Saturday, August 21, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Gee, I didn't know you could lose your job in America because you exercised your right to free speech at a campaign rally.

But you can! (back)

Great to see that Bush has the courage to speak out on this. Oh, wait...

P.S. MBF: Moronic Brownshirt Fuck.

Swift boat smear: Bush heaves another lacky over the side 

Yep, another low level operative gets sacrificed. Kinda like Abu Ghraib, eh? Bush never takes blame or responsibility for anything. Here's a little, late night AP story on this:

A former POW resigned as a volunteer to President Bush's re-election campaign Saturday after it was learned that he appeared in an anti-John Kerry ad sponsored by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

There goes the low level operative! And to think I believed the Republicans (not!) when they said there was no connection between their campaign and their anti-Kerry smear....

The Bush campaign has claimed no connection with the group which has led an attack on Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, questioning his war record in Vietnam and criticizing his testimony at a congressional hearing in 1971 in which Kerry alleged U.S. troops committed atrocities.

"Col. Cordier did not inform the campaign of his involvement in the advertisement," the Bush campaign said in a statement. "Because of his involvement (with the group) Col. Cordier will no longer participate as a volunteer for Bush-Cheney '04."

Sure, he resigns. After the ad is made and on the airwaves.And as if the famously detail-oriented and paranoid Hughes and Rove wouldn't check. Puh-leeze.

The White House and the Bush campaign have denied any direct connection with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which is funded in part by a top GOP donor in Texas.

"The president [sic] has made it repeatedly clear that he wants to see an end to all" advertising from outside groups, said Brian Jones, a Bush campaign spokesman.

Gee, I'm confused. First, Bush says he has nothing to do with the smears. Now, he's saying he'll stop the smears, if Kerry stops the 527s. Huh?

[Kerry] called on Bush to "stand up and stop" what he called personal attacks on him over his combat record in Vietnam by the Swift Boat group.

"The president needs to stand up and stop that. The president needs to have the courage to talk about it,"
said Kerry.
(via AP)

Nice to see Kerry calling Bush to account on this.

Say, why can't "President" Bush play tennis?

Swift boat smear: Is WaPo in the tank on this one, or what? 

Get a load of this headline:

Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete
Critics Fail to Disprove Kerry's Version of Vietnam War Episode
(via WaPo)

Hey, shoudn't the fact that the critics have failed be the headline, not the subhead? Particularly since Kerry has eyewitness accounts (here) from people who served on his boat, and none of the critics (love that "balanced" "critics") were on Kerry's boat?

Not only that, but the Texas Republican funding of the smear campaign doesn't get mentioned in paragraph 1, or 2, or 3, or 4, or 5, or 6, or 7, or 8, or 9, or 10, or 11, or 12, or 13, or 14, or 15, or 16, or 17, or 18, or 19, or 20, or 21, or 22, or 23, or 24, or 25, or 26, or 27, or 28, or 29, or 30, or 31, or 32, or 33, or 34, or 35, or 36, or 37, or 38, or 39, or 40, or 41, or 42, or 43, or 44, or 45, or 46, or 47, or 48, or 49, or 50, or 51, or 52, or 53, or 54, or 55, or 56, or 57, or 58, or 59, or 60, or 61, or 62, or 63, or 64, or 65.

It does get mentioned in paragraph 66.

Of a 72 paragraph story.

Feel free to email the Post Ombudsman ombudsman@washpost.com.

MBF Watch: Don't Heckle at the Sermon on the Mount 

This reverential piece o' crap ran--as a straight news story, mind you, not an editorial or comment piece--in the Hagerstown (MD) Herald-Mail. It was a followup to the story of the Visitation itself, written by one Candice Bosley who reported the Stump Sermon itself as if it were news:
HEDGESVILLE, W.VA. - A small group of birds hopped up and down the steps of a set of bleachers at Hedgesville High School Wednesday evening, perhaps looking for crumbs of food left over from Tuesday's visit by President Bush.

As a slight breeze blew and the sun lazily made its way down behind the western end zone, few visible signs indicated that the president spoke on the field a day earlier.

Aside from one heckler who was quickly quieted, Bush's visit went without a hitch.
Egads! A heckler dared to speak? The Visitation was troubled by mockery?? I picture Candice in tears. Whatever shall be done, Lord? How can we make this up to You?

I know! Let's take back his goddam loaves and fishes!

But wait! There's more!
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. Aug. 21, 2004 — A man who heckled President Bush at a political rally was fired from his job at an advertising and design company. The graphic designer said he was told he'd embarrassed and offended a client who provided tickets to the event.

"I was told that my actions reflected badly on the company and that a client was upset," Glen Hiller of Berkeley Springs said.
(via abcnews.com)

Anybody know a campaign in the West Virginia/Maryland/southern Pennsylvania area who needs a graphic designer? I think we can count on Glen to be self-motivated.

UPDATE Funny thing, the web site of Hiller's erstwhile employer, Octavo Design in Frederick, MD, seems to be down. Nothing but a big orange page. Sheesh, the MBFs are really giving orange a bad name, aren't they?

However, Octavo Design's contact information is below. Maybe some alert readers can find out if they're reconsidered firing a United States citizen for exercising freedom of speech:

Email: sue@octavodesigns.com
8 N. East Street, Suite 100
Frederick, MD 21701
301-695-8885 phone
301-695-0770 fax

Oh, and here's the local trade association, GFAF, to which Octavo Designs belongs. I wonder if they share Octavo's view of the First Amendment? Inquiring minds want to know, so ask them:

President:  Karen Richey, Long Fence
Vice President:  Eryn Willard, ION Design
Treasurer:  Dave Diehl, Hood College
Secretary:  Emily Dorr, Jean Peterson design.

Directors:  Carrie Delente, Enforme Interactive
Kim Dow, LTD Creative
Terri Fleetwood, Fleetwood Design, Inc.
Jamie Stup, Wood Street, Inc.
Ron Mele, The Art Department
Sandy Dubay Sponaugle, Platinum PR

Past President: Eryn Willard, ION Design

Just ask GFAF if it's OK with them that one of their members, Octavo Designs, feels free to fire a US citizen for speaking freely at a campaign event. I'm sure they'll be very happy to clarify any questions that you have, if you share your concerns with them.—Lambert

UPDATE Oh, I forgot. Octavo thought their employee offended a client. Here's an existing Octavo client. Maybe alert readers could find out from Eduro if using a vendor who fires employees when they exercise their freedom of speech makes Eduro look bad, or not:

240.597.5851 Fax

UPDATE Thanks to alert reader anonymous, here's the cached Octavo site. Interestingly. the "team" (Ha! Some "team"!) page is blank. There is, however, a second email address: info@8vodesigns.com. They do have a portfolio here. I'm sure the clients listed there would be happy to be asked whether they support vendors who deny their employees their first amendment rights.

Unfit for Comment: Thomas Phillips and Swift Boat Liars for Bu$h 

The television "news" broadcast media's inability to investigate and report almost anything that doesn't involve celebrity courtroom gah-gah or "official" statements released from the American Enterprise Institute and the Pentagon is really no surprise any more.

Alas. Peeling back the top layer on a common onion would become a remarkable feat for most of these people. They simply can not do it without bursting into tears and fleeing from the room as if attacked by a swarm of greenhead flies.

Who else, besides big time Republican fundraiser types in Texas, are behind the Swift Boat grifters for Bu$h? Well, how 'bout this 100% Arbusto 43 team player? Thomas Phillips. The above the fray swine whose company actually - owns? - bankrolled? - the publication of "Unfit for Command". Maybe that human somnabulism Wolf Blitzer will ring up the Claremont Institute and embark on a famous comment gathering quest. I can hardly wait.

Phillips is the owner of three of the Conservative Movement’s most influential enterprises: Human Events, the Conservative Book Club, and Regnery Publishing [Publisher of "Unfit for Command"]
Thomas Phillips, Chairman. Phillips is Chairman of Phillips International, Inc. and of Eagle Publishing, the leading conservative publishing house which publishes the Evans Novak Political Report. Phillips is "a member of The Republican National Committee's Team 100. He is also Chairman of the Chairman's Council of the Republican Party of Orange County, and he serves on the Board of Directors of The Claremont Institute." link

Rocket Ronnie Ranch-hand
Thomas L. Phillips: [Phillips Publishing International - owner of Regnery Publishing]
Thomas L. Phillips is president and chief executive officer of Phillips Publishing International, Inc. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Dartmouth College and graduated with a master of arts from American University. Phillips is the owner of three of the Conservative Movement’s most influential enterprises: Human Events, the Conservative Book Club, and Regnery Publishing. He started Phillips Publishing in 1974 after employment with a Washington, D.C., publishing firm and two large national advertising agencies. Phillips Publishing International, the largest newsletter publishing firm in the United States, publishes newsletters, magazines, books, directories, and electronic information services. For two consecutive years, Phillips Publishing was named to Inc. magazine’s list of the top 500 fast growing private companies in America.

