(CBS) Two weeks ago, a group of Army reservists in Iraq refused a direct order to go on a dangerous operation to re-supply another unit with jet fuel.
Without helicopter gunships to escort them over a treacherous stretch of highway, and lacking armored vehicles, soldiers from the 343rd Quartermaster Company called it a suicide mission.
The Army called it an isolated incident, a temporary breakdown in discipline, and an investigation is underway.
But the 343rd isn't the first outfit to be put in harm's way without proper equipment, and commanders in Iraq acknowledged that the unit's concerns were legitimate, even if their mutiny was not.
With a $400 billion defense budget you might think U.S. troops have everything they need to fight the war, but that's not always the case.
But Karen Preston has been worrying a lot ever since last summer when Ryan returned home on leave and showed her these photos of the unarmored vehicles his unit was using for convoy duty in Iraq.
Lacking the proper steel plating to protect soldiers from enemy mines and rocket propelled grenades, they had been jerry-rigged with plywood and sandbags.
"They were called cardboard coffins," Preston says.
There have been more than 9,000 U.S. casualties in Iraq so far – more than 8,100 wounded and 1,100 killed. Nearly half of those casualties are the result of roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices or IEDs in military jargon. Yet the U.S. military still lacks thousands of fully armored vehicles that could save American lives.
Specialist Ronald Pepin, who serves in Baghdad with the New York National Guard, says, "They have no ground plating. So if you hit something underneath you, then it's going to kill the whole crew, you know? And that's just something you have to live with."
60 Minutes went to a man more familiar with the problems facing the Oregon National Guard than anyone else – its commanding general, Ray Byrne. General Byrne was somewhat reluctant to talk when 60 Minutes showed him pictures of his men's Humvees and trucks, armored with plywood and sandbags.
"If you have nothing then that's better than nothing. The question becomes then again when – when are they going to receive the full up armored Humvees? And I don't have that answer," says Gen. Byrne.
"It distresses me greatly that they do not have the equipment. I don't have control over it. The soldiers don't have control over it. The question becomes, 'When is it going to be available? When is it going to be available? When will they have it?'"
The Army acknowledged to 60 Minutes that there is a shortage of radios in Iraq and a shortage of bullets for training, and says both are in the process of being remedied. There have also been problems with maintenance and replacement parts for critical equipment like Abrams tanks, Bradley personnel carriers and Black Hawk helicopters.
Winslow Wheeler, a long time Capitol Hill staffer who spent years writing and reviewing defense appropriations bills, thinks he knows one reason why those shortages exist, after looking at the current Defense budget. Army accounts that pay for training, maintenance and repairs are being raided by Congress to pay for pork-barrel spending.
And buried in the back of this one, Wheeler found a biathlon jogging track in Alaska, a brown tree snake eradication program in Hawaii, a parade ground maintenance contract for a military base that closed years ago, and money for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial celebration.
By law, these projects can't be cut, so Pentagon bookkeepers will have to dip into operations and maintenance accounts to pay for them.
"They do all kinds of things that adds up to: 'We're basically eating our own young to support the war,'" he says.
According to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Armed Services Committee who speaks out against pork-barrel spending, there is a total of $8.9 billion of pork in this year's defense bill, which would go a long way toward upgrading all the equipment used by the National Guard.
"I don't think that this war has truly come home to the Congress of the United States," McCain says. "This is the first time in history that we've cut taxes during a war. So I think that a lot of members of Congress feel that this is just sort of a business-as-usual situation."
"The least sexy items are the mundane - food, repair items, maintenance – there's no big contract there," says McCain. "And so there's a tendency that those mundane but vital aspects of war fighting are cut and routinely underfunded." .
By ERIC ROSENBERG
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indignantly scoffs and scolds about the relentless rumors that the Bush administration is planning to reinstate the military draft.
"This plot is so secret that it doesn't exist," Rumsfeld wrote this week in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City. "To my knowledge, in the time I have served as secretary of defense, the idea of reinstating the draft has never been debated, endorsed, discussed, theorized, pondered or even whispered by anyone in the Bush administration."
In a radio interview earlier this month, Rumsfeld denounced the rumors as "a mischievous political effort that's being made to frighten young men and women."
This may come as a shock to the Pentagon chief, but most of the rumors have arisen from actions within the Bush administration, which has studied how to expand draft registration to include women, target some civilian work specialties for special attention by the draft and extend the required draft registration age from 25 years old to 34 years.
These draft plans were discussed at the Pentagon on Feb. 11, 2003, by the chief of the Selective Service System, the federal agency that would operate a draft, and senior Pentagon officials.
At the Pentagon meeting, the Selective Service System's then-acting director, Lewis Brodsky, and the director of public and congressional affairs, Richard Flahavan, met with Rumsfeld aides responsible for personnel issues.
Those aides included Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness; William Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy; and a top Army personnel aide, Col. David Kopanski.
According to a copy of the meeting agenda, the Selective Service System leaders reviewed the past 30 years of draft registration planning and then made their pitch for more aggressive draft preparations.
"In line with today's needs, the Selective Service System's structure, programs and activities should be re-engineered toward maintaining a national inventory of American men and, for the first time, women, ages 18 through 34, with an added focus on identifying individuals with critical skills," the agency said in its February 2003 proposal.
The agency officials recommended formation of a government-wide task force "to examine the feasibility of this proposal" and design efforts "to market the concept" to congressional lawmakers.
The Arlington, Va.-based Selective Service System, which is independent from the Defense Department, envisioned the creation of a massive database that would require all registrants to indicate whether they have skills "critical to national security or community health and safety."
Rumors about the draft also have been fueled by the update of contingency plans for a draft of medical personnel in a crisis.
The New York Times reported this month that the Selective Service System had hired a public relations agency, Widmeyer Communications, to assess how to plan for such a medical draft. The agency advised that "overtures from Selective Service to the medical community will be seen as precursors to a draft" that could alarm the public, the newspaper reported.
This and the steady stream of dead don't help matters much
Everyone remembers Lynne Cheney's feigned outrage that John Kerry would mention the Vice President's daughter in his debate with President Bush. Supposedly Mrs. Cheney believes her family should be kept out of the Presidential contest and left to live their lives in privacy, right?
The closing days of the campaign have turned into an expanded family affair for Vice President Dick Cheney, his wife, Lynne, and their three granddaughters who are traveling with them.
At a campaign rally Sunday, Elizabeth, 7, wore a scary Halloween costume as the Grim Reaper. To howls of laughter, Lynne Cheney introduced Elizabeth as "John Kerry's health plan," highlighting one of the many contentious issues of the campaign.
Kerry wants to expand the insurance system for federal employees to private citizens through tax credits and subsidies, an approach the Bush campaign condemns as government health care.
Mary Cheney, thirtysomething adult, out lesbian who has made money (working for Coors) primarily because she's an out lesbian and her dad is Dick Cheney, and who is a paid employee of BC/04 is, according to Lynne Cheney, off limits to political discussion. However, Lynne Cheney can use her 7 year old granddaughter as a combination runway model/negative political ad to attack the Democratic candidate for President.
Family values my ass.
Update [2004-10-31 17:16:1 by DHinMI]:
The more I think about this, the more cynical is appears.
What are the odds that a 7 year old girl wouldn't want to dress up as something more "girly" or something associated with a character from a cartoon or a movie, but would instead want to dress up as the grim reaper? (And do most 7 year olds even know the archetype of the grim reaper?)
What are the odds that the BC/04 professionals would assent to letting somebody out on the stage dressed as the grim reaper? Is that the image the campaign would want to foster, that death is shadowing the BC04 campaign?
Is it just coincidental that this 7 year old dressed up as the grim reaper, and Lynne Cheney had a spontaneous moment of mirth and ad-libbed the line about the grim reaper and Kerry's health care plan, insinuating a link between Kerry's plan for health with the symbol for death?
This was a deliberate act of using an innocent 7 year old to perform a hit job on a political rival.
These people know no shame.
Maybe that's their idea of being a princess?
Seriously, most little girls at seven range from barbie princess to Snow White and ballerina. Playing Chess with Max Von Sydow usually doesn't come to mind. My niece went as Rapunzel.
As I watched the Skins get spanked by the Pack today, assuring a Kerry victory, as if the lack of non-true believer GOP support for Bush wasn't enough, little kids came by my friend's bar to ask for candy, which went pretty quickly. We could have given them shots of chilled SoCo, but it's against the law to get small children drunk, some nonsense about endangering the welfare of a minor or something.
While I sat there, glancing from screen to screen and stepping outside for a breather, while other people smoked, you can't smoke indoors in NY, hundreds of kids passed by. Ninjas, Scream masks, princesses, doctors, even a two year old fireman. But no little girls dressed up as Death. Not one, and I saw a bunch of kids going store to store, a couple of hundred at least. All ages. Not one girl as the grim reaper. Not one.
Cynical would be a nice way to describe this. I'd say disgusting myself. I have never heard of a little girl who would choose the Grim Reaper over, oh, Barbie Princess with a pink gown. Her grandparents did that and they should be ashamed.
