's the U.S. saw the growth and perpetuation of a form of terrorism that lives in infamy and is learned by every Congress Man and Woman. That form of terrorism was called McCarthyism and Commie Witch Hunts. And let us not forget the Ku Klux Klan.

Even today we have numbers of terrorists in the USA, serial murderers, freeway marksman killers, Timothy McVeigh, and young lad arrested just last week with 20 or so homemade bombs and a firearm on his high school grounds. They all have an agenda and a common means of carrying it out. Strike fear in the hearts of others. The point of this history recital is simple. The President of the U.S. says he will win this war on terrorism. That is as bold a lie as has ever been told by a sitting President. Humankind carries with it, terrorism, wherever societies emerge. There has always been terrorism in the world, and there will always be terrorism in the world. No amount of money, equipment, or soldiers sent overseas could possibly hope to end terrorism in the world any more than it could hope to end evil, greed, and corruption.

The War on Terrorism will become a terrorism of its own making as the war takes more and more thousands of innocent lives. The lives of children, mothers, and fathers who happen to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, like the Afghani children killed by U.S. troops in December, or the countless thousands of innocent Iraqis who died in the wake of Bush's campaign against Saddam Hussein. As long as this war on Terrorism is fought as a military campaign, instead of an intelligence and police campaign, millions of innocent people will live in fear of the war coming to their home despite the fact that they have nothing to do with terrorist activity.

The Europeans (save for Tony Blair) differ with Bush's military campaign against terrorism. They are going to deal with terrorism as an intelligence and police issue rather than indiscriminately bomb and kill 10's of thousands of innocent bystanders overseas in the name of liberating them or defending ourselves. The U.S. is becoming increasingly isolated by world opinion, thanks to the Bush Administration. The world was behind us in our invasion of Afghanistan, the U.N. assisted us in Afghanistan, because a direct assault upon our people originated in Afghanistan. Such a retaliatory attack was also seen as defensive by the rest of the world and therefore justified.

And then, the Bush Administration took advantage of the sympathy of foreign nations for our plight on 9/11 to carry out plans laid down in the 1990's to seize a military hold on the middle east, to obtain revenge for an assassination attempt upon G.W. Bush's father sanctioned by Saddam Hussein, and to spread American military might around the globe in attempt no less than world wide military strike domination. What the rest of the world sees, but this Administration does not, is the simple fact that to secure our people against terrorist attacks from abroad, we must secure our borders.

When Bush's Administration places the bulk of its military spending, equipment and personnel overseas to fight terrorism, the people of the rest of the world ask how can such action be committed in the name of war against terrorism? It is obvious to them, that if defense against terrorism is our real objective, we should be placing that money, equipment, and personnel on our own borders, in our shipping lanes and in our airports. The way to defend against terrorism is to keep terrorists from getting in, in the first place. Yet every objective review of domestic defense against terrorism reveals we are as vulnerable today as we were on 9/11. Therefore, it is inescapably logical to conclude that our efforts overseas have some other agenda than defending ourselves from terrorists.

And in fact, that is the conclusion the people of the rest of the world are coming to. As recent headlines reveal that heads of state are beginning to realize what the people have known, as Spain, Honduras, and more to come announce they are no longer to be counted in the coalition of the willing. They recognize the absence of WMD in Iraq, combined with our utter and almost complete disregard for allocating our national resources to our own border defenses, amounts to a Hoax played upon the sympathies of peoples around the globe. A hoax which uses 9/11 and the war on terrorism to cover a far more sinister and dangerous agenda of spreading military strike capability around the globe and having the ability to aim that might into the heart of any city, hamlet, or neighborhood in the world.

If President Bush is reelected, it is the U.S. which will be viewed as the spreader of terrorism, as it continues to fail to rally other nations into its hoax. Bush will in the next four years, leave the U.S. military spread out in the world posing the largest threat to the peace and safety of billions of other people in the world as well as to our own troops. We may easily become viewed as the greatest terrorist threat in the world under another four years of this war fixed administration.

