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Monday, October 11, 2004

Not Into Nuisances

Ezra wonders Why Does George W. Bush Hate Brent Scowcroft?

He must hate lil' Davy Horowitz's favorite tin soldier, Ralph Peters too:

The security environment will improve as Saddam, Osama and their most virulent supporters are killed. Eliminating terrorist operatives, masterminds and supportive dictators brings vital results. But we will never reduce Islamic terrorism to nuisance level unless we address the greater evil behind the deadly strikes.

This respected Fox News terrorism analyst has similar heretical ideas.

Why on earth would anyone ever think that the tactic of terrorism could be reduced to nuisance levels when it is the ultimate battle between good 'n evul? My God, there has never been a threat as grave as this in the entire history of the world. It cannot just be reduced, we must kill all the bad guys and spread freedom and goodness and puppies and ice cream! Don't these people know anything?

Rocking Chair Babies

Of all modern popular culture touchstones, I have to say that the South Park phenomenon interests me about the least. I find Stone and Parker's alleged iconoclasm pretty boring. That's just me.

This morning I watched an exchange on Fox News between two vacuous talking heads, though, that made me realize that they really are a couple of useful idiots for the right. The gasbags were going on and on about how silly it was for Sean Penn to get angry about a purported message in their new puppet movie in which they tell young people not to vote. It sounded like typical FOX blather, and I assumed that Penn was being his usual wingnut bait. But, the gasbags then took the South Park silliness and applied it to an indictment of Rock the Vote and other youth outreach groups in general by condemning the youth vote in general as uninformed, mostly by using liberal arguments as examples. It became apparent that there is a subtle GOP youth suppression campaign going on, for reasons that are obvious.

Here's Parker and Stone's response to Sean Penn's letter in today's Salon.

According to Stone, "when you read it, the letter comes from such a high place of arrogance, you know, [deep, serious voice] 'You guys are young guys! If you don't have children, you can't say anything about anything!' And the whole voting thing. All we ever said was that we thought that uninformed people should not vote -- on either side of the political spectrum. It doesn't matter who you're gonna vote for. If you really don't know who you're gonna vote for, or are uninformed, or haven't really thought about it? Just stay home. Don't let people fucking shame you into going to the polls."

Added Parker: "If you have absolutely no idea, fuck it."

"If you really don't know or you're just going to vote for George Bush because he's already in office, or you're gonna vote for John Kerry because he's on the cover of Rolling Stone, don't do that," Stone said. "That's lame. Just stay home. That's all we ever said."

An irreverent attitude that one might expect from ones so young. That 44 year old asshole Sean Penn is being a mean old man.

But, Parker is 35 and Stone is 33. Getting a little long in tooth to be protesting on the basis of their youthful impudence, don't you think?

Et tu Russert?

Chris Bowers has a number of helpful links in this post on MYDD, if you would like to protest the Sinclair nonsense. I would imagine that Sinclair, since it is openly and proudly partisan, actually believes that this is good for their cause. (They may just be surprised to find that their stations start screaming bloody murder, however, if they are harrassed day after day over this thing.)

I suspect that this will ultimately be decided by lawyers as Steve Soto and ex-commissioner Reed Hundt indicate. It may also be interesting to see what the FCC has to say about it in a general sense, although I have no hope that they would necessarily step in for the common good.

There is another avenue, to which Soto alludes in his post, that may be worth pursuing. Sinclair is insisting that this be shown as a "news" program and is offering Kerry some free airtime to respond on a panel or a call-in show in order to satisfy the McCain-Feingold law. They apparently believe that they can simply tell their stations to "call it news" without any sort of repurcussions from the news divisions of these stations or, more importantly, the network news divisions that air their nightly programs on those stations. Why is that?

This is an advertisement that is done in vitually the same format as the Swift Boat ads and even featuring many of the same sad old men who are stuck in a time warp. The local news divisions of those stations should scream bloody murder, but there are so few notions of journalistic integrity in local news left that I wouldn't expect much. (It may be worth trying to cause dissension in those newsrooms, however, by writing some letters and calling the stations and asking the news managers and reporters about their journalistic ethics.) But, this is beyond those local stations. By insisting that this program be aired as news, Sinclair is also implicating the national news networks in their act.

ABC, CBS and NBC have a stake in this. This isn't a local story; it involves a national election and it will be aired on a large number of their affiliate channels that also air the national news shows that are identified with those stations. It will likely be seen as having their impramatur even if they have nothing to do with it.

Will what is left of the national broadcast news media step up and use their clout to protest the corporate owners of their affiliate stations using their network's hard won news credibility to pass off a George W. Bush campaign commercial as a news event? They really should because if they sit back and say nothing, the last shred of their independence and journalistic integrity will have been tossed into the garbage can.

It's been a rough year for the mainstream news organizations. Maybe it's time they spoke up for what's right and redeemed a little bit of their honor. Unless they like being nothing but lackeys and whores, this may be one of their last chances to stand up for journalistic integrity. They won't have too many more chances.

Partisan Gamers

Campaign Desk prints a warning from one of its readers about the Iowa Electronic markets that I think should be flooded to any news organization that decides it would be fun to write about its miraculous predictive powers in past elections:

"Once you get past the lack of acuity [of] markets ... in general, there are simply too many additional problems with these minute exchanges" such as the Iowa Electronics Markets. "They are too small, have too little money at stake, and are therefore readily susceptible to undue 'influence'" by mischief makers.

The fact is that in past elections nobody paid attention to them so there wasn't the likelihood that anyone would think they would be worth gaming as they are this year.

Therefore, the IEM is best seen now as an unscientific online poll. The money is pretty inconsequential so it's not very risky to make the numbers move and that's exactly what's happening.

There are a couple of ways to deal with this. One is to attempt to educate the media, as this piece does, about how easy it is to manipulate such a small market. The other is to fight fire with fire and put our own cash on the barrelhead.

I'm not sure how effective the first option would be since it's never worked before. But, it might just be worth opening an account to trade in these last couple of weeks. Maybe it's not a big enough deal to worry about, though. Still, for those with a lot of disposable income, this might be a place to wager a couple of bucks.

R.I.P. Christopher Reeve

He was a good guy who inspired us all when his previously charmed life threw him a terrible curveball. One would think that Americans, no matter the political party or religion, would all mourn a man who showed such courage and determination in the face of adversity and spoke so eloquently for others with similar disabilities. It seems almost inhuman that some people can't feel any empathy for someone who had been a celebrated movie superhero one moment and in the next became a fragile corporeal being facing the most fundamental and difficult challenges a person can face --- and who then became an inspiration and spokeman for others with the catastrophic disability he lived with from that moment on. But there are such people.

Evidently, over on Free Republic quite a few people got out of hand and made some ugly remarks about Reeve and the moderator had to remove the threads. Here are some examples of the perfectly acceptable ones that remain:

Wouldn't rule out that Kerry might have spoke with Reeve before the last debate. Reeve might have had an idea the end was near for him and told Kerry to play up the emotional angle with stem cell research and Reeve's own paralyzed circumstance.

Wonder if Hell is handicapped accessible..

The willingness to sacrifice another life to save his own was not worthy of the Man of Steel.

I'm sorry, but I have no compassion for this man. He suffered a terrible injury through his own fault and, instead of accepting it, he lashes out in anger against Bush.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall when Kerry got the news of Reeve's death. Did he hang up and shout "YES!"? Did he dance a little jig? Did he excitedly phone McAuliffe with the news? Noone but Mama T knows...

Reeve? Is this the guy who, his picture-perfect Hollywood life having been tragically altered by an accident, spent the remainder of his life advocating the killing of unborn children so that he might walk again?

He was a 3rd-rate actor (Ever see him in any movie besides Superman? When playing a real human being, he was dreadful!). When injured living a life of luxury and leisure, he fought for vain, desperate hopes for what might keep him alive, even if it caused the deaths of millions. Contrary to mythology, he sunk into bitter, violent anger, pouring every ounce of derision he possibly could on Christianity and America. And then he simply died.

I'm sorry for Reeve's family...his wife has stood by him for several tragic years. However, to have liberals (Ron Reagan will probably be leading the charge) milk this is disgusting. And let's be honest...Christopher Reeve WAS doing something that was very dangerous when he broke his neck. A lot of us common folks are living with situations that just happened...beyond our control and not our fault. That's what life is about, and we don't have wealthy friends helping support an extravagant lifestyle.

I have a feeling that Kerry was tipped off about Reeve's condition prior to the 2nd debate, which is why he mentioned him along with Michael J. Fox. You can bet Kerry will again mention Reeve at the 3rd debate. It is this crude, blatant exploitation of the disabled and afflicted, which make the Dems so despicable. They provide false hope in order to win debating points and votes. The implication will be that GWB caused the death of Reeve.

You could make an argument that the first implemention of "Political Correctness" was the custom of speaking better about someone after their death than while they were living. But I won't try to make that argument here. I will say this: if it were demonstrated that Reeve, knowing the seriousness of his condition, actually made an explicit request that his possible death be used to help the Kerry campaign, all subsequent scorn would be deserved.

