Friday, March 26, 2004

Oklahoma City bombing trial:
Over the course of many years since the Oklahoma City bombing, I have thought that the government had prior knowledge of the bombing and that maybe there were others involved other than just Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.
On the prior knowledge issue, there was testimony by Carol Howe, a government informant who told the ATF that McVeigh and Nichols were planning the bombing. She was camped out with McVeigh, Nichols, and other militia members in a compound outside Elohim City, Okla.
Whether others were involved is a more speculative question. There was a German national named Andreas Strassmeier who is suspected of being involved. Strassmeier was hanging around Elohim City at the time McVeigh was planning the bombing. He later denied being involved [Strassmeier's great-grandfather was a founding member of the Nazi Party, BTW].
Then there is Jose Padilla, currently held on unknown charges relating to suspicion of planning to detonate a dirty bomb after Sept. 11. Padilla bears an uncanny resemblance to "John Doe #2," a sketch forwarded by the feds immediately after the bombing.
There were also strange things about the bombing itself. There was a retired brig. general and explosives expert who stated that a Ryder truck filled with amonium nitrate could never do the kind of damage that was done to the Murrah Federal Building, regardless of the size of the truck. There was the fact that they immediately tore down the building before investigators really had a chance to look around. It was cited as a disaster area instead of a crime scene. It was also torn down because it was a supposed health risk yet numerous buildings around the Murrah - which were also damaged - stood vacant for many years and were never torn down even though they posed the same health risks.
As we all know, McVeigh was eventually found guilty of the bombing and executed, despite the fact that he was not able to call Howe as a witness to reveal the feds had prior knowledge [She did tell her story to ABC News though, proving that the prior knowledge isn't a "conspiracy"]. Many others have backed up Howe's testimony. The good soldier that McVeigh was - he was a Gulf War vet and a decorated hero BTW - he took the answers with him to the grave. Nichols was found guilty of federal charges and is now being charge in Oklahoma state court - like the many guilty verdicts he received weren't already enough.
However, over the past few weeks, as Nichols faces his civil trial, all hell has been breaking loose although you wouldn't know it by watching the news. The stuff coming out in Nichols trial have been barely a blip on the news screen yet it should be huge.
J.D. Cash, of the McCurtain Daily Gazette, has been one of those reporters who has been telling the story behind the story and has continued to follow the story in the Nichols phase. Here are some of his latest reports: ["Withheld evidence to sink case against Nichols?"] [He wrote a book in 1996 with radio talk show host Chuck Harder called "Deathtrap: Oklahoma City," but I have never read it].
Then there is this about a convict who said McVeigh told him there were others involved: ["Nichols' defense to argue others aided Okla. plot"]. Not surprisingly, the guy is hawking a book.
Others have also written stories about the trial, mostly in the foreign press: ["Death-penalty trial for Oklahoma bomb accomplice could backfire on FBI"].
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Telegraph was another reporter who exposed a bunch of the strangeness around the bombing. However, none of it managed to get into the mainstream corporate press.
When I had a radio talk show, I talked about some of the strangeness around the Oklahoma City bombing case. I even talked about it on other shows but was pooh-poohed by most. There have been a number of conspiracy and non-conspiracy books written about the subject, although I haven't blogged about them much [Recommended: McVeigh attorney Stephen Jones' "Others Unknown," Jim Keith's "OKBomb," and David Hoffman's "The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror," (who I interviewed on my former radio talk show, "Real Talk")].
But doesn't this all sound a little familiar and a little unusual?
Right now, we are hearing about the Sept. 11 commission and the testimony by state department and intelligence officials from the last two administrations. It is pretty interesting some of the things that are coming out even if you know we aren't hearing all of the story. And we may never hear the whole story or we'll have to wait until 2010 to get the full story.
In the wake of the bombing, the Clinton administration and the Republican-controlled Congress passed a bunch of sweeping new laws - The domestic anti-terrorism bill of 1996 - or the first step towards the gutting of the Bill of Rights and a precursor to the even more evasive PATRIOT Act. Strangely, or not so when you consider this was the Clinton administration, the law was written and prepared before the bombing and quickly rushed through in the wake of the Murrah bombing, not unlike the PATRIOT Act.
But how come there wasn't a Oklahoma City Bombing Commission? How come they didn't investigate the failure of the feds to stop the bombing when Howe told them it was going to happen? How come no one was reprimanded for these failures? There was a commission about the Waco disaster - although I would contend after watching many hours of the hearings that it was rigged by that idiot Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., who kept throwing cogs in the railway to justice for those people who were killed. But not for the Murrah Building. Too bad our officials don't trust us enough to tell the truth - no matter how shocking or bad it might be.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Nader should ask Ventura to be VP:
I have been thinking about Ralph Nader's independent campaign a bit but haven't posted anything of late. I've just been thinking about it. Thinking about how many state ballots he will get on. Thinking about the fact that - so far - he has only been campaigning in safe Republican states i.e. "the red states." Thinking about the possibilities for mischief of it all. The other day while I was driving to work, I was thinking that it was odd that Nader hasn't announced a running mate yet. In the last two election cycles, Nader had Native American activist Winona LaDuke as his running mate. She is an amazing person if you ever get to meet her [although I would contend that in 2000 she was relatively ineffective because of her duties taking care of her newborn].
Then, on Monday, Jesse Ventura, who is at Harvard's JFK School of Government this spring, announced at the State House that he was supportive of gay marriage: ["Tough guys Ventura and DeNucci support gay marriage"]. This was a bit of a surprise - but actually not - for people who have watched Ventura over the years. He is a social libertarian and he speaks his mind. But he is also a fiscal conservative and his rejection of some of Nader's more liberal policy positions kept Ventura from endorsing Nader in 2000. The two did meet and at the time Ventura said he always voted for independents.
But here is the interesting point of the story:

