Reason and Radical
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
CoronationI won't have much to say this week since I will not be watching the Repugnicant Coronation. But several great bloggers are keeping track for you, so visit them:
Saletan's Salon blog
I will watch The Daily Show's coverage, but that's about it.
And don't forget about The Great American Shout Out on Thursday.
PS This is my 200th post since I started this blog 60 days ago!
Monday, August 30, 2004
Take Two Things I Hate...and put them together to make one thing I really hate: reggae Dylan.
Actually, I only dislike reggae if I have to hear more than one song in a row.
Iran-Contra II?They're at it again -- read this.
Which is a ton of detail about this:
"An FBI probe into the handling of highly classified material by Pentagon civilians is broader than previously reported, and goes well beyond allegations that a single mid-level analyst gave a top-secret Iran policy document to Israel, three sources familiar with the investigation said Saturday.
The probe, which has been going on for more than two years, also has focused on other civilians in the Secretary of Defense's office, said the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified, but who have first-hand knowledge of the subject.
In addition, one said, FBI investigators in recent weeks have conducted interviews to determine whether Pentagon officials gave highly classified U.S. intelligence to a leading Iraqi exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, which may in turn have passed it on to Iran. INC leader Ahmed Chalabi has denied his group was involved in any wrongdoing.
The linkage, if any, between the two leak investigations, remains unclear. But they both center on the office of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's No. 3 official.
...But other sources said the FBI investigation is more wide-ranging than initial news reports suggested. They said it has involved interviews of current and former officials at the White House, Pentagon and State Department. Investigators have asked about the security practices of several other Defense Department civilians, they said.
...A former Feith employee, Karen Kwiatkowski, has described how senior Israeli military officers were sometimes escorted to his Pentagon office without signing in as security regulations required. "
No Depth Too LowSo we have the Speaker of the House implying that George Soros (a billionaire who finances various Democratic efforts) gets his money from drug cartels. Bet this one just fades away with nobody in the media following up on this. Are there no depths too low for these creeps?
Big Protest, Little CoverageI haven't seen much about this, but yesterday's protest march at the GOP Convention drew 400,000 people!!!
$70 Million and It Didn't Work?That's what Ruy Teixeira is saying in this post on his great site Donkey Rising (The Emerging Democratic Majority). Key points:
"...the four major polls conducted since August 20th do not reveal any consistent or substantial pro-Bush swing such as would be expected from a successful attack on John Kerry's war record and character during the week and a half before."
"Americans did not buy Bush's transparent attempts to pretend his campaign was not involved with the smear. The Gallup poll showed that more Americans think Bush is responsible for the commercials (50%) then do not (44%) and 56% think he should specifically denounce them while only 32% think he should not."
"Count on it, the Bushies are now very, very nervous. This wasn't the way they had it planned."
Monday LaughsSince the Lynndie England trial is taking place in my home state, I see her on TV quite a bit and her pregnancy is quite visible right now. I have to admit to laughing out loud this morning when I saw her in camouflage maternity fatigues. Now I have no problem with maternity military uniforms but why camouflage? Ridiculous.
Also got in a few laughs with co-workers over the release of the Passion of the Christ DVD, which has no extras. What, no hilarious out-takes? And what about an alternate ending?
Friday, August 27, 2004
The Pathetic PresidentThis New York Times interview with C Plus Augustus (thanks, Pierce) would be just pathetic, if it weren't so scary:
"Showing none of the alarm about the North's growing arsenal that he once voiced regularly about Iraq, he opened his palms and shrugged when an interviewer noted that new intelligence reports indicate that the North may now have the fuel to produce six or eight nuclear weapons.
He said that in North Korea's case, and in Iran's, he would not be rushed to set deadlines for the countries to disarm, despite his past declaration that he would not "tolerate'' nuclear capability in either nation. He declined to define what he meant by "tolerate.''
"I don't think you give timelines to dictators,'' Mr. Bush said, speaking of North Korea's president, Kim Jong Il, and Iran's mullahs. He said he would continue diplomatic pressure - using China to pressure the North and Europe to pressure Iran - and gave no hint that his patience was limited or that at some point he might consider pre-emptive military action."
Didn't Bush give that nasty ol' dictator Saddam 48 hours to clear outta Iraq before the shock and awe bombing started?
And this guy is president. Unbelievable.
Greenspan is a Complete MoronI just wrote a post about Greenspan's idiotic comments today (he said Congress should trim baby boomers' Social Security and Medicare benefits) and Blogger ate it. So here's Atrios, saying the same thing I said, only better.
Do Something!I echo Atrios and his commentor: DO SOMETHING!
I've pleaded with you before and I'll keep doing it. DO SOMETHING!
Don't forget that the other side has the power of the presidency, the evil Rove and the media in their back pocket. This isn't going to be easy. But most Americans agree with our agenda. So DO SOMETHING!
I have a co-worker who says she's ready to go protest in Washington if Bush wins. I say don't wait for that -- its not inevitable. DO SOMETHING NOW!
Register to vote.
Donate money. $10 is fine. But do it.
Get a bumper sticker and put it on your car.
Get a lawn sign and put it up.
Get and wear a button.
Volunteer to help get out the vote.
Be assertive about your candidate and your issues. Don't back down.
Write or call your local media when either they misrepresent or just to express your support of your candidate.
2004 Iraq Deaths Now Exceed 2003From Daily Kos: "The number of Americans killed in Iraq during 2004 now exceeds the number killed in 2003. More remarkably, the 488 killed thus far this year died in just 239 days (2.04 daily average), while the 482 killed last year died during fully 287 days (1.68 daily average), which means that not only has 2004 been bloodier than 2003 in absolute terms, but in relative terms as well."
Oh yeah, things are going great in Iraq. On to Iran!
This Week's PollsFrom Daily Kos:
Kerry leads two polls: Fox News (!) and The Economist (!)
Bush leads four polls: CNN/Gallup, LA Times, NBC/Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily
However, for all intents and purposes, its a tie.
Bush is trending upward, probably a result of the Swift Boat crap.
The current electoral vote predictor still gives Kerry the nod, but Bush is gaining.
Move Afoot to Impeach Blair12 MPs are planning to use an ancient parliamentary move to impeach Tony Blair for high crimes and misdemeanors in the run up to the war in Iraq.
Ironically, his wife's law firm is being engaged to draw up the documents.
Of course in America we only impeach presidents for engaging in consensual sexual relations, not for lying and scheming to create a reason for war against a country that was no threat to us and thereby sending 971 (as of today) Americans to their deaths.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Olympic QuestionsDo you think the Olympics are not as relevant in a post-Cold War world?
Why do they hold the Olympics in a different place each year at an enormous cost to that country? Why not build a permanent home for the Olympics?
Why do some sports allow professionals (basketball) and some don't (baseball)?
Why is softball, a sport played in only a few countries, in the Olympics and cricket is not?
Why are these Olympic sports: windsurfing, beach volleyball, kayaking, synchronized swimming
What do you think of women's wrestling (those who know me well must know that I am thrilled by this!)?
Why can't they show field hockey on some channel other than Bravo, which my cable doesn't carry?!!! And why don't men play field hockey in the US?
Why can't those of us with digital cable see whatever we want? I want to see field hockey, fencing and archery, but no such luck.
Bush and the OlympicsPierce gets a perfect 10 with Start Value.
Tom Burka nails it too with Bush to Appoint Olympic Judges To Oversee U.S. Election.
And on a serious note, the USOC has asked Bush to stop running an ad that mentions the Olympics.
I've also read that the Athens officials were pretty annoyed when the idea was floated of Bush attending this weekend. Colin Powell is going instead. Greece is pretty anti-American on a good day; after the Iraq thing, it even more so.
What's on the News?I'll bet you haven't heard much lately on the news about terrorism, the economy or healthcare. But you have heard a lot about Vietnam and what happened or didn't happen there more than 30 years ago.
As this all-important presidential election draws near, we aren't talking about the president's record or Kerry's qualifications. Our news is filled with yet another kabuki show designed to play on emotions and distract from rational analysis.
The media is entirely complicit in this; the whole Swift Boat thing should've died weeks ago because they are flat out liars, if the media did not continue to treat their accusations as possible truths.
Here's a good analysis from the Campaign Desk at the Columbia Journalism Review about this fiasco. It shows you what true idiots and tools most of the media are.
And more from the incomparable Howler.
Top 10 Sci Fi FilmsThe British newspaper The Guardian had a panel of scientists vote on the Top 10 Sci Fi Films. I would argue that several of the films on this list are actually horror films (Alien), not sci fi. But its interesting nonetheless.
