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government | imperialism & war selection 2004

Bush/Kerry Impossible to Distinguish from Each Other

Bush and Kerry have the same policy on iraq and are becoming more alike all the time. Both of them support more troops to Iraq.
New York Times
Candidates' Iraq Policies Share Many Similarities

WASHINGTON, May 25 — When it comes to Iraq, it is getting harder every day to distinguish between President Bush's prescription and that of Senator John Kerry.

They still differ on some details, and Mr. Kerry continues to assert that Mr. Bush has lost so much credibility around the world that only a new president can rally other nations to provide the necessary assistance, a point he made Tuesday while campaigning in Oregon.

But as became evident with Mr. Bush's latest speech on Iraq on Monday night, which followed a detailed speech Mr. Kerry gave on Iraq's future one month ago, the broad outlines of their approaches are more alike than not. That is particularly true as Mr. Bush moves toward giving the United Nations more authority, a move long advocated by Mr. Kerry.

They both support the June 30 deadline for the beginning of the transition to civilian power. They both say they would support an increase in United States troop strength, if necessary. Neither has supported a deadline for removing United States troops.

Mr. Bush's gradual shift away from what many Democrats have long denounced as a go-it-alone stance is an adjustment to the surge in violence in Iraq, as well as the deterioration of domestic support for the occupation in the wake of the prison abuse scandal.

But there also is clearly a political component at play here, as the White House seeks, while managing its own problems, to create a predicament for Mr. Bush's Democratic opponent. Mr. Kerry this week is beginning a series of speeches in which he will lay out some of his most detailed foreign policy pronouncements.

The fact that Mr. Bush has moved close to Mr. Kerry on some of these questions makes it much more difficult for Mr. Kerry to take advantage of what Democrats and Republicans view as the biggest political crisis of Mr. Bush's presidency, by emphasizing differences between them. Mr. Kerry is left to argue that while both men have similar ideas about what to do, he has more credibility to do it, given the breakdown in relations between Mr. Bush and many world leaders over Iraq.

Mr. Kerry has negotiated the shifting sands of Iraq for more than a year now. Some Democrats said that their candidate would just as soon stand back and not engage Mr. Bush on the war, allowing the president to struggle with setbacks, while avoiding making himself a target should Mr. Bush attempt to suggest that he is not supporting the troops.

But as Mr. Kerry is well aware, there is a growing antiwar segment of the American electorate. And there is likely to be an antiwar candidate on the ballot, in the person of Ralph Nader, the independent candidate who has called for an withdrawal of American forces.

In another sign of the complication Mr. Kerry faces, Al Gore, one of the party's severest critics of the war, is to deliver a speech in New York on Wednesday that is expected to call for the dismissal of top administration officials and assert that Americans have been put at risk at home and abroad by Mr. Bush's foreign policy.

"He's caught between what would be politically advantageous, declaring a timetable for getting out, and what he knows is the reality on the ground, which is that we need more troops," said one adviser who Mr. Kerry relies on heavily. "And the internal debates have often been between the camps in the campaign who want a clear break from the Bush policy and those who want to portray Bush as largely incompetent in executing what strategy they had."

Mr. Kerry's advisers minimized the extent to which Mr. Bush's shifts had made him less vulnerable to criticism on Iraq, and disputed the notion that Mr. Kerry has not, or could not, draw differences with the president on this issue. And they noted a series of recent polls that show both a drop in support for the occupation of Iraq and concern over whether Mr. Bush has a plan to end it, arguing that the issue was more of a problem for Mr. Bush than it was for Mr. Kerry.

"John Kerry as a Democratic candidate for president has said more about how to fix Iraq than the sitting president, the commander-in-chief, the person who lead the nation into this war," said Stephanie Cutter, a senior Kerry advisor.

In a speech last month, Mr. Kerry said the goal of the United States should be to bring about "a stable, free Iraq with a representative government, secure in its borders." That position is broadly indistinguishable from that of Mr. Bush.

The differences, as they exist, are relatively minor. Mr. Kerry has called for NATO to take a major role in Iraq, freeing up American troops and providing an opening to attract military support from non-NATO nations like India and Pakistan.

Mr. Bush has left open the possibility of a larger role for NATO, but has not pressed hard for such a change, and administration officials are skeptical that Europeans have any desire to contribute more assistance than they already have.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Tuesday that Iraq would be discussed at the NATO summit at the end of next month in Turkey, and that 16 of the 26 NATO member nations are already involved in Iraq in some way.

He said that NATO has not ruled out an expanded role in Iraq, but that there is no consensus on what that role would be.

"We should not go into this, as some critics have, thinking that, you know, all you have to do is go to NATO and there is a huge body of troops waiting there just to be asked," Mr. Powell said.

Mr. Kerry has also called for the establishment of a United Nations high commissioner to oversee the political development of Iraq and the rebuilding efforts. Mr. Bush has more or less embraced the need for the United Nations to authorize a multinational force led by the United States — a position long pushed by Mr. Kerry — but has signaled no support for putting additional direct power in the hands of a United Nations commissioner.

The core of Mr. Kerry's argument is that Mr. Bush is now viewed with such low regard in Europe that it would take a new president to put together an international coalition. Mr. Kerry asserted that it would take a new president to "clear the air" and re-establish battered relations with former allies.

Administration officials have been dismissive of Mr. Kerry's idea of putting a United Nations high commissioner in Iraq. They have argued that the Iraqis do not want the United Nations in power any more than they want the United States in power.

"This is not East Timor," one senior administration official said, a reference to the breakaway Indonesian territory where a high commissioner was put in place.

fooled by Bush 26.May.2004 11:59

not to bright

Remember Bush fooled Kerry into voting for the war. Many of the whole Democratic establishment was fooled.

They are NOT the same!!! 26.May.2004 12:24


John Kerry is obviously MUCH taller than George Bush.

