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Tuesday, August 31, 2004
From the New York Times, August 31, 2004:
In a part of the NBC interview that was broadcast during the weekend, [George W. Bush] also commented on his National Guard service in the Vietnam War and the Navy service of Mr. Kerry, a decorated combat veteran. "I think him going to Vietnam was more heroic than my flying fighter jets,'' Mr. Bush said. "On the other hand, I served my country. Had my unit been called up, I would have gone.''Why didn't he complete the last sentence? He would have gone...where? To Canada? AWOL? To his daddy's "fix-it" pals?
[thanks to Carl for the punch line]
Just curious: Anyone hear mention of Osama bin Laden at the convention yesterday? I heard lots of talk about 9/11 and Saddam, but OBL/UBL was MIA.
Isn't that odd? Here are the stats from last night's official transcripts:
9/11 references: 11 [*]
bin Laden: 0
Al Qaeda: 1
9/11 references: 5
bin Laden: 0
Al Qaeda: 2
9/11 references: 0
Al Qaeda: 0
bin Laden: 0
9/11 references: 0
bin Laden: 0
Al Qaeda: 0
9/11 references: 1
bin Laden: 0
Al Qaeda: 0
9/11 references: 1
bin Laden: 0
Al Queda [sic]: 1
9/11 references: 18
bin Laden: 0
Al Qaeda: 4
[Does not include three additional references to other dates in September 2001]
Monday, August 30, 2004
Matthew Yglesias misses the obvious punch line:
The British are, of course, the masters of the understated put-down. To wit, Andrew Sullivan back from his French-style vacances:Kind of like this guy:
Thank goodness Max is blogging the Republican convention! For some reason, Fox News and CNN didn't mention these events:
We haven't decided what events to attend yet. There is an interesting ritual sacrifice of a welfare mom scheduled for 2 pm. It's all on the up-and-up, since it's a voluntary contract; she agreed, in exchange for school vouchers for one of her three children. At 4 pm there will be a ceremony commemorating the execution of Joe Hill. 6:30 pm, endangered species all-you-can-eat buffet. 9 pm, candlelight vigil in honor of the brave Kent State National Guardsmen who defended themselves against a horde of bloodthirsty, effete impudent snobbish so-called "college students." Decisions, decisions.It feels like 1968 again!
Powell described his killer schedule in an interview Thursday with Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, a reporter for a London-based Saudi newspaper.Thanks to a commenter at Daily Kos for the pointer.
In the middle of an excellent column on the Franklin espionage scandal, Juan Cole writes about the American-Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC):
Some readers have suggested that I have exaggerated AIPAC's hold on the US Congress. But I have direct knowledge of senators and congressmen being afraid to speak out on Israeli issues because of AIPAC's reputation for targetting representatives for un-election if they dare do so. And, it is easy to check. Look in the Congressional record. Is there ever any speech given on the floor critical of Israeli policy, given by a senator or representative who goes on to win the next election? And look at the debates in every other parliament in the world; there are such criticisms elsewhere. The US Congress is being held hostage by a single-issue lobbying organization that often puts Israeli interests above US interests, as the spying scandal, and the attempts to thwart the prisoner exchange by Iran of high al-Qaeda operatives for Mujahedin-e Khalq terrorists demonstrate.Ironically, AIPAC appeared to be the sole sponsor of an event at the Republican convention yesterday, at which Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was the keynote speaker. I watched the event live on C-SPAN with a mixture of bemusement and horror. Oddly, I can't find any mention of it on the RNC's convention site or on AIPAC's site. Imagine that!
Here's a news release that says "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman and Former N.Y. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani are confirmed as headline speakers."
As Cole notes, though, this isn't exclusively a Republican problem. No American politician of either party can afford to slight AIPAC. Now that there are reports the group is involved in an FBI probe into possible spying, do you think some folks in Washington are nervous?
Update: Let me emphasize that this isn't about being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. It's about opposition to a hard-line organization with ties to a right-wing government in Israel. As Cole notes: "Again, I underline that the American Jewish community does not support most AIPAC positions (a majority are much closer to Americans for Peace Now), and that this issue has to do with a small fanatical leadership of a specific lobbying organization, nothing more."
NPR devoted a special episode of All Songs Considered to political songs: "In this election year it seemed a good idea to put out a call for music about politics. What we wanted was satire; what we got were earnest and passionate songs that mostly bashed the incumbent president."
Follow the links to listen to some pretty tasty music, including Rich Man's War by Steve Earle, plus tracks by John Fogerty and Tom Waits.
The next time your Republican friends start whining about lefty protesters with their piercings and long hair, force them to look at this:
George W. Bush supporter Joe Piazza, who said he will attend this week's Republican National Convention, shows off his pro-Bush costume as he walks through a hallway in the Landmark 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City on August 29, 2004.