Here's my list in no particular order:
Planet of the Apes (1968)
The Time Machine (1960)
The Day the Earth Stood Still
3 Winning ArgumentsAs you know, Winning Argument is a great resource and here are 3 more reasons:
George Bush Was Involved in the Swift Boat Veterans Ads
President Bush Does Not Adequately Support Our Troops
527s Should Not Be Eliminated
The Fix is In?South Knox Bubba posts about the appearance of the chairman of the Federal Election Commission on Hardball yesterday and argues that the fix is in: "I knew the fix was in, but I didn't realize how deep it went. I'm even more amazed by how smug and arrogant they are about it. What a bunch of thugs. Kerry doesn't stand a chance. This is going to be the most corrupt presidential election in American history. The 2000 election was just a b-team warm-up scrimmage in comparison."
Poor and UninsuredAccording to The Associated Press: "The number of Americans living in poverty increased by 1.3 million last year, while the ranks of the uninsured swelled by 1.4 million, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. It was the third straight annual increase for both categories. While not unexpected, it was a double dose of bad economic news during a tight re-election campaign for President Bush."
Oh and don't forget: "Job growth slowed dramatically in July with the economy adding just 32,000 jobs, the slowest pace since December, according to a government report released in early August. " Remember -- 1.8 million jobs lost since Bush took office.
Bloggers ConferenceI'm going to this bloggers conference on Saturday. Should be fun.
Edwards Hosts Film on TCMJohn Edwards is hosting a presentation of one my absolute favorite movies, "Dr. Strangelove" on TCM at 10 p.m . Oct. 7. It's the first of four specials called "Party, Politics & the Movies," that will feature politicians introducing movies every Thursday night in October. Edwards likes "Dr. Strangelove" because it drives home the thesis that, as his intro puts it, putting nuclear power and "this potential holocaust in the hands of human beings, no matter who they are, is an extraordinarily dangerous thing."
Is It Working?Some polls are indicating that Bush is gaining strength, and pundits are crediting the Shifty Boat Liars flap for this. Another thought is that its the $70 million the Repugnicants have spent trying to paint Kerry as a flip-flopping Frenchman.
I was confident a week ago; now I'm beginning to get concerned.
I continue to be amazed at how our media is falling for this Shifty Boat Liars crap. Did the NY Times and Washington Post not just issue apologies for falling for the Bush lies leading up to the war in Iraq? Now, to be fair, the print media seems to get it that this is BS but the broadcast media is keeping this "story" alive. So sad.
ClassicSo that little piece of political theater yesterday was just hilarious. Cleland goes to Crawford and Bush, ever the moral coward, doesn’t even have the sense and graciousness to invite him in (which would’ve deflated the whole thing). Instead, he sends out to the gate a local Texas crony (Patterson) (and recipient of a wad of money from the same Bush supporter who is funding the Shifty Boat Liars) to try to hand a letter of his own to Cleland. And here’s what this backwoods dumbass said of Cleland:
"I tried to accept that letter and he would not give it to me," said Patterson. "He would not face me. He kept rolling away from me. He's quite mobile."
Only a bully and moral coward like Bush could send a henchman to diss a disabled vet. Classic.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Kerry Sends Cleland to CrawfordJohn Kerry is dispatching Vietnam vet and former senator Max Cleland to Crawford with a letter asking Bush to condemn the Shifty Boat Liars ad campaign. Here's the Reuters article. As Wonkette put it, "This will be difficult; the ranch is heavily guarded, he's not exactly on the guest list and, oh yeah, someone will probably have to help him because he lost three limbs during the war and he's in a wheelchair. "
Two DownThe second person connected with both the Bush campaign and the Shifty Boat Liars crap has resigned. The Bush campaign's top outside lawyer, Benjamin L. Ginsberg (who was also involved in the Florida fiasco in 2000 BTW), has resigned after revelations that he was also giving legal advice to the Shifty Boat Liars. Earlier this week Kenneth Cordier, a retired colonel who appears in one of the commercials, had to resign as a member of the Bush campaign's veterans' advisory committee.
But that's not all! On Monday, the Shifty Boat Liars acknowledged that a longtime Republican operative, Susan Arceneaux, was working for it. She's treasurer of the Majority Leader's Fund, a political action committee affiliated with the former House majority leader, Dick Armey of Texas. That group got money, as did the Shifty Boat Liars (lots of $$), from Bob Perry, another big and long-time supporter of Bush and a close friend of Bush's chief political strategist, Karl Rove. Not to even mention the Merrie Spaeth connection (that I detailed in a previous post).
Its astonishing that the Bush campaign continues to deny that there is any coordination between the Shifty Boat Liars and the campaign. Its clear there is a huge connection which is waaay illegal. How the hell are they getting away with this? Oh, yeah, our dumbass media.
This is a major scandal but you wouldn't know it from the media coverage, which focuses on Kerry. I've seen such ridiculous stuff as "Kerry brought this on himself by making his Vietnam service a major part of his campaign" (oh yeah? if he hadn't talked about it, the Shifty Boat Liars would've said he was hiding something) and "Kerry has taken too long to respond" (when actually I think he's handling this perfectly, by continuing to call them out and to focus on the real issues).
70 days until our nightmare ends.
Great American Shout OutAl Franken and company are sponsoring the Great American Shout Out on Sept. 2 at the moment Bush begins his acceptance speech. Here's the deal:
"At the moment we see the president on our television screens, we will rise. We will throw open our windows. And, as George W. Bush moves to the podium in New York City, we will send him a message about his bid for reelection: we will yell, “fuggedaboudit!”
Funny -- let's all do it!
Satan vs. BushI was talking to a customer the other day -- a 78 year old man who is sharp and funny -- who said "If Bush and Satan were running for president, I'd vote for Satan." Me too.
KerryI thought the best thing about last night's appearance on The Daily Show was that he came off as very likeable.
Stewart was quite funny, starting off by saying "I get my news from 24 hour cable news channels and by watching them I have to say it appears you were never in Vietnam."
Kerry got in several of his message points; for example, he said the reason for the Swift Boat crap is because Bush has no achievements to talk about -- specifically, Kerry said "What's he going to talk about? 1.8 million jobs lost?"
Kerry came off as wonkish several times, but I don't care -- after 3 years of a president who doesn't read (and is proud of it), I welcome a wonk.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Leader of the PackI've never liked Bob Dole. I always thought he was a mean, bitter jerk. My opinion did not change after the 1996 election when he lost to Clinton, although at least at some point he showed some human-ness. Anyway, Dole showed his true colors in the CNN interview on Sunday and Matt Yglesias details the hypocritical old fart's history of mindless obstructism in the name of partisanship.
Bogus Charge TechniqueFrom the LA Times editorial page:
"The technique President Bush is using against John F. Kerry was perfected by his father against Michael Dukakis in 1988," says an editorial. "Bring a charge, however bogus. Make the charge simple. But make sure the supporting details are complicated and blurry enough to prevent easy refutation. Then sit back and let the media do your work for you. Journalists have to report the charges, usually feel obliged to report the rebuttal, and often even attempt an analysis or assessment. But the canons of the profession prevent most journalists from saying outright: These charges are false. As a result, the voters are left with a general sense that there is some controversy over Kerry's service in Vietnam. And they have been distracted from thinking about real issues (like the war going on now)."
As of today, 966 American soldiers killed in Iraq.
Bush's Vietnam Era Wounds?Juan Cole wonders...
"What was Bush doing with his youth? He was drinking. He was drinking like a fish, every night, into the wee hours. For decades. He gave no service to anyone, risked nothing, and did not even slack off efficiently."
Cole also publishes an NPR interview with the nephew of the man W was supposed to be working for in Alabama when he appears to have skipped out on his Guard duties, which Cole notes "gives a devastating insight into what it was like to have to suffer through Bush in that period."
Definitely worth reading.
Moral CowardiceThis is a great piece by Josh Marshall -- read the whole thing. Here are some excerpts:
The current debate about these two men's military service has put the spotlight on physical courage. But that really is a side issue in this campaign, if we're talking substance. The real issue isn't physical bravery but moral cowardice.
President Bush is an examplar of that quality in spades. And it cuts directly to his failures as president. Forget about thirty years ago, just think about the last three years.
(Of course, the Bush camp doesn't want you to think about the last 3 years, thus the distractions.)
A moral coward is someone who lacks the courage to tell the truth, to accept responsibility, to demand accountability, to do what's right when it's not the easy thing to do, to clean up his or her own messes.
