Saturday, September 30, 2006

Corker Campaign Imploding, Putting Tennessee Senate Seat Closer in Democratic Hands Than Ever

In the fight for the retiring Bill Frist's Tennessee Senate seat, it's starting to appear as if Harold Ford Jr. may soon be heading to Washington, giving Democrats one more key battleground state in their quest to pick up six seats and regain control. Republican challenger Bob Corker now trails Ford Jr. by three points in the polls after being ahead by seven points. And now, according to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Corker's replaced his campaign manager and hired a Hollywood flack (after spending much time on the campaign trail bashing Hollywood).

"When a campaign changes its top leadership with 39 days to go until Election Day, it means one thing: Trouble," said DSCC spokesman Phil Singer. "What Corker doesn't realize is that the problem is him, not his campaign staff."

So now they're rolling out the big guns. Frist's Tennessee Senate colleague Lamar Alexander is donating the services of his Chief of Staff, Tom Ingram, who'll take over from Ben Mitchell as Corker's new campaign manager. According to the DSCC, Ingram's a close friend of Alexander and has worked on his campaigns since the mid-1970s.

Corker also just brought on Hollywood media consultant Fred Davis, of Hollywood-based Strategic Perception Inc. Davis's previous clients include Californiaia Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bush. In his official bio, he highlights an article that dubbed him "Hollywood Fred."

But Corker has spent much time criticizing Ford for his growing Hollywood support, nicknaming his challenger" Fancy Ford."

"The only other person who receives more money from Hollywood than my opponent is the guy who actually represented Hollywood," Coker complained recently to a Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter.

With Tennessee being such a critical state in the battle for Senate control, Republicans have been deeply concerned with the Corker campaign's poor showing. Two weeks ago, Corker and the Tennessee GOP chair Robert Gleason were criticized by the RNC and others key Repubs for running a lackluster campaign. Former RNC member John Ryder noted that "people are concerned" and added that Ford's strong campaign has "caught the Corker people a little off guard."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Menendez Pulls Ahead 6 Points in New Jersey. Democrats Continue to Gain Momentum in Battle for Senate Control

New Jersey had not been considered a key battleground state until fairly recently, when Republican challenger Tom Kean Jr. pulled neck and neck with Sen. Robert Menendez, causing Democrats to cringe. With the Democrats holding leads in at least five other critical states, the tight N.J. race gave new hope to GOP strategists hoping to see the party retain their majority. But a new Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll has Menendez running six points ahead of Kean. Adding insult to injury, the new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll shows President Bush with an all-time low 30% approval rating in the state, causing further dismay in the Kean campaign. This is not good news for Republicans.

The Democrats need six seats to regain control of the Senate. In the latest polls, Claire McCaskill leads in Missouri; Jon Tester leads in Montana; Sheldon Whitehouse leads in Rhode Island; Sherrod Brown is pulling solidly ahead of Mike DeWine in Ohio; Bob Casey Jr. has a double-digit lead in Pennsylvania; Harold Ford Jr. leads Bob Corker by 3% in Tennessee; and the Virginia campaign of George "Pork-eatin' N-word Macaca" Allen is imploding, with Jim Webb trailing now by just five points, way down from a solid double-digit lead.

One heartbreaking doomsday scenario has the Dems successfully executing their strategy of winning six of the above seats but then losing N.J., thus blowing their chance of retaking the Senate. Which is why the new WSJ/Zogby poll is huge.

Just weeks ago the thought of a Democrat victory in the Senate was all but a fantasy. With just 39 days left until the midterm elections, Republicans are now shaking in their boots over the very real prospect of losing control.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Al Franken Rips Tony Blankley a New One on MSNBC's Hardball

Kudos to Al Franken. On Tuesday's Hardball with Chris Matthews the Air America Radio talk show host, author and political pundit berated Washington Times Columnist Tony Blankley over the conservative's misstatements about the war and his misleading column this week about the circumstances surrounding former terrorism czar Richard Clarke's demotion in 2001. Franken was fired up and relentless.

It all started when Blankley minimized the significance of the Afghanistan war, attempting instead to portray Iraq as the central front in the U.S.'s war on terror, while downplaying the newly released National Intelligence Estimate which said the war has increased, not decreased, terrorist activity in the region. Blankley said that terrorists will "follow the sounds of the guns."

"I don't know what Tony's talking about," said an angry Franken. "We were told that this war would last just a few weeks. Rumsfeld wouldn't plan for after the war. We were just going to go in there, a Jeffersonian democracy was going to emerge in Iraq. It was going to be a model for the whole Middle East. It would put pressure on the Mullahs in Iran and the moderates would take over there, which they would de-fund Hezbollah. That's what we were told, and now were being told that, 'Oh, of course, we're in the middle of the war now, and they respond to the sounds of the guns.' What is that? Of course Afghanistan was the right thing to do, and the world was behind us. When we went into Iraq we did it on false pretenses. This president misled us into war. It was a huge gamble, and he has lost. And the 2700 men and women who have died have lost. And their families have lost. And the 20,000 that have been wounded have lost. And how dare you say...this is just, this is just a complete re-spin of what was said before we went in there. And I resent it."

Shaking his head and smirking, Blankley replied: "Look Al, you should've been reading my columns, and then you'd understand things a little bit better. I wrote a column before the war in September 2002..."

An even angrier, incredulous Franken interrupted: "I think I understand things perfectly well Tony. I think it's you that don't understand things. And don't be patronizing like that, ok?"

Blankley responded by saying he was merely trying to explain things to Franken, who, at this point, grew more agitated and sarcastic. "Ok, Tony. Try to explain it to me because I'm a little thick here today...because...didn't you say, didn't the president say that this was going to be over pretty soon? Weren't we going to be treated like liberators? Weren't we going to be greeted with sweets and flowers?"

Later in the segment, as Blankley was blathering on with his right wing drivel about the NY Times "cherrypicking" from the NIE, Franken, holding up papers and waving them into the camera as he read, interrupted him to quote directly from Blankley's column this week where he "misled" his readers by claiming that Clarke "demoted himself" early in 2001, rather than being marginalized and demoted by the Busheviks after they took office. Franken accused him of intentionally lying to his readers. The fact is, it was after 9/11 that Clarke, frustrated in his reduced counterterrorism role, requested a transfer to a new NSC office dealing with cyberterrorism. Clarke, who served under Presidents Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes, eventually had enough with Dubya and left government in 2003.

I have never seen Franken more aggressive, and more effective. Bravo, Al.

Bubba Blew it on Fox. Wallace, the Right Wing Prince of Nepotism, Got the Best of Him. Wake Up Democrats, this is War

The Fox News Sunday interview with Bill Clinton was a disgrace. To being with, it was a classic right-wing set-up by host Chris Wallace, who obviously has learned the tricks of ambush television from the master--his mentor, benefactor and dad, 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace. The former president was in the studio to presumably discuss his Global Initiative, which has raised $7-billion to help fund the fight against global warming. But it quickly became clear that Wallace, behind the thick dark veil of Fox's conservative bias, was more interested in attacking Clinton's record of fighting global terrorism. Kudos to Wallace. Another great ReTHUGlican bait and switch.

With a smirk on his face (which Clinton called him on) and a general smarminess that detracted from his credentials as a supposed legitimate journalist, Wallace started the fracas by asking, "Why didn't you do more to put Bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business when you were President." Rightly so, Clinton's reaction was animated and harsh, and he ultimately accused Wallace and Fox News of perpetrating a hatchet job on him while treating the Bush administration with kid gloves.

"...I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked why didn't you do anything about the Cole. I want to know how many you asked why did you fire Dick Clarke." He was referring to terrorism czar Richard Clarke, who had served under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush.

