2004 Election Issues
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"For Bush to grant himself this title [War President] is an insult to my grandfather and the inspired leaders who led this country in wars that were just. To put it simply, George W. Bush has not earned the right to be called a War President." - Franklin D. Rossevelt's grandson, James Roosevelt Jr., 10/29/2004

Army staffer: Halliburton case 'worst abuse'

"WASHINGTON - An Army contracting officer who led the FBI to widen its investigation of Pentagon contracts to Halliburton told NBC News that she had never seen a worse case of contracting abuse.

"It was the worst abuse of the procurement and contracting system that I have seen," Bunnatine Greenhouse, the Army Corps of Engineers’ chief contracting officer, told NBC in an exclusive interview. A brief portion of the interview aired on MSNBC, and the full report will be on NBC Nightly News Friday."- MSNBC News, 10/29/2004


Bush Seeks Limit to Suits Over Voting Rights


"This is the first time in history the Justice Department has gone to court to side against voters who are trying to enforce their right to vote. I think this law will mean very little if the rights of American voters have to depend on this Justice Department," said Hebert. J. Gerald Hebert is a former chief of the department's voting-rights section, who worked in the voting-rights section from 1973 to 1994."


George Bush- Irrationality & the Threat to Democracy

George Bush’s foreign & domestic policies are irrational. The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines "irrational" as : (1) not endowed with reason or understanding (2) lacking usual or normal mental clarity or coherence.

Whether it is:
-Global Warming (ignoring one of the world's greatest threats)
-The so-called “War on Terror”  & nuclear proliferation (not taking sufficient actions to counter)
-The Iraq War (reckless disregard for international opinion; lying and failure to plan; disgraceful troop behavior at Abu Ghraib prison; declining troop morale; over 1,200 coalition & 100,000 Iraqi deaths; failure to properly equip our troops; a monetary cost of over 200 billion dollars; incompetent post invasion administration/policy, including disappearance of 380 tons of high explosives & a mounting insurgency.)
- Diplomacy or lack thereof with Iran, Syria & North Korea
-Misconduct in Afghanistan (allowing Osama bin Laden to escape & the return of the Taliban & opium trade)

-
The Arab/Israeli conflict (abandoning the Roadmap for Peace)
-
Abrogation, rejection or withdrawal from foreign treaties (Biological Weapons Convention, Kyoto Treaty, ABM Treaty & Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty)
-
"Star Wars" Missile Defense (unproven & unreliable technology)
-
Scientific research (limiting stem cell research, ignoring global warming, etc)
-Dismantling of Head Start

Polices have been pursued that are counter-intuitive, lack common sense & have had or will have disastrous consequences.

Within his Administration, Bush has attracted ideologues- who however intellectually bright, lack sound judgment and wish to use the President to further their own ambitions and misguided policies.

George Bush is not extremely intelligent, though he is politically savvy. Despite his folksy exterior, he clearly identifies with the wealthy and powerful, especially big oil. He espouses the ownership society versus the collective values of stewardship and ecological protection. However none of this is enough to explain his behavior & policies. Psychological causes are always at the root of irrational behavior. In the Presidential debates Bush came across as lacking self assurance, a fearful man- fearful of the debates and fearful of the world at large. His denial of mistakes, rigidity of thought, judgmental view of the world, impatience, resistance to change and obsession with/over reaction to the Iraqi threat evidences addictive type behavior. He has rationalized the angry divisions he has created in U.S. and the world as being necessary because he has needed to make unpopular (presumably courageous) moves. This circular thinking belies the reality- the reason his policies are unpopular is that they are inherently flawed and have, as a result, sharply divided the nation and the world.

The results of irrational, unclear thinking are obvious in both the short term (the quagmire in Iraq) and the mid to long term (we are less, not more safe from terrorists). Even worse, the United States is perceived by other nations as dangerous- one that needs to be opposed. Our democracy is threatened by a loss of popular & governmental support around the world as well as a loss of personal freedom at home.

Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, we need to restore a rational approach to governance. Policies need to be rooted in facts, informed by sound, clear judgment and communicated with integrity.

In this election the Democrats offer a viable alternative. John Kerry is a man of intelligence, passion, vision, principles, intellect, judgment, courage and above all a rational decision maker who will avoid miscalculations and effectively address pressing domestic & foreign policy issues.