Josh Marshall reports on just how much of a tool Scotty McClellan is:
Today Scott McClellan went on the offensive against Ben Barnes for describing the "shame" he feels over helping President Bush duck service in Vietnam.Heh.
Sunday, August 29, 2004
If I had a garden, I'd want a George W. Bush Yard Gnome. (Hat tip to Michael at Musing's Musings.)
Saturday, August 28, 2004
Bruce Schneier asks, How Long Can the Country Stay Scared?:
A terrorist alert that instills a vague feeling of dread or panic, without giving people anything to do in response, is ineffective. Even worse, it echoes the very tactics of the terrorists. There are two basic ways to terrorize people. The first is to do something spectacularly horrible, like flying airplanes into skyscrapers and killing thousands of people. The second is to keep people living in fear. Decades ago, that was one of the IRA's major aims. Inadvertently, the [Department of Homeland Security] is achieving the same thing.OK, now go on about your normal life.
Josh Marshall is all over the emerging spy scandal:
I'm told the evidence the FBI has on Franklin -- at least on the narrow facts of case -- is quite strong and involves wire tap information, though why a career DIA analyst like Franklin would allow himself to get tripped up on a phone call mystifies me.See the pattern, anyone? This should be a huge issue this fall. Vote for Bush and you are giving the go-ahead to invade Iran. We'll need a draft, of course, and we might need to use slightly more powerful weapons.
For those who aren't up on the rhetoric of right-wing wackos, the references to the term "shrill" in the past two posts might induce some head-scratching. Courtesy of Corrente, see this definition.
Michael Moore has some thanks and advice for President Bush:
thank you for sending Bob Dole out there and letting us know that Mr. Kerry, though wounded three times, actually "never spilled blood." When you are in the debates with Kerry, turn to him and say, "Dammit, Mr. Kerry, next time you want a purple heart, you better spill some American red blood! And I don't mean a few specks like those on O.J.'s socks – we want to see a good pint or two of blood for each medal. In fact, I would have preferred that you had bled profusely, a big geyser of blood spewing out of your neck or something!" Then throw this one at him: "Senator Kerry, over 58,000 brave Americans gave their lives in Vietnam – but YOU didn't. You only got WOUNDED! What do you have to say for yourself???" Lay that one on him and he won't know what to do.The rest of the piece is, you know, a little shrill.
Also, Michael Moore will be covering the Republican convention for USA Today. That should be amusing. Wanna bet he doesn't get invited into anyone's luxury box?
Friday, August 27, 2004
Garrison Keillor wonders what the hell happened to the Republican Party:
In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach. The Nixon moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men who rose to power on pure punk politics. "Bipartisanship is another term of date rape," says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. "I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy.Another convert to the Coalition of the Shrill. The rest of the piece is equally on target.
Zachary Roth of Columbia Journalism Review's CJR Campaign Desk spent a day on the bus with the press corps covering the campaign (specifically, the group following Dick Cheney around). This anecdote tells you everything you need to know about why our press and our political system are both so horribly broken:
Levy read quotes from Cheney down the phone to his editor, including the following: "John Kerry said as much in his convention speech, that he wanted to go back to the way things used to be, and that America would resort to military force only when attacked." In reality, Cheney was being disingenuous: Kerry has not said this, and his foreign policy advisers have specifically kept the door open for the use of pre-emptive attacks. But in talking to his editor, Levy didn't offer any hint that Cheney had it wrong, and his editor didn't raise that issue either. (Indeed, not once all day did I hear a reporter attempt to assess the accuracy of anything Cheney said. They were concerned only with accurately transcribing his words and actions, and with assessing the strategic purpose of the trip. Fact-checking the vice president's assertions didn't appear to be on the agenda.) The quote about military force appears in Levy's write-up of Cheney's day, which ran in papers Thursday.What a fucking waste of the First Amendment.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
The RNC word of the week is "shadowy," as in this example from the Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan: "If Senator Kerry was serious about focusing on the issues, he would join the President in calling for a stop to all these ads by these shadowy groups."
OK, will one of the members of our worthless press corps please start asking Scotty and the campaign to name names? The only "shadowy" groups I can think of are the ones that are working in support of the Bush campaign.
Do you think they mean MoveOn.org? Gee, that sure doesn't seem "shadowy" to me. They have a Web site. They file public disclosure forms with the IRS for each contributor who contributes an aggregate of $200 or more during the calendar year, as required by law. All of their officers and staff members are listed by name. Maybe they mean the Media Fund? Again, nothing "shadowy" here. They even display their FEC and IRS filings on their Web site.