Let me be clear about one thing: I think Clinton is one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had. Truly brilliant, and a master communicator. The most passionate, charismatic and articulate politician in modern history. But he made a big mistake Sunday. Once it became obvious what Wallace was doing, Clinton justifiably grew agitated and came at Wallace hard in defense of his and his administration's policies and actions in fighting terrorism, and his efforts to find and kill Osama bin Laden. This initially lasted a few minutes. And then it should've stopped. But it didn't.

Clinton soon appeared undignified and very un-Clinton-like. He should've dressed-down the nepotism-engorged, right wing journo-punk Wallace for about five minutes and then, in a commanding authoritative voice said, "Now that we've established exactly how my administration did more to kill bin Laden and fight terrorism than any other, let's move on to the Clinton Global Initiative and the $7-billion we've raised to combat global warming." Instead, Clinton relentlessly pursued the topic even after Wallace smugly and sarcastically suggested three times, to no avail, that they shift the conversation to the Global Initiative. Clinton just kept pleading his case. His tone, body language and agitated state said one thing to Wallace: "You hurt me." It was highly uncomfortable to watch. I found myself squirming. Score another one for Fox News and the bad guys.

Following this charade, Secretary of State Condi Rice on Monday criticized and refuted Clinton's assertions about his administration's efforts in fighting bin Laden and terrorism, as well as his contention that he did more than Bush.

"What we did in the eight months (before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks) was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice said. She added that the Bush administration was "not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al-Qaeda" when Clinton left office.

Well, she's flat out wrong, but I won't get into just how inept Rice, Rummy, Cheney and Bush have been in fighting terrorism. The new National Intelligence Estimate makes that perfectly clear. But as Clinton said, anyone who wants to truly understand what he and Bush did or didn't do, and what the Clinton administration did or did not leave the Busheviks with in January 2001, should read Clarke's book "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror."

Said Clinton: "He (Clarke) has a variety of opinion and loyalties now but let's look at the facts. He worked for Ronald Reagan. He was loyal to him. He worked for George Herbert Walker Bush and he was loyal to him. He worked for me and he was loyal to me. He worked for President Bush; he was loyal to him. They downgraded him and the terrorist operation. Now, look what he said, read his book and read his factual assertions, not opinions, assertions."

The biggest lesson to be learned from Sunday's sham interview is that Democrats better understand the war they're in and start knowing how to fight back. Between now and November 7th there'll be plenty more biased interviews with lots more Chris Wallace's. These guys are very, very good at what they do. They're all graduates of Rove University. They excel at effectively framing an issue to make Democrats appear in the most negative light. They don't come any smoother than Bill Clinton...and look what happened. They've deftly played the terrorism card once again. Wake up, Democrats.

16 Spy Agencies Now Validate Ned Lamont's Campaign Message. New NIE Makes it Clear Why He, Not Lieberman, is Right About Iraq

A 30-page National Intelligence Estimate, completed in April and released last week, reported without equivocation that the war in Iraq has fueled violent Islamic extremists; has increased terrorism in the region and throughout the world; and has served as an unprecedented recruitment tool for al Qaeda and other terror organizations. The NIE, titled "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States," was prepared by the National Intelligence Council of 16 U.S. intelligences agencies, which is comprised of current and former senior intelligence and national security officials. The findings, of course, are in direct contrast to the progress and success falsely and repeatedly claimed by the Busheviks when framing the war's overall impact on the fight against global terrorism. In short, the Iraq war is a self-fulfilling prophecy; it's created the very beast we supposedly went over there to fight. And if Ned Lamont plays his cards right, it would appear that the NIC just handed him victory on a silver platter.

In the wake of the NIE and between now and November 7th, on the national level, the Party needs to hammer home Bush's colossal failure in Iraq, demonstrating just how dangerous the war has become and how it's making America more vulnerable, less safe and exposing us to terrorist violence more than ever. The party must remind voters of Bush's own recent statement that the war had "nothing" to do with 9/11, thereby drawing the conclusion that the only impact Iraq has had on the global war on terror is to legitimize, mobilize and energize monsters like Osama bin Laden and terror groups like al Qaeda. Democrats must at every turn show how this miserably ill-fated war has given cause and strength to terrorists throughout the world.

In Connecticut, Lamont must use the gravity of this national security threat and build on his anti-war momentum, holding up the NIE as proof-positive that he carries the right message for the his state's voters and for America. That he, not the hawkish and delusional Bush-sympathizer Joe Lieberman, must be sent off to Washington to help guide the nation out of this dangerous quagmire, which has served no purpose other than to squander our precious political, financial and military resources, diverting them from the real fight against terrorists..

Friday, September 22, 2006

Is Bush's Terror Tour Working? New NY Times/CBS News Poll Shows Some Disturbing Trends

We've all seen it before. Bush's approval ratings sink to new lows and then voila, out comes a brand-new series of fear-mongering speeches across America where the president perpetrates his own reign of terror in an effort to scare voters into supporting his deranged foreign policy and to keep Republicans in power. It's worked like a charm in the past. But is it working again? A new NY Times/CBS News poll released this week indicates that voters may just be falling into the same terrorism sinkhole as before.

First let's start with the good stuff. The stuff which makes Democrats sleep a little easier at night:

-Just 25% of those polled approve of Congress's performance
-71% said they do not trust the government to make the right decisions
-77% said incumbents do not deserve re-election (the highest since 1994)
-48% said it's time for a new Congressperson for their own districts
-54% said Democrats will win more seats in November
-42% said Democrats will make better choices about Iraq
-50% favor Democrats on the economy
-44% trust Democrats to be more honest about Iraq
-59% said Bush was hiding something when he discusses Iraq
-25% said he's actually lying when discussing Iraq
-52% believe we will not have lost the war if we pull out of Iraq today
-Bush's approval rating is unchanged from August at 37%

So let's assess. Voters are increasingly unhappy with Bush, and disdain for Congress is at its lowest point since 1994 when Newt Gingrich and his Rethuglican Contractors for America blazed through DC in a House and Senate sweep. Looks good for the left, right? Well maybe not. Just like the above GOP doomsday scenario ultimately meant nothing in '04. Let's make no mistake: as in 2002 and '04, the single biggest X-factor here is terrorism. And there's some interesting data behind the data in this week's survey.

The Times/CBS poll found that since Bush completed his recent series of Iraq cheerleading speeches and terrorism fear-mongering, Americans are more scared than ever. The number of people who think terrorism is the #1 issue doubled to 14% from 7% in July. 22% said Iraq was the most important issue, unchanged from July. Additionally, 36% now approval of Bush's handling of the Iraq war, up from 30%. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see what's happening here. The Busheviks are playing the Iraq/terror card more aggressively and more shamelessly than ever because, for the GOP, the stakes have never been higher. What's most terrifying about all this? They are very, very good at playing this game.

Is America falling for the same scare tactics all over again? Will the Busheviks successfully frighten voters in the polling booths in six weeks to vote Republican? At this stage in the election, that's anyone's guess. To be sure, the data at times appears contradicting as Americans, while extremely dissatisfied with the status quo, do show a propensity to put their faith and trust into the GOP when it comes to protecting the nation. But to complicate matters more, while 42% believe the Repubs are better at dealing with terrorism than Democrats (37%), the margin has shrunk considerably, suggesting that Democrats may be gaining ground on this critical issue. So clearly, when it comes to terrorism, voters seem bi-polar. Or at best, vulnerable to the Busheviks' fear-mongering yo-yo they're kept on.

Perhaps one of the most troubling indicators from the Times/CBS survey is that, while unhappy with the status quo, only 38% of voters polled said the Dems had a clear plan for how they'd run the country, as opposed to 45% for the Repubs. As such, will the midterms truly be a "referendum" on Bush and Iraq as the pundits believe, or will voters be sucked back into making their worst terrorism fears the primary lever when voting? Will they stick with the "devil they've got" instead of the one they don't know? Will the Dems somewhow create a message that truly resonates? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Countdown to November: New Polls Indicate Democrats Gaining Momentum in Bid to Recapture Senate. This is Winnable

Less than seven weeks from now Americans will go to the polls to vote in the midterm elections which are shaping up as a referendum on President Bush, the Iraq war and the threat from terrorism. Democrats need six seats to regain control of the Senate, and if current polls are any indication of things to come, there's a very strong chance they just might prevail. Races in key battleground states are getting tighter, with Democrats holding their own in leads over Republican incumbents, while staving off Republican challengers to open seats and seats the Dems currently hold.

