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Saturday, September 18, 2004

Election fraud 2004: Guess who's assuring us electronic voting is safe in Georgia? 

Wait for it—

F/Buckhead! (back; back)

Yep, winger loon, Federalist Society "elf", Republican operative, and typographic Renaissance Man (sayeth digby):

Computer experts at respected universities have sounded the alarm over the potential for high-tech chicanery. Grass-roots activists, leaders of alternative political parties and others have stoked the flames, mostly via the Web. Touch-screen-related legislation is pending in Congress and the General Assembly.

Some critics suspect the machines might have played a role in the surprise defeats in 2002 of two Democrats — Gov. Roy Barnes and U.S. Sen. Max Cleland.

Diebold [back] Election Systems won a $54 million contract to provide touch-screen machines for Georgia, which in 2002 became the first state in the nation to implement electronic voting statewide.

In October, the Fulton County Elections Board sent Cox a letter that asked pointed questions about the security of Georgia's voting machines. The state's largest county uses 2,975 machines. Harry MacDougald, a Republican board member [F/Buckhead!!] , wrote the letter after hearing about Rubin's report.

Cox wrote a six-page response explaining the procedures in place to ensure the machines cannot be manipulated.

The Fulton board replied Dec. 1, telling Cox she had alleviated members' concerns.

"I feel reasonably comfortable," MacDougald said recently.

F/Buckhead feels comfortable.... Well, that's all I need to know!

"There's always a theoretical possibility [of tampering]. That can never be excluded, regardless of the voting technology. But the measures that were previously in place, with the new measures and technical fixes that are being made, bring the issue within a reasonable degree of security."
(via the Atlanta Joural Constitution)

Digby also adds the following sage warning:

One thing I might warn everyone about on this voting technology issue. Be advised that if we win and it's close, the set-up has been put in place for Buckhead and his grubby little friends to rush online claiming that we stole the election. I have a hundred bucks riding on it. Projection has gone beyond a psychological diagnosis to an actual propaganda tool.

Eesh. I hate to picture Digby losing a hundred bucks—but I sure hope he does.

Goodnight, moon 

I dunno. On the one hand, there's supposed to be some sort of liberal conspiracy against Bush, and CBS, the Democratic Party, and the Kerry campaign are all in it together, and forged the Killian memos.

On the other hand, the guy who's being tagged as the source of the Killian memos is announcing his intentions to all and sundry on a Yahoo bulletin board (AP), no doubt infested with Republican trolls and operatives, just as our blog is.

Something doesn't add up here.


Election fraud 2004: Leave it to Louisiana 

Yes, leave it to Louisiana to combine election fraud with an anti-gay marriage amendment. Unbelievable:

Louisiana voters decided Saturday whether to approve a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, one of up to 12 such measures on the ballot around the country this year.

It was expected to pass by an overwhelming margin, though court challenges are likely. The civil rights group Forum for Equality has promised legal action.

[A] possible legal complication: delayed delivery on Saturday of voting machines to precincts in New Orleans, which has a politically strong gay population.

State director of elections Frances Sims said at least 59 precincts did not have voting machines when polls opened because officials with New Orleans' clerk of court's office failed to meet drivers who tried to deliver the machines earlier that morning. The problem was solved by midday.

Julius Green, 58, said he went to his polling place in New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood about 10 a.m. and found no voting machines - just a crowd.

"I am angry. I'm very angry," [Julius] Green said. "This is ridiculous. It makes people feel that their vote don't count."
(via AP)

Yes, Julius? Your point?

Sheesh. Just not having the voting machines there at all... That makes Florida look subtle, doesn't it?

Bush AWOL: Say, has anyone claimed that $50,000 yet? 

You know, the $50,000 that goes to anyone who can prove that Bush performed his duties in the Air National Guard between May 1972 and May 1973? (back)

Didn't think so.

Say, when are they putting Saddam on trial, anyhow? 

Oh, wait.

Bush hasn't agreed to the debates, yet.

So they can't be sure of the trial date, now, can they? C'mon, people. Let's be reasonable.

Iraq clusterfuck: Bush's poodle was warned 

From the UK's Daily Telegraph (via Kos:

Tony Blair was warned a year before invading Iraq that a stable post-war government would be impossible without keeping large numbers of troops there for "many years", secret government papers reveal.

The documents, seen by The Telegraph, show more clearly than ever the grave reservations expressed by Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, over the consequences of a second Gulf war and how prescient his Foreign Office officials were in predicting the ensuing chaos.

But it is the warning of the likely aftermath - more than a year in advance, as Mr Blair was deciding to commit Britain to joining a US-led invasion - that is likely to cause most controversy and embarrassment in both London and Washington.

Mr Straw predicted in March 2002 that post-war Iraq would cause major problems, telling Mr Blair in a letter marked "Secret and personal" that no one had a clear idea of what would happen afterwards. "There seems to be a larger hole in this than anything."

Most of the US assessments argued for regime change as a means of eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, Mr Straw said.

"But no one has satisfactorily answered how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be any better. Iraq has no history of democracy so no one has this habit or experience."

The paper, compiled by the Cabinet Office Overseas and Defence Secretariat, added: "The only certain means to remove Saddam and his elite is to invade and impose a new government, but this would involve nation-building over many years."

Then again, there's plan B (can you say "Allawi"?)

Replacing Saddam with another "Sunni strongman" would allow the allies to withdraw their troops quickly. This leader could be persuaded not to seek WMD in exchange for large-scale assistance with reconstruction.

"However, there would then be a strong risk of the Iraqi system reverting to type. Military coup could succeed coup until an autocratic Sunni dictator emerged who protected Sunni interests. With time he could acquire WMD," the paper said.

Even a representative government would be likely to create its own WMD so long as Israel and Iran retained their own arsenals and Palestinian grievances remained unresolved.

The documents also show the degree of concern within Whitehall that America was ready to invade Iraq with or without backing from any of its allies.

Sir David Manning, Mr Blair's foreign policy adviser, returned from talks in Washington in mid-March 2002 warning that Mr Bush "still has to find answers to the big questions", which included "what happens on the morning after?".

In a letter to the Prime Minister marked "Secret - strictly personal", he said: "I think there is a real risk that the administration underestimates the difficulties.

"They may agree that failure isn't an option, but this does not mean they will necessarily avoid it."

Oh, that dry British understatement. I love it.

It did not see the war on terrorism as being a major element in American decision-making.

"The swift success of the war in Afghanistan, distrust of UN sanctions and inspections regimes and unfinished business from 1991 are all factors," it added. That view appeared to be shared by Peter Ricketts, the Foreign Office policy director.

There were "real problems" over the alleged threat and what the US was looking to achieve by toppling Saddam, he said. Nothing had changed to make Iraqi WMD more of a threat.

"Even the best survey of Iraq's WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years. Military operations need clear and compelling military objectives. For Iraq, 'regime change' does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge match between Bush and Saddam."
(via Daily Telegraph)

Yep. "He tried to kill my Dad." Well, I'm sure the families of the 1000 American dead will be happy to hear all this.

How crazy is F/Buckhead? 

He is a vacuous, vapid ignoramus. He is the author of Lott's Doctrine of Preemptive Capitulation. Except, of course, when he is sticking it to his own party. Then he is willing to burn down the Senate in order to preserve his sinecure and the perquisites of his office. He is a disgusting rodent of a man but is really much more of a Nancy Boy than a man.

Rather than letting him gratify his ego lust by hanging on to the Senate Majority Leadership, may I suggest just paying someone to walk around behind him calling him "Leader" every few minutes in a room full of mirrors, and throwing in a life-time supply of Aqua Net hairspray? He would be equally happy, and we would all be a lot better off.

The latest imbroglio is just more more good reason this pathetic loser, this pale pint-size knock-off of a genuine leader, has to be removed from the leadership. He has got us so far off message we need a trip planner and a telescope to find it again. He has gladly capitulated to a constellation of race-hustling poverty pimps in an repellent effort to hang on at all costs.

Get rid of this weasel or go down in flames with him.
And that's what this genius F/Buckhead said about someone in his own party, Trent Lott.

He honestly felt that Trent Lott wasn't conservative enough to be a Republican Senate Majority Leader. He was too compromising! Holy Cow!

I keep reading stories in which friends and political allies of his call him a "passionate" conservative.

If by passionate you mean he's a stark-raving right-wing loon that has no business being anywhere near the corridors of power then I guess I'll agree that he's certainly, um, passionate.

These are the sorts of operatives this administration keeps around them folks.

And, yeah, I'm so sure he didn't get tipped by Rove about this. Right. The Freepi don't have enough imagination or analytical ability to come up with this stuff on their own. Rove fed it to him. I can't help but wonder how long they had copies of this memo -- and it makes me wonder if the memos aren't genuine after all.

Shouldn't this sort of thing bother moderates who are pondering voting for this utter failure of an administration?

Especially so since, I'm sure, F/Buckhead is on the list of appointees to the federal bench for the second Bush term.

UPDATE Alert reader Beth shares some F/Buckhead-isms:

A few Buckheadisms:

Oh, please Joe, let it be me."

2."Not knocking Cheney - he's a total stud"

3."Actually, there's a very good argument that environmentalism is a
secular religion.... This being so, it is more a matter of faith and
belief than of facts and reason."

"What do Greens and watermelons have in common? Green on the outside, red on the inside"

Oh, and F/Buckhead's views on Stalingrad:

4.[re:US offer of ceasefire in Fallujah] "Hopefully, we are just saying
that stuff publicly to shut up the backstabbing ingrates on the IGC,
while we press the assault with another battallion of marines and kill
every last man or boy in the city who is toting a weapon."

Iraq clusterfuck: Great work on that oil, Inerrant Boy! 

Sheesh. Fight a war for the oil, and at least you could get some:

The sharp rise in attacks on Iraq's oil pipelines in recent weeks has substantially impaired the country's production, dealing a blow to the economy and threatening the struggling reconstruction effort, U.S. and Iraqi officials say.

Insurgents are bombing pipelines and other parts of Iraq's oil infrastructure almost daily, another sign that the country's security situation is deteriorating beyond the control of U.S. military and Iraqi security forces.

In an appearance before Congress in March 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz said Iraqi oil revenue could bring in as much as $100 billion over two to three years.

This week, however, Bush administration officials asked Congress to divert $450 million earmarked for reconstruction to increase oil production. That's on top of $1.7 billion already devoted to rebuilding the industry.

"The premise was that we'd go to Iraq, and oil would provide the money. That's not what is happening, and somebody is going to have to pay," said Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.

The success of the bombings and the expansion of targets have signaled to some experts that the insurgents have inside help. Some of Iraq's 55,000 oil technicians and engineers who are disenchanted with the U.S. occupation may be providing instruction.

"A significant number are supplying information and intelligence to the various insurgents to blow up facilities," said Youssef Ibrahim, a director of the Strategic Energy Investment Group, an energy consultancy based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. "It's part and parcel of the effort to bring down a government that they see as collaborators."

The effectiveness of the pipeline attacks also has led to worries that dissidents in neighboring Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, could copy the strategy. "A simple attack produces a huge impact," said Mustafa Alani, a security analyst with the Gulf Research Center in Dubai. "It's cheap, easy and achievable."

With 40% of the world's oil transported by pipelines and global demand at an all-time high, an outbreak of pipeline bombings could have disastrous economic consequences, analysts said. "The world can live with Iraq pumping 2 million barrels per day. The world cannot live with pipelines popping all over the place," Luft said.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have been at a loss to determine how to contain the damage.
(via LA Times)

More proof that we're winning!

Look! Over there! Hurricane Ivan!

Look! Over there! CBS News!

And pay no attention to the war behind the curtain!

"You know the drill."

Bush torture policies: The bad applies didn't fall far from the tree 

Who knew?

What better image of Arab ill-treatment and oppression could be devised than that of a naked Arab man lying at the feet of a short-haired American woman in camouflage garb, who stares immodestly at her Arab pet while holding him by the throat with a leash? Had bin Laden sought to create a powerful trademark image for his international product of global jihad, he could scarcely have done better hiring the cleverest advertising firm on Madison Avenue.

And not only are these photographs perfect masterpieces of propaganda; they have, to paraphrase Henry Kissinger, the considerable advantage of being true. Or, to put it another way: if the Hooded Man and the Leashed Man and the naked human pyramids and the rest shocked Americans because of their perverse undermining of the normal, they shocked Iraqis and other Arabs because the images seemed to confirm so vividly and precisely a reality that many had suspected and feared but had tried not to believe.

(via The Fancy-That-A-New-York-Publication-Not-The-New-Yorker-That-Covers-The-News Review of Books)

Excellent review. Go read. And I've got to quote this:

"I always knew the Americans would bring electricity back to Baghdad. I just never thought they'd be shooting it up my ass."
—Young Iraqi translator,Baghdad, November 2003

[Rim shot. Laughter. "Thanks. I'll be here for the whole war."]

Bush AWOL: FBuckhead unmasked.  

He's an "elf":

[Buckhead is Harry MacDougal], an Atlanta lawyer with strong ties to conservative Republican causes and who helped draft the petition urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to disbar President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Los Angeles Times has found.

MacDougald is a lawyer in the Atlanta office of the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and is affiliated with two prominent conservative legal groups, the Federalist Society and the Southeastern Legal Foundation, where he serves on the legal-advisory board.

Well, well, well. Remember the role the Federalist Society and its elves played in the coup the wingers plotted against our last elected President?

This really is starting to give off, um, a Rove-ian aroma, isn't it?

What's the word for FBuckhead? It's on the tip of my tongue... Op.. Op... Operative!

Editor and publisher has more:

Suspicions that MacDougald may have been tipped off have arisen because his quick comments on typography seemed to go far beyond his reputed expertise. He wrote that the memos purportedly written in the early 1970s by the late Lt. Col Jerry B. Killian were "in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman....The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software and personal computers," MacDougald wrote. "They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn't used for personal memos to file. Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80's used monospaced fonts."

Actually, there are two reasons to be suspicious: (1) the quickness of FBuckhead's response, (2) his typographic comments were lies, as we've repeatedly demonstrated (take the PC magazine tests).

Gee, it's almost like the Republicans think they're in a war, and have pre-positioned the material for their campaign, isn't it? That's what enables rapid response, after all. (If only they could fight real wars so well. Oh, wait...)

And now (3) the source of the typographic lies was a Republican operative. A classic case of the winger meme transmittal from the fringe to the mainstream, per Orcinus (in his essential "Rush, Newspeak, and Fascism.")


Bush AWOL: Keeping the winger persecution myth alive 

What Kevin Drum says:

I think it's worth pointing out that this is why the right wing is paying so much attention to Rather, just as they did to Jayson Blair and the BBC's Andrew Gilligan — but not to Judith Miller or Robert Novak. It's not about the fact that the mainstream media makes mistakes — of course they do — it's about keeping alive the persecution myth so central to American conservatism: that the liberal media is a corrupt and malign institution intent on crushing conservative dissent at every opportunity.

Sure, it's an absurd argument, but that doesn't mean it won't work. After all, yelling loudly enough got the heads of both the New York Times and the BBC fired last year, both of them for journalistic misdeeds that were actually fairly modest. Meanwhile, Judith Miller, who plied patent falsehoods from Ahmed Chalabi on the front page of the New York Times, and Robert Novak, who cheerfully outed a CIA agent in his syndicated column, continue to ply their trade unhindered.

This game has been ongoing for a long time, of course, but conservative bullying and intimidation of the media has real-world consequences quite aside from personnel shuffling at the New York Times or the BBC. Just as Rathergate has helped bury bad news from Iraq this week, persistent complaining from conservatives has kept the overall coverage from Iraq relatively benign for over a year, despite a nearly unanimous belief among reporters on the ground that events there are even worse than they look.

Since the Iraq clusterfuck is a winning issue for Kerry, yes, I'd say that winger bullying does have real world consequences...

Within the past few weeks some of those reporters have finally begun saying that on front pages and the evening news, but it's a year late and several billion dollars short.

Dan Rather can handle his own problems, but preventing conservatives from intimidating the press into manufacturing a phony balance regardless of where the truth lies affects us all. That's what's really at stake here.

The wingers are just working the refs. Same as always. Yawn.

Don't you just love it when Bush... 

... Says "I'm here to ask for your vote"—in front of pre-screened supporters? (In fact, may have been made to sign loyalty oaths, back?

That takes real courrage, doesn't it? Bush courage....

Bush's "gathering threat" = fabulous bullshit 

"This is far graver than Vietnam. There wasn't as much at stake strategically, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with the war that was not constructive for US aims. But now we're in a region far more volatile, and we're in much worse shape with our allies." - Retired general William Odom, former head of the NSA. ~ credit: "Anonymous" [from earlier comments]

NY Times (the old grey whore she ain't what she used to be):
That verdict is now at hand, and it only strengthens the case against Mr. Bush's main reason for waging preventive war against Iraq. Iraq was not an imminent or urgent threat, and Mr. Duelfer's report undermines the idea that it was even a "gathering threat," as Mr. Bush now routinely describes it.


