Saturday, August 28, 2004

Cicadas

I'm starting to think that every dozen years ago the same bunch of corrupt idiots, or their intellectual progeny, get into power and proceed to screw things up until they get caught, at which point the "establishment," with which they're intimately intertwined, demands leniency, letting them go lurk underground until they're ready to pop up and screw things up all over again.

WASHINGTON - An FBI probe into the handling of highly classified material by Pentagon civilians is broader than previously reported, and goes well beyond allegations that a single mid-level analyst gave a top-secret Iran policy document to Israel, three sources familiar with the investigation said Saturday.

The probe, which has been going on for more than two years, also has focused on other civilians in the Secretary of Defense's office, said the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified, but who have first-hand knowledge of the subject.

In addition, one said, FBI investigators in recent weeks have conducted interviews to determine whether Pentagon officials gave highly classified U.S. intelligence to a leading Iraqi exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, which may in turn have passed it on to Iran. INC leader Ahmed Chalabi has denied his group was involved in any wrongdoing.

The linkage, if any, between the two leak investigations, remains unclear.

But they both center on the office of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's No. 3 official.

...

But other sources said the FBI investigation is more wide-ranging than initial news reports suggested.

They said it has involved interviews of current and former officials at the White House, Pentagon and State Department.

Investigators have asked about the security practices of several other Defense Department civilians, they said.

...

A former Feith employee, Karen Kwiatkowski, has described how senior Israeli military officers were sometimes escorted to his Pentagon office without signing in as security regulations required.


Open Thread

Enjoy.

All Hail Foghat

Contrary to the previously reported lies by the unreliable media, Foghat have not expressed a desire to tour in support of the Bush administration.

Anti-Truth

God, so I make the mistake of flipping open the NYT book review of a few books written by Jacob effing Weisberg, and I'm treated to these comments.

There was, as I remember it, a fairly vigorous debate about the wisdom of invading Iraq in the months leading up to the war, even if one did not find the most sophisticated expressions of it on cable news. Almost all of this argument was premised, however, on the erroneous assumption that Saddam retained an active W.M.D. program, a belief not questioned at the time by Wolcott or most others who today accuse Bush of intentional deception.


Well, I don't know if Wolcott questioned it, but I questioned it and so did lots of other people. But, you see, these people were nutters who weren't allowed to participate in the incredibly sophisticated debate that went on in the pages of such intellectual treasure troves as Slate effing magazine.

And, then, there was this one:

The liberal caricature Phil Donahue was axed after a few months by MSNBC not because it prefers Republicans but because his ratings were too weak to make the show profitable.


Amazing that MSNBC cancelled what was at the time its highest rated show because it wasn't profitable, unlike all those other lower rated shows which managed to be miraculously more profitable, despite their low ratings. Or, hey, maybe there's another explanation. Wow, holy shit, I think there is another explanation! Lookie here!

While "Donahue" does badly trail both O'Reilly and CNN's Connie Chung in the ratings, those numbers have improved in recent weeks. So much so that the program is the top-rated show on MSNBC, beating even the highly promoted "Hardball With Chris Matthews."

Although Donahue didn't know it at the time, his fate was sealed a number of weeks ago after NBC News executives received the results of a study commissioned to provide guidance on the future of the news channel.

That report--shared with me by an NBC news insider--gives an excruciatingly painful assessment of the channel and its programming. Some of recommendations, such as dropping the "America's News Channel," have already been implemented. But the harshest criticism was leveled at Donahue, whom the authors of the study described as "a tired, left-wing liberal out of touch with the current marketplace."

The study went on to claim that Donahue presented a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war......He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives." The report went on to outline a possible nightmare scenario where the show becomes "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."

A source close to Donahue claims that while he wasn't aware of the specific study, the tone and outcome aren't surprising.

"It's not a coincidence that this decision comes the same week that MSNBC announces its hired Dick Armey as a commentator and has both Jesse Ventura and Michael Savage joining the network as hosts. They're scared, and they decided to take the coward's road and slant towards the conservative crowd that watch Fox News."


In other words, MSNBC was scared to death that another side was being presented in that incredibly sophisticated debate that Weisberg was just telling us about, which somehow managed to exclude an entire segment of the population who, like me, DIDN'T THINK SADDAM WAS A THREAT TO US.

I didn't even like Phil Donahue's show, in part because I don't think his schtick has aged particularly well, in part because if we're going to have one unashamed lefty with his own cable news show he wouldn't really be my first choice, and most of all because his producers insisted on stacking his show with more frothing right wingers than even I knew existed. But, Donahue's show wasn't cancelled because of low ratings.

arrrgh


Oh lord, someone stop me before I go insane. I just made the mistake of reading more:

The free pass given the author's allies of the moment -- Michael Moore, Joe Conason, Eric Alterman, Sidney Blumenthal -- calls into question his choice of targets like Thomas Friedman, Andrew Sullivan and my colleague Mickey Kaus, shrewder commentators with whom he simply disagrees.



