|A proud member of the reality-based community (aquatic division)|
Thursday, September 30, 2004
One word: Bullshit.
Exhibit A: Nominees in the Best International category are:
Informed CommentTo have LGF given credibility as a source of "international" information is so far beyond ridiculous as to be absurd. And the CJR Campaign Desk pointed me to Roxanne of Rox Populi, who calls bullshit as well, based in no small part on the fact that National Review Online's The Corner is nominated in just about every category. Sheesh. Rox has created her own Best Political Bloggers Contest, which includes the category "Best I-Don't-Know-What-The-Fuck-You're-Talking-About-Half-The-Time-But-You-Seem-Like-You're-An-Expert Blog."
If you follow the links from the Washington Post contest, you will see a selection of A-list blogs on the left and right that you can find linked from just about anywahere. Follow the links from Rox's page instead to see some real alternatives.
Do you live in Florida? Even if you don't, you should consider using the new online Florida Election Ballot.
(Go ahead and click, it's worth it.)
Thanks to Prof. Froomkin for the link.
Courtesy of Xan at Corrente: "I'll tell ya the line I would most like to hear Kerry say and don't expect to: 'Mr. Bush says he will do better at protecting America from terrorist attack. I hope that means that the next time he gets a memo saying 'Bin Laden Expected to Attack Inside US' he will do something other than go on vacation.' "
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
These guys claim to be a non-partisan prayer and fasting movement for George W. Bush. Yeah. Right.
Answer a call to personally fast once a month for President Bush.Hey, I have an idea! If you're planning to vote for George W. Bush, please fast from now until Election Day. Don't worry, God won't let anything bad happen to you.
Meanwhile, I'll be having an extra helping of calories today, because I think God wants me to stay strong and healthy so I can keep working to defeat Bush.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
If Daniel Ellsberg had acted earlier, the tragedy of Vietnam might have been prevented. That's what makes his column in today's The New York Times so compelling:
Surely there are officials in the present administration who recognize that the United States has been misled into a war in Iraq, but who have so far kept their silence - as I long did about the war in Vietnam. To them I have a personal message: don't repeat my mistakes. Don't wait until more troops are sent, and thousands more have died, before telling truths that could end a war and save lives. Do what I wish I had done in 1964: go to the press, to Congress, and document your claims.The truth shall set us all free.
The latest Gallup Poll shows George W. Bush with a big lead over John Kerry. Unfortunately, their methodology is horrendously biased in favor of Republicans, as this new ad from MoveOn.org explains. Does your local paper use the Gallup Poll results? Send them a letter and ask them to ask Gallup why they are conducting such an unfair poll. Then ask them to find another polling company whose results are more accurate.
For more background, see this post by Steve Soto and this one from Ruy Teixeira.
The Lone Star Iconoclast, George W. Bush's hometown newspaper in Crawford, Texas, endorsed him when he ran for President four years ago. It editorialized in support of going to war with Iraq in 2003. But this year, they are endorsing John F. Kerry. Here's what they had to say:
Few Americans would have voted for George W. Bush four years ago if he had promised that, as President, he would:The Bush Administration has made one mistake after another, but no one admits those mistakes, no one takes responsibility for them, and no one is ever held accountable. Their relentless smear campaign is an attempt to hide their record from the voters.
The editors of the Iconoclast know their neighbor George W. Bush very well. They look at John Kerry and see a man with "30 years of experience looking out for the American people" and a background as "a highly decorated Vietnam veteran."
Their editorial makes a lot of sense. Pass it on.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Last week Bill O'Reilly interviewed George W. Bush for a half-hour. The interview airs over three consecutive nights on O'Reilly's show, beginning tonight. In this column, O'Reilly explains his approach to the interview and inadvertently lets slip his exalted opinion of himself and why his show is practically unwatchable by anyone interested in a full and fair exchange of ideas:
I approached my thirty minute interview with the President cautiously. I kept my presence low key, which is a tremendous departure for me. There are certain rules that have to be followed when talking with the most powerful man in the world, and I respected the guidelines.. To review: You can't tell the sitting President you know more than he does. Even if you do. (Of course, I thought the purpose of an interview was to ask questions, not to thump your chest about your own intelligence or knowledge. Guess I can't work for Fox.) Apparently, O'Reilly believes that no one else should tell the President they know more than he does - on Iraq, on the economy, on fiscal policy, you name it. When the Oval Office is filled with an incurious dunderhead the likes of which has not been seen since Millard Fillmore, this is a bad thing.