Ventura, 52, a Reform Party member in Minnesota, made no secret of his desire to one day consider running for president, perhaps in 2008. His running mate, he said, would be the former Philadelphia basketball star Charles Barkley, raising the possibility of a ticket dubbed The Body and The Round Mound.
Now, Ventura is a member of Minnesota's Independent Party, a former offshoot of the Reform Party. However, the party is no longer affliated with the Reform Party. As well, Barkley is a registered Republican and was even thinking about running for governor in Alabama. A Ventura/Barkley ticket might be too conservative for liberals and independents who might want to bolt the major parties in 2008. But how about now? Would a Nader/Ventura ticket pull enough support from both sides to get the 10 to 15 percent to get into the debates? Could they galvanize a nation of voters that is mostly independent, not Democrat or Republican? Could they win?
Sure, the Democratic Party and the American people seem "united" in the sense that they want to get rid of Bush. The Democratic Party structure will be united behind nominee John Kerry. But will the people? So far, we haven't seen that.
But imagine for a minute a Nader/Ventura administration: Peace, prosperity, regulation on things that should be regulated, fair income taxes, universal health care coverage, fair trade deals, treating veterans fairly and with respect, coalition government in the sense that Nader and Ventura political positions aren't one-sided. Nader would get support from conservatives on issues of corporate welfare and Ventura will get support from liberals on social matters. Imagine Ventura "reinventing government" like Al Gore was supposed to do in 1993! It would be leaner, more humane and less expensive, we know that much.
In the end, this probably won't happen. But Nader should consider talking to Ventura - now. If the two of them lost the election in 2004, it would help Ventura set himself up for a serious run in 2008.
Sure, I'm daydreaming a bit here but if it happens remember that you read it here first. :-)

Monday, March 22, 2004

Alaska Caucuses:
While yuppie Kerry is busy skiing, snowboarding, and swearing at secret service agents, Kucinich sneaks away with some delegates. From Saturday:
Kerry - 47.8 percent - 8 delegates
Kucinich - 25.8 percent - 5 delegates
Uncommitted - 12.3 percent - 4 delegates
Dean, Howard - 11.4 percent
Edwards, John - 2.7 percent

Wyoming Caucuses
Kerry - 196 - 76.6 percent - 13 delegates
Uncommitted - 22 - 8.6 percent - 5 delegates
Kucinich - 16 - 6.3 percent
Edwards - 12 - 4.7 percent
Dean - 8 - 3.1 percent
Sharpton - 2 - 0.8 percent

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Illinois primary
From Tuesday, March 16
Kerry - 868,932 - 71.8 percent - 141 delegates
Edwards - 131,795 - 10.9 percent - 2 delegates
Braun - 52,873 - 4.4 percent
Dean - 47,090 - 3.9 percent
Sharpton - 35,876 - 3 percent
Kucinich - 27,957 - 2.3 percent
Lieberman - 23,230 - 1.9 percent
Clark - 19,191 - 1.6 percent
LaRouche - 3,843 - 0.3 percent

Kansas Caucuses
From Saturday, March 13
Kerry - 289 - 71.9 percent - 32 delegates
Kucinich - 41 - 10.2 percent
Edwards - 35 - 8.7 percent
Dean - 27 - 6.7 percent - 1 delegate
Uncommitted - 7 - 1.7 - 7 delegates
Clark - 3 - 0.7 percent

Saturday, March 13, 2004

F-ing outrageous!

How cryptic is this?: ["AP: Rumsfeld, FBI Official Kept 9-11 Items"].

Voting machine problems
Some interesting fallout from the Democratic primaries. It seems as though the "miraculous" DRE touch-tone voting machines didn't work very well in the states that have purchased them. Here are some of the headlines:
* In Florida, Gephardt beats Kerry, sort of: ["Bay County Election Problems Stir Bad Florida Memories"].
* While seniors have problems: ["Florida senior voters have trouble with electronic voting machines"].
* In California, some senators make formal complaints: ["Senators assail touch-screen voting"]. Note the subhead: "Too many problems to correct by November's election, a Democrat and a Republican say." Ouch. Not good.
* In San Diego, county election officials post their problems: ["County polling reports"]. I particularly like this entry:
Approximately 40% of the PCM devices failed to "boot-up" to the correct screen when turned on by the poll workers.
Vanity Fair also has a pretty extensive article about the DRE machine problems which I have only skimmed [it came in the mail Thursday]. But the overall tone of the piece, as well as Graydon Carter's editorial - that Republicans will steal the election in 2004 by hacking into these voting machines - is really above and beyond.
In the article, the author also elevates Bev Harris as just another courageous grandmother fighting to expose the problem. Yet, and not surprisingly, the article ignores Harris' rabid partisanship and her outrageous - and near slanderous - attacks against conservative Christians. It also revises Harris' history in investigating these problems - ignoring her conspiratorial and fraudulent attacks against paper ballots scanned by optical scanning machines.
As I have shown on this blog, the allegations are baseless - since optical scanning machines have been proven time and again to be more accurate than human counts: ["Vote fraud, conspiracies, and real solutions to the elections problem"].
Harris is right about the DREs. But the article, which should have been more balanced, does a disservice to democracy by ignoring the partisanship of Harris and others.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Bush and Kerry: Clueless on manufacturing