The same sort of moral cowardice that led him to support the Vietnam war but decide it wasn't for him, run companies into the ground and let others pay the bill, play gutter politics but run for the hills when someone asks him to say it to their face, those are the same qualities that led the president to lie the country into war, fail to prepare for the aftermath and then refuse to take responsibility for any of it when the bill started to come due.
Kerry on Daily ShowJohn Kerry will be on The Daily Show tonight (Tuesday, Aug 24).
Last night's show was great -- Stewart and Corddry dealt with journalistic objectivity (the "on the one hand" stuff I posted about earlier) and it was not just hysterical, but spot on.
Creating JobsI saw this posted on the Raleigh North Carolina News and Observer jobs website today:
Must be able to catch a peanut on the tip of your nose.You will perform this act before thousands of onlookers, so must be able to catch peanuts tossed in the air yourself as well as from a cannon directed at you.
Paula's Peanuts, Vienna, VA 22180
Monday, August 23, 2004
Its Tough Being WTBogg (one of the funniest guys around) says things are rough all 'round for W. First the Iraqi soccer team bitch-slaps him, then his bestest buddy at 10 Downing Street says no thanks. Aw, gee, couldn't happen to a...oh.
Transparently DesperateAndrew Sullivan, a conservative columnist for The Weekly Standard, a conservative British paper, knows its a mess for the Republicans and their candidate:
"Yet in 2004, Republicans find themselves supporting a candidate, George W. Bush, with a slender and ambiguous military record against a man whose combat heroism has never (until now) been disputed. Further--and here we'll let slip a thinly disguised secret--Republicans are supporting a candidate that relatively few of them find personally or politically appealing. This is not the choice Republicans are supposed to be faced with. The 1990s were far better. In those days the Democrats did the proper thing, nominating a draft-dodger to run against George H.W. Bush, who was the youngest combat pilot in the Pacific theater in World War II, and then later, in 1996, against Bob Dole, who left a portion of his body on the beach at Anzio.
Republicans have no such luck this time, and so they scramble to reassure themselves that they nevertheless are doing the right thing, voting against a war hero. The simplest way to do this is to convince themselves that the war hero isn't really a war hero. If sufficient doubt about Kerry's record can be raised, we can vote for Bush without remorse. But the calculations are transparently desperate. Reading some of the anti-Kerry attacks over the last several weeks, you might conclude that this is the new conservative position: A veteran who volunteered for combat duty, spent four months under fire in Vietnam, and then exaggerated a bit so he could go home early is the inferior, morally and otherwise, of a man who had his father pull strings so he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam in the first place."
Bob DoleSo sad. Watching this guy humiliate himself on national televison on behalf of a spoiled rich brat who dodged military service. So sad. And he knows its wrong, as Josh Marshall points out.
On the One Handedness vs. TruthI believe it was Eric Alterman who first started writing about this "on the one hand" crap in the media, or maybe it was Josh Marshall. Anyway, its a good point -- the media is attempting to be "fair" by showing both sides of the Shifty Boat Liars story. Except there's this little buggery thing called TRUTH which is what the media should be focused on. And the Shifty Boat Liars have no basis in truth.
Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly's Political Animal writes about the time he was on a jury and found that many of the jurors were willing to believe ALL of the testimony presented as truth -- and so the jury was deadlocked. It wasn't until some of them finally realized that some of the testimony was not truthful (in fact, two people were lying) that the jury was able to reach a decision.
This is what the media is failing to get -- not everyone here is telling the truth so you have to dig to find out who is and who isn't. The military's records and the first-hand accounts of those who were there back Kerry's version of events; the Shifty Boat Liars are relying on heresay and out-and-out lies.
Its OK -- and in fact preferable -- for the media to call a spade a spade rather than engaging in this "on the one hand" BS.
The Media SucksThis whole Shifty Boat Liar thing would've died a long time ago were it not for our pathetic media (mostly TV in this instance; print, for once, has thoroughly trashed these guys). These are people who look good on TV but are not by any definition journalists. Pierce takes 'em down today on Altercation and its a fabulous read (scroll down for Pierce and read Eric on the way there).
"This is what you get. This is what you get when you get bullied by Mr. Murdoch's toy network into running an interview in which a woman makes unsubstantiated charges of rape against a sitting president, and this is what you get when you get played like a tin piano by a decades-long dirty-tricks campaign that culminated in an impeachment, and you couldn't report on the former because you were in the tank to the people bringing the latter. This is what you get when you loan your hard-won credibility to hacks and charlatans. This is what happens when you sell your craft out to celebrity, when being good on television is more important than being good at your job, when unconscionable slander is reckoned as genius because it moves the Nielsen needle. This is what happens when sneering schoolyard invective is reckoned to be actual talent because it comes with a Q rating. (Have a nice day, Tucker.) This is what happens when you run scared. Truth, literally, comes to matter not at all."
Friday, August 20, 2004
Is this Not a Democracy?Many years ago (1968?), I skipped out of school to attend a Nixon rally in my hometown. I hated Nixon, but wanted to see him in action. I was not invited, did not have security clearance, did not have to sign a loyalty oath. I just showed up, got in and watched Nixon speak. In 1992, I saw Clinton and Gore on one of the stops of their bus tour. Again, no invitation, no loyalty oath.
This article about a woman being turned away from a Bush rally in Traverse City, Michigan, for wearing a teeny Kerry sticker is just one of many like it that I have read in recent weeks. It truly is amazing that in a nation of the people, by the people and for the people that lots of the people are aggresively refused the opportunity to see their own president.
The woman's quote says it all: "I really, truly wanted to have the experience of having seen the president and hear him speak, which is very important to me as a social studies teacher," she said. "How can anyone in the United States deny someone entry? Isn't this a democracy?"
Is Iran Next?The Bush camp has been making noises about Iran for sometime. Now, Iran is talking smack right back:
Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani warned that Iran might launch a preemptive strike against US forces in the region to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities. "We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us. Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly," Shamkhani told Al-Jazeera TV when asked if Iran would respond to an American attack on its nuclear facilities.
But Its All Meaningless AnywayDavid Neiwart is completely right -- this Shifty Boat Liar stuff is designed to do nothing but distract the media and voters from examining Bush's record and Kerry's qualifications:
OK, fellas, go ahead and have your fun.
After 10 years of racing after every right-wing smear planted in the press, we've come not to expect any better.Just let us know when you're done with the trivia, will you?
Because it's clear that for the chattering classes, that's all that matters in this election: Trivia.
The Swift Boat Veterans flap -- like the "Kerry affair with an intern" rumor -- is clearly just a smear about nothing. It's a meaningless he said/she said tempest, and it reveals nothing meaningful about the two men running for president this year (except, perhaps, the eagerness of one of them to stoop to condoning gutter-level smears because he has nothing else to offer).
Someday, you might start thinking instead about discussing issues that are meaningful to the nation's citizens in fundamental and substantive ways...
More Shifty Boat Liars StuffThe New York Times has a very good article today on this (hopefully) disaster for Shrub Jr.
Also, Kerry fired back yesterday in a big way: "Of course, the President keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: “Bring it on.”
And the Kerry campaign is going after Regnery, the publisher of the Shifty Boat Liars book, acording to Salon: The Kerry campaign has told Salon that the publisher of "Unfit for Command," the book that is at the center of the attack on Kerry's military record by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, is retailing a hoax and should consider withdrawing it from bookstores. "No publisher should want to be selling books with proven falsehoods in them, especially falsehoods that are meant to smear the military service of an American veteran," said Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton. "If I were them, I'd be ducking under my desk wondering what to do. This is a serious problem."
You remember, of course, back in 2000 that the Bush camp forced St. Martin's Press to withdraw the book Fortunate Son, which alledged that Shrub Jr had used cocaine, claiming the book's author was perpetrating a hoax. More from Digby.
Kerry Smear Book Publisher Tied to White SupremcistsWell, here's an interesting aspect of the Shifty Boat Liars crap: Regnery, the book's publisher and publisher of various right-wing crap by Ann Coulter and other wingnuts, has ties to the white supremacist movement. Or so says Oliver Willis on his blog.
Willis quotes the Southern Poverty Law Center's website:
William Regnery II, an heir to the Regnery publishing fortune who's a prime mover and shaker in white nationalism publishing, is moving into a new line of business: match-making for "heterosexual whites of Christian cultural heritage."...Promoting white nationalism is nothing new for Regnery — or his family. His grandfather, William I, signed incorporation papers for the America First Committee, an organization that opposed fighting Nazi Germany in World War II. His father, Henry, created Regnery Publishing, one of the major purveyors of books by right-wing attack dogs like Anne [sic] Coulter and G. Gordon Liddy.