Mr. Phillips is chairman of the board of visitors of the Institute on Political Journalism and a member of the board of visitors of the University of Maryland College of Journalism. He serves on the board of directors of Junior Achievement of Metropolitan Washington and the advisory board of the National Journalism Center. He is also a board member of the Institute of World Politics, the Claremont Institute, and the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, he serves as chairman of the Phillips Foundation.
Reagan Ranch

Claremont clarified. Theocratic fascism fundies funding so called "libertarians"?
With $3 million funneled through seven pro-business, anti-abortion and Republican political action fronts, Ahmanson and company captured a startling 25 of the GOP's 39 legislative seats for their candidates. Their push ushered two important movement cadres into power: Tom McClintock, a veteran activist and former director of economic and regulatory affairs of the Ahmanson-funded libertarian think tank Claremont Institute; and Ray Haynes, an unknown lawyer from another Ahmanson-funded group, the Western Center for Law and Justice, which once filed a brief defending a local school district for banning Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude."

Avenging angel of the religious right - Quirky millionaire Howard Ahmanson Jr. is on a mission from God to stop gay marriage, fight evolution, defeat "liberal" churches -- and reelect George W. Bush. ~ By Max Blumenthal Movement Cadres


Previously: Old Time Smears Are Not Forgotten

Alfred S. Regnery, Trustee. Alfred Regnery is publisher of The American Spectator. He is also President of Regnery Publishing, Inc. a subsidiary of Eagle Publishing, Inc. since 1993. link

[clarification note: Marji Ross is the current president (and publisher) of Regnery Publishing. Not Alfred Regnery. Who gave up the title in the year - 2000 - I think.]

I'm sure Wolf "Bunker Boy" Blitzer would announce, "I'm afraid I don't see the connection, can you expalin it to me?" At which point I would have to drown him in a large pot of boiling onion soup.

BTW: How come Regnery doesn't list David Brock's books in it's catalog anymore? Sheesh. Maybe Daryn Kagan can get to the bottom of that one.


Swift Boat Liars 4 Bu$h - Regnery and the ASC 

Watching Harball with Chris Mathews on Thursday gave me a jolt. A big jolt. I was finally able to get to the transcript tonight. Pay particular attention to the name of the "group" below emphasized in red highlight.

Hardball with Chris Mathews - Aug 19, 2004: [snip]

DANA MILBANK: [...] So they‘re [Democrats] trying to be much more on the offensive this time and they‘re taking John McCain as an ally and trying to put pressure on the White House to denounce this Swift Boat group. It‘s very interesting that we all pressed Scott McClellan today in Crawford to take a stand on that ad. He‘s being careful not to do that. He says that John Kerry served honorably there. He‘s very firm about that but they‘re reluctant to criticize the Swift Boat Vets.

MATTHEWS: But you know back in 1988, there was a practice like this. The George Bush campaign, the senior George Bush campaign against Michael Dukakis was careful not to raise any racial flags. They had the revolving door ad that was totally diversified in terms of all the criminals involved and then there was a sideline thing paid for by some group called THE AMERICAN SECURITY COUNCIL that showed this sort of shrouded (UNINTELLIGIBLE) look, a picture of this guy, this guy Willie Horton, which definitely was played in particular blue collar areas to help them get that vote roused up.

Of course being the gentleman that he is, George Bush Sr. can say, I had nothing to do with that ad. When are we going to be able to identify responsibility—let me go to Gergen on this. David, when are candidates going to take responsibility for the ads running on their behalf? ~ Hardball with Chris Mathews, MSNBC, August 19, 2004 - transcript

YIKES!!! The ASC was originally founded in 1955 as the Mid-Western Research Library. One year later (1956) the name was changed to the American Security Council. ASC's original founders included former FBI agent William F. Carroll, Gen. Robert E. Wood (chaiman Sears Roebuck) and William H. Regnery William H. Regnery's son Henry Regnery (Regnery Publishing) would later assume his fathers place at ASC.

The ASC was set up as a kind of shadowy private intelligence gathering operation. A kind of secret bureau of investigation designed to root out document and catalog anyone it considered of "questionable" political leanings. Especially labor union activists or any persons it deemed communist. It's own early promotional materials offered to corporate business community interests boast of it's extensive intelligence gathering abilities and close ties to the military and the executive and legislative branches of government. It's objective was to gather information on US citizens and organizations it considered "subversive". Intel (files that it collected on individuals and organizations) were then shared with corporations, and military industrial complex liasions. At the same time it operated as a propaganda and rumor mill dispensing so-called "educational" information to the public on behalf of various right wing causes and ideologies. (such as the ultra-right wing John Birch Society). More on ASC in a moment.

Backtrack note: both Gen. Robert E. Wood and William H. Regnery were two of the original founders of the America First Committee (1940). AFC was the brainchild of a Yale law student named Robert Douglas Stuart. Chicago investment banker H.L. Stuart was an original underwriter of AFC as was H. Smith Richardson of the Vick Chemical Company (as in Vicks Vaporub). William H. Regnery, in 1940, was president of the Western Shade Cloth Company, a textile manufacturer. Regnery publishing (the Henry Regnery Company) did not yet exist and bloomed from the loins of Human Events magazine. Which, in 1944, was founded by Henry Regnery, Frank C. Hanighen and Felix Morley. Including help from General Robert E. Wood and generous contributions from Sun Oil Company vice president Joseph Pew.

Back to the ASC. From who did ASC aquire some of the information they collected? One affiliated source was a group called the American Vigilante Intelligence Federation which was founded in 1927 by the outspoken anti-semitic fascist wannabe and Mussolini boosteroo Harry Jung.

Jung founded the American Vigilante Intelligence Federation (AVIF) in 1927 as an anti-union spy operation. With the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, Jung became the first major distributor in the U.S. of the anti-Semitic forgery, "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion." [...] His AVIF became involved with German Nazi agents in the U.S. In 1942, Jung's East Coast operative, a Col. Eugene Sanctuary, was indicted by the Justice Department for sedition. One can only wonder at the purpose and content of the files collected by Jung, and purchased by the ASC. The Jung file collection reportedly had one million names indexed when the ASC acquired it some thirty years ago. (Russ Bellant; Old Nazis, the New Right and the Republican Party, South End Press 1991

Another group tucked into the folds of the ASC was John B. Trevor's American Coalition of Patriotic Societies. Trevor died in 1956 and was replaced by his son John B. Trevor Jr., who spent years on ASC's Board of Directors and who also served as Treasurer (1962) for the racialist pro-Nazi Pioneer Fund which was founded by textile baron Wickliffe Draper (drapes anyone?) in 1937.

In 1958 ASC launched the Institute for American Strategy (IAS) for the purpose of further spreading Cold War political propaganda among the public, indoctrinating public policy "elites" and military personnel in the ideology of right wing think, emphasizing the importance of powerful military industrial complex interests and trying to convince anyone they could buttonhole that commies had infiltrated the master suites of government. ACS sponsored events such as the National Military Conferences which were essentially git-to-know-ya gatherings for Pentagon officials and National Security Council big wigs looking to hoot it up, share shrimp cocktails and exchange boing-eyed scare stories with corporate executives from such board rooms as United Fruit and Standard Oil.

Recall Eisenhower warning of the power of the military industrial complex -- these are the very people of whom he was speaking. The IAS was funded by the right wing Richardson Foundation (H. Smith Richardson) and administered by "political warfare" advocate/expert Frank Barnett and long time ASC member Col. William Kintner. IAS president was John M. Fisher. Barnett was research director for the Richardson Foundation as well.

Barnett advocated "political warfare" abroad that included fomenting "diverse forms of coercion and violence including strikes and riots, economic sanctions, subsidies for guerrilla or proxy warfare and, when necessary, kidnapping or assassination of enemy elites." Riled by those who did not share his militant foreign policy outlook, Barnett told attendees at one Cold War seminar that "it is within the capacity of the people in this room to literally turn the State of Georgia into a civilian war college," in order to overcome their opponents.

William Kintner, a 25-year ASC veteran who left the CIA after 11 years as a planning officer and joined IAS in 1961, attacked the critics of extreme rightism in the , May, 1962. He said the campaign against extreme rightists, including the John Birch Society, began when "dossiers in Moscow's espionage headquarters were combed for the names of unsuspecting persons in the United States who might do the Kremlin's work." In other words, Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy were dupes of the KGB. . .or worse. In the jargon of today's extreme right, those concerned over the growing military-industrial complex were spreading "Soviet disinformation." (Bellant, Old Nazis..., South End Press, 1991)

In 1962 Barnett co-founds (and becomes president) of the National Strategy Information Center. Others affiliated with or advising the NSIC over the years include Joseph Coors, Frank Shakespeare (Heritage Foundation) and former CIA director William J. Casey. As well as this feller right here ---- Prescott Bush. (Prescott Bush was also a friend of Gen. Robert E. Wood.)
In 1962, as Bush was about to leave the Senate, he helped to launch the new National Strategy Information Center, to be run by Frank Barnett, a Right-tilting expert on political warfare and covert operations who had previously directed research at North Corolina's CIA-linked Smith Richardson Foundation. Bush knew well those involved, because during the early 1950's, at the request of H. Smith Richardson and his son-in-law Eugene Stetson, a Bonesman and former Brown Brothers Harriman colleague of Bush's, he had given the Richardson's advice and supportive counsel on setting up their foundation. (Kevin Phillips, American Dynasty, page 197)

So thats it for now. And thats only a tiny sampling of a much bigger picture with respect to the ASC and its spawn. Many of which played large roles in influencing policy during the Reagan/Bush years. Especially with respect to ASC's role in events that took place in Latin America.