OK, so, after five months of waiting, Bush finally appoints his "Manufacturing Czar." But the guy likes building plants in China ... so, he won't be the "Manufacturing Czar" after all: ["Bush Economic Team Draws Fire Over Jobs"].
Then there is Kerry, calling on help from Mickey Kantor to explain Kerry's manufacturing policy. Kantor held a conference call with reporters on March 11: ["Greenspan Warns Congress Not to Create Trade Barriers"].
Frankly, screw Greenspan. He is wrong on this issue and you can tell by the use of his words. Tariffs aren't "trade barriers." Tariffs are "taxes" on imports. There is a difference. For over 200 years, tariffs were used to punish and reward good countries. They were also used to collect revenues when there were no income taxes! Don't these people know American history? But back to Kerry and Bush.
Of course, Kantor is the same guy who negotiated NAFTA - which Kerry voted for - and helped President Clinton ram it through the Congress, leading to the loss of millions of American manufacturing jobs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Kerry sweeps the south:
Gets closer to securing the delegate count

Florida Primaries
Kerry - 581,544 - 77.2 percent
Edwards - 75,679 - 10 percent
Sharpton - 21,025 - 2.8 percent
Dean - 20,828 - 2.8 percent
Kucinich - 17,193 - 2.3 percent
Lieberman - 14,286 - 1.9 percent
Clark - 10,224 1.4 percent
Braun - 6,788 - 0.9 percent
Gephardt - 6,021 0.8 percent

Bush - - 109 delegates
Mike Miller
Kenneth Stremsky
Bill Wyatt
Joan YaHanna Malone
Uncommitted - 3 delegates

Louisiana Primaries
Kerry - 112,375 - 69.7 percent - 51 delegates
Edwards - 26,004 - 16.1 percent - 9 delegates
Dean - 7,930 - 4.9 percent
Clark - 7,080 - 4.4 percent
Bill McGaughey - 3,157 - 2 percent
Kucinich - 2,402 - 1.5 percent
LaRouche - 2,322 - 1.4 percent

Bush - 69,112 - 96.1 percent - 45 delegates
Wyatt - 2,806 - 3.9 percent

Mississippi Primaries
Kerry - 58,927 - 77.9 percent - 33 delegates
Edwards - 5,562 - 7.4 percent
Sharpton - 3,865 - 5.1 percent
Dean - 1,955 - 2.6 percent
Clark - 1,884 - 2.5 percent
Uncommitted - 1,638 - 2.2 percent - 7 delegates
Kucinich - 773 - 1 percent
Lieberman - 764 - 1 percent
LaRouche - 249 - 0.3 percent
Gephardt - 29

Texas Primaries
Kerry - 563,030 - 67 percent - 168 delegates
Edwards - 120,533 - 14.3 percent - 10 delegates
Dean - 40,038 - 4.8 percent
Sharpton - 31,169 - 3.7 percent - 2 delegates
Lieberman - 25,635 - 3 percent
Clark - 18,401 - 2.2 percent
Kucinich - 16,023 - 1.9 percent
Gephardt - 12,380 - 1.5 percent
LaRouche - 7,100 - 0.8 percent
Randy Crow - 6,468 - 0.8 percent

Bush - 635,262 - 92.5 percent - 135 delegates
Uncommitted - 51,662 - 7.5 percent

Saturday, March 6, 2004

VP sweeps

With John Kerry's position as the Democratic nominee all but solidified, the focus now becomes who is the best running mate for the candidate. Kerry has named Jim Johnson, a D.C. banker and Democratic insider, to head up the search committee. A lot of names have been spinning around the Web. Below, are some of the choices, including my comments and the latest line from Campaign & Elections Magazine in [brackets]. I am also running a poll on DailyKos which will be up until the choice is made: ["RadioTony Diary"] . When Kerry chooses, I will post the results of the poll along with other information about the choice.

Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina, [4 to 1 or 20 percent chance].
Ever since Edwards posted a close second place in Iowa, the media and Democratic insiders have been gaggling over a Kerry/Edwards ticket. Voters in New Hampshire, especially the 50,000 who don't normally vote in primaries, were clearly influenced by the spin. Not only did they cast votes for Kerry, essentially crowning him as the nominee, they also used the write-in option under the vice presidential slot to cast more than 16,600 votes for Edwards. However, the spin about a Kerry/Edwards ticket essentially ended Edwards' chances. Over and over, Edwards was asked if he would accept the VP slot with Kerry. Edwards consistently said "no," at first, acting pissy but later, smiling nicely. Edwards has a slick Southern charm, similar to Bill Clinton without the sleaze. He is colorful, set a good tone and delivered a solid populist message during his campaign. Edwards is also from a Southern state that the Democrats haven't won in decades. A Kerry/Edwards ticket would be solid. But Kerry probably won't pick Edwards. The southerner will overshadow Kerry in charisma, performance, and message. Edwards is also a former trial lawyer which does have some negative connotations. Also, only a couple of times in American history have two senators been able to win the presidency and vice presidency together. Although the last time two senators together on a ticket, John Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson in 1960, the two were former challengers who joined together to beat Richard Nixon.