Oh, this is going to be disgusting. Bitter twst of fate that Reeve is mentioned by Kerry and then he dies. Or perhaps did Kerry know in advance Reeve was ill/on his deathbed?

Is there no level of filth to which these Dems won't sink?

The main gist of the dem line is: we need to keep legal the ability to take growing humans and detroy them through abortion so we can use their body parts to help other people like Chris Reeve (potentially) live better. The bloodlust is positively demonic.
I am just not happy hearing about this this AM.

Ahh... reminds me of the Paul Wellstone rally err memorial service. Always trying to work in a political advantage over a death, aren't they.

You think you're cynical? I am wondering if Clark Kent would possibly pull the plug on himself in a desperate attempt to "matyrize" the stem-cell issue and help Kerry?

Reeve seemed like a nice chap until he got involved with the pro-death wing of the democrat party. We can't always get what we want, but we often get what we deserve.

The fact is, Mr. Reeve spent his last days using his fame and access to champion the murder of unborn children.

The fact is, Mr. Reeve took very clear and very selfish political stands and used his medical condition to gin up sympathy for murder.

My point is that some people spend their entire lives breaking down traditional morality and then when they die they are eulogized as if they did as much for the world as Mother Theresa.

Reeves spent his last few years advocating the destruction of human life in order to find a cure for what ailed HIM. It may have seemed selfless to some, but in reality and objectively, it was selfish. He was looking for a cure and if it meant the destruction of unborn children to acheive that end, then too bad for them. He was not willing to let a fetus stand between him and his goalpost.

Sure hope he was a saved man. Otherwise right now he is roasting in hell.

I shudder to think what the deleted threads contained...

Reeve was a better man on his worst day in Hollywood than these solipsistic little morons could ever hope to be.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Speaking Of Unseemly Bulges

As we watch the distressing spectacle of the cable shows shilling for Junior in these last three weeks, I think it might be helpful to take a trip down memory lane. It was once much, much worse. There was a time not so long ago when the boys and girls in the press were panting and moaning and fidgeting in their seats at the mere mention of the TopGun in his Chippendale's costume.

May 3, 2003:

MATTHEWS: Let's go to this sub--what happened to this week, which was to me was astounding as a student of politics, like all of us. Lights, camera, action. This week the president landed the best photo of in a very long time. Other great visuals: Ronald Reagan at the D-Day cemetery in Normandy, Bill Clinton on horseback in Wyoming. Nothing compared to this, I've got to say.

Katty, for visual, the president of the United States arriving in an F-18, looking like he flew it in himself. The GIs, the women on--onboard that ship loved this guy.

Ms. KAY: He looked great. Look, I'm not a Bush man. I mean, he doesn't do it for me personally, especially not when he's in a suit, but he arrived there...

MATTHEWS: No one would call you a Bush man, by the way.

Ms. KAY: ...he arrived there in his flight suit, in a jumpsuit. He should wear that all the time. Why doesn't he do all his campaign speeches in that jumpsuit? He just looks so great.

MATTHEWS: I want him to wa--I want to see him debate somebody like John Kerry or Lieberman or somebody wearing that jumpsuit.

Mr. DOBBS: Well, it was just--I can't think of any, any stunt by the White House--and I'll call it a stunt--that has come close. I mean, this is not only a home run; the ball is still flying out beyond the park.

MATTHEWS: Well, you know what, it was like throwing that strike in Yankee Stadium a while back after 9/11. It's not a stunt if it works and it's real. And I felt the faces of those guys--I thought most of our guys were looking up like they were looking at Bob Hope and John Wayne combined on that ship.

Mr. GIGOT: The reason it works is because of--the reason it works is because Bush looks authentic and he felt that he--you could feel the connection with the troops. He looked like he was sincere. People trust him. That's what he has going for him.

MATTHEWS: Fareed, you're watching that from--say you were over in the Middle East watching the president of the United States on this humongous aircraft carrier. It looks like it could take down Syria just one boat, right, and the president of the United States is pointing a finger and saying, `You people with the weapons of mass destruction, you people backing terrorism, look out. We're coming.' Do you think that picture mattered over there?

Mr. ZAKARIA: Oh yeah. Look, this is a part of the war where we have not--we've allowed a lot of states to do some very nasty stuff, traffic with nasty people and nasty material, and I think it's time to tell them, you know what, `You're going to be help accountable for this.'

MATTHEWS: Well, it was a powerful statement and picture as well.

After the segment, Chris handed out cigarettes and ice cold bottles of evian to the panel. But they had rolled over and gone to sleep.

If there has ever been a more embarrassing display of repressed erotic longing on national television, I haven't seen it. Oh, wait:

From May 13, 2003, Via The Daily Howler:

MATTHEWS: What do you make of this broadside against the USS Abraham Lincoln and its chief visitor last week?

LIDDY: Well, I-- in the first place, I think it's envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man [Official Naomi Wolf Spin-Point]. And here comes George Bush. You know, he's in his flight suit, he's striding across the deck, and he's wearing his parachute harness, you know --- and I've worn those because I parachute --- and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those, run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman's vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn't count --- they're all liars. Check that out. I hope the Democrats keep ratting on him and all of this stuff so that they keep showing that tape.

"You know, it's funny. I shouldn't talk about ratings," he [Matthews] said, also gazing at Bush's crotch. "But last night was a riot because ... these pictures were showing last night, and everybody's tuning in to see these pictures again."

I plan to make it my life's work to remind Chris Matthews of these little exchanges. It was the day that Matthews revealed that he and the other mediawhores were not just shilling for the GOP for professional reasons, but that they actually had a barely contained (and inexplicable) sexual attraction to George W. Bush. It explained so very much. Today, when you see him and Mrs Greenspan rushing to proclaim Cheney a big winner,for instance, perhaps it is best understood as a way of distancing themselves from an unrequited love while leaving the door open in case there is still a chance for a passionate encounter, for old time's sake.

If there is one question that I would love to see somebody ask any member of the Bush administration, it is how come they are fighting for their lives when less than eighteen short months ago they not only had a 90% approval rating, they had the entire US press corpse on its knees, quivering and drooling in anticipation of a mere taste of the manly presidential life force. Seems to me that's the real story of this election. How in the hell did they fall so far, so fast?

As Ye Sew...

It appears that the the latest presidential bulge pictures --- the one in the middle of his back, this time --- are making their way into the major news media. And the White House has no decent explanation for them. Indeed, they seem to be in a bit of a tizzy.

First they said that pictures showing the bulge might have been doctored. But then, when the bulge turned out to be clearly visible in the television footage of the evening, they offered a different explanation.

"There was nothing under his suit jacket," said Nicolle Devenish, a campaign spokeswoman.

"It was most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric."

Ms. Devenish could not say why the "rumpling" was rectangular.

Nor was the bulge from a bulletproof vest, according to campaign and White House officials; they said Mr. Bush was not wearing one.

This article on the BBC web-site, hilariously headlined "Bush's bulge stirs media rumours" is equally skeptical of the explanations, but they go the extra mile and interview the president's tailor, who says that it was simply a pucker. A perfectly rectangular pucker.

I believe that the identity of Hopalong Bushie's tailor ... a man profiled here on Hillnews.com named Georges de Paris, provides the answer to the mystery of the bulge:

Georges de Paris — that’s his real name — is a household name at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., where he is regularly summoned these days from his cluttered shop two blocks away to measure and fit President Bush, just as he did his father and every other president of the last 40 years.


de Paris, who became a U.S. citizen in 1969, met the current president while altering slacks for his father. Shortly after the younger Bush was declared the winner of the contested 2000 election, the White House called again.


Since then, de Paris has made numerous visits to the White House, often on a crash basis, to add a suit or sport coat to the president’s wardrobe or to measure and fit aides like Chief of Staff Andrew Card for custom-made suits that cost between $2,000 and $3,000.

Oooh la la. Monsieur de Paris charges quite the pretty penny for his creations, doesn't he?

I hate to say it, but of I were a NASCAR dad or a security mom, I'd be more than a little bit concerned that this french "tailor" may have put that perfectly rectangular bulge in the preznit's suit to spy for Chirac. It's just the kind of thing those old Europeans do...

And just what in the heck is our manly preznit doing letting some man named Georges, ("Zhorzh — that’s what everyone, including the president, calls him") touch his bulges in a time of war, anyway? Couldn't they find a tailor from one of the allied countries like Uzbekhistan or Poland?

At the very least, it is more than a little unwise to allow nefarious french tailors to undermine the president's credibility by placing suspicious rectangular "puckers" in his clothing. Georges de Paris is obviously an unlawful combatant. Send him to Gitmo and force him to wear one of those horrid bright orange jumpsuits. We'll find out the truth soon enough.


My ISP was mysteriously offline for the past day due to a "network problem" so I've been off-line as well.