The most specific evidence of an illicit program was apparently a network of clandestine laboratories operated by the Iraqi intelligence service. Those laboratories, first mentioned by Mr. Kay, have now been thoroughly inspected. They look small-bore indeed, capable of producing only small quantities of chemical or biological agents that might be useful in assassinations or perhaps in research far removed from weapons production. That is hardly justification for preventive war.


Republicans argue that the international consensus to keep Mr. Hussein boxed in with sanctions and inspections was eroding, making the invasion necessary to forestall the graver threat of a rearmed Iraq. But with no evidence emerging that Mr. Hussein posed an urgent threat, and with the situation deteriorating badly in Iraq, that calculus is flawed. Intentions Versus Reality in Iraq, (NYTimes, Sept. 18)

"...the economy stinks and that war is a joke, and yet all we hear about is the drunk's viet nam record." ~ credit: "Anonymous" [from earlier comments.]

Note: "The drunk" doesn't have any "viet nam" record. None. As in: not any. The closest "the drunk" ever got to "viet nam" (according to my "official sources") was chasing a minature pig around a picnic table during a 1972 campaign fundraiser at the Prattville State Game Farm.


Signs of the times contest 

Most of you probably already know about the Freeway Blogger sign slogan contest. But just in case...:

The Freeway Blogger and General JC Christian are holding a contest. You can submit your own freewayblogger sign slogan and become famous. Your sign will be featured at and on an overpass or fence or something.

Rules, guidelines, and prize info available from the General. Deadline Monday, Sept 20th.

And Remember:


Hee. Get it? Pleeze don't vote for Bu$h. :-) nevermind........

Hurry and enter. You can win a Savage M-12 BVSS bolt action varmint hunting rifle or a whole bag of used Ted Nugent records! Or maybe you can't. Either way, enter to win. And also read this blog post by the Freeway Blogger right here: 100 signs, 1000 soldiers


Friday, September 17, 2004

Goats and GOTV 

Esteemed reader Raison de Fem points us to an incredibly useful site, courtesy of Michael Moore: Registration Deadlines State By State.

A hasty scrolldown reveals that possibly as many as HALF the states have deadlines in just two weeks, Oct. 1-4. Oct. 1, as it happens, is a Friday this year. I suggest all voter registration encouragers to treat Oct. 1 as the deadline by which forms must be either postmarked or physically in the hands of the registrars.

Mike has some useful data for college students on voting at school vs. back at home. My advice is to vote back home, since you know you should call your mother anyway and she will be so relieved that you are asking for an absentee ballot rather than money it will make her day. And at worst you can always ask for money later in the conversation. You may have to have voted in person at least once before you can vote absentee so check this too.

Xan Advice: (1) Carry stamps. I am looking at a TN form I picked up at the Davis-Kidd Bookstore in Jackson yesterday (free plug for good citizenship behavior), and it isn't postage-paid. Don't be a cheap bastard like TN is, blow contribute $3.70 per ten voters and think of it as an investment of good will.

(2) If you live on or near a state line, carry forms from both. Yeah it's work, but people will be impressed by your dedication and/or too embarassed to refuse by this point. As a form of nonviolent coercion I think even Gandhi would be impressed.

(3) Don't be shy. You're not asking for money, a committment, an oath of fealty or a DNA test. You can even phrase it as "hey, have you moved since you voted last time, you know you have to re-register in your new precinct" which is both perfectly true AND lets both of you avoid having to raise the question of whether the person has voted since the Carter administration.

(4) And if anybody hits you with a refusal because they think registering to vote will make them eligible for jury duty--nope. They're already in the pool if they have a driver's license. If they still argue after you point this out, skip 'em, they're so stupid they'd probably vote Bush anyway.

So that's my nag for the week on GOTV. When I got back into active politics (thanks to blogs) I had forgotten that acronym and kept trying to figure out what the hell it meant. Go TV? TV sucks, that would be stupid. Go on TV? Ehh, no--when it comes to appearance, I've got a body for radio.

Get Out The Vote, somebody finally said. D'oh! I said, slapping my forehead. Fact remains, it's the most important thing us foot soldiers in the trenches do in an election year. Personal contact and interest is the most powerful influence on anybody to do anything.

Most people are so lonely and don't realize it, that making any non-commercial human contact at all is a real rush. Being asked for a favor conveys a feeling of power, also a strong behavioral reinforcer. You have more influence as one person than a $20 million media buy.

If we turn out even 20% of the non-voting half, Kerry's landslide will be of historic proportions. And we have to win, or the goats will cry.

Goodnight, moon 

I'm putting out the candle in my little room under the stairs at The Mighty Corrente Building. The fervor of the Bush crowd really appalls me. How can they not see? Sigh.

And why (Republican donor) Gallup's polls are hosed. Phew.

Republican straw Nader on ballot in Florida 


As the Green Party candidate in 2000, Nader attracted 97,000 Florida votes -- and most Democrats and many Republicans agree that those votes cost Democrat Al Gore the presidency.

President Bush won the state by 537 votes after three weeks of recounts and legal fighting -- much of it before Florida's high court.

This year, the Reform Party of Florida submitted Nader to the state as its candidate. The Florida Democratic Party and several individual voters challenged his certification.

The key legal challenge against Nader was the contention that the Reform Party was no longer a bona fide national party and didn't nominate Nader in a national convention -- as required by Florida law -- but did it in a conference call three months earlier.

Officials with the party and Nader argued that the Reform Party convention may have been small but that it had legitimately confirmed him as their presidential nominee.

The Reform Party formed in 1995 out of Ross Perot's 1992 and 1996 presidential bids; Buchanan ran as its candidate in 2000. But the party has seen its membership decline amid infighting in recent years. Its national treasurer last month said the party had $18.18 in the bank.

Well... I have to believe that the Florida Supreme Court was reading the law right... And it's good to have Nader exposed as a fraud (sigh)... But still...

Bush torture policies: Firm that supplied torturers at Abu Ghraib gets new contract 

Why am I not surprised?

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The U.S. Army said Friday that defense contractor Titan Corp. will continue to provide translators and interpreters in Iraq for at least the next six months.

The contract, which has an option for another six months, has a potential value of up to $400 million. Titan, which has had at least two employees linked to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, had a five-contract that was due to expire at the end of the month, but the Army decided to hold off on renewing it because another company complained the process was unfair.

A recently released investigation by Army Maj. Gen. George Fay found two Titan civilian translators, who were not named, contributed to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

One employee, a woman, failed to report detainee abuse. The second, a man, beat and may have raped a detainee. The Fay report recommends the information be forwarded for possible criminal prosecution and that "appropriate contractual action" be taken.
(via AP)

You know, generally contractors aren't rewarded when they don't do what the administration wants. Oh, wait...

The Cohen in his Purple Labyrinth 

"I bump into these anti-Bush alarmists all the time. Recently an extremely successful and erudite man I much admire told me he viewed the upcoming election as something akin to September 1939,..." - Richard Cohen, Washington Post

Apparently Richard Cohen is mighty flummoxed over all of the - EEK! - "Bush hatred" - and "anti-Bush alarmists!" - Eeek-eeek! - fouling his airspace. Give it up Cohen you silly assed Attack Pussy [link to James Wolcott's recent post]

Likewise, visit the Daily Howler for Bob Somerby's take on Cohen's latest quivery. See:
"This is not the place to examine why Bush is so hated," Cohen continues. But does his acquaintance really "hate Bush?" It's hard to tell from the exchange he describes. What exactly did Cohen's friend mean when he compared this election to 1939? Either Cohen didn’t ask, or the answer wasn't colorful enough to be included in this column.

I think I know what Cohen's friend is talking about. Maybe this will encourage Richard Cohen to add a little more blue to his prosy pallet:
Within the Protestant Church, there were those who looked to the coming Leader to bring about spiritual renewal and moral revival. The fall of the monarchy and collapse of 'God-given' authority, the secularization of society, and the perceived 'crisis of faith' in German Protestantism all contributed to a readiness to look to a new form of leadership which could reinvoke 'true' Christian values. The shadings of the various leadership images came together in the tract of the nationalist publicist Wilhelm Stapel, a former liberal turned volkisch enthusiast, member of the hamburg group of neo-conservatives associated with the ideas of Moeller van den Bruck, who depicted the 'true statesman' as 'at one and the same time ruler, warrior, and priest'. It amounted to a secularized belief in salvation, wrapped up in pseudo-religious language.

Whatever the particular emphasis, the conservative and volkisch Right juxtaposed the negative view of a 'leaderless democracy' with a concept of a true leader as a man of destiny, born not elected to leadership, not bound by conventional rules and laws, 'hard, straightforward, and ruthless', but embodying the will of God in his actions. 'God give us leaders and help us to true following', ran one text. Devotion, loyalty, obedience, and duty were the corresponding values demanded of the followers.

The spread of fascist and militaristic ideas in post-war Europe meant that 'heroic leadership' images were 'in the air' and by no means confined to Germany. The emergence of the Duce cult in Italy provides an obvious parallel. But the German images naturally had their own flavour, drawing on the particular elements of the political culture of the nationalist Right. And the crisis-ridden nature of the Weimar state, detested by so many powerful groups in society and unable to win the popularity and support of the masses, guaranteed that such ideas, which in a more stable environment might have been regarded with derision and confined to the lunatic fringe of politics, were never short of a hearing.

Sound familiar? Thats from Ian Kershaw's Hitler; 1889-1936: Hubris, page 181. The keep it stupid, keep it simple, drumming that you hear coming from the palace guard at CNN and MSNBC and FoxNoise et al., as well as the Bush campaign itself, bears an eerie resemblance to Kershaw's passage above (and below); not only in style but in content.
The crowds that began to flock in 1919 and 1920 to Hitler's speeches were not motivated by refined theories. For them, simple slogans, kindling the fires of anger, resentment, and hatred, were what worked. ~ Kershaw, Hubris, pg 137

How many times have you heard some think tank pundit dolt, broadcast television "news" chanter, or newspaper attack pussy, repeat the negatively intended charge that John Kerry's arguments to audiences are to complex, or refined, or - eek! - nuanced. Oooo that pesky nuance. By God and Homeland that George W. Bush, Him chosen by divine oversight to lead, does not engage in such sensitive girly man complexities. Him, embodied by the 'W', parade marshal to the heroic leadership personality cult, surrounded by entralled sycophants at each whistlestop, and embedded within the neo-corporate state oligarchy, is not motivated by wispy fuzzy wuzzy "refined theories". No-seh!

Remembering also of course that this is this same clangor horn of corporate media-store stove minders, think tank hood ornaments, and Bush administration policy swindlers that screwed the American people into an unnecessary war in Iraq based on fraudulent intelligence, misleading rationalizations, forgeries, and outright lies. All wrapped up and tied neatly with a pretty purple ribbon of simple slogans and expalnations designed to kindle the fires of anger, resentment, and hatred.

And it worked.


Not Impressed by Kneepads 

Miss Manners, er we mean Miller, does not seem to carry any particular clout with Judge Hogan. We award him one more character point--but this story has a twist I have never heard before in privilege cases:

(via WaPo)
A federal judge, in an order released yesterday, ruled that New York Times reporter Judith Miller cannot avoid a subpoena to testify about her private conversations with news sources before a grand jury investigating whether senior administration officials leaked the identity of a covert CIA officer to the media.

In his Sept. 9 order denying Miller's request to quash the subpoena, U.S. District Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan said that the reporter's discussions with anonymous sources are not protected, either by the First Amendment or by common- law privilege. Miller's attorney, Floyd Abrams, said the Times would appeal the decision.

Senior White House officials have acknowledged they were trying to raise concerns with reporters at that time about Wilson.

Miller contemplated writing an article about Wilson and Plame and "spoke with one or more confidential sources" about a July 6, 2003, article that Wilson wrote for the Times titled 'What I Didn't Find in Africa," according to Hogan's order.
Why the distinction about "anonymous sources"? Hell, is there any other kind in Washington? Anyone with expertise in First Amendment law is invited to clarify this point in Comments.

MBF watch: Grieving mother pops Leadfoot's bubble 

And gets arrested for it, naturally, since anyone who dissents at a Bush rally is arrested (back)

The Pennington mother of a soldier killed in Iraq was arrested and charged with trespassing after she interrupted first lady Laura Bush’s speech yesterday.

Sue Niederer was arrested after she was escorted from the Colonial Fire Co. hall on Kuser Road where the Republican rally was being held yesterday morning, according to Hamilton police Lt. James Kostopolis.

Niederer was wearing a shirt that read, "You killed my son," at the time.

Niederer was one of 1,217 to receive a ticket for the rally and stood near the back of the hall as local Republican politicians thanked Bush for visiting Hamilton before introducing the first lady.

Bush was well-received by the crowd, many of whom waved pompoms and Bush-Cheney signs after giving the first lady a lengthy ovation when she arrived.

Bush was about 10 minutes into her speech on campaign issues, however, when she began speaking about U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was at this point that Niederer began yelling loudly toward Bush, but supporters at the rally realized Niederer was a detractor and began drowning out Niederer’s shouts with chants of "Four more years!"

The ruckus briefly rattled Bush, who halted her speech and turned toward local dignitaries, but she quickly resumed her comments on the war.

Niederer’s son, Army Lt. Seth Dvorin, 24, was killed by a roadside bomb near Baghdad Feb. 3, while commanding an 18-man convoy. Dvorin was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart and was credited with saving more than a dozen soldiers from being killed or injured.

I said, ‘How come your daughters and children of congressmen and senators aren’t fighting in the war if it’s so positive?’" Niederer said last night of what she yelled to Bush.

Niederer is charged with defiant trespassing and was released on her own recognizance. She is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 12.
(via The Trentonian)

Don't you just love the Republicans? Drowning out the voice of a mother who lost her son with that noxious "Four More Years" chant. Unbelievable.

Another taste to Republican love:

She drew little sympathy from the firehouse crowd.

"Your son chose to go fight that war!" shouted one woman. "She's got the press she wanted," cracked another.
(via The Trentonian)

And a party with attitudes like this is sending your sons and daughters off to die? Unbelievable.

NOTE Of course, she could consider herself lucky that she wasn't assaulted—the Republicans have a kink about assaulting women at Bush events. (See "Bush watches as woman gets abused, "Republicans keep hitting women; Kicking 'em while they're down.)

UPDATE Atrios lays in the ammo for when these thugs claim moral equivalence.

UPDATE Froomkin notes that the woman's remarks have been deleted from the official transcript. [Laughter. Applause. Chants of "Four more years."]

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Salon has crucial stuff on the Iraq clusterfuck. Go read:

1. Turning point: How Bush "joysticked" the battle of Fallujah, and lost the war.

2. The "war is lost": The Sidster extracts devestating quotes from top military:

Gen. Odom remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and senior military officers over Iraq is worse than any he has ever seen with any previous U.S. government, including during Vietnam. "I've never seen it so bad between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic."

I bet they wish they had Clinton back.

3. Why the Republicans can't fight terror 10 reasons:

The Bush administration's manifest failure to make us safer has ideological roots. American national security has been put at risk because of the Republicans' own "pre-9/11 mind-set." This mind-set includes distrust of centralized government, unquestioning faith in the private sector, hostility to nonmarket distributions, sympathy with religious certainty and scriptural fundamentalism, the belief that freedom demands an unregulated market in military-style weaponry, unawareness that "law" protects decision makers from disinformation, a proclivity to apply military solutions to nonmilitary problems, and a reluctance to take the interests and opinions of other countries into account. This dogmatic and erroneous set of beliefs and dispositions has prevented Cheney and Bush from coming to a clear understanding of the unprecedented threats we face and devising an adequate response.

We need to take seriously their steadfast refusal to admit even their most obvious mistakes. If reelected, they are promising, apparently without embarrassment, to continue unswervingly on the path that has brought us where we are today. If we want to know how they will conduct the war against terrorism in a second term, we need only examine the mess they have wrought over the past three years. Bush's and Cheney's spectacular mishandling of the war on terror has many causes, but none more important than the stale ideology that continues to becloud and paralyze their minds.

Great stuff.

Go on, get the day pass. You know you ought to, and it's definitely worth it.

And while we're at Salon, it looks like Paul Lukasiak finally has a mainstream media outlet. Congrats. Sometimes the good guys win.

Oh, and Jimmy Breslin on why the polls are all wrong.