Rep. Dick Gephardt, Missouri, [20 to 1 or 4.8 percent chance].
Campaigns & Elections doesn't give Gephardt much of a chance but he is probably Kerry's best choice. If Kerry picks Gephardt, he should have him spend the entire seven months of the campaign barnstorming through all the Midwestern swing states. These states can go either way in elections and Kerry only needs one of them along with the Gore blue states. Gephardt gives Kerry the worker credibility he currently doesn't have. Also, as others on the Web have said, Gephardt mortally wounded Dean in Iowa by defending himself against Dean's relentless negative attacks. The negative salvos between the two wasted millions and ended the campaigns for both. Gephardt was also the loyal soldier, endorsing Kerry and campaigning in Michigan before that state's caucuses, effectively ending Dean's campaign. Missouri is a swing state the Democrats need and Gephardt could help win it. He is also friendly with Nader which could help in the final days of what is expected to be a very tight general election. On the con side, some liberal Democrats may be upset that Kerry didn't pick a running mate who was a tad more liberal than Gephardt. Also, citing the Edwards example, it isn't often that two Washington, D.C. candidates to run together.

Gov. Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania, [10 to 1 or 9.1 percent chance].
Rendell is an interesting choice. The former Mayor of Philadelphia and former head of the Democratic National Committee, he is a pro-choice political moderate in a state that sometimes swings to social conservatives. Rightwing Rick Santorum and single-bullet theorist Arlen Specter, both Republicans, are the state's senators. Pro-life Democrat Bob Casey was also the governor until he died of brain cancer. Pennsylvania is a must-win for Democrats and if they can't win this state in 2004, they will have no hope of winning the presidency. The rust belt is essentially crumbling. Millions of jobs have been lost, mostly due to bad trade deals pushed through by Clinton with the help of Kerry. So while Kerry attacks Bush for the factory job losses, he is essentially campaigning against his own voting record. So how does he counter the criticism? Well, Rendell might be a way to go although he has no public voting record on trade and a search didn't yield any results.

Gov. Bill Richardson, New Mexico, [5 to 1 or 16.7 percent chance].
Richardson is another candidate the Democratic insiders are excited about. He is Hispanic, a former Congressman, and former Energy Secretary. But his choice also comes with a lot of negatives. First, New Mexico only has five Electoral College votes so it isn't a very strategic choice. While Al Gore only won the state by 370 votes, Ralph Nader isn't likely to repeat his 21,251 2000 performance, despite a very active Green Party in the state. Second, while liberals fall all over themselves to help hispanics, under the guise of diversity, hispanic voters are more motivated by social issues, swinging to the Republicans because of Catholicism. Unlike social conservatives in Boston, hispanics don't have a historic relationship with the Democrats and there is no guarantee they will swing to Kerry with Richardson. Richardson was also at the Energy Dept. during a time period when numerous nuclear secrets were leaked to American enemies, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report in 1999. He also didn't put forward any meaningful energy legislation to hold the automobile industry to increase gas mileage in cars, promote alternative energy like solar or wind to make the country energy self-sufficient. I don't think he would be a very good choice.

Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana, [10 to 1 9.1 percent chance].
While Bayh is from a Midwestern state, Democrats rarely win in Indiana. The only reason Bayh won is because he is a legacy: the Bayh family are the Kennedys of Indiana. Bayh is a Democratic Leadership Council Democrat, the pro-business, centrist wing of the party that the base is furious with despite the fact that they are about to nominate Kerry. He is also a former governor so he does have a lot of experience although it is doubtful that Kerry would pick another senator. However, the question will be raised if Kerry can afford to have another corporate centrist on the ticket with him. This kind of move would be similar to what Gore did in 2000 when he picked conservative Democrat Joe Lieberman and voters - and cash - fled to Nader. The last thing Kerry wants is a repeat of 2000.

Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida, [10 to 1 or 9.1 percent chance] and Sen. Bob Graham, Florida, [12 to 1 7.7 percent chance].
The Florida boys. No Democrat has forgotten Florida and as many of us have said, if Gore had picked Graham in 2000, he would be the president today. The former legislator, governor and retiring senator, is a rabid campaigner, carrying a small notebook wherever he goes, writing the names of people he meets ala Clinton. While some bloggers think this is weird the process is called building a base. Graham has a huge base of support, although during his own campaign for the presidency, his sleepy yet smart style turned many people off. On the negative side, there are all those funky family land deals in South Florida that no one has really spent any time looking into. Then again, he makes Kerry look exciting and the two are friends. Again, it is doubtful that Kerry would pick another senator but he was a governor too, so who knows.
Nelson has gotten a lot of face time of late because of all the hot things going on at NASA. Nelson is a former congressman, legislator, and space shuttle astronaut. He is also a very centrist Democrat. But he has barely been in the senate three years so his chances are probably slim.

