Wednesday, October 27, 2004


My first political memory is watching the Fall of Saigon on the nightly news when I was four years old. I don’t recall having an opinion about it but I remember the old television set and the images very clearly. I wonder now whether my daughter Anabella, who turns four on November 8, will have similar memories. She was born in the wee hours of 11/8/00 while the news stations were still trying to decide who they thought won the Bush-Gore election. The first political opinions I remember having were from the Reagan years when, generally speaking, I felt pro-Reagan. I remember thinking it was cool that Reagan bombed Libya though I didn’t have any particular understanding of the reasons behind it. I was fourteen year old. A year later I was standing at a booth at school about to sign up for the Young Republicans club. A friend of mine named Ryan asked me why I was a Republican. I can’t remember what I told him but I remember his response – which was to ask me a long series of questions about my beliefs on a variety of issues. We had quite a lengthy discussion and I answered all his questions. After which he responded, "You’re a Democrat" and explained convinvingly why this was so. That conversation saved me a hell of a lot of time.

It is a truism of Republican punditry that the older you get the more conservative you become, and that every hardworking citizen who achieves a certain degree of personal and economic success eventually becomes a Republican. The opposite has been true for me. I am a more committed liberal now than I ever have been in my life. But I also hold to a belief which I think is essentially non-partisan: that the job of a voter in a democracy is to educate oneself on the issues and to envision how each candidate would create public policy. What policies do the candidates support? What is the likelihood of them successfully implementing those policies through interactions with government agencies, Congress and the Supreme Court? And finally, weighing the outcomes you are imagining for each candidate, which are better?

Your job is not to decide who you want to have a beer with (for the record, I’d rather have a beer with Kerry any day). Your job – your DUTY as citizens, if I may be so bold – is to decide which candidate is more likely to help create the sort of world you want to live in. For instance, if you make more than $200,000 dollars a year and you want to live in a world of violence and political chaos, increased Islamic and Christian fundamentalism, widening economic disparity, criminalized abortion and catastrophic Health Care and Social Security crises, where the value of your real estate and stock portfolio goes down BUT your income tax rate stays the same or perhaps even decreases slightly over the next, say, eight years – then I implore you to fulfill your duty as a citizen and vote for George W. Bush. His presidency and world have so devolved over the last four years that this is the only scenario I can think of where a vote for Bush makes sense.

I wish I were joking. But this is an instance where shrill political rhetoric actually reflects the reality of what’s at stake in this election. I know some of you are Republicans who have grown up loathing democrats and liberalism generally, which you equate with socialism and/or hedonism. I know a few of you are in fact socialists who loathe the Democrats’ compromises with capitalist rugged individualism. I know some of you are jaded and apathetic because the political noise machine makes every candidate seem like a liar and a crook. And many of you are Democrats eternally disappointed by the candidates we run for office. I have one message for all of you.

I BEG you all to soul-search in the most honest possible way. The choice you make –– whether to vote or not to vote and for whom –– has REAL CONSEQUENCES. The moment is dire and cries out for a vote of national sanity, the putting aside of petty self-interest and unquestioned partisan habits to insure that we DO NOT GO DOWN A ROAD FROM WHICH WE AS A NATION WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RETURN.

John Kerry is a decent and sensible man. There are many many things I could say in admiration of his life and his political positions. But for the sake of clarity I will say only these: he believes in the principles of democracy; he listens to advice; he thinks things through; he is courageous under fire. I’m asking you from the bottom of my heart to vote for him on November 2nd and to feel no bashfulness about asking everyone you know, everyone you pass in the street, to do the same. You, the voter, are the nation’s only hope.

Monday, October 25, 2004


As everyone knows, George Bush is hanging his increasingly desperate election hopes on the idea that the War in Iraq made U.S. citizens safer. That claim has always seemed to me false in a number of obvious ways. First, our soldiers are U.S. citizens and 1104 of them have died in Iraq. Another 8016 have been wounded. Secondly, as has been widely reported, Al Qaeda’s recruitment has exploded since we invaded Iraq. There are more terrorist cells in more countries than ever before. Thirdly, our inability to find Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri is a direct consequence of our diversion of military resources away from the Afganistan-Pakistan border. There are plenty of other things I could mention, some of which came up in my post on terrorism. BUT HERE IS SOMETHING NEW AND DISTURBING: you may recall that John Kerry criticized Bush during the debates for not "securing ammo dumps" in Iraq once the initial military successes in Iraq gave him the chance to do so. Well, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo is breaking a story that will surely go national this week and reveals more mind-boggling ineptitude by the Bush Administration. Here’s a brief synopsis:

Prior to the war, Iraq's Al Qa Qaa bunker and weapons complex had roughly 350 tons of high explosives under International Atomic Energy Agency seal. [You remember the IAEA, right? They’re the group that kept Sadam from getting nuclear weapons for a decade – the group that George W. Bush rididcules every chance he gets.] After the war, for whatever reason, the complex was either not guarded at all or inadequately guarded. And all those explosives (primarily RDX and HMX) were carted away.

