There’s a lot here today, so just skim through the lines I’ve bolded. The very last item, about Bush-supporter Kid Rock, is X-Rated. Do NOT read his lyrics if you are easily offended.
THE WIND SHIFTS
From Friday’s Seattle Times:
Four years ago, this page endorsed George W. Bush for president. We cannot do so again – because of an ill-conceived war and its aftermath, undisciplined spending, a shrinkage of constitutional rights and an intrusive social agenda. The Bush presidency is not what we had in mind. Our endorsement of John Kerry is not without reservations, but he is head and shoulders above the incumbent.
From retired Rear Admiral John Hutson (as per this story on Republicans for Kerry):
I’m a Republican and I’ve never voted for a Democrat for national office in my life. I supported George Bush four years ago, but this year I’m supporting John Kerry. Senator Kerry will take America in a positive direction. He has the vision, intellect, determination, and courage to right the ship of state. I believe that under his strong leadership, our country will regain integrity and respect both domestically and internationally.
From Sue Mackenzie of Boulder, Colorado (same source):
I was a life-long Republican, my family members are all Republicans, but this year I reregistered as a Democrat because I can’t stand what the Republicans are doing to our country.
SOME REPUBLICANS GOT TO NEW YORK EARLY (AND I DON’T MEAN ARNOLD OR RUDY)
In case you missed Saturday’s New York Times:
August 28, 2004
Club of the Most Powerful Gathers in Strictest Privacy
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Three times a year for 23 years, a little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country have met behind closed doors at undisclosed locations for a confidential conference, the Council for National Policy, to strategize about how to turn the country to the right.
Details are closely guarded.
“The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before of after a meeting,” a list of rules obtained by The New York Times advises the attendees.
The membership list is “strictly confidential.” Guests may attend “only with the unanimous approval of the executive committee.” In e-mail messages to one another, members are instructed not to refer to the organization by name, to protect against leaks.
This week, before the Republican convention, the members quietly convened in New York, holding their latest meeting almost in plain sight, at the Plaza Hotel, for what a participant called “a pep rally” to re-elect President Bush.
Mr. Bush addressed the group in fall 1999 to solicit support for his campaign, stirring a dispute when news of his speech leaked and Democrats demanded he release a tape recording. He did not.
Not long after the Iraq invasion, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld attended a council meeting.
This week, as the Bush campaign seeks to rally Christian conservative leaders to send Republican voters to the polls, several Bush administration and campaign officials were on hand, according to an agenda obtained by The New York Times.
“The destiny of our nation is on the shoulders of the conservative movement,” the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, told the gathering as he accepted its Thomas Jefferson award on Thursday, according to an attendee’s notes.
The secrecy that surrounds the meeting and attendees like the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly and the head of the National Rifle Association, among others, makes it a subject of suspicion, at least in the minds of the few liberals aware of it.
“The real crux of this is that these are the genuine leaders of the Republican Party, but they certainly aren’t going to be visible on television next week,” Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said.
Mr. Lynn was referring to the list of moderate speakers like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York who are scheduled to speak at the convention.
“The C.N.P. members are not going to be visible next week,” he said. “But they are very much on the minds of George W. Bush and Karl Rove every week of the year, because these are the real powers in the party.”
A spokesman for the White House, Trent Duffy, said: “The American people are quite clear and know what the president’s agenda is. He talks about it every day in public forums, not to any secret group of conservatives or liberals. And he will be talking about his agenda on national television in less than a week.”
The administration and re-election effort were major focuses of the group’s meeting on Thursday and yesterday. Under Secretary of State John Bolton spoke about plans for Iran, a spokesman for the State Department said.
Likewise, a spokesman for Assistant Attorney General R. Alexander Acosta confirmed that Mr. Acosta had addressed efforts to stop “human trafficking,” a major issue among Christian conservatives.
Dr. Frist spoke about supporting Mr. Bush and limiting embryonic stem cell research, two attendees said. Dan Senor, who recently returned from Iraq after working as a spokesman for L. Paul Bremer III, the top American civilian administrator, was scheduled to provide an update on the situation there.
Among presentations on the elections, an adviser to Mr. Bush’s campaign, Ralph Reed, spoke on “The 2004 Elections: Who Will Win in November?,” attendees said.
The council was founded in 1981, just as the modern conservative movement began its ascendance. The Rev. Tim LaHaye, an early Christian conservative organizer and the best-selling author of the “Left Behind” novels about an apocalyptic Second Coming, was a founder. His partners included Paul Weyrich, another Christian conservative political organizer who also helped found the Heritage Foundation.
They said at the time that they were seeking to create a Christian conservative alternative to what they believed was the liberalism of the Council on Foreign Relations.
