Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 
Saturday, July 26, 2003

That’s all for now.

I'm headed out to Panama City Beach, in FLA, the Redneck Riviera, baby! A little fun, a little sun, and a whole lotta economic stimulus, since I got my rebate check in the mail this morning. That's right, mailed on Friday, in my box by Saturday morning.

Y'all take care while I'm gone. You can have some friends over, but no parties!

I'll be back next weekend, so while I'm gone, check out the good folks to the left.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, July 24, 2003

A little good news

We keep hearing from our friends on the left that it's all about jobs and the economy. I wonder why we haven't heard anything about this?
The number of Americans lodging new jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since February, the government said on Thursday in a report showing surprising strength in the U.S. job market.

The level of new claims, which gives an early reading on the resilience of the job market, plunged by 29,000 to 386,000 in the July 19 week, down from a revised 415,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department (search) said.

New claims were far below Wall Street expectations for 413,000 applications, and the lowest since the week of Feb. 8. It was also the first time since then that initial claims were below the critical 400,000 mark, a level viewed by economists as the sign of a soft jobs market.


One week does not a trend make, but coupled with the flat line we've seen on unemployment over the last several cycles, this could be really good news.

Posted by Rich
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The New Tailgate Party is here!

Uncle has just posted the latest Tailgate Party, where the best and the brightest of the RTB are celebrated for their wisdom and perspicacity. It takes talent, ambition, and a significant amount of booty osculation to get a post in the VTP. The selection process is long and arduous, ensuring that only the finest blogs are presented for your perusal.

Actually, none of the above is true. All you have to do is submit a post and you're in.

There's a good crop of posts this week, so head over there and check 'em out.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, July 23, 2003

A Dark Day for Democrats

Bill Clinton has sold them out.

Clinton appeared on Larry King Live last night and had this to say about Iraq, WMD, and the SOTU speech:
First of all, the White House said -- Mr. Fleischer said -- that on balance they probably shouldn't have put that comment in the speech. What happened, often happens. There was a disagreement between British intelligence and American intelligence. The president said it was British intelligence that said it. And then they said, well, maybe they shouldn't have put it in.

Let me tell you what I know. When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know. So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don't cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions.


He goes on to say:
We should be pulling for the people of Iraq. We can have honest disagreements about where we go from here, and we have space now to discuss that in what I hope will be a nonpartisan and open way. But this State of the Union deal they decided to use the British intelligence. The president said it was British intelligence. Then they said on balance they shouldn't have done it. You know, everybody makes mistakes when they are president. I mean, you can't make as many calls as you have to make without messing up once in awhile.


There you have it from the big dog himself. The "16 words" were based on British intelligence, which the Brits still stand by.

Bush didn't lie. Clinton left open the question of whether it was poor judgment to use the intel, but that is a valid point of contention.

Posted by Rich
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Ways to enjoy your lay off.

As y'all know, my buddies at WOKI are facing the specter of unemployment, something I may also be facing in the near future. As a public service for them, and anyone else who's suffered through the weakened job market, I thought I'd give us all a look at the positive side of unemployment. So, without further ado, here is my list of

Ways to Enjoy a Lay Off


  • Maintain your contacts by calling your employed friends and inviting them to play a round of golf.
    On Wednesday morning.
  • Annoy conservatives by going to the welfare office in your three piece suit.
  • Relieve the stress of unemployment by going on a "free" timeshare vacation. As soon as the sales pitch begins, inform the agent you were just laid off. Enjoy a peaceful, free vacation.
  • Use your new freedom to take up a hobby, like panhandling in the old city. You’ll meet interesting new people, and improve your job interview skills.
  • Keep physically fit by participating in sports, like competitive sleeping, or advanced aerobics class spectating. (Warning! The latter may involve actual exercise if you get caught.)
  • Use the opportunity to pursue an alternate career by finally completing that ICS course on locksmithing you started 10 years ago.
  • Show that there's no hard feelings by filing humorous complaints with OSHA, EPA, and Labor Board against your old employer. Claim you were let go for being a whistle blower. Enjoy the hilarity that ensues.
  • Show your spouse how much you appreciate their patience by taking over some of the household chores. Annoy the crap out of them by telling them how they've been doing it wrong.
  • Get involved with your kids' education. Volunteer at their school and make sure to embarrass them at every opportunity. This is easier than it sounds, because the simple fact of your presence is enough to mortify them for months.
  • Have fun with telemarketers. Engage them in long draw-out conversations. Order one of everything they're selling, with all options. Once they get to billing, suddenly remember that you're unemployed. (This option also has a socially redeeming value, since as long as the soulless vampire is tied up with you, he isn't sucking the life out of the next poor bastard on his list.)


