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Thursday, November 04, 2004

John Kerry concludes his battle on behalf of Americans with grace

From John Kerry's address at Fanueil Hall:

"I promise you, that time will come. The time will come, the election will come when your work and your ballots will change the world, and it's worth fighting for.

I want to especially say to the American people in this journey, you have given me honor and the gift of listening and learning from you. I have visited your homes. I have visited your churches. I've visited your union halls. I've heard your stories, I know your struggles, I know your hopes. They're part of me now, and I will never forget you, and I'll never stop fighting for you.

You may not understand completely in what ways, but it is true when I say to you that you have taught me and you've tested me and you've lifted me up, and you made me stronger, I did my best to express my vision and my hopes for America. We worked hard, and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently.

But in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans. And that -- that is the greatest privilege and the most remarkable good fortune that can come to us on earth.

With that gift also comes obligation. We are required now to work together for the good of our country. In the days ahead, we must find common cause. We must join in common effort without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion.

I hope President Bush will advance those values in the coming years. I pledge to do my part to try to bridge the partisan divide. I know this is a difficult time for my supporters, but I ask them, all of you, to join me in doing that.

Now, more than ever, with our soldiers in harm's way, we must stand together and succeed in Iraq and win the war on terror. I will also do everything in my power to ensure that my party, a proud Democratic Party, stands true to our best hopes and ideals.

I believe that what we started in this campaign will not end here. And I know our fight goes on to put America back to work and make our economy a great engine of job growth. Our fight goes on to make affordable health care an accessible right for all Americans, not a privilege. Our fight goes on to protect the environment, to achieve equality, to push the frontiers of science and discovery, and to restore America's reputation in the world. I believe that all of this will happen -- and sooner than we may think -- because we're America. And America always moves forward."


The end of this election also means the end of this blog. But I encourage people to remain vigilant and active. The fight for liberty and social justice is just as vital now as it ever was. The most important battles are not the high profile ones, but the ones which are done in the trenches. GET INVOLVED.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Oil prices shoot up in anticipation of Bush victory

Reuters reports:

"Oil prices spiked up above $50 a barrel on Wednesday as signs of an electoral victory for President Bush raised the prospect of continued high U.S. demand and Middle East supply anxiety.

Some U.S. tallies showed Bush just one electoral vote away from reelection, helping to reverse a slide in prices this week on speculation that a win by Democrat Senator John Kerry could usher new energy policies leading to lower prices...

'A Bush administration continued in its present form would have a Department of Energy that is extremely fossil fuel-centric and, because of the focus on fossil fuels, we would expect prices to rise,' said economist Jason Schenker at Wachovia Securities."

Monday, November 01, 2004

Daily Outrage

"The trickery also extends to Florida, where Republicans are running newspaper ads and distrubuting fliers placing Kerry's picture next to Yasser Arafat in an attempt to convince Jewish voters that Kerry supports the ailing Palestinian leader. On Sunday morning stickers reading 'Arafat endorses' appeared on Kerry- Edwards signs in heavily Jewish Miami Beach, though it's not clear who put them up. Kerry has a 100 percent lifetime pro-Israel approval rating from AIPAC and his website calls Arafat 'a failed leader unfit to be a partner for peace.'

These tactics aren't new. In 2002, Republican Saxby Chambliss defeated incumbent Democratic Georgia Senator Max Cleland on the strength of an ad flashing pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden before Cleland while questioning the war hero's "courage to lead" because of his procedural votes against the creation of a Department of Homeland Security. Cleland--who lost three limbs in Vietnam--supported a Democratic version that, unlike the Republican bill cited in the ad, included normal labor protection provisions for its workers."

-Ari Berman, "Misleading By Mail"


"I was all set to vote for George Bush even after finding out that he wouldn't let me marry Mary Cheney if I wanted to. And when he made the pronunciation of "Lambeau Field" a campaign issue? It seemed fair. After all, he's proved that not knowing the names of foreign leaders is much less important than correctly pronouncing the homes of popular sports teams. Of course, he totally sold me with the debates: any man who explains a mystery bulge as bad tailoring is more than confident enough to take on the Euroweenies. But in the end, with the fate of the free world at stake and all, I've got to go with the guy who would admit that sending thousands of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians to their deaths to protect us from imaginary weapons was, in fact, a mistake."