A statement of its mission distributed this week said the council’s purposes included “to acquaint our membership with those in positions of leadership in our nation in order that mutual respect be fostered” and “to encourage the exchange of information concerning the methodology of working within the system to promote the values and ends sought by individual members.”
Membership costs several thousand dollars a year, a participant said. Its executive director, Steve Baldwin, did not return a phone call.
Over the years, the council has become a staging ground for conservative efforts to make the Republican Party more socially conservative. Ms. Schlafly, who helped build a grass-roots network to fight for socially conservative positions in the party, is a longstanding member.
At times, the council has also seen the party as part of the problem. In 1998, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family spoke at the council to argue that Republicans were taking conservatives for granted. He said he voted for a third-party candidate in 1996.
Opposition to same-sex marriage was a major conference theme. Although conservatives and Bush campaign officials have denied seeking to use state ballot initiatives that oppose same-sex marriage as a tool to bring out conservative voters, the agenda includes a speech on “Using Conservative Issues in Swing States,” said Phil Burress, leader of an initiative drive in Ohio, a battleground state.
The membership list this year was a who’s who of evangelical Protestant conservatives and their allies, including Dr. Dobson, Mr. Weyrich, Holland H. Coors of the beer dynasty; Wayne LaPierre of the National Riffle Association, Richard A. Viguerie of American Target Advertising, Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Committee and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.
Not everyone present was a Bush supporter, however. This year, the council included speeches by Michael Badnarik of the Libertarian Party and Michael A. Peroutka of the ultraconservative Constitution Party. About a quarter of the members attended their speeches, an attendee said.
Nor was the gathering all business. On Wednesday, members had a dinner in the Rainbow Room, where William F. Buckley Jr. of the National Review was a special guest. At 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, members had “prayer sessions” in the Rose Room at the hotel.
The President made it clear in 1994, running for governor, that he got no preferential treatment in avoiding the draft. Certainly this was untrue, as evidenced by this statement you may have seen this weekend on the news . . .
My name’s Ben Barnes. I was Speaker of the Texas House when George W. Bush went into the National Guard. He got preferential treatment. I know. I gave it to him. His family sent a representative to my office and asked me to move their son up on the waiting list. And I did. It was wrong. He was jumped over hundreds of others in line. Some of them went off to Vietnam and died. I made a mistake supporting that war. And as other, less-privileged kids were going off to be killed, I helped the son of a congressman avoid combat. I wish I had not. But I think it’s time people know. And it’s time for George W. Bush to stop attacking the people who did serve.
. . . but was it a lie? That would be the case only if President Bush knew he got preferential treatment. This piece suggests that he did:
STILL UNREPORTED: THE PAY-OFF IN BUSH AIR GUARD FIX
Saturday, August 28, 2004
by Greg Palast
In 1968, former Congressman George Herbert Walker Bush of Texas, fresh from voting to send other men’s sons to Vietnam, enlisted his own son in a very special affirmative action program, the ‘champagne’ unit of the Texas Air National Guard…
This week, former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes of Texas ‘fessed up to pulling the strings to keep Little George out of the jungle. “I got a young man named George W. Bush into the Texas Air Guard – and I’m ashamed.”
That’s far from the end of the story. In 1994, George W. Bush was elected governor of Texas by a whisker. By that time, Barnes had left office to become a big time corporate lobbyist. To an influence peddler like Barnes, having damning information on a sitting governor is worth its weight in gold – or, more precisely, there’s a value in keeping the info secret.
Barnes appears to have made lucrative use of his knowledge of our President’s slithering out of the draft as a lever to protect a multi-billion dollar contract for a client. That’s the information in a confidential letter buried deep in the files of the US Justice Department that fell into my hands at BBC television.
Here’s what happened. Just after Bush’s election, Barnes’ client GTech Corp., due to allegations of corruption, was about to lose its license to print money: its contract to run the Texas state lottery. Barnes, says the Justice Department document, made a call to the newly elected governor’s office and saved GTech’s state contract.
The letter said, “Governor Bush … made a deal with Ben Barnes not to rebid [the GTech lottery contract] because Barnes could confirm that Bush had lied during the ’94 campaign.”
In that close race, Bush denied the fix was in to keep him out of ‘Nam, and the US media stopped asking questions. What did the victorious Governor Bush’s office do for Barnes? According to the tipster, “Barnes agreed never to confirm the story [of the draft dodging] and the governor talked to the chair of the lottery two days later and she then agreed to support letting GTech keep the contract without a bid.”
And so it came to pass that the governor’s commission reversed itself and gave GTech the billion dollar deal without a bid.
The happy client paid Barnes, the keeper of Governor Bush’s secret, a fee of over $23 million. Barnes, not surprisingly, denies that Bush took care of his client in return for Barnes’ silence. However, confronted with the evidence, the former Lt. Governor now admits to helping the young George stay out of Vietnam.