So you see, there are plusses to being unemployed. With a little forethought, and a minimal effort on your part, there's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy this quiet interlude in your life and come out the other side rested, relaxed, and amused, while also continuing to contribute to the public good.

Posted by Rich
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Valarie Plame and Bob Novak

There's a lot of foaming at the mouth coming from the left over this one. Bob Novak wrote a column which has sent the sharks on the left into a feeding frenzy. They claim that the Bush administration revealed an undercover CIA operative as revenge. This is absolutely unconscionable, and if true is worthy of impeachment.

But is it true?

Here are the details. Retired diplomat Joe Wilson was sent to Niger in 2002 to investigate intelligence reports which suggested that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. Wilson is not a member of the CIA, but was recruited for this task, as he had been stationed there during his career. Wilson reported that the story was unlikely.

This all blew up when Wilson wrote in the Times that the claim in the SOTU speech was false, and told about his trip.

Now Novak casually mentions in his column that Wilson's wife, Valarie Plame, is a CIA operative and was the one who recruited Wilson.

This is the info that has the dems all sweaty. They are accusing the Bush of revealing a covert agent as petty revenge on a dissenting diplomat.

It's a great story. Too bad it's not true.

Here's the relevant portion of Novak's column:
Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him.


Note that the info that Plame is a CIA operative in unattributed. The "two senior administration officials" are the source for saying that Plame recruited Wilson, a charge by the way that Wilson flatly and angrily denies.
"That is bulls__t. That is absolutely not the case," Wilson told TIME. "I met with between six and eight analysts and operators from CIA and elsewhere [before the Feb 2002 trip]. None of the people in that meeting did I know, and they took the decision to send me. This is a smear job."


In a press briefing, Scott McClellan catagorically denied that anyone in the administration was authorized to leak that information.
That is not the way this President or this White House operates. And there is absolutely no information that has come to my attention or that I have seen that suggests that there is any truth to that suggestion. And, certainly, no one in this White House would have given authority to take such a step.

McClellan prudently stopped short of saying that it couldn't have happened, but emphasized over repeated questions that there were no authorized leaks, and that the White House doesn't work that way.

So we have an unattributed outing of a CIA agent as supposed retaliation for an exposure of a lie that was never told.

More cotton candy from the left.

There will be a congressional investigation, and a lot depends on who the "two senior administration officials" are, what exaactly they told Novak, who actually approached Wilson, and who was the source for outing Plame.

IF it it is proven that Plame did recruit her husband, and
IF it is proven that administration officials leaked the info that she was a CIA operative and
IF it is proven that the leak was oredered by the White House, and
IF it is proven that Bush gave the order, then it's time for impeachment. But that's a long chain of 'ifs'. It's much more likely that the leak was unauthorized, and the person responsible will take the fall.

But we'll wait and see.

Posted by Rich
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A good question

Rush Limbaughtomy links to a series of stories about cnservatives who fall onto hard times, hurt by legislation they support. The stories are satire, but he fails to indicate that in his post, although a commentor pointed out where the picture was stolen from.

But the really interesting thing is the question he asks at the end of the post:
How do so many vote Republican when it is clearly against their best interest?


Maybe it's because we're capable of voting in the country's best interest, even if it may not be in our own best interest. You remember, that whole "Ask not what your country can do for you..." thing? Dems used to be really big on that kind of stuff. Now it just confuses the hell out of 'em.

Pretty ironic, eh?

Posted by Rich
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A chance to make a difference.