I'm pretty sure it was Clinton's fault.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

America's Ex-husband

Angry, hectoring, condescending and loud. Very loud. He yelled at John Kerry, he yelled at Charlie Gibson, he even yelled at at the questioners. He yelled in short, punctuated bursts as if he thought he needed to spell out simple concepts. (He looked like he wanted to walk up to a couple of the questioners and jab a finger in their chests as he lectured them like children.) But then, he's always slightly pissed.

From James Wolcott's "The Bush Bunch," Vanity Fair July 2004:

Over Christmas in 2000, on the eve of W's joining his father and brother Jeb in Florida for a fishing trip (a bit of R&R after the protracted recount battle), Jenna suffered stomach troubles and was rushed to the hospital. She required an emergency appendectomy. Her mother slept at the hospital; her father wasn't present for the surgery and, never one to miss a vacation, didn't let it delay his exit. Gerhart picks up the rest of the story in THE PERFECT WIFE:

"The next day, he went on vacation to Florida just as he had planned. As he boarded the plane, reporters inquired about Jenna's condition. 'Maybe she'll be able to join us in Florida,' the president-elect said. 'If not, she can clean her room.' The reporters stared at him, stunned. 'I couldn't believe it,' one of those present later said. 'First of all, I'm a father, and I cannot imagine a scenario in which my daughter would have major surgery and I would just leave on vacation. And then he just seemed so snarly about it, like he was pissed at her.'"

Why would a father be "pissed" at his daughter for falling ill? An emergency appendectomy isn't some little sniffle. Notice how, despite his reputed ease with strong women, Bush can't resist the domestic stereotype when the safely catch comes off his mouth. When the usually punctual Karen Hughes is late for a meeting after being stuck in traffic (she recounts in TEN MINUTES FROM NORMAL), Bush, "a man who hates to wait," greets her by asking, "Did you have fun shopping?" Laura he has sweeping the porch back in Crawford like some pioneer woman. And Jenna he sentences to stay home during the family vacation and clean her room, as if she were being punished.

He's the dad who is always mad. Surly, unpredictable, spoiled. You know the type. "I'm the commander in chief, see. I don't need to explain ... Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

Last night, the only mistake he admitted to making was appointing some unnamed officials at whom he was obviously peeved. He said it in the same tone in which he said that Jenna could stay and clean her room.

This is a man who treats women like servants and men like lackeys. And last night he angrily yelled at America as if we were his long suffering, abused wife.

I think it's time for divorce.

Update: Michael Tomasky had a similar impression.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Here They Go Again

Ok. So, they're reduced to "liberal liberal liberal." Like every other election since 1968. Yawn.

Is that enough this time?

C'Mon. For any thinking person, Kerry won this debate. But, since Bush didn't completely act like a blithering fool, shills like Pat Buchanan are out there to spin him as a great winner. He just said he was impressed that Bush managed to control himself.

The whores are out in force and they have their marching orders. But the fact is that Kerry was statesmanlike, in control and strong. They can try to make their bubble boy look like a winner, but it's a hard sell.

Call the networks. Let them know what you think. Here are the numbers:

ABC News


47 W. 66th St
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 456-7477, 456-3796
Fax: (212) 456-4866, 456-2795

World News Tonight with Peter Jennings

Phone: (212) 456-4040
Fax: (212) 456-2771

CBS News

542 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019

News Desk:
Phone: (212) 975-4321, 975-3691
Fax: (212) 975-1893



1 CNN Center
POB 105366
Atlanta, GA 30348
Phone: (404) 827-1500
Fax: (404) 827-1593, (404) 827-1784

Fox News


1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 301-3000
Fax: (212) 301-4224



One MSNBC Plaza
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Phone: (201) 583-5000
Fax: (201) 583-5453

NBC News


30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
Phone: (212) 664-5900
Fax: (212) 664-2914



635 Mass Ave
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 414-2323
Fax: (202) 414-3324



PO BOX 50880
Washington, DC 20091
Phone: (800) 356-2626

Guilt By Association

So, they have Ann "Nazi Bitch" Coulter on combatting Crossfire host Paul Begala and Dick Gephardt.

Ann's most recent comments a just today are:

"I noticed the Democrats go crazy when it is pointed out, you know, I think the terrorists would prefer for the Democrats to win this one. You know, they don't argue that's not true. What they say is, "That argument is out of bounds." But of course it is. Surely Osama [bin Laden] -- well, I think Osama's dead -- but you know Al Qaeda terrorists must have some relative preference for one presidential candidate over another. Why can't it be stated? Of course they prefer the Democrats because the Democrats will never think it's the right war at the right time." [Radio America, Battle Line with Alan Nathan, 10/7]

One good way to outrage the enemy [Democrats] is to defend the United States of America. ... It drives them crazy. [KVI Talk Radio 570, the Kirby Wilbur show, 10/7]

The liberals already lost Vietnam for us. The Swift Boat Vets just aren't going to let them lose another war for us. [KVI Talk Radio 570, the Kirby Wilbur show, 10/7]

Democrats are good Bolsheviks. No matter, I mean, their guy could fall flat on his face, as I think [Senator John] Edwards did, and they will all rush to the TV cameras and say, "Oh, Edwards won the debate." And so you end up with a consensus position, even when the Republican beat the Democrat about the head, as [Vice President Dick] Cheney did with Edwards. [Radio America, Battle Line with Alan Nathan, 10/7]

[Responding to a caller who asked, "When are we going to stop misusing the word 'liberal' and start calling Democrats 'socialists,' which they really are?"] That's funny you say that. I mean they [Democrats] are socialists, but I hear liberal, and I think that's a worse epithet than socialist. ... I have pretty negative associations with it. [Radio America, Joseph Farah's WorldNetDaily RadioActive, 10/6]

Their [Democrats'] response to a principled argument, you know, on taxes or on the war in Iraq, is to investigate your personal life to find out if you're into S and M. [KVI Talk Radio 570, the Kirby Wilbur show, 10/7]

[Responding to host John Moore, who asked, "You have very little patience with liberals, but that's half the population of your country essentially. ... So, I mean, you don't hate half the population of the United States, do you?"] No, I hold them [liberals] in contempt and I give them a Midol [medication for premenstrual syndrome]. That seems to calm them down. [NEWSTALK 1010 CFRB, the John Moore show, 10/7]

Paul Begala and Dick Gephardt and every single Democrat should REFUSE to appear against this fucking Nazi whore on television. It is a travesty that this insane harpy is part of any decent commentary on broadcast television.

Please spare me any more whining and weeping about Michael Moore in the future. This heinous douchebag makes Moore look like Winston Churchill. If she's giving that pathetic old fuck Larry King bj's that's her business, but the Democratic party really should draw the line at appearing on television with the GOP Paris Hilton version of Benito Mussolini as if she's a rational person. What will we tell the children?

A Grown-up Is In Charge?

Have we ever had such an angry, privileged, snotty, immature president in the history of this country?

Bush can still not give even one example of a mistake he's made --- except appointing certain people he appointed that he won't name. (It must be Paul O'Neill and Larry Lindsay because they are the only ones he fired.)

As he has always been, he remains, a piece of shit.

Which One Will We See Tonight?

Before the debate I wanted to reprise the following post in case anybody has any lingering doubt that George W. Bush has two faces. One Public, One Private. One Phony, One Real:

Over the last week or so we have seen an edgy, enigmatic black and white image of George W. Bush appear on web-sites and blogs. At first people thought that sites had been hacked, as Eschaton and Kos and Democratic Underground spontaneously erupted with the black and white figure only to have it disappear and randomly return. Within days it linked to a mysterious DNC web-site with cryptic material that only slowly came into focus. Clearly something was up.

This image is disconcerting and it evokes strong reactions because it symbolizes the cognitive dissonance so many of us have been living with for the last four years as we’ve watched the man who lost the election but won the office drive us to distraction with the contradictions of his character. And nothing has been more frustrating than the fact that so many in the media and in the public at large seemed to see something entirely different than we did.

I believe that this happened because after 9/11, the media cast Bush in the role of strong, resolute leader, perhaps because the nation needed him to be that, at least for a little while. And the people gratefully laid that mantle on him and he took it because the office demanded no less. The narrative of the nation at war required a warrior leader and George W. Bush was all we had. Karl Rove and others understood that they could use this veil to soothe the American people and flatter the president to take actions that no prudent, thoughtful leader would have taken after our initial successes in Afghanistan. This “man with the bullhorn” image of Bush crystallized in the minds of many Americans and has not been revisited until now.

That phony image took us from a sense of national unity to a misguided war with Iraq; it excused his failure to effectively manage the economy and fomented partisan warfare by portraying dissent as unpatriotic; it allowed people to overlook his obvious failure to take the threat of al Qaeda seriously before 9/11 (and even after) and created a hagiography based on wishful thinking and emotional need rather than any realistic appraisal of his leadership.

His handlers wisely kept him under wraps, allowing him face time on television only in the company of world leaders or to give stirring speeches written by his gifted speechwriter, Mark Gerson. He rarely held press conferences and when he took questions, he was aggressively unresponsive, choosing instead to offer canned sound bites and slogans and daring the press corps to call him on it. Few did. The mask stayed in place and he remained a symbol instead of a president --- the symbol of American strength, resilience and fortitude. He was, in many people’s minds, the president they wished they had.