Oct. 30, 2004 | COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Lisa Dupler, a 33-year-old from Columbus, held up a rainbow-striped John Kerry sign outside the Nationwide Arena on Friday, as Republicans streamed out after being rallied by George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger. A thickset woman with very short, dark hair, Dupler was silent and barely flinched as people passing her hissed "faggot" into her ear. An old lady looked at her and said, "You people are sick!" A kid who looked to be about 10 or 11 affected a limp wrist and mincing voice and said, "Oh, I'm gay." Rather than restraining him, his squat mother guffawed and then turned to Dupler and sneered, "Why don't you go marry your girlfriend?" Encouraged, her son yelled, "We don't want faggots in the White House!"
The throngs of Republicans were pumped after seeing the president and the action hero. But there was an angry edge to their elation. They shrieked at the dozen or so protesters standing on the concrete plaza outside the auditorium. "Kerry's a terrorist!" yelled a stocky kid in baggy jeans and braces. "Communists for Kerry! Go back to Russia," someone else screamed. Many of them took up the chant "Kerry sucks"; old women and teenage boys shouting with equal ferocity.
With four days to go until the election, you can feel the temperature rising in Ohio.
Among Democrats, it's easy to indulge the fantasy that all the rage in this election is directed one way -- at Bush. Thousands of progressives are campaigning here, going door-to-door to get out the vote, training to watch the polls, holding concerts and rallies and anything else they can think of to beat Bush. Hundreds are from other parts of the country but most are locals. Jess Good, Ohio director of the massive get-out-the-vote group America Coming Together, says that 93 percent of the 12,000 volunteers expected to work on Election Day are from Ohio itself.
Clearly, something exciting and unprecedented is happening. After reviewing Democratic and progressive field operations in Ohio and Florida, L.A. Weekly columnist Harold Meyerson wrote, "I have found something I've never before seen in my 36 or so years as a progressive activist and later as a journalist: an effective, fully functioning American left."
Friday's Republican rally, though, was evidence that many on the right are as fervid and galvanized as their opponents. Pollster John Zogby has called this the "apocalypse election" because people on both sides believe the world will end if their candidate loses. He's right -- the Republicans I met at the Ohio rally spoke in language almost identical to that of the most addled Bush-hater, although often several steps further removed from reality.
Dave, a 54-year-old electronic technician, said that if Kerry wins, "I'm going to leave the country and go to a Third World nation and start a ranch." His wife, Jenny, laughed and accused him of hyperbole, but he insisted he's been studying Portuguese, the language of Brazil, "so we'll have an escape route." Sitting near him was Greg Swalley, a blond electrical contractor. "I think Kerry is the anti-Christ," he said, only half-joking. "He scares me."
"Jesus! Jesus!" screamed 26-year-old Joe Robles, pointing to his Bush-Cheney sign. "The man stands for God," he said of the president. "We want somebody who stands for Jesus. I always vote my Christian morals." Robles, a student at Ohio State University, told me that Kerry's daughter is a lesbian. I said I thought that was Dick Cheney's daughter, but he shook his head no with confidence.
Robles said that Kerry would make it illegal for preachers to say that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. In California, he informed me gravely, such preaching has been deemed a hate crime, and pastors who indulge in it are fined $25,000, which "goes to lesbians."
A few of the protesters, meanwhile, were red-faced from yelling at their antagonists about homophobia and budget deficits and a senseless war. Republicans were incensed. A blond woman dragged her young redheaded son toward the protesters, pointed to them, and said, "These are the Democrats," speaking as if she was revealing an awful reality that he was finally old enough to face. As she walked away with a group of other mothers and children, she was so angry she could barely speak. A friend consoled her by promising her that Bush would win. After all, she pointed out, "Look how many more Bush supporters there were on the street!"
That calmed the angry blond woman down a little. But she was still mad. "We," she said, stammering and gesturing contemptuously at the demonstrators, "we are the way it should be!"
Wow, if you hate John Kerry, you're gonna move to Brazil? Where the president is a left wing union activist and everyone is black? That's like saying you hate Asians and plan to move to Orange County.
What Goldberg doesn't say is that a Bush rally is filled with true believers. They're screened that way. More sane people aren't invited. So yeah, it ranges between a Klan rally and a Promise Keepers meeting.
I mean, you know you're not in the land of the rational when you pretend Cheney's daughter is not a lesbian. Have they seen her and her partner? The problem is that these people are isolated and live in self-selected communities. So they aren't looking out at the wider world. Even the GOP pros know they face a disaster on Tuesday. The scale of the disaster is what they don't know. My bet is that they're gonna lose a house of Congress due to some seriously lackluster campaigns.
So exactly why did the Oklahoma GOP run Tom Coburn instead of JC Watts for Senate? Why did Jim DeMint think that a national sales tax would play among poor people in South Carolina?
My bet is that Dave better start checking out ranch prices in Belo Horizonte.
We cried when we saw the tape on Friday of Osama Bin Laden. He's tanned and healthy. He does not look desperate or scared. He does not look like a man on the run.
Three years ago, President Bush promised us he would capture Osama Bin Laden--Dead or Alive. He didn't do that.
The man that murdered our husbands, is back terrorizing our country again. The videotape of him has brought us back to 9/11. We feel threatened. We feel vulnerable. We are scared.
Our question to President Bush is: Why didn't you catch him when you promised us you would? Why is this mass murderer--this madman-- still out there making videotapes and terrorizing our country three years after you promised our country that you would make us safe from him? President Bush, why cant you keep us safe from this madmen?
Kristen Breitweiser and Monica Gabrielle
Here's my question: so exactly where was Osama Bin Laden living in Baghdad? Because since he attacked us and we attacked Iraq, he must have lived there. But since there is no evidence he was ever there, why are we?
The Daily News said "right man, right war, right time" about Bush in their endorsement of him. However, that's a minority opinion in New York these days. I think I'll remind them of that Wednesday.
This was one of the most moving, meaningful days of my life.
My job is to get people to the polls and, more importantly, to keep them there. Because they’re crazily jammed. Crazily. No one expected this turnout. For me, it’s been a deeply humbling, deeply gratifying experience. At today’s early vote in the College Hill district of East Tampa -- a heavily democratic, 90% African American community — we had 879 voters wait an average of five hours to cast their vote. People were there until four hours after they closed (as long as they’re in line by 5, they can vote).
Here’s what was so moving:
We hardly lost anyone. People stood outside for an hour, in the blazing sun, then inside for another four hours as the line snaked around the library, slowly inching forward. It made Disneyland look like speed-walking. Some waited 6 hours. To cast one vote. And EVERYBODY felt that it was crucial, that their vote was important, and that they were important.
And there were tons of first time voters. Tons.
Aside from some hassles from the Republican election commissioner ( … [ed.note: Here the letter writer describes various shenanigans intended to exacerbate the difficulties of waiting hours in line to vote. I’ve censored this detail to preserve the anonymity of the writer.], I actually had an amazing experience. No, actually, in a way because of that I had an amazing experience. Because these people know that the system that’s in place doesn’t want them voting. And yet they are determined to vote.
The best of all was an 80 year old African American man who said to me: “When I first started I wasn’t even allowed to vote. Then, when I did, they was trying to intimidate me. But now I see all these folks here to make sure that my vote counts. This is the first time in my life that I feel like when I cast my vote it’s actually gonna be heard.”
To see people coming out — elderly, disabled, blind, poor; people who have to hitch rides, take buses, etc — and then staying in line for hours and hours and hours... Well, it’s humbling. And it’s awesome. And it’s kind of beautiful.
By LISA L. COLANGELO and TRACY CONNOR
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
The bride sparkled with diamonds and pearls. The groom felt right at home. And the guest list included the rich, the famous and the powerful.
That was the scene last night as Rudy Giuliani married Judith Nathan in a glittering ceremony at Gracie Mansion, officiated by Mayor Bloomberg.
The atmosphere inside the flower-bedecked tent facing the East River was romantic, the mood decidedly light-hearted.
Bloomberg opened with a joking offer to give Giuliani, who lived at Gracie Mansion for seven years, a tour of the place.
When it came time to ask if anyone objected to the union, there was silence. Bloomberg, performing his first-ever wedding, quipped, "I'm not used to that."
Love, honor obey
After exchanging traditional vows to "love, honor and obey," the newlyweds broke away from the festivities to greet the press and public gathered outside.
"I would like to introduce my wife, Mrs. Giuliani," the former mayor said. "You can see how fortunate I am. What a lucky man I am to have such a beautiful lady and a wonderful person as my wife."
His bride, who wore an antique tiara, twirled around to show off her one-of-a-kind Vera Wang halter-top dress - a confection of oyster-colored silk and satin, crystals and pearls.
"I feel fantastic," she said.
The wedding was the third for Giuliani, 58, whose first marriage to Regina Peruggi was annulled. His 20-year union with Donna Hanover fell apart during his final year in office and ended in divorce last July
No one would mistake this blog for a wedding annoucements page, but it's rare to have such an act of evil described in such a banal way. It would be as if Bill Clinton gave away Monica Lewinsky at her wedding and the press reported that the former president gave away a White House intern he became friendly with.