Ex-Gen. Wesley Clark, Arkansas, [12 to 1 or 7.7 percent chance].
Originally, Clark was tagged to be the VP choice of Dean. The two did powwow but they couldn't get a deal together. In the end, Clark was in way over his head in his presidential campaign, with seven different positions on the invasion of Iraq and numerous unclear or embarrassing policy positions. Abortion into the ninth month? What were you thinking Wes? However, in the New Hampshire VP vote, Clark did come in second - with over 7,600 votes.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio, [No odds listed].
Kaptur is my own personal long-shot candidate. Sure, she is in Congress right now and probably would not want to give up her seat. But she does bring worker cred like Gephardt does without the baggage that Gephardt has. Being a woman from a swing state, Ohio, is also a huge asset. Kaptur is very popular with the Perot and fair trade Naderites which Kerry needs to win but doesn't have because of his terrible voting record. She could shave voters from President Bush since by three- and four-to-one margins, the Perot voters went with Bush in 2000. She is also on the moderate to progressive side of most issues. Choosing Kaptur would be one of those surprising picks that rarely occurs in the process but should.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California, [30 to 1 or 3.2 percent chance]. A terrible choice for Kerry. First, California is a safe Democratic state and if it isn't they will lose for sure. Second, Feinstein is not popular with people outside of California and she'll invigorate the Republican base.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York, [50 to 1 or 2 percent chance]. She's a three year senator and probably the most hated political woman in the country. She'll motivate the Republican base. Don't pick her.
Ex-Sen. Max Cleland, Georgia, [100 to 1 or 1 percent chance]. Cleland has been great on the stump for Kerry [no pun intended]. He is a hero and was destroyed by the Republicans two years ago. Maybe as the head of the Veterans Administration but it is doubtful he would be picked for VP.
Ex-Sen. Sam Nunn, Georgia, [100 to 1 or 1 percent chance]. Again, the Democrats need Georgia but Nunn is a conservative free trader who could alienate thousands of voters Kerry needs to win.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut, [100 to 1 or 1 percent chance]. Ditto Nunn.
Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois, [100 to 1 or 1 percent chance]. Durbin is the archenemy of Chicago Mayor Bill Daley so he can't be all bad. Don't know much else about the guy.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana, [100 to 1 or 1 percent chance]. Landrieu easily won reelection in 2002 during a Republican sweep year. Is moderate to centrist but is also a pro-choice woman.
Ex-Treasurer Sec. Robert Rubin, [100 to 1 or 1 percent chance]. God no! Kerry doesn't need Wall Street bankers who helped destroy our manufacturing base on the ticket with him. Rubin would be a foolish choice.
Sen. Joe Biden, Delaware, [100 to 1 or 1 percent chance]. Funky hair weave and people still remember his plagiarizing of a Neal Kinnock speech in 1987. Biden won't be chosen.
Gov. Tom Vilsack, Iowa, [100 to 1 or 1 percent chance]. Iowa is a safe Democratic state. Wife was with Kerry before the caucuses.
AG Elliott Spitzer, New York, [200 to 1 or less than 1 percent chance]. Very popular New York City pol. Spitzer supports gay marriage which will be used against the ticket. Slim chance.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln [AR], [200 to 1 or less than 1 percent chance]. Don't know.
Sen. John Breaux, Louisiana, [200 to 1 and less than 1 percent chance]. See Nunn.
Gov. Howard Dean, Vermont, [500 to 1 and less than 1 percent chance]. The Deaniacs would be thrilled but two New Englanders would be a strategic slip up.
Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader, [No odds]. Want to get rid of the threat? Nominate Ralph! Better to offer him the AG's position.
Ex-Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, Illinois, [No odds]. Braun backed Dean in the primaries after dropping out. Slim to none.

Friday, March 5, 2004

Bush and Kerry funded by same corporate interests:
Here is a press release from Center for Responsive Politics showing the link in donations between Bush and Kerry. Unfortunately, the spin from the press release is that "Bush is raising funds from Kerry's top donors." But couldn't it be said that Kerry is raising funds from Bush's top donors? Or - even more accurately - Bush and Kerry funded by same corporate interests? Anyhow, here is the press release from Common Dreams:

Bush Raising Funds from Kerry's Top Donors
WASHINGTON - March 4 - President Bush begins the head-to-head battle for the White House against Sen. John Kerry with a $100 million advantage in fund raising. For that, Bush can thank his incumbent status, his network of fund-raising Pioneers and Rangers -- and several of the top contributors to the Kerry campaign.
Nearly half of Kerry's biggest financial supporters contributed more money to Bush than to Kerry himself through Jan. 30 of this year, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics' study of campaign finance reports filed this month with the Federal Election Commission.
The finding is one of many examples of Bush's fund-raising dominance, and it illustrates how much ground Kerry must make up to approach financial parity with the president. Bush raised a total of $145 million for his re-election effort in the first 13 months of the election cycle, dwarfing Kerry's $33 million.
Kerry's third-largest contributor, Citigroup, gave more than $79,000 in individual and PAC contributions to the presumptive Democratic nominee through January. Louis Susman, Citigroup's vice-chairman, is one of Kerry's biggest fund-raisers. But the financial services giant gave more than $187,000 to the Bush campaign during the same period, good enough for 12th on the president's list of top contributors.
Goldman Sachs contributed nearly $65,000 to Kerry through January, earning it the No. 6 ranking among Kerry's top givers. But the company's employees and PAC sent Bush nearly $283,000 -- more than four times the amount it gave to Kerry. Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson and managing director George Walker are Bush Pioneers who have raised at least $100,000 for the campaign.
Even MassMutual, which ranks among the biggest donors to Kerry over the past 15 years, has contributed more money to Bush than to its home-state senator in the current election cycle. The insurance conglomerate gave $69,000 to Bush through January, compared with slightly more than $50,000 to Kerry. MassMutual CEO Robert O'Connell was a Bush Pioneer in 2000.
In all, nine of Kerry's top 20 donors favor Bush with their contributions. Kerry's top contributor, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, has given nearly $106,000 to his campaign. But the nation's largest law firm has contributed an additional $65,000 to the Bush campaign.
Kerry's No. 2 contributor, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, has been far more lopsided in its giving. The trial law firm has contributed nearly $92,000 to Kerry and just $4,000 to Bush. The firm's chairman, Mike Ciresi, is one of Kerry's top fund-raisers.
Two of Kerry's top donors -- Chicago-based Clifford Law Offices and Hill, Holliday, the Boston-based ad firm -- have given no money to Bush. Bob Clifford of the Clifford Law Offices and Hill, Holliday Chairman Jack Connors are top fund-raisers for Kerry.
Half of Kerry's top contributors through January are law firms. Two-thirds of Bush's top contributors represent the financial sector. Bush's No. 1 financial supporter, with nearly $458,000 in individual and PAC contributions, is Merrill Lynch, the financial services firm that has topped the list of the president's contributors since he began fund raising last spring. Second among Bush's top donors is PricewaterhouseCoopers with nearly $430,000 in contributions.
This release, along with relevant links and a chart showing Bush fund raising among Kerry's top contributors, is available at:
Detailed profiles of the presidential candidates, complete with the latest fund-raising figures, are available at:

Nader updates:
Ralph Nader has been in the race for the presidency for about three weeks and already has gained two points in national polls. Before his announcement on Meet the Press on Feb. 22, FoxNews had Nader polling at 4 percent. President Bush had 43 percent in the poll and John Kerry - not yet the Democratic nominee at the time - had 42 percent.
Yesterday, however, the Associated Press reported that Nader was up to 6 percent in polls, with Bush getting 46 percent and Kerry at 45 percent: ["Poll Finds Bush, Kerry Tied in Race"].
Now, as I have said before, these national polls are meaningless in the scheme of things. The presidency will be decided on who wins the most Electoral Votes in each individual state. But the point of revealing these numbers is to show that even with all the criticism, personal attacks, and fears by the Democrats, Nader gained support. He hasn't even really started to campaign - instead, he's been hunkered down in Texas trying to get on the ballot - which makes one wonder how he gained this support. The A.P. chart, posted on Common Dreams, shows Kerry gaining and Bush sinking since January 2004. Here is an interesting part of the article at the end:

Republican Virgil Ahlberg of Apison, Tenn., said he is seriously considering a vote for Nader. "Bush has come across as a little more aggressive and warlike than I like," he said. "I like Ralph Nader being in the race. I like his practicality and taking people to task for things they promise to do, things that aren't being addressed."

Hmm, an actual Republican thinking about voting for Nader. But that can't be true! That's a conspiracy! Only liberal Democrats vote for Nader, yuck, yuck, yuck, blah, blah, blah ...
Then, there is Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor at The Nation magazine, who just can't give up her obsession about Nader running for president. Vanden Heuvel posted a response to Nader's response to her letter asking him not to run: ["Let's End the Two-Party Duopoly"]. Normally, I wouldn't give this pissing match such play - even if I am with Nader on this argument. But it is important to realize just what is going on over at The Nation.
In the first letter, vanden Heuvel rattled off a list of policy positions by Bush that were so offensive to her that he had to be removed and she believed Nader shouldn't stand in the way of this. At the time she wrote the letter, Howard Dean was still in the race. But by the time the letter was published, Kerry was well on his way to the Democratic nomination. Of course, in her complete ignorance, vanden Heuvel sloughed off the fact that Kerry had the same - or similar - political positions as Bush!!
[Sidebar: I wrote a letter to The Nation noting the policy similarities between Bush and Kerry which went unpublished. This is the third letter I have written to The Nation attempting to either show that Nader didn't cost Al Gore the election in 2000 or that Democrats continue to be very similar to the Republicans on a slew of important issues beyond social issues. It is the third time by letters have been ignored. The complete analysis of that letter can be read here: "Let Ralph decide".]
Nader, then sent a counter-letter, which chastised The Nation for trying to silence him. The editor's note in the letter pooh-poohed his points and again begged him not to run.
However, back to vanden Heuvel's latest diatribe. In it, she lists a bunch of policy positions which could liberalize small-d democracy in America. She points to proportional representation, instant run-off voting, fusion, public financing of elections, Election Day as a holiday, same-day voter registration, etc., all good ideas. However, while she criticizes Nader for not talking about these ideas, she doesn't say one word about Kerry not supporting these ideas. She does commend Dean and Kucinich for talking about some of these ideas and does note that Nader has the policy positions on his Web site.
Note to vanden Heuvel: Once John Kerry starts supporting these ideas in the public arena instead of speedily running from his 19-year voting record, we'll take your holier than thou pontification with a grain of salt.
Nader's campaign treasurer Carl Mayer chimes in with a column on Common Dreams: ["We Need A Progressive Voice in the General Election"]. But it isn't just about progressives but also populists who might be moderate or conservative but would cast a vote for Nader in protest - like they did in 2000 in droves. I specifically like this point in his piece:

... progressives are missing the enormous energy - particularly generated by young people and political newcomers - that was poured into the Democratic primaries. The corporate-dominated Democratic party (predictably) did everything possible to snuff out the Dean led insurgency. The same corporate-dominated Party is now asking all progressives to come hat in hand, on their knees, to support the corporate-financed Kerry who simply regurgitated Dean’s message during the primaries but has already signaled his intention to run a middle-of-the-road race.

