Saturday, January 31, 2004

Update: Watching the Moon 

Additional resource on Moonie activity. (and other similar abhorent phenomena)

Thanks to John Gorenfeld, for directing me to his weblog. -- See comments from Lunch on the Moon, thread below. -- For further resources, reports, and updates on Moon phases, (and more) visit John's page and add it to your blogroll.


Hotlink= John Gorenfeld's weblog

What kind of Constitution are we looking at? Ex-Moonie leader Steve Hassan claims Moon told him they'd amend the U.S. Constitution to enforce sexual purity on penalty of death. For now, he settles for funding Brent Bozell. See: Bush ally strongly resents the U.S. Constitution

John also provides a link to Steve Hassan's cult-watch webpage, which can be found HERE


Lunch on the Moon 

Costumed deceptions: Bush and the fabulous Moonie-loon luncheon.

I realize that most people who visit here are familiar with the following information with respect to the Bush family ties to Sun Myung Moon's fabulous ding-dong chapel. But I couldn't resist revisiting some of this below since I'm currently reading Kevin Phillips's book and because the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign fundraiser gravy train has left the roundhouse and is huffing and puffing its way to a whistlestop near you. And because what follows once more revisits the kind of deceptive, crawly things under the rock - what you see is not always what you get - character of the Bush machine.

Blockquote below from: American Dynasty, by Kevin Phillips.
Four years later, President-elect George W. Bush allowed his onetime religious aide, Doug Wead, to arrange a Moon-sponsored Inaugural Prayer Luncheon on January 19, 2001, a Washington event that drew over 1,700 public officials, ministers, and conservative activists. Some attendees felt deceived by not having been told of Moon's role in the event. One was Morris Chapman, the chief executive of the 18-million-member Southern Baptist Convention. "I was shocked," he said, "to see that Sun Myung Moon was on the program and, in essence, the host. I was even more surprised on the way out to be given a propaganda book on the Unification Church." Chapman added that the event "will serve to remind evangelical Christians that the world increasingly is filled with wolves in sheep's clothing."

That Bush aides would collaborate with a group described as "wolves" by the Southern Baptist Convention worried some conservatives. Steve Hassan, a journalist who followed religious cults, had for years found Moon's Washington acceptance just puzzling: "Here's a man [Moon] who says he wants to take over the world, where all religions will be abolished except Unificationism, all languages will be abolished except Korean, all governments will be abolished except his one-world theocracy, yet he's wined and dined very powerful people and convinced them that he's benign."
*page 234-235, American Dynasty, by Kevin Phillips.

Uh, "felt deceived"...? - No! Are you kidding me? Deceived by BUSHCo pitch-men!? Golly, how can that be? What Would Jesus Do? Has the Chamber of Commerce been notified!? Someone call the Washington Times and alert them to this sly wolfish masquerade! No, wait, not the Washington Times. Don't call the Washinton Times. That would be a bad idea. Rather, try the New York Post! Yes, that's it, the New York Post. Or perhaps Morris Chapman and the little red-state riding hoods of the SBC should ask Kathleen Parker to fully investigate the matter, thresh out all the facts and eviscerate the beast in the public square. That would be sumpin' wouldn't it?

Well, it just goes to show ya, you can fool 18 million members of the SBC most of the time but you can't fool all 18 million members of the SBC all of the time. Especially right after lunch when they're all tanked up on Jesus, shrimp cocktail, cheap cold duck, onion dip, and baby-back ribs. So listen up D. Wead, or whoever you are, best stick with the old reliable prayer breakfast routine. You can usually catch em off-guard at a prayer breakfast since they is still pretty doped up from the previous nights Bible shoutin' or lamb dinner fundraiser frolic. Forget the luncheon. High noon is a bad time for an ambush anyway. Especially if ya got the sun in yer eyes and the moon at yer back. If ya know what I mean.

And speaking of costumed deceptions; come closer - my what pretty eyes you have. Is it possible that incurious George W Bush is truely unaware of the wolf in the bed? Or, is GWB, perhaps, a crafty Moonvine collaborator himself? GASP!

Lets see: apparently, "he's [Moon] wined and dined very powerful people and convinced them that he's [Moon] benign."

Gee, well, I guess if we are to take David Kay seriously, some "very powerful people" will apparently gobble up almost any benign hash spooned onto their glazed buffet plate, now won't they? Uh-huh, poor misleadered fools. Or maybe certain "very powerful people" should go easy on the wine with lunch? Especially if the wine steward is dressed in a bah-lamb costume and babbling about messages from the spirit world and love organs that look like poisonous serpents. Gosh, huh?

Or maybe some "very powerful people" ain't the unsuspecting nursery tale grandmas that they love to pretend to be.

Well, in either case, it sure is reassuring to know that Commander Moon Mission, Master of Stratergery, and Dear Leader of the free market world - and his invisible handmaids too - have their well fed fat little fingers in the next moon launch picnic basket. Or should that be Moon lunch picnic basket? Haha. Whatever.

Anyway, if it's any consolation, I'm sure the cable televison news super-heroes, in their relentless search for truth, justice, and the advertising revenue way, will get right to the bottom of any slop bucket of rotten misconceptions, mixed messages, misleading pretensions, wolves in sheepskin granny nighgowns, and other stealthy bait and switch Moon-loon prayer dinner theatrics that may exist with respect to the Bush dominion's relationship with the True Parents.