A new SurveyUSA poll shows Tennessee Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Harold Ford Jr. leading Republican candidate Bob Corker, 48%-45%. This race was earlier predicted as a toss-up by pundits, but Ford has been gaining steadily. Rasmussen Reports show that in Montana, Jon Tester leads Sen. Conrad Burns 52%-43%. Additionally, in one of the tightest races, Missouri Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill now leads Sen. Jim Talent 45%-42%. In Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse has widened his lead to 51%-43% over incumbent Lincoln Chafee, up from a 6% advantage in August. In Ohio, Rep. Sherrod Brown, who's challenging Sen. Mike DeWine for his Ohio seat, leads 47%-41%. Over in Pennsylvania, the 3rd highest-ranking Republican Rick Santorum trails challenger Bob Casey Jr. by 14 points, up from 11 points last month, according to The Hill. Last but not least is the brewing battle in Virginia, with Sen. George "Macaca" Allen unexpectedly fighting for his political life against tough-as-nails war hero Jim Webb. Survey USA has Allen ahead of Webb just 48% to 45%, a statistical dead heat.

In their bid to hold onto seats, the Democrats are faring extremely well. In Washington, incumbent Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell now leads Republican challenger Mike McGavick 52%-35%, up from 6% in the August poll. In the fight for outgoing Sen. Mark Dayton's seat in Minnesota, StarTribune shows DFL U.S. candidate Amy Klobuchar maintaining her commanding lead over GOP rival Mark Kennedy, 56%-32%. Lastly in Michigan, a Detroit News poll has Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow with a solid 54%-34% lead over GOP challenger Mike Bouchard.

On the national spectrum, Democrats lead by a 12-point margin (53%-41%) over Republicans in a generic ballot.

There's been much recent talk that the Democrats' best shot at power is in retaking the House of Representatives. But the Senate is more in play than ever before, and the above polls show that both chambers of Congress are now within reach of Democrats. On a trip to D.C. last week the mood on The Hill among Republicans was gloom with a touch of doom thrown in for good measure. It's almost as if the GOP's already conceding the House, preparing to fight a bloody war to the death over the Senate. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bush's Bulldog Hughes Says Geneva Conventions Need Clarification. For 57 Years the World Has Understood them Just Fine

So there was Karen Hughes, top Bush advisor, on MSNBC's Hardball Monday night stating that the 57-year-old time-tested Geneva Conventions, which have been good for every U.S. president since FDR, are too "vague" for her boss. Seems the poor guy and his Attorney General Alberto Gonzales cannot distinguish between horrific torture and simple "handcuffing," and need Congress to rewrite the rules for them. The only problem is, Congress isn't buying. And many prominent Republicans--among them Sens. John Warner (VA), Lindsey Graham (SC), John McCain (AZ), and former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and George Schultz--have come out in strong opposition to Bush's proposed legislation.

The criticisms of this administration are mounting by the minute. Powell has recently said that "the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism because of our treatment of terror suspects." Former President Jimmy Carter said the U.S.'s position on Iraq and our treatment of terror suspects has "lost the support and trust and confidence and admiration that this country's had for generations."

Asked by host Chris Matthews to comment on Carter's statement, Hughes said "I think that's unfortunate that he would say something like that because I think what's happened instead is that we had to make a series of very hard decisions faced with unprecedented threats against our country and against our freedom. In the case of Iraq, the president had to make a difficult decision that, in the light of September 11th, we could not afford the possibility that terrorists might be able to access weapons of mass destruction that we thought Saddam Hussein had. In the case of detainees, we are faced with the situation with a very serious, tough group of terrorists who are determined to kill Americans.."

The president, she said, seeks to "set out clear standards for questioning for our interrogators." Citing as an example the future capture of high-level terrorists, she said the president feels that it's very important that we be able to question that person and that the rules be clear for those who are involved in the questioning."

She then proceeded to make an absolute, utter mockery out of the Geneva Conventions, which has been the bedrock international rule of law on the treatment of prisoners of war since 1949. "The Geneva Conventions Common Article 3," she said, "which is right now very vague, it basically says you can't have 'an affront against personal dignity.' Well you know, some criminals, some terrorists, might say being handcuffed is an affront against personal dignity. Certainly being put in jail is an affront against...So what the president is trying to do is to define what that means..."

To quote one of my favorite rockers, Tommy Lee, all of this rhetoric is just sauteed in wrong sauce. Did you notice Hughes's slick morphing of Iraq and 9/11? Despite her boss saying weeks ago that the two had nothing to do with each other, he still has his spinheads hit the streets spewing the same rubbish to anyone who'll listen.

As for the Geneva Conventions, where's the confusion? World leaders for almost 60 years now have understood the Conventions just fine, and respected them without question. By redefining their meaning, by reinterpreting their Common Articles, the Busheviks proposed changes, as John McCain said, would result in the torture and abuse of American soldiers captured in future wars.

What the real issue is in this whole debate is that the Busheviks are petrified that that their treatment of terror suspects to-date constitutes war crimes; crimes they could soon be held accountable for, especially if the Democrats recapture the House and/or the Senate and obtain subpoena power and oversight. While Hughes said the president stated "we do not torture and have not tortured," they know exactly what they've done. And it is precisely these actions that could land those at the top in jail. This administration, under the vast umbrella of national security, has flagrantly and consistently violated the law, and Hughes acknowledged that those involved in questioning terror suspects could be accused of war crimes "if they did not comply with standards." Which is why she and her Rovian cohorts, on behalf of her boss, continue to muddy up the waters and create ambiguity where it heretofore did not exist. "The standards aren't clear," Hughes claimed, "so they (the interrogators) have to know the rules. They have to know what they're complying with. That's why the president went to Congress to try to clarify this."

This is Cover Your Ass 101, folks, and it likely won't work. The Geneva Conventions have held up through Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, Bosnia and everything else in between. Only George W. Bush has had a problem with its interpretation and meaning. Only George W. Bush believes he cannot properly defend America unless he breaks the law and reshapes it to his personal liking. Call me crazy, but just when you think this guy can't possibly be any worse of a president........

On a final note, while I usually admire and respect Chris Matthews, he could've renamed his show Softball given his passive treatment of Hughes. Oddly, it was as if he felt honored to be in her presence; as if having someone that high up the Bush food chain was to be relished, and that playing hardball, his usual shtick, would've been sacriligious, or even punished somehow. He basically let her spin with relative impunity until her head almost whipped off. He contested nothing. It was embarrassing.

Allen's Re-Election Bid Imploding. "Sen. Macaca" Freefalling in the Polls, Putting Virginia Firmly in Play

Sen. George Allen of Virginia is in trouble. Big trouble. And he knows it. On NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, he bobbed and weaved as host Tim Russert had him on the ropes over everything from his now-infamous "Macaca" slur weeks ago to his unyielding support of the Busheviks' war in Iraq. It was a veritable minefield, and Allen did his slippery best to avoid practically every direct question with evasive indirect non-answers.

In what could be another major foreshadowing of the Republican Party's mounting doomsday scenario in the November midterm elections, a Mason-Dixon poll conducted this month found Allen's once double-digit lead over Democratic challenger Jim Webb now down to a paltry 46-42%, with a margin of error of 4 percentage points. Statistically, it's a dead heat. And that's great news for Democrats, who need to win six seats to regain control of the Senate. Previously, the tightest battles had been expected in Missouri, Rhode Island, Montana, Pennsylvania and Ohio, with Tennessee and Virginia considered longshots. With Virginia now firmly in play, and SurveyUSA showing Harold Ford Jr. leading Republican Bob Corker by 3 points, the Dems' chances at winning get better and better every day.

