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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Once again, Lucullus dines with Lucullus at Pasion... There are some things to be said for Philly—besides the fact that there's slack here, and a top-notch blogging commmunity—and fine food is one of those things. Mmmmm .....

Foolish to the point of ruination, I know, but since Bush hasn't protected the ports, there could be a loose nuke with a timer on it in a shipping container in the Port of Philadelphia right now...

So eat, drink, and be merry! What does "opportunity cost" or the Protestant work ethic mean in times like these?

Oh, and The world's shortest blog. Thanks to Mithras. Cute! We can add it to Twenty Questions for Inerrant Boy.

And I almost forgot. Xan's been getting whatever the MS-dumbed-down version of 404 is whenever she tries to post ("Blogger flu"). And stats is down again—with no notice on status (not that this comes as any surprise). Wouldn't it be great if blogger didn't suck?

Bush to Manhattan air-breathers: Drop dead! [encore presentation] 

Just a plea to New Yorkers to show the Republicans every hospitality, since anything else would look bad on TV... And to remember that the Republicans also poisoned you for political gain.

This isn't the normal Bush approach to air pollution: it's far worse. Marc Kaufman of WaPo writes of how White House operatives suppressed the news that the air in Manhattan might be dangerous after the WTC towers fell:

In the report, the EPA inspector general said the agency was persuaded by the White House to omit cautionary language about the possible hazards from air pollutants such as asbestos, cadmium and lead after the World Trade Center towers fell. In addition, the report said the EPA omitted from early public statements guidance for the professional cleaning of indoor spaces, leading some people to return to their homes before they had been properly cleaned.

When the towers fell, their collapse created a large cloud of soot and debris that hung over Lower Manhattan for days. Emergency and construction workers spent weeks at the center of the destruction, and few wore respirators to protect themselves from the bad air.

Critics point to a statement by then-EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman on Sept. 18, 2001, that the air was safe for people to return to Lower Manhattan.

"For the EPA to have provided anything but their best professional advice . . . is inexcusable; for the White House to have edited out that advice -- including information regarding the heightened risks that the air pollution might pose for young children -- is nothing but malfeasance, " the Clinton-Lieberman letter said.

"Someone in the White House consciously told people it was safe to go back to their homes [in Lower Manhattan] when they knew they didn't have the information to support that conclusion," Nadler said. "That's a reckless disregard for human life, and it has to be addressed."

I like the wording "the agency was persuaded by the White House." What, Unka Karl threatened to leave a horse's head in Christie Whitman's bed? And a great SCLM-style headline, too: "Details on 9/11 Air Quality Questioned." Right.

YABL, YABL, YABL. Bush lies—children die. Standard operating procedure for the malAdministration.

[From the Bedrock Archive vault deep beneath The Mighty Corrente Building, 2003-08-26. And they think we don't keep track or remember...]

Republican looting: First the Iraqi soccer team, then the Olympics, now Johnny Cash 

I'd never been a Johnny Cash fan, and did I miss a lot. I first really heard him when I heard him sing, of all things, "You are my sunshine"—the wasted croak of a dying man. I'm not ashamed to say that I got teary—and went out and bought Live at Folsom Prison.

To hear Johnny Cash talk and play and talk to those men—"If the guards are still talking to me, can I get a glass of water?"—pure authenticity.

I wonder how Johnny "San Quentin, I hate every inch of you" Cash would have reacted to the tales of torture at Abu Ghraib prison? I'll tell you: like a man would, not like Bush did. No wonder Bush wants to loot some of that authenticity for himself ("borrow'd robes").

And there's something so right, so gloriously right, that as the shameless opportunists at the RNC try to turn Johnny Cash into a shill for the right... they're co-sponsored by the American Gas Association.


UPDATE From the farmer in comments:

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times…
-Johnny Cash, "Man In Black"

Cash certainly didn't dress in black for the pigs in clover who are about to brave Manhattan only so they can whore and shill for Bush by looting the memory of 9/11.

The Smear Continues: Another SwiftVet Surfaces 

This is the first in an erratic series of post on the "Swiftboat Vets We Smear In The Name Of Truth" phenomenon. Some of it I wrote last night, when I was feeling fairly despairing that there was any way to really counter it. I don't feel that way now, as subsequent posts will suggest. In part, I feel better because I spent the night rading "Cruel And Unusual" Mark Crispin Miller's new book. I hadn't intended to read all of it, only to begin it; I couldn't put it down, it's that kind of book. Of all the excellent and many books I've read in regard to Bush & Co, this one strikes me as the most important, or perhaps most central would be a better image. It's a barn burner. It builds on some of his observations of Bush in the Dyslexicon, but this one goes so much further. It is hands down the best analysis of the Bush/Rove propoganda/slime machine, and its Republican antecedents, and what it is doing to our democratic republic. Nothing good.

The book is not going to get good reviews. It is far too hard on the press for that. And Miller dares to talk about the ways in which we are becoming more like societies that eventually became....well, think non-four letter "f" word. We need to make this a best seller. Truly. More to come.

This post is about the first Purple Heart. That myterious fourth man the Swift Vets keep claiming was on that skimmer in December of 1968 somewhere in the Mekong Delata, has emerged to tell Robert Novak that it's all true. And he's a Retired Rear Admiral. Could it be that John Kerry has finally been nailed? Because if he lied about this.....

Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. said Thursday in his first on-the-record interview about the swift boat veterans dispute that "I was absolutely in the skimmer" in the early morning on Dec. 2, 1968, when Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry was involved in an incident that led to his first Purple Heart.

"Kerry nicked himself with a M-79 [grenade launcher]," Schachte said in a telephone interview from his home in Charleston, S.C. He said, "Kerry requested a Purple Heart."

At the time of the incident, it should be pointed out, Schachte wasn't an admiral, he was, like Kerry, lieutenant junior grade. However, he claims that he was in command of the boat, and that this particular type of mission was his idea, and thus his baliwick.

Kerry supporters said no critics of the Democratic presidential nominee ever were aboard a boat with him in combat. Washington lawyer Lanny Davis has contended that Schachte was not aboard the Boston whaler and says the statement that Schachte was aboard in Unfit for Command undermines that critical book's credibility.

Schachte until now has refused to speak out publicly on this question and agreed to give only two interviews. One was a television interview with Lisa Meyers of NBC News, for broadcast Thursday night. The second was a print interview with me, for publication today.

Schachte described the use of the skimmer operating very close to shore as a technique that he personally designed to flush enemy forces on the banks of the Mekong River so that the larger swift boats could move in. Around 3 a.m. on Dec. 2, Schachte said, the skimmer -- code-named "Batman" -- fired a hand-held flare. He said that after Kerry's M-16 rifle jammed, the new officer picked up the M-79 and, "I heard a 'thunk.' There was no fire from the enemy," he said.

Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis are the two enlisted men who said they were aboard the skimmer and did not know Schachte. However, two other former officers interviewed Thursday confirmed that Schachte was the originator of the technique and always was aboard the Boston whaler for these missions.

Grant Hibbard, who as a lieutenant commander was Schachte's superior officer, confirmed that Schachte always went on these skimmer missions and said, "I don't think he [Kerry] was alone" on his first assignment. Hibbard said he had told Kerry to "forget it" when he asked for a Purple Heart.

Ted Peck, another swift boat commander, said, "I remember Bill [Schachte] telling me it didn't happen" -- that is, Kerry getting an enemy-inflicted wound. He said it would be "impossible" for Kerry to have been in the skimmer without Schachte.

"I was astonished by Kerry's version" [in his book Tour of Duty] of what happened Dec. 2, Schachte said Thursday. When asked to support the Kerry critics in the swift boat controversy, Schachte said, "I didn't want to get involved." But he said he gradually began to change his mind when he saw his own involvement and credibility challenged, starting with Davis on CNN's "Crossfire" on Aug. 12.

The next time he saw Kerry after the first Purple Heart incident, Schachte said, was "about 20 years" later on the U.S. Senate subway in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building. "I called, 'Hey, John.' He replied, 'Batman.' I was absolutely amazed by his memory." He said they "talked about having lunch" but never did it.

Schachte said he never has been contacted by or talked to anybody in the Bush-Cheney campaign or any Republican organization. He said he has been a political independent who votes for candidates of both parties.

The first point a fair minded audience member for these SwiftVets Follies ought to make is that Lanny Davis no doubt took the position he did because there is no official record that Schachte was on the boat, and the two enlisted men who've said they were with Kerry that night have also said they don't remember there being more than three people on the skimmer. It may well be that Schachte was on the boat, perhaps staying in the background, supervising the less experienced Lt. As Bob Sommerby would say, I don't know what the truth is, and neither does Bob Novak, and perhaps, even the three to four men who were there that night in Vietnam.

What Mr. Schacte's sudden appearance on the scene does illustrate superbly is how difficult it is to defend against a smear like Mr. ONeil & Co's. Not that I can't point out right away some curious aspects of Schacte's testimony as taken down by Kovak; to call it an "interview," I fear, could suggest Mr. Kovak is something of an embellisher himself.

Notice, for instance, that the right honorable Admiral is supposed to have spoken at the time with others, as per Mr. Peck, about the fact that John Kerry didn't receive a wound from enemy fire. Okay. But what was the context for that or any other such conversations? Was John Kerry going around telling everyone he'd been hit by enemy sharpnel? Or was the context his supposed attempt to ask for a Purple Heart, as per Grant Hibbard, who was the commander of both Kerry and Schachte? If so, how is it possible that Schachte, Peck, and Hibbard wouldn't have been aware the regulations for awarding of a Purple Heart at that time did not differentiate between enemy and friendly fire, and in fact, even "self-inflicted" wounds were elegible if they were received in the course of attempting to fire on the enemy. And commanders don't apply for a Purple Heart for their men; they forward any medical report that involves an injury that came from engagement in combat with the enemy.

Of course Schachte claims there was no enemy fire. And if there were not, then clearly it would not have been a wound involved in combat. But then why would Kerry have picked up a grenade launcher and attempt to fire it, and at whom?

Here's how Pat Runyon remembers how Kerry was wounded:

Runyon said Kerry was wounded after one vessel tried to avoid an inspection.

"Lt. Kerry said, 'I'm going to pop a flare, and when I do, I want that engine started,' " Runyon said. But the outboard would not crank. Meanwhile, the sampan's crew steered it to the riverbank, and people started running on the shore. Runyon said shooting broke out.

Somehow, Kerry's weapon stopped firing. Runyon thinks he ran out of ammunition. He said Kerry bent down to pick up another gun and got hit in the arm.

"It wasn't a serious wound," Runyon said, and Kerry was able to start shooting again. When the firefight was over, Runyon said Kerry told him all he felt was a "burning sensation."

Runyon said he remembers the incident clearly because it was the first time he had been in combat. "I hadn't seen any kind of action or anything," he said.

He said Kerry, Zaledonis and himself were the only men aboard. When he got the motor started, they took off. He said the outboard was in bad condition and did not have a handle to steer with. "I had to wrap my arms around it, like hugging it, to turn it," he recalled.

You don't have to look all that carefully at both men's narrative to realize that there is quite a bit of overlap. The retired rear admiral talks about a flare, and about Kerry's rifle jamming; interestingly, he doesn't offer any sort of narrative to make sense of the two events. What was the flare for? I've never held any sort of gun in my hand, but I assume the way one finds out one's rife has jammed is by attempting to use it. What was Kerry's target? A tranquil shoreline from which nothing had yet been flushed? Also, it isn't difficult to grasp that in a situation like that of the Swift Boats, where they were patrolling, or ferrying personnel and equipment, what constituted "combat," was up for definition. The fact is that despite a description which sounds like support of forward combat units, the Swift Boats saw dangerous combat action all the time.

And if Schachte had conversations at the time about Kerry's wrong version of that December night, why was the retired admiral so startled to read of Kerry's version of the incident as reconstructed by historian Brinkley in his book? Even so, Schachte claims that when first approached about joining the Swift Vets, he was reluctant to get involved. Not until that damn Lanny Davis started to appear on TV did he rouse himself to join the effort. Then, why, I wonder, is his version of what is wrong with Kerry's first Purple Heart in O'Neil's book, used as evidence that Kerry is a liar and got his medals falsely. Hadn't Schachte essentially "come forward" long before Lenny Davis took to the airways?

I'm not prepared to call a retired rear admiral a liar. On the other hand, the notion that I've already begun to see Novak pushing on CNN, that Schachte's version of events proves that the two enlisted men who support Kerry's version are liars, or that Kerry's first Purple Heart, is unearned are outrageous claims, that themselves rise to the level of a "lie," if for no other reason than the refusal of Kovak, like so many of the blogs and pundits who are determined to keep this smear alive, to confront the contrary evidence, of which there is plenty.

And keep it alive they intend to. While looking for that list of SwiftVet members, I noticed they are planning to have an anti-Kerry rally in Washington DC in September.

UPDATE: MSNBC showed Lisa Myers' interview with Schachte last night, on three of its evening programs. She did a fair job of presenting the contrary evidence, but in general, both on Hardball, and especially on Scarborough's outrageously unbalanced reportage, or whatever the hell Rich Kaplan thinks is going on during that hour of prime time, Kerry has taken a terrible beating.

No matter how many times Matthews is corrected by various of his guests he continues to insist that Kerry personally called his fellow vets war criminals who committed atrocities, and that in his testimony before Congress he was extremely angry and used harsh, extreme, leftist language. Who really thinks that Chris Matthews has ever sat down to watch the testimony, or read through it, other than to find phrases which he can tear out of context to support his a priori view. Perhaps we should be sympathetic, though. Apparently Chris's brother, who fought in "Nam," had a hard time when he got back, and the brother and his wife blame John Kerry for that. Of course, John Kerry had no problems upon his return; no terrible memories, no guilt about those left behind, no friends who didn't come back, and what could be more fun for a well-to-do, well-connected ambitious young man pay no attention to his own immediate career plans, and instead to hang out with other scruffy young vets with stories to tell and become part of a protest movement that even many of those who wanted us out of Vietnam resented. (Why do rightwingers always seem to think that grassroots organizing and being part of a protest movement is such fun? It has its moments, but there are always things you'd rather be doing. ) You might think that Chris Matthews, ever the savvy politico, would at least be able to see through the argument that Kerry's protest period was actually part of a opportunistic masterplan to jumpstart his own political career? No. On Thursdays program, I think, he mentioned that there was no downside for Kerry politically, not in a hard left state like Mass., one of only two that went to McGovern.

Nor, apparently, in Matthews view, before John Kerry told them in such harsh, leftist language, had the American public any prior notice everything going on in Vietnam might not be entirely copacetic - no Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire, no repression by the autocratic Diem regime, no assisnationn of Diem, no statement by JFK in regards to S. Vietnam, that the war couldn't be won " ...unless a greater effort is made by the Government to win popular support..." and that...." In the final analysis, it is their war. They are the ones who have to win it or lose it.", no Madame Nu, no tiger cages, no Gulf of Tonkin incident that wasn't, no Tet offensive, no My Lai, no tiger cages, no Pentagon Papers, which showed, let's be clear about this, that what the CIA, based on intelligence gathered on the ground in Vietnam, was saying about the impossibility of winning that conflict, was pretty much what the war skeptics, in and out of government, had also been saying all along, what John Kerry would say in 1971, and what has been proved to be true about Vietnam, over and over again.

This is not to say that the North Vietnamese weren't communists, although there is some indication that had the western powers right after the end of World War 2 realized immediately that the age of colonialism was over, that even under Ho Chi Minh, some form of social democracy might have been possible, but that was not to be; nor is it to say that the North didn't betray its own supporters in the South when it united the country, nor that its own treatment of its own people was a human rights horror story, and continues to be problematic, to say the least. A powerful argument can be made, which you rarely hear these days, but which John Kerry was making in 1971, that our continuing presence in Vietnam only made it more likely that the eventual reunification of the country would be bloody and hellish. And God knows it was.

But when you hear someone like Ben Stein, as I did the other night, spinning the tale that the real tragedy of Nixon's resignation and the whole Watergate bruhaha was that it meant Nixon and Kissenger were unable to engage on behalf of the south when the North Vietnamese made their final move, and more tragic still, could not thereby stop the Cambodian genocide by the Khmer Rouge, run for the history books. You will find almost no evidence to back up this theory, unless in something published by Regenery. Kissinger knew perfectly well when he signed the Paris Accords that the north would soon force the south to reunite with it, and both Nixon and Henry knew that there was no way in hell, and both of them were well acquainted with the Satanic, the American people would support re-entrance into Vietnam. The Accords were nothing more nor less than our surrender, tarted up, like an old war whore, with a bit of makeup here and there, in a hopeless attempt to disguise the total wreck of our ambitions in southeast Asia. And don't get me started on Cambodia. Read William Shawcross's "Sideshow" if you haven't yet. And no one can accuse Shawcross of being hard left. After Vietnam got rid of the Khmer Rouge, Shawcross went back to Cambodia and reported, in a NYRB article, about the museum the Vietnamese had set up to display the history of the genocide, correctly slamming the new occupiers for their attempt to place the horrors of the Khmer Rouge in a Nazi, Fascist context, when they were clearly as pure an expression of communist/Leninist/Stalinist genocidal terror as one could ever expect to look upon. And, by the way, Shawcross was an angry, determined supporter of Blair and invading Iraq, though Shawcross' arguments were almost exclusively based on Saddam's human rights record. I only add this last point to remind us all that yes, political discourse cannot be accurately described by an inept verbal cartoonist like Chris Matthews.

For trying to say some of all that to the American people by testifying in front of the harsh, angry, hard left body, the Senate of the United States of America, John Kerry deserves to be lied about, he deserves to be called a liar, a fabulist, a coward, a phony, a fake; no one at the convention should have even mentioned Vietnam, now Democrats deserve everything they're getting in the way of in-coming. So says Chris Matthews, so says, and worse, the voices of Scarborough Country.

Are we really going to let them (the Republicans and the SCLB) get away with another Big Lie, another super smear, just like all the ones they launched against Clinton and then Gore?

UPDATE Alert reader Brian CB comments:

I sort of wondered why there would be two lieutenants on a 14-foot boat. Isn't one lieutenant enough?

Details, Brian, details!

Loose nukes: Bush still refuses to take the threat seriously 

We've often noted the malAdminsitration's fundamental unseriousness on the issue of loose nukes ("Reckless Indifference to the Nightmare Scenario").