It is sad and disappointing to read that Kerry is having money woes ["Kerry Team Looks to Raise Millions Fast"] because it again points out that maybe the wrong candidate is being nominated. Plus, it isn't like Kerry can borrow another $6 million from his over-assessed mansion on Beacon Hill.
Around the Web, I have been reading a lot of 'I'll vote for Kerry but I am not giving him a dime ...' While this is good short-term - yeah, the Democrat base will probably be united around the blase nominee - it is bad long-term because Kerry might not have the funds to counter Bush's $150 million ad juggernaut. As well, Kerry opted out of the public financing system. So, he can't even rely on the $60 million he could have received in matching funds! This is looking like a serious tactical mistake on Kerry's part. On the flip side, while Teresa "Lovey" Heinz can't spend her hundreds of millions on his behalf, she can create a 527 advocacy committee and do positive Kerry ads in swing states to supplement the Kerry effort.
Others who have chimed in with similar points about the Nader candidacy in the last week include San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ira Eisenberg: ["To keep Kerry on track, run Ralph, run"] and another by Seattle Post-Intelligencer Guest Columnist George Lewandowski: ["Nader can't 'harm' democracy"] and a Globe & Mail writer covering a Kerry event in San Francisco last week: ["Will your vote be a statement, or a strategy?"]. Another Green makes the case for IRV: ["It’s the Electoral System, Stupid!"] and the editor of Harper's laments the Nader candidacy: ["Confessions of a Naderite"], while the Village Voice's James Ridgeway has a Nader interview: ["The Nader Interview"]. Lastly, some polite comments from a fellow at the Cato Institute: ["Nader, One Last Time"].

Kucinich soldiers on:
Shockingly - or not so - Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich continues to be ignored by the media even though he, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, are the only candidates left standing.
To most, Sharpton has never been taken seriously despite his amusing participation in the debates, making most of them watchable. However, Kucinich still believes he is going to be the nominee and soldiers on. A news search of recent articles on Kucinich yielded few. Here is one from CNN talking about the Florida primary - during spring break: ["Spring break during Florida primary"] and this from the gulf side: ["With odds slim, Kucinich focuses on his message"]. Party on Wayne, party on Garth. There is also this, from the Cleveland Morning Journal: ["Kucinich ought quit while he's still ahead"].

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Banker to head up Kerry VP search
Even though he is over 900 delegates short of the presidential nomination, the mainstream press have coronated John Kerry the nominee, now that John Edwards has suspended his campaign: ["Praising Kerry, Edwards Quits Presidential Race"].
The Kerry campaign has set up a VP search committee. Now, Kerry has constantly stated that he is "fighting for us" and "taking on the special interests." So, guess who he picked to head up the search? Yup, a banker and supposed "civic leader" named Jim Johnson:

For Immediate Release

March 3, 2004


Jim Johnson to Lead Effort to Pick Kerry Running Mate

Washington, DC – Today, John Kerry asked Washington businessman and civic leader Jim Johnson to lead the vice presidential search process to select a Democratic running mate for John Kerry in his fight to take back the White House and bring change to America.

"I have the greatest respect for John Kerry as a friend and as a national leader, and know that he will make an outstanding president. Kerry’s swift action in beginning this process to select a running mate indicates what type of president the nation can expect – decisive, focused and ready to lead," said Jim Johnson. "I very much look forward to being part of the team that will bring change to America."

Over the next several weeks, Mr. Johnson will assemble a team to begin the outreach and vetting of potential nominees.

Mr. Johnson is currently Vice Chairman of Perseus, L.L.C., a merchant banking and private equity firm based in Washington, DC and New York City. Previously he served as Chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae. Prior to joining Fannie Mae, Johnson was a managing director in corporate finance at Lehman Brothers. Before joining Lehman, he was the president of Public Strategies, a Washington-based consulting firm he founded to advise corporations on strategic issues.

From 1977 to 1981, he served as executive assistant to Vice President Walter F. Mondale, where he advised the Vice President on domestic and foreign policy and political matters. Earlier, he was employed by the Target Corporation, worked as a staff member in the U.S. Senate, and was on the faculty at Princeton University.

Johnson is Chairman Emeritus of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is former Chairman and Honorary Trustee of The Brookings Institution.