One more difference 26.May.2004 13:16

me too

Kerry is about ten times as wealthy.

Fools fooled by fools 26.May.2004 13:23

who cares

The whole Demorat party was fooled by Bush because they are all fools.

what are you smoking? 26.May.2004 13:26

not a drug user

Bush is worth several hundred billion dollars, though not necessarily on paper. If the Bushies think they are going to win by portraying Kerry as the privileged white guy... well, go right ahead... I love watching the steady stream of collossal mistakes by the Bush team. It's the most entertaining thing on television. Just remember, don't watch those polls to closely, and as they drop, just stay the course.

Uh, Iraq is not the only issue. How about 26.May.2004 13:43


women's right to choose. How about environment (if you see no difference on that count, you don't know much). How about Patriot Act II and on and on. If you see no difference at all, then you're a fool

Uh 26.May.2004 13:48


"How about Patriot Act II"

Kerry voted for Patriot Act II. It's called the Homeland Security Act. Read up on it.

As for a woman's right to choose why didn't Kerry lead the democrats to oppose the unborn victims of violenace act? Oh that's right, the democrats had to pass it to make Bush look bad, despite the fact it would never have passed without the democrats supporting it.

I agree there is a difference between Bush and Kerry, but until the Kerry supporters learn to articulate that difference they are in trouble.

if the difference isn't like 26.May.2004 13:51

night and day

it's at least like the difference between wine and flat beer.

i lose A LOT more lunch over disgust with Bush's terrah threats than over disgust with Kerry's campaign threats. campaigns are just not the best time to take a polygraph to most candidates.

the other end of the stick: would you have supported Bush just because he promised an attitude of non-interference with other countries when he was running?

it's just their lips moving, that's all, but Bush has already proven what he is, and act II begins if he's president again and freed from concerns about approval ratings affect his chances of re-election.

'not a drug user' smokes THESE 26.May.2004 14:03


you need to BUY a clue like your Kerry is right now: postponing the Democratic primary so he can "raise more money" and delay spending his $75 million Federal matching campaign fund check until the same time as BushCo.

who really does know or care how much GWB is worth, the only thing that matters is he is the nameplate for multibillion dollar corporations in the white house. but we DO KNOW that Kerry and his Heinz Ketchup wife are worth $850 million together. Kerry voted for USA Patriot, Homeland Security, Iraq /Afghanistan illegal wars, embraces Ariel Sharon, and is GWB's multimillionaire Skull & Bones blood brother. He is no different from Bushit.

It's Not Just the Emperor Who is Naked, But the Whole Empire


Published on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 by the Boston Globe

Campaign Images Aren't Cutting It

by Joan Vennochi

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. George W. Bush looks like an Iraq-obsessed, warmongering incompetent. John Kerry looks like a cash-obsessed, double-talking flip-flopper.

Neither is the victim -- yet -- of a cruel advertising campaign. They are who they are. And no amount of money spent on television commercials is going to change the truth about either.

Both political parties are fixated on raising money so their respective presidential candidates are evenly matched for the advertising war in the ongoing presidential campaign. Note to all consultants, strategists, operatives, and advertising geniuses: It's over. Most American voters understand the choice.

They don't approve of the direction the country is heading under the Bush administration, but they are not sure they want to turn over the steering wheel to Kerry. Bush is hugging the right, careening at top speed towards Armageddon. Kerry's penchant for cautious weaving from left of center to slightly right raises the possibility of a different type of political accident.

For both candidates, campaign spin is playing second fiddle to reality, which is particularly harsh in the most global sense for Bush. The Bush doctrine of preemptive warfare is running up against the deadly truth about the invasion of Iraq. The photographs of American troops mistreating Iraqi prisoners has embarrassed the country. And Bush personally fails the first test of modern presidential competence: In unscripted television moments, he does not look or sound like a leader, from "Meet the Press" to a White House news conference.

Bush's very scripted address last night was designed to change the impression of an inarticulate, tentative president without an exit plan from Iraq. The occupation will end on June 30, he said. There will be a new Iraqi president, a prime minister, two vice presidents, and 26 ministers. How this mystery government will end the violence was left unanswered, giving Bush the air of a man who still believes in the tooth fairy.

Confirmation of a negative impression will not enhance Bush's reelection prospects. Recent polls give Bush a 42 percent job approval rating; 37 percent believe the country is on the wrong track. Bush can't survive numbers like that -- unless Kerry continues to give voters reasons to turn away from him as the logical alternative to a failed presidency.

To date, the Kerry campaign has been turning weapons of mass political destruction against itself. Part of the problem is a candidate so afraid of being cast as a liberal he chooses to be cast as a fool. Bill Clinton was the man from Hope; Kerry is the senator from nowhere. Those expensive biographical campaign ads that were designed to introduce him to the country highlight his birth in an Army hospital in Colorado and never mention the state that has sent him proudly to Washington for almost two decades. So, rootless, soulless, and foolish is how he looks as he dodges and weaves on issues like gay marriage, abortion, and defense.

The controversy over how and when Kerry will accept the Democratic Party nomination reinforces the theme of a politician unable to make up his mind. Kerry, the candidate who said he voted for the $87 billion in military aid for Iraq before he voted against it, is now the candidate who might reject the presidential nomination before he accepts it. Who can blame Republicans for using the convention issue against Kerry? Yesterday the Bush-Cheney campaign was quick and wise to put out a press release listing all the criticism from Kerry's fellow Democrats as well as from the establishment media. Remember, this is all about money. Kerry advisers considered delaying the technical acceptance of the presidential nomination so Kerry could continue to raise and spend money without abiding by spending limits that kick in once a party formally nominates its candidate. What amount of cash can possibly make up for the free negative media the candidate is receiving in the wake of that ill-conceived trial balloon?