This is the great unspoken about the radical right-wing in this country: that its basically a racist movement. They've fooled a lot of decent conservatives about this (mostly through religion) which has allowed the wingnuts to take over the Republican party. There's almost no one who will talk about this, but racism is one of the key drivers behind the radical right.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Another DefectorRep. Doug Bereuter, a Republican from Nebraska and a senior member of the House International Relations Committee and vice chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said this regarding the war in Iraq:
"I've reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that the inadequate intelligence and faulty conclusions are being revealed, that all things being considered, it was a mistake to launch that military action."
Why the change of heart from supporting the war? Bereuter is retiring after 26 years in Congress, so I guess he's got nothing to lose.
Flippity FloppityA very funny piece from Al Franken's radio show about the Flip-Flopper-in-Chief:
George W. Bush has a funny way of flip-flopping on the issues.
He was against a Homeland Security Department. FLIP
Then he was for it. FLOPHe was against the McCain Feingold campaign finance bill. FLIPBut then he was for it. FLIP-FLOP Bush said he was for free trade. FLIPPITY
But then he put on steel tariffs. FLOP
Then he was against the tariffs again. FLIPPITY FLOP
Bush said the states should decide about gay marriage. FLIPPITY
Then he was for changing the Constitution. FLIPPITY FLOP, OR IS IT FLOPPITY FLIP?
Bush said he would put mandatory caps on Carbon Dioxide. FLOOPITY
Then he said he wouldn’t. FLOOPPITY-FLEE
Bush said he’d leave no child behind. FLOPITTY
But refused to fund it, leaving millions of children of behind. BYE BYE POOR CHILDREN, WE’RE LEAVING YOU BEHIND, SORRY. OH, I CAN’T SEE YOU NOW, YOU’RE SO FAR BEHIND. I’VE FORGOTTEN ABOUT YOU.
Bush said he against an independent 9/11 commission. FLIIIIIIIIIIIIIP
But then reluctantly agreed to one. FLOPPITY FLOOP
Bush said we were going to war in Iraq to disarm Saddam Hussein. FLIPPITY
But when it turned out there weren’t any WMD’s, he said the war was to fight al Qaeda. FLIPPITY-FLOPPITY
But then he admitted there was no evidence of ties between Saddam and al Qaeda FLIPPITY-FLOOPITY-FLOOP
So then he said the war was to bring Western style democracy to the entire Middle East. FLIPPITY-FLOOPITY-FLOP, FLOP FLOP FLOP FLOP
He said he wouldn’t invade Iraq without a vote in the UN. FLIP
But then he invaded without a vote. FLOPPITY FLOOP
But now he wants to UN to save his butt. (to tune of: Off to See the Wizard) FLIPPITY FLOPITTY FLOOP. FLIPPITY FLOPPITY FLOOP, FLIPPITY FLOPPITY, FLIPPITY FLOPPITY. FLIPPITY FLOPPITY FLOOP
He said he was ushering in an era of personal responsibility. FLIPPITY
But refuses to take responsibility for all his flip-flops. FLIPPITY BYE BYE BUSH. SEE YOU IN FLIPPITY FLOPPITY LAND – THAT’S RIGHT – CRAWFORD FLIPPITY FLOOP TEXAS. FLOOP FLOOP!
Troop RedeploymentThe troop redeployment announced by Shrub Jr is being positioned by the Republicans as "bringing the troops home" and "a response to the end of the Cold War." Of course, neither is true. It is completely ridiculous to think that these troops will stay in the US -- they will be redeployed (again) to Iraq (or maybe Iran, since there seem to be signs that Bush may want to get involved there, too). It is also completely ridiculous to take these troops out of Asia, where North Korea is an acknowledged possessor of weapons of mass destruction. We already have limited troops in Europe as a result of troop reductions there after the end of the Cold War.
Winning Argument (a great site) has more.
So why is this being done? There's something distinctly Rovian about this...
StatsI've long thought that everyone should have to take a class in statistics in high school. Most people, myself included, don't understand the first thing about stats, and yet we hear statistics all the time, never more so than in a political year. Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly's Political Animal does a good job of explaining what "margin of error" means in political polls.
Here's the Thingabout the Shifty Boat Liars. A lot of what they say can be refuted -- here's the latest from Atrios. But what's really troubling is that what they seem to be saying is that the military can be easily fooled and would thus award medals to non-deserving troops. So basically through these charges, the Shifty Boat Liars are not so much discrediting Kerry, as they are denigrating the entire military and everyone who served. Ridiculous.
Anyway, it seems to not be working, at least in Ohio (where the Shifty Boat ads are running) -- Gallup has Kerry up by 9.
More on the Shifty Boat Liars from Digby.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Shifty Boat LiarsI don't have anything to say about these scum, other than that what they're really mad about is Kerry's anti-war activities when he returned from Vietnam. But they can't come clean about that, since most of America knows the Vietnam war was terribly wrong. So instead, with the help of a lot of money from big GOP donors and as scummy PR person, they concoct these bogus charges about Kerry's military record. A new low, even for Repugnicants.
This is a pretty good analysis of the whole situation (LA Times -- registration required). Key quotes:
"Many in the Swift boat group seem to be motivated as much by anger about Kerry's protest activities as they are about his actions in combat."
"What military documentation exists and has been made public generally supports the view put forth by Kerry and most of his crewmates — that he acted courageously and came by his Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts honestly. This view of Kerry as war hero is supported by all but one of the surviving veterans who served with him on the two boats he commanded.None of the critics quoted in the ad actually served on the boats with Kerry. Some of them also have given contradictory accounts and offered conflicting recollections."
"Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a Vietnam veteran who has endorsed Bush, called the ad "dishonest and dishonorable." He said that "none of these individuals served on the boat [Kerry] commanded," adding that he believed "John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam."In a lengthy interview between the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's first news conference in May and the controversy last week, Kerry called the group's allegations pure "politics.""Some of them don't like the fact that I opposed the war, and 35 years later some people still want to argue about that," Kerry said in the June interview. "It's way beyond me, can I tell you? It's so far beyond and past now. I feel sad about it."He said he respected the service all Swift boat crews gave to their country and lauded their courage."So I'm at peace with myself, and I'm sorry they feel the way they do," Kerry said, "because I respect them. I really do."
Living in the PastWell Bush made one of the stupider statements he's ever made yesterday: "I think those who oppose this ballistic missile system really don't understand the threats of the 21st century. They're living in the past. We're living in the future. We're going to do what's necessary to protect this country."
David Sirota deftly (as always) points out who is truly living in the past.
And did you know that "the administration has actually vetoed efforts to divert a fraction of the missile defense funding into under funded homeland security and nuclear non-proliferation programs"? (thanks Altercation).
Education Round-UpMy daughter started back in school today (a swaggering 8th grader), so education is on my mind.
Religious school vouchers ruled unconstitutional (hurray!).
I'm very opposed to homeschooling because democracy in a multi-cultural country like ours requires a tolerance for diversity and what better way to learn that than in public schools. I believe public schools are the backbone of democracy. Are there problems in public schools? Yes, mostly related to political crap: not enough money and too much reliance on testing.
Socialization is a key component of public school and homeschooled kids don't get that. Quoting from the cnn.com article linked above: "'Unless we are prepared to keep our children in bubbles their entire lives, we have to give them an opportunity to have some exposure to real-world problems so they can develop coping strategies,' says Ted Feinberg, assistant executive director of the National Association of School Psychologists. Feinberg argues that as cultural understanding becomes more valued, social interaction and exposure to different people and ways of viewing the world are necessary components of education. 'It's one thing to read about it," he says. "Much of what we learn in life is a matter of interaction. I just wonder how that takes place in a home school environment.'"
The reality is most homeschoolers are doing so for religious and/or racial reasons. As the article notes: "The most commonly cited studies of home-schoolers have found the majority of the population to be a homogenous group of white, middle class Christian families..."
I also dislike charter schools. They do little but syphon off funds that could be used to improve public schools. The first government study of charter schools shows that kids in charter schools do substantially worse in all categories than kids in public schools. From the NY Times article linked in this paragraph: "The data shows fourth graders attending charter schools performing about half a year behind students in other public schools in both reading and math. Put another way, only 25 percent of the fourth graders attending charters were proficient in reading and math, against 30 percent who were proficient in reading, and 32 percent in math, at traditional public schools."
The public schools need help, but charter schools and homeschooling are not the answer. More federal funding, an ending to the local funding of school based on property taxes and less government interference in schools (i.e. testing) are what's needed.
Two ApproachesThis is an interesting side-by-side (literally -- scroll right) juxtaposition of the two campaign's approaches.