Also, with the President, you have to be nonconfrontational and subdued. Kind of like Tim Russert treated Bush when he interviewed him earlier this year. The rest of our press corpse hass learned this lesson as well.
However, if the interview subject is anyone other than the sitting President, O'Reilly seems to say, he is fully justified in letting it be known, in a confrontational, aggressive style, that he, Bill, is way smarter and they should just, you know, shut up. And if the interview subject won't shut up and insists on saying things that O'Reilly disagrees with? Yell louder and then cut off their mike.
By the way, I think Bill O'Reilly probably is smarter than George W. Bush. But I don't want either one of them to hold elected office.
Brad Friedman reads through the archives at the White House and notes:
In the buildup to War on Iraq, when the idea was very unpopular amongst Americans just prior to the 2002 Elections, Bush and his surrogates went out of their way to tell the American people that he had no plans for war on his desk...OK, now read what was in the New York Times this morning:"I told the Chancellor that I have no war plans on my desk, which is the truth." - May 23, 2002 to German Chancellor SchroederAs we later learned, of course, plans for War on Iraq were being readied at the time by the Pentagon even if they weren't yet "on Bush's desk".
Fearing a sharp decline in recruiting and troop retention, the Army is considering cutting the length of its 12-month combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, senior Army officials say.Now connect the dots. Shorter tours of duty mean you don't have enough soldiers. Longer tours of duty mean you don't have enough soldiers. If you're between 16 and 30 years old, you are right to be afraid.
Juan Cole says:
"Adam Entous of Reuters is too polite to put it this way, but the conclusion is easily extracted from his article that Bush played fast and loose with the facts on Iraq last week.So who you gonna believe? Bush, or your own eyes?
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Amazing journalism from Nicholas Turse:
John Kerry is being pilloried for his shocking Senate testimony 34 years ago that many U.S. soldiers—not just a few "rogues"—were committing atrocities against the Vietnamese. U.S. military records that were classified for decades but are now available in the National Archives back Kerry up and put the lie to his critics. Contrary to what those critics, including the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, have implied, Kerry was speaking on behalf of many soldiers when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, 1971.You'll need a very strong stomach to read the examples Turse found. Oh, and can I emphasize once again that these are official records from the United States military?
The most depressing thing is that the Swift Boat Liars raised more than $6 million for their latest rounds of smears.
(via Antigone at XX Blog)
Larry Lessig brilliantly demolishes the most insidious argument against John Kerry:
As with most Americans, at the start, Kerry supported the war in Vietnam. Unlike almost all Americans of privilege (see, e.g., George Bush and Dick Cheney), Kerry demonstrated his support by volunteering to serve in that war. But after his experience, he—as almost all Americans—came to believe that war was a mistake. Our government had lied to get us into the war; it had lied about its prosecution of the war. Based upon the facts, he changed his mind.Flip-flopper my ass.
The new DVD "features exclusive interviews from AL FRANKEN and JACOB WEISBERG! Plus, it includes four new music videos from The George W. Bush Singers, artwork from Garry Trudeau, and animated segments by Chris 'Sketchboy' Routly."
Watch the five-minute preview and be amazed by the George W. Bush Singers.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Oliver Willis discovers a "Major League" Flip-Flop on Iraq :
DICK CHENEY, SEATTLE WASHINGTON, 8/14/92:Too bad Cheney doesn't windsurf.
A new study from the Pentagon provides more evidence that a draft is inevitable if Bush remains in office and "stays the course" on Iraq:
A Pentagon-appointed panel of outside experts has concluded in a new study that the American military does not have sufficient forces to sustain current and anticipated stability operations, like the festering conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and other missions that might arise.Who is joining the armed forces today? Certainly there is still a hard core of gung-ho young people who want to serve (and are being profoundly exploited by their Commander-in-Chief). But the carnage in Iraq has to be taking a huge toll on enlistments and re-ups. Why else would the Pentagon be resorting to calling up unprecedented numbers of National Guard forces, including "a South Carolina Army National Guard battalion [that] has been under disciplinary lockdown for a series of incidents starting a couple of weeks ago" (Intel Dump) and half of the Army Reserve, which its commander acknowledges "has not been properly prepared" for the stresses of Iraq. Not to mention stop-loss orders, which keep active duty military on after the end of the term they signed up for, and the imminent departure of some 5,000 British troops.