On Thursday night sixty-one million people watched George W. Bush for the first time since 9/11 not as that symbol, but as a man. And for those who had not reassessed their belief in his personal leadership since 9/11, it was quite a shock. Their strong leader was inarticulate, arrogant, confused and immature. They must be wondering who that man was.

The truth is that since George W. Bush entered politics he has always had two faces. In fact, virtually everything you know about his public persona is the opposite of the real person.

He claims to be a compassionate, caring man, often admonishing people to "love your neighbor like you loved to be loved yourself." Yet, going all the way back to Yale, he is quoted as saying he disapproved of his fellow students as "people who felt guilty about their lot in life because others were suffering." His business school professor remembers him saying that poor people are poor because they are lazy. This from a man who was born rich into one of America's leading families and relied on those connections for everything he ever achieved.

He lectures on responsibility, saying that he's going to end the era of "if it feels good do it" and yet he failed to live up to his responsibility as a young man in the crucible of his generation, the Vietnam war. In fact, if it felt good, he did it and did it with relish --- for forty years of his fifty eight year life. He has never fully owned up to what he did during those years spent in excess and hedonism, relying on a convenient claim of being “born again” to expiate him of his sins. Would that everyone had it so easy.

He ostentatiously calls himself a committed Christian and yet he rarely attends church unless it’s a campaign stop or a national occasion. The man who claims that Christ is his favorite political philosopher famously and cruelly mocked a condemned prisoner begging for her life. He portrays himself as a man of rectitude yet he pumped his fist and said "feels good!" in the moment before he announced that the Iraq war had begun. (One would have thought that if there was ever a time to utter a prayer it was then.) How many funerals of the fallen has he attended? How many widows has he personally comforted?

He portrays himself as a salt of the earth "hard working" rancher, clearing brush on his land in an artfully sweaty Calvin Klein-style t-shirt. Yet in the first 8 months of his presidency leading up to 9/11, he spent 42% of his time on vacation. His "ranching" didn't begin until he bought his million dollar property just before he ran for president in 1999. He has lived in suburbs and cities since a brief period in his childhood in the 50’s, when he lived in the medium sized boom town of Midland before going to Andover.

He actively promotes the notion that he is a man of action yet in the single most important moment of his life he froze in front of school kids, continuing on with a script prepared before the national psyche was blown to bits. He didn’t take charge. He didn’t react. He was paralyzed at the moment of the nation’s worst peril.

He claims to be a strong leader and yet he is skillfully manipulated by his staff, who learned early that the only thing they needed to do to convince him of the rightness of their recommended course was to flatter him by saying it was the "brave" or "bold" thing to do. His self-image as a resolute leader is actually a lack of self confidence that is ripe for exploitation by competing advisors who use it to convince this him to do their bidding. This explains why he seems to believe that he is acting with resolve when he has just affected an abrupt about-face. His advisors had persuaded him to change course simply by telling him he was being resolute.

George W. Bush is a man with two faces--- a public image of manly strength and a private reality of childish weakness. His verbal miscues and malapropisms are the natural consequence of a man struggling with internal contradictions and a lack of self-knowledge. He can’t keep track of what he is supposed to think and say in public.

There is no doubt that whether it's a cowboy hat or a crotch hugging flightsuit , George W. Bush enjoys wearing the mantle of American archetypal warriors. But when he goes behind the curtain and sheds the costume, a flinty, thin-skinned, immature man who has never taken responsibility for his mistakes emerges. The strong compassionate leader is revealed as a flimsy paper tiger.

On Thursday night, the president forgot himself. After years of being protected from anyone who doesn't flatter and cajole, he let his mask slip when confronted with someone who didn't fear his childish retribution or need anything from him. Many members of the public got a good sharp look at him for the first time in two years and they were stunned. Like that black and white image, the dichotomy of the real Bush vs. the phony Bush is profoundly discomfiting.

Luckily for America and the world, a fully synthesized, mature man stood on the other side of that stage ready to assume the mantle of leadership, not as a theatrical costume but as an adult responsibility for which he is prepared by a lifetime of service, study and dedication. I would imagine that many voters felt a strong sense of relief that he was there.

Live Blogging

Thanks to Chris Bowers over at MYDD, the following are helpful debate resources for tonight:

Here is a list of polls to stuff tonight, and here is a list of emails for people and institutions you can contact. Here is a group fact-checking project for rapid response, and here is another collective, fact-checking, rapid response project..

I just heard Joe Trippi announce that the Kos project will have 200,000 Americans doing fact checking tonight. Matthews snorted derisively. Putz.

Remember to use those night minutes and call them to let them know what you think:

ABC News


47 W. 66th St
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 456-7477, 456-3796
Fax: (212) 456-4866, 456-2795

World News Tonight with Peter Jennings

Phone: (212) 456-4040
Fax: (212) 456-2771

CBS News

542 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019

News Desk:
Phone: (212) 975-4321, 975-3691
Fax: (212) 975-1893



1 CNN Center
POB 105366
Atlanta, GA 30348
Phone: (404) 827-1500
Fax: (404) 827-1593, (404) 827-1784

Fox News


1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 301-3000
Fax: (212) 301-4224



One MSNBC Plaza
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Phone: (201) 583-5000
Fax: (201) 583-5453

NBC News


30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
Phone: (212) 664-5900
Fax: (212) 664-2914



635 Mass Ave
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 414-2323
Fax: (202) 414-3324



PO BOX 50880
Washington, DC 20091
Phone: (800) 356-2626

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Hardball panel:

Chris Matthews, Norah O'Donnell, David Gregory, Howard Fineman and ... Ben Ginsberg.

The consensus in this fair and balanced panel is that Bush is going to unleash hell on Kerry tonight by pounding him as a liberalsissywimpflipfloppingloser. Which, of course, he is. Really, the only reason Bush is having problems at all is because the TV screens are showing that the country has gone to hell. Nothing he can't handle.

Bubble Boy

Some critics and supporters of US President George W. Bush agree on an intriguing explanation for his poor showing in his first debate with Democratic rival John Kerry: Blame it on the White House "bubble."


Even allowing for heightened protection around him in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Bush has taken unusual pains to insulate himself from hard questions from those who disagree with him.

He has held fewer press conferences than any modern president -- including his father, former president George Bush -- and aides who disagreed publicly with him have generally recanted swiftly and humbly or left the administration.


Bush on Wednesday blamed his facial expressions on what he said were Kerry's constantly shifting or even contradictory views on Iraq saying: "You hear all that and you can understand why somebody would make a face."

But the president rarely hears a discouraging word, as he is largely isolated from critics, reporters, bad news, and a public deeply divided over the March 2003 Iraq invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

One of his reelection campaign's staple events is dubbed "Ask President Bush," a session in which he takes questions from friendly audiences of campaign aides and carefully screened supporters with nary a heckler in sight.

The first question at one such event on October 4 was a good example of the feedback he typically gets: "Mr President, first, we just want to tell you that we pray for you every night as our President."

Bush has repeatedly declared that he mostly ignores newspaper coverage, telling Fox News television in September 2003 that he prefers to "get briefed by people who probably read the news themselves."

This would be interesting except for the fact that evidence is that Junior has always been an ass. He's extremely spoiled and while the power of the presidency has undoubtedly magnified that characteristic, it's fundamental to his character. There's a reason why he's called "smirk."

Here's a great illustration from the 2000 election. Via TNR, this is from the November 2000 issue of Newsweek:

Aboard Bush's plane, [John] McCain's chief strategist, John Weaver, had--without thinking--pulled a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich off the snack cart and eaten it. Bush came aboard the plane and asked the flight attendant for his PB&J. She had to tell him it was gone. "It's gone?" Bush said, disbelieving and suddenly angry. "Who ate my peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich?" After a minute Weaver impishly raised his hand. "I did," he said. "Fine," said Bush. "Don't eat any more of his food," McCain cracked, sotto voce. A few people chuckled, and Bush returned to his seat to pout.

Observers have known about his childish imperiousness forever and and it has been easily discerned by those in the public who care to see, in his press conferences andpublic appearances. He is a petty tyrant.

Bob Woodward showed it very well in his hagiography of the post 9/11 Little Caesar version of Junior:

"I'm the commander in chief, see, I don't need to explain, I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting part about being president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

Not even the American people, apparently.

Or let's go back even further to my personal favorite from The Dallas Morning News, Feb. 25, 1990:

"I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes."

Isn't that nice? Others were dying in a war he supported, he didn't feel like "shooting out his eardrum" so he nobly decided to "better himself" by learning to fly airplanes on the taxpayers dime and then quitting for reasons about which we can only speculate.

Was he in a bubble when he made those selfish choices? Was he in a bubble when he made that statement twenty years later?