President Bush is not looking to make the U.S. a terrorist. He is not looking to become the greatest fear of peoples throughout the world. He is not bankrupting the American tax payer with grandiose plans of becoming King of the World. He is honestly trying to do what he believes is right for his family, for his friends, and for his country. The problem is, he is afraid. And like all bullies, fear motivates him to overreact, to offend as defense, to harm others first lest he be harmed. All bullies are basically cowards and their irrational behavior is designed to mask their fear. President Bush is just such a man. With the best of intentions, he has become the most aggressive, most deceiving, and most unpredictable U.S. President the World has seen in a very, very long time.

Our nation cannot afford the consequences of another four year term by President George W. Bush. Half the voters in this country understand that. The question is will the other half be capable of seeing through the hoax before it is too late. November will tell.

GOP-Going for Broke

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Under Democrats, Congress had a "pay as you go" rule for spending by the federal government. They were called tax and spend Democrats because if they elected to pass a program needing money from the budget, they would raise taxes or decrease other spending to pay for it. The Republican's Grand Old Party (GOP) now have control of Congress and they long ago dismissed the pay as you go rule. That action has resulted in the record half trillion dollar budget for 2005 without any attempt by the President or Republican House of Representatives to raise taxes or cut other spending in order to pay for this record deficit. And only an estimated 6% of the budget deficit is due to the lackluster economy. This contradicts the President's and Republican spokesperson's rebuttal that the deficits are resulting the 2001 recession and the 9/11 attacks.

The Senate just passed a rule to reinstate the 'pay as you go rule" by 51 to 48. However, the Washington Post reports:

But no sooner had the Senate voted than at least some of the lawmakers whose support was critical were waffling on whether they would insist that the rule be kept. With the administration and the Republican leadership dead set against a real "pay as you go" rule -- one that applies to tax cuts as well as spending increases -- the provision is at risk of being killed in conference.

The Republicans are 'Going For Broke' in their attempt to keep power by bankrupting the nation and middle income tax payers with their program of 'spend now to get votes and stick it to the tax-payers later after our President is out of office in 4 more years.' It does appear voters of the major parties have a choice in November: The Tax and Spend Democrats, The Spend and Bankrupt Republicans, or the Green Party which proposes to take a wholistic approach which balances today's needs with tomorrow's.

Another Bush Con Job

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The NY Times today is picking up on a story I saw a couple days earlier entitled Medicare Expert Says He Was Told To Withhold cost, which ran on Friday.

It is a detailed read about how the Bush administration knew the true cost of the Medicare legislation, and told at least one official who thought Congress should know the true cost, he'd be fired if he said anything. When the President deceives the Congress, he decieves the people of the U.S. for Congresspersons are the people's representatives from their local states and districts.

The people simply can no longer trust this administration which continues to justify any means by the ends it achieves. It simply defies reason that Kerry's adminstration could be any worse if it tried. Since a Kerry administration would have a Republican Congress keeping excesses in check.

UPDATE: Add the following to this story from the NY Times, entitled: A Watchdog Sees Flaws in Bush's Ads on Medicare

The General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress, said on Wednesday that advertisements and brochures prepared by the Bush administration to publicize a new Medicare law, although not illegal, misrepresented the prescription drug benefits that would be offered to millions of elderly and disabled people.

The fliers and advertisements do not violate restrictions on the use of federal money for "publicity or propaganda purposes," but they are flawed by "omissions and other weaknesses," said the legal opinion by Anthony H. Gamboa, general counsel of the accounting office.

by David R. Remer - Watchblog - PoliWatch.Org

A few years ago there was a scandal regarding Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Barely after the headlines ink dried ADM saturated the media with paid advertising. You remember it, it said they were Feeding The World. Now which do you remember about ADM, there scandal, or their commercial? This is classic commodity defense. When your product or company gets in trouble, advertise the negative news out of existence. Shell Oil is currently being reviewed for underestimating reserves and today I saw an advertisement on Satellite TV for Shell exploring where no man has gone before.

Click here for more...

by David R. Remer PoliWatch.Org

Ralph Nader, just 10 days after announcing his candidacy as an Independent for President, is polling 6% of voters according to the Associated Press. Nader is going after corporate corruption of the laws, environment, economy, and the exploitation of American workers. Nader has also raised a quarter million dollars in that same 10 days.