Oh, and last but not least... an average of about 1000 American soldiers a month are leaving Iraq early, in a casket, or on a stretcher, or as the result of injuries that are serious enough to take them out of combat but not have them counted as officially "wounded."
Glad I'm officially too old for this shit.
A commenter at Political Animal posted this eerily prescient bit of dialog from Dr. Strangelove. The milquetoast President Muffley (played by Peter Sellers) and General Buck Turgidson, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (played brilliantly by George C. Scott), are discussing the renagade General Jack D. Ripper, who has taken over an Air Force Base and launched a fleet of B-52s to drop nuclear bombs on Russia:
Muffley: There's nothing to figure out, General Turgidson. This man is obviously a psychotic.Isn't it strange when a 60-year old book (1984) and a 40-year-old film are the most reliable predictors of what will happen next in Bush's World?
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Remember where Dear Leader was on 9/11? Remember that he sat, reading The Pet Goat for seven minutes after being notified that America was under attack, because he didn't want to traumatize the children?
Turns out he might have done more damage by sitting there reading. How many of those kids are going to seek help from The Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation someday? "The effects of a childhood goat trauma vary widely from person to person, depending on the severity of their trauma. Such problems as irrational fears, unexplained twitching, and insomnia could all have origin in a goat trauma."
Mark A. R. Kleiman has a great bumper sticker idea:
Ignorance is strength
Kerry demoralizes U.S. troops, Bush says:
"You cannot expect the Iraqi people to stand up and do the hard work of democracy if you're pessimistic about their ability to govern themselves. You cannot expect our troops to continue to do the hard work if they hear mixed messages from Washington, D.C."Yeah, those Marines were ready to go in and kick some serious ass until they heard the bad man acknowledge the horror of the world they're living in.
Sheesh. Mathew Gross has a much better definition:
Seeing your buddies blown to smithereens is demoralizing. Watching an insurgency grow out of control because of a lack of foresight from your commander-in-chief is demoralizing. Recognizing that the situation is complex and difficult is realism. Talking about the situation in a realistic and mature way is called an election.End of today's lesson.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Dear Campaign Press Corps,
Yesterday, a group of American citizens were invited to submit questions to White House Communication Director Dan Bartlett. Please read the results, as published here: Dan Bartlett hosts Ask the White House. See if you can ask some questions like these:
Marilee, from Denver, CO writes:And there were more. So many more that Dan got a headache and had to bug out pretty quickly. Anyway, dear press corps, these are all great questions, which you all should be asking and following up on. And here's the good news: These questions are all, literally, in the public domain. Feel free to use them.
Dan Rather, CBS News Anchor
* given documents he thought were true
* failed to thoroughly investigate the facts
* reported documents to the American people as true to make his case
* when confronted with the facts, apologized and launched an investigation
* number of Americans dead: 0
* should be fired as CBS News Anchor
George W. Bush, President of the United States
* given documents he thought were true
* failed to thoroughly investigate the facts
* reported documents to the American people as true to make his case
* when confronted with the facts, continued to report untruth and stonewalled an investigation
* number of Americans dead: 1100
* should be given four more years as President of the United States
(Outlet Radio, via Kos)
President Bush, determined to put an optimistic face on deadly conditions in Iraq, said on Tuesday that the CIA was just guessing when it said the war-racked country was in danger of slipping into civil war.Hey, it's all just a guess. Your guess is as good as mine.
I'm guessing that the world will be a much better place if Bush gets a full-time job clearing brush in Crawford.
An unmistakable message from God.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Salon.com has an easy-to-follow primer on Bush and the National Guard. Don't be distracted by the CBS memos, which are irrelevant to the real story. This is what really matters:
The details can get a bit obscure, but the basic timeline of Bush's service between 1972 and 1974 is easy to follow: In spring 1972 Bush attempted to permanently transfer to a non-flying Alabama Guard unit. During the second half of 1972 he missed many of his required weekend training drills. At the end of the year he returned to Houston. Bush then had to make up the absences he had stacked up while in Alabama through 'substitute service' training in 1972 and 1973. In July 1973, Bush asked to be released by the Texas Air National Guard so he could attend Harvard Business School. In September, the Guard let him go, and the Air Force officially dismissed Bush in November 1974.It would be nice if someone were able to ask these questions directly to Bush instead of going through Scotty "Stonewall" McClellan.