Class warfare: They started it 

What Mithras says:

The national Republican Party seems intent on policies that will increase income and wealth disparity in this country. They may only be serving the interests of one of their two main constituencies (those being The Stupid and The Evil), but in effect they are driving the United States to look more like a third-world country, with a super-rich elite which both captures political power and diverts the country's resources to their own benefit, leaving everyone else to suffer. In any civilized society, they would be chucked out of power for such regressive, dangerous policies. Fortunately for them, money buys a lot of loyalty, and good advertising.
(via Fables of the Reconstruction)

"Seems" intent?


And Bush is seriously PO'd! Thanks to alert reader Beth for discovering this gem:


VICE President Dick Cheney enjoyed telling Sen. Pat Leahy to "F- - - off" on the floor of the U.S. Senate so much that he's been hurling the epithet at cabbies, clerks, waiters, interns, passersby -- and even first lady Laura Bush, shocked White House insiders report!

And President George Bush -- who's been known to let fly with a few hair-curlers himself --is said to have told Cheney to "cool it" before the religious right stops looking the other way and turns the cussing into a bona fide national scandal that could impact the presidential election.

"I know the Vice President is an important man but telling me to 'F- - - off' was harsh," says Pinkie Graderson, who waits tables and loads dishwashers at a posh restaurant near the White House.

"All I did was ask him if I could take his plate to make way for his dessert. He looked at me with a big, self-satisfied smile and said, 'F- - - off.'

"But I'm not the only one. He's been saying that to everybody. He thinks it's funny."

Nobody knows that better than blind paraplegic and Vietnam war hero Henry Feltern, who has owned and operated a popular newsstand in Washington since 1979.

"Mr. Cheney sent one of his aides over to pick up a few newspapers but forgot to give her the money to pay for them," says Feltern, 53. "When I told the young woman that she owed me $27.50, she said, 'But these are for the Vice President.'

"I told her she'd have to pay anyway, so she dialed Cheney on her cell phone and handed it to me. I said, "Mr. Vice President, your papers will be $27.50.'

"There was a long silence, and then he said, 'Do the words 'f- - - off' mean anything to you?' "

The incident with the first lady reportedly took place when Mrs. Bush accidentally bumped into Cheney outside the Oval Office. Sources close to the V.P. insist he merely told her to " 'frig off,' which isn't really cussing."

But a senior administration official who was in earshot insists that "the F-word Cheney used was 'the real thing.' Laura didn't say anything, but you could tell it floored her."

Washington insiders agree that Cheney has never been one to mince words. But that soon might be all in the past. White House sources say the President made a point of chastising Cheney during a recent Presidential Daily Briefing, basically telling him to "cut the crap" before bad press gets out of control. "The exact words he used were slightly more abrupt," says an insider who witnessed the dressing down. "The President said, 'Dick, I'll give you a choice: You can zip it with the cussing or you can 'you know what.' " 'F--- off?' Cheney asked. To which the President replied, 'F---- A!' And then it was on to a really nasty discussion about Iraq."

Don't forget to pick up this week's newsstand issue!
(via Weekly World News)

OK, it's the Weekly World News. I think that's great. This isn't Letterman or The Daily Show. A publication millions read in the supermarket checkout line has decided a couple of things:

1. Their readership will think this line—"He looked at me with a big, self-satisfied smile and said, 'F- - - off.'"— is an apt description of Cheney's attitude (and, by extension, the Republicans, and

2. A "really nasty discussion about Iraq" is an appropriate joke to make.

I'd say this gives the Democrats the green light to go after Bush hard on the war, starting right now. Heck, even throw a little class warfare into the mix, why not? We didn't start it, after all.

Iraq clusterfuck: Republican Palace no longer secure 

No, no. In Baghdad!

US military officers in Baghdad have warned they cannot guarantee the security of the perimeter around the Green Zone, the headquarters of the Iraqi government and home to the US and British embassies, according to security company employees.

At a briefing earlier this month, a high-ranking US officer in charge of the zone's perimeter said he had insufficient soldiers to prevent intruders penetrating the compound's defences.

The US major said it was possible weapons or explosives had already been stashed in the zone, and warned people to move in pairs for their own safety. The Green Zone, in Baghdad's centre, is one of the most fortified US installations in Iraq. Until now, militants have not been able to penetrate it.

But insurgency has escalated this week, spreading to the centre of Baghdad.
(via Financial Times via Kevin Drum)

More proof that we're winning, right? Somehow, I don't think that little ol' $3 billion for security is going to do the job. I mean, if we can't secure the most fortified installation in Iraq, where's the security?

Iraq clusterfuck: Kerry's speech before the National Guard 

Kerry starts holding Bush accountable:

There’s something else we owe you and all the men and women serving right now in Iraq. We owe you the truth. True leadership is about looking people in the eye and telling the truth – even when it’s hard to hear. And two days ago, President Bush came before you and you received him well, as you should. But I believe he failed the fundamental test of leadership. He failed to tell you the truth. You deserve better. The Commander in Chief must level with the troops and the nation. And as president, I will always be straight with you – on the good days, and the bad days.

Two days ago, the President stood right where I’m standing and did not even acknowledge that more than 1,000 men and women have lost their lives in Iraq. He did not tell you that with each passing day, we’re seeing more chaos, more violence, more indiscriminate killings. He did not tell you that with each passing week, our enemies are getting bolder – that Pentagon officials report that entire regions of Iraq are now in the hands of terrorists and extremists. He did not tell you that with each passing month, stability and security seem farther and farther away.

He did not tell you any of this, even though – as the country learned today in the New York Times – his own intelligence officials have warned him for weeks that the mission in Iraq is in serious trouble. But that is the truth – hard as it is to hear. You deserve a president who will not play politics with national security, who will not ignore his own intelligence, while living in a fantasy world of spin, and who will give the American people the truth about the challenge our brave men and women face on the front lines.

Putting the "W" in Wrong:

The hard truth is that our president has made serious mistakes in taking us to war with Iraq. He was wrong to rush to war without giving the inspectors time to do their job. He was wrong to rush to war without understanding and planning for the post-war in Iraq – which itself has become an ongoing conflict. He was wrong to rush to war without the allies we needed by our side. He was wrong to send our troops into battle without the equipment they need to do their jobs. He was wrong to ignore the best advice of America’s own military – including his own Army Chief of Staff – about how many troops we needed to accomplish our mission. So when it comes to Iraq, it’s not that I would have done one thing differently than President Bush – I would have done almost everything differently.

And today, because of his wrong choices, America has borne nearly 90% of the casualties, and paid nearly 90% of the bill in Iraq. Contrast that with the first Gulf War, where our allies paid 95% of the costs.

And perhaps worst of all, the mess in Iraq has set us back – way back – in the war on terror. The simple fact is, when it comes to the war on terror, George W. Bush has taken his eye off the ball.

In the months after September 11th, our troops were doing a magnificent job in Afghanistan, and they were hot on the trail of Osama bin Laden. But instead of staying the course and letting them finish the job, George W. Bush turned over critical military operations in Tora Bora to a band of warlords. As a result, Osama bin Laden escaped, and we haven’t seen him since.

And today, three years after September 11th, Al Qaeda is operating in 60 countries, and gaining a whole new generation of recruits. And again and again, on the evening news, we see videotapes from bin Laden or his top lieutenants. This administration has said bluntly: It is not a matter of if al Qaeda attacks here at home – it is a question of when.

I believe America can do better than we’re doing. We simply cannot afford four more years of wrong choices that undermine our security and our standing in the world.

I also believe that despite the miscalculations [Heh—Ed.] , it is not too late to turn things around in Iraq and in our global war on terror. But we need a leadership that sees a better set of choices – better options for getting the job done. Who will bring in our allies. Who will train Iraqi forces at the right pace with the right partners, so our troops can finally come home. Who will never mislead you about the realities you face on the battlefield. And when I’m your Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what I will do.
(via Transcript)

More like this, please.

My Favorite Republican 

As our cultured readers surely know by now, the world lost a giant yesterday. Johnny Ramone, founding member of the world's greatest punk band, The Ramones, died yesterday of prostate cancer. As my friend Mark put it, there are now more surviving Beatles than Ramones.

I'll leave Johnny's biography to others. Who was the rock critic who began his review of Road to Ruin, "Have the Ramones ever written a bad song? No. Then how come they aren't rich?" That was exactly the way I felt in 1978. I could not believe I owned 4 albums by a band even most of my friends wouldn't listen to, and yet I loved every single song. I not only loved every song--I knew every song was objectively great. Every single goddam one. And yet they weren't famous! It blew my mind.

It may be hard for younger whippersnappers to comprehend just how bad music was in the mid-70s. Disco. Country rock. Jazz rock. ELO. ELP. Steve Miller Band. Toto. Music with a dial tone. I can't even bring myself to commit to writing the crap I listened to and pretended to like. Then, one day in 1977, I was introduced to a scruffy student whose dorm room still stands out in my memory for its utter squalor, even by dorm room standards. He was wearing a filthy t-shirt emblazoned, "Richard Hell and the Voidoids." I was there because I was looking for some, um, alternative to the pap music played at our college pub, and I'd heard about this punk stuff. In short order I was toddling back to my room lugging a dozen albums on labels I'd never heard of, by bands whose names seemed like an invitation to a club whose only requirement was an ability to share an inside joke: Talking Heads, Blondie. The Voidoids. Television. The Blockheads. And 3 albums by a bunch of misfits called The Ramones.

Everyone has, I imagine, their own list of songs that caused the world to stand still. On that day, I added a song called "Blitzkrieg Bop" to mine. In some real ways I imagine it was like Vaclav Havel felt listening to Zappa in Prague. It was about fun, but it was more than about fun. It was about subversion, but it was about more than subversion. It was nostalgia and antinostalgia. It was agitprop that was antiprop. It was intelligent stupidity. It was music that said: this is what you always wanted to hear, even if you never thought of it in a million years. It was like great oral sex, fun and passionate, naughty and innocent all at the same time. Compared to the stupefying banalities of "Fly Like an Eagle," songs like "We're a Happy Family"--
Sitting here in Queens
Eating refried beans
We're in all the magazines
Gulping down thorazines
We ain't got no friends
Our troubles never end
No Christmas cards to send
Daddy likes men

were like a bomb going off, a sensibility that mocked itself as much as it mocked the insane culture it found itself trapped in, making both criticism and self-importance equally impossible. All that was stolid henceforth melted into air.

I remember going to my first Ramones concert, in 1978, at Asbury Park. A preppie in a sea of black leather, I was like some Beatlemaniac teen bopper; I remember my girlfriend looking at me bemusedly like I had been possessed by some demented person. Well, gabba gabba, sweetheart. Shortly thereafter they came to my college, where I got to see Johnny from about 6 feet away, power chording through Blitzkrieg Bop and 24 other songs with barely a pause, Joey looming over the mike like some ectomorphic freak of nature and Dee Dee slashing away at his bass. I was a supplicant at the Church of the Everlasting Pinhead, baptized anew.

And, like a zillion other untalented kids in the years to come, it was soon after that that I bought my first guitar.
The second to last time I saw them was at University of Washington student union building, in 1985 or so. By then, the frat boy nitwits had picked up on them and the floor was jammed with these bozos, who were all being "punk" and spitting on the band. Finally Dee Dee jumped into the crowd and started using his bass as a baseball bat, injecting new meaning into "Beat on the Brat." The band was largely in decline by then, with no album to match the glorious first four. By then I knew, too, that Johnny was a hardcore Reaganite, but this only made watching them roast Ronnie in "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" that much more engrossing. A credit to his politics, Johnny was a guy who put business first.

I actually met Johnny once, on 8th Street in the Village, back in the Road to Ruin years. I was walking down the street when he materialized around the corner, sullenly hunched over, wearing his trademark jeans, jacket and shirt. Not wanting to blow the moment, I nodded in acknowledgement and said simply, "Hey."

To which he replied, "Hey."

Now, with the Boys from Forest Hills gone, I wish I had added, "Thanks."

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. Why Is It Always This Way? I'm gonna miss those guys.

Ba-ba-bamp-ba ba-ba-ba-bamp-ba  

"I wanna be sedated!"

Only the good die young. I mean, look at Dick Cheney.

How Low Can They Go? THIS Low.... 

I thought I had burned out my outrage circuits until I saw an ad last night for the "Twin Towers Memorial Collectible Coin" coated with a 1-atom-thick layer of silver recovered from the vaults under the WTC.

Then there came this...

(via MSNBC, story originally from WaPo)
As swing states with large elderly populations such as Florida gear up for another presidential election, a sleeper issue has been gaining attention on medical, legal and political radar screens: Many people with advanced dementia appear to be voting in elections -- including through absentee ballot. Although there are no national statistics, two studies in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island found that patients at dementia clinics turned out in higher numbers than the general population.

About 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia. Florida alone has 455,000 patients, advocates estimate.

Concern is growing that people with dementia may be targets for partisan exploitation in nursing homes and other facilities. Even without abuse, family members and caregivers may unduly influence close elections.
If a spouse of an Alzheimer's victim wants to vote on their behalf, even if they think it's 1914 and they're voting for Woodrow Wilson because they like his slogan "Too Proud to Fight", I got no problem with that. Organized political ops are another matter.

Bad enough they screw Grandma Millie on her electric bill. And scare the crap out of Grandpa Joe with ominous stories about Social Security. Stealing votes from the Mentally Not Quite All There is another matter, and a criminal one, although it would explain a lot about the outcome of certain races in 2000.

Dead cat Weasel bounce 

Nice to see Big Mo on the side of the angels. Eh?

Sen. John Kerry and President Bush are now enjoying almost equal levels of support, according to the latest Harris Interactive poll.

Immediately after the Republican convention in New York, several polls showed Mr. Bush jumping ahead of Mr. Kerry with a clear lead of between six and 11 percentage points. There's no such "convention bounce" for the president in the latest poll by Harris.

The results echo a recent poll sponsored by Investor's Business Daily, which also showed that the gap between the U.S. presidential candidates has disappeared. The poll of likely voters showed the two candidates tied at 47% in a two-man race and tied at 46% if independent candidate Ralph Nader is included.
(Online WSJ via Pandagon)

OK, stop cheering and back to work. And let's hope this brings all the Dem whining about the Kerry campaign to a halt. Heck, the guy went dark for an entire month, and he's still even. Digby says this better than I just did.

NOTE It takes a village to stomp a weasel.


1: Chance that a member of New York's Army National Guard was in Iraq in June : 1 in 4 [New York Army National Guard (N.Y.C.) ]
1A: Chance that a member of Texas's Army National Guard was : 1 in 31 [Texas Army National Guard (Austin) ]

2: Estimated year in which Baghdadis first harnessed electricity, using clay pots lined with copper : 230 b.c. [The British Museum (London) ]

3: Words the New York Times devoted last May to examining its own faulty reporting on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction : 3,082 [Harper's research ]
3A: Words the Times devoted last year to "correcting the record" after an investigation of reporter Jayson Blair : 7,102 [Harper's research ]

4: Minimum amount that Wal-Mart has received in subsidies from state and local governments since 1980 : $625,000,000 [Good Jobs First (Washington) ]

5: State grant awarded a Missouri police department's Youth Outreach Unit two years ago to battle Goth culture : $273,000 [Youth Outreach Unit (Blue Springs, Mo.) ]
5A: Amount the Unit returned to the state in April after no Goth-influenced youth could be found to aid : $132,000 [Youth Outreach Unit (Blue Springs, Mo.) ]
5C: Amount spent in the interim to set up the program : $141,000 [Youth Outreach Unit (Blue Springs, Mo.) ]

1-5C above from: Harpers Index, August 2004.


Iraq clusterfuck: Bush signs disaster declarations... 

for Iraq Florida! Right! Anyhow, guess what? What Bush has been saying about Iraq doesn't match the facts. Who knew?

The National Intelligence Council presented President Bush this summer with several pessimistic [Um, that would be realistic, right?] scenarios regarding the security situation in Iraq, including the possibility of a civil war there before the end of 2005.

Well, that's 2005—after the election. What's their point, anyhow?

In a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate, the council looked at the political, economic and security situation in the war-torn country and determined that - at best - stability in Iraq would be tenuous, a U.S. official said late Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

At worst, the official said, were "trend lines that would point to a civil war." The official said it "would be fair" to call the document "pessimistic."

This latest assessment was performed by the National Intelligence Council, a group of senior intelligence officials that provides long-term strategic thinking for the entire U.S. intelligence community.

Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin and the leaders of the other intelligence agencies approved the intelligence document, which runs about 50 pages.

C'mon, let's get the highly non-partisan Goss in there, already!

The estimate appears to differ from the public comments of Bush and his senior aides who speak more optimistically about the prospects for a peaceful and free Iraq.


"We're making progress on the ground," Bush said at his Texas ranch late last month.


"It states the obvious," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said on Air Force One as Bush flew to a day of campaigning in Minnesota.

I'll say.