A few days ago, I wrote about how Citadel Communications was shutting down one of the few good radio stations in Knoxville, WOKI, 100.3 The River. Citadel has not officially announced the format, but there are rumors floating that they plan on airing Hot Adult Contemporary music, whatever the heck that is. Apparently they want to take market share from B97.5 in order to make WIVK, the number one station in the market, look even better.

Well, there's some people in Knoxville who would rather not have another automated station playing the muzak that marketers think we want to hear, and they're trying to do something about it. There are two websites that I know of that are organizing campaigns to try and save The River. They are:

Save 100 The River and Don't Damn the River Both sites have contact information for both local and corporate management for Citadel.

If you like a choice, if you like a wide variety of music, if you like a station that gets involved with the community, then please take the time to visit these sites, and send an email to Citadel supporting The River.

Here are three key email addresses:

John King Regional Vice President
Judy Ellis Chief Operating Officer
Eric Logan President of Programming


We have to be honest, and realize that petitions alone aren't going to do anything. In order to get their attention, you have to hit them in the pocketbook, and the key to that is advertisers. Yes, I'm talking about a boycott.

You don't have to wait for one to be organized; simply act on your own. Let advertisers know that you won't be supporting them if they advertise on Citadel stations.

The most important thing is to act now. WOKI goes off the air at midnight on July 31. Time is running out.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Next let’s arrange a family reunion

According to reuters, it appears that we may have gotten Udai and Qusai Hussein, Saddam's two sons. If this report pans out, it'll be the best news we've had in awhile. Udai, the eldest son of Saddam, was nothing but a brutal thug, but Qusai was dangerous, perhaps even more so than his father. While Udai lived a flamboyant lifestyle, his younger brother kept out of the spotlight, earning his father's trust and working his way up into Saddam's councils. Udai, on the other hand, played the role of the out of control animal, going so far as to kill one of his father's favorite servants. Shortly thereafter, there was an assassination attempt on Qusai that nearly succeeded, leaving him crippled.

There are reports that Udai planned and co-ordinated that attempt, shifting the blame to a rebel group called Dawa.

Afterward, the younger brother held the stronger position as his father's successor. While Udai was relegated to running the government press and the national Olympic team, Qusai ran the Special Republican Guard.

They are both animals, but Qusai had a brain to go with his brutality.

It would have been better to capture them, particularly since the rumor is that Qusai was in charge of hiding the WMD prior to the War.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, July 21, 2003

Cherry Picking.

SKBubba has put up a post on air quality in Tennessee, and TVA's pollution reduction efforts. He uses the post to take a swipe at the Bush administration saying:
"The current administrations [sic] relaxed attitude about air pollution can also be seen in TVA's data. Note some of the changes on the current administration's watch:

Allen: SO2 up 35% and CO2 up 53% since 1999.

Bull Run: SO2 up 10%, NOX up 37% since 1999.

Colbert: NOX declined from 2000 to 2001, increased in 2002.

Cumberland: SO2 declined from 2000 to 2001, increased in 2002.

Gallatin: NOX declined from 1999 to 2000, began steady increase in 2001.

Johnsonville: NOX decreased from 2000 to 2001, increased in 2002. SO2 decreased from 1999 to 2001, increased in 2002.

Shawnee: NOX and SO2 emissions declined from 1999 to 2001, then increased sharply in 2002


Pretty damning. Until you look at all the data to get a real picture of what's going on. Starting from the top: (all data in thousands of tons unless otherwise specified)

Allen.

The average SO2 emissions from the Allen plant during the last four years (1997-200) of the Clinton admin were 18.5. For the first two years of Bush: 17.1. For CO2, Clinton's numbers were 4765.3 Bush 5144. So what are we looking at? Under the Bush administration, the Allen plant averages less SO2 emissions, and only an 8% increase in CO2 emissions than the previous administration. That's a far cry from 35% and 53% increases, isn't it?

Maybe the Allen plant is an exception. Maybe the other plants that Bubba cites are the real bad guys.

Nope.