Take a look at the letter yourself – with information we confirmed with other sources – at http://www.gregpalast.com/ulf/documents/draftdodgeblanked.jpg . . .
By the way: I first reported this story in 1999, including the evidence of payback, in The Observer of London. US media closed its eyes. Then I put the story on British television last year in the one-hour report, “Bush Family Fortunes.” American networks turned down BBC’s offer to run it in the USA. “Wonderful film,” one executive told me, “but Time Warner is not going to let us put this on the air.” However, US networks will take cash for advertisements calling Kerry a Vietnam coward.
The good news is, until Patriot Act 3 kicks in, they can’t stop us selling the film to you directly. The updated version of “Bush Family Fortunes,” with the full story you still can’t see on your boob tube, will be released next month in DVD. See a preview at http://www.gregpalast.com/bff-dvd.htm.
For more on our president’s war years and the $23 million payment, read this excerpt from the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
From a friend of a friend, in New York:
Wednesday, August 18, 2004 4:15 PM
Subject: knock knock
I just answered a knock at my door. I should say that the buzzer system in my building is such that you can hear anyone being buzzed in and as I hadn’t heard a buzzer I assumed it was a neighbor. I opened the door to a fresh faced young blond man and an equally polished young black woman. Coming from the Northwest I assumed they were Mormon missionaries – although they are in my experience very very seldom black. I was about to ask how they got into my building without buzzing when they showed me ID and identified themselves as FBI. As some of you know I live on Ninth Ave about four blocks north of Madison Square Garden. I had put a “Dump Bush” sign in my window – as I am on the third floor front it was clearly visible to Ninth Avetraffic – but had taken it down this weekend because it blocked too much light and my plants were beginning to complain. Seems Dick & Jane (as I affectionately call them) were offended by my sign which I pointed out wasn’t even there at the moment. They suggested that I not put it back up as it presented a traffic hazard and that I could be arrested for public endangerment. I suggested to them – federal agents – that they should arrest me for a traffic nuisance and that after I would buy a drink for one of them to celebrate the vast sum I would be awarded from my lawsuit.
☞ And this from Steve Weissman:
. . . Last week, the New York Times reported that local FBI field offices have spent months canvassing their communities for potential “troublemakers.” The G-men claim to have developed a list of people who might be planning – or have information about the possibility of – violent and disruptive acts at the Republican National Convention and other coming political events. The Feds – and local police with whom they work – call these lists of likely suspects “intelligence.”
In Denver, four FBI agents and two local police use such lists to visit a local Quaker group that protests the war. Quakers are historically non-violent. It’s part of their religious faith. So why had the six investigators taken so much time away from chasing real terrorists?
. . . The G-Men and local police, it turns out, were acting as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which shows us how Team Bush fights the War on Terror. Having used intelligence to drag the country into a preemptive war, they now want to preempt opposition to it.
. . . If the FBI and police lack a warrant and have no reason to suspect that a crime is underway, they have absolutely no legal right to enter [your home] without your permission. Why give it? No matter how friendly they seem, you have nothing to gain by letting them in. Be polite, sure. But leave it at that.
Step outside to talk to them. Ask each of them for their identification. Take it in your hand – they hate that – and jot down all the information on it. . . . Then, tell them you would love to talk to them, but only with your lawyer present. Would they care to make an appointment?
☞ Call me naïve, but I would always talk to an FBI agent who came knocking and be as helpful as I could. We all want the FBI and other agencies to be hugely successful in fighting terrorism. But why are they intimidating Quakers? Next thing you know, the “freedom and liberty” folks will be handcuffing and ejecting people for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts at Fourth of July rallies! (Click here.) Or prosecuting them with federal funds for holding up a NO WAR FOR OIL sign! (Here.)
KID ROCK FOR BUSH [WARNING: OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE]
Recently Mark McKinnon, the media director for the Bush campaign, in response to the news that Bruce Springsteen and other rock musicians would be touring to raise money for Democrats, told The New York Times that George W. Bush had his own supporters in the entertainment world. Mr. McKinnon cited in particular Lee Ann Womack, Kid Rock, and Jessica Simpson.
As a service to readers who may not be familiar with Kid Rock, the following are excerpts from his lyrics:
from “Classic Rock”:
Well guess who’s back, with a big fat cock
It’s the kid motherfucker with the classic rock
Like wax that booty, yodeleyeho, punk
Slappin you hoes with dick when I get drunk.
From Alabama to Texarkana
Bend over bitch and let me slam her ..
Playin shows, fuckin hoes
Got the dope in my veins and up my nose.
[AND IT ACTUALLY GETS WORSE FROM THERE, SO I’M CENSORING THE REST, BUT YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE OBSERVER STORY TO SEE WHAT ELSE THIS PRIZED BUSH SUPPORTER HAS TO SAY.]
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