I can't think of a single other "shadowy" organization working to influence elections except the Swift Boat Veterans for T**** and Republicans for Clean Air, which produced the McCain smear ads in South Carolina. Now those guys are shadowy.
Name some names and let's have a real debate.
The Census Bureau has the ugly numbers:
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.OK, a quick timeout here. How would you like to support two people on $1000 a month? Now toss in two kids and pay for everything on a grand total of $1560 a month. That's everything. Housing, food, transportation, education, clothing, medical care. Oh yeah. Medical care. Hope those kids don't get sick or break anything.
Nearly 45 million people lacked health insurance, or 15.6 percent of the population. That was up from 43.5 million in 2002, or 15.2 percent, but was a smaller increase than in the two previous years.Yes, our population has grown by nearly 3 million, so one would expect that just about any measure based on population would find "more people in America" have that attribute. Trying to put a spin on these bad numbers is just insane. The President of the United States should stand up and say, "This record of performance is unacceptable. It is proof that our economy is not working. We can and will do better." And if the current President won't say those words and match them with deeds, then maybe we need a different President. Ya think?
When Max Cleland showed up at George W. Bush's ranch to deliver a letter signed by nine United States Senators, President Bush refused to meet with him. Instead, he sent out his own representative, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, Jerry Patterson.
Go ahead. Click his name, and you'll see that Mr. Patterson is "a former state senator from [the Houston area], a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and a student of Texas history." Mr. Patterson wrote a passionate article published on the Web site of the Southern Legal Resource Center. This group claims to be "a non-profit legal foundation waging a counter-offensive to preserve Southern Heritage." They've got pictures of Confederate flags and clean-cut white folks on their home page, along with links to articles at DixieInternet.com attacking the NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center. You can read an editorial that calls Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal "fascist-style central planning," and says "the time is ripe for a constitutional counterrevolution" led by "Christians, conservatives, gun owners, taxpayers, and simple believers in honest government."
In Mr. Patterson's own editorial, dated 14 June 2000, he writes these remarkable words in defense of the Confederate flag:
Even though I am not proud of slavery, I can continue to honor symbols of the Confederacy as I honor the American flag. I am as proud an American as they come. I am, however, not proud of what my country did to the American Indian. I have pride in my service as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam, but I am embarrassed at the atrocities that occurred at My Lai. I still wear a small Vietnam service pin on my lapel, knowing that not everything done in Vietnam is worthy of pride. However, I know that most who served there were good men and women who truly wanted to do the right thing.My, that's a far cry from the text of the letter he tried to deliver to John Kerry today:
We are pleased to welcome your campaign representatives to Texas today. We honor all our veterans, all whom have worn the uniform and served our country. We also honor the military and National Guard troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today. We are very proud of all of them and believe they deserve our full support.And Mr. Patterson has little sense of irony, given that he wrote this in 2000:
Retroactive cleansing of history is doomed to failure because it is, at heart, a lie. We should memorialize and commemorate all of our soldiers who served honorably - those who wore blue or gray or served as Buffalo Soldiers - whether or not we completely support their actions in today's enlightened world.So, to review: Nine decorated veterans who currently serve in the United States Senate write a letter to the President of the United States. Another veteran and a former United States Senator tries to hand-deliver the letter to the President. Instead of meeting that representative and looking him in the eye, the President hides on his ranch and sends out his own representative, whose claim to fame is defending the Confederate flag. This man, who has openly acknowledged that atrocities in Vietnam did occur, and who has criticized the U.S. flag as a symbol of slavery, is the public representative of the President.
That does it. We've officially gone through the looking glass.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
The old methods of U.S. discrimination at the polls have been replaced by 'subtler and more creative tactics,' according to a report released on Wednesday.I wasn't born in 1930, but I imagine this is what it felt like.
Matthew Yglesias notes: "The links between the Bush campaign and the Swift Boat Liars are much tighter than the links between Iraq and al-Qaeda."
And y'know what? He's right!
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
A lawyer for President Bush's re-election campaign disclosed Tuesday that he has been providing legal advice for a veterans group that is challenging Democratic Sen. John Kerry's account of his Vietnam War service.Well, as long as they say there's no coordination, I guess we have to believe them. Damn! If only they had admitted it!
Juan Cole has a savage commentary on our Dear Leader:
The true absurdity of the entire situation is easily appreciated when we consider that George W. Bush never showed any bravery at all at any point in his life. He has never lived in a war zone. If some of John Kerry's wounds were superficial, Bush received no wounds. (And, a piece of shrapnel in the forearm that caused only a minor wound would have killed had it hit an eye and gone into the brain; the shrapnel being in your body demonstrates you were in mortal danger and didn't absent yourself from it. That is the logic of the medal). Kerry saved a man's life while under fire. Bush did no such thing.This long entry includes extensive quotes from a transcript of an NPR story that documents just how much Bush was drinking when he was working on the Alabama Senate campaign while he was supposed to be serving in the Texas Air National Guard.