"It talks about the scenarios and the different challenges we face." He said it did not reach any conclusions and left it up to policy-makers to act on the information.
(via AP)

So I'm sure I can have every confidence...

And I love Bush talking about "progress on the ground." I mean, as opposed to what, progress in the air? Progress in the sea?

"No Plans" vs "NO DRAFT" 

Jenna and Not-Jenna have to be in a quandary now. If they vote for Daddykins they will be exempt from the draft that's going to clearly be needed to keep supplying cannon fodder for his infinite series of excellent adventures in optional warfare, by reason of class privilege and family friends.

But if, in the privacy of the voting booth November 2, where Daddy and Vice-Voldemort Dick and Unka Karl can't see, they were to misread a confusing ballot and *purely by accident* hit the electronic screen for Kerry-Edwards, they would avoid military service by other means:

(via USAToday)
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — Vice presidential candidate John Edwards promised a West Virginia mother on Wednesday that if the Democratic ticket is elected in November the military draft would not be revived.

During a question-and-answer session, the mother of a 23-year-old who recently graduated from West Virginia University asked Edwards whether the draft would be reinstated.

"There will be no draft when John Kerry is president," Edwards said, a statement that drew a standing ovation.
As Kos points out, this is brilliant all across the board. BushCo's minions' statements have always been "we have no plans for a draft" (which is bullshit, they always have plans for everything) but puts the Forces of Evil on the defensive anyway. It's even better than statements like "We are quite sure the President has stopped beating his wife" or "It is beneath the dignity of the political process to comment in any way on the vile rumors about goats."

Bush AWOL: Only 40? 

Given Delay's control over the House, and the clout that Acting President Rove wields, I'm surprised every single House Republican hasn't stepped up to the plate. Anyhow, if there were any percentage in it, Whiney Joe Lieberman would be

House Republicans are requesting a House committee investigation of CBS' use of forged documents.

Forty House Republicans have demanded CBS retract the report, calling CBS part of a campaign to deceive the public and defame the President.
(via "Christian" Broadcasting Network)

Two points:

1. The case that the substance of the memos is true has never been stronger (back). That's why the White House didn't dispute their authenticity immediately, but instead distributed copies of them.

2. Nice to see the House Republicans kicking ass and taking names over the WMD fiasco.

Oh, wait... I'm sorry. The memos thing is a public relations issue that might make Bush look bad in an election, so it goes right to the top of the list. This whole WMD thing is so over... It only justified this strategic disaster of a war, that's taken over 1000 American lives, with no end in sight. What was I thinking?

Gaslight watch: It's quiet. Too quiet. 

Say, isn't it a little weird that all the terror alerts died down right after the Republicans retreated from Manhattan?


Bush AWOL: A very good question 

From alert reader semper ubi:

Where are the memos that Knox (back) said she did type?


Knox said the information about Bush in the memos was familiar and that she had typed documents for Killian with similar complaints. She also said the colonel did keep private "cover your back" files.


Psychedelic 'W' and the Goat Squadron 

Far Out Crazy Man!

Where was George W. Bush in the late summer and autumn of 1972? I'll tell you where I think he was; he was making an album. Yup, and I have the only known copy that I know about.

The name of the album appears to be "Far Out Crazy Man" by Psychedelic 'W' and the Goat Squadron. On the Runaway Souffle Records label. There are some pretty weird songs on it too so I've been busy giving it a listen and writing down the lyrics for you. The audio quality isn't the best, a lot of cracks and pops and skirrrschhhh-and-krrrrrrshchhhhhh sounds on it, but you know how that is with those old records. Probably a bootleg. Heh.

The first song on side one is called "Media Creation". Goes like this:
Media Creation
You know I could run
for governor
but I'm basically a media creation.
I'm basically a media creation

I've never done anything much
I've worked for my dad.
I worked in the oil business.
but I'm basically a media creation.

You know I could run
for governor
If this were a dictatorship,
it'd be a heck of a lot easier,
just so long as I'm the dictator.

but I'm basically a media creation.
I'm basically a media creation

A lot of noisy guitar jammin' and a long drum solo on that one. Next, side one, song number two, is a kind of weird country western acid-rock gospel cut called "Plain Speakin":
Plain Speakin'
The way I like to put it,
if I can -- in plain English is,
on the one hand, they taketh -
- they giveth, on the other hand

On the one hand they give
on the other hand you don't get
It's hard to explain
things aren't exactly black and white

The way I like to put it,
if I can -- in plain English is,
when it comes to accounting
It's hard to explain

On the other hand they giveth.
On the one hand they taketh
The way I like to put it
things aren't exactly black and white

Jeezis huh? The paper with the little goat characters on it musta been some good shit! Next up is a track from side two. An anti-war MC5-like knockoff called "Motherhugger Me!":
Motherhugger Me!
I was running against peace
and prosperity.
There's only one person,
responsible for that decision.

Through opinion and the noise
you hear in Washington.
There's only one person,
responsible for that decision.

Motherhugger Me!
Motherhugger Me!

I've got responsibility to hug
the mothers and the widows,
The wives and the kids,
on the death of their loved ones.

There's only one person
responsible for that decision.
And thats me...

Motherhugger Me!
Motherhugger Me!

I was running against peace
and prosperity
there's only one person
responsible for that decision,
And thats me...

And, you know, it'll take time
to restore chaos
there's only one person
responsible for that decision,
And thats me...

Motherhugger Me!
Motherhugger Me!

Lots of screeching metal on that one. Immediately following that track is a strange arrangement of "Crimson and Clover" (over and over and over), so I'll spare you the agony and move to the fourth song on side two. Called "Sweet Home Alabama". Yep, that's right. Just like that song title by those Len-nerd Skin-nerd guys. I wonder if they stole the title from P.W. and the Goat Squadron? I suppose we'll never find out the truth but nevertheless the song goes like this:
Sweet Home Alabama
Home home on my mind
where the beer and the chandeliers sway.
Where seldom is seen,
any weed thats unclean.
And the skys are hot vinyl all day

Where cookies are baked...
with Columbian flake.
And the liquor stores open at nine.

Home home on my mind.
where the girls from the Country Club play
Where mostly I've found,
folks will by me a round.
Once my Daddy and friends have their say.

(repeat chrous)

Pretty straight forward peppy folk-pop number with some interesting harmonica action and someone whacking away at a cowbell. Up with people! The last track I had a chance to listen too is a love song titled "Sometimes When I Sleep at Night" which features a female lead vocalist named Laura Dream. Hmmm...well anyway, think Nico and the Velvet Underground on this one.
Sometimes When I sleep at Night
Sometimes when I sleep at night
I think of Hop on Pop.

Well, you got a pretty face,
You got a pretty face,
You're a good-looking guy.
Better looking than my Scott

Sometimes when I sleep at night
I think of Hop on Pop.

I didn't know what to say,
But I'll take what I can, I guess,
When a Texas Republican says
you've got a pretty face,

then I guess there is just no way around it.
You got a pretty face,
You're a good-looking guy.
Better looking than my Scott

Sometimes when I sleep at night
I think of Hop on Pop.

Yikes huh? There's also a version of "All Tomorrows Parties" on side one but I'm afraid to listen to it. I'm gonna have to go back to my attic and see what else is up there.

Psychedelic 'W' Live: The General was there! This is very exciting news. I believe that this was P.W. & the Goat Squadron's "Mission Accomplished" tour. I'm pretty sure. That was the tour that featured the giant inflatable codpiece - nicknamed "Tired Dick" - that was erected on stage for the show's encore perfomance of the classic generation defining ballad "White Panty Elvis Party". (I read about it in Tiger Beat.) I also believe that the concert the General mentions may have been the very same show that almost killed Grover Norquist when the inflatable codpiece suddenly went limp, collapsed onto the stage, and nearly suffocated the little runt like a chipmunk trapped under a wet plastic bag. But I'm not positive because I was far far away at the time, raising sheep in Patagonia, or mining Haiphong Harbor, or having sex with Claudine Longet in the front seat of a snowplow high in the Italian Alps. In August. Or something like that. I mean really, for chist's sake its just not reasonable to expect someone to remember exactly where they were or what they were doing or why they were doing it every single day years and years ago when they were supposed to be here or supposed to be there or supposed to be somewhere else or supposed to be.............


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bush AWOL: Winger triumphalism indeed premature ejaculation 

A new twist to the saga:

CBS News reported that the documents it first broadcast last week on "60 Minutes II" appear to be forgeries to the woman who would have typed the original memos in 1972 and 1973.

But Marian Carr Knox, a former Texas Air National Guard secretary, said she did type similar documents for her boss, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian.

OK, since the wingers only want to talk about form. I guess we'll have to focus on substance:

"I know that I didn't type them. However, the information in those is correct," Knox told CBS anchor Dan Rather.

Knox, 86...

Not a lot of reason to lie, eh?

... had previously told the same story to the Dallas Morning News in a report that was published Wednesday morning.

The newspaper said Knox "spoke with precise recollection about dates, people and events."

She told the Morning News, "I remember very vividly when Bush was there and all the yak-yak that was going on about it."

In the memos, the author complained he was being pressured to "sugar coat" the future president's performance evaluations and that Bush failed to meet performance standards, including getting a required physical exam.

The author also wrote that Bush -- whose father was a Texas congressman at the time -- was "talking to someone upstairs" to get permission to transfer to the Alabama National Guard to work on a Senate campaign.

So, on substance, game over.

The legitimacy of the memos came under fire almost immediately as people posted doubts on a conservative Internet bulletin board. Soon, a number of document experts suggested the memos were not written on a typewriter in the 1970s but generated on a computer at a later date.

Knox told Rather that Killian was "upset" that Bush did not obey his order to have a physical, and she said the young lieutenant showed disregard for the rules to a degree that irritated other pilots.

So, Bush did disobey a direct order. Again, on substance, game over.

Knox said the information about Bush in the memos was familiar and that she had typed documents for Killian with similar complaints. She also said the colonel did keep private "cover your back" files.

So, it's possible that Killian typed the memoes himself, for CY"B" reasons, and carefully didn't involve his secretary in something that, even back then, must have been politically charged? The case for forgery, therefore, still remains unproven (and it's the wingers job to prove it.)

But, she said she did not type the memos that were aired by CBS because they were written in a format she didn't use and there was Army terminology not used in the Air National Guard.
(via CNN)

This is, however—depending on the terminology used—consistent with Killian typing the memos himself for his private files. He wouldn't have known the format.

Bottom line: The substance of the memos is true, and the memos could still be genuine.

Which should come as no surprise, since every bit of it has already (back) been independently confirmed many times over.

And that's the way it is. Frankly, I think keeping the story alive to this point is a triumph for the blogosphere, especially in the face of the awesome power of the winger attack machine.

Goodnight, moon 

I can think of two, no three, character-based reasons to vote for Kerry.

1. Kerry will reason from facts to come to a solution.

How different from Bush and the neo-cons, who went to war based on ideology, and when ideology failed them, had nothing to fall back on but trying to hide what they did and blame others.

2. Kerry is a prosecutor.

There are going to be an awful lot of rocks to lift, and a lot of creepy-crawlies scuttling out from under them. Kerry's prosecutorial mindset and experience (BCCS, the Contras) will be a great help.

And—this will be really un-PC, so forgive me as I to think it through:

3. Kerry knows what it means to take life.

Meaning: Kerry's been a soldier, and has killed people in battle, personally.

Bush, despite the strut, has killed people by signing off on their execution warrants, or through negligence and arrogance in planning for the Iraq war. He's a killer by proxy.

So I think Kerry, in defending the country, will take his duty seriously in a way that Bush never has. Putting on the flight suit is one thing; being shot at, and shooting back, is entirely another.


The Translation Department: "Ownership Society" 

Translation: You get left holding the bag.

Bush AWOL 

Nice summary by Kevin Drum.

One of the reasons I'm annoyed by the whole Killian memo fiasco is that even if they're real they don't really add much to the story. ... What we know for sure is that Bush began having problems flying in 1972; refused his physical; was grounded; disappeared for five months; probably disappeared for an entire year; failed to sign up with a unit in Boston for his final year of service; and got an honorable discharge anyway.

And he's never come clean about it. We don't need CBS's memos to remind us of that. We already knew it.

Yep. Sigh....

"Towering Moral Witness" 

No, not the swift boat vets for mendacity. Not CBS, who says the documents are real. Not Laura Bush, who says they aren't. And not the secretary, fine woman though I'm sure she is, who says the documents aren't "genuine," but their content is.

The "towering moral witness" in question belongs to those young widows of 9/11, sometimes known as the Jersey Girls, which is almost appropriate when you force yourself to realize how terribly young they were when they lost their husbands, but whose status as women/widows/citizen activists is becoming a great American story. No one has explained it better than the great Charles Pierce, writing at Eric Alterman's Altercation: (Sorry, no link, can't find it at MSNBC; but I had copied the text at the time into notes I keep of the really good stuff.)

The truly great thing about these 9/11 hearings remains the towering moral witness of the 9/11 widows -- and shame on Bob (Coiffure By Vespasian Of The Appian Way) Kerrey for shushing them. They are doing more than standing up for their loved ones, and that surely would have been enough. They are glorious in their casual disdain for the "Intelligence Community." They are blissfully unimpressed by the Great Men who presume to tell them what the Great Men decide they should know. They leave the pundits gaping at their heedless disregard for the Governing Class. Almost alone, they have insisted that information be brought to light that will enable us to judge our leaders and hold them to account, and that's what this whole silly experiment was supposed to be about -- the "most dreaded kind of knowledge," according to that impossible old blatherskite, John Adams. God save these wonderful women. They are being citizens -- in the most complete sense possible -- for the rest of us.

As you may or may not have heard:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Five outspoken Sept. 11 widows today will publicly endorse John Kerry for president, throwing their weight behind the Democratic challenger in a heated campaign debate over who is best suited to defend the nation from another terrorist attack.

Some, including Kristen Breitweiser of Middletown, N.J., and Monica Gabrielle of West Haven, Conn., also have agreed to make campaign appearances for the Democratic senator, campaign sources said.

"We will be speaking from the heart, and speaking from our conscience," Breitweiser said Monday. She would not elaborate.

Breitweiser is by far the most visible and outspoken of the Sept. 11 family advocates, and has been highly critical of the government's reform efforts to date.

The move highlights the widening political divide among the nearly 3,000 Sept. 11 families.
At the Republican National Convention two weeks ago, two widows and the sister of another Sept. 11 victim offered moving tributes to their departed loved ones. The somber appearances offered no direct endorsement of President Bush, but their message of support was unmistakable.

I didn't see much coverage of this yesterday, just Kristen on CNN; she hasn't been on an airplane since that first 9/11; even catching sight of one of them in the skies above triggers immdiately the horrifying image of that jumbo jet hurtling straight into the building where her husband worked. Apparently, she's prepared to face down those demons if plane travel is required to campaign for Senator Kerry.

I'm sure this was a difficult decision for all of these young widows; up to now they have been rigorously non-partisan. Here's a sample of them responding on Hardball to that day's testimony in front of the 9/11 Commission last April by Condi Rice, whose reluctant appearance testifying under oath was largely the work of the 9/11 families refusing to take "no," for an answer.

MATTHEWS: What about the July briefing that was on domestic agencies?

MINDY KLEINBERG, WIDOW OF 9/11 ATTACK: You know, what’s unbelievable about that is that nobody followed that up. I mean they say that they told the FAA and they told the FBI, but nobody at the FAA did anything.

Nobody stepped up the protocols and procedures during that threat period. Nobody at the FBI knew that this threat was there.

And I would have liked them to continue to ask her, because apparently, she didn’t feel that was her responsibility.

MATTHEWS: You once said that she was either lying or she’s incompetent. What do you think of her now? Do you think that’s still a fair judgment, I mean if it ever was one?

BREITWEISER: I have to say, with a laundry list of questions that that Commissioner Lehman asked her, she said she didn’t know a lot of things. And I would question what exactly did she know? And if she didn’t know it, who else would know it?

It’s her job to know that information. It’s her job to relay that information to the president and to actually, in our opinion, inform the public.

If the public was better informed in the summer of 2001, lives would have been saved. Maybe the attacks wouldn’t have been prevented; but lives would have been saved.

My husband was in Tower II. If he knew that it was a terrorist attack, he wouldn’t have stayed in the building.


PATTY CASAZZA, WIDOW OF 9/11 ATTACK: And it’s also disingenuous for the national security advisor to say she couldn’t have imagined planes being used as weapons.

In July, the president, Condoleezza Rice, Ari Fleischer, Karen Hughes, and Karl Rove attended the general summit in Italy. The national security advisor of that nation was aware of an assassination attempt to be committed upon our president and the leaders attending that G8 Summit in July.

How do you forget, two months later, the threat of your life, the president’s life, and not think that that threat could actually follow you home to the United States?