The Bush campaign believes it can take down Kerry with a huge advertising buy highlighting his voting record on taxes and Iraq. The Kerry campaign believes it needs millions to wage its own advertising war to destroy Bush. Voters are more in touch with simple reality than these alleged experts. The reality: The world is more dangerous than ever. America's role in it is harder to explain to our children and each other. Voters want someone in charge who can deal with the danger and make them feel good about the country and its future. Right now, voters are looking at this choice: a president who brought this country to war for the wrong reasons versus a challenger lacking a core set of beliefs about war or anything else. It's up to Bush and Kerry to break through the headlines they wrote about themselves and make another case.
'not a drug user' smokes THESE
'not a drug user' smokes THESE

Who loses a vote 26.May.2004 14:21

To who?

"I agree there is a difference between Bush and Kerry, but until the Kerry supporters learn to articulate that difference they are in trouble."

I want to agree with this on principle, in fact I do agree with it on principle, but I think the biggest demographic that Kerry is trying to impress is the chickenhawk voters, I think he's going after Bush right where he lives, and that means not articulating the differences well. The Bush regime will also likely devote remarkable resources to attacking anything Kerry does articulate clearly, and the less it's like what Bush articulates, the more likely. It doesn't mean Kerry has to bend over backwards to the group he may be primarily targeting if he's elected. If he loses an "anybody but Bush" vote for talking like Bush, it doesn't seem likely to go to Bush. Don't let the fear of another Bush get to you; if there are such distinctions to be made, try to separate stance from strategy.

For those who want a real choice in November 26.May.2004 15:22

George Bender

Work with us to get Ralph Nader on the ballot. Go to our Nader Oregon website, volunteer and subscribe to our email list.


That would be 26.May.2004 15:59


"Democrats make good slaves?" Bender

Bender 26.May.2004 16:21

Go Nader!

Any more word on another nominating convention effort?

well ya got 26.May.2004 16:33

your wish

"The controversy over how and when Kerry will accept the Democratic Party nomination reinforces the theme of a politician unable to make up his mind"

this will make you feel better i hope.

 link to story.news.yahoo.com

personally i wouldn't have minded if he'd held out a while to try to get on more even footing for the ensuing money fight. the end of the controversy over how and when Kerry will accept the nomination reinforces the theme of a politician unable to spend as much on campaigns as Bush.

maybe it was just some of us that couldn't make up our minds whether we want Bush outta there, or not...

Nader convention 26.May.2004 17:14

George Bender

Someone wrote on the state Nader email list that campaign leaders are planning to try another Oregon nominating convention. No word on when. We'll all let you know when we hear anything. If the people running Portland IndyMedia allow it. Usually they shunt everything relating to the presidential election off to Selection 2004. So you all won't be bothered with presidential politics.

Yes I still think that Democrats make good slaves. They'll go along with anything, even John Kerry. Which may make sense if you're middle-class and want stability over all, but not if you're working-class and getting screwed. I think it was Nikita Khrushchev who said, "I have seen how the wage slaves of capitalism live, and they live very well." But that was a long time ago. Working-class people in the U.S. have been in decline for the last 30 years. Our share of the pie keeps getting smaller.

Not too happy with Greens either, although I'm still registered Green. What I wanted was a party that would oppose Democrats from the left, but that doesn't seem to be happening. Actually I'm wondering if there is any point in political parties anymore, except for an easy ballot line. Seems like any party gets taken over by ambivalent, incoherent wimps. Perhaps, to be fair, because they're the ones willing to go to meetings. I'm thinking of reregistering independent.

Blatant antidemocracy 26.May.2004 17:26

Joanna Weiss

Boston Globe
May 26, 2004
 link to www.boston.com

Knocking out Nader becomes a campaign
Democratic activists adopt hard-line tactics

Campaigns may die, but campaign operatives dust themselves off and move to the next project -- often carrying old grudges and philosophies with them.

And while the next big thing is usually a rising political star, one of the newest rivalries in politics this year involves two grass-roots campaigns aimed at knocking out Ralph Nader.

A year ago, this is how two unconventional primary campaigns became contenders: Some upstart strategists and wannabe politicos launched websites on their own, and used them to build grass-roots support. Former Vermont governor Howard Dean drew early energy from independent weblogs, encouraged by Dean's official campaign headquarters. Retired Army General Wesley K. Clark got ample persuasion from big-name political veterans, but also credited two "Draft Clark" movements with drawing him into the race.

Now, veterans of both efforts have launched anti-Nader campaigns, which they hope will persuade voters who are leaning toward the consumer advocate to throw their support to Democrat John F. Kerry. As in the primaries, when competing strategies ruffled feathers, the groups disagree about how best to go after Nader.

Some alumni of Draft Clark 2004, a group that built a proto-campaign organization before Clark launched his own, have set up a political action committee and website called StopNader.com. This week, they plan to start running a scathing television ad in the battleground state of Oregon, linking Nader's 2000 candidacy to President Bush's policies.

"Ralph, what's more important, your nation or your ego?" the voiceover asks. "Don't do this to us again."

Meanwhile, some old hands from Draft Wesley Clark, a separate group that used fund-raising pledges and publicity stunts to generate buzz for Clark, have joined former Dean communications director Tricia Enright to form an advocacy group called The Nader Factor. They've borrowed some old Dean catchphrases -- "You have the power to take back this country!" their website declares -- and produced a gentler ad that started running yesterday in Wisconsin and New Mexico.

Whether either strategy can succeed remains to be seen. So far, Nader isn't budging, said his campaign spokesman, Kevin Zeese. Nader will be in Boston today to meet with supporters and has embarked on a marathon tour of 11 states in one week, Zeese said.

"It makes all of us here want to do more of what we're doing," Zeese said. "He's not going to let these whining Democrats, these carping Democrats, change his mind."