Yes, Friedman, Sullivan, and Kaus - shrewd commentators. And, yes, I remember in the runup to the war Michael Moore, Joe Conason, Eric Alterman, and Sidney Blumenthal -- man, those guys were everywhere! I mean, you couldn't turn on your television without seeing them on TV news somewhere. It was like Alterman-a-palooza on CNN!

Thankfully, it's 5 o'clock somewhere.

Facts of Life

oy.

A Bit of Air America in Philly

Only a bit of the programming, on a wee station, but it's a start.

Starting Monday, WHAT-AM (1340) will add Al Franken (noon to 3 p.m.) and Randi Rhodes (3 to 7 p.m.).

The move trims the final hour from Mary Mason’s morning show; she will air from 6 to 9 a.m. Thera Martin-Connelly moves from afternoons to late mornings (9 a.m. to noon). Syndicated host Bev Smith remains at 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reggie Bryant moves from middays to the 10 p.m.-to-1 a.m. shift.

Earlier this month, nighttime sports-talk personality Johnny Sample was let go. At the time, station manager Kernie Anderson said the move was to accommodate a time change in Smith’s show.

The 1,000-watt WHAT bills itself as the voice of the African American community. Anderson said the notion that Franken and Rhodes’ focuses are "non-black is not significant to me. ... We’re committed to the African American community ... and there’s no abandonment of our mission. My challenge is to lead the station in a direction to make it a more successful station and offer more compelling programming."

The Beard Actually Does His Job

Ken Mehlman tries to just make stuff up, assuming he'll get away with it, and surprisingly Wolf actually calls him on it:

MEHLMAN: Michael Moore is one of John Kerry's surrogates. He has been out there. He sat with Mrs. Kerry in John Kerry's box during their convention.

BLITZER: Did he sit with Mrs. Kerry, I don't think he sat with Mrs. Kerry.

MEHLMAN: Well, I know he sat in the box. And he has made a number of outrageous statements during the course of this campaign. And I...

BLITZER: He sat with Mrs. Carter, Jimmy Carter -- and former President Jimmy Carter, just to be precise. I was there.

Post Fingers Franklin

WaPo:

The FBI is investigating a mid-level Pentagon official who specializes in Iranian affairs for allegedly passing classified information to Israel, and arrests in the case could come as early as next week, officials at the Pentagon and other government agencies said last night.

The name of the person under investigation was not officially released, but two sources identified him as Larry Franklin. He was described as a desk officer in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia Bureau, one of six regional policy sections. Franklin worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency before moving to the Pentagon's policy branch three years ago and is nearing retirement, the officials said. Franklin could not be located for comment last night.

And, Gertz over at the Moonie Times says:

The FBI is investigating a senior Pentagon official who is suspected of passing classified information to the Israeli government through a pro-Israel lobbying group, U.S. officials said yesterday.
The probe is focusing on whether the senior official, who has not been identified by name, disclosed classified information related to White House policy toward Iran.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the suspected mole works in the office of Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy who is considered one of the top three officials in the Pentagon.
One U.S. official said the FBI had unconfirmed information that Mr. Feith supplied information to Israel in the 1980s. However, the officials declined to provide further information citing the ongoing investigation. It could not be learned whether arrests are expected in the case.
But a third official, also speaking anonymously, said an arrest could come as early as next week.


It's hard to imagine that this is about some draft policy on Iran.

Pro-Choice Catholics

It really was a sad moment in journalism when we had the Kerry communion watch. Amy Sullivan reminds us:

The dirty little secret about these groups is that they don't demand that Catholic politicians -- who, according to church teaching, should be held to a higher standard because of their visible status -- conform to all church positions on issues like the death penalty or war or immigration reform or combatting poverty. And they don't really care if PCRCs stray from church teaching on abortion (sounds like you need to read Evangelium Vitae a bit more carefully, guys...)

What they do care about is defeating Democrats. Some of them don't even try to gloss over that fact. Deal Hudson (the now-disgraced and resigned former head of Catholic outreach for the Bush/Cheney campaign) told the Washington Post last spring that "he believes the denial of Communion should begin, and end, with Kerry." . . .

The silence coming out of the Catholic League regarding the prominence of a bunch of heretical babykillers at the GOP Convention is simply deafening . . .

Next time reporters are tempted to let these guys drive the story, they should think twice. And while they're at it, they might want to turn the tables and write about the partisan involvement of supposedly neutral religious figures.

The Full Scoop (so far)

Laura Rozen.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Shame on Bob

Unbelievable:

But Dole also made another statement that day, one that hasn't been aired until now. Of McCain's charge to President Bush during a 2000 debate—"You should be ashamed"—Dole told Wolf Blitzer, "He was right." Dole made the remark off-air, while CNN broadcast the Kerry ad called "Old Tricks," the one featuring McCain's 2000 debate remarks. The campaign stopped airing it recently at McCain's request.

Although the remark was made off-air, it wasn't made off-camera. A CNN employee who asked not to be named made a digital file of the raw camera feed from the Late Edition studio. The footage does not include the graphics or other video, such as the McCain ad, that was shown during the live broadcast. "Once the control room punches the ad, it automatically kills the mics in the studio," the CNN employee told me. "He knows he can speak to Wolf and no one will hear him." Slate has posted the video, so you can see Dole's remark for yourself. (Click the image to view the clip.)