For the record, I think this stuff should all be on the table. All of it.
Brad DeLong speaks an essential truth: "In 1988, Bob Dole had a message for the Bush family: 'Stop lying about my record.'
In 2004, Bob Dole has cut off his own testicles, put them in a jar, and presented them to George W. Bush as he supports the Bush family's current liars."
Despicable doesn't even come close to describing Dole's pathetic attempts to join in the Kerry smears. Whatever residual respect I may have had for him is now gone.
Update: If you're unclear on the details of why Bob Dole is a pathetic hack, see this dispassionate account. Disgusting.
John Kerry. Jon Stewart. One hour. This should be good.
Monday, August 23, 2004
George Bush is up to his old tricks. Watch the ad.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
David Corn profiles Steve Earle: "Sucking on a cigarette, Earle says, 'I can deal with losing girlfriends.' He has been through six marriages with five wives. But, he adds, 'there are two things I won't be able to stand: losing that dog and seeing Bush reelected.' He tosses the cigarette and heads back into the booth."
Just a few more days until the release of The Revolution Starts...
Just in time for the Republican convention, the movement to take back the White House has crafted three key messages to help frame the debate during the Republicans' big week.
The Republicans are running a relentlessly negative campaign.
They accuse the Democrats of doing that, but they're the guilty ones. Look for side-by-side comparisons of the Kerry and Bush Web sites, and then watch the fireworks as Kerry "turns the boat toward the attackers":
"Over the last week or so, a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been attacking me. Of course, this group isn't interested in the truth - and they're not telling the truth. ... They're a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the President won't denounce what they're up to tells you everything you need to know - he wants them to do his dirty work."The White House has covered up its failures on 9/11.
The 9/11 Commission report is bad, and so is The Pet Goat. A new report now shows another example where the Bush Administration lied about the aftermath of the attacks for political gain. Watch what happens at the convention when Bush tries to use 9/11 as a campaign issue:
The Sierra Club report was highly critical of how the Bush administration handled the environmental impact of the towers' collapse, which claimed nearly 2,800 lives and blanketed lower Manhattan with dust and debris.Bush cuts mean homeland security is at risk.
Big talk for homeland security, but where are the results? If America is attacked by terrorists, we are not prepared. And Bush has to answer for that lack of preparation.
A report by New York's Democratic representatives in Congress said that since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by Islamic militants, Bush had left the state with inadequate protection and security efforts were underfunded.Bush has to answer to Americans on all three issues. And this should be the framing for any analysis of the conventions. Are they defending their record or attacking a challenge? Is America really safe? Are we prepared for a disaster? Let's hope the Democratic voices can stay on these messages over the course of the campaign.
John Kerry's Speech to the International Association of Fire Fighters:
[M]ore than thirty years ago, I learned an important lesson - when you're under attack, the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attacker. That's what I intend to do today.
I definitely don't want to get overconfident, but I do want people to understand why things are different this time than they were in 2000. Andrew Tobias had a good Q&A this morning explaining why I feel the way I do:
Q: You say, It's going to work out. We're going to win. Really? Do you truly think so? I'm so depressed at all the negativity and lies about Kerry, and all the scary stuff about untraceable ballots, that I feel sure that they will steal the election again. And if they do, I truly wonder if this country, or indeed the world, will survive another four years. Why do you think we will win?Keep working for change. Don't let the lies and the slime discourage you. That is exactly why they spread it.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
At a Boeing plant, President Bush lectured Americans on the need for us to spend billions of dollars continuing to build the Reagan-era Star Wars missile defense system, which has failed every test to date. Digby comments on Bush's mind-boggling remarks: "The guy who invaded a country on the basis of its huge scary cache of unconventional weapons only to find it didn't even have one is lecturing people about understanding the threats of the 21st century." Heh.
Update: Michael at Musing's musings made me laugh out loud with this observation: "He's living so far in the future that he's lost all touch with reality as we know it. And I wonder what a Freudian analyst would make of Dumb-ya's juxtaposition of an interceptor missile (really, really big phallic symbol) and Ronald Reagan (really, really dead father figure; also, now that I think about it, really, really out of touch with reality, especially in his later years) in the middle paragraph, there."
Update 2: Oliver Willis points out a good summary of why the faith-based missile defense system doesn't work.