See Also: Pat Robertson says Bush told him there would be no casualties in Iraq war, Douglass K. Daniel, Associated Press, 10/20/2004; Bush Sought ‘Way’ To Invade Iraq?, 1/11/2004;
Richard Clarke's Take on Terror; New York Times endorsement of John Kerry for President ; Washington Post endorsement of Kerry for President; LA Times: A Failed Presidency; Daily Endorsement Tally: Kerry Wraps It Up with Another Strong Day; "With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush's White House" by Esther Kaplan, The New Press, 10/2004; Addiction, Brain Damage and the President: "Dry Drunk" Syndrome and George W. Bush by Katherine van Wormer, 10/2002; Two Years Before 9/11, Candidate Bush was Already Talking Privately About Attacking Iraq, According to His Former Ghost Writer Kerry Slams Bush Over Missing Iraq Explosives


The Results of the Presidential Debates

Presidential Debate 1- Kerry vs. Bush
Date: 9/30/2004
Location: University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL
Topic: Foreign Policy
Outcome:  Kerry Won!

Presidential Debate 2- Kerry vs. Bush
Date: 10/09/2004
Location: Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Topics: Foreign & Domestic policy
Outcome: Kerry Won!- Wins the debate, moves up in the polls-gains in personal favorability- wins the swing electorate

Presidential Debate 3- Kerry vs. Bush
Date: 10/13/2004
Location: Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Topic: Domestic Policy
Outcome: Kerry wins on substance & makes further inroads with independent & undecided voters.
See also: Uncommitted voters pick Kerry.

Vice-Presidential Debate- Edwards vs. Cheney
Date: 10/05/2004
Location: Case Western University, Cleveland, OH
Topics: Foreign & Domestic policy
Outcome: Edwards slight edge among undecided & independents.
See also: Democracy Corps' Edwards/Cheney Debate Survey & Rewriting History: In his debate with John Edwards, Dick Cheney had a brand-new version of the events that led to war.



The Presidential Debates- How John Kerry Wins
Kerry's mission: Offer a positive alternative that reflects his progressive vision for America & the world..

The election results may hinge on the upcoming Presidential debates. To defeat George Bush in the Presidential debates, Kerry must positively, clearly & convincingly convey his Plan for America. He must portray himself as he is- a decisive, consistent, bold, courageous, tough, thoughtful leader- a man of integrity, compassion & strength. Kerry's approach should reflect the message in Bill Clinton's 2004 Democratic Convention Speech. This message conveys a vision for America and the world far different from the Republican Administration's and is very much aligned with Kerry's own Plan for America. Kerry must overcome voter apathy- not just giving voters reasons to not vote for Bush, but reasons to vote for Kerry. Many Americans already have justified doubts about the Bush Administration's competence & vision. Kerry needs to offer a positive alternative that reflects his progressive vision for America & the world.

A 9//28/04 Post & ABC Poll found- "that Bush has built his lead through "relentless attacks on Kerry" that have "badly damaged the Democratic nominee. .... almost as if they [Americans] are reading from Bush campaign ad scripts."  It is a sad commentary on American politics when the electorate is so badly manipulated by TV attack ads. As Marshall Wittmann, Senator John McCain's former director of communications wrote, "President Bush & Vice President Dick Cheney have "waged an unprecedentedly cynical & divisive campaign." See also: "Moose on the Loose." Interestingly, Europeans are dead set against Bush- see: "Europe to Bush: Go Away."  -perhaps because they are not exposed to the same propaganda.

Americans should ask themselves if the same type of propaganda the Bush Administration is using to justify the Iraq war is being used to discredit its political opponents. This includes: Telling of partial truths; Attempting to motivate by fear, not truth- wrapping its policies around the symbols of patriotism, freedom, duty, honor, etc.; Demonizing the enemy; Narrowing the range of discourse; Failing to fully reveal the agendas of outside groups, let alone one’s own government & finally, the bigger the lie- the better.

As political historian Robert Dallek wrote in a 10/26/2004 OpEd in USA Today, "That a president with so questionable a record is still running a competitive race is a little startling. If Bush wins the election, it would seem to represent the triumph of spin politics."