In today's Washington Post, E.J. Dionne asks: What Is Bush Hiding?
"There are a lot of questions and they need to be answered," Bush told the Union Leader in Manchester, N.H., last week. "I think what needs to happen is people need to take a look at the documents, how they were created, and let the truth come out."Until he was 40 years old, Bush was a self-confessed drunk. He also tacitly acknowledges doing illegal drugs. Interestingly, if he were applying to work as a civil servant in the White House, he would be required to list his experiences with illegal drugs, with no statute of limitations.
So, what was the reason for skipping that flight physical and going AWOL? Gee. Maybe this story from the August 30, 1999, issue of Time Magazine, "I've Made Mistakes..." will help:
As Governor of Texas, George W. Bush has been adamant on the subject of drugs: Stay away from them; expect to go to jail if you're caught with them; and don't ask me whether I ever used them. While every other Republican candidate denied ever taking illegal drugs, Bush continued to hold to his line: "I've made mistakes in the past, and I've learned from my mistakes." Period.Yes, there you have it. Bush was not "a mature person" when he was entrusted to fly million-dollar jets for the Texas Air National Guard. And yes, he used illegal drugs - presumably marijuana and cocaine - up until 1974.
Now, would someone like to connect the dots and ask the President why he didn't want to take a flight physical and submit to random drug testing in 1972 and 1973? Thank you very much.
I don't usually bother passing along anything from Atrios, because I assume (ahem) that you already devour every word. But on the off chance you don't, this is what you missed:
It seems I have been unfair to the Bush administration. I have been saying that their entire plan for Iraq is for all of us to "Clap Louder." Apparently, I was wrong. There's actually a second part to the plan - keep killing Iraqis until they get tired.
Kerry's "Top Ten Bush Tax Proposals":
10. No estate tax for families with at least two U.S. presidents.(hat tip to Approximately Perfect)
Monday, September 20, 2004
Remarks by the President at "ask President Bush" Event:
...look, here's the situation. It's tough as heck in Iraq right now because people are trying to stop democracy. That's what you're seeing. And Iraqis are losing lives, and so are some of our soldiers. And it breaks my heart to see the loss of innocent life and to see brave troops in combat lose their life. It just breaks my heart. But I understand what's going on. These people are trying to shake the will of the Iraqi citizens, and they want us to leave. That's what they want us to do.You really have to see this to believe it.
William Saletan's critiques of John Kerry (notably his continuing obsession with "Kerryisms") can be exasperating, but he's performed a genuine public service with a piece posted on Slate today: Where Kerry Stands on Iraq. It summarizes Kerry's important NYU speech on Iraq into 14 clear points. I only wish that the headline writer had resisted the cheap shot to call this article "a Kerry-English translation." Kerry's wording was, for the most part, crystal-clear. Saletan's contribution is not the translation but rather summarizing it into bullet points. (In fact, it's ready made for conversion into a PowerPoint slide deck.)
Of course, you could just read the full speech, as delivered by Kerry. I don't think this section, for instance, needs any translation. Do you?
On May 1 of last year, President Bush stood in front of a now infamous banner that read “Mission Accomplished.” He declared to the American people: “In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” In fact, the worst part of the war was just beginning, with the greatest number of American casualties still to come. The president misled, miscalculated, and mismanaged every aspect of this undertaking and he has made the achievement of our objective – a stable Iraq, secure within its borders, with a representative government, harder to achieve.Kerry. Smarter. Wouldn't that make a good bumper sticker?
There's nothing funny about the latest blog entry from the Pink Bunny of Battle, who says "The Gloves Are Off:
Bush and Cheney are saying to American voters, basically, that in seeking revenge for 9/11 that it doesn't really matter who we hit -- just as long as they're brown and Muslim.When I watch the evening news or read the papers, I regularly see 10 or 20 Iraqis dead or wounded for every American soldier who was killed or injured. And to compound the shame, our country doesn't even bother to count how many poor brown people have died.
It's a disgrace.
Hesiod finds this frightening poll:
THE DUMBING OF AMERICA: Wnat to know why George W. Bush is even close to John kerry in the polls, let alone leading?It also requires a willing suspension of disbelief from a public that treats all substantive issues of policy as if they were promos for the new season of Survivor.