Willie Horton ad leads to ASC --- Swift Boat Liars lead to Regnery. Regnery co-founds the ASC. And up and down the branching tree. Connect the dots. And Larry Thurlow wants us to believe some wacky conspiracy theory about John Kerry masterminding a sneaky master plan of conquest while being shot at on a swift boat in the Mekong Delta over 30 years ago? GZSH-KeeRyst.

Another note here: Alfred Regnery was appointed to the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice by Ronald Reagan in 1986. Alfred Regnery, one time Regnery Publishing president, was/is also, a "close" friend of Ken Starr.

In 1993 Regnery publishing was became the property of right wing publisher Thomas Phillips, (Phillips Publishing). Mothership of Human Events magazine. Phillips is another one to watch. One that doesn't get much attention.


Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid 

Just in case you'd forgotten WE'RE AT WAR!!!

Today's Terror Alert Level:

Terror Alert Level

(thanks Shystee!)

Friday, August 20, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

I love the smell of napalm in the evening....

Why do the Bushes fight dirty? Because it works for them! 

Sure, they spend a ton of money:

THE HOLY CITY OF CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush's campaign spent $45.8 million in July, the bulk of it on advertising, but he still had about $32.5 million left to spend before he accepts his party's nomination next month, according to a filing released Friday.
(via WaPo)

But they got their money's worth:

The White House refused to condemn the Swift Boat Veterans, but says the President will not raise questions about John Kerry's military service.

The swift boat ads have apparently had an impact on veterans. A few weeks ago, the two candidates were tied in the polls among veterans.

But now, a new CBS poll shows 55 percent of veterans support President Bush, and only 37 percent back Kerry.
(via "C"BN)

So let's hope Kerry can get those guys back. They deserve better than Bush.

Lovely to see the "Christian" Broadcasting Corporation rolling around in the slime and the smears. WWJD? "The end justifies the means," right? Especially for a vicious, cornered rat...

Mark your calendars for September 13 

That's the day Seymour Hersh's book, Chain of Command, is coming out.

Here's the cover:

Gee, the leaks and the excerpts should start, oh, during Inerrant Boy's Coronation Convention.

Don't go up in any small planes, Seymour! Don't agree to meet any mysterious strangers in parking garages—alone.... If it starts to rain, don't take shelter in the haunted house...

Science for Republicans! 

Does this "lost tribe" sound familiar to anyone?

Life without numbers in a unique Amazon tribe
1+1=2. Mathematics doesn't get any more basic than this, but even 1+1 would stump the brightest minds among the Piraha tribe of the Amazon.

A study appearing today in the journal Science reports that the hunter-gatherers seem to be the only group of humans known to have no concept of numbering and counting.

Not only that, but adult Piraha apparently can't learn to count or understand the concept of numbers or numerals, even when they asked anthropologists to teach them and have been given basic math lessons for months at a time.

Their lack of enumeration skills is just one of the mental and cultural traits that has led scientists who have visited the 300 members of the tribe to describe the Piraha as "something from Mars."
(via Globe and Mail)

"Piraha"? Could that be a typo for Piranha? As in Dinsdale Piranha, a.k.a The Inerrant Boy?

Since it looks like the non-counting Piraha handled the Federal deficit numbers, the unemployment numbers, the WMD numbers, the Iraq budgeting numbers...

Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are?"—Putting the W in "sWift Boat"  

Of course the Republicans are in bed with the "Swift Boat Veterans for [cough] Truth." In both Florida, and Minnesota (not to talk about the fact that the guy who's funding them is the largest Republican donor in Texas).

Kos has the goods.

UPDATE In fact, the WhiteWash House now openly admits they control these guys! From today's gaggle, Soctt "Sucka MC" McClellan:

Q Well, that may be. I'm just wondering why not just put this whole thing to rest.

MR. McCLELLAN: We could, if Senator Kerry would join us and call for an end to this kind of activity.
(via The WhiteWash House via Holden via Atrios.

I smell flop sweat....

Now, it's two lawmakers on the airlines terror watch list 

Two guesses on which party both are from!



Times's up! Did you guess that they're both Democrats? You're right!

Sen. Edward Kennedy is not alone.

A second prominent lawmaker said Friday that he's been subjected to extra security at airports because his name appears on a list designed to prevent terrorists from boarding planes.

Rep. John Lewis, D - Georgia, a nine-term congressman famous for his civil rights work with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has been stopped 35 to 40 times over the past year, his office said.

Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on border security Thursday that he's been stopped several times because his name appeared on an airline watch list.

Lewis contacted the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security and executives at various airlines in a so-far fruitless effort to get his name off the list, said spokeswoman Brenda Jones.

Instead, Lewis got a letter from the Transportation Security Administration that he can present to ticket agents indicating he has cleared an identity check with the agency. But the letter warns he might still be subject to extra security checks before being allowed to fly.
(via CNN)

Wow! You know, that reminds me of that anthrax scare, where the Congressmen who got the anthrax-laced letters were—rim shot!—both Democrats!

Fool me once....

Still, I can't think of any reason why the Bush administration would put elected lawmakers from the Democratic Party on a terror watch. Readers—can you?

And the nation is only on orange alert? 

OK, OK, it's Weekly World News. But maybe they'll turn out to be more reliable than Bush's other sources have been? And more reliable than the anonymous sources of the SCLM? Let's give it a try!

EXTREMIST Muslim scientists are developing a bomb that turns anyone within a 30-mile radius of its blast into a homosexual, say U.S. Intelligence insiders.

It's all a part of the Al Qaeda master plan to pull our country apart and kill the patriotism that makes us strong. "

They believe that making more Americans gay will start civil war between gays and ultraconservatives," says one highly placed intelligence officer. "They also figure it will lead to a decrease in the U.S. population."

The Gay Bomb was already in the planning stages when Osama Bin Laden and close, intimate friend Muhammad Atef founded the international terrorist group Al Qaeda in 1989.
(via Weekly World News)

They all hate us anyhow, so let's drop the big one now!

Who Said This, When? 

Your hints: It was

(1) a Democrat

(2) giving a keynote speech

(3) at a party national convention. Go for it!
"I made it because Lyndon Johnson showed America that people who were born poor didn't have to die poor. And I made it because a man with whom I served in the Georgia Senate - a man named Jimmy Carter - brought honesty and decency and integrity to public service."

"I am a Democrat because we are the party of hope. For... dark years the Republicans have dealt in cynicism and skepticism. They've mastered the art of division and diversion, and they have robbed us of our hope."

"Americans have seen plants closed down, jobs shipped overseas and our hopes fade away as our economic position collapses right before our very eyes. And George Bush does not get it!"

"Let's face facts: George Bush just doesn't get it. He doesn't see it; he doesn't feel it, and he's done nothing about it."
Credit to ArchPundit for the catch, and also for noting "we need rules for a drinking game here". The full, original text can be found here.

Fog Fading Fast 

We've been yammering about the links nobody is making on the Abu Ghraib story. Read these three pieces and you will know as much as anybody on earth. By reading all three you will know more than the writers of each story did, once you look at how things link together.

The stories are:

A superb and very long backgrounder from Salon. Just two grafs as they link to the next piece:

Army Spc. Luciana Spencer is a good example of the problem. A military interrogator, Spencer was cited in the Taguba report for forcing a detainee to strip and walk back to his cell naked, in an effort to humiliate him. In a still-classified sworn statement, she also admits to hearing other interrogators instructing the military police to abuse prisoners, and once witnessed Spc. Charles Graner slapping a detainee. Asked why she didn't report Graner, Spencer told investigators that she didn't know that what he had done constituted abuse.

That's not surprising given her level of experience. Spencer had graduated from "the schoolhouse," the military training ground for interrogators at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., in the summer of 2003, just months before arriving at her first assignment, Abu Ghraib.
Now this would be a good time to go back to our reports linked above from July 11 about Gen. Barbara Fast. We thought then that she had managed to get away "clean" (in the sense of not getting caught) from Abu Ghraib, since she was all set to take over management of that just-mentioned Fort Huachuca.

This turns out to not quite be the case, according to the ArizonaRepublic:
FORT HUACHUCA - She may know as much about intelligence gathering in Iraq as anyone.

And she wants to share her experience with the next generation of military interrogators heading to the war.

But for now, Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast is stuck.

The Pentagon announced earlier this year that Fast would assume command of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, 75 miles southeast of Tucson, after she finished a tour of duty in Iraq.