- Ana Marie Cox, aka "Wonkette"

The Choice Is Yours

Photo courtesy of Reuters

John Kerry made the following remarks Friday:

"In Iraq, every day, every headline, has brought fresh evidence that our Commander-in-Chief doesn’t see what’s happening -- isn’t leveling with the American people about why we went to war in Iraq…how the war is going – and has no idea how to put our policy back on track.  His mistakes and misjudgments have hurt our troops, driven away allies, diverted our focus from Osama bin Laden and the real war on terror. 

At home, George Bush looks at lost jobs, falling wages, and rising costs and tells struggling middle-class families that everything’s just fine.  That’s because for the powerful and well-connected friends he’s spent the last four years fighting for, it really is the best economy of their lifetime.  And now he’s asking us to give him another four years so that he can keep giving them more of the same. 

This is George Bush’s record.  But it doesn’t have to be our future...

When I’m President, I will bring other nations to our side and train Iraqis so that we can succeed and bring our troops home. As president, I will fight a tougher, smarter, more effective war on terror.  We will hunt down, capture, and kill the terrorists wherever they are. I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president.

But I believe we need a president who can do more than one thing at a time. 

America has always been driven by a powerful idea:  that with hard work and good values, we can give our children a better life.  Our economy, our society is built on that basic bargain:  Everyone who works hard and does right should have the chance to get ahead.

Not long ago, that middle-class dream was within reach of all those willing to work for it.  But this President walked away from our basic bargain – and today, America’s great middle class is in danger because this President doesn’t share your values.

With almost every choice he’s made, George Bush has given more to those who have the most at the expense of middle-class families who are working hard to get ahead. 

Jobs get shipped overseas, but the companies who send them there get tax breaks.

Today, America is replacing high-paying, middle-class jobs with temporary and part-time jobs that don’t pay enough to make ends meet.  But big corporations keep getting higher profits and larger tax breaks. 

The middle-class is paying a larger share of the tax burden, but the wealthiest individuals making an average of $1.2 million are getting $89 billion in tax cuts.

American families are earning less but paying more.

Health care’s up 64 percent.  College tuition’s up 46 percent.  Medicare premiums are up 56 percent.  5 million more Americans don’t health care.  220,000 students couldn’t afford college last year.  But George Bush thought it was a good idea to give Enron a $254 million tax break, the big drug companies $139 billion in windfall profits, and Halliburton a $7 billion no-bid contract.  You know, as Ronald Reagan used say, facts are stubborn things.

This is George Bush’s record, but it doesn’t have to be our future.  On Tuesday, we have the opportunity to make sure the American Dream touches every American heart.  We can bring back good-paying jobs for middle-class families so that they don’t just get by – they get ahead.  We can bring down the cost of health care and child care and tuition so that you can pay the bills and give your children the same chance at life that your parents gave you. 

This can be our future.

But first we must choose.

It’s a choice between four more years of George Bush’s policy to ship jobs overseas and give tax breaks to the companies that do it -- or a President who will reward the companies that create and keep good jobs here in the United States of America. 

You can choose a fresh start.  And when I’m President, that’s what you’ll get.

On Tuesday, you’ll face a choice between four more years of George Bush’s giveaways to the big drug companies and the big HMOs -- or a President who will finally make health care a right, and not a privilege, for every American.

You can choose a fresh start...

On Tuesday, America faces a choice between four more years of an energy policy for big oil, of big oil, and by big oil -- or a President who finally makes America independent of Mideast oil in ten years.  A choice between George Bush’s policy that just yesterday showed record profits for oil companies and record gas prices for American consumers.  I believe that America should rely on our own ingenuity and innovation, not the Saudi Royal family. 