Gracie Mansion is the city's official resident for the mayor. The current mayor, Bloomberg, lives in his own private resident, a brownstone on the Upper East Side and the house now used as guest quarters and for receptions.
"Fell apart" is euphemism like saying Saving Private Ryan had some violent scenes.
How to put this into context:
If you've ever wondered how Al Sharpton became a poised presidential candidate, you need to understand the caliber of the man he was dealing with.
Rudy Giuliani's first wife was also his third cousin. When he divorced her, surrounded by the most sordid rumors, he quickly met up with Donna Hanover, once a newswoman in Miami, then New York. Giuliani, the on the make US Attorney, who played fast and loose with the law and who's publicity seeking indictments fell apart like a East German Trabant, was largely elected with her help. She "humanized" him, as they say.
His repayment for her support?
He took up with a ungainly young woman, Cristyne Lategano, who went from selling sneakers to alienating the NY press corps as his press aide. He was caught buying her a pricey skirt on Madison Ave, New York's Gold Coast or Rodeo Drive, by the Daily News. The second Mrs. Giuliani was none too pleased.
They say the explosion came one Father's Day, where the workaholic Giuliani and his "loyal" aide were caught by an enraged Hanover, who soon stopped using her married name. Giuliani was not particularly subtle for a married man, much less a politician. Pictures of Giuliani and his aide were everywhere, Chinese restaurants, pizza places, the common meetinghalls of New York life.
Which would have been fine, if he were single. One time, reporters saw them drink from the same can and eat from the same slice of pizza. Now, being a single man, I can only imagine the reaction my wife would have if I did that. Sharing food is an intimate act, I would think.
The relationship continued under the snickers of the media, who never informed the public that their mayor was using their money to philander on his wife. But at some point in the summer of 1999, Giuliani dumped his aide and somehow, she wound up with a job as New York City's head of the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, forcing out the previous loyalist who had been given the $250K job.
By the spring of 2000, there was a new woman in Rudy's life, Judith Nathan. She had been camoflauged in the mayor's entourage from the fall of 1999 on. No one knew who she was, at least not obviously. But, as Giulani's bout with cancer became news, Nathan, who was trained as a nurse, was seen to have been accompanying him to doctor's meetings. Meanwhile, his wife was left clueless as to her husband's new infidelity.
As it became clear that he had forsaken his marriage once again for the bed of another woman, Hanover grew disgusted by her husband's behavior.
Finally, on a rainy late spring day, as the Giuliani senate campaign gained steam, he annouced he was leaving his wife. Well, a couple of hours later, Hanover, now seen on the Travel Channel, announced her reaction about the homewrecking strumpets her husband was squiring around. Seems he forgot to tell he wanted a seperation and she found out when we did.
Now, the irony of this was that Giuliani was quite the strict public moralist. When a 16 year old black teenager was walking home from midnight basketball and shot and wounded by a police officer, his reaction to the grieving relatives was "he should have been home at that hour." Giuliani's dim view of black men was not just relegated to mere civilians, but encompased every black male elected official, whom he simply refused to meet unless in the midst of a racial crisis. He also pushed porn out of Times Square and onto side streets.
To say that the divorce was ugly, would be like saying Gettysburg was bloody. Mere words do not the spirit of it justice.
Within a week or so of the breakup, Mother's Day weekend came. So how did the then mayor celebrate? While his wife was home in LA visiting her family, he took a stroll along 2nd Avenue with the press in tow. The pictures of the mayor and his paramour greeted his now estranged wife as a Mother's Day gift.
Things only got uglier, of course. New York is not a no-fault state. You need grounds. And only Hanover had them.
Now, this is why this story becomes evil.
Over the next year, they fought like pit bulls over control of Gracie Mansion. Giuliani reduced his wife's security, fired her press aide. She banned Nathan from the parts of Gracie Mansion. For the next year, they fought over control of the building like the Red Guards and German 6th Army fought over the Tractor Works in Stalingrad. No advantage was too slight to gain. Giuliani's lawyer, showboat Raoul Felder, once called Hanover a greedy pig after a contentious court session.
At one point, Giuliani banned Hanover's parents from staying in the city-owned building. While Giuliani's own father was a convicted felon who avoided military service in WWII, Hanover's father had survived the kamikaze attack on the USS Intrepid in 1945, and was attending a reunion of the ship's surviving crew.
In the nadir of his behavior towards the mother of his children, mayoral aides forcibly ejected Hanover, who rushed to see her children's grandmother after she had been taken ill and rushed to the hospital. The shouting match was heard throughout the ER as Hanover was forced to leave.
Finally, in the spring of 2002, all the cards were on the table. Hanover's lawyers were ready to call a bunch of witnesses to ask about his sex life and affairs. He suddenly found $8m to give her, made off the backs of the dead and wounded after 9/11.
Hanover, who is engaged to be married to an old boyfriend for her third marriage, was nowhere in evidence, as opposed to her grimly unsmiling children.
Now, in an act of unimaginably petty revenge, Giuliani decides to marry in the house which caused his family so much pain and anguish. It is amazing that this incredibly evil act is merely noted in the newspaper. One can imagine how his children felt to see their father marry another woman in their former home.
Hypocracy is banal in most cases, but I'd love to see Giuliani run against Hillary Clinton or Chuck Schumer with such an interesting backstory.
Why John Kerry didn't have a surrogate remind people of this is beyond me. But we've got his back on this. Let him run for Senator. Please.
Read about Ralph Nader's supporters. The people he thinks he's using to force the Democrats to change.
* The ultra-conservative Arno Political Consultants firm that has directed ballot-qualification efforts for GOP icons Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr, Bob Dole, Pete Wilson, and Bob Dornan and whose client list features a virtual Who's Who of the corporate cartels and anti-progressive groups Nader routinely claims to oppose (including the National Rifle Association, U.S. English, the California Timber Association, Mobil Oil, Occidental Petroleum, Phillip Morris, Wal-Mart, and numerous Republican Party committees).
* Arno's Florida-based subcontractors JSM Inc. that directed illegal, deadbeat petition drives on behalf of Ralphie in numerous states, including West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Criminal charges are now pending against their shady solicitors in several states.
* The ultra-conservative former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party Nathan Sproul, a major GOP fundraiser, along with former Republican AZ Governor Fife Symington's attorney Lisa Hauser, associated with numerous other rightwing causes. Nathan Sproul has now been implicated in Republican voter registration fraud in Nevada, Oregon, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
* George Bush Sr's White House political director Dave Carney, owner of the ultra-conservative Norway Hill Associates consultant firm - that provided illegal, in-kind contributions to St. Ralph's ballot campaigns.
* The shady Choices for America rightwing nonprofit, founded by Nevada-based GOP apparatchik Steve Wark, scheming to prop up Ralphie's ballot drives and funnel donations from other conservatives.
* The Michigan Republican Party that collected 45,000 signatures to qualify St. Ralph for that ballot, then cast aside all pretense to intervene with a lawsuit on behalf of their proxy. The Wisconsin Republican Party, that orchestrated an underground petition drive masquerading as 'progressive' Naderites.
* Former GOP Arkansas state senator Doyle Webb II, chief of staff to state Republican Party chairman Win Rockefeller, the state's lieutenant governor; GOP state Rep. Michael Lamoureaux; Little Rock GOP chairwoman Martha McCaskill; five minions of the Republican Party's coordinated campaign; and former state GOP chairwoman Phyllis Kincannon - just a snippet of Nader petitioners in one state.
* The radical-right Oregon Family Council along with chapters of the reactionary Citizens for a Sound Economy both in that state and various others across the nation.
* George W. Bush 2000 Florida recount lawyer Ken Sukhia who along with the chairman of the Florida Republican Party maneuvered Ralphie onto that ballot.
* Buchananite Reform Party Chairman Shawn O'Hara, outspoken, revisionist defender of Samuel Bowers, former Imperial Wizard of the KKK in Mississippi.
* Innumerable Republican Party lackeys and minions (such as Colorado Republican Party Treasurer Richard Westfall and former Virginia Republican Party offical Jim Polk) who have orchestrated St. Ralph's campaigns in various states or otherwise twisted the law on his behalf (e.g., hyperpartisan Jeb! elections whore Glenda Hood).
* And, finally, we can add the insidious backers of the Swift Boat Veterans for 'Truth' malevolent smear campaign against John Kerry's heroic service in Vietnam, who are also fundraising for their sketchy bedfellow Ralph Nader.
Look at the list of scumbags that Nader let use him to reelect Bush. All of these people are whale shit low.
I know most of the people here are planning to elect John Kerry and send Bush packing back to the pig farm, but for those diehard Nader supporters, let me take one final swing.
Nader has betrayed every principle he's worked his entire life for. Liberals and progressives stand on the brink of electing the most progressive candidate to run for President since 1972, and unlike then, his campaign has been professional and on target.
What does the creaky old Nader offer liberals and progressives more than the German Communist suicide pact. Make things so bad they will all become radicals? Yeah, that worked, right up to the gates of Dachau. Nader is invested in all that is right and pure in his mind. Anyone who opposes him is just wrong.
