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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Lest We Forget 

Been a little tied up and got a couple days behind on posting. With all the excitement about hurricanes in Florida and exploding flashlights in luggage at LAX there is a minor matter that is starting to fade into the background, unless you know or are related to one of the participants personally:

(via Juan Cole)

Clive Astle writes from Australia:

' For better numbers on US casualties in Iraq than used by Molly Ivin visit Global Secuirty's casualties page.

Molly appears to have omitted counting the number killed but unidentified pending notification of kin. Total US dead is reported at 1012 as at end of August (244 days of 2004 with 530 dead versus 482 dead in 2003's 287 days despite end of official war and return of "sovereignty").

Of at least equal concern is US casualties totalling 6987 as at end of August including a big jump of 1112 in the most recent month alone. Note that the wearing of bullet-proof vests means that many of these would have been deaths in earlier combats such as Vietnam. The vests have reduced deaths but greatly increased total incapacitation wounds such as brain injuries and limb loss. (Note that Pentagon has been trying to "spin" the number of wounded by only reporting "hostile" wounded since 1 April 2004).

If you assume that the 6987 wounded cannot return to fight and nor can the 4416 reported non-battle injury evacuations, the US loses 21.47 soldiers per day to injury (and 36 per day in most recent month) on top of the 1.9 average deaths per day (total 23.37 per day equals 8530 per year that this continues, more if rates escalate as they are currently). Too many years at this rate and the US military is severely depleted, not to mention the increased vet costs and resultant family impact back home.

Note also that most recent deaths have not been in Najaf, implying there is a largely unreported but much more effective uprising elsewhere in Iraq (Al-Anbar district seems to be where most deaths are still occuring). '
No discussion of politics with anyone, either amongst ourselves or with a potential convert from the Kool-Aid party, should fail to mention these facts and these numbers.

Oh, and happy Labor Day to all, particularly those with jobs, without jobs, with jobs that don't pay enough to live on, or who are in the process of giving birth as they read this. (Trying to cover all potential sorts of folks with Labor issues.)

Thanks Alterman 

I was going to send this note to Eric Alterman but i didn't because I have no idea where to send it. And, because, i sure as shit am not going to send anything to anyone anywhere by entering my personal email address into some MSNBC operated online email submission boxlet. (for all kinds of paranoid reasons....SPAM) Alterman should get himself a real blog. But anyway.....

Dear Eric Alterman,

Hi there. I don't much write letters like this -- (i guess you can call this a letter) -- to people i don't know, because, well, i dunno - i just don't. But, i gotta tell ya this: I really enjoyed your appearence on CSPAN with Brian Lamb. Damned good job. Great job! You made my day. Thanks so very much. To be honest, on several occasions, i considered leaping from my TV viewing chair, lunging across the room, and hugging the TV set. But i didn't, because, well, that would be kinda friggin' weird. But i considered it. Yes i did. And the the fact that i considered it on several occasions during the program says a lot about how much i enjoyed the show. Either that or i'm becoming increasingly strange. Which is certainly possible and probably demonstrably true. But no matter. Who gives a flyin' fuck. You kicked out the jams Alterman! And i just wanted to let you know that.

I (and, i'm sure, many many others) apppreciate your efforts.

Oh yeah, by the way, with respect to that one caller from Saugerties NY (near the end of the CSPAN show) who claimed to be the wife of a POW in "Iraq" (she meant to say Vietnam) - and who also stated that POW's (including, so she claimed, her husband) were subjected to the words of John Kerry's anti-war congressional testimony while captive prisoners of the North Vietnamese (a Swift Boat Vets for Bush allegation) - well, just as a heads up, David Corn noted in his recent Nation column ("The Bush Mob Orders Up a Hit") that John McCain told the New York Times that "his [Vietnamese] captors never used Kerry's congressional testimony to taunt or pressure him." -- just thought i'd remind ya of that one in case you missed it.

Anyway, as i dramatically stated earlier, great job. Thanks again and keep up the good work. Even if your blog is pimped by those suckfish bottom-feeders at MSNBC.

Yours in occupied territory,
- the farmer

When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and Its Consequences - by Eric Alterman. Release date Sept. 23, 2004.


Shining the polls for Bu$h  

The easily excitable cable "news" drones are all a-twitter over a recently published Time magazine poll. This shiny new vibrating object, dangled before the pundoltery, depicts Bush with a 52% to 41% lead among "likely voters" nationwide. The poll, taken from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 can be found here:

What the pampered "journalistic" mediocrities at CNN - as well as MSNBC - do not prattle on about are two other polls taken during the same general period. ALL these polls (including the TIME poll) were taken before the conclusion of the RNC convention in New York. Nevertheless the obedient cable "news" fetch-poodles are doing their yappy best to shill the Time magazine numbers (only) as post convention results. And obvious indicators of the Bush boy's unstoppable appeal. Oh sure.

ZOGBY - Zogby America Poll. Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2004.
"Do you think George W. Bush deserves to be reelected as president of the United States, or is it time for someone new?"

Among likely voters nationwide:
8/30 - 9/2/04
deserves reelection - 46%
someone new - 48%
unsure - 6%

American Research Group Poll. Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2004.
"If the election for president were being held between George W. Bush, the Republican, and John Kerry, the Democrat, for whom would you vote: Bush or Kerry?"

Among registered voters:
polled 8/30 - 9/1/04
Bush - 46%
Kerry - 48%
unsure - 6%

The Bush boy: whose entire strenght has always depended upon those willing to hide the entire story.


Friday, September 03, 2004

There goes W's Bounce... 

Medicare premiums for doctor visits will rise 17 percent next year, the Bush administration said Friday. The $11.60-a-month increase is the largest in the program’s 40-year-history.

Monthly payments for Part B of the government health care program for older and disabled Americans — doctor visits and most other non-hospital expenses — will jump to $78.20 from $66.60.

The premiums are updated annually under a formula set by law. The federal government picks up about 75 percent of the cost of Part B benefits and beneficiaries pay the rest.
He just lost the vote of the vast majority of folks over 65 on Medicare now folks.

Oh yeah -- and this news was, of course, released late on a Friday before a holiday weekend.

The timing of the release — the day following the Republican convention, just before the Labor Day weekend and with a hurricane bearing down on Florida and its nearly 3 million Medicare recipients — drew criticism Friday.

“This is a cynical attempt to bury bad news by leaking it out when you hope no one is watching,” said Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark, D-Calif. “This administration has had four years to improve Medicare and instead have made it worse. Today’s news reflects the reality, not rhetoric, of this administration’s bad record on Medicare.
(via MSNBC)
Gee, ya think?

Retired Americans aren't going to sit still for this. This little nugget may actually do the most to assure the defeat of W.

Part B premiums have risen nearly 40 percent in the last two years.

Kerry had better start hitting them over the head with this -- NOW.

Goodnight, moon 

Why don't we change the name "Labor Day" to "Reagan Day"? I can't believe nobody has ever thought of this before.

Protest = Terrorism: Bloomberg 

Yell at a delegate, or hijack a plane and fly it into a building and kill 3000 people. It's all the same to Mike:

(via NYT)

"It is true that a handful of people have tried to destroy our city by going up and yelling at visitors here because they don't agree with their views," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Think about what that says. This is America, New York, cradle of liberty, the city for free speech if there ever was one and some people think that we shouldn't allow people to express themselves. That's exactly what the terrorists did, if you think about it, on 9/11. Now this is not the same kind of terrorism but there's no question that these anarchists are afraid to let people speak out."

Some anarchist protest organizers, who had urged nonviolent civil disobedience and confrontation of delegates, said they believed plainclothes police officers had been following them and seeking to intimidate them.

They said strangers who knew their names tailed them leaving meetings and followed in unmarked sedans and sport utility vehicles similar to those used by law enforcement agencies.
Mayor Bloomberg has obviously caught a case of Bushspeak, because he seems completely unaware that his mouth has been taken over by a lunatic.

"Preventive policing" was on display in New York this week. This concept says that the way to prevent actual, Seattle-style window-breaking-looting-arsonizing rioting is to arrest people before they do anything. They keep them confined, without access to medical care, legal counsel, or their phone call, even in defiance of judicial orders to release them, until the event in question is nearing its end.

In evidence I present this comment from dKos. I don't know how to link to an individual comment but scroll down a couple-three screens till you get to a long post. This is a part of it. This is an eyewitness, handle of "rppa," whose daughter was arrested in one of the "preventative sweeps":

At about 1:00 pm a judge broke the detainees into three groups by time of arrest, with the first group of 120 ordered to be docketed by 1:30, the second by 3, the third by 4.

The Lawyers Guild (my new heroes) kept pushing these cases as there was no change in status. Note by the way that the court order granting attorney access had been granted around 10pm or 11pm on Wednesday. That access never occurred for a single prisoner. I think we heard about the fines around 5:00, when a judge yelled at the city attorney and demanded that the first two groups be released immediately en masse.

That, of course, didn't happen either.

There was also some skepticism about whether the city will ever pay this fine.

By around 7 pm the process of arraignment started to speed up slightly and for the first time my daughter (near the top of the list in group 1, held since 4:30 pm Tuesday) got a docket number. However, very few of those cases were actually heard. Her friend got an arraignment and dismissal. My daughter was released with a bench warrant with the mass release that finally happened around 7:30 pm. That means she has to travel back to NYC for the court hearing. Not a huge deal for us, coming from Philly, but some of the people in this group come from much farther away. In normal conditions, this bench warrant would have been issued Tuesday evening and she never would have been in a cell at all.
Bloomberg is congratulating his storm troopers for a great job well done. Wadda ya wanna bet he gets them some nice new uniforms as a reward? Brown shirts all around, Mike.

UPDATE "Destroy our city," quotha? Unbelievable. The Bush administration actually poisons New Yorkers by suppressing 9/11 health reports, and somehow that's OK. Then protesters exercise their First Amendment rights, and that's destroying the city. I guess Bloomberg was in Bush's suite when they were handing out the KoolAid... —Lambert

Bill: Update 

Mrs. Clinton appeared briefly in front of the hospital where her husband will undergo heart surgery tomorrow to reassure everyone that he is in good spirits and that both of them have complete confidence that he will weather the surgery and the recovery period and be returned to good health, with relative swiftness.

She also mentioned that it is an immense relief to know that her family's their ability to afford health insuance means that her husband will receive the best medical care, and that she looks forward to the day when all Americans can enjoy the reassurance of access to health insurance they can afford.

Even Chris Matthews was impressed, proclaiming her to be gracious, charming, and on message. Naturally, her recognition that she and her family enjoy an advantage in facing a major illness over a huge number of her fellow citizens, and that in a just society, affordable health insurance should be the right of every American could only be viewed by Matthews as fodder for her personal political ambition, Chris Matthews being unconcerned that anyone else might lack health insurance, as long as he and his family have it. What a crud.

Here's where you can send your best wishes, courtesy of Digby, by way of Fiat Lux

The William J. Clinton Foundation
55 West 125th St.
New York, NY 10027

I think I've got Bush Tourette's Syndome! 

From the essential Digby:

Is it possible that they are incapable of doing anything that doesn't smack of propaganda and self serving bullshit? Do they do this stuff just because it's fun to get away with it time after time, even if they don't have to?

Sigh. Remember the stirring letter from a soldier in Iraq that Bush quoted so dramatically last night?

It turns out that the guy is a soldier all right, but he's also a "scholar" at one of the Scaife funded, right wing foundations.

I don't suppose they could have found any letters of support from members of the military who aren't employed as operatives in the VRWC.

Actually, now that I think about it, they probably couldn't.
(via Digby)

I used to be able to talk sanely, normally, about politics, and even Republicans. But now that I've got Bush Tourette's:

"SIGH"? GODDAMMIT—No matter how—FUCKING USER—hard I—YIKES!—try to be cynical enough with—THAT SLIPPERY LITTLE SCUT—Bush,—I'M FROM PHILLY AND OUR CRACK WHORES CAN BEAT YOUR CRACK WHORES—it's never enough. Never. Why—THE FUCK—is that?

Sometimes I have to stop blogging and walk around a little to calm down....

9/11: Cantor Fitzgerald sues Saudi Arabia 

At 5:42PM today...

Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, a bond trading firm that lost two-thirds of its workers in the World Trade Center attack, has sued Saudi Arabia for allegedly supporting al-Qaida prior to the Sept. 11 attack through financing, safe houses, weapons and money laundering.

The company, in a $7 billion lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan and made public Friday, also named dozens of other defendants, including numerous banks and Islamic charities, in a bid to hold them accountable for its losses in the terrorism attack.

The lawsuit noted that it carried many of the same defendants, transactions, events and questions of law as an earlier $300 billion lawsuit brought by insurance companies against terrorist groups, companies and countries supporting terrorism. That lawsuit, which also names Saudi Arabia, is still pending.

The Cantor Fitzgerald lawsuit took particular aim at Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom "knew and intended that these Saudi-based charity and relief organization defendants would provide financial and material support and substantial assistance to al-Qaida."

According to the lawsuit, Saudi Arabia engaged in a pattern of racketeering as it participated directly or indirectly in al-Qaida's work through its "alter-ego" charities and relief organizations, which it funded and controlled.

The lawsuit alleged that Saudi Arabia materially supported al-Qaida by helping to raise money for it, by knowingly and intentionally employing al-Qaida operatives, by laundering its money and by providing al-Qaida with safe houses, false documents and ways to obtain weapons and military equipment.

"This uninterrupted financial and material support and substantial assistance enabled the al-Qaida defendants to plan, orchestrate and carry out the Sept. 11 attacks," the lawsuit said..
(via AP)


But I don't see how that can be true. I mean, doesn't the Bush family have close ties to the Saudi royals?

The Evidence of Things Not Said 

Faith, we are told, is "the evidence of things not seen." The invaluable Froomkin, who got most of a week off from his "White House Briefing" column since there wasn't anybody IN the whitehouse even briefly, is back with his RNC wrapup. He notes the various and sundry items NOT mentioned in the Acceptance of Coronation speech last night:

(via Froom)
And, for the record, here are a few other things he didn't mention:

• The prison abuse scandal or allegations of torture in Iraq.

• His proposed mission to Mars.

• The value, past or future, of having a Republican-controlled Congress.

• His "miscalculation" in Iraq.

• A headcount of the dead in Iraq.

• The flawed intelligence that he used to justify the war in Iraq.
Most egregious of all, of course, was the omission of any mention of his SOTU-proposed determination to eradicate the scourge of steroids from professional sports. And the attempt of Sadaam to obtain uranium from Africa. We're sure they're with those other details of his next-term agenda on his GeorgeBush.con website he so proudly mentioned last night, even managing to both pronounce and spell it correctly. Well, almost.