On Sunday, Allen doggedly stood by his support for the war and his support for Bush. Consider the following exchange:

RUSSERT: But let me ask you a simple question. If the CIA said in 2003, "Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction. That is now our--the finding," would you still have voted to go to war?

ALLEN: Tim, we, we made decisions. You can't say, "Gosh," five years later--and this is what my opponent's campaign's about is the second-guessing.

RUSSERT: No, but it's a serious question. People are saying, knowing what they know today, they still would have gone in. It's a serious question. If you knew Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction, was it still worth going to war?

ALLEN: I stand by my vote, and the vote was based on the evidence and information before us. And we had a choice. We had a choice whether to listen to the critics and do nothing, and then have this world more dangerous if, if we were right.

Fascinating stuff, considering that every single justification for the Iraq invasion has been proven unfounded, and that we now also know that the administration manipulated the facts and cherry-picked intelligence in its run-up to war.

Allen is now facing the fight of his political life. Webb is a former Republican; a highly decorated Marine and former Reagan-era Navy Secretary who told Russert that the Iraq war is an "incredible strategic blunder of historic proportions." He said he's lost confidence in Bush's foreign policy, and repeatedly reminded viewers that he and his father, unlike Bush or Allen, had served in combat. His son is currently serving a tour of duty in Iraq with the Marines.

"Very few people who have brought us this war have served, and very, very few of the children of these people who have brought us this war have served," Webb said.

On the war, Russert asked Allen to define "stay the course" and whether or not he would support sending more troops. Both questions brought vague, political answers. Regarding the $300 billion cost of the war so far, Allen was asked if that money could've been better spent in the fight against global terrorism. "We have spent money on all those things. You can't be constantly second-guessing, Monday-morning quarterbacking," Allen said.

But that's just the point. Yes we can, and should. The Busheviks and the GOP leadership are accountability-averse. They started a war of choice with a sovereign nation that posed no threat to the United States. Over 2600 of our soldiers are now dead, tens of thousands maimed and wounded, with perhaps 30,000 Iraqis killed. We've spent $300 billion, created a terrorist breeding ground where one did not exist, and there's no viable exit strategy on the table. And Allen says we shouldn't "Monday morning quarterback?" Given the disaster Bush created, heads should roll, for Pete's sake.

What Webb has going for him is that he's an original opponent of the war. He spoke out against an invasion early on, arguing that the same containment strategy that kept Russia in check throughout the cold war would work again against Saddam Hussein. In a September 2002 Washington Post op-ed piece he warned that American occupation forces in Iraq would "quickly become 50,000 terrorist targets." And he was right.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Bush to Congress: "My Way or the Highway: We Spy the Way I Want or I Shut Down the Whole Program"

In his Rose Garden press conference Friday President Bush tossed the same threat that's worked for years for millions of other spoiled, petulant adolescents: "It's my ball, so either we play my way or there's no game." Except this isn't sandlot baseball we're talking about. It's the security of our nation. Bush clearly has trouble defending the United States unless he's able to break domestic law and violate the nearly 60-year-old Geneva Conventions.

"Well heck, I don't like being told what to do, ya know? I'm the president. I'm the decider. I make all the rules. I live in the White House, not you. I'm married to the First Lady, not you. I'm the boss, see? The top dog. The commandeerer-in-chief. The head guy. And I say we can spy on who we want to, and we can torture them A-rab terrorists (actually in BushSpeak pronounced as 'terrists') if I say its' ok. And if you're gonna rub them dang FISA laws and Geneva Conventions in my face, them I'm just gonna make the NSA, CIA and everyone else shut down all them dang programs. You see, we just can't be safe here in America unless I break the law and torture people!"

Bush's tactics for interrogating terror suspects has been under fire for some time, but only this week has it kicked into high gear when three prominent Republican Senators--John McCain (AZ), John Warner (VA) and Lindsey Graham (SC)--aided by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, vehemently opposed any legislation the Busheviks are seeking that would reinterpret key articles of the Geneva Conventions relating to the treatment of prisoners of war. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the provisions apply to terrorism suspects as well.

Specifically, Common Article 3 bars "outrages upon personal dignity." Bush is seeking to clarify the provision and asked Friday "What does that mean, ‘outrages upon human dignity’?" Honestly, Mr. President, do you really not know? Would you have a problem if one of your kids was stripped naked, with a black sack placed over her head, and dragged around on all fours by a chain? Or perhaps if she was kept awake for 48 hours in a dark room, with no food or water, while she was questioned? Or how about having her stand naked with fake electrical wires hanging from her arms as she thinks she's about to be electrocuted. Perhaps one of the Bush twins might enjoy a little Water-Boarding, where she's bound to an inclined board, feet raised, head slightly below feet, with cellophane wrapped over her face as water is poured over her as she gags and experiences a terrifying fear of drowning. Maybe then you might see all this as 'outrages upon human dignity?"

In his press conference, Bush threatened to scrap the CIA program for the interrogation of high-level terrorism suspects if Congress passed an alternative set of rules affording these suspects many of the same basic rights as other prisoners. He repeatedly referred to the intelligence "professionals" who allegedly support his policies. Yet the heads of all four branches of the U.S. military have voiced strong public opposition to Bush's proposed rules for greater coercive interrogation and prosecution of terrorists.

What Bush is failing to understand--which the military officials clearly do--is that by the U.S violating the Geneva Conventions, the Busheviks are putting our servicemen and women in grave danger throughout the world. Our enemies can and would perpetrate the same abuse and torture on our own soldiers. A simple concept indeed, but one the commander-in-chief is oblivious to.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Yes, Chafee Won in Rhode Island, But the Numbers Behind the Numbers Could Mean a Win for Democrats in November

Sen. Lincoln Chafee (RI), perhaps the most liberal Republican in the Senate, might be looking at defeat in November if Tuesday's primary results are any indication. While Chafee handily beat his Republican challenger, Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey, it's the overall voter turnout that's key here.

A couple of interesting stats:

-Chafee won less than 55% of the GOP vote
-Democratic Challenger Sheldon Whitehouse received more than 81% of the Democrat vote.
-Whitehouse’s vote total was more than 5,700 votes above the combined Republican vote
-The total Democratic vote exceeded the total Republican vote by 21,439.

Here are the actual vote totals:
-Lincoln P. Chafee: 34,873 (54.17%)
-Steven Laffey: 29,500 (45.83%)
-Total Republican Vote: 63,373

-Sheldon Whitehouse: 69,159 (81.54%)
-Christopher F. Young: 8,916 (10.51%)
-Carl L. Sheeler: 6,737 ( 7.94%)
-Total Democratic Vote: 84,812

The data is a potential foreshadowing of the trouble Chafee faces this Fall if the Democratic Party wins the get-out-the-vote war. The very liberal Rhode Island is a critical battleground state in the Democrats' push to recapture the Senate. They need six seats to regain control, with Montana, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee comprising the other key states. Virginia has recently beocme in play following Sen. George Allen's "macaca" blunder weeks ago. Allen's once commanding lead over Democratic challenger Jim Webb has diminished considerably.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

America Wake Up. Don't be Fooled Again By the War-Mongering, Fear-Mongering Bushevik Rhetoric

As expected, the Republican leadership is smelling defeat in November, and is on a fear-mongering shooting spree over the Iraq war and terrorism. The intensity level is staggering, and it's an indication of just how ugly it's going to get in the next seven weeks.

The ubiquitous President Bush has been aggressively defending his quagmire, desperately trying to convince Americans that it's a central link in the fight against what he calls Islamic fascism. He and his cabal--Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove--incessantly challenge our collective patriotism by claiming that anything less than full support for this miserable military blunder is tantamount to appeasement and treason. On The Hill, we have House Majority Leader John Boehner (OH) going so far this week as to claim that Democrats "are more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people." Bingo. There it is. Bottom. That's the last straw, folks. This time they've gone too far.