BTW, Kerry's campaign events are, by and large, open to the public and tens of thousands are showing up. Bush's (and Cheney's) campaign events are by invitation only and you have to sign a loyalty oath to attend.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Religion and ScienceWhich of these two headlines, featured on cnn.com under Science, is A) actually science and B) more important in our body of knowledge?
Scholar claims to discover cave of John the Baptist
Cassini spies 2 new Saturn moons
I guess you can call the first story science if you think its about archaeology, but is it truly important to attempt to reinforce mythology in this way? After all, what is mythology but a religion that is no longer believed in. If you believe, where's the need to prove (via science) what you belive really existed or occured?
Yeah, I know, I'm really on the anti-religion bandwagon lately. And I have friends and acquaintances who are very religious and yet liberal, tolerant, progressive, etc. So I'm not saying all religion is bad and all religious people are morons. I am saying that fundamentalism is wrong anywhere, any time. And I have a hard time understanding why people cannot do a yin-yang thing when it comes to religion and science. It seems not only entirely possible but preferable that you seperate religion from science. So you can have a religious life in church or family, but a scientific one in career and community. You wouldn't much trust a doctor who applied his religion -- faith healing -- to cure you instead of employing science and technology, now would you?
EmbarrassingYes, the US basketball team's loss to Puerto Rico in the Olympics was humiliating. But this is more so: The British newspaper the Independent profiles Ann Coulter. Here's just a sample: "Within minutes of our sitting down, the conversation turns to the position of expat Pakistanis in the social hierarchies of the Middle East. "They're never very high in anyone's caste system, are they," Ann volunteers. "Poor little Pakis." The photographer and I look at each other. Did she really say that?"
It gets worse.
Between idiots like Coulter and GW "Authentic Western Gibberish" Bush, no wonder much of the world thinks Americans are tank brains.
Thanks to World 'O Crap for the tip.
Monday, August 16, 2004
The Emperor Has No ClothesAnd no brain either, says Matt Yglesias: "Intelligence matters. The job of the president of the United States is not to love his wife; it’s to manage a wide range of complicated issues. That requires character, yes, but not the kind of character measured by private virtues like fidelity to spouse and frequency of quotations from Scripture. Yet it also requires intelligence. It requires intellectual curiosity, an ability to familiarize oneself with a broad range of views, the capacity -- yes -- to grasp nuances, to foresee the potential ramifications of one’s decisions, and, simply, to think things through. Four years ago, these were not considered necessary pieces of presidential equipment. Today, they have to be."
Digby agrees: "He is not smart enough for the job of president and he has been incompetent because of it, over and over again. The man isn't up to the task intellectually and doesn't have the temperament to privately trust someone else (like his father perhaps) to be the arbiter of disagreements among his advisors when he doesn't understand the issues. Neither did he have the experience or instinct to effectively manage people to create consensus on their own."
Couldn't agree more.
Religious Roots of TerrorismAnother good Kevin post on religion.
This, from that post, sums up how I feel about religion: "There are now more people in our country who believe that the universe was created in six solar days than there were in Europe in the 14th century. In the eyes of most of the civilized world, the United States is now a rogue power — imperialist, inarticulate and retrograde in its religiosity. Our erstwhile allies are right not to trust our judgment. We elect leaders who squander time and money on issues like gay marriage, Janet Jackson's anatomy, Howard Stern's obscenities, marijuana use and a dozen other trifles lying at the heart of the Christian social agenda, while potentially catastrophic problems like nuclear proliferation and climate change go unresolved."
Seems to me religion is something you keep to yourself and keep it out of your public life. If you can't do that, if you feel the need to "live" your religion, then get ye to a monastery.
I fail to understand why religion cannot be criticized, why we must be tolerant of people with intolerant religious views. These intolerants are not just Islamofacists -- they are right-wing Christians right here in our own country.
Frankly, I don't think religion has a lot to offer in the modern world, but I think fear and ignorance drive people to the tried and true ways of "old tyme religion" But of course because religion doesn't offer much in the modern world, these people seek to change the world, back to some mythic past, back to some idyllic "way it was" that never really existed.
I doubt they will succeed at this in the long term, at least in America. The women's and civil rights movements will pretty much prevent that. And I gotta tell you, fundamentalist Islam could not exist in a feminist environment; so the real way to defeat them is to radicalize their women.
OK I'm off track.
Bar TalkKevin at Political Animal has a good post up on George Bush, Man of the People. Which he's not, since his "Ask President Bush" sessions on the campaign trail are held for a hand-picked select few who have to sign loyalty oaths to lob softballs at the nitwit-in-chief.
Kevin also writes: "Now, it is true that he's [Bush] a "plain-spoken conservative who knows his mind," but you can find one of those at any neighborhood watering hole. And that pretty much describes George Bush: a man who picked up his opinions in a bar 30 years ago and has never gone much beyond that. ... by mocking John Kerry for not saying unequivocally that he would have invaded Iraq no matter what, Bush is acting like a guy in a bar who just wants to kick Saddam's ass and will lick any man in the house who says otherwise."
(I also have to note that it seems like Kevin has finally gotten it together. He was great when he did Calpundit, but seemed way too cautious to me when he joined Washington Monthly as the Political Animal. But the last few days, he is back to his old and wonderful ways.)
The Next TerroristsThis is exactly what I figured would happen: the next Muslim terrorists who strike the US will not be Arabs. USA Today reports that the FBI believes al Qaeda is recruiting Muslims from places like Chechnya and Bosnia, and that some of these recruits are women. Remember, many of the Chechen rebels involved in the hostage taking in that Moscow theater were women. Which shows you that racial profiling makes no sense in the war on terra. Gee, ya think what we need here is extremely good intelligence, nuance and sensitivity?
Jeb Does His PartNot for hurricane ravaged west Florida, but for his brother's re-election:
From today’s NY Times:
Suppress the Vote?
By BOB HERBERT
The big story out of Florida over the weekend was the tragic devastation caused by Hurricane Charley. But there's another story from Florida that deserves our attention.
State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.
The officers, from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which reports to Gov. Jeb Bush, say they are investigating allegations of voter fraud that came up during the Orlando mayoral election in March.
Officials refused to discuss details of the investigation, other than to say that absentee ballots are involved. They said they had no idea when the investigation might end, and acknowledged that it may continue right through the presidential election.
Kerry's Position on IraqThe GOP and its vassals, the media, are trying to portray Kerry's position on Iraq as wimpy or too nuanced (not macho enough, I guess) or whatever. But this is simply BS.
Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum do the takedown on this Repugnicant crap.
Kerry's position has been consistent all along: the US should have pursued a course of pressuring Iraq to comply with UN dictums, continuing inspections, and building international coalitions.
Bush failed to do any of that and has jeopardized American power and prestige, and made a complete mess of things for the Iraqi people.
79 days till the end of this nightmare.
Bush = LoserJosh Marshall argues that it won't be long until conventional widsom starts moving against Bush, as evidenced by Sunday's Washington Post column by David Broder, the veritable godfather of inside the beltway CW. Broder wrote:
"If Bush can win reelection despite the failure of his two most consequential -- and truly radical -- decisions, he will truly be a political miracle man. But as his own nominating convention approaches, the odds are against him."
Josh says it not just that "poll numbers which show Kerry consistently besting the president" and that "other measures of independents all show danger signs for the president." Its that the media may -- may -- begin to start covering this story from a "Bush = Loser" standpoint..
I'll believe that when I see it.
Dems PR EffortsDigby has a good post today on the Democrats' inability to do PR as well as the Republicans. He suggests using GOP smear attempts to turn the tables:
I"ndeed, sometimes it can work to your advantage by giving you an opportunity to lay your charge out more explicitly. For instance, on the "sensitivity" thing: 'John Kerry was saying that we need to end the bumbling Bush diplomacy that has recklessly alienated too many of our our allies. The stakes in the war on terror are much too high for such clumsy mistakes.'"
He also says the Dems should take advantage of their show biz supporters, which is something Clinton successfully did.
Like Clinton said on The Daily Show, fight back at every turn.
Friday, August 13, 2004
Al Gore Invented the InternetNo, he didn't say that. But you've heard that a million times because the Republicans worked very hard in 2000 to pass on that and other ridiculing memes. They're at it again against Kerry and that's why its so, so important to stop them every time they throw one of these out there. They killed Gore with this crap and we can't let it happen again.
The "sensitivity" thing is just the start. Be prepared -- this stuff is not funny, so don't laugh it off. Fight back!