You can choose a fresh start.  And when I’m President, that’s what you’ll get.

I believe that the only way to do this is by coming together as One America.  It is time for America to put the politics of polarization behind us.  It is time to appeal to the best instincts of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. It is time again for America to honor the truth that what unites us is stronger than what divides us.  It is time for America to renew the faith that there is something for everyone single one of us to do – and challenges each of us to try. 

My fellow Americans, running for president has been a privilege and a gift.   Over two years and more, I have traveled into the communities, the homes, and the town squares of America.  I have seen heartache, but I have also seen hope.  I have been told stories of struggle, but in those voices there is also a sense of optimism.  The people I have met understand how hard the last four years have been, but they know in their hearts that if we believe in ourselves, America’s best days are ahead of us.  

Our choice could not be clearer.  And the stakes could not be higher."

LA Times: "A Failed Presidency"

Joining most of the major newspapers in the country, the Los Angeles Times endorsed John Kerry.

The staff writes:

"If elections were solely a job performance review, President George W. Bush would lose in a landslide. He has been a reckless steward of the nation's finances and its environment, a divisive figure at home and abroad. It's fair to say that Bush has devalued the American brand in the global marketplace.

What keeps this a close race is voter discomfort with Sen. John F. Kerry and the success of Republicans in stoking concerns about Kerry's fitness for office. But the thrust of the Bush campaign message — essentially, you are stuck with me in this frightful time because the other guy is too unreliable — is a tacit acknowledgment that he can't allow the election to be a referendum on his record...

Try to imagine Franklin D. Roosevelt being so disdainful of government while trying to rally the nation during World War II. It wouldn't have worked. Nor would it have worked if he had starved the Treasury of the resources needed to accomplish the mission. That is what Bush has done with his reckless tax cuts and unabated domestic spending.

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the White House initially opposed the move to federalize airport security. Bush was also against creating the Department of Homeland Security, until he realized he was going to lose that fight too. Often forgotten, these were revealing moments...

The Bush years have been a Vegas-style all-you-can-eat buffet for special and not-so-special interests. He is the first president in more than a century not to veto a single piece of legislation, and in the ensuing anything-goes environment, even recent legislation meant to end export subsidies declared illegal by the World Trade Organization somehow degenerated into a $140-billion corporate welfare program."

Full story here.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Dirty dealings by the Republican Majority Leader

"House Majority leader Tom DeLay is not a physically imposing man. 'Five-foot-seven if he's wearing high heels,' in the words of Fort Bend County sheriff Milton Wright, whom DeLay once spent $70,000 to defeat in an election because the sheriff had hired a woman whose husband had sued DeLay. Yet in the decade since Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the former exterminator from suburban Houston has achieved the political stature of the historical giants in Statuary Hall outside his Capitol office. He did it on his own, consolidating his political power and using it with a remarkable sense of purpose.

DeLay's rapid ascent has been the result of more than hard work and a keen understanding of politics. He became majority whip and then majority leader by raising massive sums of money -- a total of $12.6 million between 2000 and 2002 alone -- and by strategically spending it on Republican candidates, in effect buying the loyalty of his colleagues. He has domesticated K Street, demanding loyalty and contributions from lobbyists in return for favorable treatment. And all along the way, he has strained, reinterpreted, and sometimes simply side-stepped ethics regulations in Washington and even in his home state of Texas, which has some of the nation's loosest campaign finance laws.

Now, three separate sets of state and federal investigators are looking into whether DeLay and his associates may have finally crossed the line. They are trying to determine how the majority leader's interlocking political action committees (PACs) work in concert with his protégés in the lobbying industry -- a fundraising apparatus the Washington press corps refers to as "DeLay Inc." They are also considering allegations that this elaborate operation broke state and federal laws -- allegations that have prompted DeLay to hire criminal defense attorneys and raise money for a legal defense fund.

-Lou Dubose, "Justice DeLayed"

Full story here.