President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized at Columbia-Presbyterian in NYC for bypass heart surgery. Mrs. Clinton, looking calm and gracious, made the annoucement at a state fair where she had expected to meet her husband. He'd experienced chest pains the previous evening, went to the local hospital, where tests were inconclusive. At a routine followup this morning, the President's doctors decided he needed further testing. According to reports on cable news, the operation will be a quadruple bypass. Both Hillary and Chelsea Clinton are on their way to the hospital to be with the President Clinton.

Except for Bobby Kennedy after the death of his brother, the connection I feel to Bill Clinton is like no other I've felt toward a politician, an honorable profession, in my view, too little honored. Perhaps that special feeling arises from the extraordinary and largely undeserved demonization he experienced as president, comparable to that of Lincoln. In case anyone is tempted to mention Nixon, he wasn't demonized; he earned his inquity. I suspect that Bill Clinton's many virtues have only begun to be appreciated, even while his demonization by those who consider him their enermy continues apace.

Mr. Clinton's prospects for a successful surgery are probably excellent. However, the procedure is a painful and debilitating one. Selfishly, I have to admit that my fourth of fifth thought, after hearing the lamentable news, was regret that it is unlikely he will be well enough soon enough to campaign for John Kerry.

To all the Clintons, Hillary, and Chelsea, and Bill, the thoughts of millions are with you, and the news that President Clinton's surgery is over and successful will be greeted around the world with happy relief.

President Clinton, we wish you a minimum of pain and a speedy recovery. Your absence from this world of ours is not an option; we still need you too much.

"Bush did nothing to stop them." 

Classy people, these Republicans—booing a man going into the hospital for a triple bypass:

President Bush on Friday wished Bill Clinton ``best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery.''

``He's is in our thoughts and prayers,'' Bush said at a campaign rally.

Bush's audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them.
(via CBS)

"Bush did nothing to stop them."

Silence means consent, right? Remind you of anything? Like Bush doing nothing to correct the smears of Kerry even He says aren't true..

What a coward. Always letting others do His dirty work. Then washing His hands of it all...

"Bush did nothing to stop them."

UPDATE More Republicans showing real class via the Agonist.

UPDATE We could have been mistakenly led by past Republican behavior on this one, however. If so, we'll be sure to apologize if anyone was offended...

Thinking strategically 

What a coWard: Bush waffles on third debate with Kerry 

Bush is stiffing the country on debates. You'd think He'd want to defend his records:

President Bush's campaign won't say for sure whether he will agree to the three debates proposed by the independent Commission on Presidential Debates, or if a Republican strategist was right this week when he said the Bush campaign would agree to only two debates.

The commission, without a formal agreement by the Bush camp, set debates for Sept. 30 in Coral Gables, Fla.; Oct. 8 in St. Louis; and Oct. 13 in Tempe. A vice presidential debate between incumbent Dick Cheney and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's running mate, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, was set for Oct. 5 in Cleveland.

GOP strategist Scott Reed was quoted by the Reuter news agency this week as saying the Bush camp's position is that "two debates are sufficient and will not dominate the entire fall schedule."

"Three debates would have a tendency to be a little overbearing on your campaign strategy and tactics," Reed was quoted as saying.
(via Arizona Republic)

Here's an idea! Maybe instead of actually attending the third debate, Bush could just claim to attend them, even though nobody saw Him... And the SCLM would just say "Oh, OK!" After all, it worked for that peskly National Guard thing....

RNC Wrapup: Republicans talk the talk on security, but they don't walk the walk 

It's always the details that trip the Republicans up.

Madison Square Garden in lock-down mode, trains re-routed from Penn Station to Hoboken (don't ask), police everywhere, helicopters everywhere, bombsniffing dogs—Hey, did any of 'em sniff Zell's speech?—a constant fear rush fed by weird rumors—remember the mice? The hookers? (back), and all that gaslighting (back)....

And how is the actual security at the Convention? Farcically bad! But that's just a detail:

Last night, as President Bush talked in his acceptance speech about fighting terrorism, a young woman with long brown hair began heckling him from 30 yards away in the California delegation.

Minutes later, another woman, in the upper deck of the Garden, was removed from the hall during the president's speech after standing up and revealing that "Give George Bush the pink slip" was written on a pink slip she was wearing.

"I'm shocked by how easy this has been," said Medea Benjamin, 51, an antiwar protester from San Francisco. Ms. Benjamin managed to get within 20 feet of Mr. Cheney on Tuesday night and, during Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's speech, unfurled a banner that read: "Be Pro-life, Stop Killing in Iraq."

"I am shocked by how many passes we can get," she said.

Part of the problem for the Secret Service, which was in charge of security at the Garden, was that thousands of passes were available but there was no system to match a pass with the person it was issued to. The serial number on the credentials could be tracked only to the organization that was responsible for distributing them, which did not help after an incident had taken place.
(via the-always-ready-with-Lizzie's-kneepads-not-the-Los-Angeles Times)

"No system to match a pass with the person it was issued to." Some security system, huh? I mean, isn't "Show some ID" the basic request of security people everywhere?

And the funny thing is... Talking the talk, but not walking the walk, is exactly what the Republicans are doing on Homeland Security.

Take loose nukes, for example (back). We've got orange alerts, lots of political theatre, lots of chest-thumping and strutting and swaggering, but as far as actually securing the ports, so a loose nuke in a shipping container doesn't destroy New York, or Philly, or Los Angeles, or some other (blue) city? Forget it.

In reality, the ports are about as well protected against loose nukes as Madison Square Garden was against protesters: That is, not at all.

Which is not surprising, considering that the same people were in charge of both.

RNC Wrapup: Preparations for The Hate Campaign 

How often Orwell is appropriate!

The preparations for Hate Week were in full swing, and the staffs of all the Ministries were working overtime. Processions, meetings, military parades, lectures, waxworks, displays, film shows, telescreen programmes all had to be organized; stands had to be erected, effigies built, slogans coined, songs written, rumours circulated, photographs faked. Julia's unit in the Fiction Department had been taken off the production of novels and was rushing out a series of atrocity pamphlets. Winston, in addition to his regular work, spent long periods every day in going through back files of The Times and altering and embellishing news items which were to be quoted in speeches. Late at night, when crowds of rowdy proles roamed the streets, the town had a curiously febrile air. The rocket bombs crashed oftener than ever, and sometimes in the far distance there were enormous explosions which no one could explain and about which there were wild rumours. [Orwell even predicted gaslighting!]

The new tune which was to be the theme-song of Hate Week (the Hate Song, it was called) had already been composed and was being endlessly plugged on the telescreens.
(via 1984)

Of course, it can't happen here. No, of course not. Paul Krugman (to amplify Xan below) is acute as always, this time psychologically (and when we say "psycho"...):

Why are the Republicans so angry? One reason is that they have nothing positive to run on. ...

The promised economic boom hasn't materialized, Iraq is a bloody quagmire, and Osama bin Laden has gone from "dead or alive" to he-who-must-not-be-named.

Another reason, I'm sure, is a guilty conscience. At some level the people at that convention know that their designated hero is a man who never in his life took a risk or made a sacrifice for his country, and that they are impugning the patriotism of men who have.

That's why Band-Aids with Purple Hearts on them, mocking Mr. Kerry's war wounds and medals, have been such a hit with conventioneers, and why senior politicians are attracted to wild conspiracy theories about Mr. Soros.

It's also why Mr. Hastert, who knows how little the Bush administration has done to protect New York and help it rebuild, has accused the city of an "unseemly scramble" for cash after 9/11. Nothing makes you hate people as much as knowing in your heart that you are in the wrong and they are in the right.

But the vitriol also reflects the fact that many of the people at that convention, for all their flag-waving, hate America. They want a controlled, monolithic society; they fear and loathe our nation's freedom, diversity and complexity.

The convention opened with an invocation by Sheri Dew, a Mormon publisher and activist. Early rumors were that the invocation would be given by Jerry Falwell, who suggested just after 9/11 that the attack was God's punishment for the activities of the A.C.L.U. and People for the American Way, among others. But Ms. Dew is no more moderate: earlier this year she likened opposition to gay marriage to opposition to Hitler. [here]

The party made sure to put social moderates like Rudy Giuliani in front of the cameras. But in private events, the story was different. For example, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas told Republicans that we are in a "culture war" and urged a reduction in the separation of church and state.

Mr. Bush, it's now clear, intends to run a campaign based on fear. And for me, at least, it's working: thinking about what these people will do if they solidify their grip on power makes me very, very afraid.
(via the Times)

Ah. The Ministry of Fear. Sound familiar?

NOTE Thank heavens I copied this before I posted it and blogger went into endless-spinning-watch mode. Almost lost it. Wouldn't it be great if blogger didn't suck?

"All hat and no cattle." 


Maybe the cattle have been talking to the goats?

Oops, mea culpa. That's just a really vile rumor, without any truth to it (So sorry!)

Irrational Bushiviki Hate 

Krugman, as usual, nails it: (via NYT)
For many months we've been warned by tut-tutting commentators about the evils of irrational "Bush hatred." Pundits eagerly scanned the Democratic convention for the disease; some invented examples when they failed to find it. Then they waited eagerly for outrageous behavior by demonstrators in New York, only to be disappointed again.

There was plenty of hatred in Manhattan, but it was inside, not outside, Madison Square Garden.

Nothing makes you hate people as much as knowing in your heart that you are in the wrong and they are in the right.

But the vitriol also reflects the fact that many of the people at that convention, for all their flag-waving, hate America. They want a controlled, monolithic society; they fear and loathe our nation's freedom, diversity and complexity.
I cite this before mentioning that Bill Clinton is in the hospital with chest pains, looking at quadruple bypass surgery, probably Tuesday. (What kind of clout do you have to have, dammit, to get a doctor to work on a weekend?) Expect the freepers to be cackling with glee. They always have been about as funny as a heart attack, havent' they?

Suitable for framing 

Here (via Atrios)

Framing, or printing up and plastering on every available surface. I think I'm going to try for the Throne Room in the Executive Club of The Mighty Corrente Building...

The Wecovery: Jobs number mediocre, but labor market is shrinking 

The operation was a success, but the patient is dying:

The fall in the unemployment rate was not unalloyed good news. Economists noted a 152,000 fall in the civilian labor force that potentially accounted for at least part of the jobless rate decline. The labor force often falls when job-seekers abandon the hunt for work.
(via Reuters)

Just enough to keep us from losing ground. As if the terrible market for jobs were some sort of accident, when in fact, it's the plan (back).

"Honey, you can trust me—I've changed!" 

It's no accident that Bush used two words—"I" and "will"—most often in his acceptance speech (analysis, back).

When you can't run on your record, you'd better try to get people thinking about the future instead.

Science for Republicans 

From Science, a journal I doubt few Republicans read, especially since ("bi-pedalism") it sounds kinda, um, X-rated:

A chimp-sized human ancestor walked upright 6 million years ago, far earlier than anyone had been able to show before, researchers reported on Thursday.

Specialized X-rays called CAT scans of the top of a fossil thighbone show clear evidence that the creature walked upright, like pre-humans, and not like apes, the researchers said.

Their findings, published in Friday's issue of the journal Science, take the dawn of human gait back another 3 million years from "Lucy," the earliest known pre-human to have walked on two legs.

"We have solid evidence of the earliest upright posture and bipedalism securely dated to six million years," said Dr. Robert Eckhardt, a professor in the Laboratory of Comparative Morphology and Mechanics at Pennsylvania State University.
(via Reuters)

Yeah, if you're unevolved, it's painful to drag your knuckles on the sidewalks of New York—but Zell Miller managed pretty well, didn't he?

But there's a typo in the article... For "six million," the writer must have meant "six thousand." Since the Bible says the earth is only six thousand years old....

And stop that! Right now! No chimp jokes! Show some respect!

World O' Tomorrow, Speech O' Crap 

The invaluable analysts at World O' Crap have provided a summary of Dear Leader's sermon (isn't that what you call a speech delivered from a pulpit? Controversy rages over whether that teleprompter supporter was supposed to represent the crumbled wreckage of the Twin Towers or a crucifix. I remain agnostic on the question) for those so lucky as to have missed the real fake thing:
During the past four years as your President, I have accomplished many great things. Most notably, 9/11.

Since 2001, Americans have been given hills to climb, streams to ford, rainbows to follow, until we find our dream. Now, because we have made the hard day's journey into night, we can see clearly, for the rain is gone -- and there ain't no mountain high enough to keep us from you. Now, because we have faced challenges with Resolve, the stains wash right out. We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America, and nothing will hold us back. And we'll do it our way, yes our way, make all our dreams come true. For me and you.

In my World of Tomorrow, you will be able to ride to your new technical job as a hamburger service technician in a personal hover car.

Senator Kerry opposed Medicare reform and health savings accounts. He opposes marriage, children, little puppies and lowered income taxes for kindly, old billionaires. To be fair, there are some things that he is for: satanic rituals, wife-swapping, and raising the taxes of innocent wealthy people. His policies are the policies of the past. Ours are the policies of the FUTURE! We are on the path to the future, and we are not turning back -- because we're lost, and we're too macho to ask for directions.

Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. Yes, I've been talking to the space aliens again.

Now vote for me or I will kill you all!

Goodnight, moon 

How's the midnight Kerry thing going?

NOTE Kos is down. Let's hope it's traffic, and that he hasn't been hacked.

Old times there are not forgotten 

I like the concept of an "ownership society."

In fact, I think I'd like to own a black person!

This whole Thirteenth Amendment thing is nothing but "a policy of the past." I say it's time to look to the future! And Bush is definitely the man to take us there.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

"Sun slated to appear in East" 

Overall Impression of the RNC 

[Note on museum wall next to this piece:] "Also known as "November in the Unemployment Line with George." Considered a triumph of the "Big Lie" school of manufactured expectations, in which the practitioner simply repeats promises made on previous occasions expecting the audience to overlook the minor fact that none of them have been kept during the intervening years."

Haven't watched much of the talking head analysis yet, probably won't in fact. It was worth watching Dear Leader despite the vile taste in my mouth just for the number of times there were unscripted shouts of "four more years!!!" hysterically trying to cover up the fact that some patriot had managed to infiltrate this nest of vipers to speak truth to power.

Hope they get out of Gitmo North with their health and prospects intact. Atrios' readers were taking up collections earlier to donate to their legal fees.

We can win this one folks. If that's the best George has got, if that's the best he can do, Kerry's speech at midnight signals the beginning of the end. Thugs can't stop us, Diebold can't swamp our numbers, the crooks will be outed and the prosecutions begun.

Toast, I tell ya. Toast.

Bush speech: What tales do the numbers tell? 