Question for Bob Dole: If President Bush should be ashamed of his behavior four years ago, why aren't you ashamed now?


...Of course, it's Blitzer who should be ashamed.

Ghorbanifar

NYT says it's one of two:

The Pentagon analyst who officials said is under suspicion was one of two department officials who traveled to Paris for a secret meeting with Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms dealer who had been a central figure in the Iran-contra affair.


It's either Harold Rhode or Larry Franklin.

Larry Johnson on the "Israeli Spy"

According to him (on MSNBC), it has something to do with the forged uranium documents...

Background here.


Over to you, Josh...

Keyes off the Ballot?

This election gets sillier and siller...

"I got a young man named George W. Bush in the National Guard"

Former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes. Watch the video...


"the worst thing that I did was that I helped a lot of wealthy supporters..."

....jmm has a bit more.


...full transcript from MF:

Josh Marshall reports that this is in fact Barnes in the video. The beginning and end show Barnes speaking at a rally, Marshall says this was recorded 6/8/04. The middle portion has Barnes seated, speaking as though in an interview.

Transcribed myself watching the video:

Speaking to an audience:
"Let's talk a minute about John Kerry and George Bush, and I know them both. And I'm not name dropping, saying I know them both. See I got...I got a young man named George W. Bush into the National Guard when I was the Lt. Governor of Texas, and I'm not necessarily proud of that. (audience laughs) But, But I did it, and I got a lot of other people into the National Guard because I thought that's what people should do when you're in office and you helped a lot of rich people. And I walked to the Vietnam Memorial wall the other day and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam, and I became more ashamed of myself than I've ever been because it's the worst thing I did was help a lot of wealthy supporters, and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard. And I'm very sorry about that, and I'm ashamed. And I apologize to you, the voters of Texas. (Applause)"

Cut to Interview:
"John Kerry volunteered to go to Vietnam. And that was a pretty courageous thing, because John Kerry could have gone on and gotten another degree. He was in a position where he didn't have to go to Vietnam. I admired that so much, that he went. But I admired even more the fact that he came back talking about Vietnam and what a mistake it was. A matter of fact he talked about it so much that he got the FBI looking at him and got on Richard Nixon's list. And that took, that takes a lot of courage of a young man who particularly has an interest in politics and that wants to serve this county to go get on the President's black list. And I know a little bit about that because I got on Richard Nixon's black list also, and that's a story for another time. But it's, it's incredible that John Kerry, uhh, had the courage to go do that. And, you know, I think he deserves to be in Profiles of Courage for his service in Vietnam. But I also think, and I'm not upset with him at all that he came back and, and, talked about Vietnam and said that we were wrong. And I think he deserves equally as much credit for that as he does fighting. We should not look upon anyone that disagreed with our Vietnam policy as being unpatriotic. As we should not look upon anyone today that disagrees with our policy, or our lack of policy in Iraq. I am very unhappy with Republicans that want to make anyone that questions this administration's policy in Iraq is, is not being a freedom loving American."

Cut back to him speaking to the audience:
"And I tell you, for the Republicans to jump on John Kerry and say that he's not a patriot, after he went to Vietnam and was shot at and fought for our freedom and came back here and protested against the war - "he's a flip flopper." Let me tell you, John Kerry is 100 times a better patriot than George Bush or Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld."

What Do They Have to Hide?

Remember when it took the White House about 5 minutes to pore through their telephone logs to try to discredit Wesley Clark?

How many times has the White House had contact with the Swift Boat Liars? Rove has already changed his story. Why won't the press demand this information? The White House has already set a precedent -- releasing the information whenever it suits them. Release the logs!

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 U.S. Newswire -- Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) received a letter from the Executive Office of the President denying CREW's Aug. 24 request for records detailing White House contacts with individuals connected to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT). As grounds for the denial, the White House claimed that it was exempt from having to disclose the information.

CREW had asked the White House to release information regarding contacts between the Executive Office of the President and members of SBVT and others associated with the group, including public relations, advertising, detective and fundraising organizations.

CREW decided to file the FOIA after learning that President Bush's political advisor Karl Rove had claimed not to have spoken with his longtime friend and primary SVBT donor Bob J. Perry, in over a year. Yesterday, Rove had changed his tune, telling FOX news: "I don't want to leave any misimpression. But he's (Perry) not somebody that I've had, you know, any extended conversation with in years . . ." Rove denied, however, speaking with Perry about SBVT.

Rove's comments were made the same day CREW discovered that a Republican party Committee website in Collier County Florida was soliciting donations for SBVT and showing the group's ads, something clearly not allowed under the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Upon receiving the denial of the FOIA request, CREW's Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated "If the White House really had nothing to do with SBVT or its ads, then there was no reason for it to deny CREW's request. The White House could have released the records and silenced its critics. Its refusal to respond suggests that there is information the White House would prefer not become public."

More Coverage For the Republicon

So, MSNBC is increasing its coverage. ABC will add coverage during MNF halftime. CBS's New York affiliate, with Dan Rather anchoring, will have an additional hour of coverage (I don't believe their Boston affiliate did the same, though I could be wrong).