I haven't read Kitty Kelley's book yet, but I did watch Matt Lauer pretend to be a tough reporter last week for three days on the Today show. He cross-examined her like he was auditioning for a role as the prosecutor on a remake of Perry Mason. And Kitty gave it right back to him. So I was particularly impressed when I came back home and found this little item from The Gadflyer:
After several minutes of intense grilling of Kelley on the book's claims, Lauer, perhaps seeking to roll back the news media's obsession for negativity, chastised the author for writing a harsh book on George W. and family. "Most people, no matter what their politics, would say that if a family has three generations of public service, the reality has to be that there are some nice things that need to be said about them, and why aren't they in this book?" Lauer pointedly asked.Marvelous. Can someone please tell Katie that her co-host's pants are on fire?
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Click some of the links on the right... I'll be back on September 20th.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Iraq's new ambassador to the United Nations - representing the Coalition's hand-picked government - tells The Scotsman: "More troops - or Iraq will be a disaster":
Britain and the United States must send many more troops to Iraq immediately to prevent a catastrophic breakdown in law and order which would lead to the disintegration of the country and the emergence of a new "super rogue state", Baghdad’s new ambassador to the United Nations said yesterday.Of course, Bush's military advisors were telling him that he had grossly underestimated the force requirements before the war started, and he ignored those recommendations. The United States doesn't have more troops to send. So it looks like we can expect the quagmire to grow. Lovely.
(Hat tip to This Is Rumor Control.)
Accused U.S. Deserter Surrenders in Japan:
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Reuters) - U.S. Army Sergeant Charles Jenkins gave himself up to American military authorities Saturday to face charges that he deserted to communist North Korea four decades ago while on patrol in South Korea.So, apparently, if you failed to keep your commitment to the military three or four decades ago, it DOES matter. Interesting. Wonder if this applies to other people as well?
Friday, September 10, 2004
The Poor Man explains the elementary logic that should simplify forensic analysis about the Killian documents for you:
Let me save everyone a whole lot of time. They are genuine. How do I know? Because the internet is currently awash in wingnuts claiming the memos are fakes. Ergo, they are for real. Q.E.D.Please note I am using the old-fashioned straight quotes and no superscripts as a tribute to my long-gone Selectric.
Health premiums devouring paychecks
Job-based health insurance premiums jumped an average of 11.2 percent this year, according to a new survey of employers released Thursday. That's more than four times the 2.3 percent overall growth in inflation and five times the 2.2 percent bump in workers' salaries.I wish we had a president who took this kind of stuff seriously.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
The Weekly Standard says: "DOCUMENTS CITED Wednesday by 60 Minutes in a widely-publicized expose of George W. Bush's National Guard Service are very likely forgeries..."
Yeah. And the source is Stephen F. Hayes, the putz who accepted a bunch of forged documents from Dick Cheney's office and turned them into an entire book!
The Mighty Wurlitzer is cranked up to fever pitch.
My money says they're real.
Update: I don't care about the documents, of course. I just want to point out that Stephen F. Hayes is not a real journalist, he is a partisan hack who lives to serve his right-wing masters.
Slate reports on a "memorable moment" during a speech by John Kerry in Cincinnati yesterday:
... the shouts of a protester -- "You said you committed atrocities. You said you burned villages" -- who was silenced when the man standing next to him put him in a headlock. After the speech, Kerry spokesman David Wade said the protester was a man named Mike Russell, who Wade said was the Bush-Cheney chairman in Bracken County, Ky., during the 2000 election. "He is now, coincidentally, with the Swift Boat Veterans," Wade added.Ugly, aren't they?
The two hometown papers in D.C. don't agree on much, but they managed to find common ground on the campaign trail.
Wall-to-Wall Supporters: It Sure Is Crowded in Here -- or Is It?If you're gonna be a world-class liar, you can't just do it on the big stuff. You have to stay in practice with little stuff like this. I'm sure there are specific targets in the Bush Campaign's press office, and if you can't keep up, you get thrown off the bus.
Josh Marshall has a full transcript of the CBS News interview with the President's spokesman, Dan Bartlett, about the Texas Air National Guard scandal. It's interesting reading, especially for this one line dropped in the middle of it, in which Bartlett admits: "They play dirty down in Texas. I've been there. I see how it works."