That's part of the reason StopNader.com leaders describe their approach as "hard-line," with an emphasis on practical steps they hope will keep Nader from gaining traction. They plan to file an amicus brief in Texas, where Nader has launched a court challenge to state signature rules that are keeping him off the November ballot. They want to scrutinize the signatures Nader is collecting in other states, in part, one operative said, to keep the campaign busy so it has less time for rallies and persuasion.

Because the group is an old-style PAC -- not one established under the latest campaign finance laws -- it is free to run explicit anti-Nader ads up to Election Day, call directly for Nader to drop out of the race, run partisan get-out-the-vote drives, and criticize the candidate without mincing words.

The idea is to make an unsentimental case about Nader's effect in 2000, said Mike Frisby, a former Boston Globe reporter who worked for Draft Clark 2004 and now is spokesman for StopNader.com. His group has little sympathy for the Naderites who "look me in the eye and say that they're an idealist," Frisby said. "There's a time and a place for everything, and right now is not a time and a place for idealism."

But the minds behind The Nader Factor think this isn't a time for contentiousness, either. Their program hews closer to a 12-step program or a group hug: Collecting testimonials from converted Nader voters, establishing a petition to build "a dynamic grass-roots community." Their current TV ad features a high school English teacher who says he supported Nader "because I love my country," but now understands that his vote "undermines all the issues I care about."

"I call this the 'love and embrace' strategy," said Chris Kofinis, a former Draft Wesley Clark organizer who now does strategy for The Nader Factor. "These guys aren't the enemy."

Enright, the group's president, says she wants to convince Nader voters that they can still have a voice within the Democratic Party.

The group can collect unlimited donations, but faces some restrictions on what it can do and say, said Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics. Nader Factor ads can mention candidates by name until 60 days before the general election, but can't use what Noble calls the "magic words" of advocacy: "vote for," "elect," "defeat."

The Nader camp, for its part, challenges both groups' main premise: that Nader votes in swing states cost Democrat Al Gore the 2000 election.

Zeese cited the nearly half of Americans who didn't vote at all four years ago and said Democrats should concentrate on wooing the party and union members who voted for Bush. "Nader is a symptom of their problem," he said. "He's not going to drop out. Learn to live with it and just start to get to work."

Breaking the Two-Party System 26.May.2004 17:37

US Newswire

US Newswire

Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader Speaks at the National
Press Club June 3

"Breaking the Two-Party System" is the title of an address by
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader which is scheduled to
be delivered to a National Press Club luncheon on Thursday June 3.

More voices and more choices are needed in the November election,
Nader is expected to tell National Press Club members and their
guests. Nader's candidacy is centered around a plan for responsible
withdrawal from Iraq.

On the domestic front Nader has described Washington, D.C.,
as "corporate-occupied territory" and is seeking to "break the hold
corporate interests have over our government." Nader is putting cuts
in the bloated and redundant military budget at the forefront of his
candidacy. He urges putting "human needs first." Human needs includes
a single payer health care system, a living wage for all US workers,
a new energy paradigm that breaks the U.S. addiction to fossil and
nuclear energy by developing sustainable, clean energy sources and
repealing the notorious provisions of the Patriot Act.

"The political duopoly are proxies for corporate domination of our
government and elections. They are opponents of legitimate electoral
reform from ballot access to the presidential debates to the public
financing of campaigns," Nader said.

"The prospect for the future is further decay, degeneration and
decadence. The political duopoly is shortchanging the country and
(is) unworthy of the American people and posterity. The public needs
more voices and more choices in elections," said Ralph Nader.

Nader is currently focused on getting on the ballot. He submitted
80,044 signatures in Texas on May 24 (more than submitted in the 2000
campaign) and currently has petition drives going across the country.
In 2000 Nader was on the ballot in 43 states and the District of
Columbia, he expects to be on more ballots in 2004. Nader recently
received the endorsement of the Reform Party.

no wonder the democrats favor gun control 26.May.2004 17:39


It seems like they can't help but shoot themselves in the foot.

It was never a challenge to defeat Bush, but it looks like the democrats will do all in their power to piss away an easy victory. Well, I guess it goes to show that you can't save people from their own incompetence (especially in politics).

another sad myth: pro-choice Democrats 26.May.2004 18:20


Democrats line up behind republicans to destroy womens' re[roductive rights. Democrats are allowing Bush's anti-choice legislation to pass. They're voting for his undermining of rights to give you this reason to vote for Kerry. They could stop the bill and run on that, but no, they vote for it and then wait for their supporters to talk about the evil Bush regime. Capitalist politics as usual.

Senate Passes "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" a major attack on Row v Wade:

Anti War Democrats 26.May.2004 19:43


If I see one single peron that I know is voting for Kerry at an anti war protest I will personally make them very uncomfortable because I really don't like hipocrites.
If you are anti-war don't vote for it. Is it really that hard?

Kerry AND Bush ignore healthcare needs of Poor Americans 26.May.2004 19:55

Menopause Red

Health Care is another area where Bush and Kerry are both oblivious to the needs of the poor. Tax breaks for health insurance helps the rich. It might be worth voting for Kerry just to get the federal courts out of right field, but I'm not sure. Is there ANY WAY we can find a worthy candidate before this summer????

Kerry just like Bush? Hmmm... 26.May.2004 20:22


Yes, I remember when Kerry;
Ignored briefings that warned Osama Bin Laden was going to attack the US,
Lied about WMDs so he could invade Iraq,
Gutted the constitution with the 'Patriot Act',
Cut social programs while pushing through massive tax breaks for the super-rich,
Increased the amount of arsenic that could be in our drinking water,
Pumped pollutants into the atmosphere via a 'Clear Skies' initiative,
Appointed numerous corporate foxes to 'regulate' the industries they came from,
Paid millions to Christian churches to set up church related social programs,
Committed war crimes that caused the death of thousands of innocent civilians,
Ruined the reputation of the USA for decades to come,
Imprisoned people without charges or the right to legal counsel or appeal,
{Insert your favorite here)

Yep, Kerry is just like Bush.