A retiring Republican Congressman from Nebraska wrote a four-page letter to his constituents concluding that the Iraq war was wrong. The Lincoln Journal Star Online:
In a dramatic departure from the Bush administration, Republican Rep. Doug Bereuter says he now believes the U.S. military assault on Iraq was unjustified.As I've said before, there are sensible Republicans out there. Too bad they can't clone this one.
Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg is offering discounts:
In a transparently mercantile bid to keep protesters from disrupting the Republican National Convention later this month, the Bloomberg administration will offer 'peaceful political activists' discounts at select hotels, museums, stores and restaurants around town during convention week, which begins Aug. 29.Here's the NYC "Welcome Peaceful Political Activist" page. As Zeynep at Under the Same Sun notes, this is not a parody from the Onion.
On the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer last night, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said:
For one thing, we're in a war, and he who would tear down what is falls the responsibility of recommending something better and putting something better in place and knowing that it will work. So we have to approach it with the seriousness that it merits.He was talking about the 9/11 Commission's recommendations to revamp the U.S. Government's intelligence infrastructure. What, did you think he was talking about something else?
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
KERRY’S POSITION ON IRAQ: "I voted to give President Bush the authority. Then President Bush f*cked it up."
Spread the word.
Monday, August 16, 2004
Oliver Willis points to the new MoveOn ad responding to the Swift Boat smear. Click here to help MoveOn run it.
I just sent a few bucks.
I can't wait till the Rapture comes, so we can get rid of John Ashcroft and put someone back in charge of the FBI who respects the Constitution. Professor Froomkin lays out the facts, in the style of a legal brief, on the frightening case of FBI investigations into planned protests at the upcoming Republican convention. (The original story is in the NY Times and is linked in Froomkin's analysis.)
1. The FBI is systematically questioning groups it thinks are anti-Bush, asking if they plan violent protests during the Republican Convention, or know of anyone who does.There's plenty more good reading at the Prof's site, Discourse.net.
Berry's World reads through those boring transcripts of Bush campaign events and finds this flip-flop:
The Oval Office is a powerful place. It's the kind of place where my mother walks in and feels so overwhelmed, she won't tell me what to do.If you want to stay in practice for the big lies, you have to tell lots of little lies.
More bad news for Michelle Malkin and Annie Jacobsen. USA Today reports that those pesky terrorists might have white skin sometimes, and they might be male or female. They might not even all be Arab. Damn!
Al-Qaeda allies are believed to be scouting U.S. targets, and the terror organization is using non-Arab recruits to avoid detection, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials say.The moral? Be afraid of everyone you see, regardless of race, creed, color, sexual orientation, or country of origin. Thanks to World O'Crap for the pointer.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Thanks to BAGnewsNotes for pointing out a brilliant takedown by the co-producer of "Outfoxed." After watching O'Reilly lie his way through an hour-long "debate" with Paul Krugman on CNBC, Jim Gilliam decided to do his own research and add corrections and clarifications as captions on top of the video. The results are eye-opening:
"On 'Meet the Press' last weekend, Fox's Bill O'Reilly was invited to debate NYTimes Columnist Paul Krugman. Afterwards, O'Reilly insisted that he had bested Krugman. So, what's the truth?Follow the link and watch the clip. It's an eye-opener. Also, read this profile of O'Reilly at RollingStone.com, which tries to explain the appeal of this man:
According to Douglas Rushkoff, an author and media/popular-culture theorist, O'Reilly's poor impulse control is precisely what makes him so valuable to Fox News Channel. According to Rushkoff, O'Reilly's appeal to anger, emotion and opinion are not merely ratings-grabbing devices; they are part of a larger program of ideological coercion. As the conservative-message machine geared up in the 1970s," says Rushkoff, "its strategy was to make the political landscape more emotional and less factual -- galvanizing a new base of conservative support around hot-button issues. That's why Fox tries to replace news with opinion." O'Reilly, Rushkoff says, is crucial to this strategy, with his opinion-based news analysis and short temper. "The net effect of people getting their information from the O'Reilly show, instead of from a news operation, is that they're more apt to believe that the arguments that sway them most emotionally deserve their allegiance."Want to win the debate? Yell louder. Stung by an attack on the facts? Try an ad hominem attack. Reduce everything to simple issues and personalize them. Then yell some more. It works for O'Reilly.
(Via Preemptive Karma via Roger Ailes)
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Bill Maher has an excellent op-ed column in the New York Daily News, entitled "Bush blew it the morning of 9/11." In it, he points out the sheer, breathtaking stupidity of Bush's actions on that fateful day. It wasn't just the seven minutes of deer-in-the-headlights panic memorialized in Fahrenheit 9/11. No, it's much worse.