What we're talking about here isn't just a bunch of dynamite. If you look up RDX in the encyclopedia, you’ll find that it "is considered the most powerful and brisant of the military high explosives." And not 350 pounds, 350 *tons*.

It is widely believed within the US government that those looted explosives are what in many, perhaps most, cases is being used in car bombs and suicide attacks against US troops…One administration official told the Nelson Report, "This is the stuff the bad guys have been using to kill our troops, so you can’t ignore the political implications of this, and you would be correct to suspect that politics, or the fear of politics, played a major role in delaying the release of this information."

You get all the facts in great detail here:

My bet is the story will also be in your local paper by week’s end.


All you have to do is type in your zip code to get the information you need on how to volunteer.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


I know that many of you happen to be Catholic. I myself am what is often referred to as a "lapsed Catholic" though I indentify strongly with the history of Irish Catholics in particular as a historically oppressed minority who as recently as the 17th century were being sold into slavery in the West Indies by Oliver Cromwell; who were callously left to die by the thousands during the potato famine of the mid 19th century when the English leadership, who viewed the Irish peasantry as less than human, refused to provide the necessary humanitarian aid to avoid catastrophe; and who faced de facto segregation and job descrimination upon arriving in the United States. The fact that Irish-Americans haven't always stood by other American minority groups who have suffered discrimination is a source of real frustration for me, though I also appreciate their history of positive social work.

My sense is that very few of you use Catholic theology as the determining factor in how you vote for President. Nonetheless, the conventional wisdom has been that Catholics who consistently obey church doctrine will vote for Bush. This is because the Catholic Church has, in the public consciousness, devolved into a one-issue theology. That issue is abortion rights. But the Vatican has made clear that there is a distinction to be made between *believing* in abortion rights, on the one hand, and believing that the United States as a religiously free democracy cannot legislate religious belief. Hence, as a believer in abortion rights and reproductive freedom, *I* am a heretic. But John Kerry is not. He simply believes that his own belief can't be indoctrinated in American law. The Vatican says specifically that John Kerry is not a heretic. John Kerry is in fact a Catholic like millions of others who a pro-choice as a matter of public policy not or morality.

On the other hand, George W. Bush *is* a heretic. Ed Kilgore of the Progressive Policy Institute makes this fact abundantly clear in the post below, which I'm using a guest BushWatch column.

The fact that Bush is a heretic doesn't make me any less likely to vote for him. But if you are a conservative Catholic this is something you may want to consider. And if you know any conservative Catholics, please pass this post along.

Ed Kilore
Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Kerry Cleared of Heresy Charge--But What About Bush?

As you may know, this presidential election has been roiled by claims from certain conservative Catholics--including a noisy minority of Bishops—that Catholics emperil their souls by voting for John Kerry, whose views on abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research allegedly divide him fatally from Church teachings, making him a self-excommunicated heretic.

Yesterday, according to the Catholic News Service, an unnamed Vatican official representing the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addressed this argument by saying: "No, Kerry is not a heretic."

Now that we've cleared that up, Catholics might want to apply a similar test to President Bush, whose campaign has made a mighty effort to convince Catholic voters they have a religious duty to vote Republican this year.

I don't want to prejudge any official proceedings here, but a quick examination of the president's professed beliefs create a strong suspicion that he is guilty of a number of heresies condemned by ecumenical councils and leading Catholic theologians over the last two millenia.

Although he does not appear to belong to any specific religious congregation, Mr. Bush has publicly identified himself as a "born-again Christian" of the Methodist denomination. He is thus presumptively an adherent of the Protestant Heresy, condemned most notably and definitively by the sixteenth-century
Council of Trent. If so, Bush has implicitly embraced an array of subordinate heresies, including:

* Denial of the teaching authority of the Church (the basis, BTW, for questions about Mr. Kerry's views on abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research).
* Bibliolatry (rejection of Church tradition as amplifying and interpreting scriptural authority)
* Symbolism (rejection of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist)
* Sacrilege (rejection of marriage, holy orders, penance, confirmation and extreme unction as valid Sacraments of the Church)
* Dishonoring the Mother of God (rejection of the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception, Assumption and Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
* Schism (rejection of papal authority and establishment of a separate ecclesiastical structure)

In addition, as a Methodist, Bush must be suspected of additional grave errors associated with the heresiarch and patron saint of that denomination, John Wesley.