Fast finished her tour two weeks ago...but the Pentagon isn't saying when, or if, she will be given the command she was promised.

The hold-up involves ongoing investigations into the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal.

But everyone in the chain of command at the Army Intelligence Center insisted that the current doctrine of Fort Huachuca is sound, that if it had been followed, Abu Ghraib never would have happened.

None of the soldiers charged in connection with the prison scandal was trained at Fort Huachuca. All seven were military police reservists.
So Spc. Spencer WAS trained at Huachuca, but WASN'T charged, so that proves that everything is cool. Um, yeah right.

Finally, this third story is out of the LATimes, although this link is to the Chicago Tribune because LA didn't have it posted yet when I found this last night, go figure. This is on the Fay Report, of which more later since there hasn't been any real analysis yet. A brief snip:
WASHINGTON -- A long-awaited report on abuses at Abu Ghraib prison will implicate about two dozen military intelligence soldiers and civilian contractors in the intimidation and sexual humiliation of Iraq war prisoners, but will not suggest wrongdoing by military brass outside the prison, senior defense officials said Wednesday.

But Defense Department officials said the report implicates no one outside the prison. "The report is going to say responsibility for Abu Ghraib stops at the brigade level," a senior defense official said.

But one senior defense official said the report by Army Maj. Gen. George Fay will make clear that "no one in Washington said stack people on top of each other, naked."
Sure glad to get THAT question cleared up.

You Are Smarter than Andrea Mitchell 

You already knew you were smarter than Ms. Mitchell despite the fact that you do not get paid big bucks to pontificate on subjects you know nothing about. You knew this because you are not obliged to have sex with Alan Greenspan under any circumstances.

However, in regard to at least one of those subjects, I heard Ms. Mitchell say just last night that "the situation in Najaf is complicated by the fact that nobody knows what Muqtada al-Sadr wants." This proves that she does not read Juan Cole, and since we DO, we know what al-Sadr wants. NBC should just fire her increasingly sorry ass and hire the Corrente Collective as her replacement.
So, I don't understand the widespread puzzlement reported by AP. It may not be a simple set of positions, but they aren't hidden from view or hard to understand.

I don't understand this confusion. Muqtada has given many sermons and interviews in the past 16 months outlining his goals exactly.

1) He wants the US troops out of the country immediately, which is to say, an end to Occuption. If there have to be foreign troops in Iraq, he wants them under a United Nations command.

2) He refuses to cooperate (he would say "collaborate") with the caretaker government of Iyad Allawi, which he sees as a puppet regime installed by the United States. He insists that no legitimate Iraqi governmental process can begin until the US is out...

5) He wants Iraqi Shiism to emerge from Iran's shadow and to establish its independence from Iran. His movement is rooted in the Shiite ghettos of Iraq and is very indigenous. He is not Iran's catspaw in Iraq, quite the opposite. He is strong Iraqi nationalist.
As you can tell from the numbering, Dr. Cole makes several other points in this piece, which you are encouraged to read. However Ms. Mitchell was still spouting the party line about "al-Sadr is fronting for Iran" on last night's broadcast, so we see that her idea of "reporting" consists of "reading Occupation press releases" rather than doing, like, research.

Abu Ghraib torture: The scum also rises 

Perhaps the coverup is, at long last, beginning to unravel:

An Army investigation into the role of military intelligence personnel in the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison reports that the scandal was not just caused by a small circle of rogue military police soldiers but resulted from failures of leadership rising to the highest levels of the U.S. command in Iraq, senior defense officials said.

While the Pentagon and the White House have consistently blamed the abuse on what they have called a rogue band of MPs acting on their own, officials said this new report spreads the blame and points to widespread problems at the prison.

One senior defense official said the investigation specifically decries the fact that many soldiers saw or knew of the abuse and never reported it to authorities. Concerns are also raised about the vague instructions...

Fog Machine time! That "vaguenss" is not accidental. It is a deliberate policy meant to give those in authority "plausible deniability."

... from high-ranking officials about what was allowed during interrogations at the prison, which led military intelligence and military police soldiers to misapply them, the official said.
(via WaPo)

But what was done with the Abu Ghraib intelligence, including the photos and the video of screaming boys being raped? Follow the bytes, because they should lead, probably through Republican operatives in the RNC/CPA, right to the West Wing.

Gee, I wonder why Bush wanted to raze Abu Ghraib? How right the courts were to preserve Abu Ghraib as a crime scene!

Chump Change: $8.8 Billion In Iraq Funds Missing 

Where did it go?

At least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds that was given to Iraqi ministries by the former U.S.-led authority there cannot be accounted for, according to a draft U.S. audit set for release soon.

The audit by the Coalition Provisional Authority's own Inspector General blasts the CPA for "not providing adequate stewardship" of at least $8.8 billion from the Development Fund for Iraq that was given to Iraqi ministries.

The audit was first reported on a Web site earlier this month by journalist and retired Col. David Hackworth. A U.S. official confirmed the contents of the leaked audit cited by Hackworth were accurate.

The development fund is made up of proceeds from Iraqi oil sales, frozen assets from foreign governments and surplus from the U.N. Oil for Food Program. Its handling has already come under fire in a U.N.-mandated audit released last month.

Among the draft audit's findings were that payrolls in Iraqi ministries under Coalition Provisional Authority control were padded with thousands of ghost employees.

In one example, the audit said the CPA paid for 74,000 guards even though the actual number could not be validated. In another, 8,206 guards were listed on a payroll but only 603 people doing the work could be counted.
(via Reuters)
I mean, heck folks, why should you and I be concerned?

Our government just lost $29.92 down the Iraq rathole for every man, woman and child in America (for a population estimate of the United States, go here) or, better yet, $67.31 for every American taxpayer (for the number of taxpayers in 2003 go here).

Isn't that pretty damned appalling? You and I don't really want to know how much money they've actually accounted for, do we?

UPDATE: I'm a historian, not a mathematician. Feel free to check my math and let me know if I'm right about this via the comment boards.

UPDATE 2: Thanks to fobyoc in comments for correcting my math.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Blogger still sucks. Why on earth can't they at least stop adding insult to injury with that spinning watch? Are all the QA people watching the ticker, or what? Lost posts, posts that Blogger thinks it's published that haven't, duplicates, triplicates... Some of the little editorial oddities I can deal with. But having to wait... And wait... And wait... This feels worse than the days of dialup. Sheesh!

Well, here goes. I'm about to press the Post Button. And then wait. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

The Boy in The Bubble 

Shirtsleeve Boy in the land of the free... and the home of the wuss. Apparently, Bush just can't stand to be around anyone who is less than worshipful. Why is that, anyhow? Is He afraid someone will notice He has no clothes? And then say so?


TRAVERSE CITY - Kathryn Mead wanted to see her first sitting president when George W. Bush visited the city.
Instead, Bush campaign staffers tore up the 55-year-old social studies teacher's ticket and refused her admission because she sported a small sticker on her blouse that touted the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards.
"I had my ticket and photo identification, but they would not let me in because of this sticker," said Mead, a teacher at Traverse City West Senior High, who said she has seen Queen Elizabeth and Pope John Paul in person.
"I have never found this kind of screening anywhere in my travels around the world. I can't imagine being denied access to hearing the president of the United States speak."
Mead, who has taught for two decades, instead stood on the sidewalks with other John Kerry supporters, listening to Bush from behind a fence.
"I really, truly wanted to have the experience of having seen the president and hear him speak, which is very important to me as a social studies teacher," she said. "How can anyone in the United States deny someone entry? Isn't this a democracy?"
(via Traverse City Record Eagle)

Well, Kathryn, in a word: No.

That's the lesson of Florida 2000.

Hey, at least they didn't handcuff her and haul her off to jail!

Uglier and Uglier 

Doctors at Abu Ghraib didn't just cover up torture of prisoners, they helped design it. The Lancet is a British medical journal which does not to my knowledge do anything political. This is about medical ethics--you know, that subject on which George W. Bush is such an expert when the subject is stem cell research:

(via Globe & Mail (tedious registration, will try to find better link)
Some U.S. military doctors in Iraq and Afghanistan betrayed their duty to patients by participating in and covering up the abuse of prisoners, a report in the British journal Lancet argues.

Written by Dr. Steven Miles, a bioethicist at a U.S. university, the article calls for an urgent investigation to assess the extent to which U.S. military doctors, nurses and medics abandoned the “moral obligations” of their profession.

Published Thursday, the same day reports emerged that an U.S. army inquiry will lay blame on commanders at Abu Ghraib for creating conditions that allowed abuses to occur at the jail, the article says the testimony which has emerged paints a picture of medical professionals allowing, assisting and participating in the abuse of prisoners.

They are accused of falsifying death certificates, tampering with bodies and, in at least one case, reviving someone beaten unconscious and then leaving him again to the mercy of his interrogators. In at least two cases, Dr. Miles notes, military officials released innocuous information explaining away prisoner deaths, only to later admit that they had died because of mistreatment.