MATTHEWS: Were you surprised at the lack of attention during the last couple of hours on what the president knew and what he did? It seemed like the questions did not get to the commander in chief. I mean I’m just noticing that. Have you noticed that, Mindy?

KLEINBERG: Well, you know what -- it seemed, whether someone not telling us, whether they didn’t ask the appropriate questioning, but, yes, it seemed like he wasn’t getting the information that he should have been getting. This commission was created so that we could take a look at the vital flow of information and decide where the breakdowns are and then fix them. Somewhere along the way, you could see that people were not getting the information they needed to get-- whether it was the field agents, whether it was the airline security personnel, or whether it was the president of the United States.


VAN AUKEN: Yes, well, we’ve known for a long time that that was the title of that briefing. They’ve been trying to keep that a secret from the public. They tried to keep it secret in the joint intelligence committee report. You know, that pretty much says it all.

If that strikes you as less than non-partisan that's because you, like all of us, have been exposed to a non-stop campaign on the part of the administration and its considerable echo chamber on the right to conflate all pointed questioning of this President's performance in office, before and after 9/11, with the narrowest kind of partanship - exactly the kind which animates pretty much every decision made by Bush & co.

The widows are aware of the issue of partsanship. Here's a piece of an interview with Kristen Breitweiser by David Brancaccio from Bill Moyer's Now on the Friday of the week Richard Clarke came before the 9/11 Commission to testify. (The first several quotes are from a previous Now interview that was excerpted as an intro to this one):

Condoleezza Rice versus Richard Clarke. How do the 9/11 widows make sense of the commission testimony?

BREITWEISER: If we can't remove politics from it. If they have to go down to that level, then how in God's name can we expect the world to come together.


BREITWEISER: We have no expertise. But what we have is a passion, and a drive to right the wrongs. And to fix the problems. And to find the truth.

KLEINBERG: Please, pick up the phone. Call your senators. Call your congressman. Tell them that you want to be safe. Tell them that you want an independent investigation.


BRANCACCIO: What do you think your greatest disappointment was from those two days of hearings?

BREITWEISER: I think my greatest disappointment was really the commissioners' behavior with regard to lowering themselves to partisan politics. We fought so hard to get this commission created. We wanted an independent commission. We wanted it to be bipartisan. To see them go to that level, really, it was upsetting. It's dishonoring of the dead.


BRANCACCIO: What about the people called to testify during those two days? Should they have mixed it up more? Should it have been a different roster of people in some way?

BREITWEISER: I think that the roster was good. I think the roster was missing a key person, namely National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

The biggest question, the elephant in the room, is, you know, how is it possible of being National Security Advisor that you came out with a public statement in May of 2002 that you didn't know planes could be used as missiles? We have an intelligence history and record that clearly is replete with instances of planes possibly being used as missiles. In my humble opinion, it is one of two things. Either she's lying. Or she's incompetent. And in either case, she needs to come before the American people so that we can find out what the case is and hold her accountable and determine whether or not she is fit for her job.

BRANCACCIO: You raise this issue of partisanship. Do you ever worry that you're being used for those purposes? I had the radio on the other day. And there was conservative talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, going on about some of the 9/11 widows suggesting that you've been coached by the Democrats.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: It sounds to me not only were women coached, but it sounds to me like somebody fed them to the networks.

BREITWEISER: I would have encouraged him to do his homework a little bit better. I voted for President Bush and so did my husband. I believed in him. And I believe when a President takes an oath of office, he takes an oath of office to lead, protect and serve. I think that the least President Bush could do for the families is to come forward and open a dialogue and discuss 9/11.

BRANCACCIO: And you're not seeing in that committee, at those hearings, this working together to making the world a safer place?

BREITWEISER: No, and that's what I'm saying. If we can't even get along on a commission that was set up by the families working so hard, begging to have this commission. We literally begged. If they can't even remove politics from it, if they have to go down to that level, how in the God's name can we expect the world to come together?

As they sought to understand what made 9/11 possible, other than the manical ,suicidal will of the jihadist terrorists to visit unspeakable horror on this country, these young widows developed a sense of what it means to live in a democracy that is not shared by the Bush administration, for whom all information about how the government operates belongs to them, not to ordinary citizens. That the administration had a public responsibility to submit someone like Condi Rice to a public questioning, so that citizens themselves could decide if and how she should be held accountable is still treated like some kind of unpatriotic outrage.

Their decision to endorse John Kerry is the logical outcome of the journey taken by these young widows; it might well have had a different outcome if the Bush administration hadn't been...well, the Bush administration.

They will be an asset to Kerry's campaign; by their mere presence they remind voters on whose watch 9/11 happened and also how reluctant the Bush adminisration was to submit itself to any kind of judgement, even to that of a hand-chosen, non-partisan Commission whose mission was of the highest patriotism - to avoid assigning blame in order to figure out what actually happened to avoid it happening again. As we've heard so often from all those ex-prosecutors-cum-TV personalities, flight is evidence of knowledge of guilt. The Bush administration had good reason for its flight from convening any sort of forum for evaluating how well the government responded on 9/11. This is in contrast to the previous administration;from President Clinton on down, Democrats have been in favor of such a commission. Both Clinton and Gore testified on the record, and Clinton's library had to threaten to sue to get the Bush administration to release all the relevant Clinton files.

No statement has riled the right wing against the widows more than Kristen's "that 3000 people died on George Bush's watch." And not without reason. Her statement, and their response goes exactly to the character issue. Bush and his partisans hear that sentence as laying the blame for 9/11 at the door of the White House. No. Even if big mistakes were made by his administration, Bush would not be to blame for 9/11. Kristen Breitweiser's comment is a statement of fact. 9/11 did happen on Bush's watch; it is an event in all of its many aspects for which he bears a primary responsibility; he is accountable for the day itself, and for what has happened post 9/11, including his reluctance to examine what did happen. Expect these new advocates for Kerry to be attacked. It will be said that they have shown their true partisan colors now. We should all be prepared to defend them from that kind of contemptuous dismissal as exemplified by that venerable battleax of the right, Dorothy Rabinowitz; herewith a small sample.

The venerable status accorded this group of widows comes as no surprise given our times, an age quick to confer both celebrity and authority on those who have suffered. As the experience of the Jersey Girls shows, that authority isn't necessarily limited to matters moral or spiritual. All that the widows have had to say--including wisdom mind-numbingly obvious, or obviously false and irrelevant--on the failures of this or that government agency, on derelictions of duty they charged to the president, the vice president, the national security adviser, Norad and the rest, has been received by most of the media and members of Congress with utmost wonder and admiration. They had become prosecutors and investigators, unearthing clues and connections related to 9/11, with, we're regularly informed, unrivalled dedication and skill.

Judge for yourself how just is this characterization by listening to Kristen in front of a Senate committee wrapping up the business of the 9/11 Commission, courtesy of Columbia/Union, which has the link up as part of its sidebar.

We're all used to it by now - the way any person who doesn't toe the entire right wing line is an immediate target for character assassination. And note the angry disdain for the Commission itself. Like William Kristol, a great nation conservative we're told, really wanted to get to the bottom of what happened on 9/11. Instead, maximum contempt is drummed up against any American whose total output of energy is not focusd on rage against "Islamofacists." For instance, here's Mark Styn, writing in April:

Stop whimpering, we're in a battle

"This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper." I'm saving the end of the world for my final column, but T S Eliot's words seem at least as pertinent to the present war - or "war", according to taste. It will be decided not by the bangs - whether in Fallujah or Bali or elsewhere - but by the whimpers. And, although the bangs have got a little louder in recent weeks, it's the whimpers that have become deafening.

Whimpers, whimpers everywhere. On American TV, the network sob-sisters tut sympathetically with the "Jersey Girls", four media-savvy 9/11 widows who've decided that metaphorically speaking George W Bush was at the controls of the planes that slammed into the World Trade Centre. Beltway reporters are a-twitter about the biennial doorstopper from


The biggest whimpers of all come from the 9/11 Commission. Have you been watching it? Me neither. But, when I catch the odd 10 minutes, I begin to feel as anti-American as Margaret Drabble and Harold Pinter. In its ghastly exhibitionist ersatz-legalism, it represents all the most malign features of American life. Tony Blair should have offered to loan Lord Hutton. Instead, a mélange of hacks and has-beens mugs for the cameras round the clock, and any piece of government paper from the summer of 2001 containing the words "plane" and/or "Muslim" is taken as evidence of Bush's complicity.

In fact, the so-called incriminating memo is notable mainly for its confirmation of the woeful state of US intelligence. The mention of "media reports" in the first sentence is a sly admission that you could have found out all the stuff in this "classified" briefing by reading the papers. If you'd read a piece by Kenneth Timmerman in the July 1998 Reader's Digest, you'd have been much more informed. Bush would have been better off spending half an hour in a well-stocked dentist's waiting room than reading CIA briefings, and the ensuing root-canal surgery would have been a lot less painful than listening to the Commission poseurs.

The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that counter-intelligence was severely hobbled by the so-called "wall" erected between the CIA and FBI. Who put up this "wall", or at any rate extended it several feet higher than previously? Why, former Clinton-era Deputy Attorney-General Jamie Gorelick. Has she testified before the Commission? Well, no, because she's on it. That would seem to be a prima facie conflict of interest. But instead she's huffing indignantly about being a victim of "partisan rancor". "Partisan rancour" is wholly improper unless directed at Bush and Ashcroft.


The other bombshell revelation from the hearings was trampled into oblivion in the stampede to Woodward's book and other flim-flam. Commissioner John Lehman remarked that "it was the policy [before 9/11] and I believe remains the policy today to fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that's discriminatory."

Remarkable, isn't it, how badly past columns by propogandists fare upon re-reading? The statements about Gorelick and about the rule that kept airlines from asking questions of two muslims at a time are both incorrect

The mega-best seller status of the Commission's book-length report is some indication of how out of whack the righties really are with the American mainstream.

So, let's encourage the Kerry campaign to use these precious American citizens, to whom everyone owes a debt of gratitutde, well and often. Without even saying a word, they force their fellow citizens to take a hard look at the Bush administration.

The best preparation defending the honor of the 9/11 widows is to read this post by Tim Dunlop at The Road to Serfdom, which takes on and quickly vanquishes all their rightwing critics. It's a fun, and enormously satisfying read.

Bush AWOL: If $10,000 won't bring a witness forward, will $50,000? 

I honestly don't see why this is such a problem. Bush has already released all the records, right? Right?

Got proof that President Bush fulfilled his National Guard duties? It could be worth $50,000.

Texans for Truth, a Democratic "527" organization that has attacked the president's service record, is offering a reward to anyone who can prove that Bush performed his duties in the Air National Guard between May 1972 and May 1973.

"If the president won't come clean that he dodged his military responsibilities in Alabama during the height of the Vietnam War, we'll continue our search for the whole story," said Glenn Smith, head of the group.

Bush received an honorable discharge from the guard in 1974 but has been dogged by questions surrounding unexplained gaps in his service. Texans for Truth's offer, which was announced on the same day that Bush addressed the National Guard Association of the United States, is only the latest -- and most lavish -- in a series of similar stunts designed to fill in those gaps or, barring that, embarrass Bush's campaign.

Earlier this year, Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau offered to donate $10,000 to the USO in the name of anyone who could provide similar evidence of Bush's service. During the 2000 presidential election, a small group of veterans offered $1,000 for such proof, a reward that a group called later offered to double.

But if you want Texans for Truth's money, which Smith said will come out of the group's approximately $400,000 kitty, you'll have to act fast -- the offer expires Sept. 30.
(via WaPo)

Hey, wouldn't this be ironic? Bush proves it himself, and collects! But how likely could that be....

UPDATE Alert reader Beth comments:

BTW, via CBS, "Forty members of the House signed a letter ... asking CBS if the documents are authentic, why won't the network say how it got them." Not one of these Republicans ever signed a letter asking why Novak wouldn't identify the traitor who outed an undercover CIA agent. Apparently, at least 40 House Republicans think keeping Bush's misdeeds a secret takes presedence over protecting our national security.

The Texas Souffle is staggering your way! 

Lock up your teenage daughters and turn out the lights!

Now-prominent, established Texas figures in the military, arts, business and political worlds, some of them Republicans and Bush supporters, talk about Bush's alleged use of marijuana and cocaine based on what they say they have heard from trusted friends. One middle-aged woman whose general veracity could be confirmed told me that she met Bush in 1968 at Hemisphere 68, a fair in San Antonio, at which he tried to pick her up and offered her a white powder he was inhaling. She was then a teenager; Bush would have just graduated from Yale and have been starting the National Guard then. "He was getting really aggressive with me," she said. "I told him I'd call a policeman, and he laughed, and asked who would believe me."


The family that rented Bush a house in Montgomery, Alabama, during that period told me that Bush did extensive, inexplicable damage to their property, including smashing a chandelier, and that they unsuccessfully billed him twice for the damage--which amounted to approximately $900, a considerable sum in 1972. Two unconnected close friends and acquaintances of a well-known Montgomery socialite, now deceased, told me that the socialite in question told them that he and Bush had been partying that evening at the Montgomery Country Club, combining drinking with use of illicit drugs, and that Bush, complaining about the brightness, had climbed on a table and smashed the chandelier when the duo stopped at his home briefly so Bush could change clothes before they headed out again.

Continue reading: Why Bush Left Texas, by Russ Baker The Nation, September 14, 2004 issue

It's about sex. It's about character. It's about lying. It's about arrogance. It's about abuse of powder.


Remember when "character" mattered? 

Remember when you couldn't open a newspaper or turn on a television set without being subjected to a blast-harangue of sneering self-righteous right wing tongue-waggles, culture war scoldpottles, pantysniffing pundits and amplified Jesus shouting mesmerists all shrieking in unison "it's about character stupid!" Remember that pious patent leather dirigible Bill Bennett and all his braying and bleating about "the death of outrage"? Remember all that cage rattling whoop and wail? Don't answer that, I know you remember.

Stuff like this:

[1] No, It's not about sex. It's about character. It's about lying. It's about arrogance. It's about abuse of power.

Gee, isn't that handy. It continues.....

[2] It's about dodging the draft and lying about It. When caught in a lie by letters you wrote, you concocted a story that nobody believed.

But we excused It and looked away.

[3] It's about smoking dope, and lying about It. "I didn't Inhale," you said. Sure, and when I was 16 and my buddies and I swiped a beer from an unwatched refrigerator, we drank from It, but we didn't swallow. "I broke no laws of the United States," you said. That's right, you smoked dope in England or Norway or Moscow, where you were demonstrating against the U.S.A.

You lied, but we excused It and looked away.

[4] It's about you selling overnight stays in the White House to any foreigner or other contributor with untraceable cash.

[5] You've established such a pattern of lying that we can't believe you anymore. Neither can your cabinet, the Congress or any of the leaders of the nations of the world.

[6] It said, "It's the economy, stupid!" Place the sign over your desk "It's about character stupid!"

[7] It's about character, but we have to live with your filth, lies and arrogance for a while longer. Your lies, amorality and lack of character have been as pervasive as they have been despicable, so we have no reason to believe that you will quietly resign and go away.

[8] You'll count on half truths and spin doctors to see you through, the country be damned. It has always worked before.

[9] Go away, Mr. President. Leave us alone. And when you leave, know that your legacy to the United States of America will be a stain on the Office of the President...

Well well, that was THEN. Written by a guy named Eric Jowers from Ozark, Alabama, a "retired Army officer," who "served as a public affairs officer at Fort Rucker from 1989 to 1991." Those are his charges leveled at you know who - that Bill Clinton feller. Jowers cached

So what you can do is copy down those nine points, amend each original point above appropriately with your own current talking points or smart allecky remarks, for maximum impact of course, and throw em right back where they belong. Send em to the media idiots or wherever. Ask them what became of the good old deafening cry to battle royal of - "it's about character, stupid!"

That was THEN. This is NOW:
THEN: [1]- No, It's not about sex. It's about character. It's about lying. It's about arrogance. It's about abuse of power.

NOW: [1]- It's not about sex. Its about sexy sexy! Hot Dubya! HIS hunka-hunka strutting manly messianic love. Check the package on that flight suit all you girly men, oooo, mission accomplished! It's not about character stupid, it's all about personality!. The Symbol has landed. Lying - arrogance - abuse of power: Ha! Out of the lineup. Lying is now being pitched as: what you don't know won't hurt you. Arrogance is now plain spoken resolve. Abuse of power has miraculously "reformed" itself as strong leadership in times of change - and a matter of national security. Fabulous! Ain't miracles sumpin'.

and so on...... you get the idea.