Nader is also a fantasist. Just like Alex Cockburn. Both of who hope we don't notice that they are wealthy men. They aren't workers, never have been or will be. They don't like workers and never have. They have their coterie of college trained groupies and that's the end of the day for them. Don't talk to me about radical politics. I've seen them up close, and most of it is a giantic circle jerk.
Like the guy who posted on Kos for the Green candidate running for Senate in New York.
Look, Chuck Schumer may listen to Ariel Sharon too much, but I don't live in Israel, I live in New York, and he delivers. In a multiparty state like New York, why haven't the Greens taken root? Because they're a sad little joke. The Working Families party, just as left, but union and minority based, and a true left alternative after the Liberal party collapsed. The Greens can't even play in New York's permissive party environment and we're supposed to take them seriously? Why? Notice the complextion of the Greens in New York, compare them to Working Families and see what the difference is.
We need to solve problems, not be right. Being right means nothing if Bush is reelected. It won't mean shit when you're running laps in Ft. Jackson after you're drafted. We have many problems to solve and that greedy fucking egotist Nader is not part of that.
I saw a couple of old people collecting cash for him on a street corner. The young black and latino kids passing by didn't even notice them. The whites just ignored them. But this was on the East Side. On the West Side, they would have been cursed at.
Nader always wanted the left to work on his terms. Social justice was never on his agenda and he derided it.
Until Howard Dean smacked the left upside the head and made participatory politics a reality, Nader had turned it into the consumer party, where we fought hardest to protect our right to consume safely. He never cared about the realities people lived under. He was a cruel miser who lies about his millions. He doesn't live in our world and his desire to be right outweighs building coaltions to win things that matter.
There's been this talk about vote trading.
DON'T DO IT.
Do NOT agree to vote for Nader in a "safe" state. There are NO safe states. Utah, Texas, New York. None. The larger the popular vote margin for Kerry, the more power he will have. We cannot let him be attacked like Clinton was and the first place to start is to get him as many popular votes as possible. One's conscience should make people want to vote for Kerry. If they want to vote for the draft, and war, they shoulod vote for Bush and eliminate the middleman.
If expats could come home to campaign for Kerry, don't piss away your vote.
69. Wisconsin GOP intensifies vote suppression efforts using more than 37000 last-minute vote challenges based on supposedly invalid voter addresses - even though their first batch of alleged "incorrect" addresses had numerous ones that were correct [via reader HR, a report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]: Details in the Wisconsin page under Voting in Swing States.
68. Charges and counter-charges between Republicans and Democrats on campaign related violence, vandalism, and theft [via various sources]: There are some sites/articles which are documenting this and I provide links to those - there is too much content to reproduce and I don't have time to sift through the large number of alleged incidents and sort out what is a valid claim and what is an invalid claim. Clearly, some of the charges are nonsensical - e.g., Republicans blaming non-violent but confrontational protestors. Incidents of theft (which should be prosecuted) may or may not be campaign related unless campaign specific materials were stolen. Other incidents such as vandalism of campaign offices or violence against campaign offices/staff are egregious and unacceptable. Anyway, links are in the Other Voting Irregularities/Fraud page.
67. Karl-Rove style Dirty Trick from Tennessee makes its move to Georgia [via JamesB3 at Dailykos]: Remember the dirty trick in Tennessee surrounding the egregious flyer "Voting for Bush is Like Running in the Special Olympics -- Even if You Win, You're Still Retarded"? As I highlighted in that case, there is no evidence that the Democrats put out this flier and the evidence suggests it was a dirty trick that was played ON the Democrats. Now this garbage has spread to Georgia. Details in the Georgia page under Voting in Red States.
66. Florida GOP and the Bush-Cheney campaign continue attempts to suppress Democratic votes in Florida using evolving methods [via Dailykos - a report by Greg Palast in the BBC, Blogwood, Dailykos]: A GOP "caging List" of voters in a minority rich district was discovered and suspected to be a vote challenge list. Its use for vote challenges exposed as possibly illegal, the GOP claimed they will challenge lots of voters but not specifically the ones on the list. Their vote challenge plan in Florida (using a 109-year old pre-civil-rights-era state law) mirrors GOP plans in Ohio and is expected to cause massive voting delays or shutdowns on voting day (and attendant discouragement/suppression of voters). Governor Jeb Bush encouraged the vote challenges and downplayed the significance of the GOP plan. The GOP vote challengers/poll watchers are disproportionately in minority rich districts - says something doesn't it?
Additionally, the GOP challenged the votes already cast by numerous people claiming that they are felons (using the repeatedly discredited Florida "felon list") - and not unexpectedly, shortly after they propagated this new list it was shown to have names of people who had already had their voting rights restored.
The latest news is that the Florida Elections Director issued a detailed ruling stating that challenges cannot be allowed to delay the polls, that those challenged should be given the option of casting a provisional ballot and that a voter's being in the discredited felon list is not sufficient reason to allow a challenge to his or her vote. Details in the Florida page under Voting in Swing States.
65. GOP voter registration challenges in Ohio morph into another growing scandal [via various sources, including a personal incident report by reader EN]: The GOP originally challenged about 35,000 registrations in Ohio - only to withdraw thousands of the claims because of self-described "errors" in their filings. Moreover, some of those challenged were homeless. The GOP also claimed over-registration fraud but the Election Board pointed out there is no evidence of fraud and that "inactive" voters have to be kept on the rolls for 4 years per the National Voter Registration Act. After mass protests, Ohio's GOP Sec. of State partially caved in with a "compromise" ruling that allows the challenged voters to cast provisional ballots.
In the meantime, one of the GOP members who challenged the voters faces a possible indictment on felony charges for swearing she had personal knowledge about the voters being challenged when she had no knowledge whatsoever - by her own admission. The election board threw out another 976 challenges due to the latter incident. Another challenger turns out to be Megan Harrington, President of the College Republicans at the University of Toledo. She has been discovered to have challenged a voter based on a claim that he does not live where he claims he does, even though the voter actually does live at that address. Many others including some faculty at the University of Toledo were falsely challenged as well even though they were actually living at the very address the GOP claimed was not valid. There is a possibility that some of those who were challenged may have been on the list since they were contributors to the Democratic party - but this needs further investigation.
It is quite clear these challengers have no morals whatsoever and need to be indicted or investigated, as appropriate. Details in the Ohio page under Voting in Swing States.
64. Illegal Handling of Absentee Ballot Requests by GOP in South Dakota mushrooms into a scandal, amid resignations; many ballot requests were not even submitted; six Republican notaries charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor and three plead guilty [via Sdindc at Dailykos, Dailykos, Josh Marshall and Buzzflash]: Jeff Thune, nephew of Republican candidate for Senate John Thune (running a very close race against Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle) is under investigation for falsely pretending to be a Notary when collecting absentee ballot requests from prospective student voters. Additionally, even though he claimed 75 applications were notarized - the applications were never notarized or submitted to the county auditor. A number of GOP operatives/consultants have resigned. Six Republican notaries have been charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor and three of them pled guilty. KELO-TV reported that the former governor and GOP congressman in South Dakota says the national GOP is encouraging campaign workers to cheat. An executive board member of the state GOP resigns in disgust at the party's dirty tricks. These and other details are covered in the South Dakota page under Voting in Red States.
63. Jim Crow Dirty Tricks in South Carolina: Bogus letter claiming to be from NAACP threatens arrest of voters who have failed to pay parking tickets or child support, among other things [via reader PJK, an AP report]: Letter also claims falsely that "voters must have a credit check, provide two forms of photo identification, a Social Security card, a voter registration card and a handwriting sample". Details in the South Carolina page under Voting in Red States.
Oh yeah, if the GOP claims massive false registration, make them prove it. Sure people make up registrations to get cash, and I've seen it. Most times they get caught and fired. So if one or two slip through, it happens. It's not the same as purposeful fraud to get illegals to vote. Let them prove illegals are wrongly registered and vote in massive numbers. They can't because it doesn't happen. Why would an illegal risk being checked and caught over voting? Especially when most plan to go home. If there is any spate of illegal voting, it's among white immigrants from Europe, Australia and South Africa, not Mexicans.
By Mary Fitzgerald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 31, 2004; Page A04
Five months ago, Anthony Glavin decided he had had enough. Not satisfied with observing the election campaign from his adopted home in Ireland, the Massachusetts-born editor and writer felt he had to get involved in some way; he itched to do something that would make a difference. So he took seven weeks off, leaving his family to work as a volunteer coordinator for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in Florida.
Glavin is one of scores of American expatriates who have given up days, weeks and even months of vacation time to return to the United States and help rally voters in battleground states.
What began as a steady trickle of overseas volunteers two months ago has developed into a concentrated final push in the last week before the election. Some expats are returning to their home towns in crucial swing states to take part in door-to-door canvassing; others are running phone banks or driving voters to the polls. A number have arrived in Florida to act as election observers.
Whether they are from as far afield as Japan or Europe or are simply crossing the border from Canada, these expat volunteers, for the most part describing themselves as anti-President Bush, say they are motivated by the belief that this election is the most important in their lifetime.