Bull Run
SO2 Clinton 49.25 Bush 42.6 Decrease
NOX Clinton 15.6 Bush 17.5 12% increase

Colbert:
NOX Clinton 16.2 Bush 15.1 Decrease

Cumberland:
SO2 Clinton 19.3 Bush 16.1 Decrease

Gallatin:
NOX Clinton 11.8 Bush 11.4 Decrease

Johnsonville:
NOX Clinton 19.9 Bush 22.4 12.6% Increase
SO2 Clinton 117 Bush 101.5 Decrease

Shawnee
SO2 Clinton 35.6 Bush 33.5 Decrease
NOX Clinton 26.3 Bush 19.3 Decrease

So why are my numbers so different from Bubba's? Am I massaging the data to get the results I want? I'll let you decide.

In his post, Bubba says that the data shows how the Bush administration is "relaxed" on air pollution. So I decided to compare them to the previous administration. Looking at the data, taking the first term of the Clinton admin would be unfair, since many of the new regs were just going into effect, producing tremendous drops in emissions. Using the entire 8 years would artificially inflate his admissions, putting him at an unfair disadvantage. However, the data also shows that the lion's share of improvements had occurred by 1996, so I chose to use Clinton's second term as comparison. The rest is simple math. I took an average for the last four years (1997-200) of the Clinton administration, and compared it to the average for the first 2 years of the Bush administration.

Not a lot of massaging involved.

On the other hand, let's look at what Bubba did. He chose the year 1999 as his basis for comparison, even though Clinton still had a year left in office. Why?

It could be because 1999 represented a low point in emissions in all catagories at most coal fired plants in TVA. Was this due to some marvelous Clinton initiative? Nope. NOAA data shows that Jan, Feb, Nov and Dec of 1999 averaged almost Download file" target=_blank>4.5 degrees warmer (Excel summary of NOAA data) than usual while the rest of the year was only .8 degrees warmer than usual. Emissions were down because the winter was unusually mild. Unless you want to credit Clinton with el Nino, the unusual low emissions of 1999 do not represent a valid data point. This is further verified by the fact that nearly every emission rose back to a more normal level in 2000.

Bubba has endulged in a favorite ploy used by many environmentalists. Take the low point, regardless of circumstances, and compare it to current performance. Although you're guaranteed to get a dramatic increase the statistical invalidity of such a practice is readily apparent. Only by taking a series of data points can you get a true representative sample.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, July 20, 2003

David Kelly and the BBC

Here is all we need to know to judge these events:
"I believe I am not the main source," Kelly told the committee Tuesday. "From the conversation I had, I don't see how (Gilligan) could make the authoritative statement he was making."


Gilligan is Andrew Gilligan, the BBC reporter who published a report accusing the Blair administration of distorting intelligence on Iraq's WMD capabilities, supposedly based on conversations with Kelly.

Is Gilligan another Blair?

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, July 19, 2003

A Lesson in Leadership

There's one in every work group. You know the guy; he's the one that always thinks he has a better plan. No matter what's going on, it's all screwed up.

"We shouldn't be doing it this way," he'll proclaim to anybody unlucky enough to be in earshot. "This is all screwed up. It'll never work."

When things go well, he dismisses it with a shrug and a "Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day. They got lucky." But let things go wrong, and it's "See! I told you they didn't have a clue. I knew they were all screwed up. But would they listen to me? Heck no! Gotta keep the peons in their place; that's the way the Man thinks!" And somehow, you can hear the capital "M" in his voice.

Of course, the guy never has any real ideas on how things should be done better; he just likes to make himself feel important by his constant carping. Try and pin him down on ways to improve the job, and you get, "Hell, that ain't my job. I just do what I'm told. But I'm smart enough to know what's what, I'll tell you that much."

Gee, thanks. "What's what." Never would have thought of that.

The endless stream of negativity from this dolt drives his co-workers nuts, not to mention his poor supervisor, until they eventually learn to ignore the whiny little bugger. Usually by then, he manages to transfer into a new group, so he can terrorize them for a few months.

You all know him, and have had to work with him at some point, so here's my question:

Would you put that lousy son of a bitch in charge of anything more important than counting the wood in the scrap bin?

Just a thought....

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, July 17, 2003

Ron Jeremy look-a-like no more!

The scars from the plastic surgery have healed, and you now see the new me.