Apparently, not even an election can change their attitude. (What's it going to take? No, please, don't answer that.)

Read the following, and weep:

MANGYSTAU, Kazakhstan (AP) - In a storage pool at a mothballed nuclear power plant on the shores of the Caspian Sea rests a key ingredient for anyone seeking to build a nuclear weapon: Containers of spent atomic fuel with enough plutonium to make dozens of bombs.

Despite international concern about the waste at the Mangyshlai nuclear power plant, plans to transport it away from the Caspian shore have stalled in a dispute between Kazakhstan and the United States over where and how it should be removed.

The fuel has been cooling for so long and was so lightly irradiated to begin with that it is no longer radioactive enough to be "self-protecting" against theft, according to the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative, an anti-proliferation organization.

"Thieves could load it into a boat and take it away without necessarily receiving radiation doses that would immediately be incapacitating," the NTI wrote on its Web site.

The Kazakhs want U.S. help in a $40 million project to move the spent fuel to a safer site, but those efforts are deadlocked. The Kazakhs want to take the fuel to Semipalatinsk, the former nuclear weapons test site in eastern Kazakhstan.

But the United States wants it shipped to Russia, where other radioactive materials were sent.

The Kazakhs planned to build single-use casks to transport the waste and then store it in reinforced underground bunkers. But the United States persuaded them to use dual-use casks in which the fuel can be both transported and stored.

However, work on the dual-use casks is on hold, and the Kazakhs continue to work on single-use casks.

"No work is being done on the dual-use casks because no funding is coming from the United States. And we cannot understand why," said Irina Tajibayeva, executive director of the Kazakhstan government's Center for the Safety of Nuclear Technologies.

Given the security at the plant, any potential theft likely would have to be at least partly an inside job. Pugachev noted that employees' salaries are minuscule, and he said he makes 20 times less than a guard at a U.S. nuclear facility.

Pugachev also is well aware of the risks of loose nuclear materials, such as from a "dirty bomb" - a device that combines conventional explosives with radioactive material.

"I know how to do it," he said. (via AP)

You know, I read something like this, and words just fail me. It's like being clubbed over the head.

We can give away trillions to the rich in tax cuts, but we can't spend $40 million to make sure dozens of loose nukes never get built (any one of which could take out a city).

And if a loose nuke goes off, one obvious scenario is a military government. You'd think that Bush would be doing everything possible to prevent that. Why isn't he?

And if a loose nuke goes off, it's the loss of a major American city. Sure they vote Democratic, but it's all one America, right? So you'd expect Bush would be doing everything possible to protect all of us? Why isn't it he?

Bush AWOL: How Ben Barnes got Bush into the TANG "champagne unit" 

Finally we get at least a piece of the real story:

"I got a young man named George W. Bush into the National Guard [when I was House speaker] ... and I'm not necessarily proud of that," Barnes, an Austin lobbyist and John Kerry supporter with a lucrative Washington practice, said on the tape. "It was the worst thing I did, was help a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard. And I'm very sorry of that and I'm very ashamed, and I apologize to you as the voters of Texas."
(via our ownInky)

Well. There you go.

And I think it took real courage for Bush to go into the Guard because of his "family name of importance."

Especially considering what people would say about it later, comparing Bush to people who actually volunteered to go, and got wounded or killed, and all.

But that's Bush. 100% moral clarity. I mean, heck, God couldn't have called Him to become our Leader if He'd gone to Viet Nam and gotten killed, or something. Let's be reasonable!

Gaslight watch: Guess where the latest "terror" arrests are? 

Could it be? In New York? On the eve of the Republican Coronation Convention?

Bien sur!

This is so fucking transparent. As usual, you have to read to the bottom to get the killer detail:

Two men have been arrested in connection with an alleged plot to bomb a subway station in midtown Manhattan, sources said early Saturday.

At least one of the men may have an affiliation with a terrorist organization, according to two law enforcement sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The sources said the group in question was not believed to be al-Qaida.

Well, who were they? Winger militia? Christians?

The two men tried get explosives to bomb the station but did not succeed in obtaining any, the sources said. There was no timeline for the plot, which was first reported by WNBC early Saturday.
(via AP)

"No timeline," eh? So, um, why now?

Remind you of anything? Like the extremely non-political Orange Alert right after the Democratic Convention?

Is there a purity test for Republicans? 

After Rove's whole SBVF[cough]T thing, I'm starting to think that there should be. Readers?

NOTE Here's the WikiPedia definition of "purity test."

Election fraud 2004: No recount possible with electronic voting machines in CA 

Well! That should dispose of the recount problem, eh? And heck, they're computers! Running proprietary software, just like Windows! I mean, I've certainly never lost any data from my computer —and even if I had, I always keep backups.

[Pause for hysterical laughter.]

And it seems like our electronic voting system—despite the billions of dollars thrown at it, and despite the best efforts of all those Republican-donor electronic voting machine companies (back) are, from a systems, perspective, about as well put together as the network of the average home PC.

In other words, the vote in the 2004 election is irretrievably hosed. Aleady. Another Republican clusterfuck that will, somehow, mysteriously, end up paying off for Republicans. Just like the electronic voting machine clusterfuck in Alabama already did, when a "glitch" swung an election from a Democrat to a Republican (back).

Read the following. As always, it's the details that kill:

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP)A dispute over a razor-thin election [in Riverside County, CA] suggests that important electronic data might not exist, making accurate recounts impossible in many states.

Linda Soubirous, a candidate for the Riverside County board of supervisors, lost a chance to stage a runoff by fewer than 50 votes. When Soubirous asked to look at the computer disks and other electronic records kept during the election, county officials refused.

Undocumented software glitches, hackers, mechanical errors or deleted ballots in only a few counties could have huge implications in a presidential election likely to be a cliffhanger. More than 100,000 paperless terminals have been installed across the nation, particularly in California, Maryland, Georgia and the battleground states of Florida, New Mexico and Nevada.

Soubirous' case is prompting demands for more transparency into election software. Like other manufacturers, Sequoia Voting Systems Inc., (back) which sold $14 million in equipment to Riverside in 1999, uses proprietary software and operates with little federal oversight.

The case, scheduled to go before a judge in Indio, Calif., Sept. 8, comes less than two months after Florida elections officials revealed that audit logs from the contested 2002 gubernatorial primary were lost in computer crashes. Officials in Miami-Dade County said later that backup copies of the data were simply misplaced, but the mishap stoked suspicion coast to coast.

Right. This was the Florida, um, "mishap" when the data was, um, "found" with a rep from the voting machine vendor right in the room (back)

"Right now, there's basically no way to know how accurate an election was, and that's not good enough for a public office," said Jeremiah Akin, 29, a Riverside computer programmer. "We should all be very skeptical."

Soubirous' case hinges on vote tallies that began arriving in stacks of absentee ballots and computer memory cartridges in Riverside's central counting office the evening of March 2. Traditionally, the registrar publishes results on printouts and online, continuously updating them as new data arrive.

The moral: Absentee ballots may guarantee that your vote will be counted. But they in no way guarantee the integrity of the voting process, and that is what is at issue.

In the first printout, at 8:13 p.m., three-term incumbent Bob Buster had 47 percent of the vote - shy of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

Updates from the Sequoia AVC Edge touchscreens then stalled for more than an hour. During that time, Soubirous supporter Art Cassel spotted two Sequoia employees typing on a county computer.

Leave the parties out of it. If, during a paper-based voting process, you saw anybody opening up the ballot box, would you be concerned? Of course you would. And computers should be different why?

When updates resumed about 9:15 p.m., Buster's lead had widened to 50.2 percent of the vote. After 49,196 votes were logged, Buster finished by 49 votes above 50 percent, narrowly avoiding a runoff.

Sequoia spokesman Alfie Charles said the Sequoia employees were given identification badges and access to the computers on Election Day simply to ensure that the vote tabulation proceeded smoothly. The original vote count was accurate, he said.

Right. And my confidence is in no way undermined when (a) the voting machine companies, and the companies that certify them, are heavy Republican contributors (back) or (b) hire felons who have been convicted of computer fraud (Diebold, back). Nope. Not in any way. Not at all.

Soubirous, a registered nurse, paid more than $1,600 for a recount - but says she didn't get her money's worth. A re-examination of paper absentee ballots found 276 more votes, narrowing the margin for avoiding a runoff to 36 votes. But most of the voting took place electronically, and Townsend reproduced only the vote total delivered by each machine.

Soubirous demanded to see audit logs, computer diskettes, internal memory cards, surveillance tapes from polling stations and other data Townsend touted as "checks and balances" that ensured the accuracy of paperless systems.

Attorneys representing Townsend responded that most of the items requested - including some electronic data from the voting machines and tabulation software - "do not exist" or "do not constitute 'relevant materials'" according to California election law.
The registrar handed over only paper provisional ballots and some absentee ballots and envelopes.

"I'm not saying we don't want to open the books, but I need to learn why that information was preserved in the past before I make a recommendation about how we move forward," Dunmore said.

The March election wasn't the first to raise concerns about vote fraud among county residents.

"We get more paperwork with a carryout order at McDonald's than when we go to the polls," said Weber, whose case was eventually dismissed.
(via AP)

So, let's assume that Bush wins with a razor thin majority.

Given the above, and given what we already know about Florida 2004, can someone give me a reason why we should regard the result as legitimate? Readers?

A Spy in the House of 'W'? 

Quick public service annoucement here:

The trained poodles at CNN (the media and propaganda arm of the American Enterprise Institute) have been blinking into the cameras this early summer morn (late summer eve on the west coast) expressing "shock and awe" over the latest allegations of a potential "mole" infestation of our collective national victory garden. MSGOP/General Electric, as I write this, has also dispatched the perennially clueless Alex Witt to babble frantically into the bright lights and express additional wide-eyed wonder upon being informed by someone or another (i forgot who it was offhand) that such suspicions of such suspicious derring-do on the part of yet unnamed derring-doosters has been suspected for months, if not years. Shazzbot! Say it ain't so gasps Alex! Apparently Witt doesn't - oh say - read The Nation magazine for instance. Like ya know.... if it ain't contained in a Video News Release from the Karen Ryan Group it ain't really worth her high profile media personality face time.

On we go. I don't want to get into any screed here, which is often my usual habit, because it's late and i'm too tired and because a good deal of this stuff now emerging with respect to various luminaries gnawing at the foundation of our national defense and foreign policy has been highlighted in great detail in the past. As a matter of fact it winds it's way back through old right wing catacombs including old Iran Contra backchannels and players.

So, that said - below are some names and places and old articles to read or refresh your memory with as they relate to this emerging "spy" scandal. Which, if you ask me, isn't so much a spy chase as it is a matter of flipping over a wet rock and subjecting a lot of creepy crawly things to the sunlight and fresh air. In any case i'm waiting patiently for Miles O'Brien to pop onto my TeeVee screen and inform me that official White House spokespersons close to "the president" have denied that "the president" had any prior knowldege of any previuous activiities or contacts involving Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Harold, Larry, Elliot,....blither blather - blither blather - and blah blah blah.... never heard of any of em. You know the drill.

Team GWB's Shadowy Groupies

Manucher Ghorbanifar - (a Newsweek item) Iranian arms dealer and one of Oliver North's go-to-guys with respect to the orchestration of the Iran Contra scam. And other stuff.

Michael Ledeen: Still Dreaming of Tehran - by Robert Dreyfuss & Laura Rozen (The Nation magazine March 25 2004) Michael Ledeen (American Enterprise Institute) - Chalabi boosteroo and also...
Leading the charge against Iran is AEI's Michael Ledeen, perhaps best known for setting in motion the US-Israeli arms deal with Iran in the mid-1980s that became known as Iran/contra.

Harold Rhode and Larry Franklin:
Rhode and Franklin were critical players in the campaign for war against Iraq. In 2002 they helped organize the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, the Iraq war-planning unit whose intelligence staffers are now under investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for allegedly manipulating evidence about Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorism. Both the OSP and the Rhode-Franklin effort on Iran were run out of the office of Douglas Feith, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and a key neocon ally. Their initiative on Iran reportedly drew a sharp protest from the State Department. Newsday quoted a US official who said that the entire effort was designed to "antagonize Iran so that they get frustrated and then by their reactions harden US policy against them." [Still Dreaming of Iran - Dreyfuss/Rozen - see The Nation link above]

more more more..... background info links.

Chalabi...: Also see: Tinker, Banker, NeoCon, Spy - By Robert Dreyfuss - American Prospect Issue Date: 11.18.02.

A whole rotten nest of creepy crawly things: Also see: The Lie Factory - Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, Mother Jones 1.12.2004.

Also see: The Dreyfus Report Feith Based Intelligence April 28, 2004.

And this recent blog entry from War and Piece: August 27, 2004 The FBI investigation
For months, I have been working with my colleagues Paul Glastris and Josh Marshall on a story for the Washington Monthly about US policy towards Iran. In particular, it involves a particular series of meetings involving officials from the office of the undersecretary of defense for Policy Doug Feith and Iranian dissidents.

Just a few quick items there to browse with respect to topical background info and previous investigations on the part of actual real journalists. No doubt this story will become more interesting and complicated and strange as it rolls along. As if it hasn't been weird enough already.


He's Going For the Insanity Defense 

We'd better take a break from Cheney Love and devote today to Rumsfeld Love. Anybody with connections to the Kerry campaign, forward this with a suggestion that JFK call at once for Rummy's firing. We need this man to stay right where he hangs, an increasingly heavy albatross.

(via NYT)
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Thursday said there was no evidence that prisoners had been abused during interrogations, contradicting two major investigative reports issued this week.

..In an interview with a radio station in Phoenix, Mr. Rumsfeld, who was traveling outside Washington this week, said, "I have not seen anything thus far that says that the people abused were abused in the process of interrogating them or for interrogation purposes." A transcript of the interview was posted on the Pentagon's Web site on Friday. Mr. Rumsfeld repeated the assertion a few hours later at a news conference in Phoenix, adding that "all of the press, all of the television thus far that tried to link the abuse that took place to interrogation techniques in Iraq has not yet been demonstrated."

Mr. Rumsfeld also misstated an important finding of an independent panel he appointed and is led by James R. Schlesinger, a former defense secretary, saying in the interview with KTAR radio, "The interesting thing about the Schlesinger panel is their conclusion that, in fact, the abuses seem not to have anything to do with interrogation at all."

But the first paragraph of the Schlesinger panel report says, "We do know that some of the egregious abuses at Abu Ghraib which were not photographed did occur during interrogation sessions and that abuses during interrogation sessions occurred elsewhere."
If this is a variant on the Chewbacca Defense (non-South Park fans click over in the Lexicon on the right) it is too subtle for me to pick up. I think he's just losing it.

This of course all happened before CBS revealed (scroll down a post or two) that Rummy has had an Israeli spy in his office for some time now. Pat Buchanan hinted that this ties in somehow with the Plame investigation, so hang on to the "Roll the Scooter Out Of Here" posters, we may have to repaint them.

UPDATE: Dammit, Xan's Going With the "Sadly, No!" Defense!

My bad. It's "Sadly, No!" that has the Chewbacca Defense listed on the right column of their page, not this one.

Gerald (Whispering): Dammit. [...] He's using the Chewbacca defense. Johnny Cochrane: Why would a Wooky, an eight-foot-tall Wooky, want to live on Endor with a bunch of two-foot-tall Ewoks. That does not make sense. [...] It does not make sense. Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca. Does that make sense? Ladies and Gentlemen I'm am not making any sense. None of this makes sense. And so you have to remember when you're in that jury room deliberating and conjugating the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No. Ladies and Gentlemen of this deposed jury it does not make sense. If Chewbacca lives on Endor you must acquit. The defense rests.
Esteemed commenter Bilge notes the second usage of the CD in the comments below; the quote above is the first one. For a fuller and deeper understanding of the profundity of the requirements involved in the deliberating and conjugating of the issue, we refer scholars to the transcript of the South Park in question, known as "Chef Aid".

Friday, August 27, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

And as I oil the squeaky hinges to the door of the cupboard under the stairs in The Mighty Corrente Building, there's a tune running through my head... What is it ... "Froomkin'... Froomkin'... Froomkin' the night a-w-a-y..."

Or wait. Is it "Leader of the Pack! Froom, Froom...."

The music's growing fainter...

But maybe that's a good thing. Musically, I'm talent-free. Maybe alert reader MJS could come up with an appropriate Song of Praise for the Man...

And I forgot: Ben Barnes speaks. Wonder if the SCLM will listen?

And What Tresy said. "Woe to you, Pharisees, hypocrites!"

Republicans stifle free speech in Wisconsin 

Well, well, well. A mini-Clear Channel in Central Wisconsin:

Anglers on their way into the north woods of Wisconsin this Labor Day weekend won't be seeing one important message: Mercury-with-fins could be tugging on the other end of their lines.

This month Environment 2004, a political group aimed at exposing the Bush administration's anti-environmental record, tried to place this advertisement on two billboards along a highway used by vacationers from Madison and Milwaukee. But the group found that Lamar Advertising of Central Wisconsin wasn't so keen on its message.

The ad, which reads "Mercury. It's what's for dinner. Served up by the Bush Administration," carries a photo of a rather sick looking white bass. "We believe the ad making Bush responsible for mercury poisoning is not appropriate for our market in central Wisconsin," an employee of Lamar wrote to Environment 2004 in an email rejecting the ad this earlier this week.
(via Salon)

Gee, I wonder if the employee got the OK from top management on that one? And isn't it the buyer supposed to be taking a risk in the market, not the seller?

I wonder which party Lamar Advertising contributes to? Why... The Republicans! Here, here, and here.

If you contact them, BE POLITE and uphold enlightenment values like "evidence" and "reasoning." It's OK to be a Republican. What's NOT OK is suppressing free speech.

Lamar Advertising of Central Wisconsin
9237 US Highway 10 East
Stevens Point, WI 54481

Will THIS Get the Neocons Out? 

We've been wondering for a long time now what it was going to take to get across to the American people just how bad the neocon cause was, and how deeply it was infecting the highest levels of the Bush administration.

This just might do it. I spent some time googling to try to narrow down who the "employee" might be (haven't found anything solid enough to print) but in the five minutes or so devoted to the task the number of articles on Google News which fit the search parameters went from 30 to about 150.