The Iraq War
The First Casualty of War is Truth: War, Propaganda & the Media

"Cynicism runs deep in the upper echelons of America's rulers and fear even more. The man in the Whitehouse is as naive and stupid as the men of the 60's who bled the nation in war to pursue an ideal and escape fears known only to themselves- saving those not seeking salvation and damning them all the while."
Lowell J. Greenberg

"Truth crushed to earth shall rise again, The eternal years of God are hers; But Error, wounded, writhes with pain, And dies among his worshippers." William Cullen Bryant

"The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know."
The unbelievable Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, Feb. 12, 2002 news briefing

9/21/2004: George W. Bush lied to the American people and the world in an effort to convince the world that the illegal Iraq war was justified.

-The very pretext of the war, Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction, was false.

-The President and his advisors were told by the United Nations that there was no evidence of WMDs.

-The CIA told the President that there was no link between Al Qaeda and Iraq.

- Our allies warned the President that the war was not justified and that they would not support our efforts.

- Academia & the State Department reminded the Administration that post invasion Iraq would be a quagmire- easy to defeat the Bath party & Republican Guard, but virtually impossible to maintain the peace.

Yet the Administration went to war- in direct contravention of International Law. Why? Military basing rights in Iraq? To whet our insatiable lust for oil for the next 50-100 years, since Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves? If this was the case, then the term "Evil Empire"- used to refer to the former Soviet Union, would far better describe our own country. Is the world better off without Saddam Hussein? If this is the pretext for going to war, then the argument can be made to go to war against half of the world's leaders- including some would argue the rulers of the United States. Is the world more secure? Diverting resources to Iraq has taken away resources from fighting Al Qaeda and away from addressing the root causes of terrorism- injustice & oppression. Potentially more dangerous enemies have been strengthened and our intelligence community is in disarray. The restrictions on our personal freedoms have made us less- not more secure.

Lying as a pretext for war should be an impeachable offense- no matter how common it has been throughout history. Complete incompetence in our post war Iraq policies is grounds for removal from office. There is a fundamental distinction between courageous decisive action & rashness- the former may lead to success but the later always fails. The President's combination of geniality, imprecise communication, frequent malapropisms, visible impatience & petulance- are dangerous traits for the leader of the free world because they lead to miscalculation by friend & foe. How a President so far removed from the people can be seen by some as a man of the people is a glaring testament to how easily public opinion can be manipulated. A leader that believes he is chosen by God and acts and speaks based on a simplistic view of good versus evil- is extremely dangerous because he is unwilling to entertain an issue's complexity and the true implications of a course of action- having no desire to go beyond his "gut instinct."

Many Americans don't know who and/or what to believe concerning the war. However the truth & its consequences are inescapable & unless the dangerous course this country is taking is reversed, history will be the harshest final judge.

See: The Unjust War in Iraq; Free Speech; The Effect of the War in Iraq on America's Security; Truth & Consequences: The Bush Administration & September 11; Sept. is 2nd-deadliest 2004 month in Iraq; Inspector: Iraq had no WMD before invasion
Final report says Saddam had ambitions but no chemical or biological arms
& The Final Judgment:
Bush and Blair's Case for War is Demolished

 

A Political & Moral Imperative
"
Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral, so I have spoken my piece..."- Garrison Keillor

The Bush Administration has disgraced itself, the United States and our allies. It has contributed to the degradation of the human spirit. It has violated the most fundamental governing principle of "thou shall do no harm." In every facet of domestic & foreign policy it has shown itself weak and subservient to special interests and the politics of fear & hate. It has caused me to be ashamed to be an American.

It is the solemn responsibility of the American people to vote this Administration out of office. This duty transcends politics. World peace & stability may ultimately depend on it. See Also:
Remarks by Al Gore, 5/26/04; Diplomats & Military Commanders for Change; 
A Veteran for Truth ; The Dangers of Fear as a Basis of Foreign Policy ; George Bush, What's Missing?; "A Secure America in a Secure World." & Global Warming

 

Presidents Who Live in Glass Houses Should Not Throw Stones

"These scurrilous attacks on John Kerry's credibility in war, courage and valor are false and George Bush is behind it," he said. "That's why I tried to deliver a letter to the president's home and hand it either to him or one of his aides." - former U.S. Senator and Vietnam war veteran Max Cleland commenting on commercials by a group that calls itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. See also: Kerry's medals were deserved, says widow of slain comrade, Boston Globe 8/27/04 ; Smear and Pivot: Bush's Campaign Strategy ; Bush's Guard Duty Under Microscope ; Bush's military service in question – again: Records appear to show that the president failed to fulfill his duty to the Air National Guard & Brothers in Arms


 

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