MR 27.May.2004 00:59


Yes, but he won't be in the Democratic party.

Actually, Kerry DID do most of those things you list, "ctrl-z" 27.May.2004 01:14


Kerry DID lie about WMDs in Iraq. He has been one of the leading hawk cheerleaders for war against Saddam Hussein. He claims to have believed in every pretext offered by Bush II. The numerous deceptions visible to so many, strangely were overlooked by this well-educated lawyer. In fact, he declared on the floor of the Senate, October 9th, on the eve of the vote: "In the clearest presentation to date, the President laid out a strong, comprehensive and compelling argument why Iraq's WMD programs are a threat to the United States and the international community."

Furthermore, Kerry's record reveals that he...
- announced that his first campaign promises to cancel weapons systems and reduce defense spending were ill-advised;
- voted for the Gramm-Rudman Act of 1985 resulting in dramatic cuts in domestic social programs;
- voted against Gulf War I only to soon reverse himself saying he was ill-advised;
- voted for the 1996 Telecommunications Act facilitating media monopolies;
- supported Clinton's "welfare reform;"
- supported Clinton's draconian "Counter-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act," a precursor to Bush II's PATRIOT Act - WHICH KERRY ALSO SUPPORTED;
- supported the genocidal sanctions against and continued bombings of Iraq under Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II;
- voted for the Homeland Security Act;
- voted for the "No Child Left Behind" Act;
- questioned the correctness of affirmative action;
- boldly declared that "the cause of Israel is the cause of America";
- supports NAFTA, the WTO, GATT;
- continues to support massive increases in "defense" spending;
- supported Bush II's tax cuts for the wealthy.

Kerry also 27.May.2004 02:50

(Insert your favorite here)

voted for HAVA - Help America Vote Act - which approves implementation of Electronic Voting Machines

come and get me, Raven you hypocrite 27.May.2004 08:06

anti-war, pro Kerry

If I see one person at any environmental action who doesn't plan to vote for Kerry, I will personally get in their face. You see, I hate hypocrites. And even more, I hate people whose understanding of political reality is so thin, so shallow, so black and white, that the enormous differences in all issues between Kerry and Bush are lost on their simple-minded selves.

John Kerry was one of the organizing founders of Vietnam Veterans against the War. That in and of itself makes him a stronger and more effective anti-war activist than anyone who posts to this website. Deal with it. John Kerry has been consistently described as the most liberal senator based on his voting record. If that doesn't seem just a little different than Bush, well, scrub your glasses, or get some if you don't have them. Because saying Kerry is the same is Bush is something only someone blinded by their own agenda could think.

Bush is a threat to the world. He has proven his murderous goals, his lack of conscience, his utter contempt for the environment, for human rights, for all that we love. Anyone stupid enough to risk giving him four more years to continue his destruction is welcome to get in my face. I'll kick your ass.

Bush vs Kerry 27.May.2004 09:02


Not even close. Their mindsets are far apart. While Kerry is going to follow the status quo, Bush is a sociopath, and that makes him dangerous. Kerry may be, at worst, negligent and if elected, needs to be reminded of his responsibilities to his constituents. If he fails, the right will come back even stronger. He needs to know that the democrats need to stop BS'ing around and get with the program (environment, health care, education, justice, jobs). But 4 more years of Bush and we are in for potentially scary times.

More of the same (spam) 27.May.2004 10:04


It gets harder to tell the neo-con trolls from the actual indy-media posters in regards to this subject. To the trolls; go back under your Halliburton® approved rocks.

To the real indy-media posters: as already mentioned above, there are extreme differences in Kerry and Bush.

The environment, abortion rights, Alternative fuel research, stem cell research, censorship, the SEPARATION of church and state, corporate control of the white house; if you want to convince me that the two are the same in regards to these subjects, you really haven't done it here.

Iraq: Kerry hasn't really explained much, but shit, how worse could he make it? We are at the bottom of the barrel now in Iraq.
Bush's unilateral policies are at the core of all the problems, Kerry is multilateral, the world would be involved with a withdrawal of all troops.
Cleaning up Bush's shit pile cannot include a cut and run strategy, unless you are looking for an civil war slaughter.
I haven't voted for a demo or repub for president in over 20 years, but not this time.

anti-war + pro-kerry = oxymoron 27.May.2004 12:35

ex-democrat voter

"Kerry hasn't really explained much, but shit, how worse could he make it?"

Well, he could send in more troops.

"Bush's unilateral policies are at the core of all the problems, Kerry is multilateral"

So the invasion of Iraq would be justified if more countries were allowed to profit from it?

"Cleaning up Bush's shit pile cannot include a cut and run strategy, unless you are looking for an civil war slaughter."

There is no way to avoid civil war through occupation. Either there will be civil war or there will not be, and the antagonism caused by US forces will make that more, not less, likely to happen.

"If he fails, the right will come back even stronger."

How do you define "fails". He will not lead a progressive agenda. He will do like Clinton did, continue the Bush policies but tell you cares about you the whole time.

"But 4 more years of Bush and we are in for potentially scary times."

I'll tell you a secret: whatever you think will be scary about Bush, will also happen under Kerry. But please, list your fears and we'll review in 2 years. Kerry will give us more war, a draft, continued corporatization of the country, continued destruction of the environment, etc, etc.

"Kerry may be, at worst, negligent"

No, at worst he will exceed the damages done by Bush just as Clinton exceeded the damaged done by Bush I (and Bush II at the moment).

"John Kerry has been consistently described as the most liberal senator based on his voting record."

Yes, by right wing think tanks and we all know how honest they are. Kerry is currently defending himself against the attacks by the Bush team that he would repeal portions of the Patriot Act. Get it, Bush is attacking Kerry by erroneously stating that he would repeal portions of the Patriot Act and Kerry is defending himself saying that he wouldn't. Get it?