Here's a telling one:

Around the same time, for the 1972 Christmas holiday, the Allisons met up with the Bushes on vacation in Hobe Sound, Fla. Tension was still evident between Bush and his parents. Linda was a passenger in a car driven by Barbara Bush as they headed to lunch at the local beach club. Bush, who was 26 years old, got on a bicycle and rode in front of the car in a slow, serpentine manner, forcing his mother to crawl along. "He rode so slowly that he kept having to put his foot down to get his balance, and he kept in a weaving pattern so we couldn't get past," Allison recalled. "He was obviously furious with his mother about something, and she was furious at him, too."

Bush mocking Karla Faye Tucker may be the most emblematic of his lack of empathy and immaturity, but there are hundreds of documented incidents of Bush's mask slipping, both when he was younger and more recently in his Rove-created adult persona. At heart, he is a snotty little smart ass who has no respect for anything.

The presidential bubble may have made it impossible for his handlers to stop him from being his cocky self instead of hiding behind Rove's carefully crafted facade of the regular Joe. After last Thursday's debacle I assume that someone has tried to put the mask firmly back in place.

Then again, maybe not. The man behind the mask is the real Bush and last Thursday I got the sense that he was yearning to breathe free. Judging from his smirking and preening on the stage two days ago when he delivered his "major" speech, he didn't seem to have learned his lesson. The men behind the curtain may have lost control of their creation.

We'll see tonight if he can keep his two selves integrated or if the inner Bush emerges once more.

Sanctioned Liar

The vice president said he found other parts of the report "more intriguing," including the finding that Saddam's main goal was the removal of international sanctions.

"As soon as the sanctions were lifted, he had every intention of going back" to his weapons program, Cheney said "...the sanctions regime was coming apart at the seams. Saddam perverted that whole thing and generated billions of dollars."

November, 2000

Millions of dollars of US oil business with Iraq are being channelled discreetly through European and other companies, in a practice that has highlighted the double standards now dominating relations between Baghdad and Washington after a decade of crippling sanctions.

Though legal, leading US oil service companies such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Flowserve, Fisher-Rosemount and others, have used subsidiaries and joint venture companies for this lucrative business, so as to avoid straining relations with Washington and jeopardising their ties with President Saddam Hussein's government in Baghdad.

Halliburton, the largest US oil services company, is among a significant number of US companies that have sold oil industry equipment to Iraq since the UN relaxed sanctions two years ago.

Oopsie. It appears that Saddam was making those perverted billions with the help of Unka Dickie himself.

And, waddaya know. It looks like old Dick, Iraq and Iran were the real axis of evil. All three of them wanted badly to get rid of sanctions and get down to the business of making big bucks and lethal weapons.

Vice President Dick Cheney, who has called Iran "the world's leading exporter of terror," pushed to lift U.S. trade sanctions against Tehran while chairman of Halliburton Co. in the 1990s.


Cheney argued then that sanctions did not work and punished American companies. The former defense secretary complained in a 1998 speech that U.S. companies were "cut out of the action" in Iran because of the sanctions.

It sure was lucky for Unka Dick that Saddam was willing to "pervert" the oil for food program so that Halliburton could launder its involvement through European countries and avoid being "cut out of the action." Too bad Tehran didn't have such a convenient method to funnell money to its good friends. It forced Dick to have to lobby for lifiting the sanctions, making him look bad.

We've come full circle. They have so lost touch with reality that Cheney is now implicating himself in Saddam's WMD programs and he doesn't even realize it.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Gimme Them Hearts 'N Minds

Sympathy for al-Zarqawi grows among Iraqis amid U.S. airstrikes


I wrote in a post below that the administration had never given a definitive and believable reason for the need to invade Iraq (and play into Osama bin Ladens' hands by creating a fertile recruiting ground in the heart of the middle east.) I hereby stand corrected. Today the president announced that we had to invade because Saddam was abusing the oil for food program in a bid to convince countries and companies to lift the sanctions and if we had then lifted the sanctions he might have gotten materials that could have resulted in his possibly being able to create a weapon of mass destruction that might have been given to terrorists at some later date. Certainly, that was a grave and gathering danger that could not be allowed to stand for one day beyond March 18th, 2003.

Please excuse the error.

"Bush lost his momentum"

The AP-Ipsos Public Affairs poll, completed on the eve of the second presidential debate, showed a reversal from early September, when the Republican incumbent had the momentum and a minuscule lead. With bloodshed increasing in Iraq, Kerry sharpened his attacks, and Bush stumbled in their initial debate.

Among 944 likely voters, the Kerry-Edwards ticket led Bush-Cheney 50 percent to 46 percent. The Oct. 4-6 survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The race was tied 47-47 percent among all registered voters, with a 2.5 point margin of error. Other polls show the race just as tight.

Nearly three-fourths of likely voters who were surveyed said they had watched or listened to the first presidential debate last week. Some 39 percent said they came away with a more favorable view of Kerry, while just 8 percent felt better about Bush.


Nearly six in 10 of all the people questioned - likely voters or not - said the country was headed on the wrong track, reflecting a gloomy national mood that could jeopardize Bush's re-election bid. His overall approval rating among likely voters, 46 percent, was at its lowest point since June - down from 54 percent in late September.


Dowd and his fellow Republicans have also said Bush would prevail because he's considered the strongest leader in a time of war. That is now open to debate.

On the question of who would protect the country, Bush led Kerry 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters - down from the 20-point lead that Bush held in a Sept. 7-9 poll by AP-Ipsos.

Bush's approval rating on handling foreign policy and the war on terror was 49 percent - down from 55 percent in a Sept. 20-22 poll by AP-Ipsos.

Forty-four percent of likely voters approve of the commander in chief's handling of the war in Iraq, down from 51 percent in the late-September poll. It was 49-46 Bush on the question of who is best suited to handle Iraq, within the poll's margin of error.

On the eve of Friday's debate, Bush was forced by a critical new report to concede that Iraq did not have the stockpiles of banned weapons he had warned of before the 2003 invasion. Still, he insisted Thursday, "we were right to take action" against Saddam Hussein (news - web sites). Kerry renewed his assertion that Bush had misled voters and mismanaged the war.

Virtually across the board, Bush's approval ratings were as low as they have been since June. Kerry gained among women, opening a 12-point lead while slashing the president's advantage with men.

Less than half of likely voters, 47 percent, approve of Bush's performance on the economy and just 43 percent give him good marks for other domestic policies.

Bush and Kerry are considered equally likable, after Bush's ratings went down and Kerry's went up for an 11-point swing.

Slightly more voters consider Kerry honest, a reversal from last month. Far more voters consider Bush decisive (73 percent) than Kerry (43 percent), but the gap closed by 8 points.

Kerry widened his lead on the question of who would create jobs, with 54 percent favoring him and 40 percent Bush.

Permanent War

Via Kevin at Catch, I see that Matt Taibbi infiltrated another campaign, this time the Republicans.

Here's an interesting observation:

The problem not only with fundamentalist Christians but with Republicans in general is not that they act on blind faith, without thinking. The problem is that they are incorrigible doubters with an insatiable appetite for Evidence. What they get off on is not Believing, but in having their beliefs tested. That's why their conversations and their media are so completely dominated by implacable bogeymen: marrying gays, liberals, the ACLU, Sean Penn, Europeans and so on. Their faith both in God and in their political convictions is too weak to survive without an unceasing string of real and imaginary confrontations with those people -- and for those confrontations, they are constantly assembling evidence and facts to make their case.

But here's the twist. They are not looking for facts with which to defeat opponents. They are looking for facts that ensure them an ever-expanding roster of opponents. They can be correct facts, incorrect facts, irrelevant facts, it doesn't matter. The point is not to win the argument, the point is to make sure the argument never stops. Permanent war isn't a policy imposed from above; it's an emotional imperative that rises from the bottom. In a way, it actually helps if the fact is dubious or untrue (like the Swift-boat business), because that guarantees an argument. You're arguing the particulars, where you're right, while they're arguing the underlying generalities, where they are.

Once you grasp this fact, you're a long way to understanding what the Hannitys and Limbaughs figured out long ago: These people will swallow anything you feed them, so long as it leaves them with a demon to wrestle with in their dreams.

This tracks with my pet theory, "The Action Is The Juice."

These people aren't really about politics, ideology, faith or winning. They are about fighting. Losing this election will not shut them up --- indeed, they will be invigorated by the loss, reassured in their view that they are a victimized minority.

This fight, sadly, will not end after we win on November 2nd. In many ways it will just be beginning. But at least the reins of power will no longer be exclusively theirs and we can begin to reverse the damage.

I actually think that lefty bloggers and their readers will be more important after the election than before. Unless the election is a complete landslide, in which case the other side will be knocked back on its heels for a short time, we will have to be prepared to continue the battle within days. Remember, the Republicans have had an entire machine in mothballs for the past four years that is in the exclusive business of destroying a Democratic presidency. They like being on the offensive and they make a tidy profit at it. Many of these people don't mind Junior losing one damn bit.

corrected for grammatical boo-boo

Blind Man's Bluff

Via Kevin Drum I see that the Duelfer reports says that Saddam was willfully mysterious about his weapons capability because he was obsessed with the threat of Iran:

Hussein often denied U.S. assertions that he possessed banned weapons in defiance of U.N. resolutions, but for years he also persisted in making cryptic public statements to perpetuate the myth that he actually did have them. The Iraq Survey Group believes that he continued making those statements long after he had secretly ordered the destruction of his stockpiles.