At no point does it seem that the medical people working for the U.S. military blew the whistle, he writes critically. There is no official record of them contradicting faulty death reports issued by the military or informing on their colleagues.

“The detaining power's health personnel are the first and often the last line of defence against human rights abuses. Their failure to assume that role emphasizes to the prisoner how utterly beyond humane appeal they are,” he said.

In his harsh submission to Lancet, Dr. Miles criticizes the inaction of medical staff who did not report abuses but also charges that, in a far worse transgression, “the [military] medical system collaborated with designing and implementing psychologically and physically coercive interrogations.”

“The role of military medicine in these abuses merits special attention because of the moral obligations of medical professionals with regard to torture and because of horror at health professionals who are silently or actively complicit with torture,” he writes.
Note the phrase "medical people working for the US military." That is not the same as "military doctors." Is there another contractor scandal even I haven't heard about yet? (This wouldn't surprise me, the use of contract doctors by the US military goes back at least to the Civil War, and they were hated then too.)

More on this, as they say, as it develops. I hope Dr. Miles has a safe place to sleep tonight.

The Wecovery: Turning the corner, right down the tubes 

Dear Leader's leading indicators don't look so good:

A closely watched measure of future economic activity fell in July for the second consecutive month, reinforcing evidence that the nation's financial recovery is slackening.

The Conference Board said Thursday its Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators dropped by 0.3 percent in July to 116.0, following a revised decline of 0.1 percent in June. Last month was the first time in more than a year that the index had lost ground.

"The latest decline in the Leading Index reflects a loss of forward momentum," said Ken Goldstein, economist for the Conference Board. "There are growing concerns about the high cost of gasoline and milk, as well as worries about where economic growth will come from now that tax refunds have been spent and short-term interest rates are rising."

The index is closely followed because it is designed to forecast the economy's health over the coming three to six months.
(via AP)

I think I know what Wall Street would call that pitiful little burst of good economic news Bush was trumpeting, before the economy started tanking again: A dead cat bounce.

Freedom of the press would be great if we had a free press 

A few years ago—oh, maybe about when the Times reported that the Florida 2000 "bourgeios rioters were all paid Republican staffers from DC, after the Supreme Court decided the election—I would have been all for the press on this one. And if I felt we still had a free press, I'd be all for them this time. Right now, though... We have the First Amendment for these guys, why, exactly? Is the press holding up it's end of the bargain? I'm not so sure. Anyhow:

Media organizations and their attorneys see an unprecedented threat to the widespread agreements by which reporters promise sources not to identify them by name in order to receive valuable and often sensitive information. Reporters have long argued that the Constitution's guarantee of a free press shields them from being forced to disclose what they have learned in confidence.
(via AP)

Well, could be. On the other hand, there's a lot of actual reportage that can be done with open sources and keeping one's eyes open. I can see confidentiality for whistleblowers. But for administration officials who want to leak or float trial balloons? Why? Dunno. Readers?

Still Behind the Curve 

Why this just ran today when the DNC was nearly a month ago, I do not know. However I wonder if these FBI guys got their training on that team that spent a year investigating whorehouses in New Orleans at John Ashcroft's behest when they could have been looking for Mohammed Atta:

(via Kansas City Star)
Two Kansas City men were among at least a dozen activists in Kansas and Missouri interviewed by FBI counterterrorism agents before the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Spokesmen for the bureau said such questioning is routine when authorities receive credible information involving potential violence.

But activists question why they were interviewed and said they thought the FBI was trying to intimidate them to discourage them from organizing or participating in political protests.

In Kansas City, two activists who received visits from agents said they had never heard of plans for violence and don't know why they drew the FBI's interest.

Roommates Nate Hoffman and Jeff Kinder, both 21 and economics students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said they were first approached by agents July 23.

Kinder said they asked if he intended to do anything violent or had heard of anyone planning violence at the Democratic or Republican conventions and that it was a felony to withhold information.

Kinder, who said he used to consider himself an anarchist, told the agents he knew nothing about planned violence. He says he still doesn't.

“Everybody I know is trying to build a mass movement, and you can't build a mass movement in America by blowing stuff up,” he said.

Hoffman met with the agents in a Kansas City coffeehouse but refused to answer their questions without a lawyer present.

“They told me that in their experience that when somebody didn't want to talk to them that meant they probably had something to hide,” he said.

The agents gave him a business card and said to call them or they would find him the next week. Hoffman said he never called and hadn't heard from them.
So they hassle and intimidate two college roomies, threaten them with words like "felony," and then neither follow up on things or apologize. What was this "credible evidence" they had which directed them to this particular "dozen activists" in Kansas? Membership in an antiwar group? Previous arrests? Electronic chatter in Arabic for chrissakes? Or was it just a pissed-off nerd down the dorm room hallway angry about late night pizza deliveries? We'll never know. Maybe the FBI should hire somebody to read Orcinus on a regular basis if they really want to go after domestic terrorism.

Update: Link to Orcinus fixed, thanks Matt Stoller in comments for reminding me of the famous rule "i before e except after n."

Damn Good Question, Michael 

I'd tell you to go put this on your Amazon wishlist, but this is so new they don't have it up yet:

(via Big News Network)
Simon & Schuster will publish a book of letters to Fahrenheit 9/11 director Michael Moore from U.S. troops in Iraq, The Hollywood Reporter said Thursday.

The collection -- titled Will They Ever Trust Us Again? -- is scheduled to arrive in bookstores in November.

I'm proud to give voice to the troops who have written to me, said Moore in a statement issued by the publisher.

Simon & Schuster -- a unit of Viacom -- also plans to release The Official 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Reader at the same time as Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment releases Moore's controversial movie on DVD and VHS Oct. 5. Among other features, the book will contain a transcript of the film, which has grossed more than $115 million at the U.S. box office.

Put Down the Ball, Pick Up the Gun 

Alert reader WhoMe? down in comments on the previous post points us to this blockbuster story from a source we do not cite here often, SportsIllustrated.com:
PATRAS, Greece -- Iraqi midfielder Salih Sadir scored a goal here on Wednesday night, setting off a rousing celebration among the 1,500 Iraqi soccer supporters at Pampeloponnisiako Stadium.

Afterward, Sadir had a message for U.S. president George W. Bush, who is using the Iraqi Olympic team in his latest re-election campaign advertisements.

In those spots, the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan appear as a narrator says, "At this Olympics there will be two more free nations -- and two fewer terrorist regimes."

"Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," Sadir told SI.com through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. "He can find another way to advertise himself."

Ahmed Manajid, who played as a midfielder on Wednesday, had an even stronger response when asked about Bush's TV advertisement. "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?" Manajid told me. "He has committed so many crimes."

The Bush campaign was contacted about the Iraqi soccer player's statements, but has yet to respond.

At a speech in Beaverton, Ore., last Friday, Bush attached himself to the Iraqi soccer team after its opening-game upset of Portugal. "The image of the Iraqi soccer team playing in this Olympics, it's fantastic, isn't it?" Bush said. "It wouldn't have been free if the United States had not acted."

Sadir, Wednesday's goal-scorer, used to be the star player for the professional soccer team in Najaf.

"I want the violence and the war to go away from the city," says Sadir, 21. "We don't wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away."

Manajid, 22, who nearly scored his own goal with a driven header on Wednesday, hails from the city of Fallujah. He says coalition forces killed Manajid's cousin, Omar Jabbar al-Aziz, who was fighting as an insurgent, and several of his friends. In fact, Manajid says, if he were not playing soccer he would "for sure" be fighting as part of the resistance.

"I want to defend my home. If a stranger invades America and the people resist, does that mean they are terrorists?" Manajid says. "Everyone [in Fallujah] has been labeled a terrorist. These are all lies. Fallujah people are some of the best people in Iraq."
What have we come to when the first question that comes to my mind is, what are the odds these guys are going to get home safely? They used to hate Uday, now they hate us. Way to go, Bush.

Go Get Beastly 

Anyone not a regular reader of The Daily Beast should mend their ways forthwith 'cuz you're missing a treat. This particular link notes a particularly feeble attempt to shore up Dear Leader's creds in the field of military heroism, the success of which you can guess from the fact that you haven't heard it trumpeted outside of Beaverton:

From one of Great Leader's deeply trustworthy Q&A sessions:

Q 33 years ago I was working with the Texas Air National Guard.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, fantastic.

Q From October of '71 to May of '72, you and I knew each other. So you were there.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.) Good to see you again. (Laughter.) Yes, sir. Thanks for your service, Sergeant. (08/13/04, Beaverton)

Faaabulous -- author! author! Clearly this is a pathetic attempt to imply Bush wasn't AWOL, but his Texas service between October '71 and May '72 (during which he logged 22 days of activity) isn't controversial. To get all temporal-spatial about it, the lost year occurred afterwards, between May 1, 1972 until April 30, 1973, when he claimed to be in Alabama.
But go read the whole page, the Beast's coverage of RNC Protest Issues is worth it for the "Sex To-Do List" and free Sharpies alone. Be sure to print out the "Shop & Shaddap" button too.