(via CBS News)
CBS News has learned that the FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to -- in FBI terminology -- "roll up" someone agents believe has been spying not for an enemy, but for Israel from within the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.

60 Minutes Correspondent Lesley Stahl reports the FBI believes it has "solid" evidence that the suspected mole supplied Israel with classified materials that include secret White House policy deliberations on Iran.

At the heart of the investigation are two people who work at The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

The FBI investigation, headed up by Dave Szady, has involved wiretaps, undercover surveillance and photography that CBS News was told document the passing of classified information from the mole, to the men at AIPAC, and on to the Israelis.

CBS sources say that last year the suspected spy, described as a trusted analyst at the Pentagon, turned over a presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran while it was, "in the draft phase when U.S. policy-makers were still debating the policy."

This put the Israelis, according to one source, "inside the decision-making loop" so they could "try to influence the outcome."

The case raises another concern among investigators: Did Israel also use the analyst to try to influence U.S. policy on the war in Iraq?

With ties to top Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the analyst was assigned to a unit within the Defense Department tasked with helping develop the Pentagon's Iraq policy.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been made aware of the case. The government notified AIPAC today that it wants information about the two employees and their contacts with a person at the Pentagon.

Gaslight watch: Guess who's in danger now? 


I mean, is this transparent, or what? First, the SBVF[cough]T smear. And the smear works. After all, Rove is a pro's pro:

Before the convention, 30 percent of veterans said they approved of [Kerry's] postwar activities. Just after the convention, until Aug. 5, that jumped to 43 percent. In the latest survey, 40 percent said they still approve, compared with
(via WaPo)

Next, the extremely non-political counter-terror apparat says AQ is threatening veterans's hospitals.

That's giving 'em the ol' one, two! I guess Rove wants to knock Kerry's 40 all the way back to 30.

Please refer all comments containing the words "tinfoil hat" to The Department of "How Stupid Do They Think We Are?"

Rapture index closes up one on plagues 


People believe this stuff, you know.

And they're all going to vote for Bush, since He is a Godly Man.

Have you registered? Have you talked to an undecided voter? Have you changed the mind of a wise, discerning Republican? Will you vote?

Mush from The Wimp 

Anyone remember that one? Ah, those were the days that were.... Anyhow, more from the Sanger/Bumiller interview[1] with Bush:

BUSH:It's an upbeat speech that talks about the future. ... This report is a useful report, so that we can, in the future, do a better job of dealing with prison issues in regards to the military ... David, what I am now doing is leading us forward. ... We're dealing with it ... It's important for us to continue to lead coalitions that are firm and strong. ... I'm confident that over time this will work. I certainly hope it does.
(via the we're-really-more-than-stenographers New York Times)

Translation: Forget about the past, baby! I've changed!

I mean, when you can't run on your record, you'd better talk about the future, eh?

[1] Oddly, or not, the Times bills this as excerpts from an interview. What did they leave out? The part where the WhiteWash House butler comes in with the Xanax (back) on a silver tray? The part where Bush says Kerry is really the Anti-Christ? The part where Bush says he's doing his best to bring on the Rapture? The part where Bush starts sharing some details about... goats?

God and Monsters 

"But do we want a president who pretends that he can do no wrong and never has?"
(via Josh Marshall)

Is this a perfectly sensible observation about our actual President, who as we all know, was unwilling to name a single example when asked to identify mistakes he'd made? No, the target of this accusation is John Kerry, the quote but one item in a truly outstanding litany of what passes for "Christian thought" from Marvin Olasky, former Brezhnev stooge and now stooge for the ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15) who masquerade as moral and political leaders today. (Apparently the mistake of Vietnam, which Kerry, originally a supporter, fought to save other people from dying in, does not count.)

Bob Herbert writes today of the "politics of the madhouse", but I think that lets the inmates off too lightly. I thought I'd become inured to the hypocrisies of televangelists and their ilk, but the enthusiasm with which millions of their followers are prostituting every avowed principle in the pursuit of worldly power--"thou shalt not bear false witness" being the latest one thrown overboard--and their willingness to subscribe to a complete inversion of verifiable fact (Kerry as cowardly hypocrite; Bush as humble, truthful, decisive) raises disturbing questions about us and our future. Millions of people have not suddenly gone mad. They've done something more troubling. They have become unserious.

It's impossible to credit that any substantial number of voices now smearing John Kerry and covering for Bush truly believe what they are saying. The calculation behind the smears is too obvious; the naked cynicism of the accusations belies the idea of these beliefs having been come by honestly. But charlatans are nothing new; what is new is how readily their snake oil has been swallowed by the populace, and by none so enthusiastically as the Christians claiming to be our moral exemplars.

Christianity's central challenge to Man is the recognition of his unregenerate nature, that he is at root a creature of fear, selfishness and aggression towards others, with self-deception and hypocrisy lubricating all, consigning him, if not saved, to the certainty of suffering. Leaving aside its prescription, I happen to think its diagnosis not wildly off the mark. The truth about ourselves is not something we get for free, and in fact it's usually not something we really want, because the truth usually gets in the way of the selfish pursuits that occupy most of our waking attention.

We all delude ourselves to varying degrees, but we normally have some face-saving excuse. In politics, there is usually some genuine virtue that partisans can magnify to distract attention from their heroes' flaws and their policies' shortcomings. Even Nixon was a skilled stateman. What makes the Bush Cult scary is the bottomless, willing self-delusion, the eagerness to embrace every new hypocrisy, coupled with a moral certitude completely devoid of any actual moral self-scrutiny. Here is a man devoid of discernible compassion, respect for the truth, basic competence, introspection, honesty, humility, subtlety of mind or personal courage. He is from all appearances, an utterly hollow man whose every action belies the religion he wears on his sleeve. There is not an iota of evidence that he has ever done anything for anyone outside his family in his entire life. He thus presents a test case for all of us, but especially for any Christian who believes in the importance of living in Truth: how low are you willing to go for this man?

I'm afraid we have yet to find out. I am not sure I want to be around when we do.

Say, are ES&S machines mostly positioned in swing states? 

Just asking. Really.

Readers! Does anyone know of a map that gives the distribution of electronic voting machines by county and, hopefully, by vendor?

Election fraud 2004: Sum of a Glitch 

This is it. This is THE story on electronic voting machines. I never ever though I would say this but the situation is about a thousand times worse than we ever thought. Bev Harris should just be given a special Pulitzer right now for this work.

It should be on the front page of every paper in America and the lead item on every damn newscast from now till the problem is fixed. Until then (um, don't hold your breath) it can be found at, whose headline was so perfect I had no choice but to steal it:

In the Alabama 2002 general election, machines made by Election Systems and Software (ES&S) flipped the governor’s race. Six thousand three hundred Baldwin County electronic votes mysteriously disappeared after the polls had closed and everyone had gone home. Democrat Don Siegelman’s victory was handed to Republican Bob Riley, and the recount Siegelman requested was denied. Three months after the election, the vendor shrugged. “Something happened. I don’t have enough intelligence to say exactly what,” said Mark Kelley of ES&S.

When I began researching this story in October 2002, the media was reporting that electronic voting machines are fun and speedy, but I looked in vain for articles reporting that they are accurate. I discovered four magic words, “voting machines and glitch,” which, when entered into a search engine, yielded a shocking result: A staggering pile of miscounts was accumulating. These were reported locally but had never been compiled in a single place, so reporters were missing a disturbing pattern.

I published a compendium of 56 documented cases in which voting machines got it wrong.

How do voting-machine makers respond to these reports? With shrugs. They indicate that their miscounts are nothing to be concerned about. One of their favorite phrases is: “It didn’t change the result.”

Except, of course, when it did:
Nope, I ain't a-gonna give you any more. You can read the whole thing in under 15 minutes. Then get busy Astroturfing it to every friend, enemy, media outlet and total stranger whose address you can find.

UPDATE: Upon rereading it occurs to me that newer readers may not be aware that Bev Harris is executive director of, a group that has been almost singlehandedly trying to get the truth out about the deficiencies of un-auditable electronic voting machines and the importance of paper trails. Also, I should have given credit to somebody who left this link in a comment thread at dKos where I ran across it.

Lukasiak Makes Froom! 

BushAWOL is the lead story on Froomkin's column today. The AP is getting jacked around in their attempt to get the TANG microfilm, but Froom thoughtfully notes that mere civilians like our buddy Paul are on the case anyway:
The attacks on Sen. John F. Kerry's decorated record of military service in Vietnam have cast new attention on Bush's actions during the war.

Critics charge that it was family connections that first got Bush a highly desirable stateside posting in 1968 with the Texas guard, and that then secured him an honorable discharge in 1973 in spite of not having performed his required service.

In the meantime, amateur researchers are combing the public records as well, and their findings are burning up certain corners of the blogosphere. Philadelphia caterer Paul Lukasiak, for instance, believes he has unraveled the story of Bush's attempt to transfer himself to Alabama, and can prove that Bush never made up his missed training days.
We are not a modest lot here at Corrente but even we have to admit Froomkin gets a tad higher readership than we do. Here's to the hope that this notice brings Paul's work to a wider audience that might know of another rock to turn over in this search.

Little Lizzy Bumiller gets an interview with Bush! 

Who is not obviously drugged, and relentlessly on message as usual. Guess all that work down on the kneepads was a smart career move. And to be fair to Lizzy, she doesn't push Bush was hard as she might, but at least she seems to be standing on her own two feet.

One sentence caught my eye:

[BUSH] Well, I understand how Senator Kerry feels — I have been attacked by 527s, too.
(via NY Times)

This is false, and ingeniously false, on so many levels.

1. What about truth? The point is not whether there are attacks. The point is whether the attacks are true. The attackes on Kerry by Bush's SBVF[cough]T were demonstrably not true.

2. What's wrong with attack? Bush is running, in part, on his character; his "resoluteness," and so forth. So if a candidate runs on his character, as Bush has, what's wrong with attacking his character? Nothing, in itself. However, Bush's attacks on Kerry's war record are, again, have been proven to be false by an examination of the evidence. The attacks that Democrats have made on Bush's, um, service record could be proven false by examination of the evidence—but there are many unanswered questions, and Bush himself has refused to release the evidence. Leaving aside the point that Bush has already been shown to be guilty of payroll fraud (back>).

3. And lastly, a typical Republican behavior that, frankly, drives me nuts. It isn't the lying I mind; God knows we're all used to that.

But the Republicans hijacking the very emotions of their opponents, and distort them.

"Bush hatred," for example, is pure disinformation, since it implies that the emotions of those who opposed Bush are not motivated by real grievances; as we have said, outrage (back) is the proper word.

And Bush does the same thing here. "I understand how Senator Kerry feels," forsooth. Bush equates being attacked on TV with being wounded by shrapnel in a war. Is that narcissistic, or what? He totally distorts the emotion. Typical behavior from a POTL.

The definition of chutzpah 

Remember it?

The one where a boy (1) murdurs his parents and then (2) throws himself at the mercy of the court because he's an orphan?

So, Inerrant Boy (1) sets up a 527, the SBVF[cough]T, a "shadowy group" which promptly emits a stream of outright lies that try, and fail, to smear John Kerry's heroic war record.

Then Inerrant Boy (2) calls for the 527's to be outlawed (after He signed the bill into law that enabled them).

Am I missing something here, or is this chutzpah?

Could it be that Bush's 527, the SBVF[cough]T, backfired badly, and the Democrat's 527s are working, that Bush knows this, and that's why He wants to abolish them? Could that be it?

Live, from the Republican National Coronation Convention 

Via pirate radio.

Why not get the story without the, um, filter? Or be a correspondent....

Vets, Pets, Tits and Tots Friday 

VETS: This machine killed fascists. Stalinist liberal cultural Marxist hippy type - US Army Air Corp vet - Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross recipient - George McGovern circa WW2.
(center - below prop).

PETS: Leave no pampered pet behind! The unassailable advantages of George W. Bush's tax cuts for the "middle class". Throw me a milk-bone invisible hand, throw me a milk-bone!

TITS: Flags gone wild! The Right Hand of Old Glory. Patriotic fervor cops a feel circa 1896.
HELEN (Balcony crumbles beneath Helen.): My God, it is falling! Help! Help! (down she goes. Enter Warfield!)

WARFIELD Helen, hold! I'll save you! Ah, the flag! Hold! I am coming!

HELEN: I cannot. My hands are slipping. Good-bye. God bless you.

WARFIELD: Hold! I will reach you! (Rescued! Saved by the flag! Flag rises, curtain drops.)

Illustration detail above from show poster: "The War of Wealth; Warfield's Daring Rescue of Helen By The Aid Of The Flag."

TOTS: Bush ~ Goldwater 2004! Young Republican YAF commandos being briefed prior to raid on Manhattan Island. Fairfax, Virginia, August 27, 2004.
(Jonah Goldberg - second from left, standing) no, not really - but who cares.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Once again, dammit, I've gotten sidetracked from writing Abu Ghraib. This time by goats. Oh well. Nothing real is happening to the content of the story, although it has moved to the front page. Still, now 27 soldiers and some generals are being heaved over the side, and the buck would stop with Rummy if he'd let it. Yawn.

Meanwhile, here's some good jokes (scroll to "Late Night Humor").

And, Will Ben Barnes ever tell the real story of how Goat Boy joined the Guard?

Department of Vile Rumors: "My Pet Goat" 

Readers, here at Corrente we've labored tirelessly to bring a new tone to political discourse in America. And so it's particularly distressing when to us vile rumors about our Dear Leader begin to circulate.

Alert reader raison de fem encountered this especially vile rumor the other day, and forwarded it on to us, asking us to do our Corrente Best to suppress it.

And I think we'd better print it, in its entirety, so you can judge for itself just how vile it is. Naturally, we've highlighted the parts that simply can't be true, and black out the especially vile parts that would totally distress your sensitive spiritss. It seems to be some sort of transcript:


O'REILLY: So, you say that you were a goatherd working in Montgomery, Alabama, in the early 1970's? Is that right, Mr., um, "Jones"?

"JONES": Yep, that's right. Well, that was my full-time job. Been raisin' goats in Alabama since I was a teenager. I was also in the Air National Guard. I was a maintenance tech at Donnelly Field.

O'REILLY: And you claim that you knew one of the pilots there, a Lt. George Bush, around that time?

"JONES": Well, that's what he called himself. I never saw him fly a plane, though. Mostly I just saw him at the dentist, or when he came over to the farm. I just called him George.

O'REILLY: And you say that this was an unusual relationship?

"JONES": Well, I didn't mind at first. He found out I raised goats and asked if he could come over. So I said, sure. He liked to come over and play with the goats, and the goats didn't seem to mind, and he always brought a few beers and some pot when he came over.

O'REILLY: But things changed?

"JONES": Well, yeah. I, umm, well...this is hard to say. On teevee and all.

O'REILLY: Go ahead. Believe me, we've heard it all here.

"JONES": Well, I caught him, umm, diddling one of my does. And then, later on, one of my bucks. I mean, he had the zipper of his flight suit open and he was a-goin' at it.

O'REILLY: Flight suit? He wore a flight suit when he visited the goats?

"JONES": Hell, he always wore a flight suit. Never once saw him wear anything else.

O'REILLY: And you say you saw this man again recently?

"JONES": Yessir, I saw him on teevee in a flight suit on an aircraft carrier. I'd recognize that strut anywhere, believe me.

O'REILLY: So, are you claiming that—?

"JONES": I'm just telling you what I saw.

O'REILLY: You didn't call the cops on him? Or the Animal Rescue League? There's no record of this ever happening.

"JONES": We don't call cops when we catch someone outside the family diddling our goats. We just shoot 'em. Only reason I didn't shoot him was because the gun jammed.

O'REILLY: Now, Mr. "Jones," some people claim that you are being paid by the Heinz company to develop a new sauce for goat meat. And some people claim that you also have a John Kerry bumpersticker on your car, and have been seen handing out Kerry campaign information.

"JONES": Not true! Not true! I'm just interested in getting the truth out! I know what I saw.

Needless to say, this sort of rumor-mongering has no place in American politics, and here at Corrente we're proud to be pouring oil on troubled waters, instead of fanning the flames.

NOTE The one about the burusera isn't true either. Or the one about omorashi. Or the one about swine.

Henri And Julia, Goodbye, Or Perhaps It's Au Revoir 

First it was Henri Cartier-Bresson, then Julia Child, not to mention three of our greatest composers of movie scores, Jerry Goldsmith, David Raksin, and Elmer Bernstein. And now another loss, someone not as well known, but as extraordinary, I'd bet, in his own way; in fact, isn't that the great theme of the work of all five of those better known recent shuffler's off of this mortal coil - the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary?

Yesterday, T. Bogg lost his father to death. In a small, exquisite essay, this wittiest of bloggers commemorates his father's extraordinary/ordinary life, and makes observations, filled with grace and wisdom, about that universal moment of loss. Whether you've lost a parent, or anxiously avoid thinking about that inevitability, you will be made more mindful by reading it.

T., our hearfelt condolences and gratitutde.

It Doesn't Get Any Thicker Than This 

Fill in your own antecedent for that "it."

Another bold move by our war-time-uh-make-that-peace-pursuing president, as Lambert also discusses previously today.

According to the AP:
President Bush wants to work with Republican Sen. John McCain to pursue court action against political ads by ``shadowy'' outside groups, the White House said Thursday amid growing pressure on the president to denounce attacks on John Kerry's war record.

``The president said if the court action doesn't work, that he would be willing to pursue legislative action with Sen. McCain on that,'' Bush spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to New Mexico.

The AP does mention that Senator McCain had called on the president to disavow the content of the SwiftBoatVets ads, but not that nothing he does with McCain now will have any impact on the huge buys being made by those "shadowy" groups who will be attacking Senator Kerry on the president's behalf. Alas, Senator McCain appears content to let the president off the hook.
``I'm very appreciative of the president's effort to do that,'' McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press. ``I want to emphasize if I could that we're not saying that 527s should be abolished. We're just saying they should live under the same campaign finance restrictions (as hard money groups) because they are engaged in partisan activity.''

McCain added: ``I've said before I would like for the president to specifically condemn that ad, but the president has said John Kerry served honorably and also the president is now committed to acting to try to bring 527s into regulations that are appropriate.''