Personally I'm welcoming the Kerry presidency. Once people realize it's just as bad or worse then Bush maybe we can work toward some substantive change. Until then people are just going to keep clinging to the antiquated notion that voting for a democrat is going to solve this country's problems.

Viva La Kerry!

Yeah, Viva La Kerry! 27.May.2004 13:22

Anti-pseudo-indy-media "Democrats"

"Ty", "me" and "anti-war, pro Kerry" -

can't wait to see your faces and comments when he gets into office.

try expending your energy on an election that matters, moreover one in which your vote has a much greater proportionate chance of realistically influencing the outcome (e.g. here in Portland: Potter vs. FascistPhony).

John Kerry's Obsession 27.May.2004 13:29

S. Brian Willson

John Kerry's Obsession

S. Brian Willson


On March 7, 1969, I arrived at a tiny airbase south of the Bassac River in Vietnam's Mekong Delta as head of an Air Force combat security unit. On March 13, Navy swiftboat commander John Kerry received a bronze star for actions on the Bay Hap River 70 miles further south. Two years later, in April 1971, we would meet at a week-long veteran's encampment on the mall in Washington, D.C., during the historic "Dewey Canyon III: a limited incursion into the country of Congress" organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).

Kerry, recipient of five war medals, was one of its organizers. I was ecstatic to simply be present with 1,000 other veterans vigorously opposing a senselessly brutal and racist war still raging.

Thursday of that week I stood crying outside the packed hearing room of Senator William Fulbright's Foreign Relations Committee listening to John Kerry's powerful speech condemning the war and asking for its quick cessation. For the first time I felt validation for a horrible experience that I, like with so many veterans, was just beginning to recover from. I will never forget his concluding remarks: "Our determination [is] to undertake one last mission, to reach out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war... and... 30 years from now... we will be able to say 'Vietnam' and... mean... the place where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped in the turning." Wow!

The following day John Kerry joined 700-800 vets who threw their medals over a quickly erected fence near the west steps of the Capitol. It was a powerful collective catharsis.

More than eleven years later John Kerry and I reconnected in Massachusetts. I met him in 1983 after he had been elected Lt. Governor under Michael Dukakis. As a lawyer dropout, I was actively involved with other veterans who with John were seeking to craft effective responses to the growing syndrome of psychological and physical problems manifesting among the state's veterans.

In 1984, Kerry ran against a popular Congressperson in the Democratic primary for a vacant U.S. Senate seat. I joined a dozen or so Vietnam veterans rallying around Kerry while other veterans sided with his opponent because they believed Kerry had seriously ignored veteran issues. Kerry won a close primary, then campaigned in the general election against a wealthy businessman championed by General George Patton III.

Kerry's platform was impressively progressive. He called for serious reductions in military spending and weapons production and supported a nuclear freeze. He proposed aggressive efforts to control acid rain and opposed offshore drilling while promising to substantially increase spending on domestic social programs. We veterans, "Kerry's Doghunters," continually fended off criticisms from the far right. Patton accused Kerry of having committed treasonous acts as organizer for VVAW in 1971, "giving aid and comfort for the enemy." Kerry's medal throwing in April 1971 became a target of fierce attacks. Boy, did we vets defend that expression - an act of our own catharsis, atoning for having participated in an illegal and savage war. Then came the shocking revelation from Kerry: "I did not throw my medals, but those of a World War II veteran from Lincoln, Massachusetts, at his request."

I felt a painful twinge of betrayal in my stomach, though initially I tried to downplay the significance of the deception. Kerry went on to win. Cameron Kerry attributed his brother's ultimate election success to the "galvanizing energy" provided by the veterans' support. The "doghunters," called "Kerry's commandos" by the press, had succeeded getting an anti-war Vietnam veteran elected to the U.S. Senate.

In 1985 Kerry threw a party for his "doghunters," and it was there that I heard him mention several times that his initials "JFK" (John Forbes Kerry) would one day enhance his aspirations for the White House in the footsteps of his hero, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I chuckled. Then John said he had a new appreciation for the covert actions used to facilitate U.S. foreign policy, having been briefed about the nation's secrets by the CIA, DoD, and other security agencies. As a member of Senator Kerry's Veterans Advisory Council I worried that John was already infected by that stifling phenomenon called Washington groupthink.

I began some critical reflection. Rumors had it that Kerry had expressed to peers at Yale his ambitions of following his hero, JFK, to the presidency. At 18 years of age, Kerry had a serendipitous meeting with Kennedy on a Coast Guard boat off Cape Cod. His privileged background ensured his induction into Yale's secret Skull and Bones Society. He had given an anti-war speech at his 1966 Yale graduation after enlisting in a Naval officer program, virtually guaranteeing a trip to Vietnam. And it seemed strange he had made such an effort to carefully document with his own films his actions on a swiftboat in the Mekong Delta. Finally, 1971-1984 was a long time for John to have been silent about the deception of throwing someone else's medals, rather than his own.

During his first term, Kerry did use his prosecutorial skills to initiate an ad hoc investigation into Reagan's illegal contra terrorist activities against revolutionary Nicaragua. Kerry and his staff found evidence tying the contras to drug smuggling while the Iran-Contra scandal was unraveling. These actions indicated Kerry might take seriously campaign promises to bring to the Senate lessons he learned from his Vietnam experiences about illegal and reckless government policies.

In addition, Kerry has consistently won good grades for his support of environmental protection. However, in general, his 19 years in the Senate have been unremarkable. He has championed no particular cause, often following the lead of Senator Edward Kennedy, though they dramatically parted ways over the latest Iraq war.