OK, no surgery involved, but it's amazing what a good night's sleep, a shower and a haircut will do for you.
Before.
newpic.JPG
After
por4.JPG

Posted by Rich
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A night on the town

Posting will be light today, as I am headed to K-town for Sundaown in the City, to eat dinner at Sullivans, then listen to some good music from Sister Hazel. I know y'all will manage to get along with out me for a little while.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, July 16, 2003

One last time, for old times sake.

SKBubba, a man I know and respect, has catalogued what he sarcastically calls a list of Bush accomplishments. It is quite a recitation of machiavellian manipulation combined with boneheaded incompetence designed to make a liberal's toes crack with outrage.

There's only one slight problem.

Much of it is wrong, some of it is out right deceptive, and whatever kernals of truth the list contains are drowned out by the blast of bias and venom.

There are legitimate issues for the libs to oppose Bush; I even share some of them. But when they are enveloped in spurious attacks characterized by distortion and misinformation, their legitimacy is lost in the noise.

Let's take a look at the list, item by item, and see if we can find those kernals of truth. Hang on; it could be a bumpy ride.

The Bush Administration Record of Accomplishment (so far):


  • Engineered a coup in conspiracy with brother Jeb in Florida to take office
    Unfounded. This issue has been discussed exhaustively over and over again. There simply isn't the evidence to prove a conmspiracy which would have to stretch over several years, be able to pinpoint the key state in an election 2 years away, and put the mechanisms in place to effectively steal that state. The ballot recounts showed Bush won. The overvotes were not counted in accordance with the law of the state of Florida, it being impossible to determine voter intent when two valid votes exist. The purging of the voter rolls is a questionable area, but considering that more connections between Saddam Hussein and al Qaida have been documented than between Republicans and ChoicePoint, and we know how credible liberals find that connection.



  • Administration made up of former executives involved in illegal arms sales, trading with the enemy in violation of U.S. law, and corporate financial scandals, and their companies are now profiting from war
    Distortion of the facts, if not an outright lie. Halliburton was convicted of selling arms to Iran, however, Dick Cheney was not a part of the company when the ofense occurred. For an exhaustive discussion of Halliburton past and present, go here, and follow the included links.



  • Stonewalled Federal judge requesting files in relation to White House official's involvement in corporate finance scandal
    Bush acted in accordance with advice from the White House Counsel, advice which mirrored that produced by the Clinton White House when similar demands were made. Protecting Executive privilege is a legitimate function of the President. If you believe that power is being abused, you'll have to come up with evidence.



  • Representing party of smaller government and less Federal spending, creates largest bureaucracy in U.S. history and supports largest entitlement spending program in U.S. history
    True, but incomplete. Much of the expansion in social spending comes from compromise with the liberals in Congress, in order to pass a budget. Is it a wise tactical move to criticize a president for advancing your agenda? As for the largest bureaucracy, 9-11 has something to do with that, although the effectiveness of that bureaucracy is questionable, and a legitimate campaign issue.


  • 26% loss in Dow Jones Industrial Average, 48% loss in NASDAQ, 33% loss in S&P 500, trillions in wealth wiped out.
    For these numbers to be meaningful, you'd have to show causation, identifying specific actions of the President which caused the loss in market value. This will prove difficult, since the market peaked prior to the election, and most analysts attribute the drop to the collapse in tech stocks after the dot com bubble burst. Add the effects of 9-11 to that downward pressure, and there's not much blame left to attribute to Bush. Add to that the fact that the market has bottomed and is rebounding and the market becomes a very weak issue.



  • 9% increase in consumer debt to all time high of $1.74 trillion
    Misleading and meaningless. Obviously, with rare exceptions, consumer debt as an absolute number will increase over time, as the number of consumers increases over time. However, let's take a closer look at the numbers and see how Dubya rates among recent presidents. During Dubya's first two years, consumer debt rose 10.4%. By contrast, during Bill Clinton's first two years, consumer debt rose a whopping 22.8%, and 21.6% during his second two years. He fell off his stride during the first half of his second term; consumer debt rose a modest 11.1%. He closed strong, though, finishing up with a 17.6% gain. Going back to Bush the Elder, I found that he had an increase of 6.9% during his first two years, and a decrease of 0.2% to finish up. By these numbers, it looks like Dubya has cut the rate of growth of consumer debt by nearly 50%. You can run against that if you'd like, but it might be difficult.