Under the Radar

Justin Scheck writes in Mother Jones:

"[W]ith the public focused on terrorism, war, taxes and healthcare, a small group of government officials and oil executives has seized the moment to close in on a deal to open one of Alaska's biggest wildlife refuges to oil drilling.

Government scientists, environmentalists, and Native Americans in the area say the arrangement -- which has the support of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and which won preliminary approval last week from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- will be a precedent-setting erosion of historic environmental protections of Alaska wildlands, and could open the way to widespread oil exploration in the nation's wildest places, starting with the 9 million-acre Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

For two decades, the debate over drilling in Alaska has focused on the Arctic Refuge. Drilling there would require congressional approval and victory over a formidable array of opponents from more than a dozen well-organized environmental groups. But Alaska's 16 other wildlife refuges have no congressional drilling ban; rather, they have been protected from new oil activity for 30 years by an administrative rule that can be lifted at any time. In recent years, oil companies have taken aim at reserves in these other refuges, and they seem to have hit their target in Yukon Flats, a swath of wetlands and forest that borders the Arctic Refuge's southern boundary and that is home to salmon, waterfowl, caribou and moose, among other species."

Full story here.

Higher prices at the pump give oil companies record profits

The Miami Herald reported Thursday:

Exxon Mobil (XOM), the world's largest publicly traded oil company, reported record third-quarter profits and may be headed for all-time marks for annual revenue and earnings, thanks to higher prices for oil and natural gas.

The company said it earned $5.68 billion, or 88 cents per share, in the third quarter, compared with $3.65 billion, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier. The company said it would have earned $6.23 billion in the recent quarter after excluding a $550 million charge to cover the cost of a class-action lawsuit by gas station dealers.

The Independent reported Wednesday:

BP forecast yesterday that oil prices would continue to exceed $30 a barrel for the next few years as it reported a 43 per cent jump in quarterly net profits to $3.9bn (£2.2bn), or £1m an hour.

The underlying profit was $3.5bn, before exceptional items, for the third quarter of the year, the highest underlying quarterly profit the company has ever produced. For the first nine months of the year the $12.6bn profit is another record for the oil giant, up 26 per cent on the period last year.

The company is on course to make nearly $17bn for the full year. Oil prices have hit new records, on a weekly or even daily basis, for much of this year, to exceed $50 a barrel.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

"With oil above $51 a barrel, the oil giants have a problem lots of companies only dream about: What to do with all the cash?

The seven largest Western oil companies are expected to generate $71.3 billion in free cash this year - and that is after funding $78.1 billion in spending for new oil and natural-gas projects, according to John S. Herold Inc., an oil consulting firm.

To put that in perspective, the new 'seven sisters,' a term for the largest Western oil companies, could band together and buy eBay Inc. at today's share prices and still have some $6 billion in pocket change. By itself, Exxon Mobil Corp., which will generate an estimated $22.5 billion in cash this year, could snap up Apple Computer Inc.

Expatica reports:

"Oil and fuel giant Royal Dutch/Shell unveiled a 70 percent jump in third quarter profits Thursday and announced plans to merge into one company that will be run from the Netherlands.

Shell reported net profit for the third quarter of this year on a current cost of supply basis at EUR 4.4 billion compared with EUR 2.59 billion in the same period last year."

Reuters reported Friday:

"Sinopec Corp. Asia's largest refiner, said on Friday its third-quarter net profit soared 62 percent to a record high thanks to soaring global oil prices and booming Chinese demand for chemicals and gasoline.

The results at Beijing-controlled Sinopec topped market forecasts, and the company said it was upbeat on its outlook given continued strong demand in energy-hungry China."

The Olympian reports:

"At the same time, the industry's extraordinary gains are putting a dent in the finances of families and businesses.

U.S. consumers are expected to pay $40 billion more this year just to heat their homes and fuel their cars and trucks.

As for corporate America, perhaps no other sector has been hit as hard as the airline industry.