Heck. I'll betcha MSGOP's swell new hard hitting personality driven investigative info-tainment hood ornament gal-pal Debbie Norville could get to the bottom of the whole "benign", wine on the Moonie dime, bidness. Yes, I'm sure of it. Or maybe CNN's Paula Zahn (Paula's On!...git it?), will take to the glowing boob-tube screen, flash a little smooth silky leg the cameras way, and ask the important question every concerned citizen voter wants answered...

Has any Democrat, currently running for President, ever wined and dined 1,700 hundred Christians on the moon, and can America really trust a Democrat who doesn't have that kind of prior leadership experience?

That may sound like a stupid question to many, but its not. And it would be irresponsible, deceptive, liberal biased TV "news" journalism, not to at least raise the issue, muddle up any already held misconceptions with an additional layer of rumored concoctions and a cacaphony of speculative psychodynamic behavioral quack-babble, info-tain some additional doubts, smile the showroom dummy smile, flash a little thigh, and slip away to a pharmecutical company commercial for penile erectile dysfunction medication. After all, character matters.

In any event, this is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night, howling at celestial bodies, well into the early moring hours. Especially when the moon is full, chatter from the fabulous world is plentiful, and the wolves are running the sheep in the uplands.


Friday, January 30, 2004

What do you mean, "we"? 

David Kay:

"we were almost all wrong — and I certainly include myself here," in believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Aux duck pits, citoyens!

Feeling safer? 

From the World's Greatest Newspaper (not!)

The investigation has led to the discovery of a nuclear smuggling network that one official called this week "a hydra-headed monster with its tentacles all over the world."

Page 12 in yesterday's Times (via Bad Attitudes via Atrios

Three years in office, and Bush is just getting around to this? Oh well, nukes only bust cities, and they vote Blue. Fuck 'em.

Duckies getting luckier and luckier 

WaPo here:

A record-high 375,000 jobless workers will exhaust their unemployment insurance this month and an estimated 2 million workers will find themselves in the same predicament during the first half of the year, according to an analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The country has lost more than 2.8 million manufacturing jobs in a steady erosion over the past 41 months.

The center's report said the 375,000 workers who will draw their last jobless check this month is the highest number for January in the three decades that the statistics have been tracked.

Ed Frank, a [Labor Department] spokesman, said in a statement. "Still, the president has said many times that he's not going to rest until every person who wants a job can find one."

Oh, we know what Bush says, but when has that ever meant anything? POTL ....

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Republicans can't handle money: this time on Medicare 


President Bush's new budget projects the Medicare overhaul he just signed will be one-third more costly than estimated and this year's federal deficit will surge past a half trillion dollars for the first time, administration and congressional officials said Thursday.

But—but—I thought the benefits didn't kick in 'til 2005: after the election! Oh, wait, we're paying Big Pharma and the insurance companies this year; that must be what this is for. Hey, no problem! (Bush must need more compaign contributions really bad.)


Adj. Good on TV.

The Dean that I saw 

[I wasn't in New Hampshire, but when I heard Dean speak in Philly, he was this good. Warm, funny, quick, and with a knack for crystallizing the issues in one sentence.]

David Barry of Philly's own City Paper here:

The onstage Dean isn't even remotely like the stiff-necked quasi-zealot I've heard about. This Dean is genial, outgoing and quick to grin. He begins by saying voters are choosing between a change of presidents (dumping Bush for any Democrat) or changing America (dumping Bush for Dean).

He then lists the horrors Bush has visited on America. The destruction of the economy, with additional trillion-dollar tax benefits to the rich coming. The ravaging of health care to benefit the drug companies.

The stance is much like what Kerry and Edwards say, but the record should show Dean said it first. Not only that, but this appearance indicates that he says it much better.

Dean reminds the crowd he takes money only from supporters, like the people in this gym.

"The only people I'm going to owe when I'm elected are you," he says, noting that he's not beholden to insurance or drug companies.

He then reminds everyone that he was the only leading candidate against war in Iraq when Congress passed its resolution.

"I don't think we're going to beat a guy with $200 million in his campaign chest by not standing up for what we believe in," he declares. "[Bush] promises us a trip to Mars, which I think he should take."

Dean gets a huge laugh and ovation but continues without missing a beat. The speech builds, gradually raising passion in the audience. His timing is impeccable; his speaking fluid and convincing. Before long, Dean jokes about his "Iowa scream." After reciting another litany of Bush administration horrors he quietly says, "You know, sometimes when I think about George Bush, I could just scream."

A huge laugh, of course, morphs into a roar of applause before returning to laughter and a smile from Dean, who fares much better in front of an audience than during television interviews.

Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.

The Unwar 

Has anyone noticed that The Times seems to be introducing the phrase "campaign on terror," as opposed to "war [sic] on terror"? Here and here.

Just random-ness, or a blow against Orwellian language by a copy editor of integrity?

Detail on the Dean campaign in The Note 


10. If you saw Diane Sawyer's incredible "World News Tonight" show closer last night (and on GMA again this morning) — about how the network tape showing Dean's "I Have a Scream" speech was totally misleading because of Dean's use of a directional mike — you realize how easily a presidential campaign can be done in by the quirks of injustice.

Then again, a savvy campaign handles that kind of detail.