The National Joke That is CNN

From drudge:

CABLE NEWS RACE
THURS, AUG 26, 2004

FOXNEWS O'REILLY 2.0 [RATING]
FOXNEWS HANNTIY/COLMES 1.8
FOXNEWS GRETA 1.6
FOXNEWS BRIT HUME 1.3
FOXNEWS SHEP SMITH 1.3 MSNBC OLBERMAN 0.6
MSNBC NORVILLE 0.6
MSNBC HARDBALL 0.6
MSNBC SCARBOROUGH 0.6
CNN LARRY KING .5
CNN AARON BROWN 0.5
CNN PAULA ZAHN 0.5
CNBC DENNIS MILLER 0.1
CNBC MCENROE 0.1


Entire primetime lineup has moved behind MSNBC's.

Meow



First MoveOn PAC Ad

This is one of the better ones, I think.

Friday Cat Blogging

The cats have informed me that they refuse to be photographed until there's a little bit more money thrown into the various begging bowls.

Mars, bitches!


(click to watch "Black Bush in the White House")

Greenspan the Hack

What Sam Rosenfeld says:

OH, THE GALL. Alan Greenspan is again calling for policymakers to show some political courage and take tough actions to deal with the looming Social Security and Medicare crises. Forget for a moment his elision of the two entitlement programs into a single looming problem, which is a clever way of obscuring the relative fiscal health of Social Security (in contrast to the very real troubles with Medicare) so as to legitimize more drastic changes to it. Forget also for the moment that the remedies he calls for -- like raising the retirement age -- would barely make a dent in the long-term fiscal crisis the country is heading toward.
Instead, note only that this is yet another article on Greenspan’s Social Security agenda that fails to mention his leading role first in pushing for increases in the regressive payroll taxes in the 1980s to secure the system and then, two decades later, advocating for George Bush’s massively regressive tax cuts -- tax cuts that are, of course, the underlying cause of the ostensible Social Security “crisis” he’s so worried about now. It’s simply the most brazen and drawn-out Robin Hood-in-reverse scheme I’ve ever heard of, and it’s worth emphasizing every time the Maestro opens his mouth on the subject.


This is exactly right - Greenspan advocated raising payroll taxes which later allowed him to advocate for using that revenue to pay for tax cuts for the rich and then advocate against using that money for the purpose he said it should be used for.

Decent people should shun this man.


There is no problem with Social Security, except if it's lumped in with the overall looming financial crisis which the Bush tax cuts created. There is a problem with Medicare, but that's wrapped up in the general problem of the health care system as a whole. If you think the solution is "letting more old people die by cutting their benefits" - well, that's a solution to *something*, but not really the solution most of us have in mind.

Through the Roof And On To Mars, Bitches!

In the immortal words of Gogol Bordello:


There is a trap set up for you
In every corner of your town
And so you learn the only way to go is underground
And there is trap set up for you
In every corner of your room
And so you learn the only way to go is through the roof
Through the roof 'n' underground

...

They don't hide and don't advertise
Their strategy of being is one of in your face-disguise
Through the roof 'n' underground


Through the roof! Donate! Get up off your ass! Donate! If your local, head over to Walnut Street and help the Hoeffel campaign! Do something damnit! Stop reading this damn blog!


The Hoeffel campaign says:

We've got a definite need for volunteers at our Center City Philadelphia office every day for the next two weeks -- phone banking, assistance with mailings and other tasks. Email us at info@hoeffelforsenate.com, or call us at 215.789.3700, and let us know when you're available.


Donate! Volunteer! Join!

Donate to Stan and Patsy!
Donate to Joe!
Donate to the DNC!

Donate to the DSCC

Donate to the DCCC


Sign up with ACT
Sign up with Move On's Leave No Voter Behind Project.
Volunteer some time for your local candidate.




Concerts for Change

Another thing you can do.

Mars, My Little Bitches!

Tough times demand a little tough language. From a post in comments by Hubric Sonic (slightly edited):

What a bunch of wussie boys. You better gird your loins we have another 67 days of this shit. Did you forget that bush has the office of the presidency, the ability to lie his ass off, dick cheney, karl rove, $200 million dollars, and of course the media whores.

did you think this was going to be easy?

put your fucking backs into it, get busy, send lawyers, guns or money. Do Something

Mars, my little bitches!

Donate to Stan and Patsy!
Donate to Joe!
Donate to the DNC!

Donate to the DSCC

Donate to the DCCC


Sign up with ACT
Sign up with Move On's Leave No Voter Behind Project.
Volunteer some time for your local candidate.

Bitching is no longer enough, so Mars, My Little Bitches! Mars!

What's the World Coming To

When World Nut Daily starts to be more reasonable than CNN.

Self-inflicted Ethics Violations

Ginsburg may have admitted to one, if not two, violations of the DC bar.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Suggestion for Brad DeLong

Just stop reading the Economist. I did. I'm much happier, and no less well informed*, now.

*aside from being informed about what those who write for the Economist think.