The seven largest U.S. carriers reported more than $1.3 billion in combined net losses for the third quarter as soaring jet fuel bills undermined carriers' best efforts to reduce expenses. "

The Independent again:

"The superheated US election campaign enters its final weekend with Democrats pounding George Bush on the missing 380 tons of explosives in Iraq, and over a potentially embarrassing FBI inquiry into the controversial oil services group Halliburton ú not to mention the sudden intervention last night of Osama bin Laden...

Mr Bush began the day with a speech that for once did not mention Mr Kerry by name, as his strategists aim to give a more forward-looking, upbeat flavour to his message after weeks of pouring scorn and insult on the challenger.

But, even before the emergence of the video message by the al-Qa'ida leader, events are putting the Bush campaign on the back foot. It emerged yesterday that the FBI is investigating possible violations of military procurement rules by the Pentagon, over the award of contracts to repair Iraqi oil fields to Halliburton, formerly headed by the Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Mr Kerry's running mate John Edwards instantly seized on the news: "You cannot stand with Halliburton, big oil companies and the Saudi royal family, and still stand up for the American people," he told a cheering crowd in Davenport, Iowa--a swing state Mr Kerry is fighting to hold in the face of a strong Bush challenge...

The President's campaign has been caught doctoring a TV ad showing Mr Bush addressing a military audience. Simultaneously, aides were scrambling to explain away remarks by the former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani suggesting that the military, not the President, was responsible for guarding the explosives."

New comprehensive study: Global warming is having a rapid effect on environment, industry

The Washington Post reports:

"The most comprehensive international assessment of Arctic climate change has concluded that Earth's upper latitudes are experiencing unprecedented increases in temperature, glacial melting and weather pattern changes, with most of those changes attributable to the human generation of greenhouse gases from automobiles, power plants and other sources.

The 144-page report is the work of a coalition of eight nations that have Arctic territories -- including the United States, which has hosted and financed the coalition's secretariat at the University of Alaska.

The findings, which reflect four years of study, confirm earlier evidence that the Arctic is warming far more quickly than the earth overall, with temperature increases in some northern regions exceeding by tenfold the average 1 degree Fahrenheit increase experienced on Earth in the past 100 years...

Those changes are already having practical impacts, including a reduction in the number of days each year that the tundra is hard enough to be driven on or drilled safely for oil. They can be expected to have even greater impact in the near future, the report predicts, in terms of agriculture, wildlife ranges for terrestrial and marine plants and animals, and global shoreline flooding because of increases in sea level caused by melting ice...

'Climate change is not something that's going to happen -- it is happening all over the Arctic,' Palsson said. 'The Arctic is sort of a bellwether' for the rest of the earth...

The Bush administration has consistently resisted calls for mandatory curbs on carbon dioxide emissions, saying that it would cost too many American jobs. A coalition headed by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) is pushing legislation that would establish a pollution trading system aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions to 2000 levels by 2010, but it lacks the votes for passage."

Full story here.

NASA analyst: Bush wore a device during the first debate

Salon reports:

"George W. Bush tried to laugh off the bulge. 'I don't know what that is,' he said on 'Good Morning America' on Wednesday, referring to the infamous protrusion beneath his jacket during the presidential debates. 'I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt.'

Dr. Robert M. Nelson, however, was not laughing. He knew the president was not telling the truth. And Nelson is neither conspiracy theorist nor midnight blogger. He's a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis. Currently he's engrossed in analyzing digital photos of Saturn's moon Titan, determining its shape, whether it contains craters or canyons...

Nelson stresses that he's not certain what lies beneath the president's jacket. He offers, though, 'that it could be some type of electronic device -- it's consistent with the appearance of an electronic device worn in that manner.' The image of lines coursing up and down the president's back, Nelson adds, is 'consistent with a wire or a tube.'"

Full story here.

Eminem's Mosh

Eminem's new video deals with politics and the war in Iraq. The ascendence of corporate interests over the public interest can be stopped by one powerful weapon: the right to vote. "Mosh" can be viewed here.