Update: The Latest On Steve Gilliard 

Jen has posted the latest, straight from Steve's mother. The news is good. You can read it for yourselves here.

Cancel our previous suggestion for sending cards or anything to his room at the hospital. He's being moved around too much. Anyone in NY area, don't try and visit him; he's in a sterile environment; only his family can visit, after donning scrubs.

Atrios probably has the best idea; Steve has a wish list at Amazon; he'd come home to find presents to play with during what will probably be a recovery that emphasizes rest.

News Flash: Condi tells the truth! 


"When you are dealing with secretive regimes that want to deceive, you're never going to be able to be positive."

No shit ....

Muzzle that general! 


Osama bin Laden's terror network is seeking a foothold in Iraq as evidenced by the recent arrest of a top al-Qaida operative trying to enter northern Iraq, the commander of coalition forces said Thursday.Osama bin Laden's terror network is seeking a foothold in Iraq as evidenced by the recent arrest of a top al-Qaida operative trying to enter northern Iraq, [Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez] the commander of coalition forces said Thursday.

But, but—Ithought AQ was already... I mean, I thought we fought the war... Oh, the heck with it.

Those memos the Republicans stole 

are here (via Pandagon).

So how wired up was the war? 

The Times gets letters:

To the Editor:

Re "Halliburton Says Worker Participated in Kickbacks" (news article, Jan. 24):

A spokesman for Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, claims that a contract for logistical services for troops in Iraq was awarded two years ago? Not only was our government overcharged for these services, as Halliburton now admits by repaying $6.3 million, but this contract also predates the invasion of Iraq by more than a year. How could a company get a contract for an event that had not yet taken place unless it surely knew that it would?

Paul H. O'Neill, the former Treasury secretary, surely got it right when he claimed that almost from the inauguration the Bush administration was involved in planning to invade Iraq. This is another reason, perhaps, that Vice President Dick Cheney (chairman of Halliburton until 2000) doesn't want the content of his secret meetings with energy companies made public.

Jackson, N.J., Jan. 24, 2004


Beltway Dems heave sigh of relief 


Democratic leaders expressed relief Wednesday at the emergence of John Kerry as the leader of the party's presidential field ...

And that's what worries me ...

Morning Papers 

Featured Deployments:

GOP Deploys
On Dec. 18, for instance, Mehlman sought to rouse his troops with a message titled, "Foreign liberal cash used to defeat President Bush!" What followed was an extremely unflattering photograph of a grimacing, hook-nosed George Soros (one of the most significant contributors to the unofficial Democratic voter-mobilization organizations that have arisen in the wake of McCain-Feingold) and a message bemoaning the "billionaire liberals and the flood of foreign money that they're encouraging." Mehlman called on "450,000 AMERICAN grassroots contributors" to counter the sinister attempt by Soros -- a native of Hungary but a naturalized American citizen who has lived in the United States since 1956 -- to provide the Democrats with money from an immigrant. The ad comes close to resurrecting the classic anti-Semitic stereotype of the Jewish cosmopolitan financier undermining a Christian republic.

Dangerous Liberal Ritual Menace

Mass Appeal
The press has been saying for a decade now that the Democrats would clearly fail if they moved to the "left." Now they have, at least on economic issues (and on cultural issues, they're defending their turf in a way they haven't for years). Of course, that message could lose in November. But up to this point it has gotten more people coming to the polls, in both Iowa and New Hampshire, than any message from a Democrat has in recent years. So far, populism doesn't seem like the problem that all those experts spent a decade predicting it would be.


Wednesday, January 28, 2004



One of the many great things about the misleader series (check the archives) is that they footnote all of their material. Footnotes are intrinsically democratic, since they empower readers to check sources and information independently. Liberals use footnotes. Republicans rely on rhetoric, anecdote, and analytical smokescreens like "average" ("So Bill Gates walks into a bar ...")

Well. About Dean. Dammit. 

I hate the whole thing, to be honest. Dean is the first and only politician I ever gave money to—and I gave money that I didn't really have. Why? Because I read Dean's famous speech in Los Angeles and thought, "Finally! Someone who is willing to say that The Emperor has no clothes!" Then I took a look at the Dean site, saw universal health insurance, with balanced budgets, a sop to the right on gun control, and what I still insist is a wedge issue for Democrats, civil unions, and I was sold. Not just someone I could think about giving my vote to in a heartfelt way, but a man who had never lost an election. (None of this has changed between then and now, of course—except the part about never losing.) Then I went and saw Dean when I was in Philly, and he was great. My only concern was whether he would look good on TV....

Well, we know a couple of things about the Republicans. One is that they are masters of disinformation (see Machiavelli for the pointers on this). So when Herr Rove fed the media the line that Dean was the opponent he truly, truly wanted to run against we can be sure of one thing: that he was lying like a rug, and that the opposite was true.

We also know that the Republicans are very, very good with media. Heck, they own the outlets, they've booked a lot of the talent, so they ought to get good results, but technically, they are very good as well. Over the fall and into the spring, the Republicans ran with two memes: (1) "hate speech", and (2) "Democratic anger." Any criticism of Bush was called hateful—this after the Clinton saga, Hitlery, and all the rest. And anger was somehow redefined as unseemly, not "nice," something not fit for, well, the public square.