America, it's time to wake up and realize how shamefully sinister this administration is, and how they're relentlessly trying to manipulate you, exploit your fears and politicize 9/11, the most horrific tragedy in U.S. history. I'll be as frank as I can here: if there's anyone, anyone, in America who thinks that any politician, be they Republican or Democrat, truly wants to protect the terrorists more than our own citizens, then they are complete and utter fools who deserve everything they get from this corrupt administration and GOP leadership. This new round of rhetoric is irresponsible and reprehensible. It's indendiary propaganda at its worst. It's shameful and unprecedented it its scope. Americans on both ends of the political spectrum must reject this hate-speak in November by sending the culprits home to spend their days playing golf with Tom DeLay.

Wake up America. Hold this administration accountable for their miserably failed war. For bungling Afghanistan and allowing the Taliban and drug lords to reconstitute. For their failure to secure our borders, our ports, our railways, and airways. For failing to find Osama bin Laden. For their abysmal response to Hurricane Katrina. For rising interest rates and inflation, and declining wages. For record deficits, gas and oil prices. For failing to improve education and healthcare. The list is endless. But what you should not do, America, is let them tell you that Democrats are weak, scared and in bed with terrorists. That's a colossal insult to your intelligence, and that should make you very, very angry.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ostroy Report Review: The Problems With "The Path to 9/11" Part 1

Despite a strong desire not to, I sat through ABC's controversial "The Path to 9/11" Sunday, marveling at the incomplete, often fictionalized events that comprised Part 1. For starters, let's set the record straight: terrorism is not a phenomenon that began with the first WTC bombing in February 1993. This new kind of murderous, cowardly warfare has been perpetrated on society for decades. To discount these tragic events--Munich, the Achille Lauro, etc--and the role they've played leading up to 9/11, is irresponsible and ignorant. Bill Clinton was not the first U.S. president forced to deal with this new enemy, which is what the producers of "The Path to 9/11" would have you believe.

Next, it's wrong for the film to trivialize the due diligence, rational, responsible thinking, deference towards diplomacy, and respect for international law exercised by the Clinton administration when contemplating an attack on Osama bin Laden at one point. Factored into team-Clinton's decision was the collateral damage from such an attack: the risk to citizens; fallout over not adhering to no-fly zone restrictions; and concerns about accusations of overreaction were we to use ground troops and/or assassinate bin Laden (remember, this was pre-9/11. The attacks then against the U.S. were much more limited in scope by comparison). To the contrary, the Busheviks acted like wild, drunken cowboys leading up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. In retrospect, too bad they hadn't demonstrated the same vigilance as the Clinton administration.

Third, the film portrays several key Clinton officials in a highly negative light. For example, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright--a normally affable, charming woman--as a shrill, personality-less robotic bully. Sandy Berger, Richard Clarke and George Tenet don't fare much better either.

Lastly, Clinton himself is portrayed as the face of evil. Scenes of hate-spewing Muslims violently demonstrating in the streets of Afghanistan screaming "Clinton is Satan" casts a highly charged, biased cloud throughout the film. That he is portrayed as a distracted, kinky fool mired in the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal is even worse.

Look, there's culpability all around for 9/11. The Clinton administration certainly could've done a better job at the intelligence, prevention, and law enforcement levels. The same is true for President Bush. And Nixon, Carter and every president since. Muslim extremism has been around a helluva lot longer than Bill Clinton and George Bush.

We won't get into all of the factual problems of the film. Those have been discussed ad infinitum for days now. But one thing should be crystal clear: the tragic events of 9/11 should never be used, misused and exploited for political purposes, but that's precisely what this often fictionalized account does right before a critical election. The most horrific attack in U.S. history deserves to be preserved in history in its factual state. Anything less is a dishonor and disgrace to the memory of those who died on that day, to those they left behind, and to every single American.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How Generous of Disney/ABC to Give Bush an Unbelievable Lead-In For Yet Another Shameless Propaganda Speech on 9/11 Anniversary

At 8PM EST Monday evening, the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, ABC will air part 2 of its intensely controversial docudrama, "The Path to 9/11." At 9PM it will interrupt its airing to switch to the White House Oval Office, where President Bush will give a 20-minute propaganda speech on the global war on terror. How fitting. It's the icing on the partisan cake. What better lead-in for the president to spread his fear-mongering rhetoric than ABC's Bush-stroking, Clinton-bashing fictional tale of the years leading up to the worst tragedy in U.S. history.

The inept leader of the free world--the man who gave up on Osama bin Laden years ago ("I don't know where he is...ya know I just don't spend that much time on him")-- is in the middle of his "Bush: The Terrorism Tour" to remind Americans just how dangerous bin Laden is and how important Iraq is in fighting al Qaeda. And despite the new Senate report which states that the CIA told the Busheviks last Fall that al Qaeda had no presence in Iraq before the war, Bush continues to make the connection in order to justify the invasion and drum up support for the occupation.

For the past several weeks it's been terrorism, terrorism, terrorism non-stop. Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rice and the GOP leadership have been relentless in their quest to frighten Americans into voting for them once again. You can be sure it's going to get even worse as the midterm elections approach. After Bush's failed six years in office, and the GOP's 12 years of corrupt control of Congress, the only thing the Busheviks have left is the terror card. It's their only hope to retain power, and they're playing it aggressively and shamelessly.

As John Tierney brilliant questions in his NY Times op-ed piece Saturday, is the true threat of terrorism as big as the business of terrorism? What we do know is this: George W. Bush is terrorizing Americans more than bin Laden ever has.

"Are You Better Off Today Than You Were Two & Four Years Ago?" A Simple Question To Remind Voters of Bush's Miserable Failures

Back in 1980 on the presidential campaign trail Ronald Reagan famously asked, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" It worked like a charm and ushered him into the White House in what was the start of Republican-dominated politics for years to come. It was a simple question. And it's one that Democrats should start asking at every truck stop, park, playground, shopping center, school and campaign speech across America. Because the answer is also simple: the country is a colossal mess, and Americans are angry, frustrated and ready for change. Let's remind them why.

We are a nation at war with an invisible enemy who'd like to kill us where we sleep, yet we're mired in a quagmire in Iraq, which serves as a major distraction that's sapping our precious political, financial and military resources. President Bush and his cabinet manipulated intelligence, manufactured evidence, and lied to us in order to justify this quagmire we're in. It's cost $300 billion, almost 3000 U.S. soldiers' lives, and killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, not to mention the tens of thousands of U.S soldiers maimed or wounded.

Because of Iraq, America is less safer. Let me repeat that for the throngs of kool-aid drinking Repuglicans who follow this dangerous president's every move in lock-step: because of the Iraq war America is less safer. Bush has botched the effort in Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban, drug lords and terrorists to reconstitute and rebuild. After years of saying things like "I don't know where he is...ya know I just don't spend that much time on him," Bush closed down the CIA's only bin Laden-exclusive unit, Alec Station, yet 6 weeks before the midterm elections has suddenly become obsessed with the terrorist mastermind, invoking his name 18 times in a 40-minute speech this past week. He's taken his eyes off bin Laden, but not when it comes to helping Repugs retain power. Keeping America safe is secondary to this president. Being a automaton spin puppet for Karl Rove has been his main function.

So while Bush tours the country telling us how well the war in Iraq is going, and why it's so important, the world, and the country, is turning to shit. Here at home, consumer confidence continues to drop. Inflation is on the rise. Interest rates are climbing. Employment is stagnant. Wages are falling behind inflation. Oil and gas prices are astronomical. The trade and budget deficits are at record highs.