The Guardian reports:
The video is Eminem's most directly political work. It comes as other stars, from Bruce Springsteen to Leonardo DiCaprio, take to the stump - almost exclusively for Mr Kerry.

The video was first aired on MTV on Wednesday and immediately went to the top of the channel's "hot video" charts.

In it, the rapper leads a crowd of hooded people, including a mother with an eviction notice and a soldier given orders to return to Iraq, in a march to storm a government building. Once inside, the mob remove their hoods and stand in an orderly queue to vote.

Eminem, now wearing a smart suit and red tie, declaims in a style reminiscent of Martin Luther King:

"In these closing statements, if they should argue, let us beg to differ, as we set aside our differences, and assemble our own army, to disarm this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president, for the present."

The video was made by the Guerrilla News Network, a small independent company that has produced other music videos as well as a documentary about the dangers of depleted uranium in Iraq after the US-led invasion...

The climax to the video comes as the crowd faces riot police. As images of Mr Bush and Osama bin Laden flicker on a giant screen, the rapper sings: "No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our soil/No more psychological warfare to trick us to think that we ain't loyal/If we don't serve our own country we're patronising a hero/Look in his eyes, it's all lies, the stars and stripes/They've been swiped, washed out and wiped, And replaced with his own face."

The video ends with a black screen and the words "Vote November 2".

Down to the Wire

Collating a variety of polls, Slate has come to the conclusion that if the election were held today, John Kerry would pull in 272 electoral votes and George W. Bush would land 266. The Slate electoral map shows Kerry gaining momentum in Wisconsin and maintaining Hawaii. You can mull over their analysis here.

Britain's First Lady lambasts Bush over human rights record

The Scotsman reports:
Cherie Blair has criticised the policies of the US President George W Bush, attacking his stance on terrorist prisoners and gay rights.

The Prime Minister’s wife was condemned by supporters of the US President, after a speech to Harvard law students which contained a stinging rebuke to Bush, while on a lecture tour of the United States.

She attacked the manner in which the White House has dealt with the human rights of UK citizens detained at the US-run Camp X-Ray prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Blair said the decision by the US Supreme Court, fiercely opposed by Bush’s government, to give legal protection to two of the Britons detained at the camp was "profoundly important" and a "significant victory for human rights and the international rule of law".

She took a sideswipe at Bush’s record on gay rights, condemning the arrest of a homosexual couple in the President’s home state of Texas, for defying a ban on gay sex. The US Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the law, which had been backed by Bush, was a "model of judicial reasoning".

AP: Presidential race is a virtual tie

The Associated Press reportes:

"President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are virtually tied in the Electoral College count, fighting over eight to 10 states so close and unpredictable that anything is possible Tuesday night.

After months campaigning and a half-billion dollars spent on attack ads, Bush and Kerry are still at the whim of unexpected events such as Osama bin Laden's sudden emergence on Friday, a videotape appearance that sent both candidates scrambling to pledge victory in the fight against terrorism.

'Under normal circumstances, undecided voters break against the incumbent this late in an election. However, these are not normal circumstances. This is a time of war,' said Michigan pollster Steve Mitchell."

Film noir, or a bankrupt presidency

"As George Will has pointed out, our war in Iraq has now lasted longer than America's involvement in World War I. The span from 9/11 to Election Day 2004 is only three months shy of the 41 months separating the attack on Pearl Harbor from V-E day. And still the storyline doesn't compute. Mr. Bush, having not brought back his original bad guy dead or alive, is now fond of saying that 'three-quarters of Al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice.' Even if true, is he telling us the war on terror is three-quarters over? Al Qaeda is, by our government's own account, in 60 countries. Last time I looked we're only at war in two.

The administration tries to finesse such narrative disconnects by creating a noir mood of 'perpetual fear' - to borrow Philip Roth's totemic phrase from 'The Plot Against America' - in line with what it sees as a perpetual war. But is perpetual war any more coherent a plot line? Mr. Bush calls himself 'a war president' any chance he gets, yet he must be the first war president in history to respond to every setback with a call for new tax cuts. There isn't a person in the world, including our enemies, who doesn't know that we have fewer troops than we need, now or in perpetuity, and that we're too broke to spring for more."