Now, intellectually these are utterly shoddy positions. But I suggest that the Republicans were (as usual) thinking strategically about media. It doesn't matter that the hate and anger thing was junk: what matters is that TV is, as McLuhan famously, a cool medium, and hate and anger are hot emotions. What the Republicans were doing was preparing the media, and the country for a time when Dean, giving a hot speech, would look really bad on a cool medium like TV. Here, I think, the Wellstone funeral was the blueprint. If you there there (hot), you saw and heard one thing; if you saw a TV clip, you saw and heard something else (cool). And the Republicans made use of that, and won a Senate seat.

And, alas, Dean fell into the Republican trap. The Iowa concession speech was far, far too hot, and Dean looked really bad on TV giving it. Never mind that Dean's platform hadn't changed; never mind that Dean had practiced as a doctor for 18 years, and could hardly have kept patients if he were deranged (Seriously, does anyone believe that if there were a hint of a problem with Dean's medical career, that it wouldn't have come to light by now?)

And as a result... Well, I don't think Kerry is a bad man, God knows. (It's a strong field the Democrats have, after all.) But I can make a list of all the abuses the country has suffered from the Bush regime over the past three years, and if I ask "Where was John Kerry?" I don't get a really satisfactory answer. On the war: I don't care that Bush lied to Kerry. What I care is that Kerry somehow imagined Bush might not lie! It isn't as if, by that point, we didn't have plenty of indicators ....

I hope Dean can pick up the pieces and soldier on. After all, the worst that can happen to him has happened, the SCLM has taken its shot, and he is still standing. If the only benefit is to&mdash'finally!—give the Democrats airtime, I want him to soldier on! And if the only benefit is to give the country a better look at Edwards and Clark, ditto....

And I also hope Dean can get the focus back on the issues. Vietnam was a long, long time ago ....

Oh, and Trippi? Aren't campaign managers supposed to prevent things like The Yawp? (Which now, people are saying, ABC News did some actual reportage on, and it couldn't even have been heard across the room .. Yep, a hot medium.)

Deserter meme still gaining traction 

Here via Orcinus:

John Siegenthaler was interviewing George McGovern.

SIEGENTHALER: just want to talk about Wesley Clark for a second . . . because he had a tough time in some cases in New Hampshire. Some people said his endorsement from Michael Moore where he called President Bush a deserter --- and then Wesley Clark refused to distance himself from Michael Moore was really a difficult time for him. And that he stumbled a couple of times up there in New Hampshire. How do you react to that?

MCGOVERN: Well look, I know he was severely criticized for not rebuking the contention that George W. Bush was a deserter.

But what would you call him?

He avoided the war in Viet Nam by signing up for the Texas National Guard -- and then didn't show up.

He missed half of his time by not showing up for the National Guard training.

Maybe there's some kinder word than deserter. But in my book that's not too far from the truth.

And I think General Clark is a man who never backed away from battle -- who volunteered to be a part of the armed forces of this country -- as I did.

People like that are not going to defend George W. Bush on his military record.

SIEGENTHALER: [Stunned] Issues of war and peace continue to be a controversy -- and a part of this campaign as we head through 2004.

So, Clark's campaign was good for one thing anyhow! It takes a village to stomp a weasel....

Now, about that other character issue....

Dean shakeup 

Trippi out: Kos via Atrios.

And only $5 million left? (via Oliver Willis). That won't buy Dean a new pair of socks!

Nedra Pickler—now that smarts—gives details.

"Grave and gathering danger" 

Not a normal one, a grave one. And I'm sure it's a grave danger. The one that's gathering. But if it's still gathering, how grave can it be? And what is it gathering, anyhow, and why? The grave people I know want to be alone, they don't do a lot of gathering. I can get a drink, just one drink, at most gatherings, but that would be dangerous. Wouldn't it. "Gathering grave danger"? Sounds like a cemetary. "And gathering danger grave..." Gathering Lone Ranger? Nick Danger, handwaving? MOM!

Is Mars 6000 years old, or just the earth? 

Just asking .... Like someone should ask our "President," along with all that stuff about the "End Times." Like our press would do, if they weren't lazy or civil.

On to Pakistan! 


Democrats' race sucking out the oxygen 

Heh heh. The drama of the Democratic primaries is driving the White House off the front pages—with one exception: White House backtracking on the WMD lies.

The other front page story in the Times this morning was from David Sanger, who gave a reasonably acccurate account of the Bush's ever changing stories to justify the war. He propagates the "bad intelligence" meme, but does give the detail of Bush "interrupting" Daschle, as Daschle talks about the need for an inquiry. (Manners, aWol! What would Babs think?) Meanwhile, in WaPo, the invaluable Walter Pincus quotes David Kay on finding "exculpatory evidence" for Saddam on the WMD issue. Fancy!

YABL, YABL, YABL. I think this one has legs....


WaPo editorializes:

Asked about the most important quality in deciding their vote, 20 percent cited the candidate's ability to defeat the president, second only to the 29 percent who said "he stands up for what he believes."

We shouldn't equate "electability" with travelling straight down that yellow stripe in the middle of the road, though. That's what the Beltway Dems tried to do in 2002, and the result was disaster. Maybe now that we have the personalities straight, we can start talking about the future of the country and how Bush is wrecking it.

As Jack Aubrey said, quoting Nelson: "Never mind manoeuvres, always go at 'em."

The "bad intelligence" meme 

Come on. Isn't it crystal clear that Bush was going to have his war, no matter what anyone said? So what does "bad" (or good, or faith-based) intelligence have to do with anything?