A close examination of Kerry's record reveals that he

- announced that his first campaign promises to cancel weapons systems and reduce defense spending were ill-advised; -voted for the Gramm-Rudman Act of 1985 resulting in dramatic cuts in domestic social programs;
- voted against Gulf War I only to soon reverse himself saying he was ill advised;
- voted for the 1996 Telecommunications Act facilitating media monopolies;
- supported Clinton's "welfare reform;" -supported Clinton's draconian "Counter-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act," a precursor to Bush II's Patriot Act which Kerry also supported;
- supported the genocidal sanctions against and continued bombings of Iraq under Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II;
- voted for the Homeland Security Act;
- voted for the "No Child Left Behind"Act;
- questioned the correctness of affirmative action;
- boldly declared that "the cause of Israel is the cause of America";
- supports NAFTA, the WTO, GATT;
- continues to support massive increases in "defense" spending;
- supported Bush II's tax cuts for the wealthy.

Kerry is now the wealthiest of all 100 Senators (around $500 million), largely due to his wife's fortune. Despite Kerry declaring his intentions to take on the special monied interests that control politics, he is one of the largest recipients of special interest money.

Perhaps most disturbing is Kerry's ardent support of Bush II's 2002 request of Congress to unlawfully transfer their non-delegable war-declaring power to the president to launch first-strike, pre-emptive war as he determined to be necessary to defend national security. This Iraq war was conducted in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law, and every member of Congress who voted for it violated their oath to uphold the highest law of our nation. There were 23 Senators and 133 members of the House of Representatives who voted "NO" on the October 2002 resolution, far more grotesque in lies and fabrications than the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that granted unlimited war authority to President Johnson.

Sadly, Kerry has forgotten the lessons from Vietnam, if in fact he once understood them. He has been one of the leading hawk cheerleaders for war against Saddam Hussein. He claims to have believed in every pretext offered by Bush II. The numerous deceptions visible to so many, strangely were overlooked by this well-educated lawyer. In fact, he declared on the floor of the Senate, October 9th, on the eve of the vote: "In the clearest presentation to date, the President laid out a strong, comprehensive and compelling argument why Iraq's WMD programs are a threat to the United States and the international community."

In John Kerry's 2003 book, A Call to Service: My Vision for a Better America (Viking), he seeks to revive a "bold vision of progressive internationalism," in effect continuing Pax Americana. One particularly revealing statement indicates Kerry's betrayal of the veterans who shared the sentiments of his 1971 speech: "As a veteran of both the Vietnam War and the Vietnam protest movement, I say to both conservative and liberal misinterpretations of that war that it's time to get over it and recognize it as an exception, not as a ruling example, of the U.S. military engagements of the twentieth century. If those of us who carried the physical and emotional burdens of that conflict can regain perspective and move on, so can those whose involvement was vicarious or who knew nothing of the war other than ideology and legend" (p. 43, italics mine). Kerry is out of touch. Iraq repeated a tragedy that could have been avoided if we had heeded the lessons of Vietnam — lies and consequent quagmires.

Vietnam an exception? Kerry ignores the 200 U.S. overt, and thousands of covert, illegal interventions against "majority world" nations since World War II alone, resulting in the murdering and maiming of millions of impoverished peoples in more than 100 countries as they aspire for a bit of justice, a pattern of wholesale terrorism used to maintain a grotesque, unsustainable global gap between the haves and the have-nots. To so ignore this suggests a total insensitivity to our cultural racism that has enabled such systematic exploitation of "majority world" peoples, an attitude that simply can no longer be tolerated as part of our national policy.

What happened to Kerry's commitment to the historic "turning" of America? Or perhaps he never meant it in the first place. It could be that John Kerry always has been driven by a burning ambition for the presidency that has guided his actions, including his Vietnam tours of duty and his anti-war actions—and those historic words he uttered in 1971. Kerry is deeply entrenched in the corrupt, U.S. oligarchic structure with his obsession to be president overriding all else. This is where he stands.

It is ironic that John Kerry now sits as an experienced lawyer on the same Senate Foreign Relations Committee before which he testified so eloquently in 1971. In 2002 hearings before the same Committee he listened to voluminous testimony authoritatively challenging all of Bush II's pretexts. Kerry dismissed every piece of evidence offered. I believe Kerry voted in a manner he thought would serve his presidential ambitions, even though it meant defying the Constitution he swore to uphold.

Despite my desire to see Bush II dethroned, I cannot join the growing "Band of Brothers" working on Kerry's presidential campaign. I belong to a different tribe of veterans who are still working for the "turning of America." Whether Kerry truly meant those words or not, many others of us took them to heart. That turning is still desperately needed. The world may not survive if we don't participate in a dramatic turning - away from blinding arrogance and plutocracy and toward loving compassion and authentic grassroots-based democracy.

(reposting the entire article that GRINGO linked above)

Gringo 27.May.2004 16:06

George Bender

Regarding Kerry's alleged vote for Bush's tax cuts for the rich: I've read this many times. A while back I sent an email to Salon.com and got one back saying that Kerry didn't vote for the tax cuts, and referring me to Project Vote Smart.

I checked --  http://www.vote-smart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=S0421103

According to them Kerry voted against the tax cuts. Do you have some authoritative source that says otherwise? As anti-Kerry as I am -- and that was a great article -- I believe we need to get our facts straight.

I do know that Kerry now wants to repeal Bush's tax cuts for anyone making over $200,000 a year. Apparently he sees this as the upper boundary of the "middle class," which I think is absurd. Anyone making $200,000 a year is rich, and doesn't deserve tax cuts. Neither does the rest of the middle class. It's working-class people -- the class below middle class -- who need and deserve the cuts.

My main objection to Kerry is that I just don't see him doing anything for working-class people like me. Maybe expanding access to health care, but even there I have doubts. What has he done in the past on this issue? I haven't heard of anything. The best way to judge the future performance of a politician is to look at his past actions. They will SAY anything to get elected.

It seems to me that a higher priority than replacing Bush with Kerry is to build a strong permanent opposition to the two party system, a force to the left of the Democrats and in opposition to them. The only credible place I see that coming from right now is the Nader campaign.