Everyone should note that O'Neil and his group love all this; they continue to say that they have no intention of stopping their campaign to paint Senator Kerry as a liar and a fabulist.

What Kerry supporters need to do is reframe the question: How long can this President continue to weasel out of taking a stand on a very specific issue by pretending he doesn't get it?

Max Cleland's attempt to deliver that letter was fine. Time now, though, for the Kerry campaign to cease and desist demanding that the Bush campaign get the Swift Vets to take their ads and themselves off the air. It could start to look like pleading. Already one is beginning to see an evolving right wing meme that suggests that the hit Kerry's taken from the Swift Vets suggests he might not be too swift in dealing with "the terrorists."

Time to make clear that the problem isn't that they are exercising their rights to free speech. The problem is that what they are saying is demonstratably untrue. This is a deliberate smear, even if none of the men making these accusations is aware of lying. They are insisting that their's is the only true version of who Senator Kerry is, in the face almost nothing in the documentary record, except their bizarre reading of it, to support their view of John Kerry, while all the men save one who were much closer to the action in question than any members of this Band Of Accusers have a different version of events, which also happens to be consistent with the documentary evidence.

Oh, gee, who to believe? In something as important, sacred even, as taking it upon oneself to besmirch the fundamental character of another human being, it shouldn't depend exclusively on your political bias.

Time for the Kerry campaign to make the issue President Bush's smarmy pretense that he honors Senator Kerry's military service to his country while a cadre of Bush supporters, including journalists, continues to spread what are essentially smears against the Senator's fundamental character. It's not about Bush's record in the National Guard, it's a question of presidential character. Start demanding that the President stop telling us what a straight shooter he is, and start being that straight shooter.

Its very simple. Make a public statement disowning the attacks on Kerry's character, the attacks that claim he is a liar, makes up story, is a coward, and perjured himself in front of the Senate and state categorically that you wish that all who support you, from bloggers, to voters, to pundits, to activist Republicans would stop a discussion which is a disservice to the American people, and is keeping both candidates from talking about what is really important to the American voter.

Does anyone else find it both odd and enraging that despite the fact that almost all the new revelations since the Swift Vets re-emerged with their sixty-second ad in hand support John Kerry and call into question the veracity of his accusers, none but the lucky with leisure, most well-informed independent voter probably realizes that? Please do avail yourself of the comments to elaborate.

It's no real mystery. This smear has been doggedly spread, from Swift Vets to Drudge to Fox News to the hard right blogs and back again; here we have the perfect vicious circle, and this weekend, the next step, expansion of the circle to include the respectable mainstream right-bowing pundits and their centrist comrades in the SCLM. And yes, as promised, I will be discussing in a series of posts my journey into the underworld to test my own ability to confront honestly their rhetorical challanges to the character of my candidate.

PLEASE NOTE: ON C-SPAN THIS EVENING: C-Span will be showing the tape made at the time of John Kerry's 1971 testimony in front of the Senate Foreign Relations, including, I hope, the questioning by the Senators, i.e., Chairman Fullbright (D) Symington, (D), Javitz., (R), Aiken, (R), Pell, (D). C-Span also has the fullest transcript of the Senate session I've seen anywhere, and the youthful John Kerry's dialogue with the Senators is easily as impressive as his opening statement. I wish it was possible to describe for you young 'uns what it felt like in 1971, watching this long-jawed, sad-eyed, modest, yes, modest Vietnam veteran speak truth to power in quiet, measured words. In this case, it was power that had begun to accept its own limits and wanted to listen.

Yes, I was anti-war; my efforts took the form of working with a group that counceled kids facing induction, and, increasingly, returning vets, to help them get their bearings and their benefits, medical and educational, (no GI Bill for these kids). John Kerry's appearance in front of the Senate was almost the first public statement of what kind of toll, other than being returned to one's loved ones in a body bag, the war had taken on the men who'd been called to fight it. The screening is scheduled for 8 PM EDS. Try not to miss it.

Bush's Alabama Transfer Shuffle - aWol Update 

The AWOL Project ~ Latest UPDATE:

Introduction and Summary

Summary: Contrary to the spin put out by the White House (and endlessly repeated by the mainstream media) Bush was never transferred to the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron in Alabama. Nor was this "transfer request" an attempt to find somewhere to do training temporarily while Bush worked on an Alabama political campaign in 1972. Instead, Bush was running a scam designed to completely sever his relationship with the Air National Guard, and eliminate the last two years of his obligation to train and serve as a pilot, by joining a unit that had no training, and for which Bush was specifically ineligible.

On the morning of Saturday, May 20th, 1972, the members of the 147 Fighter Interceptor Group at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, Texas assembled for the first day of one of their mandatory monthly training weekends. George W. Bush didn’t show up. Nor did he show up the next day, May 21st.

Three days later Bush signed a document signaling his intent to completely abandon the Texas Air National Guard, and instead join the Air Force Reserves as a member of the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron in Alabama. But the 9921st was not an ordinary Air Force Reserves unit. It was, in fact, a special kind of "unit" whose members were not required to do any training whatsoever.


MYTH: Bush did not know he was not eligible for a transfer to the 9921st ARS. (This, of course, is more than just a myth. It is Bush's "official" position, as expressed by his spokesman during the 2000 presidential election campaign [2]).

FACT: The documents themselves prove that Bush was fully aware that, as a member of the 9921st ARS, he would be unable to fulfill the requirements established for him under United States Law, and Air Force policy.

What George W. Bush was attempting to do was run a scam. He was trying to find a way to "legally desert" his post, by gaming the system under which transfers to Air Reserve Squadrons were processed. In the meantime, while waiting for his scam to come to fruition, Bush blew off months of training that he was required to do under the law, and didn't even bother getting the medical examination required of all pilots, whether they had planes to fly or not.

As we now know, Bush never got the orders that would allow him to forget about fulfilling his obligations to the United States Armed Forces. His little transfer scam didn’t work, and he should have been showing up for training, and maintaining his qualifications as a pilot, throughout the Spring and Summer of 1972.

There is a law concerning a member of the United States Armed Forces who :"quits his post or proper duties without leave and with intent to remain away therefrom permanently" That law is 10 USC 885 of the United States Code, also known as Article 85 of The Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Article 85 is one of the "punitive articles" of the UCMJ.

And Article 85 has a name. It is "Desertion."



George W. Bush... he's a special kind of unit all right.

Continue reading THE ALABAMA TRANSFER SCAM: Full Details


NOTE Readers, Paul Lukasiak's stuff is an absolute must read. Not only is he from Philly, he's done stuff like master the '70s punchcard technology used to create the payroll records. This is not tinfoil hat stuff. This is the real deal. Please read it, and master it. Who knows, maybe someone, somehow, will connect this to the SCLM and it will turn into a real story part of the official sanctioned narrative of the election.—Lambert

I Am Now Officially Jealous 

So this "Juan Cole", IF that's his real name, he thinks he is just SO hot, just because he can, like, read Arabic, and knows the theological structure of Islam, and the history of the Middle East, and gets information from foreigners (if it was really important it would be on patriotic American TV, like Fox News, wouldn't it?) and thinks that just because of THAT he knows more than us common people. And THEN he has the nerve to write all of it down so that anybody can understand it, AND...oh, I could go on.

But now THIS! He gets written up in Wired magazine. I could just....spit. Excuse me while I go rend my garments and put on sackcloth and ashes:
In this month's Wired magazine, an article entitled "The Dean Machine Marches On" looks at the internet, blogging, and political campaigns. In the profile on p. 141 of Brad Carson, a Native American and Blue Dog Democrat running for an Oklahoma senate seat, it is written:

"But the new tactics can be risky. The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a press release titled "Brad Carson: A-Blogging He Will Go," which attacked Carson for linking to "the Web sites of radicals," including DailyKos and Juan Cole.
This all happened a while ago, of course, but what is exciting to me is where it is reported. Many, many thanks to Carson and to the National Republican Senatorial Committee for getting me a mention in Wired, one of my favorite magazines.
Well Wired is one of my favorites too, one of the few I actually get delivered in dead-tree format. They get a little heavy on the flash-bang, gee-whiz, newer-and-shinier-must-be-better consumeristic shit from time to time, but still....I would think I had died and gone to heaven if I could get mentioned in their pages just once. Good job there Juan, you dirty rat fink.

Republican Looting: US Olympic officials call Bush on theft of their brand 

Hey, another opportunity for Bush to lawyer himself up!

The U.S. Olympic Committee has asked the campaign to re-elect President Bush to pull an ad that refers to the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday.

The ad has angered Olympic officials because they feel it hijacks the Olympic brand -- a registered trademark -- even though it does not display the Games logo.

The U.S. Olympic Committee had asked the Bush election "campaign to withdraw the advertisement they are running," International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Giselle Davies told reporters.

"We own the rights to the Olympic name and nobody asked us," Gerhard Heiberg, head of the International Olympic Committee's Marketing Commission had said on Wednesday.
(via Reuters)

Well, Bush is all about just taking whatever he wants, when he wants it, so why on earth would they expect Him to ask them? Besides, Bush has been Chosen of God as Leader, so what right has the Olympic committee or anyone else to question Him?

The Wecovery: Jobless claims up, economists surprised, yet again 

Why is it that the economists are always surprised by how bad the job market is? Every time, they're surprised. Can't we outsource them?

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications for unemployment insurance increased by a seasonally adjusted 10,000 to 343,000 for the week ending Aug. 21. Half of the 10,000 rise was attributed to claims stemming from the hurricane, a Labor Department analyst said.

The increase in claims last week was larger than the rise economists were expecting. Some predicted that claims would increase by around 4,000. The 343,000 level of claims was the highest since July 24.

Thursday's report also showed that the number of workers continuing to draw jobless benefits rose by 5,000 to 2.9 million for the week ending Aug. 14, the most recent period for which that information is available. While the figure suggests that companies aren't on a major hiring spree, it is an improvement from the same period a year ago, when continuing claims stood at 3.6 million.
(via AP)

Wow... An improvement from a year ago. Boy, if I was one of the people newly unemployed last week, that would sure make me feel better!

Seems like Bush just doesn't want to talk about this, other than to repeat the tax cut mantra. I wonder why?

Swift boat smear: coWard to seek activist judges who will end 527s 

Portrait of someone who can dish it out but not take it:

Bush plans to seek a court order to force the U.S. Federal Election Commission to stop all political advertising by independent groups, said spokesman Scott McClellan.

Bush asked Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, to help end advertising by political organizations known as ["soft money"] 527 groups, named for the section of the Internal Revenue Service code that grants them tax-exempt status. McCain told the New York Times he disapproves of ads attacking Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, one of the 527 groups.
(via Bloomberg)

Well, I hope he hires a good trial lawyer for this extremely non-frivolous lawsuit.

And if Bush thinks the 527s are so bad, why did he sign the law that allows them?

"I guess I resent deeply the hypocrisy in all of this and people passing that law and now whining about the fact that both parties are trying to use that tool to defend their position," said former GOP chairman William Brock, who helped create the group known as the November Fund.
(via AP)

Could it be that when Bush signed the law, He, and Acting President Rove, thought it would help the Republicans? And how that it is hurting them, not helping them, they want to go to the courts that they've packed to get rid of the law?

NOTE MoveOn.Org—the bete noie of the Republicans is in fact a PAC, funded by millions of small donors, not a 527—despite the no doubt deliberately misleading term "independent" or "outside groups," they are not to be confused with the SBVF[cough]T.

UPDATE OK, I shot from the lip on MoveOn and it's PAC-ness and 5276-age. Alert reader clif sets me straight:

Let me see if I can add some clarity to this. I've been blogging on this point for a bit the past week or so.

MoveOn has both a 527 and a PAC. The PAC only takes hard money and can be used for activities directly related to the election of candidates.

The MoveOn 527 takes soft money and can use this for issue advocacy. It is required to disclose donations exceeding $200 on periodic reports.

McCain-Feingold limited the way 527s could use money from unions and corporations (basically forbidding 527s to use that money within specified periods before general and primary elections). But it didn't, and wasn't intended to, affect how soft money from individuals was used.

Clif | Homepage | 08.26.04 - 3:36 pm | #

The FEC opinion that just came out, and which the GOP falsely claims bans 527s starting in 2006, does not do that. It addressed an issue related to dealing with what ads directly call for election or removal of candidates by holding that money raised in response to solicitations mentioning a candidate were limited to $5000. (George Soros could still give as much as he wants as long as its not solicited). It also dealt with an accounting issue relating to organizations, like MoveOn, that have both 527s and PACs.

Does that clear things up or is it too much legalese? Short version: Scottie, Mark "Banana Bread" Racicot and W himself have all been lying about McCain-Feingold and the recent FEC decision

But don't you like "coWard"? I hope that one spreads.....

Patriots Ask: Why Do You Think They Call It Muslin? 

Atrios points us to the collected wit and wisdom of the RNC's answer to Bruce Springsteen, Charlie Daniels. Charlie, of course, penned these stirring words about the comparative haberdashery of A-rabs vs. Muricans:
This ain't no rag it's a flag
And we don't wear it on our heads
It's a symbol of the land where the good guys live ...

Which is interesting, because the the land where the good guys live includes this, this, this, this, this, this, and about 15,394 similar merchants...
Why do so many wingnuts hate America?

"You crashed a jet while you were in the National Guard... 

because you were drunk."

The Texas Monthly
June 1999.

Who Is George W. Bush?
The W. Nobody Knows.
What he's like in real life.
by Paul Burka

"Well, am I running?" George W. Bush demanded to know.

I happened to be sitting in my Suburban near the south door of the state capitol, discharging a passenger, just as the governor's silver-gray Lincoln Continental was doing the same. It was early February, well before he would announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, and a smidgen of suspense still lingered. I had waved at Bush as he went past, and he had swerved over to deliver the opening gambit in one of his favorite games: conversational one-upmanship. Having played it before, I knew I didn't have a chance.

"Sure," I said. "You'd be the wuss of all time if you didn't."

"But what about the rumors?" he shot back. Then, to my utter stupefaction, he proceeded to tick off everything the national press was investigating about his past: five or six of the most salacious things that could be said about anyone—including, in his own words, "I bought cocaine at my dad's inauguration"—plus intimate gossip about his family.

As he well knew, I had already heard all of it through the media grapevine. "You missed one," I said. "You crashed a jet while you were in the National Guard because you were drunk."

He spread his hands. "That's easy," he said. "Where's the plane?" Game over. He spun around and headed off.

When friends who have only a passing interest in politics ask me what Bush is really like, I tell them this story and others like it. On another occasion when his car was delivering him to the Capitol, he spied two well-heeled lobbyists walking down the steps among the throngs of tourists. He rolled down his window and shouted, "Show me the money!" They obediently flashed their wallets. One can only imagine what the common folk thought of this byplay. [More: The W. Nobody Knows]

About the author:
Paul Burka joined the staff of TEXAS MONTHLY one year after the magazine's founding. A lifelong Texan, he was born in Galveston, graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in history, and received a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. Burka is a member of the State Bar of Texas and spent five years as an attorney with the Texas Legislature, where he served as counsel to the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

Game over. Now watch this drive.


I am John Kerry's Shrapnel 

Angry metal fragment speaks out.

"I can't speak to if any of the Swift Boat Vets for Truth were actually there are not there, 'cause I was busy flying directly into this guy's body at a high rate of speed," said the shrapnel. "But I do know that Bob Dole is full of it. Damn right I made my target bleed. What do I look like, the Easter Bunny?"

Shrapnel...responds to veterans flap [via:]


Jerry Patterson ~ Mr Sensitive Guy 

Patterson: Year 2000

Even though I am not proud of slavery, I can continue to honor symbols of the Confederacy as I honor the American flag. I am as proud an American as they come. I am, however, not proud of what my country did to the American Indian. I have pride in my service as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam, but I am embarrassed at the atrocities that occurred at My Lai. I still wear a small Vietnam service pin on my lapel, knowing that not everything done in Vietnam is worthy of pride.

Continue reading Jerry Patterson Can't Have It Both Ways via

(thanks Damfa)


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Didn't get to the chandaliers, today. Too busy mopping the flop sweat off the marble floors in the Exective Boardroom of The Mighty Corrente Building. Maybe tomorrow!

What next from Rove? A "failed" "assassination" "attempt" by a lone gunman, acting alone, who somehow escapes in all the confusion?

Autumn in New York 

Okay, it's not really Autumn, but I didn't write the song. Sara did, in a comment thread over at Atrios):

Autumn in New York!

Autumn in New York,
Why does it seem...uninviting?
Autumn in New York
Look at those placards they're writing!

Ominous crowds with Abu Ghraib shrouds
In canyons of steel,
They’re making me feel - like a heel.

It’s autumn in New York!
Placards on each subway train,
Rallies in Central Park:
"NO MORE YEARS" is their refrain.

Marchers with angry signs,
Long unemployment lines,
Is it autumn in New York,
Or Chicago all over again?

Autumn in New York:
Rooftop signs seen from the plane,
"Cheney is a Dork,"
"Bush Lied, They Died" and words profane.

Yes, jaded pols and media trolls
Who lunch at the Ritz
Will say it's no big deal, but still -

This autumn in New York
Regime change is in the air!
Oh, autumn in New York
Taxis to and from Mad Square

Pass by demos dawn to dark,
Cops and firemen, mad and noisy,
Why did we pick New York?
Next time let's meet in Boise.

Swift boat smear: Putting the W in coWard 

Here's the CW on the Swift boat smear and John Kerry, as expressed by the usually level-headed Washington bureau of the Star-Ledger:

The national focus on attack ads that question John Kerry's Vietnam valor has placed the Democrat on the defensive, consuming valuable campaign time and making it more difficult for him to challenge President Bush on issues of war and the economy.

With Bush and the Republicans preparing for their week in the limelight at the Republican National Convention in New York, experts say the Kerry campaign finds itself at a tactical disadvantage, having lost control of the debate.
(via NewarkStar Ledger)

I disagree. I think the Kerry campaign's assessment of their opponent has been both shrewd and correct.

First, Bush being who and what he is, the smear was coming anyhow. That's the lesson of Bush I, Lee Atwater, and Dukakis, of Bush and McCain in South Carolina, and of Bush and Cleland in Georgia. The fire was already coming from the shore. Instead of motoring on past it, Kerry turned into it, just as he did on the Swift Boat in VietNam. (In fact, by telling this history at the Democratic Convention, Kerry called his shot, like Reggie Jackson used to do. Let's hope he makes it.)