I did a frequency count on the words in Bush's speech tonight. Here it is:

0 Osama Bin Laden Iran North Korea (thanks to alert reader bgn) weapons of mass destruction (alert reader dgh)

1 18 1946 2001 20th 26 30 40 50 accept access accessible accountability achieve act action activist actually acute address admit advances advantage afford agenda aggression aggressive agree ahead aid aiming alarmed allied allowing alltime almighty Al Qaida's announced anything anywhere appoint appreciate approach approaches approaching Arabic areas arm armies armor Arnold around arrests arrive asked associates atrás attacks attention attract Australia authorize available away awed baby Baltics Barbara base based behind belief below Berlin Berlusconi best big bigotry Blair blessed blunt bodies body bombs boom both branded bravery breed bribed brings britain brothers buildings built bullets burdened bureaucrats businesses buyers buying call calm can't capitals capturing careers careful caring central certain chairman challenges challenging changed charge charging charities Cheney's choices circle circumstance civilized claim clinton closest coalition coerced colleges colonies combat comes comfort companies company compassion compassionate competition comply comptime confidence confirmed confront confronting congress consistent constantly contest continued continuing control convictions correct cost counsel counted county course created creating crimes crisis cruelty cunning current cut darkness DC deal decency decent deepest deeply defeating defending defense defied define dejaremos delegates demanding demands democrats denied denmark depend dependent deserves despite destruction details detained determine determined devised Dick dictator difference differently difficult dilute diploma direct disarm discounts discredit discriminate dismantling display distant does doomed door double doubling doubt doubters down drag dramatic dreams drift drug duty each early earn earned easily easy editorials egg either el elementary eligible embrace emotional empowering encouragement encouraging end ended endorsement enemies enemy english enroll ensure envisioned equality equipped especially european ever everlasting everwidening evil exam example exciting executed exiles expand expanded expansion expectations expenses explain explosion export expresses extend facing failed fair fairer faith faithful fall fallen family-friendly farmers feed feel feet fell fertile few field fight finds finish firm firms firsthand flaws flextime focusing folded folks forced forces foreheads foreign foresee forever form fortunately fought foundation founding freed friend frivolous frontiers fuel fund fundamental fundraising further Gainesville gathering George georgewbushcom Georgia gets gives global globe goal goals God's goes goodbye goodness goodwill government's governments grabbed graduation grandchildren grants graves greater greatness ground groups grow guides hall hand hands happen harboring hardest hate hats having he's headache headquarters healthy hearts helps hero heroes higherlevel higherpaying hills Hispanic Hollywood homeownership homes honorable hours housing Howard huge husbands I'm idealistic identifying ideology illness imaginary imaginative immediate important importantly incentives include including increase increasing independence information innocent innovative insisting inspired instead institutions intelligence intelligent interest interpretation intervention intimidate investment Israel it's Italy January join joined journalist journey journeys judgment justice keeps Kerry key kids kill killed killers kindness Kwasniewski labor lack land largely largest late laura law leadership leave led left legal less lessons let liberated liberating liberty's lifted line little living local loopholes love lovely lowering madman major makes manufacturing march market massachusetts maybe meaning medicine meet meetings meets mercy mess midst miles mission moments moms money mostly mountain move Mr. much murderous named nation's needed nest net Netherlands Nicaragua ningún niño noble nomination none Normandy Northeast notice noticed nuclear number OBGYNs occupation October off offensive officials often older ongoing online open opinion opponent's opposes oppressed ordering ours outdated outside overwhelmingly owning Palestinians paperwork parent parents' parties party pass passengers past patients pell penalty performance peril perilous permanent persevered person's picture piece plane planned platform playing plead point Poland police policy positive possible practice prayer prayers precious prescription pressed prevail principled prisoners problem problems progrowth promoting proportion proposals prosthetic protection provided provides punishment pursue quickly quiet radical raids ranchers reached really rebellion rebuilding received recently records reformers reforming reforms refused regimes region registered regulation relent religious remains remember remembered remind renewed renewing republicans require rescuers resentments resolute resolution resolve resounding resources responders responds responsibilities restraining rests results resurrection return returned rewarding rigorous risk road ronald rose routine run rural sacrifice saddling sadistic sadness salute salvador same sandstorms scheduled school; Schwarzenegger science scoring scorn season secret secretly secure seize seized sell send senior serious serves service serving settlers shaken share shifts shortcomings shot shouting showed shows sick silence simpler simplify sin sister sitting six skill slavery slowly soft solemn something sometimes son soon sorrow soul speak special specialist speech spend spirited sports stadium stage stake standards standing stands stars started state staying stood storming strap strengthening strengthens strengths strict striking strongholds succeeding successful such supporters surprise surprised sustained swagger system taken taliban taxfree teach teacher teachers tell terrorism test tested testing tests Texas textile thank thing think thinking threaten threats threequarters through thus tomorrow Tony tools toughest towers trade train trained transformational transit tried trillion tripled truly Truman turning twin twothirds typically tyrannies tyranny unanimous unborn uncertainty unchallenged understand understandably uninsured union unleashed urged using usually utmost valley valor value various vehicles veterans vibrant vice victories victory visit voters wake walk walking war Washington watch we'll we're weakest weakness web welcome welfare went whenever whether whitehaired why win wise wisest wives won't words worker workplace worried wounded write writing yesterday you're younger youngest yours zones
2 10 87 90 able abroad account acts advance affordable afraid allow Al Qaida anyone Arabia army ask battle begins being beside between beyond bipartisan Bush calling came cannot center changing climb college coming communities community compete confident consequences continue could council coverage credit dad danger day decade decisions deserve did died diplomacy doctors don't dramatically during economic eight elections employees encourage entrepreneurs Europe everything father fear filled final find flag force fortunate forward friends frightened gave Germany getting gift given go going goods half held him homeland honor Hussein's income involved Iraqi Japan judges kept knowing lady last laws lawsuits learn least level liability Libya look loved low lowincome made mass mate medical Medicare mom months morning next office only optimism out oval over owe owners Pakistan parents pay peaceful pension percent personal philosophy plans politician prepared presidency presidential pride priority program proposed providing purchase pursuing quote raising rather reading reagan record reducing requires respect responsibility retirement rise ruins safety saudi save savings seek seniors served services seven signed since skills societies soldier soldiers sources start states steady still strategy strengthen strong struggle superb sure systems thanks that's three throughout tough toward tragedy transform traveled try uniform use very violence vision vital within woman working worry wrote year york
3 accounts acted billion bless bring broader brought called career chance choice city code complicated courage days decision defend dollars done dream earth education effort energy face far fighting first focus generations give God greatest growing hard Hussein I've importance improve insurance into keep kind knew learned long longer lost lot marriage math matter may members met millions moment national offer once other others ownership political principal programs promise purpose relief senator set social spending stability students supporting taxes terror threat together told training transforming united used want wants way weapons yet
4 11th after ago allies always candidate cause century clear commitment different dignity election faced family fellow forget found funding generation get good grateful hear high history honored how just leaders life like man million minister moral nations opposed passed plan policies poor power prime protect proud reach September should side spirit story strength takes terrorist things today too troops two up vote voted word
5 about again another been before business character citizens conservative create even expanding federal free had heart hold job lead live message military need never nothing own peace provide right running Saddam school schools seen small then times values were whatever women
6 across also better care child economy four great here historic hope hopeful if its lives making path place progress said saw say support those tonight what young
7 against America's an back build children come democracy doing families has men opponent safer society term would
8 but future home most no opportunity president reform see take tax terrorists where which
9 Afghanistan change east from government many security some stand than there these when
10 American his liberty make me middle nation time
11 am help Iraq jobs or us was years
12 believe he now work
13 do your
14 health so
15 can country every it one them—I left noise words like "it" for a reason; see below
16 Americans as freedom must workers
17 at know
18 world
19 all they who
20 by new
21 be my
22 people
25 because
26 not
27 on
29 more
30 you
32 America
34 their this
38 with
46 for
52 are
54 have
55 is
56 that
72 I—no surprise here...
76 our willrelentlessly on the "future" message"
110 in weHe invites us to joincollude with him

121 to
127 a
161 of
217 the
243 and

Well. Any number of drinking games here, eh? Readers, any thoughts?

As I keep saying: Bush is very good. And if the country falls for this pack of lies it, and we, are totally hosed. Let's get to work and take our country back.

360 degrees of Inerrant Boy 

Kos has an embargoed advanced text (I guess we'll see).

Of course, it's full of Big Lies and small lies. I like this one, since it's so easy to refute:

[To the troops]: We will give you all the resources, all the tools, and all the support you need for victory.

Right. I guess that's why parents had to buy their own kids body armor. We're still waiting for the executive order to repay them.

Since I don't have a TV, I won't be able to see Inerrant Boy pop out of the cake...

So, how's He doing?

Kerry Awakens from his nap 

Fighting back, Democratic Sen. John Kerry called President Bush "unfit to lead this nation" because of the war in Iraq and his record on jobs, health care and energy prices. He lashed out at the incumbent and Vice President Dick Cheney for avoiding service in the Vietnam War.

"I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq," Kerry said in prepared remarks issued as the Republican was poised to accept his party's nomination for a second term.
(via USA Today)
It's about damned time.

Meanwhile, Zell Miller is now radioactive. Zell is apparently now a man without a party. Zell even lost his seat in the president's box tonight.


Wednesday was Disaster Night at the RNC 

Boy, oh boy was last night a disaster for the RNC. It's up to Bush to save them. Zell Miller completely melted down on stage and the implosion continued on CNN and Hardball.

It's up to W to save them, folks. Otherwise, this entire convention may be a bigger disaster than the 1992 debacle.

W had better deliver the best speech of his career or he may very well lose support in the polls after this convention.

Pass the popcorn.

Science for Republicans 

Make up your own jokes on "alien civilization"...

An unexplained radio signal from deep space could -- just might be -- contact from an alien civilization, New Scientist magazine reported on Thursday.
(via Reuters)

But does the alien civilization allow gay marriage?

Perle & Swine 

"ownership society"

'Kleptocracy' at Newspaper Firm
By Frank Ahrens, Washington Post Staff Writer

Press tycoon Conrad M. Black and other top Hollinger International Inc. officials pocketed more than $400 million in company money over seven years and Black's handpicked board of directors passively approved many of the transactions, a company investigation concluded.

A report by a special board committee singled out director Richard N. Perle, a former Defense Department official, who received $5.4 million in bonuses and compensation. The report said Perle should return the money to the Chicago-based company.


The new report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Monday, added details of what it called the "corporate kleptocracy" Black and Radler created at Hollinger. It said they treated the company as a "piggybank" and fashion accessory, with Black using the prestige of the newspapers to gain access to the wealthy, powerful and royal.


The report said Perle "breached his fiduciary duties" as a member of the board's executive committee, signing documents without evaluating or, sometimes, reading them, including those that allowed Black and Radler to evade audit committee scrutiny. Perle received more than $3 million in bonuses and hundreds of thousands of dollars more in compensation from a Hollinger subsidiary that invested in new media companies during the dot-com boom. The report said Hollinger International put $63.6 million into 11 companies Perle recommended and lost nearly $50 million. "Perle was a faithless fiduciary . . . and . . . should not be allowed to retain any of his Hollinger compensation," the report said.

Perle did not return a call to his office and e-mails asking for comment yesterday.


Yankee Yell Night 

"girly men"

[AP photo caption] Laborer James Gandolfini speaks during a Stop Bush rally organized by the Central Labor Council on the third day of the Republican National Convention in New York Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2004. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)photo

Via the NY Daily News:
At a huge afternoon union rally that stretched from W. 23rd to 30th Sts. along Seventh Ave., "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini accused the Republicans of imprisoning the city. "I can't tell you how mad I am that I have to walk around like a rat in a little maze because of them, for their security," he said. link

Tell Bu$h to Fuhgeddaboutit!
At the moment we see the president on our television screens, we will rise. We will throw open our windows. And, as George W. Bush moves to the podium in New York City, we will send him a message about his bid for reelection: we will yell, "fuggedaboudit!"

Tonight: The Great American Shout Out - "An Al Franken / Air America Radio Project"


"Senator Santorum, the White House on line 1!" 

And the message is: "Come and get it!"

"He has a wonderful dog, Barney, that likes to visit the Oval Office a lot. And he contributes to the president's ability to meet his obligations."
(via WaPo)

And here's hoping He relates to Barney in a healthy way....

Up Jump The Zevil! 

Berube in the blast furnace: Thu Sep 02, 2004:
Then we introduced Zell with "The Devil Came Down to Georgia." That wasn't my idea. I don't know what it was supposed to signify. And we didn't even get to the dueling fiddle solos! Or the rousing chorus, "chicken in the bread pan, go fry dough."

Lots more on Zany Zell's rebel yell as well as the un-dead demon in Dick Cheney's head..... Third Night

BREAKING NEWS: Koppel Admits Pedophilia, Drug Dealing 

NEW YORK (CNN*)--In a stunning admission on his own show "Nightline," ABC News host Ted Koppel said, in his own words, "Ted Koppel is a drug dealer and pedophile."

Upper management at ABC News and their corporate ownership at Disney Corporation had not issued any comment or defense of their highly-paid and badly-toupeed star as this article goes to press.

Koppel made the confession during an interview with Jon Stewart during a discussion of the obligation of members of the media to evaluate the factual accuracy of claims made by people like the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," a Republican organized, financed and promoted group seeking to encourage George Bush's election in the forthcoming November balloting.

Koppel described a bizarre scenario in which George Bush, during his acceptance speech at tonight's Republican National Convention, diverted from his prepared text to state that Koppel was a drug dealer and pedophile.

Such a statement would properly be repeated by the media, Koppel argued, because it was made by a public figure in a public forum. Having been recorded by the media, he claimed, made it become news.

The discussion arose after Stewart took Koppel to task for what he claimed were the deficiencies of media shown during the current election cycle. Stewart, who claims to be "merely a comedian," notes that his show is described in its own literature as "Fake News" and yet, he said, was coming to be regarded by many viewers as more honest in its coverage than legitimate news outlets like MSNBC and Fox.

Koppel said that the challenge was to find a balance between "facts" and "truth," claiming something which by this point this reviewer was finding increasingly hard to follow, since the logic seemed to be breaking down entirely, meaning that it was time to cut to a commercial.

Koppel then cut to a commercial and ended the program. Baffled viewers are expected to report in online polls tomorrow that they found the entire discussion "troubling" and would seek to console themselves by either looking for analysis of the Scott Petersen trial or fleeing from Hurricane Francis.

More on the story as it develops. Back to you at the Mighty Corrente Tower, Lambert.

*Corrente News Network: First in Snark, First in Rumor, Last in the National League East

Let's Be Careful Out There: II 

First I'm giving warnings about bogus email and tonight's it's a nag on the subject of Counterfeiting: But It Would Be Wrong! What the fuck, I'm turning into Xan Landers here.

But I know you want one of these bills. I know once you get one (I have no idea where they came from, do some googling yourself for chrissakes) you will clutch it to your bosom and treasure it. You will fondle it, giggling, and stroke it out of pure righteous humor.

That's kinky, but it's fine. Just, after you do that and get the paper all soft and fuzzy like, you don't stick it into your wallet by mistake:


GREENSBURG, Pa. Sept. 1, 2004 — State police aren't laughing about the person who allegedly passed some funny money a $200 bill with President Bush's picture on it at a women's clothing store.