Yeah, and when those Texans come up to Washington, they keep playing dirty.
Do you think he wishes he could take that one back?
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
I had never seen The (Illustrated) Daily Scribble before, but based on this example, I have to pay more attention. (Via J-Walk)
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Scotty McClellan should have his mouth washed out with soap.
Mathew Gross passes along an e-mail he received. I've added a detail or two and made these instructions Windows-centric ...
1. Start by emptying the Recycle Bin on your desktop. Right-click the Recycle Bin icon and choose Empty Recycle Bin.
2. Create a new folder on your computer's desktop.
3. Name it George W. Bush.
4. Drag the folder you just created to the Recycle Bin.
5. Empty the Recycle Bin again.
6. Your computer will ask you to confirm your decision to get rid of the worst president we've ever had.
7. Say "Yes! Yes! Yes!" and click the Yes button.
Now get out and register some people to vote.
This is sickening:
"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told about 350 supporters at a town-hall meeting in this Iowa city.Kerry should literally call Bush and Cheney out. He should tell these two miserable fucks to come stand on a stage alongside them and say those words face to face. Gutless cowards.
Actually, Cheney just created the perfect campaign ad for MoveOn or someone else who isn't afraid to go at these guys head-on.
Cheney's words should be the narration over a split screen. One half shows people looking up at the Twin Towers in panic, with a clock superimposed over the screen showing the day and date. The other shows Bush reading The Pet Goat, with an identical clock superimposed over the other half of the screen.
Fade to black. "If we make the wrong choice then the danger is we'll get hit again..." Bush-Cheney. The Wrong Choice.
Like this (thanks, Michael):
Many U.S. public school districts are starting a new school year with fewer teachers as less state funding and other factors leave them with gaping budget holes and nothing else left to cut but instructors, school and teachers union officials say.Any teacher who votes for Bush deserves to be unemployed. What a disgrace.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Dan Gillmor is normally a savvy reporter, but he bit down hard on a piece of Republican chum when he wrote this blog entry:
"Throw Me an Anchor," Yells the Drowning ManTwo points: First, Sasso also was a senior strategist on Clinton's successful campaigns in 1992 and 1996, and he was part of Gore's campaign in 2000, which won the popular vote. Second, doesn't it make sense to hire someone who knows exactly what the enemy is capable of?
Look, Kerry is not Dukakis. Period. The problems with the Dukakis campaign were legion, and they started with the candidate. I don't know the details of Sasso's abilities, but I trust his recent record, and I trust Kerry's campaign judgment.
Friday, September 03, 2004
A tale of two reporters:
This original story went out over the AP wires today:
September 3, 2004, 1:57 PM EDTObviously, the AP correspondent was hallucinating, or perhaps gremlins corrupted the story as it flowed through the wires. Or maybe the Secret Service wrestled the offending paragraph to the ground. Whatever the reason, a "corrected" version appeared on-line minutes later, minus that reference to the booing. That's the version that most newspapers picked up, and the original version is swiftly slipping down the memory hole.
Mysteriously, the Agence France Presse correspondent heard something completely different:
AFP[ FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 03, 2004 11:50:32 PM ]Leave it to those treacherous French to hear "respectful applause" and completely ignore the booing. Isn't it ironic that a French reporter does the sympathetic story, and an AP editor has to spike the original story?
The original stopry is easy to believe. This is, after all, a typical Bush play, used most recently in a disgusting attack on John Kerry at a Bush campaign event. Bush 41 and Bush 43 are notorious for their inability to do the right thing, so the original AP story was quite believable. At least the twins are honest about their complete lack of class.
Update: I've now heard an audio clip of the sound bite, which contains applause and some cheering. No booing on that tape. That doesn't mean some jerks near the AP reporter weren't booing, of course. In fact, given the hate-fest we just sat through, it would be odd to think that a dieahrd Republican crowd wouldn't at least think of jeering the Big Dawg.
It's instructive to note how this sort of story can be reported so differently, isn't it?
Second update: I've been cruising the blogosphere noting the reactions of rightward-leaning commenters (and some bloggers) who point to this example, triumphantly exclaiming that it "proves the existence of left-wing bias at the AP." Uh, that might be true, except for the fact that AP promptly and efficiently corrected its error. Note to Fox News and other media: This is how it's supposed to work. When your errors are pointed out to you, you correct them immediately.