UPDATE: Seems like most editorial boards are coming around to this view too, although they used "balanced" language like "probably stretched" the intelligence, "seems overwhelming," etc.


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Pioneers are the ones with the arrows in their back 

Our own Inky also has a useful article on Dean's pioneering rhetoric, which all the other candidates have now adopted.

Listen to North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at a rally the other night: "You have the power" - a direct steal of Dean's rally-ending tag line. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said at another New Hampshire event that he wanted to "break the grip of the powerful interests in this country and put the people in charge." Both men bash insiders, Washington politicians and the establishment - even if they themselves are some or all of the above.

Those themes, sometimes the exact words, echo what Dean has been saying for months. Whoever wins the Democratic presidential nomination, to an important degree he will sound like the former Vermont governor. A little plagiarism among friends is par for the course in presidential politics, where the rule is: If a message works, use it.


Deserter meme goes mainstream 

In our own Inky (cartoon by Auth).

Now, as long as we're doing the character thing, about those frogs.....

Who needs the bigfoots when we have bloggers in real time? 

Like Kos and Josh Marshall on the spot, and Oliver Willis at the remote dong meta-commentary (nice pictures, though).

Since the SCLM are part of THE PROCESS (back) they don't have a whole lot of credibility any more—certainly not enough to justify their millionaire salaries and the attitudes that come with them. So it's really good to see independent reporting emerge, and leverage technology to make an end run round the MWs. Sure, there aren't blogging reporters yet. But this is only the beginning.

Digby Goes Down 

The usually astute Digby picks up on a post over at Charlie's Diary about a Howard Dean speech allegedly calling privacy an "urban myth." To his credit, Digby does not swallow the story whole, but neither does he poke around the links provided, such as to the Register UK link at Charlie's Diary. Guess who's proudly promoting this story? The same guy who promoted the "Al Gore Invented the Internet" hoax, Declan McCallagh:
McCullagh's entry into the 2004 Presidential campaign has been eagerly anticipated. In the 2000 Presidential race his coverage of a claim by Al Gore to have 'invented the Internet' reached national notoriety.

"If it's true that Al Gore created the Internet, then I created the 'Al Gore created the Internet' story," McCullagh boasted. [Note McCullagh's coy conflation of Gore's actual claim with the hoax version, prefaced by the legalistic deployment of "if." These guys don't miss a trick.]

Read Dean's rather anodyne remarks, too, if you can do so without falling asleep. There's nothing scary there. The "urban myth" quote is ripped entirely out of context, and refers if anything, to the illusion of privacy people think they enjoy today, which Dean clearly does not think is good. A few paragraphs later he's assuring listeners that his policies do NOT entail further erosion of privacy.

The meta-story is the story, not the crap peddled by McCallagh. [Note: Digby appears to have updated his post since first publishing it. But you can be sure you haven't seen the last of this one from more credulous sources.]

Smarter Monkeys Please 

Dennis the dancing comedy monkey has joined the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign fundraiser carney spin-show, The Fabulous Circ de Mensonges

Unofficial official sources close to an undisclosed junior administration official are reporting that a senior administration ringmaster close to Our Dear Leader has gifted said Leader with a new friend.

Mr. Karl - I mean, a senior Circ de Mensonges administration official - has reportedly arranged a new friendship between our Dear Leader, Commander Skybox Cowboy, and a performing celebrity comedy monkey named Dennis. The excitable comedy monkey, raised by a befuddled miller in a Hollywood fabliau, and trained to tell a ribald tale, will accompany Dear Leader as he makes his rounds of Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraisers, banquets, tent revivals, and corporate special event GOP shareholder meetings.

Dennis the comedy monkey will travel with his own handlers as well as the Dear Leader's brother Neil, two hookers from Hong Kong, and a pretty born again Bible juggler named Steve. Dennis will entertain fans by smashing sour Chilean grapes on his forehead and peeing into the audience while simultaneously dancing to the relentless grinding pulsing hurdy-gurdy rhythm of Mr. Karl's barrel organ.

Dennis will also be available for cable television news interview talk shows, barbequed rib eating engagements, and exclusive private parties in expensive hotel suites, arranged for and catered by Brother Neil, the two hookers from Hong Kong, and a pretty born again Bible juggler named Steve. Which sure beats being strapped to a gurney and having nail polish dripped onto your eyeballs, or being heaved into outter space aboard an Indian spy satellite. Or, maybe not.

Photos: top - Dennis the befuddled miller's comedy monkey.
bottom - Dennis, with handler, entertains visitors and accepts campaign donations at a Bush-Cheney 2004 barnburner near Long Beach, California.

For more information and monkey-show highlights, see: Miller Emerges as New Voice for Bush Re-Election

All Our Good Thoughts To Steve Gilliard And His Family And To Jen 

Steve was scheduled for surgery on that bum heart valve this morning. Serious stuff.

His family is there with him, as are all of our hearts and hopes for his full recovery.

Special thanks to his friend indeed, Jen, who has been keeping all his readers up to date on his blog, so keep checking in there.

According to Jen, you can send him a card at the following address:

Steve Gilliard
c/o Lenox Hill Hospital
100 E. 77th Street
Room 1118
New York, NY 10021

If, as I assume, the outpouring will be voluminous, consider telling him, please don't acknowledge this, just get well.