"This administration and its policies, both domestically and internationally, have been so painful to watch that I realized I was not going to be able to survive watching this election from afar," said Glavin, who has lived in Dublin for the past 20 years.
"Living abroad, you notice that while people don't quite hold it against you personally, there really is a feeling that people think the U.S. has lost its mind," Morgan said. "I think we owe it to ourselves, our kids and to the world to get a change here. I have never experienced a more important moment in our country's history."
Among those coming back to the US for this election are Sunshine and Gators a group of American expats from Japan, including one of my longtime readers Hubris Sonic, who's been around since NetSlaves, I think. It's 5 AM and my memory is a bit hazy at this hour when my mind is usually only on the BBC or sex.
Who we are
SUNSHINE AND ALLIGATORS was founded by progressive US citizens in summer 2004 in Tokyo Japan. We are a volunteer organization traveling to Central Florida in October, devoting our time and skills to the defeat of George Bush in the November 2004 elections. We aim to ensure free and fair elections for all but especially for those who were disenfranchised in 2000
SUNSHINE AND ALLIGATORS will document on video the details of our trip to Florida to illustrate the realities ordinary people face when taking part in US elections. We are an independent grassroots volunteer organization committed to a responsible and effective US Government and we welcome people from all over the world to join us
This is what they did today.
The Ground War.
2 Gator Teams hit Manatee County Precint #63. Blue collar democrat. To give you a little overview most of the gators are here now and we are taking charge of 3 precincts in Manatee county. The ACT people and the MoveOn.org and the Acorn people, and the ... etc etc etc. are in the cities, the urban environment provides more bang for your buck because fewer volunteers can knock on more doors in the urban environment. When you look at outer-suburban areas your logistical problems double, not only is there a smaller door to volunteers ratio. You also have transport problems. you have to drive everywhere and thats alot of coordination. So, with all the "professional" focus on Tampa/St. Pete we decided to shift focus to Manatee County. Its only about 45 minutes south of Tampa, it has the value of being not canvassed yet. Literally these are our 3 districts. Nobody else was going to work them.
Today we split into 2 teams, Sarajean, Michael, Jackie, and 2 reporters from a Portuguese Newspaper (dont ask) took the first area and Lauren, Peter and I did the other. Jeffrey drove one vehicle as support. We didnt bother to cover a third area because a drive by made it clear that there were few democrats. A. we didnt have time for all three. B. We are short volunteers. C. 3 precincts are a lot of ground to cover. Because we are using the FCAN database it is a non-partisan list so we make adjustments on the ground. We walk our precincts, this mean that you take the lists of names and addresses and walk down the street and knock on the doors of the houses with registered voters listed and we also talk to people in the street. Unlike McMansion (republican) neighborhoods which are sterile and dont seem to have anyone living in them, working class neighborhoods always have kids running around, asking questions. Am I on that list? Are you coming to my house? Whatcha doing? We found that our area to be at least 85% Kerry. and many people had already voted. Those that didnt said the same thing to us.Dont Worry, I'm gonna vote. or Oh they couldnt keep me from the polls its very invigorating. We finished up at dusk, we only canvass from 4-7. I will send more details, this post is getting too long, and I want some flavor from the other gators too.
I almost forgot. check out this report from some ACT people in the LA Weekly, its long but interesting.
oh and yes, its as exciting here as you would think it is
pps. the kinkos was swamped with dem printing so we bought a $70 printer (thanks to the all the donors!) we really needed it
Guys, if you take digital pictures, I'll post them up so we can see you guys at work.
Columnists for this newspaper are not allowed to endorse presidential candidates. But I think this election is so important, I am going to break the rules. I hope I don't get fired. But here goes: I am endorsing George Bush for president. No, no - not George W. Bush. I am endorsing his father - George Herbert Walker Bush.
The more I look back on the elder Bush - Bush 41 - the more I find things to admire and the more I see attributes we need in our next president.
Let's start with domestic policy. The elder George Bush was the real uniter, not divider, the real believer in a kinder, gentler political dialogue. Yes, he had a Democratic Congress to deal with, so he had to be more conciliatory, but it came naturally to him. In 1990, the elder Bush sided with Congressional Democrats to raise taxes, because he knew it was the right thing for the economy, despite his famous "Read my lips" pledge not to raise new taxes. While that 1990 tax increase contributed to his re-election defeat, it laid the foundation for the Clinton tax increases, which, together with Mr. Bush's, helped to hold down interest rates and spur our tremendous growth in the 1990's and the buildup of a huge surplus.
In short, the elder Bush understood the importance of acting in the world - but acting wisely, with competence and preparation. His great weakness was his public diplomacy. He wrongly antagonized American Jews by challenging their right to lobby on behalf of Israel. He could have given more voice to the amazing liberation of humanity that the collapse of the Soviet Union represented and to the American anger over the Tiananmen Square massacre. Although, in his muted response to Tiananmen, the elder Bush kept China-U.S. relations from going totally off the rails, which kept China on a track to economic reform. Although he raised taxes, he never really explained himself. So his instincts were good, his mechanics were often flawless, but his words and music left you frustrated. Still, the legacy is a substantial one. Over time, historians will treat the elder Bush with respect.
So as we approach this critical election of 2004, my advice, dear readers, is this: Vote for the candidate who embodies the ethos of George H. W. Bush - the old guy. Vote for the man who you think would have the same gut feel for nurturing allies and restoring bipartisanship to foreign policy as him. Vote for the man you think understands the importance of facing up to our fiscal responsibilities for the sake of our children. And vote for the man who has the best instincts for balancing realism and idealism and the man who understands the necessity of using energetic U.S. diplomacy to make Israel more secure - by helping to bring it peace with its Arab neighbors, not just more tours from American Christian fundamentalists.
Yes, next Tuesday, vote for the real political heir to George H. W. Bush. I'm sure you know who that is.
Talk about slapping W in the face. Saying that Kerry would be a better sucessor than he would to his own father. Gotta love it.
If you think Bush is telling the truth about not needing more men in Iraq, why the fuck are elements of the 2nd ID and 25th ID in Iraq?
Why is this important?
2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division "Strike Force"
* 1-503 IN (AA)
* 1-506 IN (AA)
* 1-9 IN
* Long Range Surveillance Det
Brigade Combat Team
* 2-17 FA "Steel"
* 2nd FSB "Mustang"
* 44th ENG Bn
* Battery B, 5th Bn, 5th ADA Rgt
* Camp Hovey
* Fort Carson (Jul-Aug 2005)
* 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
* 2nd Brigade Combat Team "Strike Force"
2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division -- the 2d Strike Brigade -- is the Army’s only Light/Heavy Brigade, with two Air Assault Battalions (1-503rd AA & 1-506th AA).
2nd Brigade Combat Team (Strike Force) acts as deterrence of North Korean aggression against the Republic of Korea (ROK).
A DOD briefing on May 17, 2004 confirmed that elements of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division would be deploying to Iraq as part of OIF 3. The deployment will be for one year and will effect roughly 3,600 soldiers.
By mid-July 2004 the large-scale movement of equipment from the 2nd Infantry Division area to ports in southern South Korea was underway. There it was being packed onto ships and sent to the Middle East. Some 3,600-3,762 2nd Brigade soldiers were to deploy to Iraq by early August and meet up with their equipment once they get in theater.
The US Army announced on September 23, 2004, that the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division would relocate to Fort carson upon completion of the deployment to Iraq as part of the Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 rotation. Upon completion of their deployment in the July-August 2005 timframe, the unit will relocate to Fort Carson, but dependents were expected to begin relocating to the facility prior to that date.
Aren't they supposed to be in Korea?
And the manpower shortage isn't going to get any better.
Letting down the Guard With 200 dead in Iraq, morale in the tank and reenlistments threatened, the Army National Guard and Reserve are facing a crisis.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Jeff Horwitz
Oct. 30, 2004 | Kenneth Woodring, a 15-year veteran of the military, dropped out of the North Carolina National Guard a few months after returning home from a year-long deployment to Baghdad's Green Zone. The deployment wasn't what he and his fellow soldiers had been expecting. "It wasn't supposed to last very long and we were told it was a peacekeeping mission," Woodring says. "It turned into more than that."
Woodring says he doesn't think the United States was "being as successful over there as we thought we would be." Yet Woodring didn't leave the Guard in protest over how the occupation is being conducted. He left because he wanted to be with wife and three children in Sylva, N.C. After all, he says, his children grew up so much while he was gone, and his youngest daughter, who was 3 months old when he left, didn't remember him when he came back.
Woodring says he's not the only soldier from his company who is getting out of the service and not reenlisting. "We had some old guys, and some of them are retiring. Others are just trying to get out," he says. He expects that up to 40 percent of them will leave and that those who don't will be redeployed to Iraq soon.
Ominous signs that the occupation of Iraq has convinced an unprecedented number of Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers to quit have been surfacing for months. It's a prospect that military experts fear may soon threaten the future of the United States' mission there. Eighteen months of occupying Iraq, they say, has brought America's Army closer to exhausting its supply of volunteer soldiers than at any point since the end of conscription, and placed more of a burden on Army guardsmen and reservists than they or their commanders ever expected.