Hmmm, that faith-based Bush foreign policy seems to have a few holes in it. Britain's highly regarded Chatham House (formerly the Royal Institute of International Affairs) just concluded that Iraq will be "lucky if it manages to avoid a breakup and civil war" and could become the spark for a "regionwide upheaval." AN LA Times wire service story breaks it down:
In a bleak assessment of where Iraq stands nearly 18 months after it was invaded, the institute's Middle East team focused on the internal forces dividing the country.The Bush Administration? "Clever diplomacy and military restraint"? Surely you jest.
The "default" scenario, though, is the violent breakup of Iraq, the report said. "Under this scenario, Kurdish separatism and Shiite assertiveness work against a smooth transition to elections, while the Sunni Arab minority remains on the offensive," it said.Those Brits are starting to sound downright ... French.
OK, so Saddam was a bad man. He was also toothless and well contained. He had no weapons of mass destruction. He had some random stashes of old chemical weapons that probably would have blown up in the face of anyone who tried to use them. Thanks to a coalition that had been enforcing no-fly zones over the north and south for a decade, the Kurdish minority was well protected, and any attempts at mass murder or genocide by Saddam would have resulted in swift and brutal retribution. Continuing economic and political pressure on Saddam for several years could have resulted in a more or less peaceful transition of power to a less objectionable strongman. We accept that sort of government from our good friends in Pakistan, so why would it have not been acceptable in Iraq?
Instead, an ill-timed, poorly planned, "catastrophically successful" war has turned the whole Middle East into a powder keg. And now he wants to tackle Iran? If you have a God that you pray to regularly, please send a request to send this guy packing. And register some voters!
Our press appears to be taking testosterone supplements. The Washington Post put this article on page A1: GOP Prism Distorts Some Kerry Positions (washingtonpost.com). It's a pretty impressive bit of fact-checking.
There must have been something in the water at Madison Square Garden that turned every speaker at the mercifully concluded Republican convention into a hissing liar. Even the Governator fell victim. The Associated Press called him on his Austrian history gaffe:
Austrian historians are ridiculing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for telling the U.S. Republican convention that he saw Soviet tanks in his homeland as a child and left a "Socialist" country when he moved away in 1968.He's a big fat Luegner.
[Via Approximately Perfect]
TBogg has a ROFL collection of one-line reactions to the Bush speech. Samples:
'Having both Mel Gibson and Jesus come out on stage with him probably locked up the Christian vote'
William Saletan does a word count on Bush's speech and notes that the most common word (other than definite and indefinite articles) was "will":
This was a speech all about what Bush will do, and what will happen, if he becomes president.Deloreans for all my Republican friends!
Update: The Los Angeles Times adds, "His well-written speech would have been more convincing if he had not actually been president for the last four years."
I am now 100% convinced the Republican party and the Bush campaign machine wouldn't know a fact if it were engraved on stone tablets and propped up in a burning bush. I present evidence from this week's Grand Old Party in NYC.
Two key Kerry-bashing chunks of Zell Miller's speech, it turns out, were lifted nearly intact from anonymous chain letters spread on the Internet and widely debunked on Snopes.com and other impartial sites. (Details here and here.) Let me repeat that: The keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention attacked the nominee of the opposing party using "facts" that he had received in an anonymous chain letter. But wait. It gets better.
Last night, as I was watching Bush's acceptance speech, I noted an odd detail. In State of the Union addresses, it has become commonplace for the President to quote a letter from an average citizen, usually a small child or a soldier. Bush adapted this tried-and-true rhetorical device last night. Except he left out the key element, which is the correspondent's actual name. (At the SOTU, the letter-writer is often invited into the Presidential box so the cameras can swivel that way at the magic moment.) I thought this meant that one of the Presidential speechwriters had just made the letter up, the way lazy newspaper columnists make up commentary from taxi drivers. I sadly misunderestimated the White House.