The fact that Bush wasted 27 minutes that day -- not only the seven minutes reading to kids but 20 more at a photo op afterward -- was, in my view, the most outrageous thing a President has done since Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court.Keep this one in your arsenal of talking points. The next time you're in a discussion with a conservative friend or family member, lay this one on them. Plant the seeds of doubt. Tell them if they're not sure, they can look it up in the 9/11 Commission report. It's all documented in Chapter 1. As a bonus, tell them they should read Chapter 8, too.
Wired News has a story that would be funny if it weren't so true:
It was simultaneously an uh-oh moment and an ah-ha moment.I've spent the last 20 years working, up close and personal, with computer technology. No computerized system will ever be 100% accurate at anything. No manual system will ever be 100% accurate, either. That's why we put in audit trails and procedures that allow us to double- and triple-check these types of systems.
There are only two possible explanations for people who insist on putting in paperless electronic voting machines: They truly don't understand technology, or they want to game the results.
Friday, August 13, 2004
Every aspect of a George W. Bush campaign appearance is scripted, including the Q & A sessions. So what do you make of this exchange in Portland, Oregon yesterday?
Q Can you hear me now?Of course, those dates are not in question at all. The disputed dates are from May through September 1972, as is well documented in the AWOL Project. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported:
"[I]n May 1972, [Bush] moved to Alabama to work on a political campaign and, he has said, to perform his Guard service there for a year. But other Guard officers have said they had no recollection of ever seeing him there. The most evidence the White House has been able to find are records showing Mr. Bush was paid for six days in October and November 1972, without saying where, and the record of a dental exam at a Montgomery, Ala., air base on Jan. 6, 1973.Isn't it convenient that someone showed up at a Bush campaign event and "testified" to his military service during a period that was never in dispute?
First Draft - George and Laura Lie to Larry King: "The Bushes were on Larry King Live last night. What follows is a partial list of the whoppers told by the Midland Misleaders side by side with the truth."
Nice summary of a dysfunctional couple.
Update: In the comments, Clifburns modestly points to a couple of bonus whoppers from the Liar-in-chief that the First Draft folks missed. Check out the Preznit's stand on a national sales tax and gay marriage and ask yourself: "stupid or deceitful?"
Bush and Kerry visit Portland, Oregon
Kerry's holding a "free public rally... No tickets needed."
Bush is having two events. "Neither event will be open to the public; attendance will be by invitation or ticket only."
Update: 60,000 people showed up for Kerry's rally in Portland. Sixty thousand. Holy shit.
Bush and Larry King:
KING: So is that what led you to say on that ship that the battle is over?Horseshit. The Ministry of Truth has not yet revised the transcript of Commander Codpiece's remarks on the carrier. Here is exactly what he said:
President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended: "THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.The man will sit in front of Americans, with his wife by his side, and lie through his teeth. And Larry King doesn't call him on it. What a tool.
Oh, and just in case anyone missed the point, remember this delightful sound bite from the same speech on the same aircraft carrier:
The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 -- and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men -- the shock troops of a hateful ideology -- gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions.Wow. Thank God we invaded the people who sent those terrorists over to New York and Washington. Oh. You mean we didn't invade Saudi Arabia? Go figure.
The President's selection to be the new director of the CIA thinks it should be just fine to have secret police spying on U.S. citizens right here at home.
Rep. Porter Goss, President Bush's nominee to head the CIA, recently introduced legislation that would give the president new authority to direct CIA agents to conduct law-enforcement operations inside the United States -- including arresting American citizens.And if the current Supreme Court had been in place in 1973, they would have probably crushed the Watergate investigation and Nixon would probably have finished out his term. Frightened yet?
Charles Pierce draws a straight line from the NFL to the 2004 campaign:
It was broadly hinted at in Washington that the White House was going to use its time and money during the run-up to the Republican national convention to make John Kerry a subject of humor and derision.Maybe we should mail little referee kits (yellow flags and whistles) to every talking head on every network (except Fox, which is hopeless). A flurry of penalty flags and a piercing blast of the whistle every time Newt Gingrich or Dan Bartlett or Scotty McClellan or some other RNC tool appears in public would be just the remedy to all this unsportsmanlike conduct.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
MoveOn PAC has announced the winners of its "Real People Ads" contest. The winners are exceptional. Go watch.
Not a single comparison of Bush to Hitler in the bunch. Imagine that.
Over at Discourse.net, Professor Froomkin is troubled:
I'm somewhat concerned about the way the ad skirts the campaign finance laws. As I understand it -- and I'm in no way an expert -- the ads can't endorse a candidate, although they can talk about them.Yeah, well, fuck fairness and the "spirit of the campaign finance rules." If the other side is gonna slime and distort with the Swift Boat ads and a coordinated daily blast of RNC lies and distortion, then the good guys cannot go to hand-wringing over technicalities.