Police on Wednesday charged Deborah Trautwine, 51, with theft by deception, for allegedly passing a bogus $200 bill at the Fashion Bug store in Hempfield Plaza on Aug. 22. There is no such denomination, even without Bush's picture on it.
Kinda like there is no such thing as a Bush healthcare policy, or a Bush plan to bring home our people from Iraq or...but I interrupt our story.
Among other things, the bill had a hokey serial number DUBYA4U2001 and didn't bear the signature of the secretary of the treasury. Instead, the bill was "signed" by Ronald Reagan, whose title was "Political Mentor" and by Bush's father, who is listed as "Campaign Advisor and Mentor."

The back of the bill was even goofier.
Kinda like the Bush energy plan, or the Bush economic program for jobs or the....but I'm interrupting again. My bad--
It depicted the White House with several signs erected on the lawn, including those reading "We Like Broccoli" and "USA Deserves A Tax Cut."
Okay, it ain't Monty Python's dead parrot sketch. But I thought it was worth a giggle just to wake you up after Cheney's speech. You sleep sitting up like that all night your neck will hurt like hell in the morning.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Zig-Zag Zell: Lying Then or Lying Now?  

Just guess who Zell was talking about in such glowing terms?

(via, in turn thanks to Atrios):
My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend.

He was once a lieutenant governor – but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984.

In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington.

Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so.

John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital Dozen."

John was re-elected in 1990 and again in 1996 – when he defeated popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country.

John is a graduate of Yale University and was a gunboat officer in the Navy. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple Heart for combat duty in Vietnam. He later co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Who could have guessed John Kerry could have morphed into such a fiend since then? The press, amazingly enough, is not being kind either...something about "all those weapons programs Kerry voted agains" also being voted against by people named Rumsfeld, and Cheney, and....oooh, he just challenged Tweety to a duel. I take back at least half the bad things I said about Chris Matthews in the last two weeks.

What's the going rate for silver these days? I think I know somebody who is not sure he got his money's worth for those 30 pieces now in his pocket.

And Cheney didn't pause because of applause lines, he paused and waited until people started applauding. My debate teacher would have rated the performance -5 for content and -10 for delivery.

Goodnight, moon 

And please—no more hamster jokes, OK?

UPDATE Fake softball?! Has He no shame? Have I no shame, for asking such a rhetorical question?

Kerry: The case for the prosecution 

Buried in Coronation hoopla, but I'll give Kerry the benefit and say he was practicing out of the limelight. If Kerry can get people to listen and think, Bush is toast. Read the whole thing. Before the VFA today:

I can’t come here and fulfill my obligation as a candidate for President of these great United States and not give you a serious appraisal of the challenge we face in Iraq and the war on terror.

No one in the United States doubted the outcome in Iraq or how swiftly the war would be won. We knew we had the best-trained troops in the world and true to form, they performed magnificently, and we are all proud and grateful.

But the certainty of winning the war placed the most solemn obligation on the civilian leadership of this country, to make certain that we had a plan to win the peace.

The Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki told Congress we would need several hundred thousand American troops to win the peace and do the job properly. His candor was rewarded with early retirement and his advice ignored, sending a chilling message through the ranks of the professional military.

By dismissing the State Department’s plan for post-war Iraq and proceeding unilaterally, the civilian leadership simply did not put the mechanism in place to secure the country. They were unprepared for the looting, insecurity, and insurgency that burst out with the fall of Saddam’s regime.

They failed to secure Iraq’s borders, and so allowed thousands of foreign terrorists, Islamist militants, and intelligence agents to penetrate and destabilize post-war Iraq.

Amazingly, they had no real plan for post-war political transition. All of this happened despite clear and precise, bipartisan, warnings from Congress, and regional experts.

Then, as the challenge grew around our troops, the civilian leadership failed to respond adequately; failed to share responsibility with NATO or the UN, which offered assistance; failed to share reconstruction or decision-making, as a way of inviting others to shoulder the burden; and failed to provide the security on the ground necessary for post-war reconstruction.

They rushed and short-changed the training and equipment of the Iraqi police; they failed to recruit enough experts in the language and culture of the region and used those they had ineffectively.

The civilian leadership disbanded the Iraqi military completely so there was no internal structure to maintain order; chose consciously to put an American, instead of an international face on the occupation; failed to prepare for a large number of prisoners; and most significantly, failed even to guard nuclear waste and ammunition storage sites, despite the fact that weapons of mass destruction was their fundamental reason for the war. And some of the weapons we didn’t guard are the very weapons being targeted at our troops today.

As a result, today terrorists have secured havens in Iraq that were not there before. And we have been forced to reach accommodation with those who have repeatedly attacked our troops. Violence has spread in Iraq; Iran has expanded its influence; and extremism has gained momentum.

President Bush now admits he miscalculated in Iraq. In truth, his miscalculation was ignoring the advice that was given to him, including the best advice of America’s own military.

So when the president says we have the same position on Iraq, I have to respectfully disagree. Our differences couldn’t be plainer. And I have set them out consistently. When it comes to Iraq, it’s not that I would have done one thing differently, I would’ve done almost everything differently.
(via (read the whole thing))

That's the case for the prosecution. Let's hope we can get the American people to convict.

Bush Courage: So why doesn't Bush play tennis? 

Sometimes we forget this one:

On his Air Force pilot application, when asked about an overseas assignment, Bush checked "do not volunteer."
(via Salon)

It really is all about character, isn't it? Good to see the press all over this one, the way they were all over Clinton for "preserving his political viability." Oh, wait...

Bush AWOL: When We Were Very Young 

And extremely irresponsible:

After more than three decades of silence, [Linda] Allison spoke with Salon over several days before and during the Republican National Convention this week -- motivated, as she acknowledged, by a complex mixture of emotions. They include pride in her late husband's accomplishments, a desire to see him remembered, and concern about the apparent double standard in Bush surrogates attacking John Kerry's Vietnam War record while ignoring the president's irresponsible conduct during the war.

Allison's account corroborates a Washington Post investigation in February that found no credible witnesses to the service in the Alabama National Guard that Bush maintains he performed, despite a lack of documentary evidence. Asked if she'd ever seen Bush in a uniform, Allison said: "Good lord, no. I had no idea that the National Guard was involved in his life in any way." Allison also confirmed previously published accounts that Bush often showed up in the Blount campaign offices around noon, boasting about how much alcohol he had consumed the night before. (Bush has admitted that he was a heavy drinker in those years, but he has refused to say whether he also used drugs).

After Bush graduated from Yale in 1968, his slot in the Texas Air National Guard allowed him to avoid active duty service in Vietnam.

Yet, after receiving unusual permission to transfer to the Alabama Guard from Texas, Bush has produced no evidence he showed up for service for anything other than a dental exam. [Even the records of the dental exam is suspect.]

[Linda Allison] remembers watching Bush in 1964 at a campaign appearance at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, when she was 32 years old and he was running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. "He was so appealing to me. He said all the things that I believed in, and he wasn't like all the other Republicans running in Texas at that time, who were real right-wingers. He had a bigger vision of what the Republican Party could be. I volunteered for his campaign that day, and that's how I ended up being his Dallas County headquarters chairman." Over the years, Linda kept volunteering with the local Republican Party. "And they gave me bigger and bigger things to do. They appreciated me. And I felt like I belonged to something," she said.

The break happened not long after a boozy election-night wake for Blount, who lost his Senate bid to the incumbent Democrat, John Sparkman. Leaving the election-night "celebration," Allison remembers encountering George W. Bush in the parking lot, urinating on a car, and hearing later about how he'd yelled obscenities at police officers that night. Bush left a house he'd rented in Montgomery trashed -- the furniture broken, walls damaged and a chandelier destroyed, the Birmingham News reported in February. "He was just a rich kid who had no respect for other people's possessions," Mary Smith, a member of the family who rented the house, told the newspaper, adding that a bill sent to Bush for repairs was never paid. And a month later, in December, during a visit to his parents' home in Washington, Bush drunkenly challenged his father to go "mano a mano," as has often been reported.

Linda Allison watches it all from her New York apartment. About George W. Bush's disputed sojourn in Alabama, she asks simply: "Can we all be lying?"
(via Salon (go on—get they day pass, they earned it))

Little George has such a sense of entitlement!

Gaslight watch: On to Teheran! 

Not that I like the idea of more nukes in the world, but isn't the timing of this announcement just a little suspicious? And in another triumph for Bush diplomacy:

Raising new alarms about Iran, the Bush administration concluded Wednesday that the country is getting ready to produce enough enriched uranium for four nuclear weapons.
(via AP)

Nice recipe for an October surprise. Eh?

So, how's Bunker Man doing? 

Dick "Dick" Cheney is speaking tonight, right?

Is he smiling his famous one-sided smile?

Has he done his famous "ad lib" "confusing" Kerry and Kennedy yet?

I'd yawn. If I weren't screaming....

Respectable White Terrorists 

Is there anybody anywhere on this planet so naive that they don't realize that if this guy was brown-skinned, much less Arab, much less a Muslim of any hue, he'd be on death row right this minute?

(via Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

The college student accused of planting pipe bombs in rural mailboxes is scheduled for a commitment hearing today.

Lucas Helder faces indefinite commitment to a federal psychiatric hospital.

Helder, 23, made national news two years ago after planting 18 pipe bombs in a smiley-face pattern across five states. Six people were injured and mail delivery was shut down in some rural areas.

The Pine Island, Minn., native was arrested outside Reno, Nev.

Today's hearing is in Minneapolis. Helder is being held at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn.

An attorney representing Helder said the hearing probably will be the last stop in Helder's journey through the legal system for some time, at least until medical experts say he has improved.
You remember this guy...they called him the "Smiley Face Bomber." His motive, supposedly, was to set bombs across the Midwest in the pattern mentioned. I have relatives in the Midwest and I was NOT amused by this stunt.

No argument that he's nuttier than a fruitcake but we're talking about racism and equal treatment here.

Bush and the Right to Life 

Next time one of the Fetish for the Fetus people gets in your face about Republicans being the Party of Life, the party that has cut funding for anybody anywhere in the world who even thinks about telling a woman who wants one where she can get a clean, safe abortion, mention these other lives they never want to talk about:

(via BBC)

Almost 200 women die each day after having a botched abortion, according to a report.

Ipas, a non-governmental organisation based in the United States, says there are 70,000 such deaths each year.

It says unsafe abortions are also leaving thousands of women with long-term debilitating injuries. The biggest problems are in Asia.

Bush Family (Pet) Values 

The reviews of the Doubletwit Twins convention speech(s) last night, at least as far as the headlines go, have not been over-kind. "Embarrassing" is one of the terms I've seen; "painful" is another. This struck me as a little odd, since presidential offspring usually get a bit of a pass. They didn't chose what line of work their parents would be in after all.

It was worse than I thought. There are some clips up over at dKos. One notes that they claim "not to be very political," but evidence suggests they strained their collective brain to watch their Democratic counterparts' speeches.

Jenna and/or Notjenna: "And we had a hamster, too. Let's just say ours didn't make it."

dKos note: Kerry saves hamsters. The Bushes kill theirs.

Every so often the Republicans forget themselves, and say what they really think 

And it's not a pretty sight:

With attention at the convention focusing on Cheney's Wednesday night speech, Illinois Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes labeled the vice president's lesbian daughter a sinner and called homosexuality "selfish hedonism."
(via AP)

As opposed to generous hedonism, such as that advocated.... Oh, forget it.

UPDATE Alert reader Kman comments:

I don't know what the point of this post is, Lambert.

The Republican Party is a Big Tent Party -- haters like Alan Keyes are just as welcome as haters like Dick Cheney. All haters are welcome, even if they don't always agree on what class of people to hate.

Thanks for clearing that up, Kman.

Big lies from Leadfoot 

Get a load of this one:

"[WAURA BUSH]My husband didn't want to go to war..."
(via WaPo)

Oh, bullshit. Bush wanted to go to war so bad he could taste it. That why, whenever we used those Enlightenment concepts, "evidence" and "reasoning," to demolish one justification for the war, He'd pop right up with another one!

UPDATE This one seems to have hit a nerve.... Alert reader KCinDC writes:

No, she's right. Bush didn't want to go to war, as he demonstrated during Vietnam. What he wanted was for other people to go to war.

Alert reader erasmus:

An additional proof that Bush intended to go to war from the beginning is his insistence that Kerry voted to go to war. It is clear that Bush considers that vote, which we all know was for "authorization", a vote to go to war. Obviously, it was a foregone conclusion for Bush. In my dream world, every time Bush accused Kerry of agreeing with him on the war, some journalist would say "so you intended to go to war as soon as the Congress gave authorization? All that posturing about the UN was just window dressing?" Of course, pigs will fly out of my ass before that happens.

Bush privatization: 350,000 axed from private Pfizer's drugs plan 

Wait a minute—I thought the Republicans were supposed to be compassionate? I guess Pfizer didn't get the memo:

Dr. Mark B. McClellan, the administrator of the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, declined to comment on Pfizer's action yesterday, other than to note that he had urged all of the drug makers "to continue their existing programs."

The Pfizer discount card, called the Living Share Card, was introduced two years ago and was aimed at low-income elderly people.

fizer, the nation's largest drug maker, ended its widely used discount card for the elderly yesterday, leaving several hundred thousand low-income Medicare beneficiaries at least temporarily without access to reduced prices for popular medicines like the cholesterol treatment Lipitor.

The company said that it had been warning its 536,000 cardholders for months that it would discontinue the discount program on Aug. 31 and that it had advised them to sign up for various discount cards that became available under a new Medicare program that began in June.

But consumer advocates, citing the widespread confusion over the new Medicare program, had asked Pfizer to keep its discount card in place until 2006 - the year that prescription drugs will


become a standard part of Medicare benefits.

Under the former Pfizer card, a 30-day supply of Lipitor cost $15 - compared with $68 at one Internet pharmacy, for example, or $43.32 at one Canadian Web site.

Mr. Hayes said the Pfizer action was "a harbinger of trouble ahead" in the patchwork of Medicare drug programs, which include a welter of prices and eligibility requirements that some elderly people have found daunting to navigate.

So far only about 4.1 million of the nation's 40 million Medicare beneficiaries have signed up for Medicare-approved discount cards.

"An extremely savvy consumer can swim in these waters successfully," Mr. [Robert M.] Hayes, ]president of the Medicare Rights Center, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group] said. But many have not even tried. "Usually, the needier the person, the sicker the person, the more likely they will be shut out of these programs," he said.
(via NY Times)

So why not just have universal health insurance as the right of a US citizen? It works for every single other Western country but ours. You'd almost think God cursed us, or something.

Bellwether Bu$h and his Fabulous Divines 

The Crazies Are Back Here!

August 31, 2004 ~ the Palm Beach Post, Far Right Not Thrilled About Being Left Out - by Frank Cerabino

NEW YORK -- The "people of faith" are here, although you might not know by watching the convention coverage on television.