Based on the interrogations, it appears that Hussein underestimated how seriously the United States took the weapons issue, and he believed it was vital to his own survival that the outside world — especially Iran — think he still had them.

It was a strategy, Hussein has told his FBI interrogators during the last 10 months, that was aimed primarily at bluffing Iraq's neighbor to the east.

"The Iranian threat was very, very, palpable to him, and he didn't want to be second to Iran, and he felt he had to deter them. So he wanted to create the impression that he had more than he did," Duelfer, the Iraq Survey Group head, told members of the Senate on Wednesday.

If I may take a little bit of credit here, I posited a version of that theory back in July of '03, not specifically highlighting Iran, but saying that it was likely a bluff to boost his prestige and deterrent in the region and within his own regime:

Saddam was a strongman dictator who maintained his power, both within the country and in the region, through fear and violence. Kowtowing to the UN and especially to the US would have substantially weakened his reputation as a ruthless tyrant who was willing to do anything to stay in power. If a totalitarian shows weakness, the whole house of cards can come tumbling down. It’s possible that he felt he had to bluff or lose his grip on power from within and encourage aggression from his neighbors.

In light of another revelation in the Duelfer report, I think that the other point in that paragraph --- that Saddam was afraid of losing power from within --- also turns out to be probable.

Shortly before the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq last year, Saddam Hussein gathered his top generals together to share what came to them as astonishing news: The weapons that the United States was launching a war to remove did not exist.

"There was plenty of surprise when Saddam said, 'Sorry guys, we don't have any' " weapons of mass destruction to use against the invading forces, a senior U.S. intelligence official said.


The new accounts contradict many U.S. assumptions about relations between Hussein and his senior aides, as well as American views on what Hussein was doing and how he saw the outside world before the invasion.

For example, many in the U.S. intelligence community had believed that Hussein's sycophantic generals kept him in the dark about the state of Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs — that is, that the dictator was misled by associates who told him what he wanted to hear.

Far from being misinformed, the report says, Hussein was micromanaging Iraq's weapons policy himself and kept even his most loyal aides from gaining a clear picture of what was going on — and, more important, not going on — with the program.

"Saddam's centrality to the regime's political structure meant that he was the hub of Iraqi WMD policy and intent," the report concluded.

Back when I wrote that earlier post, in light of the fact that Saddam was likely only bluffing, I went on to wonder whether our new doctine of preventive war was such a good idea:

The big question, however, is whether it is reasonable to believe that the most powerful country in the world bought this 3rd rate dictator's gamesmanship and if it did, whether it is reasonable to have a doctrine of preventive war if our top flight, super sophisticated intelligence services are so easily duped.

If the clumsy posturing of a not-too-bright tyrant is now the only evidence we need to launch an invasion then we are in for a very bumpy ride. (And, I would like to propose that we simply start flushing thousand dollar bills down the toilet rather than continue to fund a defense and intelligence apparatus that is incapable of verifying whether or not these claims have any basis in reality.)

In truth, the hyping of the evidence speaks for itself ...If Saddam bluffed and we knew he was bluffing (or certainly should have known) then somebody needs to ask what purpose was served for the people of the United States and Britain for their governments to call that bluff.

I still wonder why nobody asks why, if they actually believed that Saddam had WMD, they felt the need to overhype the threat so grandly and why they felt so comfortable putting 140,000 American troops in the direct line of fire. I have always thought they knew he was a paper tiger.

Clearly, they had other reasons for invading and none of those reasons have ever been publicly acknowleged. (The crap about "liberation" is, of course, utter nonsense. Bush and Cheney have never given a moment's thought to someone else's freedom in their entire life.) Everybody has their theory, from establishing military dominance in the middle east and seizing the oilfields to a primitive racist need to punish some arabs for 9/11 to revenge for the attempted assasination of Bush Sr.

That we still have no definitive reason for this invasion --- good or bad, right or wrong --- says everything.

Losing It

Andrew Sullivan posted a very disturbing letter yesterday which seemed to indicate that the US might be in danger of losing control of Baghdad. If US forces can't control the Green Zone, then they can't control anything:

From: "Baghdad, USConsul"
To: "Baghdad, USConsul"
Subject: Warden Message
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 14:36:13 +0000

Warden Message - Increased Security Awareness within the International Zone

On October 5, 2004, at approximately 1 pm, U.S. Embassy security personnel discovered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the Green Zone Café. A U.S. Military Explosive Ordnance Detachment safely disarmed the IED.
American citizens living or working in the International Zone are strongly encouraged to take the following security precautions:

* Limit non-essential movement within the International Zone, especially at night.
* Travel in groups of two or more.
* Carry several means of communication.
* Avoid the Green Zone Café, the Chinese Restaurants, the Lone Star restaurant and Vendor Alley.
* Conduct physical fitness training within a compound perimeter.
* Notify office personnel or friends of your travel plans in the International Zone.
**** Conduct a thorough search of your vehicle prior to entering it.

Consular Section
US Embassy Baghdad

Today, the insurgents launched an attack on the Sheraton hotel, where the journalists stay, and naturally CNN is obsessing on it. These pictures are not helpful.

The Republicans are going to start howling that the Kerry campaign is gleeful that things are going badly in Iraq as they point out the endless numbers of Bush failures. But, I have news for them. If Bush and Cheney weren't running on the "you can believe me or you can believe your lying eyes" platform, they would not be so vulnerable on this issue. Their unwillingness to face reality is what's dragging them down more than the situation itself.

Maybe if Junior took a little more interest in history and a little less interest in believing his own hype, he might just have learned something from a president in his own lifetime --- Lyndon Johnson. Sadly for him, he won't even have a signature issue like the "Voting Rights Act" or the comfort of a landslide election to comfort him in his dotage. He's a loser in every sense of the word.


The next time you hear one of the cable gasbags going on about Democratic voter fraud or the fact that they Florida is outstripping Democrats in registration keep this in mind:

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating 1,500 voter registration forms received by the Leon County elections office that apparently were altered to register local students as Republicans.


In St. Petersburg, former Mayor Charles Schuh received a letter saying he was ineligible to vote in the Aug. 31 primary because his registration application wasn't received on time. He later learned that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now had turned in a registration form with his correct name, address and phone number, but the wrong date of birth, final four digests of his Social Security number and gender.


He was allowed to vote after showing elections officials his voter registration card and telling them the incorrect registration application wasn't submitted by him. Schuh said the registration form with his name was turned over to the state attorney's office along with 14 others that appear fraudulent.

State Attorney Bernie McCabe said all appeared to be turned in by ACORN.

"It does not appear right now that it can result in any impact on the election because the phony people aren't going to be voting, but it certainly creates a lot of work for everybody," McCabe said. "The supervisors of elections have enough on their plates than worrying about people turning in phony cards."

While he said ACORN is willing to help investigators, he said the problem appears to be caused by paid workers falsifying forms in order to make quotas.

The interesting thing about this is that Florida ACORN is a liberal group, dedicated to a living wage and oppostion to the Bush tax cuts, yet it appears to have some paid workers registering students as Republicans. That seems a bit odd, don't you think?

If I were a suspicious person, I might think that some enterprising GOP dirty tricksters were infiltrating liberal voter registration groups.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Go Where They Need You

Since California is in the bag, I decided sometime back to make the supreme sacrifice and go to Las Vegas and help them GOTV. (Hey, Nevada is an important swing state...)

I noticed that Josh Marshall linked to America Coming Together so that people can volunteer to help out where it's close and I realized that I should plug them again, too. They are very good at helping you plan on whatever budget you can can come up with.

If you are near one of those swing states or can get there sometime in the next month, particularly on election day, sign up.

It's also worth noting that even if people don't apply for an absentee ballot, in many states you can vote early, which is what I plan to do. You just go down to the designated polling place in your town and vote like it was election day. (I didn't know you could do this until this election.) We can start turning out the vote early. It may be just a matter of giving people a lift to the polls or gathering a group of friends.

You Can't Stretch

As we all know, 9/11 changed everything, most especially the GOP's zealous regard for absolute truth telling in debates.

From Just My 2, here's an interesting compilation of wacky Republican quotes from back in the year 2000 --- when Al Gore mendaciously lied about who he accompanied on a trip to Texas.

Here's my favorite:

BUSH: If there's pattern of just exaggeration and stretches to try to win votes, it says something about leadership as far as I'm concerned, because once you're the president, you can't stretch.

Stop The Presses

Media Matters exposes the fact that Tim Russert is a whore. Seems he forgot to mention last night that he knew that Cheney had met Edwards before.