* Pelagianism (belief in the perfectibility of human nature, suppressed in the 4th century by the Emperor Honarius, following the teaching of St. Augustine).
* Abandonment of the Apostolic Succession of Bishops (achieved when Methodists seceeded from the Church of England)

Moreover, as Msgr. Ronald Knox argued in his influential 1950 book, Enthusiasm, Wesleyans reflect a persistant heretical tendency towards elevation of subjective experience in the pursuit of religious truth that links them to such widely varying heresies at Donatism, Hussism and Jansenism.

Finally, the President's persistant "unilateralist" demand that the United States must enjoy a privileged and unique status with respect to the use of force specifically and international law generally raises some concern that he is guilty of the Americanist Heresy (the belief that this country's special conditions require deviations from universal laws of faith and morals), condemned by Pope Leo XIII in 1899.

If fidelity to the faith is supposed to be the sole test for voting behavior by Catholics, then perhaps the examination of conscience that some conservatives have urged on Catholics prior to entering the voting booth should extend to the highly suspect belief and value system of the incumbent.

Monday, October 11, 2004



Sinclair's stock has fallen 17 percent, costing shareholders $105 million, since Sinclair's decision to air the anti-Kerry faux-documentary "Stolen Honor" in its entirety first became public.
Today, under threat of a massive shareholder lawsuit, Sinclair backed off: they will now air a news piece *about* the documentary which, they say, will include a number of people criticizing "Stolen Honor" (presumably for its total lack of acuracy). The boycott will remain in place until Sinclair makes good on its promise.

Between October 21 and 24, Sinclair Broadcast Group will force the local television stations it owns and operates to preempt regular network broadcasts and devote one hour to an anti-John Kerry documentary.

Go here to sign the petition against this disgusting blow to democracy:

and here if you want to participate more fully in the boycott:

and if you own Sinclair stock, dump it.


Monday, October 18, 2004

Sinclair fires Washington bureau chief


BALTIMORE -- The Washington bureau chief for Sinclair Broadcast Group said he was fired Monday after he criticized the company's plans to produce a news program based on a documentary critical of John Kerry's Vietnam-era anti-war activities.

Jon Leiberman said he was fired by Joseph DeFeo, Sinclair's vice president for news, and "escorted out of the building."


Sinclair Broadcasting stock took a nosedive today and ended at $6.49, down .55 cents a share, on a huge volume of 1,147,658 shares (that's triple their average daily volume.) The stock lost 7.81% of its value today.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Some of you veterans may recall a BushWatch post that I sent in 2000. It said, in a nutshell, don’t be fooled by Dick Cheney’s grandfatherly persona – his voting record in the Congress is to the right of Attila the Hun. I then detailed that record – a record that was in fact much more conservative than even Jesse Helms. Unfortunately, Joe Lieberman, desperately trying NOT to make himself useful to Al Gore, refused to bring up any of these details in his debate with Cheney.

Well, thank heaven for John Edwards.

During the debate, Edwards remarked, "I'm surprised to hear [Cheney] talk about records. When he was one of 435 members of the United States House, he was one of 10 to vote against Head Start, one of four to vote against banning plastic weapons that can pass through metal detectors. He voted against [founding] the Department of Education. He voted against funding for Meals on Wheels for seniors. He voted against a holiday for Martin Luther King. He voted against a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa."

Every one of these details is so true on its face that Cheney didn’t even bother to respond. He literally said nothing about any of these votes. What they show is a man who abhors democracy and fair play and is in lock-step with powerful, cynical corporate and defense-industry lobbies. Dick Cheney speaks in lofty terms about democracy when it suits his purpose, as it does in Iraq. But his voting record in Congress suggests that he couldn’t care less about it. Thanks to John Edwards the public now sees this with real clarity.

The other compelling storyline of the VP debate is that Cheney was caught red-handed telling some ridiculous lies. The worst kind of lies – i.e., the kind which are easily refuted by video tape. In one, he made the dramatic accusation that, because Edwards allegedly never shows up for Senate votes, Cheney (who, as VP, is President of the Senate) had never met Edwards until they sat down to debate each other. Within two hours Democrats had produced C-SPAN footage of them meeting on three separate occasions. Secondly, Cheney claimed that he had never suggested that there was a connection between Sadam Hussein and the attacks of 9/11. Once again footage was produced immediately of Cheney on "Meet the Press" suggesting exactly that. More examples quickly followed.

As much as I don’t like Cheney I was shocked at the recklessness and sheer stupidity of these particular lies. Some of his other lies were more dexterous.

The post-debate polls, both on-line and scientific, suggested an Edwards victory. More importantly Kerry-Edwards continue to surge in the national Presidential polls.


Monday, October 04, 2004