The Republicans have wisely decided to keep their sanctimonious base mostly under wraps this week so as not to scare off moderate voters.

"The Republican National Committee has failed to put a prime-time face on the majority of the party, and that's troubling," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Ratfuckers for Jesus!
But Christian conservatives will be making an unprecedented push this fall to reelect George W. Bush, blanketing churches with their political messages while enlisting spies to "rat out a church" where "same-sex marriage or some other liberal legislative agenda" is endorsed from the pulpit.

There's even an evangelical alternative to Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. It's called George W. Bush: Faith in the White House, a straight-to-DVD million-copy release scheduled to coincide with the Oct. 5 launch of Moore's movie in stores.


The Bush documentary will first be distributed in 5,000 Christian bookstores before it goes to Wal-Mart, Kmart and other mass-market retailers. It's being marketed by Oregon-based Grizzly Adams Productions along with another one of its titles, The Evidence for Heaven.

"See evidence that Heaven is more real than Earth!" the advertisement for that movie says on the same page as the Bush movie, which proclaims: "This powerful program offers a never-before-seen insider's look at how one man's dedication to prayer and the daily application of God's Word has transformed his life."

And the world.

As the movie concludes, it summarizes how Bush's divine guidance has led to great things in Iraq.

"Things are changing in the Middle East and changing for the better," the narrator says. "For the next 100 years, in the Islamic world, he'll be remembered as a great liberator." ~ link


Distant Mirrors: Crazy reflections from the attic:
"Some object to the Bible because it recounts how that women and innocent children were slaughtered in the wars led by God's chosen leaders, and how can God be a just and loving God and permit such as that? The answer is that the wicked people destroyed in those wars received just punishment for their crimes and the innocent ones who died in the wars were taken home to Heaven and certainly it could be no cruel thing to take a good person or an innocent child to Heaven. It is a certainty that we must all die sometime anyway, and what is wrong in God, Who gave us life, allowing us to die in a conflict such as the cruel wars mentioned in the Bible?" ~ Ben M. Bogard / editor of the 'Baptist and Commoner', Little Rock, Arkansas, 1930.

He has loosed the fateful lightening of His terrible swift sword His truth is marching on.......

sing-a-long with 'W' all you corporatist media clowns for "creative destruction"


Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Joys of Republican Diversity 

Don't have a link to a transcript because I was just watching this interview live on WABC-TV out of New York. For a little, I mean "postconventional" coverage they have on Christie Todd Whitman (R, former NJ Gov and head of EPA) and Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-NY.

Charlie Rangel, it happens, is black. So the interviewer is asking both of them about "Republican diversity." Christie puts a brave face on things by citing Education Secretary Rod Paige, the only person of negritude they could find to trot out to speak, Colin Powell having declined in favor of having root canal or something.

You can see Charlie has a zinger coming. He tells the guy that he has been roaming the convention floor since it started, and is always being asked for autographs by delegates who are thrilled to recognize a celebrity.

The only problem is, so far he's been presumed to be: (1) Jesse Jackson, (2) the aforementioned Rod Paige, (3) J. C. Watts (who, Charlie noted, took the entire Republican Black Caucus with him when he retired), (4) the director of the Harlem Boys Choir, and (5) Don King. I think there were more but he sort of let it fade out at that point.

I think maybe Lambert isn't the only person in America who doesn't own a TV. At least that's what I hope the problem is, because otherwise there's bit of a "they all look alike" problem in the dear ol' GOP.

Der Gropenfuhrer on the economy 

Not a dry seat in the house, eh?

And Schwarzenegger joked, “To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: Don’t be economic girlie men!”
(via MSNBC)

Tell that to the millions who lost their jobs, or got jobs again, but at less money than before...

Unbelievable. Or all too believable.

Nice to see the Kerry war room hopped right on this one. Oh, wait...

Goodnight, moon 

Who needs a drinking game when Bush is speaking? I can drink without playing games!

Once again, however, I thank God for the strength She gave me to resist getting a TV....

"Free-riders" for Bu$h? 

The twins were cruising around Brooklyn and decided they needed some pocket change so they pulled up to the ATM and.....

Lookee here what Scaramouche found online. Who has an ATM receipt like this?

Uh...., Halliburton lobbyist? Or, maybe this guy: Rear Adm. Billy "the skimmer" Schachte:

Web Of Connections Grows Wider: $40 Million Contract From The Bush Administration And A "Swift Shift In Stories" Four days ago, retired naval Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. seconded accusations made by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth seeking to discredit Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry's record in Vietnam. But since then, Democrats have discovered that Schachte is also a long-standing supporter of President Bush and a lobbyist whose client FastShip Inc. recently won a $40 million grant from the federal government. According to a March 18 legal filing by Schachtes firm, Blank Rome, Schachte was one of the lobbyists working for FastShip on issues such as the effort to win funding for a new marine cargo terminal. On Feb. 2, Philadelphia-based FastShip announced that it would receive $40 million in federal funding for the project. In addition, David Norcross, Schachte's colleague in the Washington office of Blank Rome, is chairman of this week's Republican convention in New York. Records also show that Schachte gave $1,000 to Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns. (Washington Post, 8/30/04)- USNewswire


Too bad they don't give a Purple Heart for dental work 

Because the closest Bush came to risking his sorry butt was planting it in a dentist's chair—during his "missing year" in Alabama in the Guard. Assuming the records aren't fake, of course.

Anyhow, remember this little slice of Republican life as we know it? (back)

Delegates to the Republican National Convention found a new way to take a jab at Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's Vietnam service record: by sporting adhesive bandages with small purple hearts on them.

As it turns out, even a Republican operative can feel shame—or at least simulate it—and Ed Gillespie shut this noxious little operation down.

I think it's going to be a while before people forget this one, though. It's the little details that are always so telling, isn't it? A nice little vignette from Terry Neal:

Last night, outside the CNN studio set up in Madison Square Garden, I ran into Jon Soltz, who served in Iraq as a captain and tank platoon leader in the 1st Armored Division. Soltz, now a coordinator for Veterans for Kerry in Pennsylvania, was fuming. This morning I talked to him again.

"This is the same kind of stuff that they pulled against Max Cleland in 2002 and John McCain in 2000," he said. "Now they're continuing to try to attack Senator Kerry. Frankly, I'm not surprised anymore. . . . You've got a vice president who turned his back on his country five times [the number of military deferments Cheney received during Vietnam], you've got a president who evaded service in Vietnam. They have no respect for men and women in uniform.

"I think it's time to talk about my war -- Iraq. It's my friends who are coming back dead and wounded and they can't even respect Purple Hearts. Any man who's been into combat knows he was lucky if he comes back alive. It's not a joking matter."
(via WaPo)

Way to support the troops there. aWol.

And it's one, two, three—What are they fighting for? 

Power and money.

John Cassidy, in the essential New Yorker, answers the question:

The President’s ownership initiative hasn’t featured prominently in the media coverage of the campaign, which, strictly from a news perspective, is understandable: he hasn’t announced many specific proposals to back up his talk. But in downplaying the Bush Administration’s economic agenda the media is missing one of the biggest domestic stories of the 2004 campaign. When the President pledges to create an “era of ownership,” he is not talking merely about encouraging people to buy their own homes and start small businesses. To conservative Republicans who understand his coded language, [Bush] is also talking about extending and expanding the tax cuts he introduced in his first term; he is talking about allowing wealthy Americans to shelter much of their income from the I.R.S.; about using the tax code to curtail the government’s role in health care and retirement saving; and, ultimately, about a vision that has entranced but eluded conservatives for decades: the abolition of the graduated income tax and its replacement with a levy that is simpler, flatter, and more favorable to rich people.

Since the personal income tax was introduced, in 1913, it has been based on two principles: the burden of taxation is distributed according to the ability to pay; and capital and labor carry their fair share. The Bush Administration appears set on undermining both of these principles.

Roughly two-thirds of taxable income is paid to workers in the form of wages and benefits. The other third goes to reward capital, or accumulated savings, in the form of corporate profits, dividends, and interest payments. If Bush’s economic agenda was fully enacted, the vast bulk of these payments wouldn’t be taxed at all, and labor would end up shouldering practically the entire burden of financing the federal government. In a new book, “Neoconomy: George Bush’s Revolutionary Gamble with America’s Future,” Daniel Altman, a former economics reporter for the Times and The Economist, describes what such a system might look like. “The fortunate and growing minority who managed to receive all their income from stocks, bonds and other securities would pay nothing—not a dime—for America’s cancer research, its international diplomacy, its military deterrent, the maintenance of the interstate highway system, the space program or almost anything else the federal government did. . . . Broadly speaking, that fortunate minority would be free-riders.”
(via The New Yorker)

And there you have it, folks.

I don't remember voting on this. Do you? Needless to say, such a system can only be maintained by lies, violence, and where democracy is tramnpled. And there's plenty of distraction.

Sound familiar?

UPDATE Scaramouche rams this point home in graphic form.

Hey! Let's Be Careful Out There! 

For those too young to remember the old cop show "Hill Street Blues," the above is the admonition the Old Sergeant used to give his shift of officers after the morning briefing as they were about to go out onto the streets.

Trust no one.


In recent weeks, online security experts have noted a new twist on fraudulent e-mails being circulated on the Internet. The latest virtual scams trick victims with seemingly genuine political messages — and pleas for money to support candidates in tight political races.

Experts at SurfControl, a British company that provides e-mail security software, discovered two suspect e-mail solicitations purportedly from the campaign offices of Sen. John Kerry, just days after the Democratic National Convention in Boston ended.

Both messages contained subject lines that read: "President John Kerry, please vote and contribute." Inside the bogus e-mails was information on Kerry's campaign, mimicking pitches from the candidate's official sites. Each message also contained a link to a Web site where readers could submit their information — address, credit card and Social Security numbers — to make a donation to Kerry's campaign.

Both fraudulent sites were unaffiliated with the Kerry campaign, and were most likely operated by identity thieves out to steal personal information. The campaign complained and the sites — one registered in India, the other in Texas — have since been shut down. It is unknown how many e-mail users might have been duped by the phony messages.
Many of us are signed up with email lists for party or campaign websites. Thieves know the easiest cars to break into, the ones least likely to be even locked, are ones in church parking lots. (And national parks, oddly enough.) Trust, but verify.


From the mouths of......

Diane Francis, a Texas Republican decked out in full jean shirt and cowboy hat regalia, grumbled about Moore's movie and said, "I hope he's got security. He could get killed in here." ~ See: John Nichols/The Nation

Tonights RNC Masquerade Ball theme: "People of Compassion"



Juan Cole has been on a real tear lately, giving a better analysis of the Spy Scandal du Jour the other day than any other source for one. He's not the guy, though, that I look to for coverage of the Republican convention.

Silly me. Professor Cole found an angle on the RNC that I have not seen anywhere else, and in the process manages to outsnark us all:

The Republicans also had an Iraqi woman speak. Apparently they could not find an eloquent Iraqi with good English who still would come and support them. This woman at one point alleged that there have been recent free municipal elections in Iraq. I doubt that very much. Or, if any municipal elections have been held, they wouldn't be considered free or fair if done in the same way in Topeka, Kansas.

I also objected to the use of 9/11 and the US military for partisan purposes. 9/11 happened to all of us, Republican and Democrat. Is it really plausible that all those firefighters from Queens are Republicans? But that was the impression they tried to give. As for singing all the service songs, not all servicemen support Bush.

One person with direct knowledge of the incident told me that a US officer in Iraq had had to threaten his tired, dusty, frightened men with being disciplined if they did not stop referring to Bush as "the Deserter."
Wanna bet that incident happened even before these guys heard about the Deserter's friends' fun and games with the "purple heart bandaids?" I'm sure that went a LONG way to restoring their morale and faith in their commander in chief.

Election fraud 2004: Email military ballots now permitted in swing state Missouri 

Give the Times editorial page credit; they got this one right:

Barely two months before the presidential vote, Missouri's secretary of state has suddenly announced that he will allow military voters from his state - one of the most pivotal in the election - to e-mail ballots from combat zones to the Defense Department. E-mail is far too insecure to be used for voting. Missouri and North Dakota, which announced a similar rule yesterday, should rescind these orders right away. Missouri's action also sheds light on the Defense Department's role in administering federal elections, a troubling situation that needs far more scrutiny.

The Missouri secretary of state, Matt Blunt, decided last week that military voters in combat zones will be able to e-mail their ballots to the Pentagon, which will then send them to local Missouri elections offices to be counted. This system, which has not been used before, is rife with security problems, including the possibility of hacking the e-mailed ballots, which will not be encrypted. Earlier this year the Defense Department scrapped a pilot program to allow the military to vote over the Internet, after concluding that it could not "assure the legitimacy of votes" cast online.

There is more cause for concern after the ballots arrive at the Pentagon. E-mail voters will be required to sign a release acknowledging that their votes may not be kept secret. When the people handling ballots know who they are cast for, it is not hard to imagine that ballots for disfavored candidates could accidentally be "lost." And because the e-mailed ballots arrive as computer documents, it is possible to cut off the voter's digitized signature, attach it to a ballot supporting another candidate, and send that ballot on to the state to be counted.

It is unclear how good the protections are to guard against tampering. The e-mailed ballots will be handled by a contractor, Omega Technologies, hired for this purpose, at the company's offices and without the election observers who are present at normal polling places.

E-mail voting by military personnel also opens the door to coercion. Many soldiers may have to vote on computers in places where their commanding officers may be present. They may also be reluctant to vote their conscience if they know that the Defense Department could be reading their ballots.

In the 1960 election, there was widespread skepticism when Mayor Richard Daley waited until hours after the polls closed to release the Chicago vote, and it turned out to be almost precisely what was needed to put Illinois in the Democratic column. It invites cynicism about our democracy to operate a system in which employees who answer to the secretary of defense could control the margin of victory in a close presidential election.
(via New York Times)

Um, I can think of an example a little more recent than 1960...


Delegates to the Republican National Convention found a new way to take a jab at Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's Vietnam service record: by sporting adhesive bandages with small purple hearts on them.

Morton Blackwell, a prominent Virginia delegate, has been handing out the heart-covered bandages to delegates, who've worn them on their chins, cheeks, the backs of their hands and other places.

Blackwell is president of the Leadership Institute, a nonpartisan educational foundation he founded in 1979. According to its Web site, the institute prepares conservatives for success in politics, government and the news media.
(via CNN)
How low can they go, folks?

I mean, heck, they just de-valued every purple heart every awarded and they've certainly given the very clear impression that they don't give a damn about the blood of American veterans.

Surely soldiers and veterans are smart enough not to vote for these guys, right?

Bush clearly views our soldiers as his own personal green army men to do with as he pleases and, hey, who gives a damn if they die?

And those purple hearts (at least 3,700 of them so far have been awarded for his immoral war), they're not worth anything. They're worth so little W and the boys make fun of them.

I assume the media's going to run with this outrageous disrespect for veterans, right?