The Arnis™ violated campaign finance rules 

LA Times:

A Superior Court judge ruled Monday that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger violated state election law by using a $4.5-million bank loan to help finance his campaign in last fall's recall race.

Superior Court Judge Loren E. McMaster, saying that such loans could open the way for money laundering of campaign donations, ordered Schwarzenegger to cease raising money to retire the debt, and not use money he has already raised to repay the loan.

McMaster said that if Schwarzenegger raised money to repay the loan, "the public would not learn who financially contributed to the campaign until after the election, when it would be too late."

Granted, The Arnis™ did rely on a bad itnerpretation of the law—but it hardly seems likely they ignored the money laundering aspect, eh?

Bush: "I lied to you once, but I'm telling the truth now!" 

From the Globe and Mail:

Seeking to recast its reasons for toppling Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, the Bush administration is sending high-ranking officials abroad to justify the war as good for humanity, despite increasing evidence that Baghdad did not possess stockpiles of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.


Our ever-changing stories ....

Science for Democrats  

The headline: "Testosterone may fight Alzheimer's in men".

Naah. This is another joke that just writes itself....

Blotchy's vicious little jokes 


[BUSH]: Talk about shock and awe. Saddam Hussein felt so bad for Governor Dean that he offered him his hole.'


Subtext: Democrats are traitors, an inference now licensed by the Republican candidate for President. That slippery little scut ...

Who's the jokewriter? Dennis Miller?

Cutting Dean some slack on The Yawp 

Heck, the guy brought universal heatlh insurance to his state. That would have solved a lot of very immediate problems for me and my family over the last two years.

Granted, The Yawp fits a lot better into the canned narrative THE PROCESS had prepared to bring Dean down ("veins bulging") than does, well, policy (yawn) ....

And granted that The Yawp really is pretty funny ...

Still, do I really care? And why did it take me so long to figure out that universal health insurance was more important than The Yawp? I must be more deeply infected than I thought.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Headlines I've got to write entries for 

"The cream of America—rich and thick!"

"The elephant in the room is the elephant!"

Well, it's late. Night all. Sorry again about the outage, and if you're a New Hampshire-ite, be sure to vote!

Mea culpa 

We were down for part of Sunday (though not for all readers) because I edited the blogger template and didn't close a comment properly. For that reason, I'm about to rerun farmer's Sunday political cartoon—in case you missed it.

UPDATE: Readers: If you experienced the outage, will you tell us what browser and OS you're running? I saw no problem with Mozilla 1.3/Linux, or IE5/Windows 2000. Thanks. Just to add to our knowledge base of how to work with Blogger.

Sunday farmtoon Devotional [encore edition] 

If you refuse to let them go, I warn you, I will send a plague of frogs over all your territory. The river will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and into your office and onto your desk, into the house of your minions, too, and your media lackeys, even into your Cabinet and your kneading pols. The frogs will swarm all over you and your liveried footmen and your servants.
~ Book of Exits, 7:27-29

the frogs
And the moral of the story is this: Please don't blow up the frogs, because they just might be waiting for you on the other side of the Great Pond.

Here at home, this compassionate conservative's lack of human feeling for our poor and unemployed, children and elderly, workers and veterans is evident in his slashing of funding for social programs and his dismantling of regulations that protect workers, human health and the environment from the ravages of Bush's corporate masters. And, just as when young Dubya was blowing up frogs in Texas, the president shows no remorse. ~ [The Roanoke Times (Virginia)] More Via: Bark Bark Woof Woof

Character matters - ribbitt!

The Call of the Mild 

Whiney Joe-o-o-e ...

It's time to go-o-o-o-o .....

Science for Republicans 

The headline from New Study Adds to Evidence Modern Humans Not Descended From Neanderthals.

With some exceptions ....

Naah, this is just too easy. Readers, I will leave this as an exercise for you!

What's Controversial? 

The invaluable daily Progress Report from the Center For American Progress today offers the best discussion I've seen yet about CBS's refusal to air MoveOn's ad critical of the Bush deficits by examining what ads CBS views as "Non-Controversial."

To review, the winner of MoveOn's Bush in thirty-seconds contest makes two factually accurate, undeniable statements, that the national debt is paid for by future generations, and that Bush is adding to this burden by the trillions of dollars in deficits he's racking up.

What isn't controversial, according to CBS are ads for WalMart, for instance, that tout the excellent conditions of employment it offers its workers, this in the face of all the material that's become public recently suggesting the exact opposite.

The piece goes on to examine Drug Industry ads, as well as Halliburton.

The great question for us all; how do we start to make this kind of corporate advertising controversial?

Any thoughts?

Ohio City votes for domestic partnerships 

One more smackdown for bigots. Connie Mabin of AP reports:

Gay and straight unmarried couples can officially register as partners at City Hall [in Cleveland Heights, Ohio] beginning Monday, a procedure advocates cheer as a step toward greater recognition for same-sex unions and opponents fear will one day undermine marriage.

The registry is not marriage and it's not binding on courts, governments or companies. But supporters hope it will make it easier for couples to eventually share employment benefits, inherit property or get hospital visiting rights.

An estimated 100 unmarried couples were expected to show up at City Hall on the registry's opening day, including Doug Braun, 42, and his partner of 14 years, Brian DeWitt, 48.