And if the Bush campaign wants to file suit over it, more power to 'em. Maybe it'll get these ads shown in the news, for free, as often as the Swift Boat crap has been on the air for free.
8 hospitalized as heat hammers Bush crowd:
About 20 people were overcome by the afternoon heat outside Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix on Wednesday after waiting several hours to watch President Bush speak at a campaign rally.In addition to the loyalty oath, did attendees have to sign a medical release?
On August 10, George W. Bush made a campaign stop in Pensacola, Florida. At that rally, according to one press report, "Gary Walby, a resident of nearby Destin, told the president during a question-and-answer session that though he always voted Republican, 'this is the very first time I felt God was in the White House.'"
On August 11 and 12, the state of Florida was hit by natural disasters:
Hundreds of thousands of Tampa Bay-area residents were ordered Thursday to get out of the way of a rapidly strengthening Hurricane Charley, as its weaker sister, the disorganized Tropical Storm Bonnie, blustered ashore in the Florida Panhandle.On August 11, Bush campaigned in New Mexico and Arizona. According to the Arizona Republic: "Speaking with rolled-up shirt sleeves, Bush was flanked by a seating section in which supporters, dressed in red or white, were seated to create a huge red 'W.' Above them was a banner proclaiming, 'God loves you, President Bush.'" Shortly after the President began speaking, lightning started forest fires in the vicinty and a vicious dust storm blew in:
Four people died and 42 others were injured in a series of chain-reaction accidents during a blinding dust storm, authorities said. Nearly two dozen vehicles, including a passenger bus and 12 tractor-trailers, were involved in crashes on both sides of Interstate 10 Wednesday evening.Is the President coming to your town soon? Better batten down the hatches. And pray.
Max Sawicky clears away the crap in this post, which I reprint in its entirety because, dammit, it's so true:
I am so sick of the anti-Kerry war stories. I was never much interested in the details of the Bush record either, though I did not fail to make note of the basics. The comparison is simple: Kerry went into combat, Bush didn't. All the rest is a massive distraction from what the election ought to be about, to wit:The only quibble I have with this approach is it ignores the relentless drumbeat of the right with their disciplined message of short, punchy lies. Rather than spending time on lengthy rebuttals, spend your time coming up with short, punchy responses to those lies. And repeat them every chance you get.
Man's best friend? Not if that man's the Preznit. A gallery of left-leaning, right-thinking dogs.
Update: Cats hate Bush, too.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
This guy made the mistake of carrying a book about medieval role-playing computer games on the ferry. Here's what happened:
This morning, they're doing bag searches again to get on the ferry. And the guy doing the searches pulls me aside and says, 'Sir, I feel that I need to confiscate this book.'The book in question is pictured here. OK, anyone who still thinks this election isn't important, raise your right arm.
Whoever wrote this editorial for the Salt Lake City Tribune deserves to be promoted to the big leagues. Go away, they tell the hordes of big media types descending to cover the sad, sordid story of another incident of domestic violence that ended in murder.
This is a local story, involving the pain of local people, investigated and prosecuted by local officials and thoroughly covered by the local media. Further reporting of this story for any other audience, beyond short updates, is a waste of videotape, ink and, most of all, time.So sad, so true.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
If you haven't heard Steve Earle, well... Damn. You should.
His new album, "The Revolution Starts," will be out on August 24th. I've heard most of it, and the music will make those little hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Imagine what Bruce Springsteen would sound like if he had got seriously messed up with drugs, went to prison, came out clean and sober, never got rich, and never lost touch with his populist roots. You can listen to three tracks for yourself if you're so inclined. I recommend Rich Man's War as a good starting point. Then move on to F the CC and The Revolution Starts Now.
The man himself will be marching in NYC the week of the Republican convention. He's one of my heroes.