But unless the next administration, whether George W. Bush's or John Kerry's, can find a way to make the current number of forces stretch further, it will soon face a choice between not sending fresh troops overseas or the politically unthinkable -- resurrecting the draft.
Morale among reservists today is simply in the tank. Reservists who expected to spend six months overseas have had their tours extended to 12 and then 18 months, and cumulatively, more than 410,000 reservists have served since Sept. 11, 2001, and 158,000 are currently on active duty. Many, with expertise in military policing, civil affairs or other specialties in short supply are on their second, or sometimes third, tour. As the insurgency has grown, guardsmen and reservists have accounted for an increasingly higher percentage of American fatalities. Two hundred have died in Iraq, making the Guard and Reserve the active-duty Army's full partners in even the darkest sense.
Even for those undeterred by the length and danger of deployments, the amorphous nature of the Iraq conflict can be tough to handle. "There's a lot of high school kids over there that, while the major conflict was going on, said, 'I want to do this,' and joined the infantry to go over there and kick ass," says former Florida Army Guard Spc. Zach Petersen, who spent 13 months as a machine gunner in Sector 17, Baghdad's Al Wasiria and Maghreb neighborhoods.
Stories like Petersen's don't augur well for Army Guard and Reserve retention rates, as even the military's own May 2004 Survey of Reserve Component Members observes. Obtained by the Air Force Times, but not intended to be publicly released, the survey predicts a sharp drop in expected Army guardsman and reservist retention, especially among those who have served in Iraq: Only 48 percent of Army guardsmen who had been deployed to Iraq said they were likely to reenlist. Forty-five percent of Army reservists reported the same. Even guardsmen and reservists who had not yet been mobilized reported they were less likely to stay in the service.
Although guardsmen and reservists are as well prepared for deployment as they have been in decades, the process of sending them to war has not always gone smoothly. Serious mistakes have afflicted reserve mobilizations, including systemic payroll errors, the accidental deployment of soldiers with serious medical conditions, and equipment shortages. Some of these failures, most obviously the delays in supplying some reserve troops with body armor, have likely cost soldiers their lives. But while National Guard bureau chief Steven Blum's declaration last month that the Guard has "accomplished every single mission it was given" may have been hyperbolic, it wasn't wrong: Operation Iraqi Freedom has required more manpower, skill and sacrifice of the Army's Reserve component than any military campaign since the Korean War.
That the Army Reserve has functioned as well as it has is a credit to Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Creighton Abrams, the two men responsible for rebuilding America's military following the Vietnam War. Their efforts to modernize and expand the military's reserves were driven in part by necessity: Postwar military budgets were tight, and part-time soldiers more affordable.
The other rationale for integrating the reserves into the active-duty force was to prevent America from fighting future wars as tepidly as it had fought in Vietnam. In the final years of the war, the military's leadership came to believe that blame for America's defeat in Southeast Asia lay at the feet of the civilian war planners. Presidents Johnson and Nixon, they argued, had placed politics above military success, and waged a war they had neither the stomach to win nor the guts to quit. "Abrams and Laird watched Vietnam destroy the best Army we ever had, and they blamed the politicians for that," says Renee Hylton, a historian for the Army National Guard Bureau. "There was a feeling among the military that they were being forced to fight the war with one hand tied behind their back."
The resilience of the Iraq insurgency left military planners scrambling to close the gap between modest prewar manpower estimates and daunting postwar demands. Extensive military obligations elsewhere, and more than a decade of bipartisan reductions to the size of the active-duty force, made that impossible without an escalating reliance on guardsmen and reservists: In January, guardsmen and reservists accounted for 20 percent of our troops in Iraq, in May 30 percent, and now just under 50 percent.
A great deal has been said about the strain on the Army National Guard and Reserve during the 2004 presidential campaign. But there's little reason to believe that a new administration will slow the pace of Guard and Reserve deployments. Methods currently proposed to alleviate stress on the Army are anything but quick fixes: Bush's plan to recall troops from Europe and Asia wouldn't even begin until 2006, and significantly expanding the active-duty force not only would take years to complete, but may not even be possible.
"In an all-volunteer service, joining the military has to appeal to people, and that's dangerous because just when you need to increase your ranks is just when people are not inclined to join the military, by definition," says Brookings Institution security expert Michael O'Hanlon. Even boosting pay and benefits may not help, says David Segal, a military sociologist at the University of Maryland. "We're not going to find an additional 40,000 people who are willing to go on a battlefield for more money."
The strain of multiple two-year deployments would be hard on all military families, Segal notes, but least tolerable to those of Reserve members. "Both active-duty and Reserve families go through a sort of calculus when a unit is deployed to figure out, 'Well, we're being asked to make sacrifices, and is it worth it?'" says Segal. "That calculus is different for Reserve families because they're being asked to make a different magnitude of sacrifice. Unless they live very close to a military base, Reserve families don't have the support system that active-duty families have, and guardsmen and reservists have primary commitments that active-duty soldiers don't. They have jobs, they're in school, they have wives, husbands and kids who don't necessarily buy that going to war is what they're there for."
While National Guard bureau spokesman Maj. John Toniolli concedes that long deployments are taxing to guardsmen, he says there's no good evidence that they'll drive them out of the service. Retention rates in the Guard have been solid for several years, he notes, and just because a soldier says on an Army survey that he'll quit doesn't mean he will. "Individuals are emotional when they come back," Toniolli says. "But as soon as they get back to their home station, and get back to their routine, a lot of them rethink things."
That leaves the Army to struggle to induce part-time soldiers to enlist and reenlist in a full-time war, a struggle that's getting more difficult every day. Many state Guard recruiting bureaus have yet to find a replacement for the slogan "Work one weekend a month and two weeks a year!" -- an enticement that now comes with a serious caveat.
If Reserve service can no longer be counted on as a worthy part of civilian life, what might induce soldiers to reenlist is a far more abstract concept. "Part of the reason people join the Army is a sense of citizenship duty," says Segal. "I think that we as a nation and our military manpower managers underestimate the degree to which young people in the United States are patriotic, are committed to the nation."
To what extent the Army can rely on patriotism to fuel recruiting and reenlistment is hard to predict. Many of those who chose to serve in the past, like Staff Sgt. Kenneth Woodring and Spc. Zach Petersen, may be proud of their service, but unwilling to repeat it. "It was worthwhile freeing people from the dictatorship of Saddam -- he was running the country by fear," says Petersen, but explains just moments later why he left the Guard: "I got home and realized there was so much stuff I was missing out on while in the service."
Woodring, a veteran of both the first Persian Gulf War as well as the current occupation, is intensely proud of his service. "I wasn't the type of person that just went into the Guard for the retirement or the free college and all that stuff. I did it to serve my country, to do the right thing," he says. He thinks he probably would have reenlisted if doing so hadn't almost certainly meant another deployment that he couldn't afford: "I don't want to go anywhere where I'd have to leave my family."
It's not that they're emotional. they can't afford year long deployments which may cripple them. The more I read, the more I see two choices, a draft to stay in Iraq or going home, regardless of the mess we leave behind.
DURHAM -- Matthew Ward awoke Saturday at 8 a.m., a breach in college student etiquette he figured was excusable given his plans for the day.
The UNC junior voted in a presidential election for the first time ever Saturday, and it's a good thing he got up as early as he did. He still wound up waiting in line for about 90 minutes, doing some assigned class reading while shuffling through a slow-moving line at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, one of three early voting sites in Orange County.
Ward stood in a line that snaked far out the door and down the steps, reaching almost to the McCorkle Place quadrangle nearby. Some voters there reported standing in line for more than two hours.
"It was worth the wait," Ward said.
In Orange County, about one-third of the county's 95,570 registered voters took advantage of the early vote option. It was a scene mirrored all over the region. Many people said they chose to vote early because it was easier than going to the polls on Tuesday, a workday.
400% Durham County jump
With more than 46,000 One Stop, No Excuses voters, Durham County shattered the mark of 10,600 people who voted early in the 2000 presidential election, Durham County Board of Elections Director Mike Ashe said.
"That is roughly a 400-percent increase," Ashe said. "My thoughts are, 'Isn't this wonderful.' I still think we're going to have long lines and a huge, huge turnout on Tuesday."
One Stop voters waited in line on average about 20 minutes throughout the 17 days of early voting, and for most the wait was under an hour, Ashe said.
The first day of voting, Oct. 14, saw about 1,200 N.C. Central University students show up to vote at Hillside High School. Faced with a wait of hours to cast their ballots, many of the students returned to campus without voting that day.
"For 17 crazy solid days, to have these people work all day, One Stop went off without a hitch," Ashe said. "It is awesome. We had no protests and no substantial challenges or accusations. I'm very, very pleased with One Stop and I hope the community is, too."
Nearly a third of the 152,719 registered Durham County voters cast their ballots during the early voting period.
"We have a lot of young people voting, which I have never seen before," Ashe said. "I think it's wonderful."
They will not know what hit them on Wednesday.
Sure, they pay lip service to democracy, but they never expected to face it.
Americans are neither stupid nor sheep and they can act in what they think are their best interests.