The Moral Bankruptcy of Anti-Choice Republicans in Congress

If I were an anti-choice person, which of course I'm not, I would be really angry that the people who claim to represent me and the things I care about in congress insisted upon passing laws which would clearly be overturned by the courts in order to keep it alive as a political issue. I don't share their moral worldview, but if I did I'd be pretty disgusted (of course, I'm disgusted, but for different reasons).

Iran

BMM says this about Iran:

The only problem is that near as I can tell there's nothing the US can really do to help the Iranian opposition except hope, any more than we can do anything to ensure that Sistani uses his considerable stature and influence in a constructive way....


That's true to some degree, but there's definitely something we could have NOT done in January 2002 - and that's have a president who pointlessly played bully and referred to Iran as part of an "axis of evil," completely stopping in his tracks a relatively pro-reform president who had, up until that point, had some success beating back the power of the anti-reform clerics.

Jim Rassman May Be Dead

According to Miles O'Brien at CNN, its a "point of dispute" whether Kerry actually saved his life.

miles.obrien@turner.com

MoveOn PAC

I just took a sneak peek at the forthcoming MoveOn PAC ads. Most were pretty entertaining in one way or another, some were probably pretty effective, although given that I'm not really the type of person they should be aimed at I have no idea if that's true or not.

But, they'll be sure to drive the mainstream media nuts for a variety of reasons. However, there's one thing I hope we can all get straight. MoveOn PAC is, as it suggests, a...wait, here it comes... a PAC! Otherwise known as a... POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE. As we're all smart well-informed reporters out here in media land, we understand that PACs have nothing to do with the "shadowy 527s" we keep hearing about. PACs have very strict donation limits and timely financial disclosure requirements. Individuals can't give more than 5 grand in a calendar year to it, and there are overall PAC contribution limits as well.

Stand Up For Choice

Planned Parenthood is hosting a cool show on Monday. Click here for info. And, click here for tickets.

(full disclosure - this plug scored me a couple of tickets)

Mylroie Heart Hezbollah

Oh boy.
...yes, I know that Mylroie didn't express a love for Hezbollah. The rule here is that we treat others we the degree of seriousness and/or contempt that they themselves treat the world. Mylroie is a very silly person who treats all of our intelligence with contempt, so having a bit of fun seems appropriate.

More Lies

From Rove.

Pig Farmers for Truth!

BREAKING, from 'Another Bruce':

I swear that I witnessed George W. Bush having carnal relations with a swine. I am willing to sign an affadavit stating so.

I can now appear in commercials stating. "I am a pig farmer. While at a campaign stop in Iowa. George Bush attacked one of my sows. George Bush is a pigf****r. I know, because I was there."

Soon I will appear on the cable news shows. The Washington Post will dutifully report on my claims, because, it will not judge my credibility. I will be appointed to be a federal judge by the Kerry administration. My career path is set. Bring it on.

...developing, on the front page of the Washington Post, tomorrow!

Journamalism 101

What can one even say when the executive editor the Washington Post seems to not have any idea what the most basic principles of journalism are? From a letter to Romenesko:

From CHARLES KAISER: Editor and Publisher quotes Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie as saying, "We are not judging the credibility of Kerry or the (Swift Boat) Veterans, we just print the facts." If that quote is accurate, the Post has abandoned a basic function of journalism.

The first duty of every reporter is to judge the credibility of his sources. The one thing we know from the Post's own reporting is that all of Senator Kerry's attackers in the Swift Boat controversy share a hatred of him because of his anti-war activism after he returned from Vietnam. This uniform hatred should be a red flag to any reporter repeating their attacks on Kerry for what he did as a Swift Boat Commander during the war. Combined with the fact that many of the people associated with the advertisement attacking Kerry were also involved with previous dirty tricks of Bush I and Bush II, including the Willie Horton ad and the scurrilous attacks on John McCain's war record, it is difficult to understand why the Post has taken these latest charges so seriously.


Blogging the RNC

Remember all that outrage about how the DNC wasn't credentialing enough righty bloggers? Here's the RNC list. Let all the outrage begin.

(chirp)

Personally, I don't think either party had any obligation to make any attempt at ideological balance for something like this, but still...

Bigots at the GOP

The amazing thing in our contemporary news media is that they're quicker to jump on people who say something disrespectful about People in Power - something I always thought was a long and honorable American tradition - while they continue to give a pass to those who verbally assault members of marginalized groups.

Consider the disparate treatment of comedians who (horror!) make fun of Bush (shock!) and even occasionally use bad language (just like the vice president!) with an entertainer who is going to be singing at the RNC who, as John Aravaosis says, "thinks homosexuality is a "curse," that it's caused by men raping small children, that being gay is a choice, that it can be cured, and most explosively, that gays are trying to "kill our children."

Liar!

At some point, one has to wonder if John O'Neill ever tells the truth.

And, look, the idea that you were "50 miles 100 yards from Cambodia" but never, you know, actually crossed the forced field which our alien overlords installed to separate the two countries is just ridiculous.

He also had previously claimed that there was no watery border between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Look, if I just start making a bunch of shit up and someone publishes it can I get on every TV station in the country multiple times?

The Wisdom of Charlie Daniels

Who'll be entertaining at the RNC this year. Maybe MSNBC can fill the sad little hole which was left after Michael Savage left.