And where was/is Congress through all this? They've allowed themselves to be neutered by Bush, Cheney and Rove. You can forgive the Democrats. They're trying to fight the good fight, but it's difficult to exert any muscle anywhere when every branch of government is controlled by your opponents, and when they serve as a shameful rubber-stamp for the president's insane agenda. It is the Repuglican incumbents who must pay the price for throwing their constitutionally-mandated oversight down the toilet when it comes to Bush. They've let him rush to war, ill-equip our soldiers, violate the Geneva Conventions, alienate our allies, incite and marginalize our enemies, mock diplomacy, destroy our economic prosperity, rape the constitution and polarized our nation like never before. And for that, they must be stripped of office.

Go onto any street-corner in America, where the average Dick and Jane live, and ask them "Are you better off today than you were two and four years ago?" Ask them how much it costs to fill their tanks. Ask them when they got their last raise, or took their last vacation. Or whether they both have to work in order to meet their expenses. Ask them about their kids' education. Ask them about healthcare. Ask them about their winter heating bills. Ask them about their sons, daughters, relatives and neighbors who are dying in Iraq. Ask them if they are happy with the way things are going overall. Ask them a simple, highly effective question: "Are you better of today than you were two and four years ago." Let's ask this question until voters are tired of hearing it. Until they run into the voting booths November 7th.

Friday, September 08, 2006

9/11 Co-Chair and "Path to 9/11" Consultant Kean Confirms Ostroy Report Exclusive that Disney's Iger Received Call From Clinton

In a story in Friday's New York Times, former Governor of New Jersey and co-chair of the federal 9/11 Commission, Thomas H. Kean, said he was surprised by the current outrage over ABC's plan to air the controversial "The Path to 9/11" docudrama Sunday and Monday, on which he served as a consultant, because former President Bill Clinton had spoken directly with Disney CEO & President Robert Iger about the film last week. This is a startling revelation, and it comes just a day after we exclusively reported that the two men had spoken and that Iger agreed to Clinton's edit requests.

In addition to speaking with Clinton himself, Iger has received a barrage of angry correspondence from several former Clinton officials including Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger and Bruce Lindsey, and as a result ABC has reportedly agreed to change at least three highly controversial scenes which the Clinton aides claimed were 100% falsely depicted.

And on another note, Scholastic, which had planned to widely distribute the film as an educational tool to teachers nationwide, said Thursday that it was removing materials about the film from its website, the Times reported, and that a new reference aide would be produced to help students understand the differences between a docudrama and a documentary.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sorry, Conservatives, Fahrenheit 9/11 and ABC's "Path to 9/11" Are Not The Same

Regarding Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's searing indictment of the Bush administration's handling of 9/1l, Iraq and the fight against terrorists, many conservatives have been making comparisons to this documentary in their defense of ABC's planned docu-drama, The Path to 9/11. Yes, America is, thankfully, the land of freedom and free speech. But the key difference here is that Moore made a privately-financed film which people had the option to pay to see if they so chose. To the contrary, ABC broadcasts over the public airwaves, which is a privilege, not an entitlement. That's why there's equal-time and other FCC guidelines they must adhere to. Though they might like to in effort to further a partisan agenda, these networks like ABC do not get to arbitrarily use our public airwaves for self-serving political purposes.

And on a related note, just where exactly is the big, bad dreaded "Liberal Media" we keep hearing about from conservatives? This week's ABC controversy is just another example of how the media is clearly anything but liberal.

Ostroy Report Exclusive: Iger Alledgedly Agrees to Edit Docu-drama After Receiving Personal Call From Bill Clinton

The Ostroy Report has learned from a reliable source connected to ABC that an unnamed ABC executive said that former President Bill Clinton called Disney President and CEO Robert Iger this week to voice his anger and frustration over the network's plan to air a six-hour movie, "The Path to 9/11," on Sunday and Monday, and that Iger agreed to make certain changes requested by Clinton. According to this ABC source, the film is currently being edited. In seeking confirmation, our call to Iger's office went straight into voicemail. We will update our story if and when we hear from a Disney official. Disney is the parent company of ABC.

The docu-drama, an account of the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks, is the subject of intense controversy over what Clinton officials claim are fictionalizations of various scenes involving who knew what about Osama bi Laden and when, and whether the Clinton administration was delinquent in capturing and/or killing the head of al Qaeda, the mastermind behind the attacks.

The film will say in a disclaimer that it is a "dramatization . . . not a documentary," contains "fictionalized scenes," and says the movie is based on the 9/11 Commission report, although that report contradicts several key scenes involving former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and other former Clinton officials. Both Albright and Berger, and other Clinton aides fired off letters of outrage to Iger, but the company refused to make any changes to the film and planned to broadcast it as planned. If in fact Iger did get a call from Clinton, and did agree to an edit, this would be a major change in the company's policy towards dealing with the fallout.

The real irony here is that Bush was firmly against creating the 9/11 Commission in the first place, and only did so under mounting pressure from lawmakers and 9/11 families.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Democratic Strategist Joe Trippi on Wednesday's Ostroy/DeLaite Report TV Show

Please tune in Wednesday Sept 6th to The Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough as we welcome Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for '04 presidential candidate Howard Dean and now head of his own political consultancy. We'll tap Joe for his thoughts on the midterm elections and the Democrats' chances of winning back the House and Senate.

The Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough, is a weekly political call-in talk show that tackles the Right Wing spin machine head on ( It covers the ever-changing political landscape with guests that include The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel, WABC Radio's Ron Kuby, Marc Maron, nationally-syndicated radio host Stephanie Miller, Russ Baker, Marc Crispin Miller, Nomi Prins,'s Mark Karlin,'s Brad Friedman, NY State Attorney General candidate Mark Green, NY's 20th Congressional District candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, Michigan's 9th candidate Nancy Skinner and others. The show airs every Wednesday at 6:30PM in NYC on Time Warner channel 67. It can also be viewed live over the internet at Just follow the steps to "Watch MNN/ch 67."

And stay tuned for upcoming show info. We'll soon be joined by Fox News political analyst Kirsten Powers, who recently skewered Ann Coulter while guest-hosting on Hannity & Colmes.

The Bush Press Conference We'd Love to See But Never Will

Maybe we'll all be lucky enough some day to bear witness to something truly special from the White House and the mainstream press.....

President Bush: Thank you all for being here. As I've stated many times, America is at war. A war we're fighting with some very, very bad people. Real nasty folks. These Islamo-fascist terrorists are hellbent on our destruction, and the destruction of free nations everywhere. They hate the West, and they hate freedom. It's a very difficult battle against a hidden army of really bad folks who are willing to kill themselves to further their murderous cause against freedom. We must wage war against these killers wherever they are. It's been five years since this brutal enemy attacked us on our soil, killing 3000 innocent people in New York City, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. We vowed to not only hunt down these terrorists and bring them to justice, but to eliminate their terror organizations so that they can't attack us again.

The battle we wage in Iraq is critical to achieving this goal, and Iraq is the central front in this war against Islamo-fascist terrorists. We must fight them over there so that we don't have to fight them over here. I cannot and will not allow them to attack America again. Now a lot of people in Washington are saying we should withdraw and I say that policy of cut and run would be a disaster. It would result in death, executions and ethnic cleaning and civil war. And the terrorists would win. They'd take over the country. And they'll start planning their next attack on America. And they'll be dominated by the real enemy, Iran. We must show resolve, and we must stay the course until the mission is complete.


MSNBC's David Gregory: Mr. President, I'd like to ask you again what was asked of you two weeks ago by a reporter: what does the war in Iraq have to do with 9/11?

Bush: My answer is the same. Nothing.

Gregory: Why then, after all we now know about no WMD and no connections to al Qaeda, are you still discussing it in the same sentence every time you talk about the war on terror?

Bush: Because Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.

Gregory: But Iraq before the invasion was controlled by Saddam, and there was no presence of al Qaeda there. And the terrorists who attacked us were mainly from Saudi Arabia; not one was from Iraq. So, it would seem that it's only become the central front since the invasion. Are you denying then that we created the very thing we were most afraid of?

Bush: No. Next question...Helen...

