2004 presidential elections"Senator Kerry...said that under his leadership, more of America's friends would speak with one voice on Iraq. That seems a little odd coming from a guy who doesn't speak with one voice himself. By his repeated efforts to recast and redefine the war on terror and lacks the resolve, the determination and the conviction to prevail in the conflict we face." Cheney refuses to discuss his own "flip-flop" on Iraq. In April 1992 Cheney, then the Secretary of Defense, said that the decision not to occupy Baghdad and overthrow Saddam Hussein during Desert Storm was the correct one. "[T]he question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth?" he said at that time. "And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq." (Seattle Post Intelligencer)
War in AfghanistanBhagwat writes the final verdict. The convictions range from using military forces to commit crimes, waging an unjustified war against the Afghani people, mistreating prisoners of war, crimes against humanity, and using depleted-uranium weapons (classified as weapons of mass destruction) that have direly impacted troops and citizens of Afghanistan, the US, Great Britain, and other neighboring countries. The Bush administration refused to participate in the hearings, has refused to acknowledge the ruling, and no mainstream American media outlet has picked up on the story. Though the tribunal was apparently properly convened under international law, the tribunal has no real powers and no ability to enforce its ruling. It was proposed by international criminal law professor Akeda Maeda, and advised by, among others, former US attorney general and peace activist Ramsey Clark. Bush is defended by an amicus curiae attorney, Kenichi Okubo.
Religious conservativesWhile TBN has issued statements calling the allegations "salacious" (though not quite denying them outright), the normally combative Crouch has stayed out of the limelight, delegating his eldest son, Paul Crouch Jr., to appear in his place as host of Behind the Scenes, a show that focuses on activities within the TBN. (Crouch is normally quite comfortable with challenging his opponents, famously telling one critic in 1991, "To hell with you! Get out of the way! I say get out of God's way! Quit blocking God's bridges or God's going to shoot you if I don't!") Crouch's accuser is Enoch Lonnie Ford, a former patient at a TBN-affiliated drug rehabilitation center whom Crouch met in 1991 and was later hired as Crouch's chauffeur. While working for the TBN, Ford compiled a lengthy rap sheet for crimes including cocaine possession and having sex with a 17-year-old boy, an act that constitutes statutory rape in California. After Ford served a succession of prison terms, the TBN rehired him, provided him with a free apartment, and even lobbied a judge for leniency when he violated the terms of his parole. Ford claims that he and Crouch had sex in 1996, while Ford was a guest at a TBN-owned cabin at Lake Arrowhead, a woodsy southern California resort area. In 1998, when the TBN fired Ford and he threatened to sue, the network offered Ford $425,000 in hush money. Ford accepted, but he later penned a manuscript about his affair with Crouch and, in 2003, threatened to make it public unless the TBN paid him $10 million. Crouch's lawyers are scrambling once again to keep Ford quiet, this time by requesting a restraining order barring him from seeking a publisher.
Iraq war and occupationBush admits his ignorance of the lifestyles of the Iraqi citizenry: "I'm not the expert on how the Iraqi people think, because I live in America, where it's nice and safe and secure." (AllHatNoCattle)/LI>
Religious conservativesOn September 12, he told his television audience, "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died." While the studio audience laughed and applauded, the outcry from gay rights organizations and human rights advocates is quick and powerful, prompting Swaggert to explain that he used the phrase "killing someone and telling God he died" thousands of times, about all sorts of people, and claimed it is a figure of speech that isn't meant to harm anyone. "It's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything. You can't lie to God -- it's ridiculous," he says. "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology." (www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6074380/)
Conservative hate speech and intolerance
talk show maven Bill O'Reilly asserts, with absolutely no grasp of history whatsoever, that "[t]he South Vietnamese didn't fight for their freedom, which is why they don't have it today." Bush's equally ignorant response? "Yes." (Fox News/Wikiquote)
"I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein." -- George W. Bush, September 25
Bush familyThe story causes a sensation in the European press, but is barely reported in the US media.
Election fraudOne requires Ohio voter registration cards be printed on thick, 80-pound stock paper. The other orders boards of elections to strictly interpret the rules regarding provisional ballots, the ones cast by voters who move before the election but are still registered in Ohio. The rule about 80-pound paper being used to register voters is designed to interfere with registrations by Democrats who routinely use regular copy paper to Xerox registration forms, and sign up voters on those copied forms. Some counties are mailing the forms back to the registrant for resubmission, but considering the huge backlogs of voter registrations yet to be processed, it is doubtful that those late resubmissions will be processed before November 2. (Republican voting efforts seem to have little problem securing original forms from Blackwell's office.) Cuyahoga County officials say flatly they will ignore the ruling. "We don't have a micrometer at each desk to check the weight of the paper," says Michael Vu, director of the Cuyahoga County Board. Cuyahoga County has already received a special dispensation to accept registrations on newsprint, since those were designed to be mailed in and must fit into Postal Service sorters. To add to the confusion, the law requires that forms printed from government Internet sites must be accepted regardless of the kind of paper they are printed on. (The rule about 80-pound paper is a hangover from the days where the forms were stored in files for years; today, the forms are destroyed immediately after their information is transferred into computer storage.) The other directive forbids poll workers from giving a provisional ballot unless the person can prove they live in that precinct. Peg Rosenfield, spokeswoman for the League of Women Voters, says she interprets federal to be less restrictive. Rosenfield says people who show up at the wrong precinct should be given a ballot and allowed to vote on the non-local races. (Dayton Daily News/Truthout)
Plame outingTwo weeks ago, Pincus told the gathering of lawyers and staffers, "As someone who covers national security and intelligence, I depend on confidential sources more than most reporters. My sources take a chance when they trust me with information that could cost them their jobs or have other serious consequences. In turn, I will protect them." Pincus did identify one source for his information about the identity of the outed CIA agent, a source whom Pincus says gave him permission to reveal his identity. Times reporter Adam Liptak writes that the Plame case is different from the usual controversy over sensitive information revealed in the press under First Amendment protections: "The Plame case is different. This is largely because, unlike most leaks, the disclosure of an undercover intelligence agent's identity is a felony. The disclosure of Ms. Plame's identity, moreover, may have been motivated by politics. And the investigation inside the government, in which the president, the vice president and many other officials have been questioned, seems to have been both exhaustive and inconclusive."
2004 presidential electionsObservers note an unusual bulge in the back of Bush's jacket, leading many to speculate that Bush is possibly "wearing a wire," a transceiving device that allows him to receive whispered instructions on what to say from someone at the other end. The Bush campaign denies this, usually by making jokes about "conspiracy theories" and alien mind control devices, and though speculation is rampant and the possibility strong, nothing is conclusively proven. The Secret Service later tells reporters that Bush is wearing a bulletproof vest.