Another One Bites the Dust 

"Catholic Publisher Quits Bush Campaign" was the way the headline read in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

So did this publisher find he could no longer reconcile Church teachings on the death penalty, war, concern for the poor and similar issues with the iWreck mess and reverse-Robin-Hood rapacity of Bush's fiscal policies? Was he revolted by the Swift Liars campaign?

Naw. Seems he was about to be outed as a molester.
Deal W. Hudson, the publisher of the conservative Roman Catholic journal Crisis and the architect of a Republican effort to court Catholic voters, said he is resigning as an adviser to the Bush campaign because of a Catholic newspaper's investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct. The accusations involve a student at a college where he once taught.

"No one regrets my past mistakes more than I do," Hudson wrote in a column posted Wednesday on the online edition of National Review announcing his resignation. "At the time, I dealt with this in an upright manner and the matter was satisfactorily resolved long ago," he wrote, without specifying the accusations. Hudson, 54, said he had been happily married to his current wife for 17 years. Called for comment, he declined.

At Fordham University, a Jesuit school in New York where Hudson taught from 1989 to 1995, a university spokeswoman confirmed that the episode had led to Hudson's resignation.

Hudson has been an influential adviser to President Bush and a close friend of White House political strategist Karl Rove since the late 1990s. Hudson first caught Rove's attention by publishing a study in Crisis in 1998 arguing that Republican candidates could make inroads among traditionally Democratic-leaning Catholic voters by focusing on regular churchgoers, a strategy that dove-tailed with Bush's emphasis on "compassionate conservatism."

Hudson signed on as an adviser to Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, and for the last four years has been a prominent participant in a weekly conference call held by the Republican National Committee with influential Catholic supporters.
This must be WAY stinkier than they want to let on. First note the dates: this guy claims to have been pure as the newfallen snow for 17 years, yet only "left academia" nine years ago.

How else can we deduce that something slimy is going on? The man keeps very bad company. Apparently he never read this thing called the Bible, it has some strong advice against consorting with the wicked.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Hey, let's see if blogger posts this one. Or if that stupid watch thingie keeps going round and round....

Grr! We've got less than 12 weeks to take aWol down, and Blogger's getting in our way...

You know, I just love it than Allan Iverson is the wise old grizzled veteran on the Olympic basketball team. Life's little ironies...

Goodnight, moon 

Hey, let's see if blogger posts this one. Or if that stupid watch thingie keeps going round and round....

Grr! We've got less than 12 weeks to take aWol down, and Blogger's getting in our way...

Not so swift, after all  

Hey! The SCLM actually investigated a winger smear! Not only that, they found that—gasp!—it didn't hold up! I didn't know such things were possible!

Newly obtained military records of one of Sen. John F. Kerry's most vocal critics, who has accused the Democratic presidential candidate of lying about his wartime record to win medals, contradict his own version of events.

In newspaper interviews and a best-selling book, Larry Thurlow, who commanded a Navy Swift boat alongside Kerry in Vietnam, has strongly disputed Kerry's claim that the Massachusetts Democrat's boat came under fire during a mission in Viet Cong-controlled territory on March 13, 1969. Kerry won a Bronze Star for his actions that day.

But Thurlow's military records, portions of which were released yesterday to The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, contain several references to "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire" directed at "all units" of the five-boat flotilla. Thurlow won his own Bronze Star that day, and the citation praises him for providing assistance to a damaged Swift boat "despite enemy bullets flying about him."

That was then, this is now...

Last month, Thurlow swore in an affidavit that Kerry was "not under fire" when he fished Lt. James Rassmann out of the water.

Don't ask me to be Mister Clean, 'cause Baby I don't know how! (the immortal Gregg Allman)

A document recommending Thurlow for the Bronze Star noted that all his actions "took place under constant enemy small arms fire which LTJG THURLOW completely ignored in providing immediate assistance" to the disabled boat and its crew. The citation states that all other units in the flotilla also came under fire.

Thurlow said he would consider his award "fraudulent" if coming under enemy fire was the basis for it. "I am here to state that we weren't under fire," he said. He speculated that Kerry could have been the source of at least some of the language used in the citation.
(via WaPo)

Don't you just love the way Republicans take responsibility? "Kerry could have been the source..." I love it. Hey, I heard Kerry personally ripped up the note in Vince Foster's briefcase. Didn't the Wall Street Journal have a video on that? No? I blame gay marriage....

It takes two hands to handle a whopper 

Latest Bush whopper (before the usual adoring and, apparently, deeply masochistic crowd.

Bush Big Lie:

[BUSH] We ought not to play favorites with the tax relief plan.
(via WhiteWashHouse.gov)

The truth:

For the bottom 20 percent of households, the combined Bush tax cuts averaged $250 each. The middle 20 percent received $1,090, while the top 1 percent garnered $78,460, said Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee who analyzed the report [from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office]

(via MSGOP)

Hey, whatever happened to "To whom much is given, much is expected" (Luke 12:48) Seems like Bush has turned what Jesus said inside out!

MBF watch 

An unidentified supporter of President Bush tries to silence protester Kendra Lloyd-Knox (right) outside Southridge High School in Beaverton. Elsewhere in Portland, supporters of Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., rallied on the waterfront.
(via first draft via skippy via Portland Tribune)

Nice to see that Bush has been speaking out against the tendency of his more extremist supporters to use violence. Oh, wait...

Okay, This is Just Cruel 

We get this by way of our half-siblings* over at First Draft

Meanwhile, the Wichita [Kansas] City Council has come up with a plan sure to earn them Lynne's undying appreciation

Ozone, produced by zapping oxygen with electricity, will be pumped into the water taken out of Cheney to remove impurities and eliminate most odors.
*This was a little before my time, but as I understand it, the original Corrente Four got their start filling in for Atrios back last summer. So this summer when the esteemed Dr. Black went off to the Fortress of Solitude he got a different Gang of Four to sub for him, after which they went off to start their own site too. That makes First Draft at least a half-sibling of Corrente with the same sire but no dam. Take this as a lesson in the unreliability of cloning but hey, they're still family.

"Now we are immersed in a dangerous, costly mess..." 

Another red balloon floats away escapes from Bubble Boy island.

[quotes follow]

"I've reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that the inadequate intelligence and faulty conclusions are being revealed, that all things being considered, it was a mistake to launch that military action,"

"Knowing now what I know about the reliance on the tenuous or insufficiently corroborated intelligence used to conclude that Saddam maintained a substantial WMD (weapons of mass destruction) arsenal, I believe that launching the pre-emptive military action was not justified."

"From the beginning of the conflict, it was doubtful that we for long would be seen as liberators, but instead increasingly as an occupying force."

"Now we are immersed in a dangerous, costly mess, and there is no easy and quick way to end our responsibilities in Iraq without creating bigger future problems in the region and, in general, in the Muslim world."

"The toll in American military casualties and those of civilians, physical damages caused, financial resources spent, and the damage to the support and image of America abroad all demand such an assessment and accounting."

[end quotes]

All quotes above: Rep. Doug Bereuter (Republican, Nebraska) - Senior member House International Relations Committee. Vice chairman House Intelligence Committee.

more here


*Sigh* Well, It Was Nice While it Lasted... 

Gee, was it just yesterday morning we were organizing bake sales to help out Halliburton, subject of a CRU-el campaign to dock it 15% of its obscenely bloated charges for work in iWaq, merely because they couldn't find the paperwork for the auditors?

(via WaPo)
Only hours after deciding to withhold some payments to Halliburton Co. because of questions about billing for its work in Iraq, the Army reversed itself yesterday and said it would give the giant contractor more time to justify its claims.

Spokeswoman Linda Theis said senior Army officials had decided to review the contract more closely for the next five days, but she said no one told her why.
Gee, Linda, we'll give you one guess and even spot you the first few letters: C-H-E-N-E-?? Not that he has any connection to the company, though. God forbid we should imply such a thing. He's just a nice guy lookin' out for the Little People.

Dept. of Cheap Ironies 

Down in that embryonic "Cuba-style dictatorship," Venezuela, allegations of vote fraud can be answered definitively because...

The referendum was carried out on touch-screen voting machines, which produced a paper receipt of each vote, much like an ATM. Voters then deposited the receipts into a ballot box. Amid charges that the electronic machines were rigged, the monitors will be checking the results from the machines against the paper ballots to make sure there are no major discrepancies. The paper ballots will be checked at election offices while votes recorded in the machines will be examined at an army base.
(via The Globe and Mail)

Meanwhile, down in Florida,

Almost all the electronic records from the first widespread use of touch-screen voting in Miami-Dade County have been lost, stoking concerns that the machines are unreliable as the presidential election draws near.

The records disappeared after two computer system crashes last year, county elections officials said, leaving no audit trail for the 2002 gubernatorial primary. A citizens' group uncovered the loss this month after requesting all audit data from that election.