Second, the Republican smears are an issue. Perhaps the issue. The SBVF[cough]T are, as we know, just the sharp end of the $300 million Republican attack machine known as the VWRC (back). If we can't blunt this attack, we can't win, let alone govern.

Third, if Kerry can't defend himself, successfully against Republican attacks, how can voters expect him to defend the country? That was why the Daschle Democrats blew it so very badly in 2000, and lost the Senate.

Fourth, I don't think Kerry needs to challenge Bush on the economy. The numbers have already done Kerry's work for him. Unless Rove manages to cook the books, Bush is already toast on this one. (Particularly if the new OT regulations screw enough people immediately, as in, their paychecks before the election.)

Fifth, I don't think Kerry needs to challenge Bush on the war. The numbers are doing their work for Kerry there, too.

Finally, everything in Bush's character says he'll never back down, never apologize, and he's going to dig himself in deeper and deeper. (I mean, honestly—stiffing a Viet Nam veteran who's a triple amputee? Where's the "compassion"? Where's the "uniting"?) When the modern Republicans lose, it's when they over-reach, just as with the Clinton impeachment. Kerry is giving them the opportunity to do exactly that.

So. Crossed fingers.

So, how about Payroll Fraudsters for Truth? 

Just asking.

(See the work of Paul Lukasiak here. It's amazing—not!—that the SCLM hasn't picked up on this powerful, original, and above all scholarly work.

TROLL PROPHYLACTIC It isn't a smear if it's based on Enlightenment concepts like "evidence" and "reasoning." See, in a smear, you just make shit up. And then go on FUX with it.

Swift boat smear: Bush league taunts from the man Bush hid behind 

Wow, Jerry "$150,00O" Patterson's courteous demeanor and tactful words have done the Bush campaign a world of good! (Yes, that's the very same Jerry Patterson that SBVF[cvough]T funder Bob Perry gave $150,000!, back).

First, the picture:

Now, the words:

HELLMOUTH, TX “I tried to accept that letter and he would not give it to me,” said Patterson. “He would not face me. [Cleland] kept rolling away from me. He’s quite mobile.

Patterson, who spoke with the president on the phone, said the campaign asked him to give Cleland a letter for Kerry written by the Bush campaign and signed by Patterson and seven other veterans.
(via Detroit News)

Oh, I love it. "Quite mobile." Almost makes you wish you were a triple amputee, eh?

Of course, I'd rather be a triple amputee and a man, unlike Patterson, let alone his boss.

That Poodle Won't Fetch! - and - Air Force Veterans For Truth 

More prancing and preening for political points. Bu$h handlers badgering Tony Blair to..."receive a medal bestowed on him by the nation [the United States, not the magazine] for his support over last year's Iraq war, a London newspaper has reported."

Politics - AFP | Blair refuses to travel to US to pick up Bush war honour: report - Mon Aug 23, 2004.

LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair is refusing to fly to the United States to receive a medal bestowed on him by the nation for his support over last year's Iraq war, a London newspaper has reported.

US President George W. Bush has put huge pressure on his closest ally to pick up the medal in person, which was awarded over a year ago, the Sunday Mirror said, quoting a senior British government source.

Blair has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. [...]

[...] ...the White House believes a visit by the prime minister now would provide a much-needed boost to Bush's re-election campaign, the weekly said.

"There has been a lot of telephone traffic between the White House and Downing Street over the medal in recent weeks," the Sunday Mirror quoted a senior government source as saying.

"George Bush (news - web sites) wants the prime minister to come to Washington and pick up the medal, which is the highest honour America can bestow on a foreigner.

"But he [Blair] has refused for more than a year now and for good reason. He cannot possibly accept an award for the Iraq war when British and American troops continue to risk their lives there."

Blair is concerned also that a trip to the United States now would effectively be giving a boost to Bush ahead of November's presidential elections.

Thanks to Tin Foil Hat Boy for the heads up on that one.
And thanks to for this reminder below: via David Corn at The Nation:

In 1978, Bush, while running for Congress in West Texas, produced campaign literature that claimed he had served in the US Air Force. According to a 1999 AP report, Bush's congressional campaign ran a pullout ad in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that declared he had served 'in the US Air Force and the Texas Air National Guard where he piloted the F-102 aircraft.' Bush lost that congressional race, but twenty-one years later, the AP questioned him about the ad. The news outlet had a good reason to do so. Bush had never served in the Air Force. He had only been in the Air National Guard. But when AP asked Bush if he had been justified in claiming service in the Air Force, Bush, then the governor of Texas and a presidential candidate, said, 'I think so, yes. I was in the Air Force for over 600 days'... Yet no firestorm ensued. Will Republican funders now underwrite a group called Air Force Veterans for Truth that will demand that Bush withdraw his claim of membership in the Air Force? Don't expect such a shot soon. ~ Full post:David Corn/The Nation

"You know I could run for governor but I'm basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business. But that's not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office." ~ George W. Bush, 1989 - as reported by The Houston Chronicle reference link


Swift Boat Smear: Who gave the man Bush hid behind $150,000? 

So a triple-amputee Vietnam veteran flies to Texas to hand Bush a letter—for those following along at home, that would be an exercise of "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances"—and what does Inerrant Boy do? Show him a little respect? Show him a little of that hospitality that Texas is so famous for? Show some guts?


No, Bush has a checkpoint set up, and sends out a lackey named Jerry Patterson to do his dirty work for him:

The Bush campaign dispatched its own supporters, including a war veteran, to meet Cleland and supporters of the Democratic nominee at a security checkpoint just down the road from the entrance to Bush's secluded ranch.

But Cleland refused to give the letter, signed by nine senators who served in the military, to Jerry Patterson, a former Marine who now serves as Texas State Land Commissioner.
(via Reuters)

And who, you may ask, is Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson? Why, the man Bob Perry—the very same Bob Perry who's funding the SBVF[cough]T—gave $150,000 to (back), that's who. (See the Dallas Morning News, "Builder's money talks, but what is it saying?")

Why, it's really beginning to seem like this SBVF[cough]T disinformation campaign is all one big happy family, isn't ?

NOTE Thanks to alert reader anonymous.

UPDATE Scott "Sucker MC" McClellan dodges this point nicely at today's gaggle. If alert reader anonymous knows the right question to ask, wby doesn't our millionaire press corps:

Q Why did he choose Jerry Patterson? Patterson says he hadn't been involved in the campaign at all, and Patterson is also --

MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, I'm sure the campaign would be glad to talk to you more about some of the arrangements for today. He was here representing the campaign and speaking on behalf of veterans who support the President.
(via WhiteWash House transcripts)

Um, do I see an answer there?

He's Even Lost the Neo-Nazi Vote! 

It probably says something really awful about the state of political discourse today, or possibly my mental condition, that my response to seeing this story was to laugh my ass off. Okay, before you fill up comments with it, I will concede the obvious that it may be both:

(via Philly Inquirer)
A radical white supremacist group that believes George Washington held separatist and anti-Semitic views similar to its own has received a permit to hold a two-hour rally next month in Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement said yesterday he expected that 200 to 300 people representing various organizations, including the Ku Klux Klan, would attend the event on Sept. 25. He said that all "white patriots" had been invited, regardless of ideological differences.

"Valley Forge is important to us because this is where George Washington camped out," he said. "We are patriots, and we are honoring our founding fathers."

Washington fought against the corrupt regime of King George III, said Schoep, 30, of Litchfield, Minn. The National Socialists are protesting the "corrupt dictatorship" of President Bush, he said.

Deputy park superintendent Barbara Pollarine said the group had applied by mail and included the $50 processing fee the park charges for all groups using park facilities.

Schoep said he expected the Valley Forge rally to be more effective than protesting or demonstrating at next week's national Republican Party convention.

"The white race needs to come together," he said. "We are the unifying force attempting to do that."
I would like to advise Lambert to put special care into polishing the chandeliers at the Mighty Corrente Building before this august September gathering (I always wanted to be able to use that phrase) takes place. These folks might want to drop by for tea and a discussion of our use of the term MBF:
Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Report for the Southern Poverty Law Center, disputed the National Socialists' claim that, with 45 chapters, they are the largest Nazi group in America.

"They will not say how large they are, but we think the chapters are tiny - maybe one or two members," he said.

The group dresses in brown shirts and displays swastikas, which leads some to refer to the group as the "Hollywood Nazis," according to Potok.


Later Wednesday, former Democratic Sen. Max Cleland tried to deliver a letter protesting ads challenging John Kerry's Vietnam service to President Bush at his Texas ranch, but the Secret Service stopped Cleland short of his goal.

The former Georgia senator, a triple amputee who fought in Vietnam, was carrying a letter from nine Senate Democrats who wrote Bush that "you owe a special duty" to condemn attacks on Kerry's military service.

Encountering a permanent roadblock to Bush's ranch, Cleland left without turning over the letter to anyone.
(via AP)
In short, W's protective bubble remains intact.

No Democrats allowed near Our Fearless Leader!

After all, they make him uncomfortable.

Swift boat smear: Turning the boat toward enemy fire on the shore 

Hey, Max Cleland's going to visit Hellmouth, TX:

Vietnam veteran and former Sen. Max Cleland Wednesday plans to deliver a letter to President Bush for the Kerry-Edwards campaign, asking Bush to publicly condemn attack ads that dispute Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's combat record in Vietnam, according to a Kerry campaign adviser.

Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in the war, will be joined at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, by Lt. Jim Rassmann, a former Green Beret who recommended Kerry for the Bronze Star for risking his life to save Rassmann.

Kerry's campaign adviser said Cleland and Rassmann "will likely get turned away at the ranch."
(via CNN)

Nice move! Here's a quote from the letter:

"As you yourself have said, there is nothing complicated about supporting our troops, and the leaders of this nation should make it clear that the members of our military will not only be supported when they wear the uniform, but also when they return home to the land they fought to defend," it said.

"Their valor and their wounds, both physical and psychological, make them heroes for as long as they live, a status which should not and must not change simply because they seek to enter public service."


Advice to Max Cleland: If Bush invites you and and offers you Kool-Aid, don't drink it!

Can't Argue With That 

"When the LA Times says 'informed person,' they are referring to Democrats."

--Dittohead Mark Luther, on the Franken Show, trying to rebut its SBVT editorial, "These Charges Are False"

Swift boat smear: Bush campaign heaves its own lawyer over the side 

Another one bites the dust:

The Bush campaign's chief outside counsel resigned Wednesday morning after acknowledging on Tuesday that he also was providing legal advice to the veterans group working to discredit Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's war record.
(via WaPo)

And the Kerry campaign extends an olive branch (not!):

"The sudden resignation of Bush's top lawyer doesn't end the extensive web of connections between George Bush and the group trying to smear John Kerry's military record," she said in a statement. "In fact, it only confirms the extent of those connections. Now we know why George Bush refuses to specifically condemn these false ads. People deeply involved in his own campaign are behind them, from paying for them, to appearing in them, to providing legal advice, to coordinating a negative strategy to divert the public away from issues like jobs, health care and the mess in Iraq, the real concerns of the American people. It's time for George Bush to take responsibility himself and condemn these false attacks."

Yep. It's nice the way the Kerry campaign is leverage Inerrant Boy's inability to ever make a mistake or apologize ("stubborn," as Kerry put it on The Daily Show).

I love the way Bush is trying to make some sort of equivalence between MoveOn.Org and the Swift Boat Veterans for [cough] Truth as "outside groups." What a Big Lie.

MoveOn is a PAC, SBV[cough]T is a 527.

MoveOn is funded by millions of small contributors. SBV[cough]T is funded by a winger Texas billionaire.

MoveOn has been in existence since Clinton, and SBV[cough]T came into existence solely for this election.

Finally, one of the several purposes behind SBV[cough]T—besides the straightforward and obvious pleasure the Bush clan takes in smearing their political opponents—is to insulate the Republican campaign from the coming release (if AP wins its suit, in time) of Bush's service [cough] records by creating a "questions have been raised about both men" scenario for the hapless SCLM. Of course, for those willing to look, the difference between the SBV[cough]T, which just makes stuff up about Kerry (see for example Atrios, and the questions raised by mainstream media (USA Today, for example) couldn't be more obvious.

Again, I think this is the battle. If Bush can overturn 35 years of Navy records and eyewitness accounts to take Kerry's biography away from him, Bush can win. I think Kerry has already turned to boat toward the enemy—he did that at the convention. And now Kerry's taking fire, but that's the plan. Hopefully, when Kerry reaches shore ...

Swift boat smear: The lengths wingers will go to feel like they're victims 

Let the whining begin!

America's two biggest bookstore chains, Barnes & Noble and Borders, say customers are accusing them of political bias as the retailers struggle to keep up with demand for a bestseller that questions Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's military service in Vietnam.
(via Calgary Sun)

Well, why isn't the noxious little screed "Unfit for Command" in stock? No, it's not because of the usual winger best-seller-list-padding bulk buys—it's because winger publisher Regnery (back) didn't print enough copies:

The publisher, Regnery Publishing Inc. of Washington , rushed the book to stores ahead of schedule without printing nearly enough to meet the demand.
(via Virginia Pilot)

As a result—this would be the concept of "cause and effect," for those of you wingers who have problems with enlightenment ideas like "evidence" and "reasoning"—there aren't enough copies in the stores:

Regnery Publishing cut [Barnes & Nobles] original order in half.
(via Reuters)

So. The wingers accuse the bookstores of bias (that's rich!) because their own darling, Regnery publisher, kept supplies low. Could this have been a marketing ploy by Regnery to suck up airtime on the talk shows, and boost demand? I wonder!

DeSpite Everything 

Digby's got a great post up which links to this piece in the NYPress on the subject of Spite. Digby's excerpt focuses on the economic angle, so here we will look at Sex as a factor in all this:
This is why they [note: he means "us"--ed.] will forever struggle to understand the one overriding mystery of why so many working- and middle-class white males vote against their own best interests.

I CAN TELL YOU WHY. They do so out of spite. Put your ear to the ground in this country, and you'll hear the toxic spite churning. It's partly the result of commercial propaganda and sexual desperation—a desperation far more common than is admitted. If you didn't know anything about how America's propaganda worked, you'd think that every citizen here experienced four-dimensional multiple orgasms with beautiful, creative, equally satisfied partners, morning, noon and night.

The wretched truth is that America is an erogenous no man's land. Most white males here (at least the straight ones) have either dismal sex lives or no sex lives at all. As bad as this hurts, the pain is compounded every time you expose yourself to the cultural lies that await you at every turn—that is, every waking hour and during deep REM sleep, when the subliminal messages kick in. This wretchedness leads to a desire for vengeance, to externalize the inner famine—it leads directly to the Republican camp.

This explains why the Republican elite—the only true and all-powerful elite in America today—is not considered an "elitist" class in the spleens of the white male have-nots. Elitism as defined today is a synonym for "happy," not "rich" or "powerful." Happiness is the scarcest resource of all, not money...

Kerry won't draw the spite vote, but his creepy face, along with Bush's jock glow, just might neutralize it—out of spite. All the left has to do is not stir up the wrong bile. That means keeping the focus on Bush's corporate-jock clique, and keeping it mean.
This post inspired one of the longest comment threads I've ever seen at Hullabaloo. About a third of it is banter with a troll, but there are some very astute observations as well. Sticking to the sexual angle to all this is the following by ESaund:
Rush Limbaugh's power over people is because he has convinced alot of working class chumps that all their problems are the fault of uppity feminists who don't put out. And these chumps really hate gays and blacks because they get sex any time they want.

So all this sexual repression fits in neatly with the GOP's message - self rightous condemnation of anyone who has sex on a regular basis.
See what I mean? This explanation goes far to tie together the various seemingly incompossible mishmash that makes up the drinkers (although not the pushers) of the Kool-Ade. The fundies, the anti-gay crowd, the basic bigots, the MBF's--even the Swifties, if you go to the original article, although they're not mentioned by name. Haven't they always seemed like a spiteful lot to you?

Revolutionary War Veterans for Truth 

Remember FreewayBlogger? He/she/they have a nice new post up on the subject noted in the headline here. FWB doesn't post often, so scrolling down allowed me to be reminded of one of our favorite Items That Should Be in the Dictionary But Will Have to Wait for the Next Edition:
Chim·peach (chim pēch´), v., 1. To eliminate an enemy or malefactor, or to rectify a near fatal error or terrible mistake. 2. To remove from high office, through judicial review or public referendum, a dangerous imbecile, odious fraud, or chimpanzee. 3. To reclaim the soul of one's country by reversing or redressing a grievous historical injustice, as in "After Whitewater, Bush's lies about Iraq give us no choice but to chimpeach the murdering bastard, unless we want the whole goddam world to think that the lives of our sons and daughters are less significant than lying about a blowjob."

Please Don't Come To Chicago 

Though your brother's bound and gagged
And they've chained him to a chair
Won't you please come to Chicago
Just to sing.
(Graham Nash ~ CSNY, 1970)

Rick Perlstein, once again, has written a thought provoking piece for the Village Voice which I think warrants more attention than i fear it's going to get.

I'd also like to note that in the summer of 1972 I sat my silly ass down on a milk crate outside a political action tent at an outdoor music festival and read a copy of the Village Voice which featured a cover article detailing the machinations of the Watergate break-in. I can't remember the title of that story or the author anymore but I remember the front cover of that Village Voice issue. It depicted Richard M. Nixon and his slippery henchman parading down mainstreet nekkid. It was one of those the Emperor has no clothes things. A few days later I became a ding-dong door bell ringer for the McGovern campaign. Once again, 32 years later, the Village Voice is making an impression on me.

I also remember watching the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago on the television machine. And I know that the people who write for this blog and many who read here remember that as well. Perhaps even were there. So what Perlstein has to say is important in my opinion because it draws upon old lessons learned that I think should not go unforgotten. Although I'm kind of afraid RP may be at the midnight hour on this one.

One eerie note: the photo caption that accompanies Perlstein's article identifies the scene depicted (of police beating protestors) as taking place at the GOP convention. (Unless they've corrected it by the time you read this - but as of this posting the caption still reads GOP) It was the DNC Convention in 1968. Not the GOP. Thats how spooky it gets.