  • 25% increase in overall bankruptcy filings, 8% increase in business filings, 26% increase in personal bankruptcy filings
    This chart shows that the bankruptcy rate has been increasing at a steady pace since 1984, allowing for the effects of economic downturns. This table gives the numbers behind the chart, and shows that the bulk of the increase (19%) occurred during the first year of his term, when reverberations from the dot bomb, Enron, and Worldcom were still ravaging the economy. It is notable that bankruptcies were up only 5% during the last full year. The question becomes this: What effect does the President have on the filing of personal bankruptcies?



  • Two and a half million jobs lost and counting

  • Unemployment claims at eight year high, nearly nine million people out of work
    Looking at the statistics from the Bureau of labor, we see that again, the majority of job losses came during the peak of the recession during Bush's first year. The rate of job loss has dropped to nearly zero, and most economists are predicting a strong second half. 16% of corporate CEO's are expecting to hire new workers during the next 6 months, up from 9% last month. Should the recovery continue and grow stronger, it will be very difficult for dems to run on. But you're welcome to try.



  • Record budget deficits, $450 billion and growing
    Record by number, but not as a percentage of GDP, which is a more informative number. However, given the events of the last two years, running a deficit is not altogether unexpected. In fact, back when Newt was running his Contract with America, of which one of the primary planks was running a balanced budget, dems were livid, claiming they needed the ability to run a deficit in times of economic downturns or war.



  • Proposed tax cut could pay for hiring all nine million people out of work and pay them $80K per year instead of benefiting wealthy
    Gross factual error. This canard has been demolished before, but for those weak in basic math:
    9,000,000(unemployed)X80,000(salary)X10(years for the tax cut to produce savings of 350 billion)= 7,200,000,000,000

    or 7.2 trillion dollars. Even using the dem's assumption that the tax cut will save 850 billion over the next ten years, it is clear that the statement above is flat out wrong.
    But it goes further than that. Notwithstanding the math error, the characterization that this tax cut benefits primarily the wealthy is also wrong, as discussed here. I'm getting a 50% tax cut, and I'm not wealthy by a long stretch.



  • Gutted clean air regulations, allowing utilities and factories to continue polluting the atmosphere


  • Rolled back wilderness protections, opening up wilderness areas to logging, mining, other development


  • Rolled back wetlands protection, reducing or eliminating regulations prohibiting pollution of wetlands
    Bush is not as strong on the environment as some would like. The accusations here are valid, but are they important? Most surveys rate the environment well down the list of priorities when it comes to picking a President.



  • Proposed school vouchers to take taxpayer money away from public education and give it to wealthy families to send their kids to private schools
    More distortion. The vouchers are not earmarked for the rich, but to allow families to pull their kids out of underperforming schools. Wealthy families already send their kids to private schools. Saying that vouchers are a sop to the rich is simply invoking class warfare in a area where it doesn't belong. As for vouchers, I have my doubts about whether they will work, since I don't believe the failure of our educational system is due to a lack of money, but it least it provides alternatives where there were none.



  • Worst terrorist attack in history, worst attack on U.S. soil occurred on current administration's watch, mounting evidence of numerous warnings that could have prevented it

  • Administration stonewalling investigators and attempting to suppress report of intelligence and law enforcement failures leading up to worst terrorist attack in history
    The evidence is clear with advantqage of hindsight. I'm still waiting for anyone to show that there was evidence that would create a reasonable suspicion of 9-11, and detail reasonable measures that would have prevented it. Given the difficulties Israel has had supressing terrorism, even with their restriction on civli liberties, I'm skeptical that such reasonable measures exist. As for the so-called stonewalling, I've seen nothing different from any other administration protecting itself from a partisan witch hunt.



  • Made speeches promising more funding for shipping container inspections at U.S. ports to look for nukes and other WMD, then eliminated funding from budget
    Valid point


  • Passed sweeping laws violating individual civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution
    Actually, Congress passed the laws. If the laws do violate civil rights, a point which is a legitimate concern, I expect to see several SCOTUS challenges in the near future.