Domestic registries have been created by councils and state legislatures elsewhere. The Vermont Legislature created the nation's first law recognizing the relationships of same-sex couples, and California created a statewide registry for same-sex couples and gave them some of the legal standing of married spouses.

The Cleveland Heights initiative - passed with 55 percent of the vote in November - was the first through a ballot issue, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Call me crazy (just not Crazy Andy) but I still think that handled properly, and appealing to "the better angels of our nature," this could be a wedge issue for the Democrats. Maybe Cheney's daughter/campaign manager will move to Cleveland Heights!

Bush to 9/11 families: Drop dead, I've got a campaign to run 

Hope Chen of AP reports:

Mary Fetchet of Connecticut, who lost her son Brad in the attacks said many family members of those who died in the attacks support moving back the deadline if it ensures a complete and fair accounting of what went wrong and why.

"An extension is imperative," she said. "This commission started up very slowly and hit every roadblock imaginable. This should be a priority."

Why aren't any of the Democrats running for President calling Bush on this? The issue is already "politicized."

Kerry and the YABL, YABL, YABL 

Walter Pincus reports:

"We were misled not only in the intelligence but misled in the way that the president took us to war," the Democratic front-runner, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), said when asked on "Fox News Sunday" about Kay's statements. "The president cut off that process [U.N. inspections]. He chose the date to start this war. He said the time for diplomacy is over."

But Kerry also served notice he would focus on Vice President Cheney's role in describing the threat from Hussein during the run-up to the war last spring. He said that Cheney, who took the public lead in describing the threat from Iraq beginning in August 2002, "exaggerated clearly" on several issues. "I know the vice president either misspoke or misled the American people," he said.

All true. The only problem? Why is Kerry saying this now? My issue with Kerry is that he trusted Bush in the first place. After Florida 2000, why on earth would anyone do that? The passive voice—"we were led" shows the problem clearly. Why was Kerry passive then?

Bush had positioned the troops and their materiel far before beginning the political process of securing approval for war. But did anyone seriously think he was going to bring all of it back without going to war?

Why was Kerry passive? A far graver error strategically, politically, and for the country, then any "gaffe."

Dead Man Walking 

It may be true, as Kevin Drum infers from the Washington Post, that the Bush Administration is at this point willing to put anything on the table to get the UN involved in Iraq, so long as it gets them out by June. That in turn begs the question, why would the UN go along?

With each passing month before the election, the upside for the UN getting involved verges closer to zero. The Bush Administration's posture in essence is, we'll let you in on a piece of the action now, in return for helping us get a chance to inflict our arrogance and incompetence on you for another four years. Why wouldn't the UN wait?

I think jerking the Bush Adminstration off for several months first before walking away from the table would have a certain poetic justice to it, but that's probably too much to hope for.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

The enigmatic and reclusive Ayatollah Sistani 

At the World's Greatest Newspaper (not!) the reporter writes the story, and an editor writes the headline, and sometimes the twain don't meet.

Take for example Edward Wong's story, where the headline reads "Iraq's Path Hinges on Words of Enigmatic Cleric." Well, in the story it turns out Sistani is so enigmatic that he has a website, www.sistani.org, and if you want his ruling on, say, anal sex, you can go there and get it. (I mention this only because this subject is right up there at the top of the Q&A section, falling as it does under the As. Nothing under S for santorum, though.)


David Kay: "The weapons do not exist" 

This isn't news to bury on a Friday, it's news to bury on a Sunday! (here)

"What's the difference?" Readers?

The unWar 

I'm tired of using the phrase "war on terror." (See below for this sentiment making its way into the mainstream media). By doing so, I buy into all the Republican's assumptions, including (a) that the war in Iraq and 9/11 are related, (b) that Bush has legitimate wartime powers, (c) that these powers should continue indefinitely (like the "war" on drugs), and (d) that it's treason to oppose Bush and the actions of his administration. All of these assumptions are wrong, and the lazy thinking behind "war on terror" hides how wrong they are.

I remember one blogger (Kos?) making the point that terror is a tactic. The phrase "war on terror" is about as sensible as "war on flanking maneuvers."

We need a new word, and I thought of the "unWar"—has that W right in the middle, and "unWar: is kind of like "undead": it keeps coming at you until you drive a wooden stake through its rotting heart.

Thoughts, anyone?

Republicans trashing constitutional government 

For some reason, I can't imagine what it might be, yet more Republican thuggery isn't getting any play. Richard Powelson of the Knoxville News reports (via Oliver Willis):

Federal investigators reportedly have seized a staff computer in Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office in a probe to find Republican aides who improperly accessed Democrats' memos on opposing judicial nominees.

[Judiciary CommitteeDemocrat's] computer access codes were not set up properly and some Republican staffers knew about the glitch and took advantage of it for two years to view and copy sensitive files relating to the Democratic opposition to some of President Bush's judicial nominees.

Leahy criticized the "cyber theft" of confidential Democratic memoranda.

"This invasion was perpetrated by Republican employees both on and off the committee," he said without naming names. "Members of the Republican staff took things that did not belong to them and passed them around and on to people outside of the Senate. This is no small mistake. It is a serious breach of trust, morals, and possibly the rules and regulations governing the U.S. Senate."

Some kid downloads a song from a filesharing network and a huge corporation sues the kid and the kid's family; Republican operatives steal files from political opponents, and the SCLM yawns...