-Frank Rich, New York Times

Washington Post columnist says: Impeach George W. Bush on Tuesday

"Say what you will about Bill Clinton, no one died in the White House pantry.

The same cannot be said in the larger sense about George Bush. Well over 1,000 Americans and countless more Iraqis have died because the president insisted on going to war. I know I should grieve for the Iraqi dead as much as I do the Americans, but I simply don't. It is the Americans -- those names I read almost every day, the hometowns, the lives I conjure up for them, the hideous moments of death -- who would make up every one of my articles of impeachment.

My peripatetic colleague Dana Milbank recently reported on a poll showing that 72 percent of Bush's supporters believe Iraq did in fact possess weapons of mass destruction and that 75 percent believed Hussein gave al Qaeda "substantial support." These beliefs are false, in contradiction of the facts, and even Bush, when pressed, has admitted that. But these beliefs did not arise out of nowhere. They are a direct consequence of the administration's repeated lies -- lies of commission, such as Cheney's statements, and lies of omission, the appalling failure to correct wrongly held views.

Not since the Spanish-American War has the United States gone off to war so casually, so half-cocked and so ineptly. The sinking of the Maine, the casus belli for that dustup, has been replaced by missing weapons of mass destruction, and the Hearst and Pulitzer presses are now talk radio and Fox News Channel. Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. Still, though, we mourn the dead, look away from the wounded and maimed, and wonder what it was all about. We embarked, truly and regrettably, on a crusade...

If he were the CEO of some big company, the board would offer him a golden parachute -- and force him to jump. But in government, it's the people who make those decisions. We get our chance on Tuesday.

Impeach Bush.

-Richard Cohen, "Impeach Bush

Homeland Security Unit stalled by budget shortfall

"A key unit of the Department of Homeland Security has slipped into a state of financial turmoil that could endanger its ability to investigate terrorists, pay informants and perform wiretaps, some department employees and officials say.

All hiring and transfers at the department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division have been banned for two months, as have almost all training, purchases of supplies and equipment, and maintenance of vehicles. Top department officials say they are committed to protecting ICE's ability to perform investigations, but agents in the field say ICE's budget shortfall of perhaps $500 million may soon threaten its national security work."

Full story here.

The Economist endorses John Kerry

The Economist, no left-wing vehicle, has endorsed John Kerry for president.

Among other things, the magazine notes:

"Today, Guantánamo Bay offers constant evidence of America's hypocrisy, evidence that is disturbing for those who sympathise with it, cause-affirming for those who hate it. This administration, which claims to be fighting for justice, the rule of law and liberty, is incarcerating hundreds of people, whether innocent or guilty, without trial or access to legal representation. The White House's proposed remedy, namely military tribunals, merely compounds the problem."

The Economist comes to this conclusion:

"Mr Bush's credibility has been considerably undermined not just by Guantánamo but also by two big things: by the sheer incompetence and hubristic thinking evident in the way in which his team set about the rebuilding of Iraq, once Saddam Hussein's regime had been toppled; and by the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, which strengthened the suspicion that the mistreatment or even torture of prisoners was being condoned...

John Kerry says the war was a mistake, which is unfortunate if he is to be commander-in-chief of the soldiers charged with fighting it. But his plan for the next phase in Iraq is identical to Mr Bush's, which speaks well of his judgment. He has been forthright about the need to win in Iraq, rather than simply to get out, and will stand a chance of making a fresh start in the Israel-Palestine conflict and (though with even greater difficulty) with Iran. After three necessarily tumultuous and transformative years, this is a time for consolidation, for discipline and for repairing America's moral and practical authority. Furthermore, as Mr Bush has often said, there is a need in life for accountability. He has refused to impose it himself, and so voters should, in our view, impose it on him, given a viable alternative. John Kerry, for all the doubts about him, would be in a better position to carry on with America's great tasks."