This reminds me of something else Clinton said on The Daily Show Monday which is that every time the Republicans threw something at him, he fought back. That's what we must do now.
Don't let them plant these memes. Correct any person you hear say this and consider writing letters to any media outlet you see/hear repeating this without context. We have the power to stop this now, so let's do it!
For the RecordThis is what John Kerry said that Dick "Dick" Cheney is so distorting:
The first part [of the campaign book] focuses on security. I will fight this war on terror with the lessons I learned in war. I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as president of the United States. I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history. I lay out a strategy to strengthen our military, to build and lead strong alliances and reform our intelligence system. I set out a path to win the peace in Iraq and to get the terrorists wherever they may be before they get us.
Thanks to the incomparable Daily Howler.
Cheny's Sensitivity HypocrisyIt's all here.
Is Iran Next?From Blogging of the President, via TalkLeft:
Various intelligence analysts and journalists seem to think that Iran has decided to confront US forces in Iraq. And the British newspaper The Guardian writes "The US charge sheet against Iran is lengthening almost by the day, presaging destabilising confrontations this autumn and maybe a pre-election October surprise. The Bush administration is piling on the pressure over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons programme."
Julia ChildJulia Child died today. This woman deserves HUGE credit for revolutionizing American cuisine. Before her, this was American food.
SensitiveAs part of the Republican campaign to smear John Kerry through humor and other means (just as they did to Gore), Cheney is giving speakign mocking Kerry for using the word "sensitive" when Kerry spoke about his ideas on the more mature and effective ways we might fight the war on terra. Of course, the blogosphere immediately found instances of Bush using the same word. And The Daily Show last night juxtaposed clips of Cheney's diatribe and Bush's statement. Very funny.
BTW, if you're not watching The Daily Show, please start. Its essential viewing this election season. Last night featured a hysterical bit with Robb Cordry "reporting from Najaf" and insisting that US troops caution in this holy city of Islam was not due to "sensitivity" but instead to "sensi-tough-ity." So, so funny!
OwnershipI've been deeply troubled by Bush's new ad emphasizing ownership, but couldn't put my finger on why. Leave it to Paul Krugman to nail it.
Basically, Krugman says the ad seems to be saying that workers don't have as much of a stake in the country's future as property owners, and this would fit right in with other Bush policies that favor the very, very wealthy over the rest of us. Bush seems to be moving toward a system where wages are taxed, but investment income is not. And since the bulk of investment income goes to a small elite, guess who gets screwed?
Krugman also takes on the ridiculous notion of making Social Security private. What's always annoyed me about SS is that people think its a personal savings plan for their retirement, when actually its a system whereby the current working generation pays for the retirement of the previous generation.
Anyway, good column today -- read it.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Latest Electoral CountsMichigan and Florida are going more solidly for Kerry, although both are still shaky. Ohio, unfortunately, is the opposite. Still in play, but leaning Kerry, are Minnesota, Wisconisin, Iowa and Oregon. I've seen Missouri and West Virginia on that list, too, but I doubt either state will go for Kerry. There are some other possibilities -- Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee have an outside chance of going to Kerry. Again, some put Colorado in that camp, but I'm pretty sure that state will go for Bush.
The latest electoral count is here.
How Low Will They Go?I cannot believe this: the acting FDA commissioner is warning that terrorists might attack the domestic food and drug supply, particularly illegally imported drugs (my emphasis). Jeez Louise!
So they're saying to seniors, whose drug prices are through the roof because the Bushies won't allow the US govt to negotiate lower drug prices, "Now don't you buy those cheaper drugs from Canada because they might be poisoned by terrorists." Unbelievable.
Could they be anymore obsequious to the drug industry? Can you imagine having the balls to say this kind of crap out loud? How do they get away with it? Our non-existant media is to blame.
Certainly, I hope this is not true and that this is what I think it is -- which is fear-mongering lies.
Dumbest Democrat in LouisianaThat;s what Carville called that dope in Louisiana -- Congresssman Rodney Alexander -- who changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican 30 minutes before the filing deadline. Well, he may be screwed because he had already filed as a Dem and by state law could not file again for the same office. His entire staff and consultants quit and the party is demanding its money back. Plus the Republican already in the race is pissed that he is being pressured to drop out in favor of Alexander.
Anyway, Alexander held a press conference and its quite interesting to hear what he had to say, or rather what he's implying in what he said:
In his first full-length press conference since his switch, Alexander explained he was motivated in part by his belief that the candidacy filing by a fellow Democrat, African-American homemaker Zelma "Tisa" Blakes, threatened his chances of winning re-election if he stuck with that party’s line.
One of the most conservative House Democrats during his brief tenure, Alexander implied that the politically unknown Blakes may have been able to attract support among black activists who resented his decision not to endorse the Democratic presidential nominee, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.
"I knew that there were several, among African-American leaders, who had been put out by me because of my failure or reluctance to endorse Sen. Kerry. And I had voted with [President Bush] on some of the issues that he and I agreed on," Alexander said. He added that he picked up "some strong vibrations" that he was losing support among liberals in the 5th District’s Democratic base. "I didn’t want to engage in a campaign where I was defending myself on those issues at every turn," he said. "So I just decided that I’d switch and run as a Republican."
Bush No Longer Turning a CornerBush has dropped the "we're turning a corner" catcphrase from his stump speech. His staff is saying it didn't play and that its not unusual for stump speeches to evolve. Of course, the fact that Kerry pointed out that the last president to use a similar phrase was Herbert Hoover didn't help. The Bushies are desperate to avoid all mention of the economy. The jobs report from last Friday was absolutely miserable. This jobless "recovery" combined with the mess in Iraq is the stuff of Karl Rove's nightmares. BTW, a recent Gallup poll shows 57 percent saying they are not satisfied with how things were going in the country.
Bush: Its OK for Rich People to Cheat on TaxesDavid Sirota has a nice "Then and Now" on Bush's attitude toward rich people cheating on taxes.
THEN: “[I want] to make sure that tax cheaters are found."
NOW: “The really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway.”
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
#1 NutJim Hart, running as the GOP congressional candidate in a safely Democratic district in Tennessee. Hart is a fervent believer in the pseudoscience of eugenics. He refers to blacks as a "less favored race from sub-Saharan Africa." The Republican party has disavowed support of this guy, to their credit.
Second Biggest WingnutI haven't written about Vernon Robinson of North Carolina, although I am well aware of what a wingnut he is. But Kos has this interesting post about how Robinson is such a nut, he may actually cause his district to go Democrat.
Robinson is too much of a nut for even Jesse Helms (who endorsed Robinson's opponent in the primary) and Jack Kemp, who pulled his endorsement of him. Robinson erected a one-ton 10 Commandments monument in Winston-Salem, where he is a councilman, which the city removed. He runs anti-immigrant ads ("the aliens are here") and anti-homosexual ads. He is stupid, rude and scary.
Hopefully, Robinson is so out-there that voters will choose his Democratic opponent, Jim Harrell.
Partisan HackThat's what Billmon calls Porter Goss in this post. This guy is a real piece of work. Goss led the stalling tactics in Congress on the investigations into 9-11 and led the attempt to smear Richard Clarke.
But my favorite Goss-ism was what he said when asked about the investigation into the leaking to the media of a CIA agent's name (Valerie Plame, wife of Bush critic Joe Wilson): "Somebody sends me a blue dress and some DNA, I'll have an investigation."
I do hope the Dems fight this nomination while we work to win the election.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Greetings from CrawfordThis is great!
Big Dog on Daily ShowClinton was on the Daily Show last night and as usual he was very good. He talked a lot about Republican dirty tricks and divisiveness. He said John McCain made a big mistake in not calling them on it when they smeared him in South Carolina in 2000. Clinton also said that because his policies brought peace and prosperity to Americans, the Republicans had to resort to firing up a personal hatred of him because they couldn't argue against the success of his policies. He explained that he wrote his book with the intent of explaining the political process the way it really is.
His best line was "If people think, they vote Democrat" which of course implied that Republicans have to resort to twisting emotions to get votes. He also said a Republican friend of his told him that if the Republicans fought fair, Clinton (and by extension the Democrats) would win every time.
He was very calm and zen-like. He seemed to be working very hard to present a rational and loving alternative to the vitriol and hatred spewed by Republicans. In fact, he said several times that he did not hate the people who attacked him. I commented to my daughter that this was far more Christian than what we hear from supposed righteous Christians like Bill O'Lielly, Sean Hannity, etc.
Monday, August 09, 2004
Michelle MalkinI hope you haven't heard of this dimwit, but if you have you know she's a conservative know-nothing who has a new book out called -- steady yourself -- "In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror." Its absurd, but yes, she's making the rounds of television news with this truly dangerous crap. But, thankfully, Matt Stoller at the Blogging of the President has the takedown.