KATIE COURIC (Today co-host):... the vice president said he had never met John Edwards until tonight, talking about pretty much being an absentee senator, but you say that's not true.

RUSSERT: No, it's not true. In fact, on April 8th of 2001, they were on Meet the Press together. Dick Cheney first, and then John Edwards after him.

COURIC: Well, why did he say that?

RUSSERT: And they stopped and shook hands. They were at a prayer meeting together. I think what he was trying to -- maybe he didn't remember -- but he clearly is trying to give the impression that John Edwards is a young ambitious man in a hurry who just doesn't stop by the Senate and do his job in a serious way, but is out campaigning and politicking, suggesting it's all politics. I was surprised that --

COURIC: On the other hand, if you -- if you misspeak like that and -- and are dishonest about it, that can backfire, right?

RUSSERT: Sure. I wish -- I thought that John Edwards would call him on it right at that very moment. I still don't know why. I think it goes to your point, he was always trying to find a -- a bigger issue to take on.

Of course Little Russ forgot to mention any of that in the immediate aftermath of the debate when people were watching. This does not surprise me. But, since when did Katie Couric, like, totally turn into Malibu Barbie?

"It was interesting how they didn't really respond to each other's criticisms. Oftentimes they would -- somebody would make a point, and then they wouldn't be responsive, they would just say another point against that candidate.

No duh. It's so wierd when they do that. It's like they're trying to change the conversation or something. It's kewl that Katie totally noticed that too. And she's only been in journalism for, like, 25 years. Awesome.

So It Goes

South Knox Bubba, one of my favorite bloggers, is being accused by a local wingnut of somehow inciting his followers to fire shots at the local GOP headquarters in the middle of the night.

Tim Mcveigh blew up a building killing hundreds and the wingnuts howled indignantly at the mere suggestion that the violent anti-government rhetoric spewing forth from every crazed talk show and right wing militia group at the time might have given old Tim the wrong idea about politics. Now this frail little fellow is fretting like a little old lady and accusing a very civil liberal blogger of "contributing to a potentially catastrophic atmosphere" with his allegedly "hateful tripe." Hypocrisy doesn't even come close to explaining this crap. They are living in another dimension.

SK Bubba's blog is hardly a fiery leftist rant page. He links to non-liberal locals and rarely enters into the seriously profane (as I do.) A fair number of Republicans come over and spar in a reasonably friendly way in his comments section but there is no "hateful tripe," as any sentient human would perceive it, anywhere near it.

He also lives in and writes about politics in Bush country in the age of Ashcroft and the Patriot Act. This kind of thing could get him into trouble.

And by the way --- nobody knows who the hell shot into the building. As far as I'm concerned, the most likely suspect is this desperate little GOP attention seeker himself --- probably drunk and a little too clever for his own good.

Update: Thanks to The Donkey in the comments, I have been forwarded Bubba's hateful manifesto. Chilling.

Rewriting History

In his debate with John Edwards, Dick Cheney had a brand-new version of the events that led to war.

With virtually all of the administration’s original case for war in Iraq in tatters, Vice President Dick Cheney provided shifting and sometimes misleading arguments in last night’s debate with John Edwards about Saddam Hussein’s ties to terrorists and his access to weapons of mass destruction.

Cheney, responding to moderator Gwen Ifill’s first question, said that “concern” about Iraq before the war had “specifically focused” on the fact that Saddam’s regime had been listed for years by the U.S. government as a “state sponsor of terror,” that Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal operated out of Baghdad, that Saddam paid $25,000 to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and that he had an “established relationship” with Al Qaeda.

But except for the allegation about Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda—a claim that is now more in question than ever—the other examples cited by Cheney in Tuesday night’s debate never have been previously emphasized by Bush administration officials, and for good reasons.

More here

I'm thinking that, as with his attitude toward deficits, Cheney has adopted the credo of "Reagan proved just making stuff up doesn't matter."

Reading all the lies and corrections around the web today, I believe we might save ourselves some time if we just compiled all the things that Cheney said last night that were true.

Here goes:

Gwen, I want to thank you, and I want to thank the folks here at Case Western Reserve for hosting this tonight. It's a very important event, and they've done a superb job of putting it together.

And the president, his first legislative priority was the No Child Left Behind Act. It was the first piece of legislation we introduced.

There's a fundamental philosophical difference here between the president and myself.

The fact of the matter is, the president and I will go forward to make the tax cuts permanent

Yesterday, the president signed an extension of middle- class tax cuts.

Traditionally, that's been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will.

I've worked for four presidents and watched two others up close, and I know that there's no such thing as a routine day in the Oval Office.

We saw on 9/11 that the next president -- next decision a president has to make can affect the lives of all of us.

First of all, I'm not familiar with his cases.

Gwen, we think lawsuit abuse is a serious problem in this country.

Well, this is a great tragedy, Gwen, when you think about the enormous cost here in the United States and around the world of the AIDS epidemic -- pandemic, really. Millions of lives lost, millions more infected and facing a very bleak future

Well, I think the important thing in picking a vice president probably varies from president to president. Different presidents approach it in different ways.

Well, I clearly believe that George W. Bush would be a better commander in chief.

That's it. And, if you read the whole transcript you'll see that I'm not really exaggerating.

Who's MIA?

This morning, footage of Lynn Cheney is all over cable responding to the fact that there are pictures of Cheney and Edwards elbow to elbow at a three hour prayer breakfast by saying "I think we can all agree that going to prayer breakfasts is a good thing. But, don't you think he should have gone to the senate once in a while?"

Clever minx, isn't she? But, it may not be the best line of her storied literary career. As it turns out, there's a good reason why Cheney would never have run into Edwards in the Senate. He only meets with Republicans:

As Cheney takes on high profile, Democrats can't seem to find him

October 2, 2002:

As the Senate prepares to act on a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, Republicans say Dick Cheney has assumed an increasingly visible role on Capitol Hill.

By contrast, the Democrats report that they see little of the vice president. Cheney, a key advisor to President Bush on foreign policy issues, has become a frequent guest at the Senate Republicans’ Tuesday policy lunches, where he briefs them and answers questions. As a former White House chief of staff, secretary of defense and member of Congress, he has acquired an unusual amount of clout among GOP senators.

Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the chief Republican deputy whip, said Cheney’s counsel “is taken very seriously. It was before this situation, but I think right now, his counsel is sought out more and it’s given much greater depth and credibility.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking member on the Select Intelligence Committee, said senators “naturally look to Vice President Cheney as a seasoned, experienced person who knows the issues regarding national security, [and] has been in the forefront of it.”

However, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he hasn’t seen Cheney “in months.”

Other Democrats, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Jean Carnahan (D-Mo.) also said they haven’t had much contact with Cheney since the Iraq issue began heating up earlier this year.

Asked why Cheney hasn’t reached out to Democrats, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, replied, “You’d have to ask him – if you can find him.”

Thanks to deborah for the tip.

Junior's Love Slaves

Eric Boehlert once again earns his money:

It looks like the White House pulled a fast one on the 24-hour news channels this morning as President Bush grabbed 50 minutes of free, uninterrupted TV airtime one month before Election Day. News outlets were told in advance Bush would give a substantive speech addressing key policy issues, which is why they agreed to carry it. (They're not in the habit of running stump speeches in their entirety.) Days ago, the speech was billed as an address on medical liability reform. Then on Monday, White House aides announced the speech would address the "war on terror" and the economy. And that's how the cable outlets dutifully hyped it this morning:

-- "President Bush heads to [Pennsylvania] for what is billed as a major speech." -- MSNBC

-- "President Bush heading to Pennsylvania for what's called a significant speech on the economy and the war on terror." -- CNN

-- "President Bush is making what's being called a significant speech on Iraq and the economy." -- Fox News

Instead, the address, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was nothing more than a raucous Bush pep rally as the president unleashed his most sustained and personal attacks on Sen. John Kerry to date, portraying him as an out of touch liberal who cannot be trusted to defend America, while Republican loyalists in the crowd booed and jeered each mention of Kerry's name.


The question is, why did all three news channels cover the attack speech for nearly an hour? In the past, they have occasionally cut away to both candidates' stump speeches for five or ten minutes, but certainly never for 50 minutes. When it became apparent that Bush's policy speech was not going to be as advertised, but was instead a tirade against Kerry, did that still constitute news? And the more pressing question for the cable outlets is: When are they going to give Kerry nearly an hour of uninterrupted time to ridicule and mock Bush's record?


Reached for comment, an MSNBC spokesperson said, "We look to cover events from both campaigns. We felt [the speech today] was compelling enough and interesting enough to merit" the coverage. The spokesperson noted, "Should the Kerry campaign give a speech where he rebuts what the president said today," it too, would be covered. Asked specifically whether Kerry would get 50 minutes to respond, the spokesperson answered, "We look to be fair with our campaign coverage of both candidates."

Yeah sure. This was just bullshit. The cult members in the audience were so worked up they were practically speaking in tongues.