Hearst's Helen Thomas: Mr. President, I'd like to stay on this subject. Is it not duplicitous therefore to continue referencing the 9/11 attacks every time you are asked about Iraq? Is this not an attempt to blatantly deceive the American people?

Bush:, it's not Helen. And I take offense to the accusation.

Thomas: The American people have a right to know why we're in Iraq, what the mission is, what the estimated costs are, and when our troops will return. So far we've been given nothing but talking points and double-speak. I will ask you a blunt question, Mr. President, and the American people would appreciate an honest answer: are we in Iraq to avenge the 9/11 attacks?

Bush: No. Let's move on. Ann....

ABC's Ann Compton: Mr. President, you keep stating that we're fighting "the terrorists" in Iraq. If, as you stated, these are not the 9/11 terrorists, who are they then? You use the term "terrorist" quite broadly sir, but don't you think Americans would be better served if our elected officials were honest with them about the enemies we're fighting. About who our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, are being sent off to kill. Who are we fighting in Iraq, sir?

Bush: Ann, I've said this a million times. We're fighting some very bad folks. Islamo-fascist terrorists who want to kill us again.

Compton: But see, there you go again, Mr. President, using deceptive words like "again" when you just admitted those we're fighting in Iraq are not terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. So I'll ask again, who are they?

Bush: Ann, let's give someone else a chance. Nora...nice blouse by the way (winks)...

MSNBC's Nora O'Donnell: Thank you sir. But if I may, I think we're onto something significant here which I will continue with as a follow up to Ann. The American people are being told repeatedly by you, VP Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Rice and many in the Republican leadership that we're indeed fighting "terrorists" in Iraq. But isn't it true that perhaps 95% of those we're fighting there are Iraqi insurgents and not al Qaeda terrorists? That the bloody, deadly insurgency began with Saddam loyalists as a direct result of the U.S.'s occupation, and is now also being fueled by Sunni vs. Shia violence? Is it not true that only 5% or less of those we're fighting in Iraq are foreign radical Muslim extremists?

Bush: Um...that's correct.

O'Donnell: Then why does your administration constantly attempt to confuse the two and as a result confuse the American people?

Bush: Nora look, the people we're fighting want to kill us. To destroy the freedoms we enjoy. And they want to attack us again. I won't let that happen. Next question...Andrea...

O'Donnell: No Mr. President. Excuse me. I would like an answer to my question. Why is your administration not leveling with the American people? They deserve to know the truth. Why do you continue to portray Iraq as the response to 9/11? As revenge against Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, which, unlike Iraq, did attack us? Stop stonewalling please and tell the American people the truth about this war! (to applause in the room)

Bush (visibly disturbed): Nora you are out of line. Next question. Jim....

NY Times' Jim Rutenberg: I'm sorry, Mr. President, but you are clearly on the line here today for some straight answers. Since we're not in Iraq avenging 9/11, when will you and your cabinet stop blurring the lines as if we are?

Bush (belligerent): My goodness Jim, don't you people understand the gravity of the situation we're facing? We're fighting...

Rutenberg (interrupts): With all due respect sir, we don't. And we'd like more than talking points and spin. America's been told we need to fight in Iraq because of terrorists, yet you yourself admit Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and that less than 5% of those fighting us there are radical Islamists. You must've seen all the latest polls showing that Americans no longer support the war and no longer see it as part of the broader war against terror. Yet you and your cabinet continue to perpetrate this myth, and the public, quite frankly, is fed up. History will judge you sir not solely by why you took the nation to war, but by your words ands actions thereafter as well.

Bush: This is startin' to sound like an inquisition, people. Let's bring the focus back on this war on terror we're....(interrupted loudly by many reporters shouting questions at once)

Gregory: Mr. President, why are you and key Republicans like Rick Santorum and Dennis Hastert taking credit for the foiled terror plot in Great Britain when U.S. intelligence had nothing to do with it?

CBS News' Bill Plante: Why do we continue to spend most of our precious financial and military resources in Iraq if we're not truly fighting terrorists there while Afghanistan continues to fall back into Taliban/al Qaeda hands?

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux: Why can't you find, capture or kill bin Laden after five years?

Washington Post's Michael Abramowitz: When will you fire Rumsfeld for botching this war from the start to every step since?

Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva: Since we killed Al Qaeda in Iraq's leader Zarqawi, the violence of the insurgency and civil war has escalated...why should we care that the #2 guy, Hamad Jama al-Saedi, has been captured? And, just how many #2's are there?

Thomas: Are you afraid, Mr. President, that if the Democrats win back the House this November that they will immediately begin conducting investigations into your administration's campaign of deception and war crimes...which could ultimately lead to your impeachment?

Fox News' James Rosen: Given what the Brits just did, wasn't Sen. John Kerry right when he said fighting terrorists is the job of law enforcement agencies not the military? Why are we wasting our time in Iraq when this money and manpower could be spent shoring up DHS, CIA, FBI, state/local police and special forces?

Los Angeles Times' James Gerstenzang: Can you please tell us how we "win" in Iraq given how it appears the country is falling apart under civil war?

AP's Terrence Hunt: Why are many key Republican incumbents refusing to campaign with you?

USA Today's Richard Benedetto: Please tell the American people why....

With that last question, Karl Rove hurriedly approaches the lectern in the White House press room, whispers in the president's ear, the president turns to the throng of reporters, says "Thank you all" and the two of them quickly exit the room, leaving the press stunned and rushing to the phones. The news reports that night, and the next day's headlines, are: "President Skewered by Frustrated Media Demanding Accountability and Answers About the War and the Deception Over the Terrorist Threat." Within days, Bush's approval ratings drop to the low 20's, the worst ever for a sitting U.S. president.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mission Accomplished: Santorum Morphs Iraq into Iran. Another Repuglican Weapon of Mass Deception

For the past five years the Busheviks have been blurring the lines between the 9/11 attacks, al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Iraq. A question about 9/11 inevitably brings an answer that starts with Iraq. And vice-versa. In their quest to justify taking the nation to war, they manufactured evidence, misrepresented and cherry-picked intelligence and, by the Fall of '03, successfully convinced 69% of Americans that Saddam was responsible for the attacks which killed 3000 in NY and DC. And now they're trying to make the bait and switch act work again.

On NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, Sen. Rick Santorum, fighting for his political life down 18-points against Democratic challenger Bob Casey Jr., played the same smoke and mirrors game that his party's been doing since 9/11. During a debate between the candidiates, host Tim Russert could not ask a question about Iraq without Santorum's response being about Iran. He repeated ad nauseam what is likely the new GOP talking point designed to confuse Americans once again:

We were attacked on 9/11. We responded by going after the terrorists in Iraq and deposing Saddam, who harbored and supported them. With Saddam gone, the country is now being controlled by Iran, who's pulling all the strings. Iran is the culprit. Iran is our #1 enemy. We must stop Iran if we are to be safe here in America.

Let's get this straight just for the record: 9/11=al Qaeda=bin Laden=Saddam=Iraq=Iran. Nice, convenient little flow chart to divert attention and accountability away from their colossal blunder in Iraq, and the fact that we're there despite it having "nothing" (Bush's words) to do with 9/11. But that doesn't stop soul-less, morally-bankrupt war-mongers like Santorum from changing the story yet again. What do you expect from the 3rd highest-ranking Repug who told Russert:

-On Bush: "I think he's a terrific president."
-On the justification for war: "We did find WMD in Iraq"
-On Bush's illegal wiretappings: "What do you think stopped the British attack?"

This is the same Santorum who votes so often with Bush (approximately 98% of the time) that RNC Chair Ken Mehlman said in March that "The most important priority in 2006 is re-electing Rick Santorum." Forget the fact that Santorum is so fond of his president that he somehow manages to find himself hundreds of miles away each time Bush makes it to Pennsylvania. Forget the fact that the president himself has stated that the small, old cache of sarin and mustard gas found post-invasion were not the weapons we went to war over. Forget the fact that Democrats are not against wiretappings, just those without the law-required warrants as mandated in 1978 by the FISA Court. Forget the fact that without British and Pakastani intelligence and solid police-work to thwart the commercial jet highjacking plot, we'd likely be fishing body parts out of the Atlantic by now.