BTW, Malkin is one of those conservatives who proffers a moderate face in USA Today, but shows her true colors on wingnut sites like townhall.com.
Richard ShelbyRemember that name and use it whenever anyone talks about Sandy Berger (who did nothing of any substance).
Richard Shelby is the Republican senator from Alabama who leaked classified information to the media. He is under investigation for leaking extremely sensitive classified information about NSA encrypted intercepts to the media on June 19, 2002. Recently, the FBI decided not to prosecute and turned the whole thing over to the Republican controlled senate ethics committee. I konw you're surprised by this.
Berger took copies of memos written for him during the Clinton administration, which of course he shouldn't have done, but no harm was done by his actions. Only the Republican noise machine keeps this in the news. I actually had to turn off NPR this morning (which has become totally useless, BTW) when they ran a story flogging this meme.
Digby has more.
Second Tour of DutyKeep in mind whenever some idiot starts harping on Kerry serving only 4 months in Vietnam that that was his SECOND tour of duty. He'd already done a full tour aboard a warship stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin. Also be sure to ask where Bush and Cheney were during the war.
How Many More?I believe the toll is 19 US soldiers killed in Iraq since Aug. 1.
Nagging ThoughtI just can't get it out of my head that at the convention Cheney will resign for health reasons and Bush will nominate a more moderate and likeable veep candidate, like McCain or Guiliani. It would be a great political move and would present a serious challenge for the Democrats.
Alabama Mailroom Veterans for BushForgot to post this Friday: South Knox Bubba has a good one.
Its the Economy, StupidKevin has a good post up on how the job market has tanked, tanked, tanked (look at the chart).
He also notes that Democrats have been consistently better stewards of the economy and credits that to their relentless emphasis on jobs. Republicans, Kevin says, focus on the economic theory du jour (trickle down, supply side, whatever), none of which have ever worked -- while Democrats focus on jobs.
So what do you think matters most? Testing out economic theories? Or JOBS?
Kerry-Edwards Train Tour a SuccessI'll bet you haven't read that headline or heard something similar on the news. That's because the media is totally ignoring the highly successful train tour that Kerry and Edwards are on now. Thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of cheering people are turning out at every stop. The polls are consistently showing Kerry ahead and he leads the electoral vote count, too. But our well-trained media continue to portray Kerry using Republican talking points, instead of truthfully writing about the positive Kerry campaign and the deeply troubling record and campaign of the Bush administration.
86 days to the end of our nightmare.
A Fine MessI'll admit to not following this story closely, but apparently the Bushies leaked the name of an al Qaeda double agent to the media which ruined a British run operation to bust a major al Qaeda cell. The leak was done to give some substance to all those stupid terror warnings last week. The British are pissed. Home Secretary David Blunkett said he won't release information just to feed a media frenzy and accused the Bushies of overemphasizing threats for political gain.
Juan Cole has more.
CelebrateNixon resigned 30 years ago today. I shoulda baked a cake. He's #1 on my sh*t list, followed closely by Ronald Reagan and W.
Friday, August 06, 2004
LoyaltieThis is the text of the loyalty oath one must sign to be admitted to an election rally in New Mexico featuring Vice President Dick "Dick" Cheney.
"I ... herby endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States."
For reelection of the United States.
Stupid is as Stupid DoesFrom the Washington Post via TBOGG:
"Bush went for voters' hearts. His rally featured all the spectacular stagecraft at which this White House excels. Just as Aaron Tippin's "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" reached a high point -- "I pledge allegiance to the flag / And if that bothers you, well, that's too bad" -- Bush's motorcade came speeding dramatically into the riverfront park, all fast black cars and flashing blue and red lights. The crowd of several thousand, some of whom had lined up four hours earlier for security sweeps, erupted and waved small flags. Three Secret Service sharpshooters projected presidential power, standing atop a white trailer, their eyes trained through high-powered binoculars. Restless children inside the rally enclosure had a choice between a small carnival ride and a petting zoo featuring a dozen baby goats.
His blue shirt sleeves pushed up, the president stood with the river behind him, a highway bridge arcing gracefully away. He offered no new details on his programs for the next few years, sticking to his standard stump speech about keeping America strong and safe. 'We stand for things,' Bush told the crowd of several thousand. 'We stand for something.'"
Something. Things. You know.
But this is scary: Bush's campaign as revival show.
Swift Boat LiarsI wasn't even going to post about these whackjobs, but since just about everything they claim is being proven daily to be out and out lies, I thought I would at least mention that.
As you know, John McCain has come out swinging against the Swift Boat ad. And one of the liars has retracted his statements and another is under investigation that he was not the doctor who treated Kerry's wounds.
This whole thing was concocted by John O'Neill who is a Republican dirty trickster and Kerry opponent going back to the Nixon years, and PR honcho Merrie Spaeth, a big Bush supporter. I actually met Merrie Spaeth years ago at a PR conference and I thought she was very Stepford-y. All I knew about her then was that, as a teenager, she had been in a movie with Peter Sellars (The World of Henry Orient).
I doubt this thing will have any traction, but you never know, given the sh*t for brains media we have.
Poll Numbers Favoring KerryBillmon also has a good post up today on poll numbers that look very, very good for Kerry -- especially since they are Fox poll numbers!
Kerry's support among men has increased by six points since the network's last poll, before the convention. He's now even with Bush among male voters. Kerry still leads among women by nine points.
Kerry has increased his support among independents by four points since the pre-convention poll.
When asked which candidate is a "stronger leader," 44% said Bush and 40% since Kerry - a 4 point advantage for Shrub. That's down from a 19 point advantage before the convention.
Bush's edge on who would do a better job of fighting terrorism went from 15 points (50% to 35%) to just 6 points (44% to 38%).
Kerry now holds a 7-point edge over Bush as being "more honest and trustworthy," versus and 11 point deficit on the trust issue in Fox's June poll.
Fox respondents also rated Kerry as more genuine (+2 points), more optimistic (+4 points) and harder working (+5).
Economy's a MessNew job creation numbers out today prove its all going to hell in a handbasket. And we should stay the course? What course -- the one to hell? Oh but don't forget we're turning a corner. Yeah, right.
Billmon has a great piece up today on how the economy is tanking. Between the rising price of oil, the mess in Iraq, sluggish consumer spending, and non-existent job creation, there's no other conclusion than that the economy is slowing to a virtual stop.
Keyes is a JokeAlan "Natural Law" Keyes has been drafted by the Republicans to run against Barack Obama for the senate seat in Illinois (after Jack Ryan was forced to drop out because of a silly "sex scandal"). Now, Keyes lives in Maryland, not Illinois, so this quote of his from 2000 is quite interesting (thanks, Atrios):
"I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate it."
These are typical Keyes rants (thanks, Josh at TPM): tort reform is necessary to bring America back into compliance with natural law, drug reimportation is incompatible with the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence and gun control has been outlawed by God.
Fortunately, this nutcase is a proven loser (2 times senate, 2 times president).
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Liberal = PatrioticDigby says it better than I could regarding Democrats embracing the flag:
I believe that Democrats should give no ground on this. We represent real American values and we have every right to use the traditional language and symbols of patriotism to express that. We are the ones who stand for the constitution and the American system of justice, which we hold so dear that even in times of war we do not waver. We are the ones who believe in the sacred American values of Liberty, Equality, Opportunity and Democracy and we are the ones who work to ensure that every American, not just the privileged, share in them. We are the ones who have faith that America is strong enough to survive any challenge without sacrificing those values. The flag and Sousa and apple pie and love of country are not the exclusive property of the Republican Party; they belong to all Americans. We should take them back.
They KnewMust reading: this well-researched and documented article by David Sirota and Christy Harvey about how the decision to go to war in Iraq was NOT based on faulty intelligence; instead, the administration had plenty of good intelligence that refuted all of its various arguments for why the US should invade Iraq. They knew and they lied.
TruthToday's Bushism: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
Gandalf Defeats the Spanish ArmadaI had to laugh at this: a recent survey of Brits shows their education about their own history is lacking. In fact, 6% of young Brits thought Gandalf (of Lord of the Rings) had defeated the Spanish Armada. And worse, 15% of 16 to 24-year-olds think the reason for the Northern Ireland Orangemen's annual celebration was the victory at Helms Deep (also from Lord of the Rings) (the real reason is the defeat of the Catholic King James's troops by the Protestant William III in 1690).
The BossBruce Springsteen has an editorial in the New York Times today. You should read it.