Bad Bob

Amazing how the guy threw away his respected elder statesman status in about 5 minutes. And for what? For W and a bunch of proven liars.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Press Failure

This Campaign Desk post is pretty good.

39%

Wow. That's one craptacular approval rating.

I've said it a few times, but the reluctance of the media to seize on what is the clear narrative of the election right now - the incumbent Bush is in serious trouble - amazes me. I'm not sure if it would be a good or bad thing for the Kerry campaign if they did, but nonetheless when a sitting president consistently polls below 50%, and is generally behind in national popular and electoral vote analyses, the failure of the media to start up the "Is Bush Going to Be a One Termer?" mantra is truly strange.

Can We Put the Ism Back in Terrorism?

Please? It's really time. At the very least I hope that President John Kerry will demonstrate his ability to articulate a 4 syllable word.

Tricky Dick and Tricky John

Listen to O'Neill discuss his time in Cambodia with Nixon.

Shazbot

I really don't understand why the Bush campaign gets away with so much crap. Bush has spent the last 10 days on a holy crusade against the first amendment, saying that outside groups shouldn't be able to fund political ads, and now they're attacking Kerry for being against free speech. Here they shift gears - they're now actively supporting the right of the swift boat liars to do what they do best - lie.

Moonie Times link, just for the full spin.

Cleland Convention Speech

Link:

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to share with you my story of how I came to know and love John Kerry. In April of 1968, while I was being airlifted out of Vietnam on a stretcher, Ensign John Kerry was headed in a different direction. He was on a Navy ship in the Pacific requesting to be transferred into Vietnam - into the line of fire. He had graduated from college. There were a lot of other things he could have done with his life. But he went to serve because he had been raised to believe that service to one's country is honorable, noble, and good.

While John Kerry was earning a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts, I was being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. I was 25 years old. My body was broken and my faith was shattered. One day, on leave from the hospital, a friend was pushing me around the city, in my new wheelchair. In front of the White House, it hit a curb. I fell forward out of the wheelchair. There were cigarette butts and trash all around me. I remember trying to lift myself up off the street. I was angry at the war. Saddened that veterans weren't getting good care. And frustrated that people in power weren't listening. Those were difficult days for me.

But, I ultimately realized that although I had lost a lot, I still had a lot left, and I resolved to make something of my life. I decided to run for the State Senate in Georgia. I won, but when I got there, in 1971, I was a lone voice.

Then I heard this young veteran on TV speaking about the war. It was John Kerry. He put everything I was feeling into words.

Tonight, I'd like to let you know, that even before I met John Kerry, he was my brother. Even before I knew John Kerry, he was my friend. Even before I spoke with John Kerry, he gave me hope.

The Bible tells me that no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends. John Kerry's fellow crewmates - the men I am honored to share the stage with - are living testimony to his leadership, his courage under fire, and his willingness to risk his life for his fellow Americans. There is no greater act of patriotism than that.

As I look back over the last 36 years, I now realize John Kerry's service to his country didn't end in Vietnam. It began there. Since Vietnam, John Kerry's life has become an object lesson in what was once described as the true definition of patriotism - "the long and steady dedication of a lifetime."

When we make John Kerry our next president, he will put America back on the long and steady road toward the vision of the country we fought for - a vision of the country we can become once again. A country that doesn't alienate our allies, but works with them. A country that doesn't lose jobs, but creates them. A country that doesn't limit educational opportunity, but expands it. A country that doesn't make health care less available, but more affordable. A country that doesn't spoil our environment, but protects it. A country that is strong a country that is respected, a country that is worthy of generations of sacrifice, and our children's highest hopes.

That is the America John Kerry volunteered to fight for. That is the America John Kerry will lead.

When John Kerry declared he was a candidate for the presidency of the United States, on a hot, steamy day in Charleston, South Carolina, a little less than a year ago, I joined the band of brothers at his side. After the ceremony, I grabbed his arm and pressed a Bible into his hand. It was the Bible I once read from as a child. I knew that he would need its strength, its guidance and its comfort in the days ahead. At first, he said he was afraid he might lose it, he refused to take it. I insisted. I told him: "Hold on to this... You'll need it like your country needs you now." He took the Bible, and said softly, "I won't let you down."

My fellow Americans - John Kerry has never let me down. He'll never let you down. He is an authentic American hero. He is the next captain of our ship of state. And he will be the next president of the United States.

In every hour of challenge - in every hour of danger - American heroes have answered their country's call. Just blocks from where we are tonight, some 230 years ago, a group called the Sons of Liberty assembled to demand democracy, and a voice in their future. Mere steps from where we are, a former slave named Crispus Attucks gave his life for freedom. And around the corner from where we are, a beacon of light from the old North Church set Paul Revere on a mission to save this country's people from danger.

Those were fateful hours for our young nation. Tonight I am honored to introduce to you another son of liberty, a brother in arms, a man called by destiny at this fateful hour in our nation's history.

He is my brother. He is my friend. He is my hero. Ladies and gentlemen, tonight, John Kerry answers the call.