George Bush has no room for us in his America. Only him and his cronies and his cult. Bush wants to be worshiped, regardless of the consequences. I can only hope that people see him for what he is and send the lifetime failure packing so we don't have to live through any more of his mistakes.
I have grave -- very grave -- doubts that Kerry is going to pull this off. This is my thought: Kerry's victory is already leaning on GOTV success and wooing a very small percentage of undecideds. Combine MASSIVE, coordinated, and ruthless voter fraud with the simple idea that only a FEW undecideds need to be swayed (not all of them) to throw this to Bush, and it really doesn't look good for the Senator at all. When the race is as close as the polls suggest, anything can tip it. There is strong evidence that terror threats cause Bush's approval rating to jump significantly. All the nuanced logical interpretation means squat, because it's emotion in play here. Specifically, emotional effect on the uninformed and the ignorant (forget that stupid euphimism "undecided" .. these people are just dumb, okay?)
At this point, I think the only real hope there is left is this: The polls are ALL WRONG (even Zogby), and Kerry is way ahead. The most likely scenario for everyone being wrong is that the GOTV effort is massively succesful, and not surpressed by fascist thuggery. I feel this is a slim hope, but I am stiill counting on it.
Excuse me while I drink myself into a stupor and curl up in a ball and twitch until Wednesday.
Everythying you said is wrong.
Remember, Gore won without the GOTV of today or persuading undecideds. Bush has not managed to get large numbers of Gore voters. Kerry has managed to get a significant number of former Bush supporters. Bush lost editorial endorsements since 2000, something like 35. And in traditionally Republican papers.
Bush bet his entire campaign on getting 4m evangelical voters to the polls for him, thinking that would swamp the 537,000 votes he lost by in 2000. Only problem was that evangelicals split with only a seven point difference, Appealing to them alone is not enough to win. Why? Bush tossed away the million gay votes he got in 2000. Worse, his sponsorship of the homophobic amendment is sure to drive up both gay voting and gay registration. So Bush could have easily turned anywhere from 1.5 to 2 m gay voters against him.
Kerry has done more than get undecideds, but the majority of independent voters, and increased turnout. And not by small numbers. We're talking hundreds of thousands of new registered voters in Democratic leaning districts. Since voting has already taken place in some states, we are seeing a major increase in turnout from 2000.
Voter fraud can work on a limited basis in a few areas, if people aren't expecting it. The DNC and Kerry campaign have lawyers waiting by private jets to challenge fraud on election day. Thousands of laywers are working on voter protection with various groups. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers are working as poll watchers. In this environment, and NBC has already recieved 50,000 calls to their voter hotline 1 866-MY-VOTE-1, and it's still early voting. While there may be issues on election day, the idea that Bush can create wholesale voter fraud is not likely. This isn't 2000, people are not sitting on their hands. You can only disenfranchise a few thousand people at best. When no one is looking. And there are tech people watching Diebold as well.
Look, I wrote months ago that all the handwringing about Diebold was distracting people from the real issue: old fashioned voter suppression. So what have we seen? Old fashioned voter suppression.
The problem with scary Osama is that he's still alive. It is unlikely to move many voters, and remember, there may be more early voting now than in any time in recent history. A third of voters have already cast their votes in Florida. Osama laughing at Bush reminds them of one thing, not Bush the protector, but the fact that he's not dead and that bothers a lot more people than will scare them into the arms of Bush.
The polling has looked bad for Bush for months.
See, most people outside politics see Bush 49-Kerry 44 and say "shit, he's losing".
But people inside politics see something very different: Bush is down, has been down and is likely to lose.
Because he's not above 50 percent.
In a truly close race, Bush would be about 51-52 percent. Hell, he had a 13 point lead on Gore going into election day and lost. Now, he is tied with Kerry.
Also, remember the polls all have flaws, in that they are weighted to different variables. Gallup leans hard GOP. Zogby, who was the only one who called a close race in 2000, has called it for Kerry.
It's not over, so curling up into a ball is silly. You can still do something to prevent what you fear. Volunteer for ACT or Kerry or the DNC. Do something besides worry and you'll at least know you did your part to prevent Bush from winning. Just printing up and handing our Move On Voter Protection Cards on your own may help people. Take $10, go to Staples, and run some off. Then just hand them out near a couple of polling places. You are not powerless and this is NOT over.
If you do nothing, you help Bush win. And your fears may well come true. But if you act, what you want may well happen.
The Bushies' campaign pitch follows their usual backward logic: Because we have failed to make you safe, you should re-elect us to make you safer. Because we haven't caught Osama in three years, you need us to catch Osama in the next four years. Because we didn't bother to secure explosives in Iraq, you can count on us to make sure those explosives aren't used against you.
You'd think that seeing Osama looking fit as a fiddle and ready for hate would spark anger at the Bush administration's cynical diversion of the war on Al Qaeda to the war on Saddam. It's absurd that we're mired in Iraq - an invasion the demented vice president praised on Friday for its "brilliance" - while the 9/11 mastermind nonchalantly pops up anytime he wants. For some, it seemed cartoonish, with Osama as Road Runner beeping by Wile E. Bush as Dick Cheney and Rummy run the Acme/Halliburton explosives company - now under F.B.I. investigation for its no-bid contracts on anvils, axle grease (guaranteed slippery) and dehydrated boulders (just add water) .
Osama slouched onto TV bragging about pulling off the 9/11 attacks just after the president strutted onto TV in New Hampshire with 9/11 families, bragging that Al Qaeda leaders know "we are on their trail."
Maybe bin Laden hasn't gotten the word. Maybe W. should get off the trail and get on Osama's tail.
W. was clinging to his inane mantra that if we fight the terrorists over there, we don't have to fight them here, even as bin Laden was back on TV threatening to come here. The president still avoided using Osama's name on Friday, part of the concerted effort to downgrade him and merge him with Iraqi insurgents.
The White House reaction to the disclosures about the vanished explosives in Iraq was typical. Though it's clear the treasures and terrors of Iraq - from viruses to ammunition to artifacts - were being looted and loaded into donkey carts and pickups because we had insufficient troops to secure the country, Bush officials devoted the vast resources of the government to trying to undermine the facts to protect the president.
The Pentagon mobilized to debunk the bunker story with a tortured press conference and a satellite photo of trucks that proved about as much as Colin Powell's prewar drawings of two trailers that were supposed to be mobile biological weapons labs.
Republicans insinuated that it was a plot by foreign internationalists to help the foreigner-loving, internationalist Kerry, a U.N. leak from the camp of Mohamed ElBaradei to hurt the administration that had scorned the U.N. as a weak sister.
In their ruthless determination to put Mr. Bush's political future ahead of our future safety, the White House and House Republicans last week thwarted the enactment of recommendations of the 9/11 commission they never wanted in the first plac
The problem for Bush is simple:
He knows he's lost. Even with voter supression, too many new registrations for him to win without major democratic defections. He's under 50 percent in polling which doesn't account for new voters.
In the last two days, the GOP has:
Sent a flyer to Ohio and Pennslyvania with the burning twin towers on it.
Lost a major Ohio voter supression case
Accused Michael Moore of treason
Planned to send Dick Cheney to Hawaii.
Appealed after months of ignoring them, to Democratic voters, realizing that they lost those million gay votes and the promised evangelical vote is split roughly along party lines.
Suppressed the Osama video and then claimed that it would "help" Bush, because all people would do was shit their pants and look to Dear Leader to protect them, instead of being pissed he's alive and breathing. While people have feared they had him on ice, I think we can conclude that the exact opposite is true. Not only is he alive, he's laughing over the dead bodies of 3,000 people. The evidence is clear Bush was scared to death of an Osama return. Bush has been outwitted repeatedly and decided that Saddam, not Osama, was the great threat to the US.
And the "success" in Iraq just got eight Marines killed and nine wounded in an ambush. Kinda like a warning about what happens when we go to Fallujah. Do you think all those ex-soldiers didn't build ANY defenses and fire team and support plans while we stayed outside? The first attack on Fallujah was a surprise. They're waiting for this one, and the Marines may have two brigades to work with, against 5,000 full-time guerillas. It has not sunk in yet that we are fighting professional soldiers who no longer have corrupt leaders to answer two. They can show their skills and not worry about getting on Saddam's bad side or crazy orders.
Does this seem like a winning campaign?
They're grasping at straws because they can do nothing else. My feeling, Osama's return was the final nail in the Dauphin's campaign.
Being wrong is not very gratifying. Still, I had hoped I was mistaken
about George W. Bush. But all of the evidence indicated my president was
a liar, a man skilled at deception and changing the evidence to
construct alternate realities.
I had been interviewing and writing about Mr. Bush consistently for
over 15 years and had spoken with him on the record many times prior to
his political ascension. I gave him the benefit of believing what he told
me. This is what journalists do.
But they also verify. And when I began the business of corroborating
and trying to check out George W. Bush and his various narratives, I
began to have grave doubts. I wrote about them in two books: Bush's Brain:
How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, and Bush's War for
Re-election: Iraq, the White House, and the People. I had evidence,
documentation, interviews, narratives, and everything a writer needs to
construct a story line. But no one who knew the exact truth from the Bush
perspective, including Mr. Bush, ever agreed to go on the record. My work,
as a result, was often dismissed by the Bush team as "leftist," and a
specious political attack, even though I had been working in mainstream
journalism for over 25 years.