To be honest, if I had my way, if I were even remotely influential in such matters, I'd call for a silent protest in New York. Absolute silence. Let the GOP come to New York and wander around in a stone dead silence. Blacken your windows New Yorkers. If you do go out on the streets wear black arm bands. Don't go out at night to bars or shows or restaurants. Boycott. It's your city and it's your money. Close your galleries and your shops or hang a black flag in the window as a symbolic gesture. Declare a day of mourning. Just stay home. It won't kill you. Let the confetti pumped from the RNC shredder machine blow through the streets like so many leaves tumbling along the mainstreet of a plague bit ghostown. If drunken herds of fly-by-night goobers in cowboy hats and Free-Republic tee shirts want to stumble up and down Broadway or the lower east side at two am so be it. Let em do it all by themselves. Chill them with the sounds of silence. That would be the spookiest most powerful message I think New Yorkers and political activists could deliver. If the noisiest city in the world went stone cold quiet - well, you get my drift. Unfortunately I know thats way too much to hope for (especially at this point) and especially after reading what RP has to say.

And unfortunately the minute one single storefront window is broken or one single limousine leaving Rockefeller Plaza is delayed in traffic by a die-in the bow-wow-wowsers and clangor horns and high steppers of television "news" theater cabaret will go into gran-mal seizures of seismic propotions. A bellowing whooping deafening squall. Red Meat! And you know that's exactly what they want. And you all know whose butchered rosy flanks will be served up at their cheery little corporate TV media buffet.

So. Shhhhh, quiet - a moment of silence please - listen - go read what Perlstein has to say: Protesters risk playing into GOP hands Get Mad. Act Out. Re-Elect George Bush. by Rick Perlstein - August 24th, 2004.


8 lights in the window that will always shine on.... 

New Links to the blogroll. Several noted by Leah in an earlier post. See back here: And Now Let's Take A Moment To Remember...


1- Tip-o-the-hat to Outside the Tent. Winner of the Walt Kelly said it award.

2- MATTGUNN Who retains his own in house biographer. Or maybe it's the other way around. Either way I'm all for it.

3- The Bear Speaks
The Bear is a very busy professional who will be posting once or twice a day, often on legal matters (because that is what he does in his cave all day) and on other topical matters as events warrant.

4- What's a "faf"? fafblog.

5- The Dark Window dissects Jack Kinsella who apparently would have heaved Lucky Lindy into the hellfires of patriotic fanatacism if he'd had the chance. Sure he would have. See for yourself: right here.

6- Hear The Issues Scroll down for the cool Left/Right comment give and take.

7- I recently juried a national competition in which I was to select a blog name which I considerd my favorite. I might add that I often jury these competitions myself. Ever since Mrs Farmer was carried off one sunny Thursday afternoon by Irish Travelers. But that's another story. Anyway, this summers winner in the category of best blog name which could also be adapted for any number of other uses including - book title, movie title, heavy metal swing big-band, comic book superaction superhero, or the name of a titty bar in a resort beach community... goes to - envelope please - and the winner is: Uncle Horn Head. Congratulations to Uncle Horn Head who will be spending three days and two nights at the fabulous Hilton Head Island Resort and Country Club courtesy of Corrente! - not really thats a lie. In any case, I like the name. It makes me smile.

8- Finally, we can always rely upon the Better Angels of our Nature.
Personally, I'm not surprised that Bob Dole chose to attack John Kerry. This is the same man who, 24 years ago, claimed that Democrats were bloodthirsty warmonger, and who claimed tobacco wasn't addictive when he ran for the White House 8 years ago, and who did yeoman service for the Nixon White House in 1972. So, no, I'm not surprised. Bob Dole's been a faithful party hack ever since he got his start in politics back in Kansas.

But I really did think that the fact that John Kerry chose to put his life on the line, and was recognized for it by winning not one, not two, but three Purple Hearts would make a difference. Not that I thought Dole--himself a Purple Heart winner, who left a piece of himself on an Italian hillside--would jump on Kerry's side. But at the least, he'd stay on the sidelines, unwilling to dignify this dishonorable slime.

Look, it's fine if you disagree with John Kerry on the issues. But this is beyond the pale. And the fact that it's done in the service of two loathsome cowards who didn't have the stones to do what they asked others to do simply enrages me. ~ CONTINUE READING

Theres a light in the window
darling one darling one,
theres a light in the window darling one.
It will shine on forever
through darkness or bad weather,
to light your way home darling one.
(Jon Walmsley/Greg Trooper)


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Nailed At Last 

Of course it doesn't start to go far enough; the buck, or in this case the bull, not to mention the blood, starts and stops at the desk of George W. Bush. In the meantime, this is nice to see for an appetizer:

(via NYT)

For Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign over the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib would be a mistake, the four-member panel headed by James M. Schlesinger asserted on Tuesday. But in tracing responsibility for what went wrong at Abu Ghraib, it drew a line that extended to the defense secretary's office.

The panel cited what it called major failures on the part of Mr. Rumsfeld and his aides in not anticipating and responding swiftly to the post-invasion insurgency in Iraq. On the eve of the Republican convention, that verdict could not have been welcome at the White House, where postwar problems in Iraq represent perhaps President Bush's greatest political liability.
Rumsfeld, of course, did not make the decision to go into Iraq. He serves, as we all know, at the "pleasure of the President of the United States." Between this report, the Swift Liars pile 'o shit deepening around his feet as we speak, Dick "GFY" Cheney of all people going off the reservation on the gay issue, and other incursions of karma, we somehow doubt Dear Leader is having a very happy time in Crawford. Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Goodnight, moon 

I was going to do a serious post on Abu Ghraib, and I just got sidetracked by the Swift Boat Liars thing... Coincidence? You be the judge.

Maybe tomorrow, in between dusting the chandaliers in the mail room of The Mighty Corrente Building, I can put something together. "Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble...."

MBF watch: Pensacola, It's the spot! 

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent:

Hundreds of yard signs supporting Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry have been stolen and vandalized in this heavily Republican region known as "Bush Country," officials said, prompting some Kerry supporters to hang signs from trees to deter burglars.

About 350 signs have been stolen, according to Panhandle for Kerry organizers, which met with Pensacola police Monday. The group has distributed nearly 3,400 signs.

Police said they would increase patrols and Panhandle for Kerry members planned to conduct neighborhood watches, said the group's chairman, Jerry Holt.

"We have the availability, the funds and the will to replace every sign when we find out it's missing," he said.

Pensacola resident Anne Bennett lost four Kerry signs from her front yard before putting out a homemade sign that read "Nice people don't steal or vandalize." She hung her latest sign from a
pine tree limb 15 feet in the air.

"It's like you don't have a right to participate in the public debate unless you are in the majority, and that is not one of the principles on which our country was founded," she said.
(via First Coast News)

It never hurts to state the obvious, does it? Especially to an MBF. In fact, with an MBF, you may have to state the obvious several times. Slowly.

NOTE Thanks to alert reader RDF.

NOTE A tip of the Ol' Corrente Hat to the first alert reader to identify the source of the quotation in the headline!

Swift boat smear: Just when you thought it couldn't get any more obvious... 

I think this one is rapidly devolving into a matter to be handled by The Department of "How Stupid Do They Think We Are?" Nevertheless:

Bush's re- election campaign lawyer said he is giving legal advice to the veterans group that is challenging Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's account of his service in the Vietnam War, the Associated Press reported.

Benjamin Ginsberg said he agreed to provide legal service to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth when asked to advise the group about a law related to the First Amendment, the wire service reported.

Ginsberg, who said he hadn't decided whether to charge the group for his work, didn't tell the Bush campaign what he discussed with the group, AP said, citing Ginsberg.

Of course not!

Last week, Kerry filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that the Bush campaign is illegally coordinating the Swift Boat group's advertisements against the Democratic candidate, the wire service said.
(via Bloomberg)

Wow! "Hasn't decided whether to charge the group." Bush certainly picked a generous lawyer!

Um, could it be that Bush needs to communicate with the Swift Boat Liars, and needs, oh, someone with attorney-client privilege to do so? I wonder why that would be?

Kerry on The Daily Show: Discuss! 

I love the way the reporter calls Jon Stewart's program "pseudo-journalism." Pseudo as compared to what? Jodi Will-Whore-Em? Judy "Kneepads" Miller? Hey, and where is Jeff Gerth these days?


Stewart kicked off his questioning to laughter when he made a personal note that he watches a lot of cable TV and "I understand that apparently you were never in Vietnam." Kerry responded: "That's what I understand, too. But I -- I'm trying to find out what happened."

urning serious, Kerry said the charges that he exaggerated his military record in Vietnam and turned on fellow veterans with Senate testimony about war atrocities at the hands of U.S. soldiers did not really surprise him. Kerry made a veiled reference to links between the backers of the anti-Kerry group, known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and the Bush family and Texas Republicans, which he called "the Web and the network."

"I think Americans will discover it as we go forward in the next four or five weeks, George Bush doesn't wanna talk about the real issues," Kerry said. "I mean what's he going to do? Come out and say we lost 1.8 million jobs."

Stewart ran through the litany of unfavorable Republican talking points about Kerry: he's too liberal or "more liberal than Karl Marx," as Stewart put it, and a waffler on the issues.

"I've flip-flopped, flop-flipped," Kerry deadpanned when asked if he was or ever had flip-flopped.

Kerry then pivoted: "Is it a flip-flop -- I don't know what compassionate conservative means. Does it mean cutting kids out of after-school programs? Does it mean drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge? Does it mean sending kids to Iraq without body armor that's state of the art?"
(via Newsday)

Nice point on the body armor. Hammer it!

All over America, parents had to buy their own soldier children body armor. Chambers of Commerce did the same thing for armoring HumVees.

And Inerrant Boy could reimburse them—and more importantly, recognize them—with a single executive order. I wonder why he doesn't?

Readers—does anyone have a transcript of the Kerry interview? Or the video?

UPDATE Wonkette has the transcript. Readers, how were the visuals? Realize, I'm hoping for a Clinton-with-the-saxophone moment here, but that may be a little ambitious...

And Now Let's Take A Moment To Remember That Life Is Good 

As I've mentioned previously, I spent last week emersed in right-wing blogville, attempting to look at the SwiftVets vs Kerry dustup as it developed day by day through a rightward gaze. I'll report on my findings in several posts, now that I've recovered my will to live, probably starting no later than tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, bereft of Stuart Smalley's undaunted affirmations, save for multiple screenings of the DVD of "Stuart Saves His Family," a much under-heralded, deliciously funny film (that makes an excellent gifr) written by Stuart's creator, the great Al Franken, who in every way and every day is getting better and better, let me share some life-affirming links with you.

Quote of the Day comes from Mark Kleiman:

You know, I think Viagra really is a wonder drug: it seems to have made Bob Dole an even bigger prick than he used to be.

There's more to read there, of course. Go enjoy.

Say a belated Happy First Blogiversay to s.z. and World O' Crap; s.z. has received the nicest missive from the Bush twins, and you'll want to look at it, and while there, don't miss this roundup of excellent blogs who had noted World O' Crap's birthday before we did. Of special note, check out Pete's, (he of the mysteriously funny The Dark Window) " O' Crap tribute" , and while looking in at The Dark Window, don't miss finding out How Saint Paul Predicted John Kerry's Treason Nearly 2000 Years Ago . Pete seems not to think it's an amusing post, though I was doubled over with laughter whenever I wasn't hyperventilating from fear and loathing.

I only discovered Pete when he vacation subbed for Seb at "Sadly No,"so check out Seb's comments on being subbed for by Pete here and here, as well as Seb's kudos to s.z. here. While there, make yourself even happier by checking out two takedowns of Kerry scandal-mongering here and here; that last "here" features the ravings of David Horowitz acolytes at TheFrontpage, a don't miss for sure.

For a takedown of the Instasmearing Instapundit to melt your heart and leave you aglow with happiness, go here.

Still feeling badly about those SwiftVets working our reprehensible SCLM? Check out The Bear Speaks, a promising new blog. and in particular "the Bear's" take on what's behind Kerry's measured response to the Bush attacks. And on the same subject, don't miss today's take on the Kerry strategy by Matt Gunn.

Yes, life IS good. (repeat ten times three time a day)

And if we do want to talk about policy... 

It can wait 'til Thursday:

The coming week offers an excellent opportunity to rescue the campaign from these musty arguments about the distant past. On Thursday, the Census Bureau is scheduled to release its annual reports on the median family income, the poverty level, and the number of Americans without health insurance.

Unless Unka Karl leaves a horses head in the Census Director's bed, that is.

This is the most important yearly report card on how the economy is performing for average families. It's likely to show that far too many families are struggling. If the two sides and the media can tear away from a war that ended almost 30 years ago, maybe the contenders could explain how they will help hard-working families fighting to stay above water today.
(via Mercury News)

Now, back to your regularly scheduled mudslinging!

NOTE Be sure to watch America's other trusted news source, The Daily Show (back), tonight!

Election fraud 2004: What's with Theresa LePore, anyhow? 

I'm getting butterflies....

Palm Beach County has introduced an absentee ballot that requires voters to indicate their choices by connecting broken arrows, sparking criticism that it is even more confusing than the infamous "butterfly ballot" used in the 2000 election.

Theresa LePore, the elections supervisor who approved the 2000 butterfly ballot, opted for a ballot design for the Aug. 31 primary that asks voters to draw lines joining two ends of an arrow. LePore said she selected the ballot after tests showed it was easier for voters.
(via WaPo)

One more of the many reasons not to feel good about the integrity of the Florida 2004 vote... Partisan purging of the voter rolls, voting machines with no paper trail, sending cops to intimidate 73-year-old black men... Now this...

NOTE Be sure to watch America's other trusted news source, The Daily Show (back), tonight!

"Outside groups" 

I love this noxious little meme, and Bush is propagating it real hard, so expect more of it. (The print edition of the Not-The-Los-Angeles-They-Do-Reporting New York Times had a great juxtaposition this morning: The headline "Defense Leaders Faulted by Panel in Prison Abuse: Report by Outside Group Covers Iraq, Cuba, and Afghanistan" was right next to "[President [sic] Urges Outside Groups to Halt All Ads."

Oh, but wait, those are two kinds of "outside groups," right?

So what can Inerrant Boy mean, when he says "outside groups"? It's hard to know—Scott "Sucka MC" McLlellan tried out the even more noxious "shadowy outside groups" in a recent gaggle&mmdash;"Shadowy? Sounds like some kinda terrist, Myrt! Or maybe even libruls!" "He's talkin' sense, Merle!"—but apparently that one didn't work in the focus groups, since Bush isn't using it.

I mean, MoveOn.Org isn't an "outside group"—it's a PAC, with millions of members, most of whom are small contributors.

I guess he must mean "outside" in the sense of "outside the $300 million VRWC."

Or "outside my control."

Like those "outside agitators" who were always stirring up the Happy Nigras back in the segregated days to which so many in the VWRC would have us return....

NOTE Be sure to watch America's other trusted news source, The Daily Show (back), tonight!

"Bring it on" 2: More signs of Bush flop-sweat 

Words fail me:

HELLMOUTH, Texas (AP) - The White House said Tuesday that North Korea's Kim Jong Il is engaging in "more bluster" by criticizing President Bush as a leader who is fomenting world unrest.
(via AP)

"Bluster," eh? Wait a minute, should I get an expert's opinion? No—that's in the story already....

But hey! Suppose North Korea fires another missile into the Japan Sea, oh, during the Republican Coronation: Could that be so bad?

NOTE Be sure to watch America's other trusted news source, The Daily Show (back), tonight!

John on Jon. Tonight. TiVO Alert! 

Let all those who have questioned the next president's campaign strategy now fall silent, and humble themselves, and repent. This is just too f*cking brilliant:

(via WaPo)
When John Kerry decided it was time to do his first national TV interview since the Swift boaters for Bush launched their attack on the senator's Vietnam War record, he did not choose CBS's "60 Minutes," ABC's "Nightline" or "NBC Nightly News."

Kerry picked Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," where he will appear tonight in an extended interview.

[W]e spoke to "Daily Show" executive producer Ben Karlin, a charming man who promised that the Comedy Central program would try especially hard to resemble an actual TV news show tonight during its Kerry encounter.

"We're going to focus exclusively on events of 30 years or more ago . . . and not on anything relevant to anything beyond 1964," Karlin said.

He's referring, of course, to the previously mentioned attack ad campaign, which has been funded in part by a top GOP donor in Texas, featuring Vietnam veterans who question Kerry's war record and criticize his congressional antiwar testimony (though that actually took place in the 1970s).

"All of us [on 'The Daily Show'] are just blown away by the turn the campaign has taken," Karlin said. "We cannot believe that this is what is being talked about at this juncture. It's so astounding to us. We are trying to work through our amazement and to conduct a meaningful conversation absent of incredulity, because [the interview] is not going to go anywhere if you just say, 'What the [expletive] is going on?' "

Karlin said he will nonetheless suggest that that be the first question Stewart puts to Kerry tonight.

"If you just want to pinpoint the success of the Republican Party and Bush, this is a perfect case study," Karlin continued, "because George W. Bush has put a moratorium on talk about his behavior under the age of 40 and everyone [in the press] is abiding by it. 'Were you or were you not an alcoholic or did you just have a drinking problem?,' 'Were you or were you not a drug abuser?' Meanwhile they're debating whether [Kerry's war] wounds drew blood or were they superficial, or occurred in the same day, or whether he shot a guy wearing a toga. . . . How is that possible?"
That's 11 p.m. EST. Those whose bedtime or work hours precludes the live show can catch it at 7 Eastern tomorrow.

"Drunken Stateside Sons of Privilege for Plausible Deniability" 

Monday, August 23, 2004

Swift boat smears: Follow the money! 

Gee, the connections between the Swift Boat Veterans for [cough] Truth and the Republican Party just keep getting more and more obvious. How obvious? Even Lizzie Bumiller of the Times can see:

[Bush] spoke on a day when Swift Boat Veterans for [cough] Truth, in another indication of its web of ties to the Republican Party, acknowledged that a woman who helped set it up and works for it is an officer of the Majority Leader's Fund, a political action committee affiliated with the former House majority leader Dick Armey of Texas.