CNN Ratings Toilet

They're doing better in primetime, but otherwise they're at MSNBC territory. CNN's primetime schedule is marginally better, overall, but their "hard" news coverage is fast becoming a national joke.

Silly Bush

Sure, Cleland ambushed Bush for a bit of theater, but a real man would have known how to handle it. As Steve says:

Yes, this was a campaign stunt, and yes, Cleland has his own grudges against these people, but a real man would have invited Cleland and Rassman up to the ranch house, gave them some sweet tea, taken the letter and let them go.

...

Now, let's be real. Cleland probably owes Kerry a $20 because one of them had to have bet Bush would live down to character, and the other bet that he couldn't be so stupid as to turn away a triple amputee from his home. But make no mistake, they knew what Bush would do, and they bet on him doing it.

Yet, once again, the Bush campaign walks into a trap set by Kerry. Two decorated veterans show up to you door and you hide from them? That's just stupid. It's bad politics if nothing else.

Great American Shout Out!

Fuggedaboudit!

In the spirit of Paddy Chayefsky's classic movie monologue from "Network," the liberal comedian Wednesday urged New Yorkers -- and other Americans -- to simultaneously scream the all-purpose local wisecrack at the moment that President Bush accepts the nomination.

"This is a form of protest that is very non-disruptive," Franken said at a press conference in the Park Avenue office of Air America radio network, where he hosts a talk show.

Franken said the September 2 protest, called the "Great American Shout-Out," will not "tax our public safety system at all."


Website here.

Three and You're Out...

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

Last open thread from me. Play nice until Atrios gets back. I am sure he brought lots of goodies for y'all.

You've Been Served

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

Here's the letter. Here is a picture of the delivery.



(thanks to wtfwjd? in comments)

Open Thread

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

Bad apple or bad tree edition... (I am sure you already seen it but here you can talk about it or about anything else you might want...).

Speaking of Resignations...

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

The one I want to really see.

(via TalkLeft)

Start Value

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

Good Pierce. Go read.

One Degree of Separation

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

And one more resignation. How long until this resignation is turned to question Kerry's campaign?

Mid-morning Open Thread

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

Yes, it is me again. Go ahead, be my guest...

Oops

From Newsnight:

JOHNS: Behind the scenes, Kerry's aides were fighting the swift boat charges with unusual ferocity. They say they have evidence one of the top members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is an outright liar.

The co-author of the book "Unfit for Command," former swift boat commander John O'Neill said Kerry made up a story about being in Cambodia beyond the legal borders of the Vietnam War in 1968.

O'Neill said no one could cross the border by river and he claimed in an audio tape that his publicist played to CNN that he, himself, had never been to Cambodia either. But in 1971, O'Neill said precisely the opposite to then President Richard Nixon.

O'NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.

NIXON: In a swift boat?

O'NEILL: Yes, sir.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: Now, O'Neill may have an explanation for this but he has not returned CNN's calls. What does seem clear is that a top member of the swift boat group is now being held to the same standard of literal accuracy they've tried to impose on John Kerry -- Aaron.

Official Navy Record Confirms Official Navy Account

So, here we have an AP article discussing the fact that yet another Navy document confirms, you know, what ALL THE OTHER NAVY DOCUMENTS say. But, instead of phrasing it that way they say it confirms "Kerry's description" as if it were just something he could have made up.

idiots.

Divided Loyalty

Wow. Michelle Malkin is a dual citizen.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Daily Show Thread

Enjoy

This Week With John O'Neill

What, he lied? I'm shocked, really.

JOHN O'NEILL: The whole country's watching him avoid the question. You asked about Cambodia. How do I know he's not in Cambodia? I was on the same river, George. I was there two months after him. Our patrol area ran to Sedek, it was 50 miles from Cambodia. There isn't any watery border. The Mekong River's like the Mississippi. There were gunboats stationed right up there to stop people from coming. And our boats didn't go north of, only slightly north of Sedek. So it was a made up story. He's told it over 50 times, George, that was on the floor of the Senate. He wrote articles about it, it was a malicious story because it painted all the guys above him, all of the commanding officers, in effect, as war criminals, that had ordered him into a neutral country, it was a lie.

(tip thanks to Hudson)

O'Neill in Cambodia

In comments, Liberal Oasis provided us with the Nixon/O'Neill transcript just on Newsnight:

CNN's Newsnight just played the O'Neill-Nixon tape, with text graphic on screen:

O'NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.

NIXON: In a swift boat?

O'NEILL: Yes, sir.


Wow, he worked along the border and he was in Cambodia. And no one court martialed him? Jeebus. I'm shocked.

Moby

Says it exactly:

"I'm not working under any grand assumptions that my involvement will change the course of the election," Moby says. "My great fear is that we will wake up on November 3, George Bush will have won and we will say, 'What more could we have done?'"


What more can you do? No one is asking you to do more than you can - just try to do what you are able to do.


...do whatever.

O'Neill in Cambodia?

Alan Colmes just said swift boat liar John O'Neill was recorded telling Nixon that he was in Cambodia. I'm shocked. Bring on the court martial.

McChesney Misspoke

Josh got a follow-up to this post. Not surprised.