The story behind the story, though, is this. The Republicans believe they are at war, and are acting that way. After all, theft of the enemy's secrets is a patriotic duty in wartime, yes? The (gutless, feckless) Beltway Dems still think it's business as usual, and are acting that way. As a result, they always end up taking a knife to a gunfight.

Corrente a finalist for Koufax awards 

We're in two categories:

Best Group Blog

Best New Blog

Remembering that famous story from Tip O'Neill's first (and failed) campaign... I will be so crass as to say, "Vote for us!"

The Sunday Papers 

Richard Morin has a column on psychopathic bosses. Psychologists Paul Babiak and Robert Hare designed the standard test and wrote Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work due out later this year. Writes Morin: "The workplace test asks the boss's boss, colleagues and subordinates to rate how well certain phrases describe the supervisor. The descriptions include: 'Comes across as smooth, polished and charming.' 'Lies to co-workers, customers, or business associates with a straight face.' 'Has created a power network in the organization and uses it for personal gain.' 'Fakes sincerity with great conviction.'" Sound like anyone we know? Think computer skills and job training are the answer in today's economy? Zeynep Tufekci writes about job training in Texas: "One day, a trainee proudly handed me a flier advertising her services that she had made on the computer. Furthermore, she explained, she now keeps her accounts on a spreadsheet and uses MapQuest.com to get directions to the houses that she cleans on her hands and knees, seven days a week, 12 hours a day, for a pittance." And poor Michael Gelertner is ombudsing onward. This week, he puts a long-overdue bullet into the winger meme that Bush never used the word "imminent," calling it "quibbling". Hanna Rosin reports on New Hampshire. What's right: lots of good detail. What's wrong? She reports this exchange between Edwards and a voter: "[Edwards:] 'People, you know what to do when you see zero percent interest, don't you?" And a woman from the audience yells out, 'Read the fine print.' Rosen then segues into an Inside Baseball-style discussion of campaign mechanics, concluding that the NH primary "places excessive importance on charm," implicitly Edwards'. Which could be true, especially if she quoted other candidates raising the same issue, but in a less charming way, but she doesn't, of course. Finally, in news of the unWar, "Guantanamo Spy Cases Evaporate". Surprise! At the forthrightness of the headline, that is.

LA Times
And speaking of the unWar, William M. Arkin writes about the shared assumptions (the CW) between Republicans and Democrats: "[The Democrats] have not challenged the central premise of the Bush doctrine on national security — the endlessly repeated assertion that the United States is "at war." ... Today, Democrats need to ask themselves: If we are in fact "at war" and facing such high stakes, why would the American public want to risk changing the White House leadership now?" Answers, anyone? "Me too" sure didn't work in 2002. More on the unWar: Despite the assurances of President Musharrafof that Pakistan has cracked down on AQ, Paul Watson and Mubashir Zaidi write AQ organizations flourish openly in Rawalpindi. In domestic news, even Republican state legislators are denouncing No Child Left Behind, Phil Gramm is pushing a "dead peasant" insurance" scam, and the Times editorial board raises questions about Bush first stonewalling the 9/11 commission, then insisting it deliver its report well before the election.

New York Times
MoDo, of course, is beyond redemption (back). Katherine Seelye, however, did some actual reportage on Howard Dean, by viewing a lot of tapes from the Vermon regional government-access cable channel. And you know what? "The tapes show Dr. Dean as a no-nonsense decision maker grappling with the stuff of governing ... "I'll tell you something... " Dr. Dean said. "No matter what happens, [Vermont] will always be home." He was suddenly choked up with emotion and tears welled in his eyes. "And I'm going to quit there," he said, hurrying out of the room." Funny the Times is only getting round to this now (Times Ombudsman). Oddly, Times ombudsman Okrent's contact information is missing this week: too much to handle? Here it is, for the convenience of our readers: "The public editor, who serves as the readers' representative, may be reached by e-mail: public@nytimes.com. Telephone messages: (212) 556-7652." Robert Pear reports that tax credits for health insurance are in disarray. 8,374 workers out of 500,000 eligible are on the plan. Why? Because it's a tax credit: first you lay out the money, and next year you get the money back. And the Republicans want to make this a model for making health care accessible to the 43 million citizens without insurance. Tamar Lewis reports that even the advocates of marriage education have no proof that it works. Wingers with integrity are concerned with the Bush administration's approach to civil liberties. Elizabeth Bumiller, analyzing the religiosity of the SOTU address , finds that the Ministry of Fear is alive and fully active in Bush's election bid. And the editorial board weighs in with the view that Scalia should recuse himself from the pending case on Cheney's secretive energy task force, after going duck-hunting with Cheney.

You know, I'm putting the Times last, because it's less interesting to read than the other two, and I never thought I would end up saying that about the LA TImes. But it's true. I think the Times is a paper that has lost its way. The Sunday Times sure does weigh a lot, and there's a lot in it, but it never coheres, and the closer the stories get to real time, the worse the reporting gets. That's why the emergence of real-time, DIY blogging and reporting is potentially so interesting. Mammals against the dinosaurs, with THE PROCESSs coup (back) as the meteor that brought the SCLM down...

Bush knows how to get the Mars Rovers moving again! 

Give 'em a tax cut!

What a silly bunt! 

MoDo gets all snippy with Dr. Bean and his bife.

This is what passes for political commentary these days... Guess the good Doctor shouldn't have stood her up....

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