My doubts are gone now, and yours should be, too, as a result of a fine
piece of journalism by my indefatigable friend Russ Baker. Baker, who
writes frequently for various national publications, landed a long
interview with Mickey Herskowitz, originally retained by Mr. Bush to write
the pre-presidential biography in 1999. Herskowitz, a long time friend
of the Bush family, built a successful career as a ghostwriter for the
famous. And it is Herskowitz who got the unvarnished truth from George
W. Bush during a series of long interviews.
Recently, Russ Baker got Herskowitz to sit down to a taped interview
and talk about what Bush had related when they began work on the Bush
biography in 1999. And, according to Herskowitz, almost everything the
public thinks it knows about Bush is wrong.
For 10 years, I have been trying to prove Mr. Bush has been lying and
obfuscating about his time in the Texas and Alabama Air National Guard.
Russ Baker's interview with Herskowitz proved I was right. As I
traveled on the 2000 presidential campaign, I grew weary of hearing Mr. Bush
claim that he had reported for duty in Alabama and then, in his
biography, A Charge to Keep, he claimed he continued to fly with his Texas unit
for many years.
Unless our president is pathological, he knew this was not true. I
never found a record to prove Lt. Bush ever reported to duty in Alabama,
yet the magnificent research work of Paul Lukusiak proved that Mr. Bush
got paid. In fact, the director of human resources for the Alabama
National Guard, Kenneth Lott, admitted to the Los Angeles Times that he
never processed paperwork for Lt. Bush, which meant the Texas transfer
pilot never did a day of duty. Further complicating the story, Bush's
commander in Houston, Rufus Martin told the paper he had "no personnel
contact" for the Alabama unit Lt. Bush was supposed to join.
Lukusiak's work, a significant public service, shows that Martin should
have never signed pay vouchers for Lt. Bush without approved paperwork
from Alabama. But he did. And Lt. Bush got paid. This is particularly
surprising given what Mr. Bush told Herskowitz, and what Russ Baker
reported. He said he left Houston's guard unit under "murky circumstances"
and never flew again.
I had made this assertion many times, but never had proof until Baker's
reporting confirmed what the missing and available records had been
telling me. My own research and writing indicated the future president was
given a free pass to simply leave for Alabama and not report to any
kind of duty ever again. And that's precisely how Mr. Bush related the
story to Herskowitz back in 1999.
During the campaign in 2000, a number of reporters on the press plane
were given shoddy documentation, torn and annotated with hand-written
notes, as an attempt to prove Mr. Bush reported for duty in Alabama. His
own memory, though, was faulty. He said he showed up for training a few
times and made up some days.
There was, however, never a solitary soul who was able to claim they
saw the Lt. at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. No wonder. After
hearing what Mr. Bush told Hersokowitz, there's no doubt he never did
anything more in Alabama beyond party and show up late for work with a
hangover at the campaign headquarters of Winton Blount.
Through Baker, Herskowitz has verified what a number of sources told me
off the record in Alabama: Bush never talked about the guard and
brought neither uniforms nor equipment of any kind with him for his time in
Montgomery. The guard was no longer a part of his life. I wrote in
various essays and my books that Lt. Bush never did another day of duty,
much less spend time flying, after he left Texas for Alabama in May of
1972. Herskowitz's testimony to Baker corroborates what I reported from
the files available in the Bush Military Personnel Records Jacket.
Baker's interview also corroborates my own investigation of the run up
to the war with Iraq. In both of my books, I used all available
evidence to make the case that the Bush administration, indeed, the Bush
campaign, had been thinking about Iraq long before 9/11. Bush's chief
political advisor Karl Rove, along with Vice President Dick Cheney and the
now-household names of Wolfowitz and Perle and Rumsfeld, had all been
lusting after Iraqi oil since the 1994 essay published by the Project for
the New American Century. They wanted to project American power into
the Middle East; and toppling Saddam, beyond acquiring Iraq's oil
reserves, also provided a number of domestic political positives for Mr. Bush.
Herskowitz told Baker that Bush was interested in a war because it
would help him politically and that he would use that political capital to
win passage of his legislative agenda.
Herskowitz's words prove that our president is a reckless cowboy - a
man who views war and conflict as a great game and does not think of the
families he has destroyed to acquire "political capital." During the
course of interviewing and doing research, I spent several days talking
to Wade Lieseke of Tonopah, Nevada, whose adopted son was killed in the
opening days of the Iraqi invasion at the Battle of Al Nasiriyah.
Lieske, who was a door gunner for two tours of duty in Vietnam, told me,
"The elitists who start these wars don't give a damn about those of us who
have to fight them. We're just cannon fodder. And all they do is lie to
us. It's just about greed and power and ego." I thought Lieseke was a
bit cynical but I understood his anger after losing a son he loved in a
meaningless, hopeless endeavor. After reading what Herskowitz told Russ
Baker, I think Wade Lieseke was restrained and I was, at age 52,
The Herskowitz interview with Baker is more evidence that the Bush
organization is willing to recreate history, alter evidence, destroy
documentation, and mislead anyone who is seeking the facts about their power.
When Lt. Col. Bill Burkett told me that he had witnessed the Bush guard
files being purged at Camp Mabry in Austin, I had a great deal of
difficulty giving his narrative any credence. However, when I began calling
his associates to inquire about Burkett's character, they all flattered
him with compliments for integrity and honesty, including his
commanding officer Gen. Danny James. James later called Burkett a liar after I
related the story of the purging. I included Burkett's narrative in my
second book because it fit with the facts of what I was able to prove
through my own research. Documents, both missing and available, pointed
toward corroboration of Burkett's claims. After reading Herskowitz's
quotes in Russ Baker's piece, it becomes abundantly clear that the Bush
dynasty is willing to do whatever is necessary to reconstruct a more
favorable history. They give credibility to conspiracy
The way Herskowitz was treated for trying to write the truth comports
with what Col. Burkett told me about the National Guard file cleansing.
Karen Hughes, a Bush confidant and counselor, told lies about
Herskowitz, claiming he had habits that interfered with his writing and that he
had missed deadlines. Neither was true. According to what he told
Baker, he'd already written six chapters and had the finish line in sight.
Hughes, though, knows how to reconstruct facts to suit her hero. She
was, after all, part of the plan Col. Burkett overheard presented to Gen.
Danny James by then-Gov. Bush's Chief of Staff Joe Allbaugh. The goal
was to "remove embarrassments" from the Governor's file. What Mr. Bush
told Herskowitz was another embarrassment when it was written, so
Herskowitz was fired because he was unwilling to help the Bush cronies build
their false reality.
Our default position as Americans is to trust our president.
Unfortunately, we cannot do this any longer. The administration of George W. Bush
proves we must be skeptical. Our president looked us in the eye on
national television and told us that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass
destruction and was a grave and gathering threat; and he did this as
though it had just occurred to him to confront the Iraqi dictator. We saw a
man acting out a charade, a president who has a facility for a
selective recall of his own past and the necessary psychological tricks to
convince himself it was okay to lie to us because he was lying for a good
reason. Russ Baker's fine journalism has done us all a great favor by
getting as close to Mr. Bush's thinking as anyone has ever done.
Nonetheless, we failed in our responsibilities as citizens. We let Mr.
Bush get away with this. And we ought to be ashamed. Now, we need to do
something about our own mistakes.
One Nation Under Bush At a campaign rally, Republicans recite the "Bush Pledge."
By Chris Suellentrop
Updated Thursday, Oct. 28, 2004, at 10:44 PM PT
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.—"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."
I know the Bush-Cheney campaign occasionally requires the people who attend its events to sign loyalty oaths, but this was the first time I have ever seen an audience actually stand and utter one. Maybe they've replaced the written oath with a verbal one.
This may be the first and only time the "Bush Pledge" has been taken at an event I've attended (or any event for that matter), but I'm not the best witness. One of the unfortunate drawbacks of traveling with a presidential candidate is that you arrive at a political rally when he does, which means you arrive right before he speaks.
Chris Suellentrop is Slate's deputy Washington bureau chief. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.
Did they break into this afterwards:
Horst Wessel 1927 (1907-1930)
fairly literal tr. Frank 1997
Raise high the flag,
The ranks are closed and tight,
Storm Troopers march,
With firm and steady step.
|: Souls of the comrades
Shot by Reds and Countermight
Are in our ranks
And march along in step. :|
Open the road
Just for the brown battalion.
Let's clear the way
For the storm trooperman.
|: In hope, to the swastika
Raised are eyes of millions,
Dawn breaks for freedom
And bread for all man. :|
This is the final
Bugle call to arms.
Already we are set
Prepared to fight.
|: Soon Hitler's flags will wave
O'er every single street.
When soon we set things right. :|
Oaths to Bush. What the fuck? When do we round up the Muslims?
We live in a goddamn democracy. We don't say pledges to men.