NOW: [2]- Dodgeball anyone! If George W. Bush is so proud of his military service record, as he told vets in Las Vegas yesterday, then why won't he answer specific questions concerning his whereabouts during that period. He knows where he was and what he was doing. Putting it plain spoken-like, why doesn't Bush knock off the grab-ass and tell us all where he was and what the fuck he was really into. Why not put this issue to rest once and for all. Mission accomplished! Yeah, sure. Never happen. And, sadly enough, too many in the SCLM, on their backs with their legs in the air, will never pressure Bush to come clean on the details of his TxANG service. Instead they will resort to barking at decoys and groping at shifting shadows or jumping up and down in muddy puddles if for no other purpose than to further their own lucrative careers as noisy splish-splash puddle muddlers. Info-tainment for info-tainment sake. For too many in the SCLM, especially the servile myrmidons in the cable television "news" racket, scampering about polishing the Oligarch's knob is what they prefer to honest skeptical inquiry and serious investigative journalism.

NOW: [3]- It's about smoking dope? Wrong. It's about being a dope. And a hypocrite and a profligate self-interest serving sanctimonious fraud.
"I can't be expected to remember what every drug-addled yuppie hanger-on-er who wanted to get close to me during a football game twenty-five years ago digested. There were so many dope fiends milling about, I don't remember what some Yalie named Bush, whose father was a factotum in the Nixon Administration, was doing. But he strikes me as the sort of person I would have thrown out of the room. A rich, beer-drunk yahoo with a big allowance who passes out in your bathtub." ~ Hunter S. Thompson.

NOW: [4]- Sleep-overs with GWB43? Would Kenny Boy like an Argentine gas-pipeline contract with his nightcap? How about a couple of FERC appointments on his fluffy pillow before beddy-bye time. Would cousin Bandhar like a cover tuck and a good night kiss on the forehead from Uncle Dick? Coming right up.

NOW: [5]- Pattern lying. Hard to know where to begin with this one. WMD's, mushroom clouds, drone planes, privatization scams wrapped in semantic happy talk...on and on and on.... Bush has managed to surround himself with an experienced assortment of liars, felons, mercenaries, bully pulpit theocrats, cheap-shot public relations shills, con artists - including an on bended knee Republican Congress - and a circus of media whelp-dogs willing to fetch the master's squeak toys at the first hint of a whistle. Pattern lying? George W. Bush & Co. are to pattern lying what the June Taylor Dancers were to kaleidoscopic choreography.

NOW: [6]- Place this sign in the window of your business: Closed. Just ask any of the millions of people who have lost their jobs to outsourcing. Just ask any of the small business owners who have been smoked from their holes on Main Street by predatory - race to the bottom of the wage barrel - corporations such as WalMart. Or the small independent family farmers who have been drained of life by the vampiristic practices of corporate agribiz. It's about the giant sucking sound of cheap labor conservatism. It's not about real "economy" or real "character" anymore. It's all about getting the money and getting away with it. It's all about defending the shiny bejeweled palace on the hill and guarding the precious pearls and birthstones hidden within. It's about gambling, and high risk speculation supermodels dressed up pretty-in the-pink, and renamed "opportunity". Place this sign on your desk instead: "It's about stupid 'creative destruction'" and the "opportunity" such pillage offers the privileged few at the expense of the many. It's about drowning representative democracy in a bathtub and the resuscitation of the Franco Way.

NOW: [7]- Filth, arrogance, pervasive lies? Don't let anyone ever tell you that the Republican Right never spreads it's assets around. Attributing their own mean spirited attributions and dishonest suppositions to others is one of their favorite causes. They'll write it all off as a tax deductible charitable contribution.

NOW: [8]- Half truths and spin doctors for 'W'? We now have entire media operations devoted solely to such black arts. From the fear and sneer personality cultists at FOXNews to the Creel Committee News-roomies at CNN. A fairy circle for the "lazy, stupid, and bitchy," as Bill Maher recently called them. With some notable exceptions the Fourth Estate is turning into little more than a feed bag for fast talking road agents, embedded Pentagon psy-ops, free marketeer illusionists, and cheesy consumer culture crank vendors.

THEN: [9]- Go away, Mr. President. Leave us alone. And when you leave, know that your legacy to the United States of America will be a stain on the Office of the President...

NOW [9]- Ditto. Ditto. Ditto.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Goodnigt, moon. 

Yes, better stories. Stories I can read myself to sleep with in my tiny room under the stairs at The Mighty Corrente Building.

"Once upon a time there was a little pet goat whose name was...."

The Spiraling Disaster 

The NY Times had better keep Krugman on, he's about the only excuse they have left for killing all those trees:

(via Krugman)
Some pundits are demanding that Mr. Kerry produce a specific plan for Iraq - a demand they never make of Mr. Bush. Mr. Kerry should turn the tables, and demand to know what - aside from pretending that things are going fine - Mr. Bush intends to do about the spiraling disaster. And Mr. Kerry can ask why anyone should trust a leader who refuses to replace the people who created that disaster because he thinks it's bad politics to admit a mistake.
We've given Dear Leader a few months to think of a mistake by now and maybe I missed it, but I haven't heard him cite one yet.

Better stories, please 

What Jesse says:

That's pretty much the secret to the conservative machine - they're disturbingly willing to disseminate an effective point as a counterbalance to facts, because they realize it's the story rather than the truth that people remember. In other words, they love to lie and it shows.

And the response? Long story short, it's about building up our own narrative machine. Not lists of facts, although they help. Not point-by-point contradictions, although they help. Generating the framework in which all evidence fits is the key - conservatives excel at setting this framework, so even things which blatantly disprove what they're saying must function not against the evidence they've provided, but the story they're told. We need better, more forceful, and more rapid storytellers.
(via Pandagon)

He's absolutely right.

"One upon a time, there was a little pet goat whose name was..." Readers? [NOTE: Be subtle, OK? Keep it suitable for children. The adults will figure it out.]

Wasn't that great, what Bush did in his speech at the National Guard conference? 

He said he'd sign an executive order that would reimburse all the parents of soldiers, who had to buy body armor to protect their children, and all the local chambers of commerce, who bought armor for their HumVees!

Oh, wait. You mean He didn't?

I wonder why?

Cornering the rat... 


"But why would we expect George Bush to level with us about Iraq? He never has," Kerry said.
(via Reuters)

It's Bush's nature...

Bush torture polities: The Hersh book 

I can't look at the Hersh book 'til the weekend. Who's read it? How is it?

MBF Watch: Kerry hires Gobbel, the woman who was fired for a Kerry bumpersticker 

The bad news back here. The good news via Atrios.

Hey, Kerry isn't even President yet, and already he's created more jobs than Bush!

NOTE I wonder if the Kerry campaign needs a graphic designer back)...

Talk vs. Walk: If your kid said "I'm proud to be grounded" you'd laugh 

But when Bush says this, supporters cheer. Why is that?

Bush talks the talk:

[BUSH] "Nineteen individuals have served both in the Guard and as president of the United States," he said, naming Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman, among others, "and I am proud to be one of them."
(via Kansas City Stat)

But he doesn't walk the walk:

For example, Air National Guard regulations at the time required commanders to write an investigative report for the Air Force when Bush missed his annual medical exam in 1972. The regulations also required commanders to confirm in writing that Bush received counseling after missing five months of drills.

The AP talked to experts unaffiliated with either campaign who have reviewed Bush's files for missing documents. They said it was not unusual for guard commanders to ignore deficiencies by junior officers such as Bush. But they said missing a physical exam, which caused him to be grounded, was not common.

"It's sort of like a code of honor that you didn't go DNF (duty not including flying)," said retired Air Force Col. Leonard Walls, who flew 181 combat missions over Vietnam. "There was a lot of pride in keeping combat-ready status."
(via the increasingly serious USA Today)

So, what the heck has Bush got to be proud of?

Why is He proud of being grounded? Fer gawdsake.

And what could Bush possibly know of honor or pride? To be honorable, and to know true pride, you've got to walk the walk.

Laundromat Diplomacy 

Via: Frogsdong "May a smile be your umbrella". Click through the link in the Frogsdong post for the punchline:

How do you say "ditto" in French?


Dear LA Times 

MJS writes to the editors:


Michael Ramirez recent agitprop depicts Dan Rather with a large, CBS logo "black eye" and circles the superscript "th" in the background, in case the reader doesn't get it. This story has many facets, but a couple of points stand out: Without vetting the actual document, many "experts" passed along opinions about the legitimacy of this three decade-old document. There is no final verdict on this issue as of this writing, and many "experts" have asserted that the typewriters in use at the time had the functions necessary to produce the text as displayed in the copies.

As for black eyes, George W. Bush sent thousands of American soldiers off to fight a war in Iraq. The administration’s stated reasons for this imperial adventure have been proven to be demonstrably false, not by a few bloggers over the weekend, but by the evidence (or lack thereof) itself. If Rather has earned a black eye for an as yet unresolved "Superscript Follies" what might Bush receive for roaring mendacity that has resulted in the deaths and injuries of thousands and thousands of human beings? I do believe Mr. Ramirez has a rather twisted sense of proportion.


Matthew 7:3: Surprise! Bush trashes Kerry on spending, but plans to spend more 

The math isn't fuzzy—it's missing entirely! I wonder why?

The expansive agenda President Bush laid out at the Republican National Convention was missing a price tag, but administration figures show the total is likely to be well in excess of $3 trillion over a decade.

A staple of Bush's stump speech is his claim that his Democratic challenger, John F. Kerry, has proposed $2 trillion in long-term spending, a figure the Massachusetts senator's campaign calls exaggerated. But the cost of the new tax breaks and spending outlined by Bush at the GOP convention far eclipses that of the Kerry plan.

Bush's pledge to make permanent his tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of 2010 or before, would reduce government revenue by about $1 trillion over 10 years, according to administration estimates. His proposed changes in Social Security to allow younger workers to invest part of their payroll taxes in stocks and bonds could cost the government $2 trillion over the coming decade, according to the calculations of independent domestic policy experts.

And Bush's agenda has many costs the administration has not publicly estimated.
(via WaPo)

Why am I not surprised?

Matthew 7:3 

Wikipedia finds that the psychological mechanism of projection is biblically based:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
(via The King James Bible)

I've been looking for a handy meme to express the too-academic notion of projection, that also avoids the stale notion of "hypocrisy"—since, after all, people expect politicians to be hypocrites. "Matthew 7:3" might resonate well with wise, discerning Christians, as well.

I can see the T-shirts now: Matthew 7:3....

Okrent takedown 

Bush - Ellington Air Force Base, 1973 ??? 

Hodges has said that he doesn't recall Bush ever showing up at Ellington AFB in the summer of 1973.

"If [Bush] had come back to Houston, I would have kept him flying the 102 until he got out," said Hodges, a Bush admirer. "But I don't recall him coming back at all." - Boston Globe, July 28, 2000

Yet the Killian memo of June 24, 73 would suggest that Bush did show up at Ellington. Bobby Hodges now claims that he believes the Killian memo is a forgery. Does Hodges still stand by his claim that Bush never showed up at Ellington in 73?

Paul Lukasiak at the AWOL Project has the details:

We now know that Bush was paid for training on forty separate days in April, May, June, and July, 1973. Eight of those days (April 7 & 8, May 19 & 20, June 23 & 24, and July 21 &22) were "Unit Training Assembly weekends", the days that Bush’s entire unit was required to show up for the statutorily mandated periods of "drill and instruction." Yet, to date, no one remembers seeing Bush train at Ellington Air Force Base after he returned to Texas after the election in 1972.


In fact, the only evidence that supports the White House claim that Bush did really show up appears in a June 24, 1973 memo recently released by USA Today, in which Jerry Killian says that [he] cannot use Bush's "recent activity" to provide a rating for Bush on his annual Officer Effectiveness Training Report because that activity "is outside the rating period" (May 1, 1972-April 30, 1973.)

RE:CBS memo / Jerry Killian / June 24, 1973
2. Neither Lt. Colonel Harris or I feel we can rate 1st Lt. Bush since he was not training with 111F.1.S since April, 1972. His recent activity is outside the rating period. - Jerry B. Killian June 24, 1973

Does the White House think that this document is genuine, and provides the proof it needs to show that Bush did show up for training in May, June, and July of 1973 at Ellington Air Force base? Does the White House think that Bobby Hodges and Rufus Martin were lying to the Boston Globe in 2000, when they explained that the reason Bush hadn't regained his flight status was because Bush never returned to Ellington Air Force base to train? Will Bobby Hodges retract another one of his statements, like he did with regard to the authenticity of the memos released by CBS, and suddenly "remember" that Bush did come back to Ellington to train? Or does Hodges maintain the position that the documents are forgeries, and that Killian’s mention of "recent activity" proves it, because Bush never returned to Ellington for training? - [ Paul Lukasiak - The Truth Trap]

The AWOL Project Mainpage


MORE related:

TOPIC: Bush's roommate says Bush did NOT "fulfill his obligations as a pilot"!

In a 2002 interview with USA TODAY, Dean Roome, a former fighter pilot who lived with Bush in the early 1970s, said that during the first part of Bush's pilot service, he was a model officer. But he described Bush's Air Guard career as erratic - the first three years solid, the last two troubled.

"You wonder if you know who George Bush is," Roome said. "I think he digressed after a while. In the first half, he was gung-ho. Where George failed was to fulfill his obligation as a pilot. It was an irrational time in his life."

UK Guardian:
Bush Piloted Guard Training Jets
The White House said it cannot explain the changes in Bush's official flight logs

Daily News:
President Bush' former Harvard Business School prof says his ex-student supported the Vietnam War but wanted somebody else to fight it.


Bush, according to Tsurumi, "had no sense of guilt" about getting into the Guard while others wound up fighting in Vietnam.

"He was very casual about it," the professor said. "I said, 'Lucky you, how did you manage it?' He said, 'My dad had a good friend who put me at the head of the waiting list.'"

Related Updates: Thanks to Peanut at Daily Beast and Bob Fertik. See: Bob and


Bush AWOL: Times buries the real story on the Killian memos  

Pathetic. As usual, you've got to read to the end. The point at issue is whether the documents are authentic, right? (At least that's what the Time's toothless old whore, William Safire, wrote yesterday). So we first we get spewage about what CBS executives and employees think, then we get to the facts:

Richard Katz, a computer software expert in Los Angeles who was featured on the "Evening News" segment, said in an interview that he had called his local affiliate, KCBS, after looking at the memos on the CBS Web site after the initial broadcast, when some [Republican, back) experts were saying that the memos looked as if they had been composed using the Times New Roman font in Microsoft Word.

Comparing the CBS memos with a replication produced on Microsoft Word, he noticed a slight variation in the boldness of the letters, as there is on many typewritten documents. "It doesn't look like you can do this very easily," he said. If you use something like Photoshop you could come close to faking it, but why not just go out and buy a Selectric for $75?"

Duh. Point one to the professional analysts.

Bill Glennon, a technology consultant and I.B.M. typewriter specialist who had posted his thoughts on the memos on a blog and was quoted over the weekend in publications including The New York Times, said CBS called him Monday morning. The producer asked him to come in and look at the memorandums and say whether he thought that an I.B.M. typewriter could have produced the documents. He said he was initially leery of talking. Because quite honestly there's some people out there, they're scary," he said. "You don't agree with them, you offer opinions that don't jibe with theirs and you get a target on your back."

Wow. I wonder who those people could be? Kinda blends with our "MBG Watch" series, doesn't it?

Mr. Glennon was in charge of service for 1,000 contracts for I.B.M. typewriters for 15 years, starting in late 1972, around the time the memorandums were produced. He spent 15 minutes with the CBS documents, he said, and believes that they could have been created using the kind of typewriters he worked with at I.B.M.
(via that pathetic, crippled, once-proud newsgathering organization, the Pulitzer-light Times)

So, the real story—buried by the Times—has three points, one of which is (conveniently) left out entirely.

1. It was possible to produce the memos using 1970s technology. In fact, 15 minutes of work will do it—fifteen minutes that apparently nobody but CBS was willing to take. So, the always implausible winger story falls to bits.

2. The freepers who broke the story are intimidating opponents into silence. (Gee, does that remind you of another story the Times didn't cover until far too late? Say, Florida 2000?) Say, I wonder if they intimidated Hodge? ("Winger triumphalism premature")

And the third point, unmentioned by the Times:

3. How is it that there is a fast track from freeper typographic amateurs to the Standard to ABC News and the Times—all in a single news cycle? You'd almost think that the mainstream media have become an echo chamber for a megaphone with right-wing crazies shouting into it, wouldn't you? (Shamefully, blogger pimps the freepers too. I thought Google were supposed to be good guys?)

Hapless, overworked, and increasingly co-opted Public Editor Dan "Bud Man" Okrent is back from vacation. Readers, perhaps you could share your POLITE, thoughtfully worded concerns with him?