  • Holding hundreds or thousands of prisoners without probable cause, charges, or access to legal counsel
    Valid point. Whiule I understand the motive, and the concerns, I cannot support holding people, particularly American citizens or legal immigrants indefinately, and without counsel.



  • Allowed North Korean sale of Scud missiles to Yemen
    So? The sale was legal. What pretext did we have to stop it?



  • Conducted illegal preemptive unprovoked military invasion of sovereign state resulting in hundreds of military casualties and thousands of civilian deaths, deceived Congress and UN Security Council to justify
    Malicious distortion of the facts bordering on lies. Military action was authorized by the US Congress, and by the UN. Additionally, extensive violations of the terms of the cease fire from the Gulf War provided all the provocation required for resumption of hostilities. As for deception of Congress and the UN, Colin Powell's presentation to the UN provided confirmation of info provided by UNMOVIC and Hans Blix. If evidence exists of Bush deceiving Congress, it has yet to be found. We've heard claims and counter claims, but no proof either way. Once again, if you make claims of malfeasance, the burden of proof is on you.



  • Proposes sweeping cuts in veteran's benefits, instructs Veteran's Administration to deceive veterans with regard to benefits available
    Shameful



  • Pissed off the Dixie Chicks
    Laughable



  • Made deal with Iranian terrorist organization
    Problematic, but pragmatic.



  • Dressed in fighter pilot costume and flew military jet to aircraft carrier for stunt landing and political fundraising/campaign event despite having ticket pulled and being grounded for failing to take required physical and drug test and being AWOL from post during Vietnam conflict
    More distortion of fact. This charge too has been dealt with extensively here, and here. He was not AWOL as his home command knew where he was, and he wasn' grounded for missing his physical; he didn't take his physical because he was serving in a non flight status at the time.



  • Declares victory, yet soldiers die in Iraq every day, half the country has no electricity or water, attempts to install democracy failing miserably, Saddam and his alleged WMD cannot be found, neither can Osama
    More distortion, accompanied by an egregious mistake or an outright lie. President Bush has never declared victory in Iraq. He has declared an end to major combat, which is accurate. He has also said that Iraq remains a dangerous place, which is also accurate. Attempts to bring democracy to the Iraqi people are proceeding as a steady pace, in spite of continued opposition from Saddam loyalists. BAghdad and other cities have Iraqi city councils, and the nation as a whole has a newly constituted governing council. Considering that the US rebuilding of Japan took 7 years, I'm not ready to declare failure in 7 weeks.



  • Unable to get assistance from France, Germany, or India to provide troops for additional security and peacekeeping in Iraq
    No surprise here. france and Germany have no intention of helping the US, as their primary focus is becoming the center of an anti US cabal. They want to counter US power. With that aim, the best diplomat in the world wouldn't get help from them. Yes, Chirac said he'd be willing to send French companies in to help with reconstruction, with the price that the new Iraqi gov't would honor french oil contracts made with the Hussein regime. I don;t think the US would endear themselves with the Iraqis by allowing accomplices of the Hussein regime to continue raping them.



  • Proposes development of tactical nuclear weapons in violation of 1992 Senate ban
    Proposing is not a violation of the ban. I disagree with tactical nukes, but it is an option that should be discussed.



  • Proposes privatization of Medicare disguised as prescription drug benefit, rejected by Congress
    This is a legitimate campaign issue, since it reveals two different philosophies for preserving Medicare benefits.



  • Tax cuts already passed would fund health insurance for all 43 million uninsured Americans, including nearly ten million uninsured children
    Again, this reveals two different philosophies. By stimulating the economy, Bush hopes to employ more people, allowing them to get their own insurance, rather than simply providing the insurance, which provides no economic stimulus and creates no jobs.



  • Pushes legislation to eliminate overtime pay for up to eight million American working people
    More distortion. The legislation, according to giov't estimates, may cost up to 2 million people their overtime, at the same time making it available for about 2 million more. The 8 million number is a liberal estimate. The issue is legitimate, but it would have been nice to see the whole issue explored, rather than just part of it.