It's now official: "Banana Republicans" is a slur on banana republics.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Yes, the orange alert seems to have died down. Out in front of The Mighty Corrente Building, the mounted policemen have gone—but a pile of horseshit remains.

Seems appropriate, eh?

The Boy in a Bubble 

Bush seems curiously unwilling to show himself before anyone but supporters. Supporters who've signed a loyalty oath. The press seems to be noticing, at l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g last. The Associated Press, I mean. Not Poor L'il Jodie, of course....

President Bush's team exerts close control over admission to his campaign events. Dissenters and would-be hecklers are turned away, campaign officials say. On several occasions in recent weeks, Democrats who have gotten in have been ejected because they wore pro-Kerry T-shirts.

[In Oregon, this] was no town hall appearance before a cross-section of citizens. Bush-Cheney re-election headquarters had instructed Oregon campaign officials to distribute tickets, so the school gymnasium was filled last Friday with 2,000 passionate Bush backers.

By contrast, most of Kerry's events are open to the public, though there have been some town hall events that are invitation-only. For certain appearances, the Kerry campaign has distributed tickets to the local party, unions and other supporters.

But Kerry spokesman David Wade said that any member of the public can get a ticket from a local campaign office or from the affiliated groups on a first-come, first-served basis. Many people are admitted without any ticket.

"I think America deserves a president who is willing to talk to anybody, I don't care if you are Democrat, Republican or independent," Kerry said Friday.

Bush's admission policy can leave the impression that the president has strong support wherever he goes.
(via AP)

Shirtsleeve Boy sure does look good on TV though!

I wonder why Bush won't show himself to all Americans? Cowardice? Only supporters would be willing to sign the Non-Disclosure Agreement on the Earpiece? Readers?

Oh, Strom, thou should'st be with us at this hour... 

The billionaire winger who's publishing a more-than-usually scurrilous piece of Kerry character assassination, by even less-than-usually-swift winger bottom feeders has other business sidelines, too:

William Regnery II, an heir to the Regnery publishing fortune who's a prime mover and shaker in white nationalism publishing, is moving into a new line of business: match-making for "heterosexual whites of Christian cultural heritage."

In an appeal to potential investors titled "Population is Destiny," the famously reclusive Regnery wrote this March that the Caucasian dating service would be no ordinary money-making opportunity, but a chance to ensure "the survival of our race," which "depends upon our people marrying, reproducing and parenting."

Regnery, who says he's long been concerned with a "tendency to bachelorhood" among white men, told the potential investors that his latest effort to save the white race would not stop with match-making.

The dating service, he says, will be only the "first arrow in a business quiver" providing "services and products to whites."
(via Southern Poverty Law Center)

Nice people Bush is in bed with, eh?

Bush speaks out to protect Abu Ghraib whistleblower Joseph Darby 


Fooled ya, didn't I?

Here's what's really going on (updating Xan, back):

The Army reservist who tipped off investigators to abuse of Iraqi prisoners by his fellow soldiers is in protective military custody because of death threats, family members said Tuesday.

Spc. Joseph M. Darby, 24, received the threats after his role in the scandal was publicly revealed in May, his sister-in-law, Maxine Carroll, said.

Carroll said in a telephone interview from her home in Windber, Pa., that she doesn't know where Darby is, and she refused to put a reporter in touch with his wife, Bernadette, who is Carroll's sister.

Darby's mother, Margaret T. Blank, of Corriganville, said soldiers moved his and his wife's belongings out of their nearby apartment weeks ago. She said she gets a weekly call from the Army Reserve's 99th Regional Readiness Command "telling me my son's OK and my daughter-in-law's OK, and that's all I've heard from them."

Darby testified by telephone Aug. 6 at a pretrial hearing for Pfc. Lynndie England. He said he agonized over whether to turn in photos of his fellow soldiers' acts, but ultimately did so because he feared the mistreatment would continue.

On Monday, Carroll appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" with Bernadette Darby, who said she was surprised by the vicious response of some friends and neighbors to what she considered an act of bravery.

"People were -- they were mean, saying he was a walking dead man, he was walking around with a bull's-eye on his head. It was scary," she said.

Carroll said someone wrote "Iraq" on the fence outside her home.
(via Newsday)

Hey, freedom's untidy!

THK had the right word for these guys: "Un-American!"

All Together Now.. 

A great bit "AAAWWWWWwwww....!" of pity.

For Halliburton? Lord have mercy, no! For their subcontractors it turns out....

(via NYT)
The Halliburton Company said today that the United States Army had decided not to grant it additional time to substantiate its costs in Iraq and Kuwait, a decision that could cost the company 15 percent of its payment.

Government contractors normally cannot be paid more than 85 percent of their invoices until they fully account for their costs. Twice this year, the Army set this rule aside for Halliburton as the company cataloged its costs and explained how it was billing the government. The most recent reprieve expired on Sunday, and on Monday company officials said that the Army had given them assurances they could have another extension.

Today, however, the company issued a press release reversing that, saying that the Army would not grant them the reprieve after all.
I know, I know, your heart is just breaking. But read on, there's hope....

"Because of the size and scope of the tasks in Iraq and the fact that the process is complex and constantly changing," the Army Matériel Command and Kellogg Brown & Root "have agreed to work closely together to produce the final results," Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said Monday in an e-mail message.

Although hundreds of millions of dollars are at issue, withholding payments would have no effect on Halliburton's cash flow, the company said. Kellogg Brown & Root would simply deny its subcontractors that money, Ms. Hall said.

As the largest corporate recipient of the government's Iraq-related contracts — worth more than $8 billion — Halliburton has been accused in Congressional hearings of overcharging and overspending in Iraq.

"Normally, these kinds of audit reports are part of a lengthy but routine process that is amicably resolved," Ms. Hall said in the statement Monday. The audit dispute is attracting news media attention only because this is an election year, she said.
Damn straight. Any other year they could loot and pillage to their heart's content. Let us vow to never let "any other year" come again for this crew of pirates.

Inerrant Boy gets it right, for once 

And can't even get credit for it! Froomkin classifies this as a typical Bushism

"We actually misnamed the war on terror," [Bush] said. "It ought to be the Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe in Free Societies Who Happen to Use Terror as a Weapon to Try to Shake the Conscience of the Free World."
(via WaPo)

Yep, that's the Campaign Against Fundamentalism we've been talking about.

Of course—surprise!—Bush doesn't really mean what he says. After all, the wingers, the gun nuts, the theocrats, the Jeebofascists, and the right wing domestic terrorists are all part of the base.... So they aren't "Idelogical Extremists" at all... Just part of the mainstream....

Better Angels..... 

"You will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do." Those words form the core of the West Point honor code, legendary in its rigor. ~ arkhangel

The following is a required afternoon reading assignment via Better Angels Of Our Nature

Excerpts follow:

Over the Bridge Posted by Arkhangel, 8.15.2004.

No matter what happened on that bridge, the soldiers were ordered to lie about it. And they were ordered to lie about it not just by their team leader, but by the entire leadership of their unit, from their company commander all the way up to their battalion commander.


Frankly, this never should have happened. This never should have taken place. We never should have been on that bridge in Samarra, in that Najaf cemetery, sleeping fitfully, dashing to cover whenever we hear the ominous thud of the mortarman's call.

We never should have been sent to Iraq without any clue of how to win the peace, the hearts, and the minds of an Iraqi public who knew full well that we supported Saddam when it suited us, that we backed a rebellion against him when it was convenient, and that we left their brothers to twist slowly in the wind when it wasn't.

We performed proudly, and even now, as I write this, I'm every bit as proud of the good we did over there as I was the day I stepped off that plane. But we never should have had to make it up as we went along, and that's exactly what we did.


There's only one man who's responsible for all of this, for the vast mess that is Iraq tonight, and his name is George W. Bush. But you wouldn't know it from the news tonight, or from watching him speak.

I'm not surprised. The man has spent his whole life escaping responsibility when it called out his name, so why should this be different?

It should be different because a good man's career lies ruined. It should be different because tonight, 930 of my brothers and sisters in arms lie dead. They'll never see their daughters walk down the aisle, they'll never celebrate their graduation from college, or see a midsummer night again.

Why did this happen? Why?

The post continues... There is much more and this brief summary doesn't do it the full justice it deserves. So, please go read it all in it's entirety. Over the Bridge


The Hero of Abu Ghraib 

You know how Lambert's been asking lately when they're going to give Joe Darby a medal for blowing the whistle on the atrocities at Abu Ghraib?

It may be awhile yet. What they've given him so far is protective custody:

(via GQ of all places.)

When he saw the horrific abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, Joe Darby knew he had to blow the whistle. But coming forward would change his life—as well as his family's—forever, and for the worse. Because back in his own community and in the small towns of America, handing over those photos didn't make Joe Darby a hero. It made him a traitor.

Digby's Hullabaloo gets love for turning this one up. This is a MUST READ and I don't say that often.

Leave no child buried in a mountain of data 

Today's New York Times

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 - The first national comparison of test scores among children in charter schools and regular public schools shows charter school students often doing worse than comparable students in regular public schools.