Michael over at Musing's musings fed the speech text into Google, which whirred, buzzed, clanked, and finally spat out the details of this "letter from a soldier." I'll let him tell the story:
In Commander Codpiece's somnolent speech last night, he made much of a letter he allegedly received from a soldier in Iraq:Now this, on the other hand, represents the actual words of an actual soldier, not a cog of some political machine crassly exploiting his uniform. I hope we'll see this ad a lot.Our troops know the historic importance of our work.Problem is, the guy who sent the letter, Joe Roche, is an adjunct fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. Their press release touting the quote unblushingly describes the center as "a non-partisan, conservative/free-market think-tank." On their About Us page, however, they mention (in the fine print at the bottom of the page, of course) that they are a "Townhall.com member organization" and more prominently feature this quote from Tom DeLay at the top right (where else?) of the page:
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Noted former Bush defender and thinking man's conservative Andrew Sullivan goes off the reservation after last night's performance by Zell: "I watched a Democrat at a GOP Convention convince me that I could never be a Republican."
Best of all, you can read Mark A. R. Kleiman on the Miller meltdown and get all you need of Sullivan's lengthy post, which is excerpted there.
....to get their stories straight.
Zell: "Where is the bi-partisanship in this country when we need it most?"
Cheney, a half-hour later: "When the President and I took office, our schools were shuffling too many children from grade to grade without giving them the skills and knowledge they need. So President Bush reached across the aisle and brought both parties together to pass the most significant education reform in 40 years."
Editor & Publisher recaps the Angry Chris Matthews-Zell Miller Debate:
"You're hopeless," Miller told Matthews, dead serious, speaking over a hook-up from Madison Square Garden, where he had earlier delivered the keynote address. "I wish I was with you there because I want to get in your face." Then Miller said he wished they were back in the age when you could challenge someone to a duel. "I don't know why I came on this program," he added, amidst four minutes of heated exchanges.Zell knew exactly what he was getting into, given that he repeatedly mentioned how Matthews treated "that girl" (Michelle Malkin). Too bad the Republicans didn't put Malkin up on the platform for "Compassion" night. Sudden thought: Zell and Michelle. What a couple they would be!
As speakers at the GOP convention trumpet Bush administration successes in the war on terrorism, an NBC News analysis of Islamic terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, shows that attacks are on the rise worldwide -- dramatically.The cognitive dissonance in the Bush campaign is becoming painful. The President has made us safer, but we're in a war against a shadowy enemy which can strike at any time. We can win. We can't win. Wait, we can win. Go about your normal lives, and try to avoid that feeling of fear deep in your gut. Oh, and as Arnold said the other night, don't look the soldiers directly in the eyes, or they might pick you up and take you to Guantanamo.
Ya think Dubya will mention any of this tonight?
New Donkey is on my Essentials list (see the sidebar at right) for posts like this one:
On an evening supposedly devoted to defending the administration's economic record, the two big prime-time speakers, Zell Miller and Dick Cheney, unloaded a truckload of bile against John Kerry's national security record. I'm not sure I've ever heard so many slurs, misleading inferences, and bold-face lies in the course of an hour of rhetoric. Miller didn't bother to even mention the economy or any other domestic issue. Cheney barely did, and even then just trotted out the usual BC04 talking points with a notable lack of enthusiasm. This night was about destroying John Kerry, period.In my opinion, this was a horrible miscalculation by the Republicans, and I couldn't be happier. Any undecided voter who tuned in last night had to be offended, because the message coming from the podium was that they were stupid, stupid, stupid to have seen even a hint of competence or patriotism in John Kerry. A genuinely undecided voter has already seen some good and some flaws in both candidates and isn't going to be swayed by an over-the-top rant from a man who looked like he was about to puke up an alien.
Anyone want to set the odds on whether Bush mentions Zell tonight?
That Zell Miller just can't make up his mind.
Zell Miller, March 2001:
My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders – and a good friend.Oh, and be sure to see Zell's performance on Hardball (Internet Explorer and Flash required). The part where he said he wished he could challenge Matthews to a duel was classic.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Last night at the RNC, a parade of speakers came up and continued to bash John Kerry. Sam Brownback, Bill Frist, Rod Paige, Michael Steele, The Bush Twins, and Laura Bush all spoke in prime time. In keeping with the "Compassion" theme, only the First Lady mentioned 9/11 or Saddam Hussein (two references each). [Update: I looked at the Governator's speech and saw a reference to "the attacks on our homeland" and decided that yes! that counts as a 9/11 reference.) Surprise! Still not a word about Osama bin Forgotten.
So, for those keeping score, the totals after two days are:
9/11 references: 21
bin Laden: 0
Al Qaeda: 4
"When you live in a fishbowl, everything seems a little distorted... I keep thinking it's Tuesday."
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