  • Admits phony intelligence on Iraq nuclear program, but maintains it was technically not a lie because some other guy said it and he was just repeating it
    More distortion. The quote was: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." As of today, the Brits still stand by that claim, indicating that they had evidence beyond the forged documents. I'll be interested in seeing that evidence.


  • Claims two trailers used to make helium for balloons and some junk buried in some guy's rose garden are "proof" of Iraqi WMD programs. 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent still missing. Trots Rumsfeld out on Meet the Press to claim these are small things that can be easily moved and hidden, holding out his hands to illustrate something the size of a Mason jar, a magical Mason jar that can hold 63,000 liters or 500 tons.
    More distortion, combined with lack of knowledge. The claim that the trailers were used to make hydrogen for artillery balloons, even if accurate, does not preclude the fact that the trailers could be used for the production of chemical weapons, which makes them a banned item. The presence of high speed centrifuges, integral to a uranium enrichment program, buried under a scientists rose garden, along with his testimony that they were being hidden for use when the inspections ended are in fact proof that hussein maintained a nuclear program in defiance of UN resolutions, including the cease fire.

    25,000 liters is about 6,600 gallons. The standard gasoline tanker holds 12,500 gallons. Obviously, it would be very easy to move two gasoline tankers or hide them in thousands of miles of desert. Or slip them over the border into Syria.



  • Expands Department of Homeland Security terrorist fighting activities to include spying on American citizens suspected of posessing child pornography
    Valid point



  • Pushes legislation to limit medical malpractice claims to $250K, even if an incompetent doctor kills your wife or cuts off your legs instead of removing your appendix
    Not true. The legislation does not limit compensatory damages, only punitive damages.



  • Installs new Senate majority leader with ties to health care industry to shepherd through legislation benefiting corporate insurance and pharmaceutical pals
    Putting people in place to advance his agenda.....and this is wrong why?



  • Pushes legislation to limit bankruptcy protections for consumers targeted by predatory lenders, but proposes no reforms for rogue corporations such as Enron that blow off creditors, employees, and investors at pennies on the dollar
    from the chart referenced above, note that while persoanl bankruptcies have grown as a staggering rate, corporate bankruptcy rates have remained fairly stable, actually decreasing slightly over time, even as the number of businesses increased. The rise in persoanl bankruptcy vs the relatively stable corporate bankruptcy rates indicates abuse of current personal bankruptcy laws. Reform is clearly needed.



  • Pushes legislation to fund faith based social programs, Congress rejects it, Bush issues executive order to allow Federally Funded local and state programs to hire or fire based on religion or ideology and to promote religion as part of delivering services
    Valid issue. Again, this represents a difference in philosophy.



  • Declines invitation to NAACP convention, but sends videotaped greeting to Southern Baptist Convention, calling them faithful servants and praying for them, while they adopt a policy that "homosexuals can find freedom from this sinful, destructive lifestyle" by accepting Jesus as their savior
    Since when is the President not allowed religious freedom?


  • Comments on Supreme Court homosexual rights decision, declares "marriage should be between a man and a woman"
    As did others, including Howard Dean, Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt, and John Kerry



  • Files amicus brief with Supreme Court urging them to strike down Affirmative Action programs, celebrates Strom Thurmond's "remarkable life" and says he was a friend
    The amicus brief concerned the University of Michigan admissions programs. The court partially agreed with the brief, striking down the undergraduate admissions process.



  • Plans on spending $200 million plus to get re-elected against challengers the GOP says are unelectable
    Just because the money's raised doesn't mean it will be spent. Besides, campaign bravado is one thing; the campaign is another altogether.


    So there we have it. Several hours spent digging for facts and analysing claims, and what do we have left? A few legitimate issues buried in a morass of anger, venom and distortion of fact, along with a little innuendo to liven up the mix.

    Dems are making the same mistake reps made with Clinton; the primal scream of fury drowns out the sound of any truths that may be expressed.

    The title of this piece is The Last Time for a reason. These charges have been placed on the President time and again, and refuted time and again. I don't expect to change any minds with this, but from here on out, when the list is thrown up, I, and anyone else who wants to, can just link to this and end the debate.

Posted by Rich
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