The findings, buried in mountains of data the Education Department released without public announcement, dealt a blow to supporters of the charter school movement, including the Bush administration.

The data shows fourth graders attending charter schools performing about half a year behind students in other public schools in both reading and math. Put another way, only 25 percent of the fourth graders attending charters were proficient in reading and math, against 30 percent who were proficient in reading, and 32 percent in math, at traditional public schools.

[...] In virtually all instances, the charter students did worse than their counterparts in regular public schools. [full article NY Times | Aug 17]

For example, if a school -- a child is trapped in a school for several years that is -- that's not meeting standards, the federal government will pay for after-school tutoring, and the parent can choose all kind of tutoring options, whether they be public or private. One parent -- a parent can send the school -- a child to a different public school. In other words, when -- there has to be accountability in order for a -- I mean, there has to be a consequence in order for an accountability system to work. - George W. Bush, Arkansas, May 11, 2004.

??? - Don't ask me... I'm a product of public education.


Bu$h 2004 Tailgate Medicine Show rolls on... 

Your morning "leadership" moment: (approved by the Dear Leader)

BUSH: It sends the wrong message to our troops, that completing the mission may not be necessary. It sends the wrong message to the Iraqi people who wonder whether or not America means what it says. link

The "wrong message." (?) "people who wonder whether or not America means what it says." - Huh?

Christ a'mighty, who does this woodchuck think he's kidding? (don't answer that!). Listen up George "Bubble Boy" Bu$h; you aren't fooling anyone around here with your lathered rhetorical attempts to dump your own misleading misbegotten policy messages in America's lap.

So why don't you own up to the truth and admit that thanks to you and your handlers few "people" anywhere, at least anyone with a live brain stem attached to their spine, spend too much time a-wonderin' or a-misdoubting the value of the "messages" YOU and YOUR administration and it's merry band of pill poppers like to dispense.

You know who I mean. Wonderworkers such as Ahmad "Flower Power" Chalabi, the "WMD Jug Band Pentagon Playboy Allstars" Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas "Gestapo" Feith, etc..., the "Cakewalk News Network" (CNN), along with MSGOP, Judy "Mistress of INC Ceremonies Miller" and the New York Tines, the Washington PostNoObjections here pages, FoxNoozeNoise RNC Talking Points Channels, the Wall Street Journal's sophist sop-ed page, the dozy Maginot Line better known as the White House Press Corps and any other number of eager panting fourth estate Beltway fetch-a-bones.

Given those peoples history of message sending and delivery and general absense of wonderment altogether I don't think it should come as any surprise to any peoples anywhere if someone might perhaps suddenly "wonder" what "America" really means when "it" says it. And I think you George W. Bu$h and your smirking back-slappin' get rich quick Geritol bottlers in the media and government know it too.

See, it's YOU - the Bu$h administration - and YOUR circle-yank of willing liars and satraps who have perfected the fine art of wrong message managment marketing and distribution. And I think ya know exactly what I mean.

See, it's easy in this town for people to commit troops, the US troops, to combat, through opinion and the noise you hear in Washington. But there's only one person who is responsible for making that decision, and that's me,... ~ George W. Bush, interview with Barbara Walters, December 2002.


Monday, August 16, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

If there's anyone left in Manhattan during the Coronation Convention who'd like to keep our alert readers in touch with what's really happening, drop us a line. Texting from the convention floor encouraged ;-)

Oh, and for Shirtsleeve Boy's next "Mission Accomplished" photo op, this....

Make your own postage stamps! 

I kid you not!

And of course, my candidate for the artwork on your stamp...

Heck, I just needed an excuse to post that picture again. Along with my entirely arbitrary picks for the caption:

5. Ribbed for my pleasure. MINE!MINE!MINE! (alert reader Bigfoot)

4. You motherf***ing a**holes get me some decent f***ing corn for this go**am motherf***ing photo-op, or I'll get somebody who can! (Phil K)

3. Senator Santorum? I believe this belongs to you... (bob)

2. It's grinnin' at me, Maw! (tsm_sf)

and [drumroll, please]

1. I am the great Cornholio! (tsm_sf)

[Rim shot. "Thanks, you've been a great audience!"]

What the fuck can I say? 

EDITORIAL NOTE: I thought alert reader Raison de Fem might have something interesting to say if we gave him some space for a guest post and, to my mind, he did. Talked to any undecided voters yourself, lately? If you have, drop us a line and share the experience.—Lambert

I was talking to a guy I know from water meetings the other day, Native guy who’s an artist. He was selling corn and squash by the side of the road, so I stopped and we cracked open some beers from my cooler. We’re standing there in the dust drinking them, and he’s telling me about the missionaries who keep coming around the rez looking for souls. Says there was a bunch of 'em going around offering to fix up people’s houses for free, and that’s cool at first, they got a truck with supplies and a vanload of teenagers, but then while they’re patching your roof or whatever they start in about Jesus.

He asks me if I believe in God, and so I tell him, No, not exactly. He says whaddya mean not exactly? And I tell him I don’t believe in any way that would make sense so it’s better if we don’t talk about it. So he tells me a story about how, once, when he was a kid, he was telling his grandfather about how he had to go to church at boarding school and how it sucked but they made all the kids go. So his grandfather asked him if he wanted to see the white man’s god, because he knew where to find him. My friend says, Sure. So his grandfather pulls some money out of his pocket and shows it to him, and says, There—that’s the white man’s god. Forget about church, he tells him, that’s got nothing to do with it.

My friend says to me, Whaddya think about that story? And I asked him if he was selling much corn or squash. He wasn’t, he said, and he said it’d been a long time since he’d sold a painting or a carving, too. Money’s hard to get, he says. Sure as shit. Guy’s a diabetic. He’s got a brother and two cousins in the Marines, and he’s a vet himself. Nearest VA clinic is over 60 miles away. He waits for over five hours at the little Indian Health Service clinic to see a PA.

I ask him who he’s voting for? Vote? he says, with a shrug. Fuck voting. Voting never changed anything. They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do, he says, to make sure they get plenty more of the white man’s god. Won’t make a difference who’s in Washington. Or the state capitol. Or the tribal council, he says. None of them are looking out for me. Or you, either, he said,
poking me in the chest. I said, I wish you’d think about that some more. 'Cause they’d still be dragging poor fucking kids off to boarding schools and stuffing them with religion if something hadn’t changed. He looked at me and said, whatever. Whatever. Always someone gonna make things better, but they never do.

Got another beer? He asked. And we looked at the sun starting to go down. In the half hour or so we were standing there, not a single car had passed. The sign leaning against his truck said “FRESH CORN.” His truck had a “Semper Fi” sticker on the back window. I sure as hell wasn’t going to preach to him about civic duty. Nope. I was at a loss for words.

But I’ll see him again, probably before November.

—raison de fem

MBF watch 

In the middle of a very interesting article in the New Yorker about Republicans who are switching to Kerry, we found this little vignette frim Shreveport, Louisiana.

In January, [Rhonda] Nix planted a John Kerry sign in her yard, and in early July she found it pulled up and “stabbed to death”—torn and battered, with the words “Burn in Hell” scrawled on it. She put it back up. “It has to stay there,” she said
(via The New Yorker)


You know, THK had exactly the right word for this behavior: "Un-American."

Who was it who said that "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent?"

Another post lost to blogger 

Clicked in the wrong place. Oops! Grr! Hope that IPO gives them some money to plow into this tool that we paid for.

So why do I fork over $4.50 every Sunday? 

I don't know either.

The lovely Mrs. Atrios eviscerates The World's Greatest Newspaper (not!)

Whatever happened to that rumor about the Guardian starting a US edition? In a heartbeat!

At least one coup fails 

Chavez wins going away. It's not even close:

Venezuela's left-wing President Hugo Chavez easily won a referendum on his rule and on Monday offered to open a dialogue with opponents while also vowing to intensify the reforms at the heart of the nation's political conflict.

A triumphant Chavez, who survived a coup two years ago and a grueling oil industry strike a year later, urged his opponents to accept his offer of talks rather than turn to violence.

"We've initiated a new phase to deepen this project ... The people must know that now more than ever we will pay the social debt," said Chavez, whose reforms have diverted oil wealth to housing, medicine and education for the poor.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who led an observers' mission, said their verification matched results from the National Electoral Council, which gave Chavez 58 percent of the vote in Sunday's recall vote. Officials said more than 8.5 million of the 14 million registered voters participated.

Chavez' victory was a blistering defeat for the opposition, a coalition of political parties, labor unions and civilian groups that fought for more than a year to secure a vote against a leader they accuse of authoritarian rule.

Oil markets worried a Chavez defeat could trigger unrest in the military and the state oil firm PDVSA, sectors he has purged to ensure key posts are in the hands of loyalists. But Venezuelan oil industry officials said operations were running normally after the vote.
(via Reuters)

Bush must be breathing a sigh of relief, right? Oil prices aren't going to get any worse than they are....

Wonder if we can get Carter to do some poll-watching in Florida this year?

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