UPDATE Feel free to mention these questions from Paul Lukasiak in your note to Mr. Okrent. After all, if the freepers can get you asking the wrong questions, then whether the answers are right doesn't matter, does it?

Monday, September 13, 2004

MBF Watch: Fired, over a Kerry bumper sticker 

Boy, these people really know how to put the boot in, don't they?

"We were going back to work from break, and my manager told me that Phil said to remove the sticker off my car or I was fired," she said. "I told him that Phil couldn't tell me who to vote for. He said, 'Go tell him.' "

She went to Gaddis' office, knocked on the door and entered on his orders.

"Phil and another man who works there were there," she said. "I asked him if he said to remove the sticker and he said, 'Yes, I did.' I told him he couldn't tell me who to vote for. When I told him that, he told me, 'I own this place.' I told him he still couldn't tell me who to vote for."

Gobbell said Gaddis told her to "get out of here."

"I asked him if I was fired and he told me he was thinking about it," she said. "I said, 'Well, am I fired?' He hollered and said, 'Get out of here and shut the door.' "

She said her manager was standing in another room and she asked him if that meant for her to go back to work or go home. The manager told her to go back to work, but he came back a few minutes later and said, " 'I reckon you're fired. You could either work for him or John Kerry,' " Gobbell said.

Gobbell said she was averaging 50 to 60 hours a week on the plant's bagging machine.

"The lady there (at the unemployment commission) said that she has never heard of a firing like this before," Gobbell said.
(via The Decatur Daily from Salon)


Woman works 60 hours at a bagging machine and gets fired over a bumper sticker. Sick, sick, sick.

I've got to put out my candle in the tiny room under the stairs at The Mighty Corrente Building, so I won't have time to find out about Gaddis, or Enviromate, but maybe tomorrow...

NOTE This is the second political firing (that we know of) in Bush's America (See back here). Pathetic.

Goodnight, moon 

A tip of the Ol' Corrente Hat to the alert reader who first comes up with a winger saying the document Hersh (back) has—the one that says Bush OKed the torture policies that led to Abu Ghraib—is a forgery.

I can see that one coming a mile off.

But heck, what's so weird about it? Bush tortured animals as a child—firecrackers, frogs—so it makes sense he'd still do torture as an adult, right? Just another one of those character issues...

Truth Squad: "Pathetic" is right 

Big Lie:

If you are a senior citizen, you don't have to worry about Social Security. If you're a baby boomer, you don't have to worry about Social Security. And by the way, you'll hear the same rhetoric you hear every campaign. Believe me. You know -- "oh, don't worry" -- "they're going to take away your Social Security check." It is the most tired, pathetic way to campaign for the presidency. So you don't have to worry about that. (Cheers, applause.)
(via LA Times)

Oh good. I'm really glad to have Bush's personal assurance on this, cough.

The numbers tell the truth:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something," wrote Upton Sinclair, "when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." To make sense of what passes for debate over Social Security reform, one must realize that advocates of privatization — of replacing the current system, at least in part, with a system of personal accounts — are determined not to understand basic arithmetic. Otherwise they would have to admit that such accounts would weaken, not strengthen, the system's finances.

Social Security as we know it is a system in which each generation's payroll taxes are mainly used to support the previous generation's retirement. If contributions from younger workers go into personal accounts instead, the problem should be obvious: who will pay benefits to today's retirees and older workers? It's just arithmetic: 2-1=1. So privatization creates a financial hole that must be filled by slashing benefits, providing large financial transfers from the rest of the government or both.

During the 2000 election campaign, George W. Bush was able to get away with the nonsensical claim that private accounts would not only yield high, low-risk returns, but save Social Security at the same time. For whatever reason, few reporters pointed out that he was claiming that 2-1=4. But when it came time to produce concrete plans, the arithmetic could no longer be avoided.

Sure enough, the plans laid out by Mr. Bush's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, though presented as confusingly as possible, involve both severe benefit cuts and huge "magic asterisks," infusions of trillions of dollars from an undisclosed location.

[The White House insists] that private accounts don't weaken Social Security, because diverting money from the trust fund into those accounts doesn't reduce the total sum of money available — if you still count private accounts as part of the total. As they say in the technical literature, "Well, duh." Of course the money doesn't disappear — but it is no longer available to pay benefits to older Americans, whose own Social Security contributions were used to pay benefits to previous generations.

As the facts about Social Security privatization gradually emerge, the general strategy of the privatizers seems to be to keep the public confused as long as possible. Indeed, Republicans are now being told to deny that personal accounts — which expose their owners to all the risks of any private investment — constitute "privatization." "Do not be complicit in Democratic demagoguery," urges one party memo. So it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, but it isn't a duck — not until after the next election.

But whatever they say, it is a duck. And the administration economists who claim that privatization will strengthen Social Security are, more than ever, revealed as quacks.
(via Paul Krugman (still true today))

Pathetic, indeed.

The Boy in the Bubble: Where never was heard a discouraging word 

And Dick Cheney is lying all day...

Anyhow, here's what you get when you make your audience sign a loyalty oath (back) to get in the door, drag dissenters out by the hair, kick women when they're down (back), and so forth:

(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Chuckles, cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause, chants of "Four more years, four more years!")
(cheers, applause)
(Laughter, chuckles.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(chuckles, laughter)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Off mike.)
(Off mike.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Scattered applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Scattered applause.)
(cheers, applause)
(Cheers, applause.)
(cheers, applause)
(cheers, applause.)
(interrupted by cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(interrupted by cheers, applause, chants of "four more years.")
(Cheers, applause.)
(Applause continues.)
(Audience replies, "No!")
(Laughter, cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Laughter, cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Laughter, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Chuckles, laughter.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Laughter, applause.)
(Off mike.)
(Off mike.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(cheers, applause)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Whistles, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(Cheers, applause.)
(via LA Times)

Is there a Doctor Goebbels in the house?

It would be nice if we could force Bush out of his bubble into the open... But he's very resistant to that... Like when He didn't want to take questions from ordinary citizens in the St. Louis debate... Not that He's, um, a coward or anything....

I Thought I Saw Joe Hill Last Night 

Alive as you and me. Well, not quite.

I have vivid memories of my father playing that song on his concertina, which always made me cry, and occasionally on his flute, which required rigorous suppression of the giggles.

It memorilizes Joe Hill, a songwriting labor organizer, from whom we have received that profound wisdom, (what Joe is said to have said to followers who might become disheartened upon Joe's execution the next day, by firing squad, no less,) "Don't mourn, organize." My father was an artist/labor organizer, (the Screen Cartoonist Guild, his union, a tough, progressive little independent, that managed to keep its spirit even when forced to join the I.A) so when the time came, my brother and I decided it was a fitting epitaph for my father's headstone.

Here's what did happen last night. I opened an email from One of the reasons I was immediately drawn to join MoveOn and then to work in various capacities with them was precisely because they'd found an entirely contemporary way to make real and viable the choice of organizing over giving way to despair, and there is no better example of that than their "Leave No Voter Behind." Here's how the email put it:

Next week, 500 talented organizers will hit the ground in battleground states, and our ambitious $5 million Leave No Voter Behind field program will begin in earnest. We're aiming to turn out over 440,000 unlikely voters for John Kerry in the battleground neighborhoods where it matters most. Polling shows that this race is still neck-and-neck, which means that these hundreds of thousands of voters could easily tip the election. (More on the poll numbers below.)

So far, tens of thousands of MoveOn members have generously given over $2.6 million to make this program happen. But to launch the program, we need to raise the remaining $2.4 million this week. Whether you can give $1,000, $100, or even $10, we need your help today to win back the White House.

Though you'd never know it from the TV news, a close look at the polls shows that the Republican convention was actually a bust for the President. According to the Gallup polling agency, Bush's bounce was "one of the smallest registered in Gallup polling history, along with Hubert Humphrey's two-point bounce following the 1968 Democratic convention [and] George McGovern's zero-point bounce following the 1972 Democratic convention . . . Bush's bounce is the smallest an incumbent president has received." Bush's speech received slightly worse ratings from voters than John Kerry's, and according to the same Gallup poll, a remarkable 38% of voters said the convention made them less likely to vote for Bush.

The truth is that after hundreds of millions of dollars in negative advertising, after the "Swift Boat Veterans for Bush" attacks, after four nights of prime-time convention TV, and after four years in the bully pulpit of the White House, George Bush is still just neck-and-neck with John Kerry in the race for the Presidency.
When the Voter Fund polled likely voters in battleground states last week, Kerry was only two percentage points behind George Bush -- within the margin of error, and within reach of victory.[3] Together, we can close that gap by reaching out to millions of these swing-state voters and convincing hundreds of thousands of them to come out for Kerry on November 2nd. Karl Rove has taken his best shot. Now it's time for us to take ours.

Do it. There is no better return you'll get on any investment you make to get John Kerry elected.

Here's the URL:, just in case the clickable link doesn't work.

MoveOn makes it easy and safe to contribute by credit card or check. Even ten dollars will help.

Do it for Joe, and Mother Jones, and Woodie Gutherie, and this land really being your land, and Jeffersonian Democracy, and the Democratic Republic that the Founders like Washington, Adams, Madison, Franklin, and other great Americans too numerous to inumerate had in mind, Click it and give, for Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, and Dr. King, both of them, and Fannie Lou Hammer, and Medgar and Bob Moses, Bobby Kennedy, and President Kennedy too, click it for Harry Truman, and yes, for Bill Clinton, oh whatthehell, add to the list of who we should be inspied by in comments and I'll post them but , because this money has to be raised this week to get those organizers on the road.

Abu Ghraib torture: So if Bush "doesn't like it one bit," why'd he sign off on it? 

A question that answers itself... (Here, for the "didn't like it one bit" quote. Of course, maybe Bush meant that he didn't like getting caught one bit; the torture part was OK:

Hersh provides details of how President George Bush signed off on the establishment of a secret unit that was given advance approval to kill or capture and interrogate "high-value" suspects - considered by many to be in defiance of international law - an officially "unacknowledged" programme that was eventually transferred wholesale from Guantánamo to the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Hersh reports that a secret document signed by Mr Bush in February 2002 stated: "I determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al-Qaida in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world."
(via Guardian)

Gee, I wonder what font that document is in?

NOTE Thanks to alert reader riggsveda.

Iraq clusterfuck: Denial ain't no river in Egypt 

But it can be very very effective. Josh Marshall makes an excellent point:

Here's what I mean.

Recently, President Bush has sought -- with real success -- to edge Iraq out of the campaign dialogue by putting the issue back on to Kerry, asking what he would do differently and how it would produce a better result.

This puts Kerry in a bit of a bind because the politically-unspeakable answer here is that there are no good solutions anymore. A year ago, even six months ago, there were. Now, there really aren't.

President Bush at least has a straightforward approach: denial. Pressed to come up with a soundbite-able and practical policy, Kerry is, well ... hard-pressed.

(As I said, President Bush, in this way, has managed to derive political advantage from the magnitude of his own failure.)

Politically, Kerry needs to ignore the commentators who will press him to come up with a twenty point plan that will immediately rectify the situation in Iraq. Yes, he needs to give an idea of what he'll do if and when he takes over. But the emphasis should be on the undeniable fact that though the way forward may be murky, the last person you want to lead the country down that foggy path is the guy who screwed everything up so badly in the first place.
(via Talking Points Memo)

And speaking of more proof that we're winning, how much oil is Iraq pumping?

The pumping rate is still down to 250,000 barrels a day from the normal average of 400,000 barrels, the official said on condition of anonymity. Exports will go back to normal when the line is fixed, he said.
(via AP)

Not that this would have anything to do with gasoline prices... But let me spin this the other way! Now there's real proof we didn't go to war over oil—we're not getting any!

MBF Watch: Bush watches, as a woman gets abused 

First He smirks:

Then He says and does nothing:

(The slideshow is here.)

So, since Bush says and does nothing, I guess it's OK with Him if His supporters use violence against opponents. Nice! Very manly! Not to say Godly!

(Orginal incident here).

Bush AWOL: Froomkin a little behind the curve 

And it hurts me to say that... He writes:

Monday, Sep 13, 2004; 11:59 AM

To the White House's delight, [Some—Ed.] bloggers last week opened a new front in the continued war over the two presidential candidates' Vietnam-era military service.

A ferocious, Internet-spawned assault has raised questions about the authenticity of documents presented by CBS News as evidence of President Bush's failure to perform to National Guard standards.
(via WaPo)

Looks like he hasn't taken The PC Magazine Challenge (and back).

Help him out, readers, won't you? The Amazin' Froomkin. BE POLITE and informative!

It's Dawning on the Dark Side 

The puzzling thing about this whole stealth campaign on voting machines has been the slowness of the Other Side to realize how badly this could turn around and bite them in the ass in the right circumstances.

Looks like they're finally figuring it out. This really isn't a partisan issue, or wouldn't be if it weren't for the particular partisans pushing it. Bushites don't even deserve to be called a party, they are are interested in nothing but their own power.

(via Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

WASHINGTON — With Election Day less than two months away, a conservative group rated Georgia's paperless touch-screen voting system the worst in the nation, with Florida and several other states not far ahead.

The Free Congress Foundation, a longtime fixture of the political right, warns in a new report that if the Nov. 2 vote totals are contested, the result could be a "fiasco," since so many states have installed electronic systems that have no paper ballots that can be recounted.

Georgia, the first state to install a paperless system in all counties, was graded "F-minus" based on the reliability of the equipment and its capacity for a "verifiable recount."

Nevada was credited with having the best system, using a touch-screen computer that prints out a paper ballot that is visible under glass for voters to check before each vote is cast. The paper ballots are retained as a backup if there are questions about the electronic count.

Kara Sinkule, spokeswoman for Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox, dismissed the group's critique as "a rehash of what's been in the news and on the Internet."

Sinkule said the state would add printout devices if required but added, "Let's not rush to mandate a paper trail without federal standards in place."

One group, Verified Voting Foundation, founded by Stanford University computer science professor David Dill, recently set up a national hotline (1-866-687-8683) to allow voters to report problems they see or experience on Election Day.

The hotline is part of a project run by several nonprofit groups — including People for the American Way Foundation and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law — to assist voters and monitor elections.

On Nov. 2, Verified Voting Foundation's Web site ( will provide a map of the country displaying where problems are reported and describing the incidents, said Pamela Smith, spokeswoman for the group.

In a test run in Florida's primary election Aug. 31, the hotline received nearly 300 reports from voters who said they were given the wrong ballot, encountered machinery problems or had other issues in 14 counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.
Print those numbers and links out, or write them down on a Post-it (tm) Note and stick it on your forehead for greater public attention. Nobody but us wonks yet seems to realize what a disaster is coming in November, so the more conversations you can start on this the better.

The Penn is Mightier... 

...than the Teller. Although Teller's awfully good, he doesn't talk, which makes it hard to quote him here.

The esteemed Mr. Jillette conflates a couple of issues in this piece, so I pulled out all the we-need-more-than-two-parties stuff which, while probably true in the long term, ain't a-gonna happen in the next 50 days and is a distraction from the more important point.

And oh yeah: except for material cut, this is printed just as the Times ran it. You'll see the point about the asterisks as you read:

(via LATimes op ed)
Where is the god**** "freedom of speech" candidate? Isn't it about time someone running for president said, "I'll work to get the government out of the censorship business. My fellow Americans, I just read the Bill of Rights again, and I'm going to remind Congress of the 'Congress shall make no law' thang"? He or she would have my vote.

Anti-freedom of speech is on a roll... How did everyone get sucked into wanting the government to control what the people can say about the people who are the government? And I thought bottled water was a scam.

There is no reason for the government... to be involved in showbiz. No reason at all. The unconstitutional-from-the-get-go and now-completely-outdated Federal Communications Commission, which has been fighting against profanity on the networks, is now yapping about going after pay TV — and the anyone-but-Bush candidate hasn't said that's a bad idea. They all love the FCC.

The "****" in "god****" in the first line of this article is not censorship. I did that myself, guessing that's what The Times would want. That's my right. I'm writing the god**** thing; I can write it how I want. The newspaper is printing it; so they can do what they want. Anything outside of the government isn't censorship, it's merely taste.

I don't care if Disney doesn't want to put out a movie by a fat white guy who hates fat white guys. Disney hasn't put out a lot of stuff by me and I'm a fat white guy. I'm sure they have a lot of reasons for not putting my stuff out — in addition to me not having asked them.

Look on the bright side, Eminem and the "South Park" guys, some of the most-skilled writers of our time, don't seem to be slowed down at all. Whatever you think of the very successful Moore/Bush entertainment team, we have a movie trashing our president and it's not only out there, it's making tons of money. How cool is that?

I didn't like anything about that movie... but I love that that movie exists. I didn't like the movie, but seeing the marquees for it gets me all patriotic and teary-eyed.