Read the lyrics for yourself:
Rich Man's War
Jimmy joined the army 'cause he had no place to go
There ain't nobody hirin'
'round here since all the jobs went
down to Mexico
Reckoned that he'd learn himself a trade maybe see the world
Move to the city someday and marry a black haired girl
Somebody somewhere had another plan
Now he's got a rifle in his hand
Rollin' into Baghdad wonderin' how he got this far
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man's war
Bobby had an eagle and a flag tattooed on his arm
Red white and blue to the bone when he landed in Kandahar
Left behind a pretty young wife and a baby girl
A stack of overdue bills and went off to save the world
Been a year now and he's still there
Chasin' ghosts in the thin dry air
Meanwhile back at home the finance company took his car
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man's war
When will we ever learn
When will we ever see
We stand up and take our turn
And keep tellin' ourselves we're free
Ali was the second son of a second son
Grew up in Gaza throwing bottles and rocks when the tanks would come
Ain't nothin' else to do around here just a game children play
Somethin' 'bout livin' in fear all your life makes you hard that way
He answered when he got the call
Wrapped himself in death and praised Allah
A fat man in a new Mercedes drove him to the door
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man's war
Molly Ivins, formerly a national treasure, is now officially a North American treasure:
This year, the American psychodrama, eh, is the election, and Canadians are taking unusual care, even by their standards, to try to phrase their questions delicately. 'You couldn't possibly...' they begin, only to break off. 'Are you not aware of what...' 'Surely you realize how...' But they can think of no polite way of asking if we are such freaking idiots we haven't noticed the damage that has been done by the Bush administration to the American reputation all over the world.Go ahead, ask your Canadian friends. They'll tell you she's right.
Excellent Daniel Gross piece in Slate: Wal-Mart = Bush. Costco = Kerry. Costco's Winning.
For the record, I've set foot in a Wal-Mart exactly four times in my life, and I have made a vow not to go back. Costco gets all my business. Better merchandise, better prices, betteer food and wine selection, better treatment of the workers. At Wal-Mart, Gross notes, "The company's labor policies are state-of-the-art, for the 1890s."
I'm delighted to hear the marketplace is behaving rationally.
The Boston Globe says:
The grumbling began as soon as the Boss said he would, for the first time, stump for a presidential candidate. "This is a sad day for me," a fan wrote on the Bruce Springsteen Internet newsgroup. "After 25 years as a hardcore Bruce fan, I'm officially done with him."So, uh, don't go. Oh, and don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.
Have these morons actually listened to the artists in question for the past 10 or 20 (or in Springsteen's case) 30 years?
If you are offended by liberal musicians, I'm sure Toby Keith or Charlie Daniels will be passing through your town soon. Wear your American flag shirt, grab a six-pack, and get ready to do some boot-scootin'.
Human Events Online, a reliable organ of the vast right-wing conspiracy, is outraged. Outraged! "Will Kerry's supporters stop at nothing?"
Ha ha ha. This is who they're defending.
OK, back to work.
[Updated to fix the name of the organization. Funny, I hear "human" and I think "human rights." Guess I'll never be a wingnut. Thanks to Michael at Musing's Musings for the catch.]
It's the dog days of summer, and I have deliverables due. So I'll be laying low for a while. Expect light blogging, with occasional outbursts of outrage, until the Republicans gather for four groovy days of peace, love, and music in Woodstock in late August.
(I'm just assuming it's in Woodstock. I heard it was in New York but didn't really check the details. I'm sure someone will correct me if I got this wrong...)
Sunday, August 08, 2004
Via The Big Picture, this quote from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (and an excellent graph - click the link) proving that the small number of jobs created in this "jobless recovery" aren't a step up:
Of the 3.2 million reemployed displaced workers who lost full-time wage and salary jobs during the 2001-03 period, 2.6 million were working in such jobs in January 2004. (The remaining reemployed workers had part-time wage and salary jobs or were self-employed or unpaid family workers.)The polls consistently show that a solid majority of Americans believe the country is not moving in the right direction. This is one reason why. A lot of people know someone who "traded down" and accepted a lower-paying job after getting laid off.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
"The one thing we can say about George W. Bush is we will be forever in his debt."
-- Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), after the administration's recent announcement that this year's deficit, an estimated $445 billion, will set a red-ink record.
Hunter S. Thompson is crazy, but in a good way. He's also one of the more astute political analysts of all time. Read his latest:
Election years are always weird in America, and they always happen in football season. That is a fact of life. The President will always be elected on the first Tuesday in November, for good or ill, and not even Richard Nixon could change it. He hated anything that stood between him and a Green Bay Packers game, especially on Monday nights.I can't wait.
(via Approximately Perfect)
"When you live in a fishbowl, everything seems a little distorted... I keep thinking it's Tuesday."
Tap tap tap
15 things you should know about Obama’s economic r...
Your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore
Funniest line of the year (so far)
Lunacy in Colorado Springs
Joe the Economist?
Limbaugh: How low can you go?
Understanding talk radio
Paranoia strikes deep…
After eight years, Americans finally get it
Whiskey Bar (Billmon)
Talking Points Memo
The Poor Man
The News Blog (Steve Gilliard)
the american street
The Daily Howler
Abused by the News
More Good Reading
MaxSpeak, You Listen!
The Nation Weblogs
Change for America
Seeing The Forest
Blog for America
Why Kirghiz Light?
Ask Thomas Pynchon
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