Oh yeah. I second Atrios -- feel free to contact Morton Blackwell's "Leadership Institute" and let them know what you think about this.


UPDATE So where the hell was the Kerry rapid response team on this one?

NEW YORK -- A GOP delegate handed out bandages with purple hearts on them Monday night at the Republican National Convention in a swipe at Democratic nominee John Kerry's war record, but national GOP officials have asked him to stop.

Party Chairman Ed Gillespie spoke to Blackwell, and they agreed that he would not distribute the bandages tonight, said GOP spokesman Jim Dyke.
(via Chicago Sun Times

An absolutely classic case of Republican over-reaching, and did the Democratic war room immediately take advantage? No! They give Gillespie a whole news cycle to shut it down. Get it together, guys!—Lambert

Monday, August 30, 2004

Sheri Dew Drip and her fabulist history trip 

"Talk about influence. Imagine the influence of that one magazine in presenting ideas about the family that are totally in opposition to God's plan and will for His children."

That's Sheri Dew talking. Sheri's going to tell us all what "God's plan" for "the family" constitutes because, by kitchen, church and children, Sheri Dew knows that what's good enough for Sheri is good enough for every God damned sinner son-of-a-bitchin' one of us. Eventhough, as I understand it, Sheri herself has only managed, up to this point, to secure for herself a kitchen and a church. But that's ok. Two outta three ain't bad and just because Sheri herself has received no matrimonial invites and works full time outside the home that doesn't make her a lesbian or a femi-nazi or some other cowardly Hitler appeaser type like that.

And, one could argue, that such unbiased outsider status makes Sheri a genuine "non-partisan" and "objective" and a "fair and balanced" minded witness to children and family oriented issues and arrangements. Sure it does. Hey - listen! I've lived with several female kitty cats in my time and for many years observed the comings and goings of any number of slutty yowling sex-crazed midnight wanderings. Each one of these wildings resulting in sucessive broods of furry little fatherless bastards who would eventually manage to destroy my furniture, pee all over my back issues of Readers Digest, and ultimately force me to reconsider my earlier objections to the death penalty. In any case, what I'm getting at here, is that I know a thing or two about single motherhood and it's impact upon society. I also have a kitchen. Like Sheri, I am an authority. Similarly, I have never had any first hand experience with homosexual kitty cats. Which makes me an unfailing authority on that subject too.

Sheri Dew of Salt Lake City in the great state of Utah is a member in good standing of the Church of Latter Day Saints as well as a "White House Delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women." By the way; Utah's "state bird" is the seagull. That's right. Utah. Seagull. You figure it out.

*** attention attention: Forget Nazi's and theo-fascist Mormon bigots for a momemnt and heed this brief announcement on behalf of seagulls everywhere. Gawd-a-mighty. Apparently according to one angry commenter the state of Utah's state bird is the seagull because a flock of seagulls (not the rock band) appeared in Utah and ate a swarm of locust and saved the harvest from a fate of Biblical proportions. No doubt dispatched to the scene by Moroni. Also, the Great Salt Lake has a lot of seagulls flying around it, over it, landing in it etc.... There ya have it. I learn something new every day. Now, back to my regularly scheduled bilious screed.***

Anyway, Sheri's tabernacle of the Most High God didn't allow black guys to serve it's priesthood until 1978 when the chains on such grave dangers to "the Mormon family" and the LDS church and no doubt western civilization in general were cast off in a fit of gallant righteousness. Sure. Which, therefore, would no doubt make Sheri an expert on cultural diversity and inclusion and the moral clarity of tolerance. Granted, it took Sheri's flock almost one hundred and sixty years (give or take) to cross the finish line on that one, but hey, who's counting? Who's dwelling on the ugly past? Uh oh...wait - apparently Sheri is. Recent context and comment on Sheri's previous historical meanderings via Atrios:
Still not one word in the press about the fact that the person the RNC decided was the very best person to give the convention's opening invocation thinks that those who support gay marriage are just like those who supported the man who implemented the systematic slaughter of 6 million Jews, gypsies, gays, etc...

By now most of you are probably familiar with Sheri Dew (no relation to Howdy Dew) and her verbal ventilations on the subject of gay marriage. Including her comparison of current support for such so called "anti-family" agenda bending to the lack of resistance to Nazism in pre-war Germany. But, for the sake of context additional background info is available via Atrios and here from the General
In one of the most hate-ridden moments of the event, Sheri Dew, President of the LDS-owned Deseret Book, likened those who do not oppose gay marriage to those who did nothing to oppose Hitler's rise to power.

Nazi appeasers eh? So lets take a look at what those homo-like Nazi perverts had to say about their unGodly plans to undermine "sexual purity" and destroy traditional family "institutions".

"the flame of life"
He [Adolph Hitler] discussed sexual matters quite often in lenghtly talks late at night with Gusl, regaling him, wrote Kubizek, on the need for sexual purity to protect what he grandly called the 'flame of life'; explaining to his naive friend, following a brief encounter with a businessman who invited them to a meal, about homosexuality; and ranting about prostitution and moral decadence. [Ian Kershaw, Hitler; hubris, page 46]

Gee, that sounds an awful lot like....., uh, oh, never mind.....
NOTE: August 'Gustl' Kubizek was an old friend and confidant of Hitler's when the two lived in Austria.

The Nazi gay "reeducation" agenda for society: July 1933
Homosexuals suffered a similar fate. Following an order from Himmler to rid the Reich of "this sickness," Munich police began rounding up homosexuals and sending them to Dachau for "reeducation." [David Clay Large, Where Ghosts Walked; Munich's Road to the Third Reich, page 242]

Homeland Security
Lists of practising homosexuals were collected by a newly established department in the Gestapa in Berlin from October 1934. Regional Gestapo offices joined suit in widening their persecution, coordinated from 1936 by the 'Reich Headquarters for the Combating of Homosexuals and Abortion.' [Kershaw, Hubris page 751n 41]

Combating homosexuals and abortion? "Reeducation"? That sounds a lot like..., uh, oh, nevermind.....

Where was the resitance to Hitler's mad Nazi plan to crush traditional family values? Where were the Christian churches and their leaders when the Nazi's were waging their evil gaylike cultural war against traditional families and God's plan? Where was the "moral clarity!" Where was the outrage!
Unfortunately, with few courageous exceptions, most clergymen both Protestants and Catholics, passively went along with Hitler and the Nazi regime. For every one pastor like Martin Niemoeller who, although an early supporter of Hitler, became an outspoken critic of the Nazis and ended up in a concentration camp, there were ten others who supported the Fatherland without question. [James Pool, Hitler And His Secret Partners, page 350]

Ah, unquestioning patriotic satraps! Go git em Sheri Dew! Obviously Germany's Christian churches were crawling with liberals and homosexuals and femi-nazis and rainbow swastika waving appeasers way back-a-whenever. As one can see Hitler and his fruity femi-nazi homosexual coddling admirer types were also busy looking the other way as the good heterosexual German was dragged kicking and screaming toward a sodomized feminist gay friendly vision of home and hearth and faith. Just "imagine", as Sheri likes to do..."the influence" just one magazine might have had in driving forward such monstrous evil.
[Albert] Speer, an ardent reader of Life magazine, told of his discontent at seeing pictures of American war plants full of seeminly eager women workers. Nazi doctrine held that the proper concern of women was with Kuche, Kiche, Kinder - kitchen, church and children." [James K. Galbraith, A Life In Our Times, page 212]

Huh? Kitchen, church and children...that sounds a lot like what Sheri and her clan like to..... Oh, no wait.....

Sheri and her fellow theo-fascist sniffs wander in a fun house of mirrors where they gleefully bottle up their own ugly reflections, slap the label of their detractors upon the face of it all, and market this crooked falsely advertised and historically dishonest brew of paralogism to whatever gullible dolt is ignorant enough to guzzle down the poison. Which all to often includes the shameless and duplicitous cable "news" admen and cosmetic counter sales girls posing as broadcast journalists.

If anyone is looking for appeasers willing to look the other way as bigots like Sheri Dew busily pump their poisonous gas into the atmosphere beneath a banner extolling "God's plan and will for His children" you needn't look any further than the marriage of Right-wing reactionary ideology to the careerist fetch-dogs and palpable institutionalized marketing frauds that shill their "expert" observations in the so called liberal "news" media.

I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job. ~ George W. Bush, Lancaster Co., PA, July 9, 2004.

I go with the certainty of a sleepwalker along the path laid out for me by providence. ~ Adolph Hitler, March 14, 1936


Goodnight, moon 

Sheesh. There were 127 House sponsors of the "Defense [cough] of [heterosexual] Marriage Act."

I wonder if wingerly Republican US Rep Schreck (back) was the only closeted gay of the 127? Statistically, that would seem very improbable. Eh?


"Image is everthing" 



TROLL PROPHYLACTIC Meaning: The people who coldly put our troops in the position to lose their honor can't be whipped back to the hellhole that spawned them fast enough.

YARH (big time): God does have a sense of humor 

Let's laugh along with Her!

Turns out (via the ever more essential Atrios) that U.S. Rep. Ed Schrock, Republican, just resigned because of, um, "allegations".

Which were? That Schrock seeks out gay sex on telephone dating services. On tape.

Not that there's anything wrong with that—except when you're a co-sponsor of the Defense of Marriage Amendment.

Gee, this winger projection is getting thick enough to cut with a knife, isn't it?

I wonder if Schrock kills children (back)?

Or if Schrock is like Hitler (back)?

Or if Schrock, cursed by God, should be killed (back)?

Plenty of Republicans seem to think so, if the people they choose to put on the stage are any indication.

Woe to you, Pharisees, hypocrites!

360 Degrees of Inerrant Boy once again 

OK, so the RNC is going to be like "theatre in the round."

And right there in middle of it all, there's this little round stage... From which Inerrant Boy is going to give His acceptance speech.

My Mom says Bush isn't going to walk through the crowds to get to the little round stage: He's going to rise up from beneath it, through a trap door—like a chorus girl popping out of a big birthday cake.

Can that possibly be true? Readers?

Bob the Shill 

Among the stoutest defenders of "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," the best-selling book arguing that Mr. Kerry lied about his record of service in Vietnam, is the columnist Robert Novak.

In his syndicated columns and on the CNN program "Crossfire," Mr. Novak has lauded the book and referred to veterans who criticize Mr. Kerry - most notably John E. O'Neill, the book's co-author - as "real patriots."

Unmentioned in Mr. Novak's columns and television appearances, however, is a personal connection he has to the book: his son, Alex Novak, is the director of marketing for its publisher, the conservative publishing house Regnery.

In a telephone interview, Robert Novak said he saw no need to disclose the link.

"I don't think it's relevant," he said.

"I'm just functioning as a columnist with a point of view, and a strong point of view," he added.
(via New York Times)
What a co-inky-dink, eh?

Equal Opportunity Intimidation 

Maybe this is progress. You think the Alabama Tourism Bureau would be interested in a new slogan? "Racist Voter Intimidation! It's Not Just For Black Folks Anymore!"

(via MobileRegister)
BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. (AP) — About 50 challenged ballots in a Bayou La Batre City Council contest have stirred discrimination concerns because they were all demanded from Asian-American voters.

Opponents of council candidate Phuong Tan Huynh challenged the ballots of nearly 50 voters in Tuesday's city election.

Jackie Ladnier faces Huynh in the Sept. 14 runoff for Place 5 on the City Council.

Ladnier said that his side challenged the voters, feeling that "they'd been deceived by others into believing they had the right to vote when they didn't." Fred Marceaux of Coden, an advocate for the Asian community, called the challenged ballots "scare tactics."

By all accounts, the voters were challenged to their faces as they walked into the polling place at the Bayou La Batre Community Center.

Being publicly confronted on their first trip to the voting booth visibly upset many of those who were challenged. Until this year, Asians here have seemed reluctant to step into local politics, preferring to live as a self-contained community for the most part.

Huynh's sister, Linh Huyhn Tran, a pharmacy assistant, told the Register: "Our parents said they just felt it was prejudice, that's all. They've lived here a long time, and they've come to expect it."

She said, "These people were just hoping that if they challenged our voters, they would just back out. They'd feel like they were in some kind of trouble or they'd be intimidated by all the paperwork in English. ... It could have worked, but it didn't."
These folks are Vietnamese, first generation mostly, who came here after the war. They've seen intimidation before. My guess is a new group of extremely dedicated voters has just been created.

More program highlights from the Republican CoronationConvention 

Looky here...

Thursday, September 2, 2004
"A Safer World, A More Hopeful America"
7:45 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. EDT


Donnie McClurkin
(via PR Wire)

And who, you may ask, is Donnie McClurkin? Let's get to know him on the "Christian" Broadcasting Network!

The recent limelight on the homosexual agenda has Donnie [McClurkin] stirred. "The gloves are off," he says. "And if there’s going to be a war, there’s going to be a war. But it will be a war with a purpose."

"I’m not in the mood to play with those who are trying to kill our children."
(via "C"BN)


A "safer," more "hopeful" world.

Just not for gay people, against whom McClurkin advocates war. After all, they are trying to kill children, right? So they deserve to die, right? It's only self-defense!

And this guy is entertainment at the Republican National Convention. I wonder why?

Sunday at the Demonstration with Madigan 

For a guy who is a Regular Newspaper Writer, Charlie Madigan of the Chicago Tribune sure got into the spirit of this blogging thing REAL quick when the Trib sent him to New York to cover the RNC. How could anyone not click on a link that reads "Fox News Sucks!"?
What can you say about folks who have put on shocking red hair, outrageous tank tops and, perhaps most significantly, massive penises shaped in the form of silver missiles? I don't know what you would do, but the situation had "interview" written all over it for me.
So who made those lovely, pointy silver penises?

"Lockheed Martin," said one of the…(A Gleaner aside: Geeze, what to call them?…Okay, I have it)…Dicks, who said they were Dixie Dicks, or some approximation of that, in a sweet southern accent. The appendage was strapped so professionally to her groin (Was it actually a her? The Gleaner doesn't know what to say about that, either. Curse these New York performance artists) that it looked like she was born with it.

"You envy it, don't you?" I admitted that it was, indeed, impressive. "It takes a strong man to admit his penis is smaller," the Chick said.

I decided to change the subject, real fast.
Okay, so it sounds like he's going for the They're All a Bunch of Freaks angle here. But read the rest if you get a chance, he's really blown away by the numbers, and the passion, and has some shrewd appreciation of the media-playing going on. I enjoyed it, but I am a low and evil person.

Republicans: Fighting gay marriage is the same as fighting Hitler 

Nice to see the Republicans putting on their moderate face tonight, isn't it? The essential Atrios (here) pointed me to Republican Coronation Convention site, where Sheri Dew (love the name!) is doing the Invocation. Here is some material from Sheri Dew, and it's not a pretty sight:

One of the major articles was about gay “marriage.” There were several statements that stood out for me in a dramatic and terrifying way, but one of the most sobering features of the entire article was a picture of two handsome, young men, getting “married.” What distressed me most was the fact that they were both holding an infant “daughter”–twin girls they had adopted. I was, frankly, heartsick.