Bruce is headlining a tour this summer and fall to get out the progressive vote. His concerts are one of a six-pronged concert tour approach. Find out more at moveonpac.org.
Media Fails AgainSandy Berger has been completely cleared. Did you know that? Probably not, because the media isn't covering it. Nor is the media covering the leaking of serious classified information by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) -- in fact, it broadcast the information!-- and the failure of the government to punish Shelby. Read more on Atrios.
All the Way to 11Here's a number 11 to my previous list:
Support local/state Democratic candidates. Make sure Congress has a Democratic majority. Make sure your governor (if up for election) and local officials are predominantly Democrats.
Where I live, we can elect a Democratic senator and an incumbent Democratic governor. Its extremely important to do so.
90 DaysI believe that today marks 90 days until the election. What are you doing to ensure the election of Kerry-Edwards? Here are some suggestions:
1) Register to vote. Make sure everyone you know is registered. Talk about the importance of voting. Do not let a single voter miss this opportunity.
2) Donate money -- any amount -- to the Democratic National Committee (you can no longer donate directly to Kerry since he is accepting public funds). Don't tell me you don't have any spare funds. You can donate $10. Do it.
3) Volunteer -- you can sign up at JohnKerry.com. Don't tell me you don't have any spare time. You can volunteer for an hour once a week for the next 3 months. Ask your friends to volunteer as well.
4) Get a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker and display it on your car.
5) If you own a home, get a Kerry-Edwards sign and display it. If you don't own a home, get a sign and put it in a window of your apartment.
6) Get a Kerry-Edwards button and wear it wherever and whenever you can.
7) If politics comes up in your office or in social settings, make the case for your candidate. Its not hard to do -- and be positive and upbeat, just like our candidates. There's lots of good info on JohnKerry.com.
8) In those settings, also point out how the media is not treating the candidates fairly -- most people hate and mistrust the media anyway, so you'll just be reinforcing that the media sucks and people should work harder to get information about the candidates and their positions.
9) Go see Fahrenheit 9-11 with a group of friends. If you've already seen it, go again or buy a ticket and donate it to someone.
10) Be assertive -- this election is probably the most important one of your life. I've been voting since 1972 and I know that no election in my lifetime has been as critical to our country's future as this one.
Please, get out there and do something. We have 90 days to end the madness and restore our country to greatness. Thanks.
Kill That MemeArm yourself -- as committed liberals, we must be ready to kill those ridiculous memes the conservative noise machine puts out there. Previously, I have mentioned the website Winning Argument, which is a great resource for rebutting a variety of conservative nonsense.
Here's an important point for you to remember: when a conservative spits out the meme that John Kerry has been an ineffective senator, ask how many bills Dick Cheney got passed in his decade as a congressman. The answer? 2. Two bills -- and one was just for one constituent. John Kerry's tally is 57 bills. Remember -- 2 bills for Cheney. 57 for Kerry.
And here are 3 major Kerry accomplishments:
1) Iran-Contra. Pushed the investigation through when the Reagan Republicans wanted to cover it up, by getting Jesse Helms to go after the drug angle. His people did the hard investigating, although when the scandal finally broke he was not named to the Iran-contra committee for political reasons.
2) Reconciliation with Vietnam. Kerry showed that there were no remaining POWs and restored normal relations.
3) BCCI. Kerry investigated and exposed the terrorist money laundering and other skanky actions of the BCCI back in 1992.
Arm yourself! Fight back!
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Church PackThis is hilarious. They're selling Passion of the Christ in 50-unit "church packs" for $1,400.00. Amazon was taking orders on this until July 31. Complete with customized church slipcase. Oy.
Real JournalistsReal journalists are hard to find these days. But here's a pair whose names should become synonmous with Woodward and Bernstein: Strobel and Landay.
Knight Ridder Washington reporters Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay were just about the only journalists asking the right questions (and getting answers) about WMDs in the weeks leading up to the Iraq war. As American Journalism Review notes, "For about a year-and-a-half, the pair had filed compelling stories on the issue and, on many occasions, it seemed like they were banging the drum alone."
And how did the Bush administration react to this demonstration of freedom of the press? Again, from the AJR article: "Around that time, the White House turned up the pressure, Strobel says, and 'tried to freeze us out of briefings.' Landay adds: 'I think this administration may have a fairly punitive policy when it comes to journalists who get in their face. And if you talk to some White House reporters, there is a fear of losing access.'"
Read the article -- this points to one of the biggest problems we face in America today -- the failure of the media to do its job.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
KrugmanCheck out Krugman today on the New York Times website. A really strong column about our incompetent media.
I wrote an email this morning to a local newspaper political columnist who wrote a silly piece about traveling with the Kerry campaign, full of stupid comments and thinly veiling his own politics. I suggested he may not have gotten the memo that voters are taking this seriously this time around and are really tired of the media's focus on trivial matters and celebrity gossip. I also reminded him that he is a jour-na-list and is supposed to be fair (not in the Fox sense) and impartial. A lot of good it'll do, but I'm calling BS every single time I see it.
More Politics as UsualKevin has it right in this post about Bush's proposal for the new intelligence director post -- its all just a ruse. The director would not be a Cabinet level position, would have "input" but no authority over the intelligence agencies, would not have an office in the White House and would have no budget control. What a scam. And the idiotic media eats it up, posting headlines that say "Bush Acts on 9-11 Commission Advice." Puh-leeze!
Politics as UsualI am so, so angry about this latest terror threat -- which we learn now was based on intelligence that was 3-4 years old. How many times are they going to get away with this?
Howard Dean was so right yesterday: Dean said he was "concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism. His whole campaign is based on the notion that 'I can keep you safe, therefore, in times of difficulty in America, stick with me,' " Dean said. "It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both."
And Billmon ends a great piece with a great line: "I'm just glad Kerry didn't get a bigger bounce in the polls from the convention, or the White House would have taken us to Defcon 1 by now."
Monday, August 02, 2004
Convention Speeches Free on Pay per ViewWe discovered this weekend that the convention speeches are free on pay per view on our digital cable. This is really cool. We watched Obama, Clinton and Edwards over the weekend. Still more to see tonight.
Teresa = JackieI'm old enough to remember when Jackie Kennedy was First Lady. I most remember her worldly sophistication -- she knew about French food, fashion, art -- all the things that were so chic in 1960. She was widely admired for this sophistication. Now, we have a potential First Lady who has a worldly sophistication in Teresa Heinz Kerry. But the situation is vastly different, isn't it?
Back then, Jackie Kennedy was an idol to women -- smart, sophisticated, charming. OK, she didn't work outside the home but this was 1960, people. But Teresa is being seen as that word Barbara Bush called Geraldine Ferraro, you know the one that rhymes with witch.
Why is a smart, sophisticated, opinionated woman seen this way? Why is the country no longer charmed by worldliness and sophistication? Why are most Americans so attracted to "plain-speakin'" (dumb) cowboys and their stepford wives?
I for one would like a president (and first lady) who is sophisticated and worldly, not a backwoods rube (or a guy who plays one on the world stage).
Bush and TaxesI see that around the blogosphere there's talk that Bush will propose abolishing the IRS. This is, of course, ridiculous and is designed to pander to people who complain incessantly about their taxes.
However, I think the real issue is not taxes, but income. Middle class real income has declined steadily for the past 30 years. There are a couple of reasons for this. Most importantly is that more and more money is being siphoned off to the super rich. Another reason is that as women entered the workforce, the pot of money allocated for middle class income didn't get any bigger -- it just got distributed among more people. And, as I think I've written about before, the exemptions for you and your children have not kept pace with inflation. As a result, real income is down (and in most cases it takes two working people to maintain a middle class lifestyle which is also made possible by cheap goods from superstores like Wal-mart which are produced overseas by exploited workers, but that's another post).
Taxes are around 25% -- not bad at all in a country like ours. Much lower than in most countries. However, because real income has declined, that 25% really, really hurts. Throw into that mix that even the richest are paying about the same percentage (when they should be paying more), and you can see how the whole mess is headed for disaster (not enough money to maintain services).
Of course, this argument is a lot harder to make in simplistic terms than "taxes are too high." I work with a guy who reads nothing and spouts platitudes from the Reagan era that I'm sure he gets from his parents (even though he's in his 30s). And he rails incessantly about taxes. Its the only political issue he cares about. But I would never be able to convince him that the problem is real income and not taxes. And of course what can he do about income? Unless there is a populist revolt, the distribution of the wealth will continue to favor the rich and super rich at the expense of the middle class.
Why there is not more anger about this is puzzling.