We need a president who realizes that there's no government business in show business.
I think we need to pull out those before-and-after pictures of Ashcroft hiding the figure of Justice because it was in the form of a bare-breasted woman. That should have been the wake-up call to anybody who thought this particular Bush appointment was just another welfare program for a Republican who lost an election to a dead guy. Even an attorney private, or an attorney sergeant, much less an Attorney General, should be somebody who realizes his job is to promote Justice, not cover it up.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Goodnight, moon 

Yawn... Must not dream... of kerning....

Top 10 reasons Bush should not be elected President [v 2.0] 

Many many thanks to alert reader Beth, who completely revised the list and for the better. I've combined what she did with what we already had, and revised it further, adding talking points beneath. Some readers have said that the 10 points should be adjusted for different audiences, but I think let's get one message that we can get to everyone.

Readers, have at it! The rule of the game is that there can only be 10 points, so if you want to propose a new reason, you have to say which existing one to take away.

1. He fought the wrong war.

Rather than going after Al Qaeda (say, at Tora Bora) he got us into Iraq. Repeating the Big Lie that fighting Saddam was fighting AQ doesn't make it true. And he has not (barring an October Surprise) brought Osama Bin Laden to justice. (Remember "dead or alive"?)

2. He fought the wrong war badly.

Not enough troops (ask Shinseki). The wrong equipment (no body armor, not enough armored vehicles. Incompetent postwar planning. Then stop-loss orders for the Reserves.

3. He fought the wrong war for the wrong reasons.

After countless shifting justifications, Bush settled on WMDs. Then the WMDs didn't exist.

The shifting justifications showed that Bush was going to go to war, no matter what. So Bush lost all our allies. Gulf War 1 was fought with minimal loss of American life, ended in days, and the allies paid for most of it. Bush's war has cost 1000 American lives so far, there's no end in sight, and we're paying for all of it.

4. He betrayed the honor of our military by allowing and encouraging the practice of torture, prohibited in our Constitution as "cruel and unusual punishment."

If the torture at Abu Ghraib makes Bush "sick," then why hasn't he commended whistleblower Joseph Darby for revealing it?

5. He has left our cities vulnerable to devastating terrorist attack.

(See "Loose nukes: Bush still refused to take the threat seriously")

6. He drained our treasury, taking us from record surplus to record deficit.

7. Instead of funding our ailing school system, he's has saddled it with costly, bureaucratic regulations.

8. He has increased the cost of Medicare while reducing its benefits.

9. He has created more unemployment and underemployment than any since the Great Depression.

10. He has sold out our nation's health and environmental security for short-term corporate profits.

Bush AWOL: Winger celebration premature ejaculation 

Of course, in a massive circle jerk, that's bound to happen.

So after working all that tedious issues stuff, like the continuing clusterfuck in Iraq, the increasing likelihood that election 2004 will be outright stolen, the mushroom cloud from North Korea—thanks, Dear Leader—and the top ten reasons Bush shouldn't be elected, let's get down to the serious stuff: Times New Roman and kerning.

Let's review the state of play. There are three essential points to the original CBS story (back) (I'm leaving aside the "sugarcoating" stuff, and the facts everyone on all sides accepts: that Bush used his family connections—not that there's anything wrong with that—to get into a TANG "champagne unit" and avoid serving in Viet Nam).

Point 1: The actual content of the documents.

Point 2: The documents themselves (the "Killian memos")

Point 3: The confirmation of the document's content from a new witness (Hodges).

Let's start with point 1: The actual content of the documents is unchallenged. The essential point of the Killian memos is that Bush disobeyed a direct order to take the medical exam he was required to take in order to keep flying. (As a result, he was grounded, and never flew for the Guard again (after the taxpayer's paid a million dollars to train him).

a. The fact that Bush blew off his medical exam and was grounded is well-attested (back). Granted, the White House's Bartlett said Bush "didn't need to" take the exam (here), but that's weak: in the military, you don't get to make that kind of decision for yourself.

b. Documents that are not contested show that Bush was guilty of payroll fraud (Paul Lukasiak, back), since he didn't actually perform the service he signed on to perform. That well known extreme liberal publication, US News and World Report comes to the same conclusion, based on its own reporting.

c. Reporting that is not contested shows that Bush blew off his obligation to seek out a new unit when he went to Harvard (here) and wasn't punished for it.

d. The single witness to say that Bush served his missing year in Alabama is a Republican activist, who gets his dates wrong. Other witnesses from that time say that Bush did not serve in Alabama (Linda Allison). Republican activist "Bill" Calhoun says that Bush served on dates that don't match payroll records. In any case, Calhoun didn't apparently doesn't think much of his own testimony; at least he never claimed the $10,000 reward for giving it.

So the essential Killian memo—the one that says Bush refused a direct order to take a medical exam—is icing on the cake. All it does is vividly confirm facts that we have gleaned from other sources. And here again, we can make the usual and obvious point: Why does AP have to sue to get Bush's military records if there's no problem with them?

Now to point 2: The documents themselves are not credibly challenged. Sure, there was a massive winger frothing and stamping on this point over the 9/11 weekend, but it all boils down to a demonstration of the fearsome efficiency of VWRC meme transmission.

The wingers argued that if they could reproduce the Killian memos themselves using the typographic features of Microsoft Word in 2004—"kerning", "superscripts", "Times New Roman"—that the Killian memos could not have been created in the 1970s. Of course, this argument is easily refuted by example, and when actual, as opposed to amateur, typographic experts entered the fray, that is exactly what happened. Here again, the winger sound and fury signified nothing. Via the essential Atrios (here) we find this from PC Magazine: Go try for yourself). Clearly, all of the typographic features that the wingers say couldn't have been created in the 1970s could have been and were. QED.

In fact, the entire winger focus on the typography is wrong: CBS (alas) has only copies of the documents, not the originals (back). Therefore, in authenticating the documents, CBS's expert Marcel Matley relied on an examination of Killian's signature, not on the typography at all. (Such examinations are valid evidence in court, remember.)

Bringing me to the point 3: The human element. The White House's Dan Barlett says that he "can't read the mind of dead man" so I'll leave the theories from Killian's family and friends off the table. What is important is that Hodge, Killian's associate at the time the memos were written, has recanted. But how plausible is the recantation? The answer is: Not very. Here's how ABC covers the Hodge recantation:

Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Guard, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt."

Hodges also said he did not see the documents in the 70's and he cannot authenticate the documents or the contents. His personal belief is that the documents have been "computer generated" and are a "fraud".

CBS responds: ""We believed Col. Hodges the first time we spoke with him. We believe the documents to be genuine. We stand by our story and will continue to report on it."
(via ABC)

Presumably, CBS has tapes. Being an experienced newsgathering organization, they would. Reading the text, it seems clear to me that Hodges picked up the "computer-generated" meme very early, and seized the opportunity to back out of a statement he regretted making.

Bottom line: The Killian memos only offer vivid confirmation of what we already know:

1. Bush blew off his medical exam and was grounded (uncontested)
2. Bush was guilty of payroll fraud (uncontested)
3. Bush blew off reporting to a unit when he went to Harvard (uncontested)
4. Bush has no credible witnesses to his "missing year in Alabama.

It's really no wonder that the wingers want to talk about kerning, superscripts, and Times New Roman, is it?

NOTE A horrible example of premature triumphalism here. The LA Times manages to write about blogs without mentioned Atrios, who gets as many hits as anyone, and in addition is a grassroots fundraising player for Democrats.

UPDATE Limbaugh is already claiming that the documents are the products of DNC oppo research. So this is a fight we can't walk away from.

UPDATE Time has a reasonably even-handed review of the story here.

MBF watch: Republicans keep hitting women 

Do real men hit women? Do real "Christians"?

Apparently so.

This isn't the first time, of course (back)


Election Fraud 2004: Follow the money 

The Times editorial page reports:

What election officials do not mention, however, are the close ties they have to the voting machine industry. A disturbing number end up working for voting machine companies. When Bill Jones left office as California's secretary of state in 2003, he quickly became a consultant to Sequoia Voting Systems. His assistant secretary of state took a full-time job there. Former secretaries of state from Florida and Georgia have signed on as lobbyists for Election Systems and Software and Diebold Election Systems. The list goes on.

Even while in office, many election officials are happy to accept voting machine companies' largess. The Election Center takes money from Diebold and other machine companies, though it will not say how much. At the center's national conference last month, the companies underwrote meals and a dinner cruise.

Forty-three percent of the budget of the National Association of Secretaries of State comes from voting machine companies and other vendors, and at its conference this summer in New Orleans, Accenture, which compiles voter registration databases for states, sponsored a dinner at the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge.

There are also reports of election officials being directly offered gifts. Last year, the Columbus Dispatch reported that a voting machine company was offering concert tickets and limousine rides while competing for a contract worth as much as $100 million, if not more.
(via the New York Times)

So here's where we are:

1. The electronic voting system is bought and paid for and controlled by Republicans (back).

2. Electronic voting machines have already stolen elections from Democrats (back).

So tell me again why I should trust any outcome where electronic voting gives Bush a margin of victory?

Iraq clusterfuck: Slowly sliding off the edge 

More proof that we're winning. Note that this is in Baghdad; we've already lost the countryside:

Insurgents hammered central Baghdad on Sunday with one of their most intense mortar and rocket barrages ever in the heart of the capital, heralding a day of violence that left at least 25 people dead in the city as security appeared to spiral out of control.

Many of the dead were killed when a U.S. helicopter fired on a disabled U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle as Iraqis swarmed around it, cheering, throwing stones and waving the black and yellow sunburst banner of Iraq's most-feared terror organization.

The dead from the helicopter strike included Arab television reporter Mazen al-Tumeizi who screamed ''I'm dying, I'm dying'' as a cameraman recorded the chaotic scene.
(via Globe)

Tactial success; strategic failure. But hey, freedom's untidy!

Seymour Hersh on MTP:

MR. RUSSERT: Sy Hersh, let me again cite from your book. "As of this writing in August 2004, the Bush Administration continues to wage a war in Iraq by means that ensure that it cannot win. The American investment of billions of high-tech satellites and electronic surveillance, the untold millions paid to informers, and the deployment of the most highly trained Special Forces unit have failed since the early days of the war to produce crucial intelligence about the insurgency."

MR. HERSH: Absolutely. The fact is that a year ago the insurgents were operating one-, two-, three- man cells. Now, they're much bigger. They're 10-and 15-men groups. We still do not penetrate it. We don't know when they're going to hit. We had seven Marines killed in a bomb attack the other day. We have no advance information, no advance intelligence, no ability to get inside the insurgency. We just don't know what's next.
(via Meet the Press,MSNBC)

Bush says that he "knows how to win this war." It would be nice to know how he plans to, other than by looking manly on TV and sprinkling his in-the-bubble campaign speeches with God talk.

10 reasons George Bush should not be elected President [draft] 

I've revised this with help from alert readers.

1. He fought the wrong war.

Rather than going after Al Qaeda (say, at Tora Bora) he got us into Iraq. Repeating the Big Lie that fighting Saddam was fighting AQ doesn't make it true. And he has not (barring an October Surprise) brought Osama Bin Laden to justice. (Remember "dead or alive"?)

2. He fought the wrong war in the wrong way.

Not enough troops (ask Shinseki). The wrong equipment (no body armor, not enough armored vehicles. Incompetent postwar planning. Then stop-loss orders for the Reserves.

3. He fought the wrong war in the wrong way for the wrong reasons.

After countless shifting justifications, Bush settled on WMDs. Then the WMDs didn't exist.

The shifting justifications showed that Bush was going to go to war, no matter what. So Bush lost all our allies. Gulf War 1 was fought with minimal loss of American life, ended in days, and the allies paid for most of it. Bush's war has cost 1000 American lives so far, there's no end in sight, and we're paying for all of it.

4. He has dishonored the military by enabling a culture of torture.

If the torture at Abu Ghraib makes Bush "sick," then why hasn't he commended whistleblower Joseph Darby for revealing it?

5. He hasn't protected the big cities against loose nukes or dirty bombs.

(See "Loose nukes: Bush still refused to take the threat seriously")

6. He has taken the US from record surplus to record deficit.

His fiscal policies have destroyed the retirement hopes for millions, since Social Security is funded out of general revenue. His tax cuts have given that money that should have gone to those who paid into the Social Security system to those who already have plenty.

7. He promised to leave no child behind, then didn't fund the program.

8. He promised to reform Medicare, but the system is confusing and only benefits the drug companies.

9. He's the first President in 72 years to lose jobs.

10. He politicized science, and denied global warming to help out the energy companies.

If you don't think this should be on the top 10, ask a Floridians.

Bottom line: Strong leaders have a record of accomplishment. When you look at the record, Bush is a weak leader.

Readers, how would you revise this list?

NOTE: The rule of the game is that there can only be 10 reasons. So, if you want to propose a new reason, please say which of the above 10 reasons should be replaced, and why.

Also, there are additional talking points that expand on the top 10 points (in bold). So, please propose more talking points here, too. In SHORT, SIMPLE language!

Don't mourn: organize! 

This morning I was walking to the local hotspot when I saw a woman wearing a Kerry button.

"Where did you get that Kerry button?" I asked

"On the Internet—but you can have it." And she handed it to me.

So now I can wear my Kerry button on my morning commute. Guess I have to shave every day now!

Alert reader raison de fem sends in a longer piece on more or less the same thing. Here it is:

Someone was telling me today that they think it's all over, that aWol will win. We might as well pack it up, go home, hunker down and stay drunk for the next four years. This coming from someone who thinks that Bush is taking us on a one-way trip to Armageddon.

The reason? Most Americans are stupid, she says. Most Americans think he's a "strong leader." And they are running a much smarter, much dirtier campaign, and it's too late to catch up, she says. "You can't defeat the forces of evil," she says.

I refuse to buy into this. Fuck the polls. This thing is winnable. We are sooooo close. They are sooooo vulnerable.

I'm talking to everybody these days. About the lies. What lies? I have handouts. Top ten Bush lies from the DNC, in Spanish and English ( Surf the web and find your favorite. Make copies for a dime each in town at the library. Go door to door. Here, read 'em and weep. Have you registered to vote? No? Come on. They have forms at the library in town. Need a ride to the polls on E-day? I'll come get you. Local Dems need someone to call 20 folks day before E-day and on E-day and remind 'em to vote. I can do that. Make sure the folks you know get absentee ballots? Yeah, I can do that.

Look, Michael Moore is right. We CAN win this thing. Most Americans are NOT morons who'll believe whatever FUX tells them. Most Americans are scared, scared to take back their country, scared to speak their mind and lose their job. But most Americans, I'm sure--and I get around a lot--are a helluva lot closer to the platform of the Dems than the Dicks. They just don't KNOW. Or they're too beat and whipped down to believe a vote can change anything. But tell them. You don't have to be high profile. You don't have to be alone. You can do so much, even while keeping your head attached to your neck. Yes, big brother may be watching. But big brother is slow and stupid, and we are fast and smart.

We can't change everyone's mind. And maybe my friend is wrong, maybe Bush won't kill us all because of pushing the wrong button, maybe. But there are several Supremes who have to leave soon, and all you need to envision is what a Bush-packed court would mean to civil liberties, the environment and reproductive rights in order to GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR. STOP SHOUTING AT THE TEEVEE. Organize, get letters in the papers, hand out literature, talk to people. The Forces of Evil, you bet your ass, are organized, scarily focused, eyes on the prize. Wear your button. Put a sticker on your car and a sign in your yard. If the campaign comes to a town nearby, GO. And time is short. It's Labor Day, goddamit--ORGANIZE.

When millions of 18 year olds, people of color, the poor and those without health care or decent jobs, women who aren't ready to go back to the 1950's, old hippies and beats and civil rights activists who remember the dream, the dispossessed, union folks, religious folks who fight for peace and justice as part of their faith, and all of us with so much to lose, show up at our local polling place or mail in our absentee ballot, we will be firing one little shot at the heart of evil, firing one little shot to a better future we can almost taste. And a lot of one little shots can make one big impact.

Please tell me this is nothing to worry about 

Great work, George! Now that you've got us tied down in the Iraq quagmire, what do we do about this?

A large cloud that appeared over North Korea in satellite images several days ago was not the result of a nuclear explosion, according to a U.S. official.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency is reporting a huge explosion shook North Korea's northernmost province on Thursday producing a mushroom cloud over two miles (4 km) wide.

The blast coincided with the anniversary of North Korea's founding on Sepember 9 when various military activities are staged.
(via CNN)

Well, what are the radiation monitors saying? Or has the lid been slammed on this one?

Blogger pimps the Mighty Wurlitzer 

Right on the fucking home page, linking here. "Swarm intelligence," my Aunt Fanny.

Blogger really does suck, doesn't it?

"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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