Mr. Johnson lives in Washington with his wife and their son.
Kerry wins nine; Dean takes Vermont; Edwards possibly out

Kerry - 1,764,436 - 64.5 percent - 288 delegates
Edwards - 539,163 - 19.7 percent - 82
Kucinich - 125,691 - 4.6 percent
Dean - 116,082 - 4.2 percent
Sharpton - 51,906 - 1.9 percent
Lieberman - 46,926 - 1.7 percent
Clark - 46,026 - 1.7 percent
Braun - 21,466 - 0.8 percent
Gephardt - 17,391 - 0.6 percent
LaRouche - 7,111 - 0.3 percent
Uncommitted - 65 delegates

Bush - 1,562,488 - 100 percent - 170 delegates
Uncommitted - 3 delegates

Kerry - 74,570 - 58 percent - 35 delegates
Edwards - 30,508 - 24 percent - 14 delegates
Lieberman - 6,655 - 6 percent
Dean - 5,118 - 4 percent
Kucinich - 4,087 - 3 percent
Sharpton - 3,155 - 3 percent
Clark - 1,557 - 1 percent
LaRouche - 1,428 - 1 percent
Uncommitted - 971 - 1 percent

Kerry - 283,621 - 46.7 percent - 48 delegates
Edwards - 251,669 - 41.5 percent - 38 delegates
Sharpton - 37,969 - 6.3 percent
Dean - 10,848 - 1.8 percent
Kucinich - 7,472 - 1.2 percent
Lieberman - 5,422 - 0.9 percent
Clark - 4,063 - 0.7 percent
Braun - 3,639 - 0.6 percent
Gephardt - 2,291 - 0.4 percent
Uncommitted - 14 delegates

Bush - 153,494 - 100 percent
Uncommitted - 3 delegates

Kerry - 260,393 - 59.6 percent
Edwards - 112,376 - 25.7 percent
Sharpton - 19,380 - 4.4 percent
Dean - 11,096 - 2.5 percent
Kucinich - 7,978 - 1.8 percent
Uncommitted - 7,440 - 1.7 percent
Lieberman - 4,829 - 1.1 percent
Clark - 3,824 - 0.9 percent
Mildred Glover - 3,531 - 0.8 percent
Braun - 2,508 - 0.6 percent
Gephardt - 1,837 - 0.4 percent
LaRouche - 1,382 - 0.3 percent

Bush - 72,315 - 100 percent

Kerry - 434,549 - 71.9 percent - 79 delegates
Edwards - 107,126 - 17.7 percent - 14 delegates
Kucinich - 24,701 - 4 percent
Dean - 16,801 - 2.7 percent
Sharpton - 5,971 - 1 percent
Lieberman - 5,325 - 0.9 percent
Uncommitted - 3,669 - 0.6 percent - 26 delegates
Clark - 3,052 - 0.5 percent
Gephardt - 1,419 - 0.2 percent
LaRouche - 944 - 0.2 percent
Braun - 929 - 0.2 percent

Kerry - 25,645 - 51 percent - 40 delegates
Edwards - 13,610 - 27.1 percent- 18 delegates
Kucinich - 8,425 - 16.8 percent - 14 delegates
Uncommitted - 1,103 - 2.2 percent - 12 delegates
Dean - 982 - 2 percent
Sharpton - 303 - 0.6 percent
Clark - 163 - 0.3 percent
Lieberman - 63 - 0.1 percent

New York
Kerry - 400,789 - 60.5 percent - 174 delegates
Edwards - 133,507 - 20.1 percent - 54 delegates
Sharpton - 54,368 - 8.2 percent - 8 delegates
Kucinich - 35,734 - 5.4 percent
Dean - 18,544 - 2.8 percent
Lieberman - 8,601 - 1.3 percent
Gephardt - 5,026 - 0.8 percent
Clark - 3,505 - 0.5 percent
LaRouche - 2,862 - 0.4 percent
Uncommitted - 45 - delegates

Kerry - 615,175 - 51.7 percent - 81 delegates
Edwards - 406,476 - 34.2 percent - 55 delegates
Kucinich - 107,292 - 9.0 percent - 4 delegates
Dean - 30,084 - 2.5 percent
Lieberman - 14,221 - 1.2 percent
Clark - 12,261 - 1.0 percent
LaRouche - 3,895 - 0.3 percent
Uncommitted - 16 delegates

Bush - 733,474 - 100 percent - 91 delegates

Rhode Island
Kerry - 24,073 - 71.4 percent - 17 delegates
Edwards - 6,359 - 18.9 percent - 4 delegates
Dean - 1,315 - 3.9 percent
Kucinich - 1,028 - 3 percent
Uncommitted - 388 - 1.2 percent - 10 delegates
Lieberman - 286 - 0.8 percent
Clark - 219 - 0.6 percent
LaRouche - 55 - 0.2 percent

Bush - 2,152 - 84.9 percent - 18 delegates
Uncommitted - 314 - 12.4 percent - 3 delegates
Write-in/Others 68 - 2.7 percent

Dean - 43,005 - 57.8 percent - 9 delegates
Kerry - 25,065 - 33.7 percent - 6 delegates
Kucinich - 3,316 - 4.5 percent
Clark - 2,597 - 3.5 percent
LaRouche - 365 - 0.5 percent
Uncommitted - 6 delegates

Kerry - 1,292 [CNN: 1,557]
Edwards - 438 [CNN: 513]
Dean - 182
Clark - 70 [CNN: 57]
Sharpton - 24
Kucinich - 18
Lieberman - 8
Gephardt - 3
Other - 1
Uncommitted - 0