Santorum's Iran rhetoric follows the release of a House Intelligence Committee report last week which warned of the growing weapons threat from Iran and its ties to terrorists. "Intelligence community managers and analysts must provide their best analytical judgments about Iranian W.M.D. programs and not shy away from provocative conclusions or bury disagreements in consensus assessments," the report said.

Now we have Santorum, on Meet the Press, launching what he and his party hopes is the winning strategy for November: get voters' minds off of Iraq, back onto terror, and squarely onto Iran. Just like they got voters to forget that they failed to capture bin Laden, took their eyes off Afghanistan, and created a shitstorm in Iraq for no good reason. And what we'll likely be hearing until November is what Iran's influence will be like in Iraq, and how terrorists will run amok, if we pull out. Well let's remember one key thing: prior to the March 2003 invasion, there were no terrorists in Iraq, and Iran wielded no influence there. We only have the Busheviks, not Ahmadinejad, to thank for that.

New UN Report Says Afghanistan Sinks Deeper into Taliban-Controlled Opium Abyss. Coulter, is this What You Meant By "Swimmingly?"

On Fox's Hannity and Colmes recently, our favorite Republican psycho freak Ann Coulter was confronted by guest host Kirsten Powers about Bush's failure to capture Osama bin Laden and about the worsening situation in Afghanistan. Never one to disappoint, Coulter, looking as bug-eyed and deranged as ever, responded, "As for catching Osama, it's irrelevant. Things are going swimmingly in Afghanistan." Commendably, Powers was relentless in her follow-up pursuit of sanity which, from Coulter, just isn't there. The Queen of Mean simply imploded, right on screen, and bolted. You can watch it here. (Powers will be appearing shortly on The Ostroy/DeLaite Report tv show in NYC)

And while Coulter thinks things are just peachy-keen in Afghanistan, the rest of us in the sane world beg to differ. In a startling new United Nations report released last week, drug-trafficking and opium-harvesting levels are skyrocketing, showing an increase of almost 50% over 2005, according to Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N.'s Office on Drugs and Crime.

Costa, who called the problem "alarming" and "very bad news" for the Afghan government, said that opium cultivation was in large part due to a reconstituted Taliban presence in the South, the center of the country's opium production. Taliban rebels, he said, have been menacing local growers, offering to trade protection for increased production.

"It is indeed very bad, you can say it is out of control," said Costa, echoing concerns by President Hamid Karzai, who's called on the international community to help bolster his country's police and law enforcement agencies.

Let's remember what the Busheviks quickly have forgotten: that prior to 9/11, it was Afghanistan that was led by the Taliban and which served as a base of operations for bin Laden and al Qaeda, the brutal masterminds of the horrific attacks in Washington, DC and New York City. Bush has taken his eye off the country, but the Taliban clearly hasn't. And while Bush has our troops getting killed in the middle of an ethnic war in Iraq--a country he invaded but which posed no threat to the U.S.--our real enemies are regrouping and thriving elsewhere.

Afghanistan's Southern region is in a state of chaos, Costa said. The growing insurgency has left entire areas outside of government control, a situation caused by farmers, traffickers, corrupt police and government officials who are exploiting the opportunity. The increase in poppy production coincides with a marked increase in Taliban attacks. "The southern part of Afghanistan was displaying the ominous hallmarks of incipient collapse, with large-scale drug cultivation and trafficking, insurgency and terrorism, crime and corruption," Costa said.

The new U.N. report comes on the heels of more bad news that first surfaced in late July when Lt. Gen. David Richards, the most senior British military commander in Afghanistan and head of NATO's international security force there, said the country was "close to anarchy," and warned that western forces there were ill-equipped and "running out of time."

Perhaps Lt. General Richards should give Coulter a call. I'm sure he'd love to hear just how swimmingly things are really going in Afghanistan.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Good News For November: Voters Increasingly Preferring Democrats on Matters of Foreign Policy, Iraq and Terrorism

As the November midterm elections rapidly approach, we've seen President Bush, VP Cheney, Karl Rove and other members of the Bushevik monarchy ratchet up the terrorism rhetoric in an effort to scare Americans into the voting booth to pull the lever for Republicans. Just as they did very successfully in 2002 and '04. Except this time the message is not resonating. In fact, the tactic is backfiring.

Americans are smarter, and more frustrated and angry than ever. For over a year now at least, polls have shown dreadful approval ratings for Bush and Congress, with right track/wrong track numbers painting a very grim picture for GOP incumbents this Fall. But what's consistently saved the Repugs has been the perception among voters that the party is stronger on matters of national defense. But that's changed. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows the Repugs losing serious ground to Democrats on foreign policy, the Iraq war and terrorism, the Bushevik's heretofore bread and butter strength:

-Democrats have a 3-point lead on which party's best to handle Iraq; Repugs had a 30-point lead in October '02
-Democrats lead by 9 points on handling foreign policy; Repugs had an 18-point lead in June '02
-Repugs have a 24-point lead on "ensuring a strong national defense," but that's a significant drop from the 41-point lead they held prior to 9/11
-Repugs now have just a 6-point edge on dealing with terrorism, a continuing slide from their 36-point lead in October '02 and 18-point lead in December '04

Compounding this dismal news for the Busheviks and the GOP is the fact that, according to this week's NY Times/CBS poll, 51% of Americans now believe the Iraq war is separate from the fight against terrorism, and nearly half see it as a major distraction.

And finally, in a new Pentagon report issued Friday on Iraq, the news is even bleaker. The report issued a dire warning of an impending all-out civil war if things do not improve quickly. It highlighted that since May there's been a 15% increase in attacks; a 51% increase in casualties; 1800 Iraqis killed in Baghdad in July alone (with 90% of them having been executed); and Shia/Sunni sectarian violence spiraling out of control and moving North and South of Baghdad. And in what could be the most telling sign of all, various militias, not the government, have been taking over as providers of both security and social services.

So what does this all mean for Democrats in November? For one thing, the Busheviks and the GOP have seen major negative changes in the political landscape over '04: the previous advantages of Bush's popularity, American support for the war, and the stronghold on the terrorism issue are gone. And when you combine this with the Middle East crisis overall, the threat from Iran, sagging consumer confidence, staggering gas prices, record deficits, the bursting housing bubble, stock market declines, and Republican scandal and corruption, the conclusion is simple: if Democrats can't win now, they never will.

Friday, September 01, 2006

New Poll Shows Senate Candidates Brown and Casey Jr. with Sizeable Leads. Is the Senate Getting Within Closer Reach of Democrats?

With the midterm elections a mere 67 days away, Democrats in key battleground states are holding their own in leads over Republican incumbents. In a new USA Today/Gallup poll released Thursday, Rep. Sherrod Brown, who's challenging Sen. Mike DeWine for his Ohio seat, is ahead 6%. Over in Pennsylvania, where the third highest-ranking Republican Rick Santorum is fighting for his political life, challenger Bob Casey Jr. leads by a commanding 18%. Republicans spent the last week desperately trying to convince everyone that Santorum was gaining ground on Bob Casey, but these new numbers prove otherwise. In Montana, Jon Tester leads Sen. Conrad Burns by 3%. In polls earlier in August, Sheldon Whitehouse held a 6% lead over Rhode Island incumbent Lincoln Chafee. Lastly, in a hot contest in Missouri, Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill has been back and forth in the polls in a neck and neck battle with Sen. Jim Talent.

The Dem's need six seats to regain control. A lot can and will happen between now and November 7th that can change the landscape dramatically. Additionally, all expectations are that Democrats will pick up the 15 seats needed to regain control of the House. Stay tuned.