Saturday, August 07, 2004

Ideology over science

The Bush administration has "reassigned" the senior career official in the Endangered Species Office at the Interior Department, according to The New York Times .

Gary Frazer had produced serveral scientific findings that angered his political superiors in the Fish and Wildlife Service. Ideology over science is a major theme of the Bush team. So Frazer is out.

Remember when President Clinton fired the director of the White House Travel Office? Remember the huge fuss that Republicans and the media made over that? The Frazer story was buried on page A10 today. Wow. Some liberal media we have.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Swift Boat Liars for Bush

The new ad by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is the most disgusting and despicable political attack I think I have ever seen.
The men in the ad claim to have served in Vietnam with Kerry and then question his veracity, his honor, his leadership and just about everything else. As it turns out, none of these veterans who claim to have such intimate knowledge of Kerry's service in Vietnam were actually on his boat or under his command at any time. The ones who actually did serve side by side with Kerry have all vouched for his heroism and are supporting his campaign for the presidency.

Atrios and Kos have done a lot of the heavy lifting already to expose the ads as false and malicious.
Sen. John McCain has also come out in Kerry's defense.

And it is especially galling that Republicans feel they can make points by attacking Kerry's service in Vietnam when their own guy not only avoided going to Vietnam by using family connections to secure a cushy slot in the Texas National Guard, but he didn't even bother to show up for a five-month period in 1972.

What makes me the most angry about all of this, however, is that if these people can get away with smearing Kerry by calling into question whether he truly deserved or earned his medals, then they could do the same to anyone who fought for their country and received a commendation. As I've noted before, my father was a Vietnam veteran who recieved a Silver Star for valor the same as Kerry. Everytime I hear these shameless Republican drones attack Kerry, the same way they attacked Max Cleland and John McCain, I imagine them doing the same thing to my father and it makes my blood boil.

Kerry has released all of his military records and they show glowing testaments from his commanding officers and his medals and commendations are all documented. If that is not good enough then nothing ever will be for these people.
If these veterans want to say that they don't agree with Kerry's political philosophy or his economic and foreign policies then that is fine. But saying that Kerry did not serve honorably in Vietnam and alleging that he did not deserve his medals is the lowest and slimiest political stunt I have ever seen.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

"The Boss" says Vote for Kerry!

Bruce Springsteen is leading an all-star contingent of rock and rollers to stump for John Kerry this fall. The lineup is pretty impressive:

Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen and the E Street Band
John Mellencamp
Dave Matthews Band
Pearl Jam
Bonnie Raitt
Jackson Browne
The Dixie Chicks
John Fogerty
James Taylor

Springsteen even wrote an The New York Times > Opinion > op-ed in the NY Times today...

“Like many others, in the aftermath of 9/11, I felt the country's unity. I don't remember anything quite like it. I supported the decision to enter Afghanistan and I hoped that the seriousness of the times would bring forth strength, humility and wisdom in our leaders. Instead, we dived headlong into an unnecessary war in Iraq, offering up the lives of our young men and women under circumstances that are now discredited. We ran record deficits, while simultaneously cutting and squeezing services like afterschool programs. We granted tax cuts to the richest 1 percent (corporate bigwigs, well-to-do guitar players), increasing the division of wealth that threatens to destroy our social contract with one another and render mute the promise of "one nation indivisible."”

Go Bruuuuuuuuuce!!!!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Attack, attack, attack

A letter to the editor in the Chicago Tribune last week pointed out a basic flaw in two Republican lines of attack against John Kerry:

Republicans charge that Kerry is the most ardent liberal member of the the Senate. They also charge him with being an indecisive flip-flopper on every issue. How can he be both?

Obviously he can’t be both and in fact neither allegation is true. The flip-flop canard is ridiculous on its face. Any politician can be accused of flip-flopping and there are far more examples of Bush flip-flops than Kerry.
But it is not surprising that a Party that values conformity and adherence to a strict ideology would find fault in someone who is willing to reflect on past decisions and perhaps change their mind.

Another more recent line of attack against Kerry is the charge that he has few legislative accomplishments during his 20 years in the Senate. But this is a highly hypocritical charge coming from Republicans who claim to be in favor of smaller and more limited government. Would they like Kerry better if he had a long list of pork-barrell projects that he sponsored during his legislative career?
It is also galling coming from Bush and Cheney as noted by Atrios:

In 11 years in the House, Cheney sponsored just 2 pieces of legislation that became law.

Here is Congressman John Spratt (D-SC) quoted in a Kerry press release:

“Dick Cheney served in the Congress for 11 years. I served with him for most of these years. In that time, he only passed two bills. One was to build a flood plain on the Colorado River and the other was a bill to help a constituent. What’s even more telling about Dick Cheney’s record in the House is not what he supported but what he opposed – things like Headstart and funding for seniors. It seems pretty dishonest for Bush and Cheney to be attacking John Kerry - who passed 57 bills in the Senate – for his legislative accomplishments.”

Look at the numbers

Michael Kinsley Does the Math in his latest Washington Post column and finds that Democratic presidents have a much better record than Republicans in nearly every category since 1960.

”It turns out that Democratic presidents have a much better record than Republicans. They win a head-to-head comparison in almost every category. Real growth averaged 4.09 percent in Democratic years, 2.75 percent in Republican years. Unemployment was 6.44 percent on average under Republican presidents and 5.33 percent under Democrats. The federal government spent more under Republicans than Democrats (20.87 percent of gross domestic product, compared with 19.58 percent), and that remains true even if you exclude defense (13.76 for the Democrats; 14.97 for the Republicans).

What else? Inflation was lower under Democratic presidents (3.81 percent on average, compared with 4.85 percent). And annual deficits took more than twice as much of GDP under Republicans as under Democrats (2.74 percent versus 1.21 percent). Republicans won by a nose on government revenue (i.e., taxes), taking 18.12 percent of GDP compared with 18.39 percent. That, of course, is why they lost on the size of the deficit. Personal income per capita was also a bit higher in Republican years ($16,061) than in Democratic ones ($15,565). But that is because more of the Republican years came later, when the country was more prosperous already.”

Kinsley even anticipates Republican complaints that they were born again under Ronald Reagan and should be looked at from that point forward. But even reworking the numbers starting in 1981 changes only one result...

“The Democrats pull ahead of the Republicans on per capita personal income.”