The name of the woman, Susan Arceneaux, is given as the contact person on the post office box that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth lists as its address. She is treasurer of the Majority Leader's Fund. Records show that like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group receives significant financing from Bob Perry, a Texan who has long supported Mr. Bush, and his company, as well as Sam and Charles Wyly, prominent Texas Republican donors. Sam Wyly, under the name "Republicans for Clean Air,'' took out advertisements in 2000 criticizing the environmental record of Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.
(via the barely-on-top-of-it Times)

You know, maybe these guys have had it all their own way for so long that they've gotten sloppy. You think?

The Swift boat group, meanwhile, was explaining a connection between it and Ms. Arceneaux. Records obtained by The New York Times also list Ms. Arceneaux as an officer of a political strategy company headed by William Dal Col, who has managed a host of Republican campaigns.

She has also been an officer of several conservative organizations, whose other officers include Deborah Steelman, a Bush adviser on health care in 2000, and Sally Atwater, whose late husband, Lee [Atwater], was an architect of the famous "Willie Horton'' attack ad
against Michael S. Dukakis when he ran against President Bush's father in 1988.

Reached at her home in Virginia Ms. Arceneaux would say only, "I'm just a vendor,'' and referred all other questions to a spokesman for the Swift boat group, Sean McCabe.

"I'm just a vendor."

I love it.

Translation: "I'm a whore." Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Goodnight, moon 

There's so much more posting to do.... That former stewardess for Adnan Khashoggi, Theresa LePore, has a new ballot out that looks kinda like one of UggaBugga's diagram... The military judge in the Abu Ghraib case gives the essential hint ("Follow the bytes!") but nobody notices (maybe me, tomorrow)... It's a bird, it's a Plame... But I've got to get up early to clean up the horseshit the mounted policemen in front of The Mighty Corrente Building drop all over the pavement, and use it to fertilize the Zen Garden... So, with that, night all.

David Gergen Smears Former Republican Strategist 

Well, not exactly. But you can connect the dots below.

Wolf "blank stare" Blitzer speaking with David Gergen. CNN - Aug 24, 2004:
BLITZER: So should the president -- David, should the president do what Kerry says he should do and others, including John McCain, say he should do, namely specifically condemn those ads put out by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?

[David] GERGEN: It does strike me that -- that we now know that a lot of what these -- are -- is in these ads is incorrect and it does constitute a smear. And on that basis, the president should listen to the good counsel of his friend John McCain and denounce these ads, just as John Kerry denounced the ads against George Bush's service in Vietnam, the ads which allege that -- that the father got the son into the National Guard, which was untrue and a smear as well from, a liberal group. [See CNN transcript: Bush Campaign Says Kerry Ad is Libelous; Kerry Campaign Says White House Mounting Smear Campaign; Intelligence Reform Aired August 23, 2004 - 11:59 ET LINK

Ok, so what Gergen is referring to as "a lot of what ... is in these ads" includes the MoveOn ad suggestion that George W. Bush received preferential treatment - thanks to dear old dad - in order to secure a nice cozy spot with the Texas Air National Guard. This is the kind of allegation that Gergen characterizes as "untrue" and "a smear"? Apparently. Which only reinforces the usual cable TV anchor-pundit-dither about angy Bush hating liberal meanies making wild-eyed unfounded allegations about our misunderestimated heroic God given Leader's glorious legacy. Oh where oh where could MoveOn dot org have gotten such outrageous and unthinkable notions!

Maybe Gergen should ask the guy who wrote this here stuff below:
At Yale, both his grandfather and father were tapped by Skull and Bones, and so was George W. After graduating, he became a military pilot like his father, with some similar help from family influence. In early 1968, before his graduation, a friend of his father's spoke to Texas lieutenant governor Ben Barnes. The lieutenant governor, in turn, contacted the commander of the Texas Air National Guard, Brigadier General James M. Rose, with the result that George W. jumped the several waiting lists involved. After taking five weeks of basic training, he was discharged as an enlisted man, recommended for a second lieutenancy the next day, and given pretraining permission to spend September to November working in the campaign of successful GOP Florida Senate candidate Edward J. Gurney.

[the Blount/Alabama campaign came later in mid 1972]

It had been against navy regulations in 1942 to place eighteen-year-old George Bush in flight training, and the Los Angeles Times found a similar bending of the rules twenty-six years later.[1] George W. Bush did not qualify for either a direct commission or flight training. Tom Hail, the historian of the Texas National Guard, explained that direct commissions were "for doctors only, mostly because we needed extra flight surgeons." The air force flight-instruction program was also a favor, because such expensive training would not normally be given to a green candidate who had shown no professional commitment. The Texas Air National Guard arranged for George W. to train on F-102 fighters, dated aircraft being phased out of frontline service. He knew that he would not go to Vietnam; indeed, his own unit in Texas was being shut down even as he finished flight training. [Kevin Phillips American Dynasty; Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, pages 44-45.]

[1] "Bush Received Quick Air National Guard Coalition," Los Angeles Times, July 4, 1999.

Outrageous! Unforgivable! Oh the scandalous unfounded odious stench of it all!

Will the Bushies sue former Reagan administration White House strategist Kevin Phillips for libel? Will Gergen recant his "smear" against MoveOn? Or, will Gergen accuse Phillips of being a liar. Or a dreaded lefty 527 himself. Perhaps even - SCREAM - a crazed Deaniac!

I'm sure Wolf Blitzer or grande dame Judy of the Wood-ruffs will delve to the bottom of the murky pond and rescue truth on behalf of infotainment, aristocracy, orphaned puppies, and our collective national good fortune incorporated.


Swift boat smears: Connecting the dots 

UggaBugga (as farmer notes below) was kind enough to take one of farmer's history lessons (back) and turn it into one of his many graphics.

Here's the small version:

The larger version is here.

The bottom line: If you connect the dots, as farmer did in prose, and UggaBugga did graphically, you can trace the connections, and see that Bush's claim to have nothing to do with the Swift Boat Smear is a crock. Follow the money!

UggaBugga has been doing interesting work for a long time. His timeline of Bush's TANG service was an indispensable early document as the blogosphere began to unravel that particular tangle of lies. And he has a nice post up today, quoting the essential Juan Cole on the medical effects of Bush's drinking. Now, that would be another interesting graphic...

Old Timey Child Abusers for Bu$h 

From earlier comments (8.23.04): HERE Reader Aaaargh writes:

It's unfortunate that there doesn't seem to be any online discussion of it, but Al Regnery was running for DA of Dane County Wisconsin on a law and order platform 20+ years ago. He was running behind, and his campaign stood to get a boost from an attack on his home and very pregnant wife by drug-crazed hippies.

Unfortunately for Regnery, it came out in The Capital Times that Regnery had staged the whole thing *including slicing up his pregnant wife's belly* . These people are political liars from the word go.

The fullest account was published in Penthouse magazine about 1986 or so, when Regnery came under fire as a Reagan appointee for having a bumper sticker saying "Have You Slugged Your Kid Today" while serving in some connection re child abuse. I'll see if I can track it down and send a scan to the farmer for further comment.

The Penthouse release Aaaargh mentions is the November 1985 issue. The article which appears in this issue is titled "The Truth and Alfred Regnery" by Larry Bush. The reference above to Regnery's bumpersticker can be found in an old issue of Newsweek.

Have you slugged your kid today?
Bumper sticker appearing on Alfred S. Regnery's car. Regnery was Ronald Reagan's nominee (appointment) for director of Office of Juvenile Justice - see: Newsweek, May 2, 1983

I couldn't find either article posted online. (including the Madison Cap. Times story) Anyone still have old Penthouse mags laying around the tool shed?


Various links 

Some links. Some you may have already seen, but, I'm just catching up here myself.

1- Where are Bubble Boy's service medals? DETAILS

2- SUDAN: Day of Conscience this Wednesday, August 25. More via Fact-esque

3- Hungry Blues is following this story.
TUSKEGEE -- Tuskegee police still are investigating the death of 29-year-old Winston Deroyal Carter, who was found hanging from a tree on County Road 65 in Tuskegee. HERE

4- Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest on What The Republicans Are Up To. The Republican "victimization" trip.

5- Well, afterall, he is French.
Prosecutor Gives Hearsay to Slime Kerry
You would think a prosecutor would know better than to use hearsay when accusing another of wrongdoing, but apparently Clackamas County prosecutor and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad star Alfred French doesn't see it that way.

In the ad, French says, "I served with John Kerry. . . . He is lying about his record."

But it turns out that French has no firsthand knowledge of what he is talking about. It is all hearsay:

A Clackamas County prosecutor and decorated Vietnam veteran who appears in an ad attacking Democratic presidential contender John F. Kerry's war record said he did not witness the events in question and is relying on the accounts of his friends who served with the senator. [snip] -- MORE via Patridiots

6- "Totally an independent organization" ??? graphic above/story link

7- Thanks to Quiddity! At Uggabugga who created this GRAPHIC/CHART to accompany an earlier post of mine titled Swift Boat Liars 4 Bu$h - Regnery and the ASC


Swift boat smears; Bush caves? 

Garbo speaks?

Now that the poison has been injected into the bloodstream of the body politic...

Under pressure from Democrats and Republican Sen. John McCain, President Bush on Monday called for ads attacking John Kerry's record in Vietnam to be stopped along with others run by independent groups, and said Kerry should be proud of his war service.
(via Reuters)

What a flip-flopper!

See? It does work to fight back. More of this, please!

UPDATE Not quite. Looking to WaPo, now, it's same old "You first!" thing with the 527s. Damn!

Asked specifically whether he condemned the Swift Boat advertising, Bush said "That means that ad and every other ad. I hope everybody joins me in condemning the activities of the 527s."
(via WaPo

Bring On the Battle, Bunny! 

So I'm over reading Juan Cole like every informed person does on a daily basis (proving that no member of the media fits this description, since they're still spewing the babble that "nobody knows why the siege of the Shrine of Ali has gone on so long"--yup, Juan explains this).

Then in the middle of an exceptionally cogent description of the historical and current structure of Shi'a and Sunni Islam he throws in a suggestion to go read something called The Pink Bunny of Battle.

I am not making this up.

But hell, if Juan Cole suggests I read a website, well damn, I'm gonna at least take a look at it. You should too. The topic today is Academic Freedom, which may sound a teensy bit on the dry side but contains gems like this one:
Once you’ve got the public convinced that there’s a Problem (even if it doesn’t exist), you’re ready to reveal your solution. On the surface, your solution will appear to be for what everyone wants. But it’s deceptive, duplicitous, and deceitful. If you want to do away with motherhood, you’d call your organization Saving Motherhood. This way, you can easily deal with your critics — you just say that they’re obviously against motherhood. Meanwhile, you sell your own mother down the river. Anyone who wants to expose your organization is going to have to engage in “nuance,” which means that your opponents have roughly zero chance of getting their point across to the public.
With all due respect to the Whiskey Bar, old denizens thereof should take a look at the Bunny's, er, hutch. He take comments, too, and what the hell, Billmon's on vacation anyhow.

Tales to Astonish 

This story is so amazing I almost didn't know what to do with it. The Bubble Boy, it seems, actually risked contagation and admitted others into the Presence. He had contact with real life, at least a tiny dose.

An LA Times story, although this link is via

CANTON - As President Bush's campaign bus headed down Interstate 77 from Fairlawn to Canton a few weeks ago, an unusual focus group with 10 Timken Co. workers convened inside. Conducting the session was the president himself.

``There was a lot of anxiety'' over the economy, said participant Vince Martino, describing the meeting later. ``The president said he could feel the tension there and understood.''

At one point, as Bush was talking about his efforts to make health insurance more widely available, a gruff steelworker named Tom Miller, who described himself as a loyal supporter, all but interrupted to say, ``Insurance is important, but it doesn't mean a lot if you don't have a job.''

At the next campaign stop, Bush made a point of expressing empathy with the region, telling 5,000 raucous supporters, ``I just traveled on the bus with workers who told me they are nervous about their future. They're concerned. I am, too.''

The Timken workers live under the threat of plant closings. Details of their July 31 session were provided by seven of the 10 participants in interviews, and the White House and the president's campaign aides generally confirmed the accounts. The Timken group included Democrats as well as Republicans, white-collar workers as well as union members.

The participants all cited Bush's charm, and his ability to put them at ease and encourage candor.

Timken has been in the news in this campaign because Bush visited one of its Stark County facilities in 2003 and said his tax cuts would create jobs. But in May, the company announced it plans to close three Stark County ball-bearing plants that employ 1,300.

Miller told the president that he would not be getting many votes from steelworkers. Miller, a Bush supporter, drove home his point by describing the grief he caught from co-workers when he wore a ``Steelworkers for Bush'' T-shirt to the plant.

``You're a brave soul,'' Bush replied, touching off laughter.
Okay, if you thought THAT was weird, now getta loada this. Akron cut the story short. For the rest, you have to go to the original which nobody else seems to have picked up--LATimes:
At the end of the meeting, Bush turned to his reelection prospects. Although he expressed his belief that he would win on Nov. 2, Bush said he would be at peace with himself "if people elect to send me home."

"He said he wanted to be remembered as being effective and he was not worried about trying to be popular," said Chancelor Wyatt, a marketing manager at Timken.

John Grogg quoted the president as saying: "You know, if I should lose this reelection for president of the United States, I know that I've done as good a job as I can do. And God would say, 'Good servant, take a break.' "
From your lips to the Higher Father's ears, George. Nice of you not to mention the word "Diebold" which would have undercut the whole faux-humility moment.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Tears For Fears 

So for the last couple of days we've been following the story of a guy who got into a Bush rally despite not being a Believer in the One True Faith. He asked a couple of questions, in a rather loud voice. Details below, but suffice to say he did not whip out a karaoke machine and launch into several verses of "Idiot Son of an Asshole" which is what *I* would be tempted to do given such an opportunity.

Well anyway he got tossed out of the rally (par for the course) but then came worse news. He got fired from his job as a graphic designer. We now know, courtesy of WaPo, just who the "client" of his firm was got him canned:
Sandy Sponaugle, [the Octavo client] who gave Hiller the ticket for the restricted event, said his behavior was out of line and made the crowd uncomfortable.

"All I thought was it's not the time or place to be disrespectful of the president of the United States," said Sponaugle. She said Hiller's behavior has put her own work in jeopardy.

Hiller said he doesn't regret what he did Tuesday and said he would do it again. Hiller, 35, said he waited for lulls in the president's speech to shout questions and comments challenging what he called "half-truths" in Bush's statements. He said he asked Bush about the benefits of outsourcing jobs, justifications for the war in Iraq and inspectors' inability to find weapons of mass destruction there. He said that at one point, he shouted, "Would you sacrifice your daughters to liberate Iraq?"

He said he was motivated by how Bush is "pulverizing" society and making people believe "that if somebody disagrees with you, they are bad." He also criticized rallies where tickets are required to attend.

"It's a completely scripted speech in a controlled environment where nobody but those who support him [is] allowed in," he said.

Hiller has two children, ages 15 months and 3 years, and he said he has interviews lined up in his search for a new job.

As for Sponaugle, she isn't surprised Octavo fired Hiller.

"In any business, you can't jeopardize client relationships," she said. "You can't be a small business and have your clients wondering what you're going to do next."
So a guy with two little kids is out on his ass. And you know the sorriest thing about it? Sandy and Sue, despite having gone out of their way to make sure it was well known that this guy was shitcanned, are very likely lying in their beds tonight staring at the ceiling, wondering what kind of a shitstorm is about to descent on them in turn. Are their clients going to dump them now? Are their businesses going down the drain? Do they have kids to support too, here in Dear Leader's wonderful economy?

This is the level of fear they've generated in America. "Harbor a terrorist, fund a terrorist, associate with a terrorist, and YOU are a terrorist." Dissenters are terrorists, arent' they?

Goodnight, moon 

As I put out my tiny candle in the cupboard under the stairs to the boiler room in The Mighty Corrente Building, I reflect on the weekend, and on the week to come.

No, forget about the week to come. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (And speaking of evil, Pete Singer's book, The President of Good & Evil: The Ethics of George W. Bush, is a must read. It's such a pleasure to watch a really analytic mind at work.)

But the weekend was terrific. Lots of great stuff from alert readers, even more than usual. Thank you.

Bush AWOL: About those teeth... 

A nice shot from Podesta:

"Senator Kerry carries shrapnel in his thigh as distinct from President Bush who carries two fillings in his teeth from his service in the Alabama National Guard, which seems to be his only time that he showed up," John Podesta, former chief of staff in the Clinton White House, said on ABC's "This Week."
(via AP)

Except that Podesta is being far too charitable to Bush. (I sympathize; I have the same problem—no matter how hard I try to be cynical about Bush, it's never enough.)

Once again from the Incomparable Bombproof Vault, deep in the bedrock foundations of The Mighty Corrente Building, we present the following from the archives:

I can't verify Bush's presence in Alabama, but as a dental professional I am intrigued with his dental records. Generally, an individual with a large bank account doesn't have any missing permanent molars without receiving a fixed bridge (#3 is missing, yet no bridge is placed between #2-4, #2 has a crown, but #4 only has a three surface restoration). The American public needs to see his posterior bitewings from 1973 and a current series of bitewings to better judge the authenticity of the information provided.
-- Barbara Vanderveen, Galt, CA
("I know Bush lied through his teeth, but I didn't know he lied about his teeth")

The dental records in Bush's military records are fake? Nah. They couldn't be that crude and clumsy, could they?

No. They would never do that!

Readers, can someone tell John Podesta that he's giving Bush too much credit again?

Election Fraud 2004: Voting Machine Certifier is Republican Contributor 

Well, well, well!

Ask a question and you get an answer: Just now (below) we pointed out that "The three companies that certify the nation's voting technologies are committed to secrecy in their contracts with the voting machines' makers - even though tax money ultimately buys or leases the machines." And we asked for information on the companies.

Well, thanks alert reader Susy of Suburban Guerilla, we now have this on CIBER and Wyle, two of the certifiers:

A Colorado company under contract to ensure that the nation's touch-screen voting machines are accurate has been a substantial contributor to Republican candidates and groups.

At Greenwood Village-based CIBER, employees and some spouses have donated more than $72,000 to GOP candidates and groups during the 2001-2002 and 2003-2004 election cycles, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

Democratic donations linked to the firm were $3,000 during that time.

"What should raise eyebrows is that our U.S. government and state governments allow this to happen," she said. "There's been nothing done to dissuade the perception that there's partisan control over the voting process."