Fuck Bush and Kerry 27.May.2004 16:31


I just wanted to add that those who fetishise the voting booth like pulling a Kerry lever is going to do jack shit about this capitalist, jack-booted system we live under need to pull yer heads out of the sand. You act like not only will Kerry fundamentally change anything, but if Bush wins, it's all over. I'm a working class shmuck and there are a few things I've realized in my years of life so far. One is that under this system real pleasures are illegal and you need to be sneaky to fuck over the elite.

Another is that the two parties haven't delivered the working people of this society or the world any lasting positive change. They are very good at making us homeless, working us to death, imprisoning us or killing us in their endless wars. Finally, that history shows us as in the labor movement, the women's movement, the movement for racial equality or any other progressive current that collective direct action gets the goods.

The Ruling class want you to vote. They like you to choose from their assortment of puppets. After all they can always cut the corporate strings of any that start trying to act smart. What the bastards don't like is millions of people putting their collective foot in their ass. Suggestions? Yeah, stop worrying about the ballot box and start worrying about the workplace. You remember, the place where all the stuff we need to survive comes from. Start agitating, organizing, raising issues not just about money, but how long we work, under what conditions and the community around us. Make connections concerning corporate abuse at home and imperialist war abroad. And keep at it. I've been at it most of my life and will keep going until this body quits. But it would be kinda nice to see a widespread movement to organize the workplace instead of a voting booth that no one can even fucking live in.

Thanks For Listening,

MarkResist 27.May.2004 17:13

George Bender

I still think it's worth voting, if there is anyone to vote for. One way to rebel and send a message. If Nader isn't on the Oregon ballot in November I'm seriously thinking of not voting, for the first time since I can't remember when. If they're going to restrict my choice to Kerry/Bush I'm out of there.

Otherwise, I agree with you. We need a lot more direct action of some kind related to all the issues around making a living, which pretty much determines how the rest of our lives go. I like some of the things Jobs with Justice does on these issues. I think it's worth supporting them. I wish they would do more about safety net issues, but maybe they've just got too much on their plate.

I wonder why it's so hard to get Portland IndyMedia readers interested in economic issues? Are most of them middle-class? Would be interesting to do some kind of survey (online?) to find out who we are. I share many of the concerns of those on this website, but also feel like they're indifferent to my core issues.

Bush is in deep shit 27.May.2004 22:57


Recent polls give Bush a 42 percent job approval rating; 37 percent believe the country is on the wrong track. Bush can't survive numbers like that -- unless Kerry continues to give voters reasons to turn away from him as the logical alternative to a failed presidency.
Although the job approval rating is correct, the other number is way off. 65 percent believe the country is on the wrong track. That ties for the highest number ever on that question, since pollsters began asking it in the '80s. (The last time it was that low was when Gingrich and his GOP freshmen cohorts took over Congress.) Not to be argumentative. But I think it's important to emphasize how deeply distrusted Bush is, even by folks who are getting their news from NBC and Fox.

Kerry certainly supports the rich 28.May.2004 01:36


Here is Kerry voting YES for an amendment (which failed) that would raise the amount of income that is exempt from the tax on estates for a married couple from $675,000 to $4 million, as well as increase the exemption for a family-owned business to $8 million by 2010:

Although Kerry voted NO on a proposed amendment that would completely eliminate estate tax, Kerry proves to be a friend of the ultra rich by lifting their tax burden. The Democrats failed proposal gave a tax cut to the rich, yet *less* of a tax break than that proposed by Dubya.

Don't believe the Democratic propagated strawman 28.May.2004 08:08


The most common ploy on the part of the Democratic party being used today, is to scream to anyone who will listen that those who advocate any alternative to the duopoly, are not acknowledging the very real differences on a myriad of issues, between Bush and Kerry.
It is a cheap transparent strawman that illustrates just how desperate the leadership in the DLC is.

Obviously there are some major differences between these two men and what type of government they would each lead. Nobody (except the Democrats) have claimed otherwise.

What people have said is that there are not "significant" differences between them on the issues that matter most.

Consider the following:

The war on Iraq: Kerry supports
The Patriot Act: Kerry supports
Maintaining "empire" through free trade agreements and economic blackmail: Kerry supports
Bush Healthy Forest initiative: Kerry supports

So then contrary to the rhetoric coming from the corporate bought and sold leadership in the DLC, the truth is that they want you to forget about these things that got the Bush administration branded as fascists, and concentrate instead on the relatively minor differences where they disagree.
They then want you to hold your nose and abandon your conscience, one more time.

One more time?

It will be the same song they sing in 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, etc. etc.
It will NEVER be the right time.

Get it straight people!
They don't want real democracy in this country and they are doing everything in their power to undermine any grassroots effort to accomplish electoral reforms that would end the grip of the duopoly that prevents representative government.

They want you to settle for "not as bad" yet again, despite the fact that the very things that have so many people outraged about Bush, Kerry supported.
They want you to believe that the "left" and the "right" are accurately presented to you in the corporate media and that anyone who falls outside their narrow definition is shrill, not serious, or fringe and extreme.

Noam Chomsky said it best when he said:
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate."

This is what the DLC has tried to do (and you saw it first hand when they chased Cynthia Mckinney out of the party and what they did to Howard Dean) while they marginalized people who were screaming the "emperor has no clothes" like Dennis Kucinich.

So since you know this, the only question that remains is are you going to allow them to scare you into voting Republican lite one more time.

Consider standing up for yourself and voting your conscience for once.
I know that is considered radical, but if "radical" is not called for now, when has it been?

BBC: Foreign policy lookalikes 28.May.2004 14:00

view from across the pond

Based on Senator John Kerry's Thursday speech laying out his vision for American foreign policy, most US voters would be hard pressed to find much difference between the challenger and the incumbent George W Bush.