To say I found the entire article sobering would be a grand understatement.

This escalating situation reminds me of a statement of a World War II journalist by the name of Dorothy Thompson who wrote for the Saturday Evening Post in Europe during the pre-World War II years when Hitler was building up his armies and starting to take ground. In an address she delivered in Toronto in 1941 she said this: “Before this epic is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up with Hitler or against him. Every living human being either will have opposed this onslaught or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If he takes no side, he is on Hitler’s side. If he does not act, that is an act—for Hitler.”

May I take the liberty of reading this statement again and changing just a few words, applying it to what I fear we face today? “Before this era is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up in support of the family or against it. Every living human being will have either opposed the onslaught against the family or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If we do not act in behalf of the family, that is itself an act of opposition to the family.”

At first it may seem a bit extreme to imply a comparison between the atrocities of Hitler and what is happening in terms of contemporary threats against the family—but maybe not.
(via LDS Magazine)

Und so wieter....

I like the editor's touch of putting the "so-called" style of quotes around “daughter”—Isn't that special? Sometimes hate becomes visible in the subtlest of ways....

Yes, I'm absolutely in favor of the family—and for the right of my married niece and her female spouse to bring up a daughter, or a son.

UPDATE Here's another good one. Donnie Mc

Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, who has detailed his struggle with gay tendencies and vowed to battle "the curse of homosexuality," said yesterday he'll perform as scheduled at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, despite controversy over his view that sexuality can be changed by religious intervention.
(via WaPo)

Ah. The "curse of homosexuality..." God's curse, I imagine. Which would explain why he rained down fire from Heaven on New York on 9/11... Say, I wonder what Dick "Dick" Cheney thinks about this? I mean, surely if Bush were to prayer harder .... The curse on Cheney's daughter would be lifted, right?

Son of YARH 

But it's okay, he stands for Jeesuz so whatever He does must be good and besides, the rest of us are going to hell anyway so what's our opinion worth?

(via WaPo)
Ralph Reed, Southeast regional chairman of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign and former executive director of the Christian Coalition, confirmed on Sunday that he accepted more than $1 million in fees from a lobbyist and a public relations specialist whose work on behalf of American Indian casinos prompted a federal investigation.

In addition to his role running the campaign in the Southeast, Reed is a liaison to the Christian evangelical community, and many of its leaders are adamantly opposed to gambling. Reed has been widely credited with leading the political mobilization of the Christian right since the late 1980s.
The short: Reed's "consulting firm" took money (funneled through a law firm currently under heavy Fed investigation), from one group of Indian casino operators trying to squeeze other Indians out of getting casinos of their own. So he was still, if you follow his particularly weasly explanation, opposing gambling. By taking money from gambling interests. If you find this hard to swallow I'm sure there's something in the Bible that will help you see the matter in the proper Light.


I propose a new addition to the Lexicon. This one stands for Yet Another Republican Hypocrite. The term also conveniently represents the sound which often comes out of our mouths when some out-of-touch friend or relative says something like "How can you not like the President, he's such a Godly man, and so strong."

(via TeenyNYT)
Among the stoutest defenders of "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," the best-selling book arguing that Mr. Kerry lied about his record of service in Vietnam, is the columnist Robert Novak.

Unmentioned in Mr. Novak's columns and television appearances, however, is a personal connection he has to the book: his son, Alex Novak, is the director of marketing for its publisher, the conservative publishing house Regnery.

In a telephone interview, Robert Novak said he saw no need to disclose the link.

"I don't think it's relevant," he said.

"I'm just functioning as a columnist with a point of view, and a strong point of view," he added.
Yeah, his point of view is "I don't want the damn kid back sleeping on my basement couch again dammit, so he better keep this job." Also remember that "strong" has several meanings, one of which is "emitting a particularly pungent stench, as in 'a strong cheese.'"

BTW: When I first saw this story at some ghastly hour this morning it was up quite high on the page. It has since slipped way down and over to the right (say it together: "YARH!") and is listed under the heading "Books."

Sunday, August 29, 2004

And While Were Talking About Smears... 

Smears that turn out to be true, that is.

Doubtless you've all heard about, and possibly even actually heard, the confession of Ben Barnes, a former Lt. Governor of Texas that he personally got George W. Bush into the Texas Air National Guard, jumping Dubya ahead of an astonishingly large number of applicants who were in line ahead of him, thus providing him protection from the draft and service in VietNam.

Barnes has been on the record since the late nineties that he received a call and then made a call in the late sixties on behalf of Bush-fils, and yet only two weeks ago, Howard Kurtz on CNN took to task for its commercial that said Bush used family connections to avoid Vietnam in the face of there being absolutely no concrete evidence to support the claim. Apparently, Kurtz's search for evidence went no further than his own desk.

Well, our own adorable Molly Ivins has had this story for years; if any of our leading reporters and pundits had bothered to actually read her highly readable "Shrub," written with Lou Dubose, they might have been more ready to ask questions about Mr. Bush's presentation of himself. Just think of the way the press covered every nasty whisper about Clinton during the '92 campaign, compared with their complete indifference to vetting Mr. Bush's past. I'm probably being unfair, after all, it was surely a Herculean task to keep track of all those serial exaggerations of Al Gore.

Molly fills in the details in her latest column, which you can find here. The first quoted paragraph is Molly's summary of a recent USA Today "rehash" of the state of play on the question of Bush's TANG service; the second is her own elaboration.

A third question from USAT -- did Bush receive preferential treatment in getting into the Guard and getting a coveted pilot slot -- is a non-question. Of course he did. It was the peak of the Vietnam War, and there was waiting list of over 100,000 men to get into the Air National Guard. A friend of Daddy Bush named Sid Adger called the then-lieutenant governor of Texas, Ben Barnes, and asked him to get Rep. Bush's son George into the section of the Texas Guard known as the "champagne unit."

Adger was a prominent Houston businessman who belonged to the same clubs as Poppy, sent his kids to the same schools and had sons in the champagne unit. The son of former Texas Gov. John Connally had joined, the son of Sen. Lloyd Bentsen joined, as did some players for the Dallas Cowboys.

Barnes called Brig. Gen. James Rose of the Guard and recommended Bush for a pilot position. Bush got a direct commission and was assigned one of the last two pilot slots in the state after scoring the absolute numerical minimum (25) on the qualifying test. For years, Bush claimed a friend whose name he didn't remember had told him of an opening in the Guard, that he applied through regular channels and was accepted.

The column starts with the SwiftVets and Ben Ginsberg and ends with all the pre-war pro-war pundits who are changing their minds. (Do Tom Friedman and David Brooks really belong in this group?) Molly rightly insists that the only value that should be attached to the Swift Boat Veterans Determined to Slander John Kerry is as a media case study in how a smear works. The question is, is this one succeeding? Will any of the new war doubters stand up against a smear that is clearly meant not merely to destroy Kerry, personally and politically, but also to shorten the length of time that Bush has to confront issues like Iraq?

Digby has a wonderfully hopeful post about the Swift Boat smear; it includes quotes from a soothing and persuasive examination by Donkey Rising of recent poll results which have been universally interpreted everywhere else as indicating the smear has worked to damage Kerry. I hope they're both right. I have some doubts, to be explored in a later post.

I am sure that Digby's right when he says Kerry deserves some respect from those of us who want to see him elected. He's handled this massive extraordinary personal assault fairly well. Do we ever stop to realize that these men, and women, who run for office, who are, dare I say it, politicians, are also human beings. Imagine what it must feel like to be the subject of this kind of slander. If Kerry was anything else besides a candidate for the presidency, he would probably have authorized a good lawyer to file a suit against O'Neill & co for exactly that, slander. But that is almost impossible for a political candidate, and don't think the Ben Ginsberg's of the world don't know it. And if you think it's easy to defend yourself outside a courtroom against a well-financed smear with only an impotent SCLM to stand up for truth, read the comments thread to Digby's post.

Another Digby must read is this critical analysis of how Rove operates when he's going after an opponent, which obliterates the popular notion that he boldly strikes at a rival candidate's strength, an idea as Digby notes, whose source is Rove.

Rove has developed a campaign of projection in which he tars his opponents with his own candidates' weaknesses and then attacks them. He attacks Kerry for phony heroism thirty years ago when just last year his own candidate had himself filmed in a little costume prancing around on an aircraft carrier pretending he'd won a war that had only begun.

But how does doing that work for Rove's candidate?

But, by tarring Kerry with using war as a PR stunt for his own personal gain, people can process the uncomfortable feelings they are experiencing about Iraq as not really being caused by Junior, but by his rival who is the real shallow opportunist who only pretends to be a man of proven leadership and experience.


He's projected Bush's weaknesses on to Kerry and then gone after them ruthlessly. It makes it very difficult to then turn the attack back on Bush because it's been co-opted. It's another example of the Republican epistomological relativism that's driving everybody up the wall.


What is interesting about Rove is that his way of dealing with his own candidates' even more glaring deficiencies is to build a Kerry straw man in Bush's exact image and then set it afire.

Exactly right. I hope John Kerry has at least one staff member who does nothing but read left of center blogs to cull them for brilliant insights like this one of Digby's, as well as brilliant tactical, strategic and rhetorical suggestions, to be discussed in a separate post.

How different our electoral politics might be if a columnist like Fareed Zakaria, when something as odious as this Swift Boaters smear happens, were to stand up and reject it definitively, in however many Newsweek columns it takes to make the price of pursuing the smear for Republican partisans too high measured in public disdain, and to do so not on behalf of Kerry's candidacy, on behalf of the genuine discussion about Iraq, for instance, this country so desperately needs.

UPDATE: Alert reader Jeff notes in a comment that Barnes was not Lt. Governor when he accomodated Bush Jr into TANG, but was Speaker of the Texas House and worries that Barnes might have made an inadvertant slip in the video in which he expresses his remorse, thus giving Bush partisans a basis to debunk. I think it more likely they'll simply ignore the whole thing. Their modus vivendi is essentially deny, deny, deny, project, project, project.

Securing the Sunrise 

The very fine Philly Inquirer writer Stephan Salisbury did a piece a few days ago that I am only now getting around to, on the subject of Just How Secure Do We Want to Be?

It's about Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the building where the Declaration was signed and the Constitution written. On that latter day, Benjamin Franklin pointed at the chair in which George Washington had sat to preside over the assembly, and noted the carving of the sun. He said that he had been unsure whether it was depicted rising or setting. He said the successful completion of the work reassured him that the sun was indeed rising, that a new nation was being born.

The piece is rather long, and the details are of interest primarily to Philadelphians and history nuts. I revere Independence Hall above almost any other structure in America, and I don't envy anyone who has to make decisions about how to make it safe--REASONABLY safe--from attack.

But not till now has a hardheaded person sat back and analyzed not just the question of what we want to protect these structures from, but what we're protecting them for.

When consultant William G. Chadwick agreed to examine security issues surrounding Independence Hall on behalf of an area citizens group, his first thought was that Independence National Historical Park probably had it right: Block off Chestnut Street forever.

Now, Chadwick's analysis - the only look at park security not funded by the government - is again relevant, as the park wrestles with security issues amid controversy over a recent proposal to build a fence and screening facility on Independence Square and the prospect of an unscheduled forum promised by the park.

What are the likely threats to the park? What areas are likely targets for a terrorist attack? What safeguards can be deployed to protect buildings? What about people? What effect will safeguards have on the park, visitors and the city? Are the protections worth the cost of deployment? And is the park even looking at the right issues?

"You can calculate and actually quantify a risk using a graph," he said. "One axis is the likelihood of an event. The other axis is the impact."

The object is to determine which events are most likely to happen and have the greatest consequences. Next, what must be done to mitigate risk?

Then comes a key question: Is the solution worth the costs? The most familiar historical example of poor risk management dates from the war in Vietnam: the U.S. officer who explained, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

Chadwick determined that the National Park Service plan could not conceivably protect Independence Hall from a car bomb.

With Chestnut closed, the hall would still be vulnerable to bombs on Fifth, Sixth, Market and Walnut Streets.

He concluded that closing Chestnut Street gave only the illusion of security. [The street was reopened in April 2003 after neighborhood protests.]

"A terrorist group that wanted to make a point could make it much more emphatically by killing 300, 400 school kids [in the Visitor Center at Sixth and Market] rather than knocking down that building," he said. "The building can be rebuilt."

Beyond that, focus on physical obstructions has diverted attention from what he thinks could be significant security upgrades: well-trained personnel and well-designed security operations supported by free-flowing intelligence and information. He notes that failures in those areas have been underscored in analyses of events leading up to the 9/11 attacks.

"We recommended in the report that they begin anew the assessment process," Chadwick said. "Start from scratch."
I understand Washington DC is getting pretty damn hideous downtown these days. But DC is an artificial city and always has been. Philly is different, it grew the way William Penn wanted it to, except when it surprised him, and it's been surprising people ever since. I hope they surprise again and show the nation that freedom deserves just as much attention as illusions of security.

Goodnight, moon 

Back to the daily grind...

I'm seeing multiple drafts in the editor, as if blogger's server has the slows....

Stats still doesn't work, and blogger Status says nothing....

Wouldn't it be great if blogger didn't suck?

Seattle Times: Kerry for President 

As Adlai Stevenson famously put it, it's not enough that every thinking American support you; you still need a majority. In that vein, the following endorsement by my hometown flibbertigibbets--who once endorsed the Contract With America just to see what would happen-- is heartening, if only slightly less embarrassing than usual.

Four years ago, this page endorsed George W. Bush for president. We cannot do so again -- because of an ill-conceived war and its aftermath, undisciplined spending, a shrinkage of constitutional rights and an intrusive social agenda.

The Bush presidency is not what we had in mind. Our endorsement of John Kerry is not without reservations, but he is head and shoulders above the incumbent.

The first issue is the war. When the Bush administration began beating the drums for war on Iraq, this page said repeatedly that he had not justified it. When war came, this page closed ranks, wanting to support our troops and give the president the benefit of the doubt. The troops deserved it. In hindsight, their commander in chief did not.

The first priority of a new president must be to end the military occupation of Iraq. This will be no easy task, but Kerry is more likely to do it -- and with some understanding of Middle Eastern realities --than is Bush.

The election of Kerry would sweep away neoconservative war intellectuals who drive policy at the White House and Pentagon. It would end the back-door draft of American reservists and the use of American soldiers as imperial police. It would also provide a chance to repair America's overseas relationships, both with governments and people, particularly in the world of Islam.

A less-belligerent, more-intelligent foreign policy should cause less anger to be directed at the United States. A political change should allow Americans to examine the powers they have given the federal government under the Patriot Act, and the powers the president has claimed by executive order.