CIBER isn't the only company in the voting machine business at which people are actively involved in politics. Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Ohio-based Diebold Inc., the parent of electronic voting machine maker Diebold Election Systems, has helped raise funds for President Bush. O'Dell attracted attention last year after sending a letter to Ohio Republicans to raise money for the GOP, noting his commitment to "helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

Douglas Weber, a researcher for the center, called CIBER's donations to Republicans "substantial."

"They're not one of the major donors. But they do give a substantial amount of money," he said.

The Center for Responsive Politics found $5,750 worth of campaign contributions from Wyle Laboratories for this year's election. All of [Wyle] money went to Republicans, including $1,500 to President Bush.
(via Rocky Mountain News)

OK, now, let me see...

The voting machine manufacturers are Republicans...

The voting machine testers are Republicans...

The testing process is entirely secret....

The voting machine software is entirely secret...

Swing states Ohio (home of Diebold) and Florida (fraud in 2000, already) are using electronic voting machines that are manufactured, tested, and run by Republican firms...

No! They would never do that!

From the Incomparable Bombproof Vault, deep in the bedrock foundations of The Mighty Corrente Building, we present this archived "winger haiku" (back) from alert reader Beth:

From alert reader Beth:

Autumn colors, mist,
Birdsongs, Diebold-counted votes.
So much is fleeting.

Election 2004: Datapoints for the coming trainwreck 

First, there are apparently a number of people who have dual registrations in Florida and New York:

About 46,000 people are registered to vote in two states, New York and Florida, a violation of both states' laws that could affect the outcome of the November presidential election, according to an investigation by the Daily News.

The New York tabloid [the good one, remember] examined computer records to ferret out duplicate registrations in New York City and Florida.

The Daily News said it could not provide an exact count of how many people vote in both places, because millions of names are purged between elections. But the newspaper found that between 400 and 1,000 registered voters voted twice in at least one election, a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Of the 46,000 registered in both states, 68 percent are Democrats, 12 percent are Republicans and 16 percent didn't align themselves with a party, the newspaper reported on Sunday.
(via Reuters)

Eesh. People, let's clean this up, OK? (Thanks to alert reader RDF)

And second, on the electronic voting machine front, things are looking worse and worse:

The three companies that certify the nation's voting technologies operate in secrecy, and refuse to discuss flaws in the ATM-like machines to be used by nearly one in three voters in November.

Despite concerns over whether the so-called touchscreen machines can be trusted, the testing companies won't say publicly if they have encountered shoddy workmanship.

They say they are committed to secrecy in their contracts with the voting machines' makers - even though tax money ultimately buys or leases the machines.

"I find it grotesque that an organization charged with such a heavy responsibility feels no obligation to explain to anyone what it is doing," Michael Shamos, a Carnegie Mellon computer scientist and electronic voting expert, told lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

The system for "testing and certifying voting equipment in this country is not only broken, but is virtually nonexistent," Shamos added.

Failures involving touchscreens during voting this year in Georgia, Maryland and California and other states have prompted questions about the machines' susceptibility to tampering and software bugs.

Also in question is their viability, given the lack of paper records, if recounts are needed in what's shaping up to be a tightly contested presidential race. Paper records of each vote were considered a vital component of the electronic machines used in last week's referendum in Venezuela on whether to recall President Hugo Chavez.

In Huntsville, the window blinds were closed when a reporter visited the office suite where CIBER Inc. employees test voting machine software. A woman who unlocked the door said no one inside could answer questions about testing.

CIBER, founded in 1974, is a public company that promotes itself as an international systems integration consultant. Its government and private-sector clients include the Air Force, IBM and AT&T. In 2003, government work generated the largest percentage of the company's total revenue, 26 percent.

Also in a sprawl of high-tech businesses that feed off Redstone Arsenal and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is the division of Wyle Laboratories Inc. that tests U.S. elections hardware, including touchscreens made by market leaders Diebold Inc., Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. and Election Systems & Software Inc.

Wyle spokesman Dan Reeder refused to provide details on how the El Segundo, Calif.-based company, which has been vetting hardware for the space industry since 1949 in Huntsville, tests the voting equipment.

"Our work on election machines is off-limits," Reeder said. "We just don't discuss it." He did allow, though, that the testing includes "environmental simulation...shake, rattle and roll."

Carolyn Goggins, a spokeswoman for SysTest Labs, the only other federally approved election software and hardware tester, refused to discuss the company's work.

More than a decade ago, the Federal Election Commission authorized the National Association of State Election Directors to choose the independent testers.

On its Web site, the association says the three testing outfits "have neither the staff nor the time to explain the process to the public, the news media or jurisdictions." It directs inquiries a Houston-based nonprofit organization, the Election Center, that assists election officials. The center's executive director, Doug Lewis, did not return telephone messages seeking comment.

The election directors' voting systems board chairman, former New York State elections director Thomas Wilkey, said the testers' secrecy stems from the FEC's refusal to take the lead in choosing them and the government's unwillingness to pay for it.

He said that left election officials no choice but to find technology companies willing to pay.

"When we first started this program it took us over a year to find a company that was interested, then along came Wyle, then CIBER and then SysTest," Wilkey said of he standards developed over five years and adopted in 1990.

"Companies that do testing in this country have not flocked to the prospect of testing voting machines," said U.S. Election Assistance Commission chairman DeForest Soaries Jr., now the top federal overseer of voting technology.

A 2002 law, the Help America Vote Act, created the four-member, bipartisan headed by Soaries to oversee a change to easier and more secure voting.

Soaries said there should be more testers but the three firms are "doing a fine job with what they have to work with."

Wilkey, meanwhile, predicted "big changes" in the testing process after the November election.

I can imagine...

But critics led by Stanford University computer science professor David Dill say it's an outrage that the world's most powerful democracy doesn't already have an election system so transparent its citizens know it can be trusted.

"Suppose you had a situation where ballots were handed to a private company that counted them behind a closed door and burned the results," said Dill, founder of "Nobody but an idiot would accept a system like that. We've got something that is almost as bad with electronic voting."
(via AP)

Is your hair on fire yet? If I had any, mine would be.

Say, those three "systems integration" companies—Wyle, CIBER, Systest. Do any alert readers have information on any other systems they've integrated?

Okay, Virginia, I'm Finally Convinced: There Is A Good MoDo 

I never thought I'd see these words appear on the screen of my computer monitor, not being typed by me surely, not the me who has been so convinced that despite Maureen Dowd's talent as a writer, her gift for humor, and her occasional righteous acuity, her easy, adolescent contempt for all politics and most politicians, (but not for a superstar-politician likeAhhnold whose miserable campaign for the governorship of the state in which I reside was like a thumb in the eye of even the notion of democratic governance but which met with her most girlish approval) that no matter how often her columns contained observations with which I might concur, I would refuse to concur with the notion (even when proffered by as revered a figure as the mighty Atrios) that there is a good MoDo.

Well, today, Miss Dowd is on fire. She writes from her gut, and from her writer's soul. All cuteness is gone. All temporizing avoided. In the place of bravura, we are offered bravery. From angry, felt passion she has crafted a superlative column; in its 800 words many bases are touched, and by the end of the last sentence, the column feels longer than its actual length.

I collect ( in my memory that is) great opening lines ( usually of novels, but also poems and non-fiction), for example, Barbara Kingsolver's wonderful beginning of "Pigs In Heaven" -- "Women on their own run in Alice's family. This dawns on her with the unkindness of a heart attack and she sits up in bed to get a closer look at her thoughts, which have collected above her in the dark."

Miss Dowd has written her way into my hall of fame with these two lines:

It's easy for the Bushes to stay gallant. They delegate the gutter.

There are always third-party political assassins, ostensibly independent, to do the dynasty wet work.

Here are a few more highlights; you can and should read the whole thing here, but after having spent the week doing research on how the right wing was handling the Svitz-Boat Vets, about which I will post later, I need the therapy of quoting the good MoDo's cleansing indignation; she does here what all writers, professionals and not, must always hope to do; she speaks honestly, with clarity and with passion.

The weird thing is, given how transparently the Bushes play the game of staying above the fray even as their creepy-crawly surrogates do dishonorable and undignified things, their rivals always seem caught off guard when the third parties show up to rip their throats out.


How pathetic is it that he's playing defense on Vietnam when W. didn't even serve?


Reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post last week made it clear that the vile Swift boaters have told wildly varying accounts, sometimes supportive of Mr. Kerry.

The Times revealed that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth - is that like the administration's Clear Skies Act for spewing pollution? - has a trellis of ties to Karl Rove, the Bush family and Bush supporters


The Kerry camp knows the Swift boat snipers are hurting the Democrat and fears the Bush oppo campaign will soon move from tarnishing Mr. Kerry's war record to dwell on his days as a shaggy-haired antiwar spokesman. The White House must tear down his heroism before it can tear down his patriotism.

I'll deprive myself of the pleasure of quoting Dowd's last sentence; lashed together by her outrage, the strands of her column come together to reveal the essence of this President -- what it made me think of immediately was that Biblical image of the burning bush and the fire that consumes not itself.

Swift boat smear: "We'll just have to win, then." 

Wow, since Karen Hughes went full-time again for Bush, the tone of the campaign certainly has gotten more civil, hasn't it? Not!

Let's watch a Big Lie get planted:

For those who didn't get the memo, Ratfucking as a tool of statecraft[1], let's start with an exchange at one of those "Ask President [sic] Bush" sessions. Remember, these events are (1) only open to Bush supporters (back), (2) scripted (back), that (3) you can lose your job if you don't stick with the script (back), and (4) they allow violence against Kerry supporters (back).

So, here's the transcript from one of these "Ask Bush" sessions. It takes place just before the torchlight parade. (Hey, just kidding!):

Q On behalf of Vietnam veterans -- and I served six tours over there -- we do support the President. I only have one concern, and that's on the Purple Heart, and that is, is that there are over 200,000 Vietnam vets that died from Agent Orange and were never -- no Purple Heart has ever been awarded to a Vietnam veteran because of Agent Orange because it's never been changed in the regulations. Yet, we've got a candidate for President out here with two self-inflicted scratches, and I take that as an insult. (Applause.)

[BUSH]: Well, I appreciate that.
Thank you. Thank you for your service. Six tours? Whew. That's a lot of tours.
(via White House "Ask the President" transcript)

Lovely, eh? "I appreciate that." I bet. Nice to see Bush speaking the truth, though.

Let's look at the little exchange:

1. It's a classic example of Bush letting others do his dirty work for him. The questioner (an operative?) plants the Big Lie—"self inflicted"—and Bush just smiles and thanks him. (The classic "nod and wink" technique.)

2. Every member of this audience now has the "self-inflicted" meme firmly planted in their minds ("applause"), and since Bush's silence means consent, they're going to repeat it, to their neighbors and above all to the undecided.

3. Asking Kerry to "Prove that your wounds weren't self-inflicted" is a lot like "Prove you have stopped beating your wife." Once the picture gets planted in the mind, it's going to be hard to root out.

4. My feeling is that this is the dangerous stuff—not what we see on TV. This is the poison being spread in the heartland, in the swing states, by word of mouth, and with Bush's authority hehind it.

Crucially, the "self-inflicted" Big Lie is wrapped around a partial, metaphorical truth:

Many Democratic wounds are self-inflicted. (It's called "shooting yourself in the foot.")

Example: Dukakis didn't fight Atwater's ratfucking. A self-inflicted wound.

Example: Clinton's lack of sexual self-discipline handed his enemies, and the enemies of the Union, the mother of all ratfucking weapons to use against him. A self-inflicted wound.

Example: The Daschle Democrats in election 2000 tried to finesse the National Security issue and didn't call the Republicans on their tactics when they ratfucked Cleland. Voters rejected the Daschle Democrats, and the voters were right! If the Daschle Democrats were afraid of Bush, how on earth could they be trusted to defend the country? Another self-inflicted wound.

So I think voters have the right to look to Kerry to be strong on this, play tough, and call Republican tactics for what they are. (That's how to deal with bullies, yes?) Because if Kerry botches this, it's another self-inflicted wound. "More in sorrow than in anger" will be fine (I think Edwards would be just fine at that), a second Checkers speech would be fine, whatever: We can't let this go.

Kerry is a war hero, and if Kerry can't defend the facts of his own biography against the Republicans, why should voters trust him to defend the country against external enemies? Josh Marshall is right: (here) Don't whine; just win.

But we have to win this one, and we won't win it by changing the subject. We didn't start this one, but we will have to finish it. I'd love to talk about public policy and the issues—all the things that Bush won't talk about because he can't run on them—but, alas, the first real encounter battle of the campaign isn't being fought on that ground.

If Kerry wins, and lives, and is allowed to take office, the smears will continue, to make Democratic policies impossible to implement. (Oh, you thought the Republicans would meekly accept the election results? Silly.) The Republicans will try to do to Kerry exactly what they did to Clinton, using their by now very well-worn playbook. It's time to say "It stops here."

[1] For that good old Nixonian term, "ratfucking," see here. Readers—do you have any citations that are more definitive?

Swift boat smear: The usual faith-based intelligence and winger projection 

Um, if "intelligence" is the word that I want... As opposed to "ratfucking." Anyhow:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A veteran who has disputed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's Vietnam war record admitted on Sunday he did not have "a single document" to prove Kerry fabricated reports of enemy fire that won him two medals.

Van Odell, a member of the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that has spearheaded a campaign against Kerry's service record, said his was one of seven eye witness accounts and he was not being directed by the campaign of President Bush.

"Our message is our message and no one tells us what to say," Odell told "Fox News Sunday."

Odell said he had met with Republican strategist Merrie Spaeth, a public relations consultant to his group, and once bought a home from Bob Perry, a large Republican donor from Texas and close associate of Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser.

He acknowledged he had no proof of his charge that then Navy Lt. Kerry, a Swift boat commander, fabricated the "after-action" report saying he faced enemy fire on March 13, 1969, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart for being wounded while pulling a fellow soldier to safety.

"I do not have a single document," Odell said. "I have the fact that I wasn't wounded in that 5,000 meters of fire that he wrote about."
(via Reuters)

So here's the state of play so far.

Because Odell wasn't wounded, Kerry's a liar. But Odell wasn't on the same boat. His claim that he's an "eyewitness" is worthless, he has no documents, and he's clearly an assert of the permanent Republican campaign. Why on earth are these guys getting coverage? Oh, it's FUX. I thought it was on the news.

Remember when the Republicans used to "the party of ideas"? What a sad decline.

It's a classic case of winger projection, isn't it? Over and over again, Republicans push their own guilt onto others. (See Hyde, Henry, youthful indiscretions of, Gingrich, Newt, divorces, several, Limbaugh, "Rush," illegal drug purchases of, Bennett, Bill, gambling habit of... And other examples too numerous to list here.)

The essential point: Be prepared for more and worse. That's how winger projection operates, as we saw in the VRWC's operation against Clinton.

The projection is especially obvious in this case, given that Bush is, at a minimum guilty of payroll fraud (back) during his own "service." It's entirely natural and expected, therefore, that when Bush encounters an actual hero, he copes by trying the destroy the hero's reputation. This must be an especially conflicted and painful situation for Him, given that His own father was not only a genuine war hero, but the pilot that Bush Himself so signally failed to be. And given that Bush has surrounded himself with a cadre of enablers who will do anything to reinforce his self-image, we can only expect the smears to get worse and worse. We're dealing with a terrified, vicious, cornered rat. Be prepared.

I'd love to see Kerry do a "Checkers Speech in Reverse" on this one... When the smears get just a little too obvioius.... As they will.

Swift boat smear: Disinfopedia entry  

A good place to start on the issues, and on the (VRWC-funded) players. And the rocks they crawled from under.

Here's Kerry's "You should be ashamed" ad. If only Republicans could know shame. Perhaps we can teach them...

Can I get a witness? 

You know, it's kind of an amazing contrast.

When Bush attacked Kerry on his war record, one of his fellow soldiers and commanders broke a 35-year silence to defend John Kerry's honor, and nail a Republican smear with facts.

When we started attacking Bush on his lack of service records, and challenged Bush to prove he fulfilled the oath he swore his country by giving evidence of his "missing year" in Alabama, nobody came forward to defend George Bush's honor, not even for a $10,000 reward.

And, oh yeah: The story the SCLM will not write: Bush payroll records Jedi Master Paul Lukasiak has already shown Bush was guilty of payroll fraud. So even putting that little aWol thing aside, the contrast between Kerry honor and Bush dishonor is still quite stark.

The 527s 

If Inerrant Boy thinks He has a case, He should sue.

Bring it on.

If He doesn't...

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

MBF Watch: That design firm that fired an employee for heckling Bush at a rally? 

(Great catch by Xan, back). The firm is Octavo Designs (cache).

And here's their list of "Corporate Identity" clients:

  1. Associated Credit Services, Inc

  2. Aunt Irene's Care Packages

  3. Caribbean Latin American Action

  4. Donna Parker Media Group

  5. Enforme Interactive, Frederick, MD,

  6. Fat City Graphics, Kennesaw, GA,,

  7. Four Seasons Travelers

  8. Illuminaré, Frederick, MD,,

  9. Jefferson County Red Cross

  10. Kidney Center of Frederick

  11. Mind & Motion, Frederick, MD,,

  12. Moore Wealth Advisors, Frederick, MD,,

  13. National Association of School Psychologists, Bethesda, MD,,,

  14. Old Town Tea Co.

  15. Omnessence, Knoxville, MD,,

  16. Pan-Out LLC

  17. Portland Consulting LLC, Damascus, MD,,

  18. Quality First Cleaning

  19. Ram Digital

  20. Road Kill Canteen

  21. Simply Gourmet

  22. Strut Your Stuff Displays & Exhibits

  23. Sundance

  24. Volunteer Frederick, Frederick, MD,,

(Thanks to alert reader KCinDC for filling in the URLs and email addresses above.)

Say, I wonder if any of these firms feel that their corporate identity is helped or harmed by using a vendor that fires its employees for exercising their rights to free speech?

If we had their sites, addresses, email, and phone numbers, perhaps we could ask them ourselves.... Politely, and purely for informational purposes.


NOTE Oh, um, here's the text of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Perhaps Octavo isn't familiar with the text?

"Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" - former first lady Barbara Bush - "Good Morning America" March 18, 2003


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