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government selection 2004

Kerry gives CPR to stricken prez

With America's debacle in Iraq blaring on every TV channel, Democrats in Oregon tuned in eagerly to Kerry as he toured their state in mid-May, awaiting their champion's robust savaging of the commander in chief, tottering through some of the worst news headlines of his presidency.
They waited in vain. Though Iraq is a simple word of only two syllables, Kerry avoided it, and when reporters cued him to put the boot in, he raised a decorous finger to his lips, saying he wanted to give President Bush "some space to get things done."

"I'm trying not to talk about it in politics," he told reporters aboard his campaign plane. "I want to give the president some space to get things done and see what happens," Kerry said. "I wish the president would lead. He needs to lead, lives are at stake. He needs to be really bold." Finally, at a rally in Portland, where Howard Dean lashed the crowd into bellows of approval as he savaged the administration, Kerry made a measured reference to Iraq, though he tactfully forbore to mention the president by name. Later, he indicated that somewhere within the four years of his first term he would supervise some form of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, which gives us a new slant on "four more years."

Having given the anti-war vote the back of his hand (much to the dismay of liberal columnists like Robert Kuttner and Robert Scheer, who have fretted that Kerry was adeptly boosting the Nader vote), Kerry focused his campaign skills on the bedrock constituency on which every Democratic candidate must count: the millions who fear that Bush's judges will abolish Choice.

Yes, said Kerry, he's open to nominating anti-abortion judges. Then, with a typical Kerry swerve, he added, as long as that doesn't lead to the Supreme Court's overturning Roe v Wade. And he said he's sorry now he voted to confirm Antonin Scalia back in 1986.

Then Kerry wrapped up the week with an interview with AP in which he "grudgingly gave Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress credit for creating 900,000 jobs this year, echoed the administration's views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and seconded Bush's decision to Nominate Alan Greenspan for a fifth term as chairman of the Federal Reserve."

This man Kerry reminds me of Michael Dukakis, who led the Democrats to whimpering defeat in 1988. Why is Kerry giving Bush a pass on jobs? The most recent April job figures reveal that despite the growth of more than 300,000 jobs last month, there are still fewer people employed than at the start of the recession, in March 2001. The figures are these: March 2001 -- total employment, 132.5 million; April 2004 -- total employment, 130.9 million. That is really quite a remarkable statistic. More than two years into the recovery from the 2001 recession, the U.S. economy has not produced any net increase in jobs. It's the first time since 1949 that this normal pattern of job growth in a recovery has not occurred.

My coeditor of CounterPunch, Jeffrey St. Clair, and I have a book forthcoming on the election. It's called "Dime's Worth of Difference." At this rate we'll have to change the title. Why exaggerate?

Alexander Cockburn is coeditor with Jeffrey St. Clair of the muckraking newsletter CounterPunch. To find out more about Alexander Cockburn and read features by other columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2004 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

homepage: homepage: http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/2/2004/895

But of Course 01.Jun.2004 15:50

Harder to Hit A Moving Target

"'I'm trying not to talk about it in politics,' he told reporters aboard his campaign plane. 'I want to give the president some space to get things done and see what happens," Kerry said.

Translation: Bush can't work so hard at making Kerry look bad on the high ground if Kerry appears not to be specific about certain things. He HAS talked about Iraq, and he has been specific about foriegn policy, in spite of the urban legend that he waffles; Bush's response was to pretend to be carrying out what Kerry proposed, by pretending to try to involve the U.N. again. The press releases were almost falling over themselves to try to make the press and its readership think that the U.N. had already accepted Bush's terms. Not that I know of, anyway.

I think Kerry's rope-a-doping Bush, he just keeps moving, and Bush is breathing hard and spending his $. It must be driving Bush's ad writer half nuts that Kerry won't sit still, or at least is surrounded by the illusion that he won't sit still the second people are supposed to fall for the "Kerry waffles" cr*p. Attack the waffler on his specific positions? Thought he didn't have any.

I have a better solution. How about we end the war? 01.Jun.2004 16:13

(or replace John Kerry with a robot)

SKB Works with Inventor to Solve U.S. Military Bugler Shortage

Orange, California | SKB Corporation

Facing critical shortage of musicians for military funerals, the Pentagon has approved the use of a push-button bugle that plays taps by itself as the player holds it to his lips. Created by Simon Britton, President of S&D Consulting International Ltd. of New York, New York, SKB is proud to have been selected as the case used for these extraordinary ceremonial bugles.

With only some 500 buglers on active duty on any given day, but with about 1,800 people with military service who are eligible for honors ceremonies passing away each day the Pentagon had a real problem on its hands. So the Defense Department worked with S&D Consulting to invent the "ceremonial bugle". S&D Consulting turned to SKB, known for their durable band instrument cases and previous military contracts.

With a small digital recording devise inserted into each bugle's bell, a member of the honor guard at the funeral simply presses a button on the devise. A five-second delay give the guards time to raise the instrument to their lips as if they are going to play it. The vast majority of families endorsed its use in a six-month test from November to May in Missouri, where 50 prototype bugles were distributed to military units and others who provide funeral honors, such as veterans groups, the Pentagon said in a released statement.

Based on the test, use of the instrument was approved by Principal Deputy Under Secretary Charles S. Abell. A live bugler is still used when available. Otherwise, the family of the deceased service member will be offered the ceremonial bugle as an alternative to previously approved prerecorded tapes and CD's, often played on a boom box.

Use of the $500 instrument "is intended to enhance the dignity of military funeral honors," the Pentagon said. Also, it plays "an exceptionally high-quality rendition of taps that is virtually indistinguishable from a live bugler," the Pentagon said.

"According to news bulletins that have appeared on CNN, the military has been struggling for years to cope with its shortage of musicians for funerals," commented SKB Product Specialist, Will Simes, the person at SKB who worked directly with S&D Consulting in creating the Ceremonial Bugle Case. "We are delighted to have played a role in providing a solution to comfort the families of the deceased by honoring the men and women of our U.S. Armed Forces," concludes Simes.

Press Contact: Kathy Galbraith
Media Manager
SKB Corporation
(800) 410-2024

John Kerry - virtually indistinguishable from a live candidate