This page had high hopes for President Bush regarding taxing and spending. We endorsed his cut in income taxes, expecting that it would help business and discipline new public spending. In the end, there was no discipline in it. In control of the Senate, the House and the presidency for the first time in half a century, the Republicans have had a celebration of spending.

Kerry has made many promises, and might spend as much as Bush if given a Congress under the control of Democrats. He is more likely to get a divided government, which may be a good thing.

Bush was also supposed to be the candidate who understood business. In some ways he has, but he has been too often the candidate of big business only. He has sided with pharmaceutical companies against drug imports from Canada.

In our own industry, the Bush appointees on the Federal Communications Commission have pushed to relax restrictions on how many TV stations, radio stations and newspapers one company may own. In an industry that is the steward of the public's right to speak, this is a threat to democracy itself -- and Kerry has stood up against it.


Our largest doubt about Kerry is his idea that the federal debt may be stabilized, and dozens of new programs added, merely by raising taxes on the top 2 percent of Americans. Class warfare is a false promise, and we hope he forgets it.

Certainly, the man now in office forgot some of the things he said so fetchingly four years ago.
(via the Seattle Times)

Yeah, we all remember the fetching way Bush proposed paying off the debt, cutting taxes and privatising Social Security, all by simply making 2+2=5. We also recall his cute boast about executing people on national television. Welcome to the real world, Neo.

The poor old New York Times. 

Yeah, I got The Sunday Times again, today. I still have such happy memories, and I keep thinking our relationship can be saved...

But I'm losing hope fast.

The most important election for a generation...

Abu Ghraib, where the chain of command is a burning fuse heading right for the White House

Iraq, where (to do them justice) the Times reports that we've lost the countryside, and we're pinned down in the cities....

Electronic voting machines, which have already been shown to have changed a Democrat's win to a loss....

A Rove-ian smear, being refuted in real time....

Insultingly obvious use by Republicans of terror alerts for political gain....

And the Republican National Convention, right in New York, this very week.

And which section, in today's Sunday Times:

Has the most pages?

Weighs the most?

Consumed, in other words, the most money, the most editorial attention, and the most resources?

Why, the launch of T, the new Times Style magazine.

I was about to rest my case, except—OK, I admit it, I'm still a newspaper junkie—I flipped to the Editor's Note, where I found the following:

The T in our logo stands for the Times tradition of news authority.

Ha! Ha ha ha ha! Bwa-hah-hah-hah-ha-ha! It's almost too much! Jodi Will-Whore-'Em! Judy "Kneepads" Miller! Wen Ho Lee! The Clenis™! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! Stop it, you're killing me! Oh-hoh-ho-ho-ho.... Heard from Jeff Gerth lately? Bwa-hah-hah-hah-ha-ha! I can't stand it! Oh, Howell, thou should'st be with us at this hour. Oh my. Goodness.

360 degrees of Inerrant Boy 

Yes, I hear that Bush is going to do the RNC "in the round".

He's an emperor without any clothes from any angle.

Swift boat smears: We're all part of the war room now 

Strib editor Jim Boyd:

We are in the middle of an important national event: the real-time confrontation of a political smear. In previous elections, the examination has almost always been in retrospect. Now the smear, against John Kerry's military service, is being critically examined as it happens. Vigilance is required, and a little courage.

This is not about who is elected, but about how we allow this campaign to unfold, especially on our pages. I am sick to death of being played for a chump by the likes of Karl Rove. America can definitely do better.
(Minneapolis Star Tribune via the ever essential Atrios)


And we in the blogosphere can—and have—played a part in critically examining these smears.

Yes, we're all part of the war room now.

Iraq clusterfuck: More proof that we're winning 

Yeah, right. Bush says "I know what I’m doing when it comes to winning this war." (Heh. No, sob). Well, if getting our troops pinned down in heavily defended enclaves, while fundamentalists run the rest of the country, is the way to win the way, then Bush is going a great, great job:

While American troops have been battling Islamic militants to an uncertain outcome in Najaf, the Shiite holy city, events in two Sunni Muslim cities that stand astride the crucial western approaches to Baghdad have moved significantly against American plans to build a secular democracy in Iraq.

Both of the cities, Falluja and Ramadi, and much of Anbar Province, are now controlled by fundamentalist militias, with American troops confined mainly to heavily protected forts on the desert's edge.

Note that the stories are datelined "BAGHDAD," meaning that Najaf and Fallujah are probably too dangerous for reporters to travel to. Implying that the situtation is, if anything, worse than described in this article.
What little influence the Americans have is asserted through wary forays in armored vehicles, and by laser-guided bombs that obliterate enemy safe houses identified by scouts who penetrate militant ranks. Even bombing raids appear to strengthen the fundamentalists, who blame the Americans for scores of civilian deaths. ...

The situation across Anbar represents the latest reversal for the First Marine Expeditionary Force, which sought to assert control with a spring offensive in Falluja and Ramadi that incurred some of the heaviest American casualties of the war, and a far heavier toll, in the hundreds, among Falluja's resistance fighters and civilians. The offensive ended, mortifyingly for the marines, in a decision to pull back from both cities and entrust American hopes to the former Baathists. ...

American commanders confess they have no answers in Anbar, and say their strategy is to curb the militants' ability to project their violence farther afield, especially in Baghdad. A recent meeting between Iraq's interim prime minister, Dr. Allawi, and a delegation of tribal sheiks from Falluja who have pledged fealty to Mr. Janabi is said to have reached a standstill accord, with Dr. Allawi promising not to sanction large-scale American attacks on the Anbar cities, and the sheiks conveying Mr. Janabi's pledge to halt militant attacks on the Americans.

But leaving the militants in control could pose a disabling threat to American political plans, which may already have been shaken more than American officials will admit by events in Najaf. Top American officials say that events there, with Moktada al-Sadr's militiamen finally driven from the Imam Ali Shrine, have set the stage for a turn in American fortunes across the Shiite heartland of Iraq. But even there the prospects seem deeply clouded by the failure to effectively disarm Mr. Sadr's surviving fighters as they left the shrine with shouldered rifles and donkey carts loaded with rockets...
(via The New York Times)

Of course, when Bush talks about winning "this war," he's really talking about his war against the Democrats. As for the Iraq war, "winning" means "keeping the lid on until after November 2004."

Bush war plans: On to Teheran! 

Gee, are those neo-cons Rapture Ready, or what? The essential Juan Cole comments at length on the latest Bush intelligence clusterfuck, the Larry Franklin fiasco:

It is an echo of the one-two punch secretly planned by the pro-Likud faction in the Department of Defense. First, Iraq would be taken out by the United States, and then Iran.

Franklin moved over to the Pentagon from DIA, where he became the Iran expert, working for Bill Luti and Undersecretary of Defense for Planning, Douglas Feith. He was the "go to" person on Iran for Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and for Feith. This situation is pretty tragic, since Franklin is not a real Iranist. His main brief appears to have been to find ways to push a policy of overthrowing its government (apparently once Iraq had been taken care of). This project has been pushed by the shadowy eminence grise, Michael Ledeen, for many years, and Franklin coordinated with Ledeen in some way. Franklin was also close to Harold Rhode, a long-time Middle East specialist in the Defense Department who has cultivated far right pro-Likud cronies for many years, more or less establishing a cell within the Department of Defense.

So Franklin, Ledeen, and Rhode, all of them pro-Likud operatives, just happen to be meeting with SISMI (the proto-fascist purveyor of the false Niger uranium story about Iraq and the alleged Iran-Iraq plot against the rest of the world) and corrupt Iranian businessman and would-be revolutionary, Ghorbanifar, in Europe. The most reasonable conclusion is that they were conspiring together about the Next Campaign after Iraq, which they had already begun setting in train, which is to get Iran.

The FBI has evidence that Franklin passed a draft presidential directive on Iran to AIPAC, which then passed it to the Israelis. The FBI is construing these actions as espionage or something close to it. But that is like getting Al Capone on tax evasion. Franklin was not giving the directive to AIPAC in order to provide them with information. He was almost certainly seeking feedback from them on elements of it. He was asking, "Do you like this? Should it be changed in any way?" And, he might also have been prepping AIPAC for the lobbying campaign scheduled for early in 2005, when Congress will have to be convinced to authorize military action, or at least covert special operations, against Iran.

Franklin's movements reveal the contours of a rightwing conspiracy of warmongering and aggression, an orgy of destruction, for the benefit of the Likud Party, of Silvio Berlusconi's business in the Middle East, and of the Neoconservative Right in the United States. It isn't about spying. It is about conspiring to conscript the US government on behalf of a foreign power or powers.
(via Informed Comment)

All too complicated for my simple mind. Read the the whole thing. Sounds like that "tectonic movement," deep beneath the surface of "our" government and not visible to us, that Josh Marshall spoke of.

Oh, and Josh Marshall has much, much more. However, oddly, or not, The Washington Monthly site with Marshall's article is down.

UPDATE The Washington Monthly site is now up.

Swiftboat smear: Chirping from Leadfoot 

Gee, Bush thinks, or at least says, that Kerry's service was "honorable." So can't he get his own wife to stay "on message" with him? Oh, wait. He's using his wife as a campaign surrogate. Phew!

Do you think these swift-boat ads are unfair to John Kerry?

Do I think they're unfair? Not really. There have been millions of terrible ads against my husband.
(Time via Atrios)

Work with me here, Laura (back).

The point isn't whether the ads are "terrible." The point is whether the ads are true.

It would indeed be a "terrible thing" to find out that Bush was guilty of payroll fraud in the Guard (never mind the AWOL thing for now). And when Paul Lukasiak builds the case that Bush is guilty of payroll fraud, he uses the concepts of "evidence" and "reasoning."

When the SBVF[cough]T say "terrible things" about Kerry, they don't use "evidence" and "reasoning." They just make stuff up. Like the idea that there are four men, not three, in a 14-foot boat, and two of them are Lieutenants. So when their stuff falls apart on examination, they just make more shit up. That's why what they're doing is called a "smear."


I think the Bushes believe that any criticism of Bush is unfounded, simply because he was elected President. Oh, wait... That can't be it...

A Bush grows in Brooklyn and other scary eventuations.... 

Greg Palast with details on the relationship between George HW Bush and Ben Barnes. Palast's 2003 BBC report (first reported in 1999/London Observer) is refused air time by the "shadowy" Time Warner group.

Greg's Web Log | STILL UNREPORTED: THE PAY-OFF IN BUSH AIR GUARD FIX | Saturday Aug 28, 2004...

In 1968, former Congressman George Herbert Walker Bush of Texas, fresh from voting to send other men’s sons to Vietnam, enlisted his own son in a very special affirmative action program, the ‘champagne’ unit of the Texas Air National Guard. There, Top Gun fighter pilot George Dubya was assigned the dangerous job of protecting Houston from Vietcong air attack.

This week, former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes of Texas 'fessed up to pulling the strings to keep Little George out of the jungle. "I got a young man named George W. Bush into the Texas Air Guard - and I'm ashamed." ----- THE PAY-OFF ---- That’s far from the end of the story. [...]



By the way: I first reported this story in 1999, including the evidence of payback, in The Observer of London. US media closed its eyes. Then I put the story on British television last year in the one-hour report, "Bush Family Fortunes." American networks turned down BBC's offer to run it in the USA. "Wonderful film," one executive told me, "but Time Warner is not going to let us put this on the air." However, US networks will take cash for advertisements calling Kerry a Vietnam coward.

Much more - go read it all at Greg
And while your at it scroll down to Palast's next blog entry:

PROSTITUTES WITH AIDS TO SEDUCE REPUBLICAN VISITORS - Thursday Aug 26, 2004 ~ [I couldn't make this up ... direct from the Republican National Committee website ....] -- "NEXT WEEK, people who hate Republicans plan to release swarms of mice in New York City to terrorize delegates to the National Republican Convention.

"Republican-haters plan on dressing up as RNC volunteers, and giving false directions to little blue hair ladies from Kansas, sending them into the sectors of New York City that are unfit for human habitation.

"They plan on throwing pies and Lord knows what else at Republican visitors to the city. Prostitutes with AIDS plan to seduce Republican visitors, and discourage the use of condoms ...."

Releasing "swarms" of terror "mice" in New York City? What the fuck for? Pigeon food? That would be a little like selling the Olsen Twins to an Aryan Brotherhood tattoo parlor. And how exactly does one "dress up" like an "RNC volunteer"? The mind reels. Sends the imagination off into dark corners don't it? Especially those corners "unfit for human habitation." Dragging old cornhuskers into occult bookstores or Ghost Shadow opium dens and..... Oh the horrors! Hey, just snatch a couple of the red state rubes at midnight, drive em over the Williamsburg Bridge down Flatbush Ave to Prospect Park and leave em there with ten bucks a pack of cigarettes and cardboard signs hangin' around their necks that say "I'm just here for the heroine" or "lost - please return to John Fund." Do it for my mom goddamnit! She's from Brooklyn. She'll get a big freakin' kick out of it.

And speaking of Brooklyn: NO RNC IN NYC! and STOP BUSH in Manhattan Check it out. More art and politics - street meme art via Street

If you were haunted by "Fahrenheit 9/11", BUSH’S BRAIN will give you nightmares. --- Meet Karl Rove, the most powerful political figure America has never heard of. Until now... BUSH'S BRAIN. (The DOCUMENTARY)

The Book:
This intriguing book also features previously unreported information on the Bush campaign from the primaries and the conventions to the fall general election and the complex relationship Rove and Bush currently share. Karl Rove is both feared and admired by Republicans and Democrats alike. His take no prisoners approach to politics has received mixed reviews and left everyone wondering who's really running this country? In Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential readers will learn who the real Karl Rove is and just how much power he really has.

Theater Listings/Dates

Johnny Cash:
"Death and Glory" Eric Alterman

Johnny Cash Was Not A Republican - Peter Rothberg / The Nation

Defend Johnny


"Man In Black" - Johnny Cash

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.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.

UPDATE Wow. The Republicans really are the party that keeps on giving, aren't they? Even I couldn't believe that one about the mice, so I went and doublechecked Palast, and sure enough, the URL exists (though mangled on his blog). Granted, the article is from the crazed and wingerly Manchester Union Leader. I quote again, for the sheer pleasure of it:

NEXT WEEK, people who hate Republicans plan to release swarms of mice in New York City to terrorize delegates to the National Republican Convention. ... Prostitutes with AIDS plan to seduce Republican visitors, and discourage the use of condoms, according to liberal journalist Ted Rall.

It's just too over the top, isn't it? Mice, forsooth! Girl, in New York we have rats—and they are more than released; they are fully integrated into the urban fabric....

And here's a copy of the column by Ted Rall on the Republican-hating prositutes. Why, I see the Union Leader somehow forgot to include Rall's qualifier: "Rumor has it." Lovely. I mean, when giving perfectly sensible advice—"When you're out of town "on business," make sure your sex worker insists on a condom"—the Republicans have to dress the advice up as a paranoid fantasy.

Beyond parody, isn't it? —Lambert

"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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