Do It:



1 CNN Center
POB 105366
Atlanta, GA 30348
Phone: (404) 827-1500
Fax: (404) 827-1593, (404) 827-1784

Fox News


1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 301-3000
Fax: (212) 301-4224



One MSNBC Plaza
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Phone: (201) 583-5000
Fax: (201) 583-5453

Downhill Side

I have long said that if the Democrats wanted to kill the snake, they had to cut off the head. In the case of the modern GOP, it was a three headed hydra --- Gingrich, DeLay and Limbaugh.

Gingrich is gone, beaten by his own hubris, reduced from being the most powerful politician in the Republican party to an obscure AEI post and some occasional gigs on FOX News. And right now, Monsieur DeLay and Rush Limbaugh are looking at some extremely serious legal problems that may finally take both of them down.

This is important. It's true that there are always movement conservative freakazoiods running around like Comrade Norquist and Paul Weyrich. And the infrastructure exists to continue on forever. But, these guys were the strategic vision, the power base and the voice and when they go down it is a clear sign that the conservative revolution has lost its mojo.

Why He Won

As one would expect, James Wolcott's thoughts on the debate are great and he brings up something that I think may be the most important aspect of Edwards's performance.

Like Bush last week, Cheney only fed the beast of the Republican "base." He did nothing, less than nothing, to reach out to undecideds or swing voters or anyone who wasn't already committed to the ticket. Edwards did. That's why, despite some moments of shakiness and repetition and phony tough-guyism, Edwards won.

I listened to a few minutes of the debate on the radio live and then saw the whole thing later. One of the things that struck me in both instances was that Edwards consciously spoke to individual American's everyday, real life concerns. Those things may not be particularly important at this point to the base of either party, but I think it may be very important to undecided voters.

You have to ask yourself why a voter is undecided at this point. If it were a matter of abstract political philosophy or "gut" feelings about character, there would be nothing to decide. The contrast between these two tickets is stark. What I think may be driving these undecideds is that they are looking for someone to speak to their personal concerns, show that they understand the way life is lived in America --- to translate policy into real life solutions that they can wrap their arms around.

John Edwards is the only guy in the race with an easy, natural gift for speaking to that and I think he may have succeeded in bringing some of those people into the fold.

Wolcott also had the misfortune of seeing Dennis Miller embarrass himself on Jay Leno last night.

Afterwards, I watched Jay Leno, whose first guest was Dennis Miller, whose soul has sprouted tumors. He belted out the name of Bush's campaign website, and said he was voting for the guy because Bush, man, he begins each day with one thing on his mind. He hops outta bed, "his two feet hit the floor, he scratches his balls, and says, 'Let's kill some fuckin' terrorists.'" Dennis Miller not only sounds like Michael Savage, he's beginning to look like him too, an oily stain possessing the power of speech.

And a vivid biker fantasy life, apparently. The "it's hard work" boy wakes up every morning with his arms around his favorite pilly and screams for a cup 'o cocoa.

You have to feel a little bit sorry for the cretin. He made a bad career move, casting his lot with the wingnuts because he got big laughs by making fun of Clinton and misinterpreted it as a shift in the cultural zeitgest. Big mistake. He's stuck with bully insult humor and that has a very short shelf life. The former hipster is going to be forced to socialize for the rest of his life with nothing but boring, flaccid reactionaries who's idea of fun is calling him "girlie-man" and saying he needs a haircut. That's just sad.

Sick Pieces 'O Work

On one of the blond succubi shows on FOXnews this morning (featuring Linda Vester and Ann Coulter) they cut away to a pouty lipped banshee who gleefully announced that Martha Stewart will be reporting to jail and that "she'll be treated exactly like every other prisoner ... including a strip search."

I have little doubt that Coulter and Vester got visions of Abu Ghraib sugar plums dancing in their heads at the mere thought of the possibilities. This is the mentality that created Lyndie Englund and all her little friends. Sadistic, power mad freaks. They don't get it from porno sites or even frat boy "hijinx." It's mainstream fun on right wing media.

Cheney's Pants Spontaneously Immolated

Edwards was excellent as I knew he would be. Articulate, engaging and smart. If anybody had the mistaken idea that they could Quayle this guy, he certainly proved them wrong tonight.

But I think Cheney may have set a record for how many times a candidate can outright, baldfacedly lie in an hour and a half on national television. And that's saying something. He and Junior really are living in some sort of dreamworld where they apparently don't have to worry that their every previous public statement is noted and available for the whole world to see. Here on planet earth we have google and lexis-nexis and we can dig up all the examples of when they said things they claim they didn't say.

The most obvious is Dick's continued insistence that he's never said there was a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam. Fergawd's sake. But the debate was riddled with an amazing array of outright lies by Cheney from small ones like "I'd never met him before tonight" to huge ones like suggesting that there has been a drop in suicide bombings in Israel because Saddam isn't paying a bounty. This article captures a few, but there are many more that will be fleshed out over the next few days.

I predict that once the full scope of the lies Cheney told tonight are artfully dribbled out by the Democrats over the next couple of days, Cheney's respectable "draw" will turn into a rout. This isn't 2000 and the Democrats are not going to stand for this shit this time.

As for the whores, I have to give extra special kudos to Joe Scarborough for the biggest slurpy Cheney blowjobs of the night, although it was difficult to choose from among his colleagues. But apparently, somebody put a horses head in Joey's bed after his little "mistake" in calling the debate for Kerry last week because he really went the extra mile tonight.

Eric Boehlert wonders if the entire MSNBC crew even saw the same debate as the rest of us did:

The Cheney group hug began before Edwards had even exited the debate stage in Cleveland, with NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell declaring, "Dick Cheney did awfully well in putting John Edwards in his place." MSNBC host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, who didn't flinch in naming Sen. John Kerry the debate winner last week, declared, "There's no doubt about it, Edwards got obliterated by Dick Cheney." (Perhaps he was trying to appease his right-wing fans who, he later remarked, flayed him alive for giving the debate to Kerry last week.) Newsweek's managing editor Jon Meachem chimed in that Edwards seemed like "Kerry-lite," while host Matthews skewered Edwards in a strangely personal way, reminiscent of the way Matthews hounded President Bill Clinton throughout the impeachment process.

"I don't think this well-rehearsed and well-briefed senator from North Carolina was ready for the assault," said Matthews, who insisted, "Dick Cheney was loaded for bear tonight. He went looking for squirrel and he found squirrel" in the form of Edwards. He later suggested Edwards often looked stunned, as if he'd been "slapped" by Cheney's devastating debating technique. Matthews also demanded to know if the "liberal press" would admit "Cheney won."

Yet nowhere else on the television landscape -- not even on Fox News -- was Cheney crowned the winner. Most pundits saw the debate as an obvious draw:

-- ABC News political director Mark Halperin told PBS's Charlie Rose the debate was a "nonevent because it didn't change the dynamic."

-- Surveying fellow journalists covering the debate, CNN's Judy Woodruff, host of "Inside Politics," reported, "Their opinion is this debate was close to a draw." She added, "If Dick Cheney was hoping to put away John Edwards, he didn't do that tonight."

-- David Gergen, who has counseled both Democratic and Republican administrations, agreed that the debate was a standoff, telling CNN's Larry King that "it ran out of electricity about halfway through. It began to drag."

-- Fox News' Bill Kristol said, "Cheney clearly won the first half on national security. I think Edwards won the second half" on domestic issues. Kristol argued the first half was more important.

-- "I can imagine Democratic living rooms, cheering every time Edwards punched. And Republican living rooms when Cheney punched," said ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. "But I don't think either candidate did much to sway voters on the fence."

ABC News' instant poll found more viewers thought Cheney won the debate, by a margin of 43 to 35. But as ABC anchor Peter Jennings noted, the poll was weighted heavily toward Republican respondents because the network found more Republicans watched the debate.

CBS ran a scientific survey of 200 uncommitted voters nationwide, which found Edwards won the debate by a clear margin, 41-29. The CBS survey found Cheney suffered a dramatic gender gap among women voters.

None of that seemed to matter inside the MSNBC echo chamber. Matthews and his crew had their story line -- Cheney won big! -- and they were sticking with it, with Matthews even wondering out loud if the choice of Edwards for V.P. "casts doubt on the judgment of John Kerry," and whether Edwards may "not be ready to be vice president of the United States."

Which again raises the question: What debate was Matthews watching, and what did Edwards ever do to him?

Well gosh, nobody could expect Tweety and crew to not call this debate for Cheney. They had some big time ass to kiss after last week. They just hate getting nasty e-mails from angry Republicans. (I wonder how they are going to like getting erudite e-mails from angry Democrats?)

The biggest loser was Gwen Ifil. What an unmitigated disaster. But then, that's no surprise. She has single handedly turned the previously great Washington Week In Review into DiGrassi Junior High, so I wasn't particularly optimistic that she could moderate a debate. And she was probably up late last night talking to Condi, her best friend, about Condi's unrequited love affair with you know who, so she was probably exhausted.

I predict a slight uptick in the polls as the undecideds start to make their move now that both Kerry and Edwards have passed the leadership threshhold. Friday could put it away.