So many said he could not be taken seriously except for the votes he would draw from Democrats. That may be so. But, if the money and support continues at the same level it has these last 10 days, both front running candidates will need to reevaluate both Nader's impact and their own issue platforms to court Nader's vote.

by David R. Remer, PoliWatch.Org

Super Tuesday was no surprise for those who have followed my previous articles on the Kerry Steamroller here and here. The question now is, can the Kerry steamroller turn the swing states into win states? It is very likely and here is why.

Regardless of what events occur between now and November, Sen. John Kerry can win the Presidency with President Bush's help. The help Sen. Kerry needs from the President is simply a hard hitting, money flying advertising campaign aiming to discredit the Senator based on his Senatorial voting record. This will actually hurt Bush and help Kerry in November. It is a psychological thing, just as Kerry's steamroller out of N.H. and Iowa was a purely psychological dynamic. There is not a single attack which Rove and Bush could launch toward Kerry's voting record that cannot be turned back on President Bush. The net effect will be to render the President the bigger hypocrite, more inconsistent, and less predictable than Sen. Kerry. In other words, Bush's campaign will backfire.

The exit polls show the economy is voter's number one concern. For working Americans that translates to job security. There is nothing President Bush can do to increase jobs or job security, because the President believes tax cuts to the wealthy will create jobs. As we have seen, throwing money at the wealthy has only resulted in increased productivity, not increased jobs. The President believes in free trade, and free trade is what is exporting America's jobs overseas. The exit polls show many more Americans believe they are worse off now than they were 4 years ago. And there is nothing in the President's ideology that would permit him to reverse these psychological trends in the voters.

Attacking Kerry on the economy won't work for a number of reasons. First, the public does not see Kerry as responsible for the Economy. It is the Republican Congress and President Bush who are responsible for the economy in the minds of voters. Second, attacks toward Kerry on his free trade votes, can be turned on Bush. Kerry simply needs to point to having learned from the NAFTA experiment and expound on equity as part of the free trade package he would proffer. Kerry will offer to rescind the tax cuts to the wealthiest as a means of paying for programs that will help working Americans and which will employ more Americans. This will resonate with independents who voted for Bush in 2000 who are dealing with unemployment and job insecurity today. Finally, Bush and the Republican Congress have given Kerry the national debt and deficit to wield as a rapier against Bush and his enslaving of our children to higher taxes and lower quality of living in their future.

Sen. Kerry has already told Pres. Bush regarding national security to "Bring It On". Kerry's message will be "How can a President lead by misleading"? The answer is he can't. Sen. Kerry only need to point to the WMD and the Hussein / Al Queda ties which the Bush Administration lead this country to war with to prove the misleading point. Also, Sen. Kerry will point to peace arising from nations which work together and respect each other. Kerry will ask how there can ever be Peace under Bush with his alienating other nations, snubbing the U.N. and threatening the peace of the World through unilateral preemptory war as a policy.

Sen. Kerry will make George W. Bush, the man, the main issue of the 2004 election. His message will be that we were all understandably mislead and lied to. His message will be that President Bush said one thing, and did the opposite. He promised Peace, and took us into an unnecessary war. He promised a robust economic recovery, we got a slow and jobless recovery. He promised to be a fiscal conservative, but, instead is giving us the largest debts and deficits in history stealing from our future pay checks for years and years to come the taxes needed to pay them down.

President Bush's only defense will be to try to make the election about Kerry, the man. He has the money to drown the public in negative politics about John Kerry. But, as the Democratic primaries showed, negative rhetoric can backfire and drag down the messenger of such negativity. The more Bush gets negative, the more Kerry will hammer the issues. And the result will be an image in the voter's mind of a candidate who cares about the issues and a President acting like a trapped animal. Bush will not lose his Republican core voters, though some ultra-conservatives may not show up, but, all Kerry needs is the swing and independent votes.

This will be another close election, and it will come down to the Electoral College votes reaching that magic number of 270. Bush is loyal, and Cheney, Rove, and Wolfowitz will remain. That means there will be no changing course and the course the Bush administration has chosen is becoming more suspect day by day. Kerry needs to promise a change that will increase American territorial security, decrease debt and deficits, save Soc. Security and Medicare, and create jobs for Americans which help other Americans get back on their feet. This is the steamrolling message Kerry will take to the swing states. Barring extraordinary events on par with 9/11, the Kerry steamroller may wind up at the Whitehouse delivering a new President.

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