States' Rights

From Drudgey
During a rally in Davenport, Iowa on Tuesday, Vice President Dick Cheney was asked by a woman "What do you think about homosexual marriage?"

"Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with. With the respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone... People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.

"The question that comes up with the issue of marriage is what kind of official sanction or approval is going to be granted by government? Historically, that's been a relationship that has been handled by the states. The states have made that fundamental decision of what constitutes a marriage."

Cheney then went on to blast the courts for interfering in the matter and not allowing for the states to decide the issue:

"I think his perception was that the courts, in effect, were beginning to change, without allowing the people to be involved. The courts were making the judgment for the entire country."



People can differ on what is and isn't appropriate judicial action, but Cheney isn't espousing some sort of coherent legal theory here. The consitutions of the United States - Federal and State constitutions - function, in part, to protect minority rights against the tyranny of the majority. While that doesn't defend any particular judicial ruling along these lines, Cheney's complaint that they "were making the judgment for the entire country" is ridiculous.

Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virgina are a couple of cases where Courts made decisions which made "the judgment for the entire country" which I find sound on both moral grounds and constitutional law.

If Big Time Dick wants to argue a legal critique, that's fine. But, he hasn't - he's just thrown out some red meat for the bigots, while exploiting his daughter in the process.

Sad.

Open thread

And yes, Kerry is on the Daily Show, much to the chagrin of others.

Frenched

I do think this swift boat liar who is a DA in Oregon does have a wee problem. I imagine he's opened himself up to all kinds of fun in the courtroom.

Radio Fun

Eric Muller, who actually knows what he's talking about, will debating with Michelle Malkin tomorrow. At 9 AM in North Carolina on WZTK (correction - on THURSDAY) and at 10AM TOMORROW on WHYY in Philly.

Another Swift Boat Liar

It never ends.

Cambodia

O'Neill and the bigot Corsi write:

Kerry was never ordered into Cambodia by anyone and would have been court-martialed had he gone there.


Court-martialed, eh? Hm.

...Nixon chats with O'Neill.

June 16, 1971: Oval Office meeting with John O’Neill
Nixon: I really feel that what you’re doing, you’ll take brickbats, you go on some of these TV shows like the Cavett thing, you’re gonna get banged, but – you’ll get terribly discouraged and say the whole country’s – and so forth. But I think ya gotta remember, uh, you have to remember, that uh, that uh, now {unintelligible] in Vietnam should be enough, that now you would have the [unint] to get back and reassure people that those few that come back – like Kerry and the rest – don’t speak for all.

[edit]

Nixon: That’s great. Give it to him, give it to him. And you can do it, because you have a pleasant manner, too, because you’ve got – and I think it’s a great service to the country.

[edit]

Nixon: You fellows have been out there. You’ve got to know, seeing the barbarians that we’re up against, you’ve got to know what we’re doing in that horrible swamp that North Vietnam is. 33:40 You’ve got to know from all our faults of what we have in this country that, that what we’re doing is right. You’ve got to know too, people are critics. Critics of the war, critics of [unint], run America down. Those that are, uh – well in every respect, either get out of Vietnam, get out of [unint], get out of the world, etcetera etcetera. You’ve gotta know that you’re on the winning s—that, that you’re on the right side.


Wish I had the rest of that conversation.

The Fakest News Show

Last night's Daily Show:

STEWART: Here's what puzzles me most, Rob. John Kerry's record in Vietnam is pretty much right there in the official records of the US military, and haven't been disputed for 35 years?

CORDDRY: That's right, Jon, and that's certainly the spin you'll be hearing coming from the Kerry campaign over the next few days.

STEWART: Th-that's not a spin thing, that's a fact. That's established.

CORDDRY: Exactly, Jon, and that established, incontravertible fact is one side of the story.

STEWART: But that should be -- isn't that the end of the story? I mean, you've seen the records, haven't you? What's your opinion?

CORDDRY: I'm sorry, my *opinion*? No, I don't have 'o-pin-i-ons'. I'm a reporter, Jon, and my job is to spend half the time repeating what one side says, and half the time repeating the other. Little thing called 'objectivity' -- might wanna look it up some day.

STEWART: Doesn't objectivity mean objectively weighing the evidence, and calling out what's credible and what isn't?

CORDDRY: Whoa-ho! Well, well, well -- sounds like someone wants the media to act as a filter! [high-pitched, effeminate] 'Ooh, this allegation is spurious! Upon investigation this claim lacks any basis in reality! Mmm, mmm, mmm.' Listen buddy: not my job to stand between the people talking to me and the people listening to me.

STEWART: So, basically, you're saying that this back-and-forth is never going to end.

CORDDRY: No, Jon -- in fact a new group has emerged, this one composed of former Bush colleages, challenging the president's activities during the Vietnam era. That group: Drunken Stateside Sons of Privilege for Plausible Deniability. They've apparently got some things to say about a certain Halloween party in '71 that involved trashcan punch and a sodomized piƱata. Jon -- they just want to set the record straight. That's all they're out for.

STEWART: Well, thank you Rob, good luck out there. We'll be right back.

(thanks to reader n)

Combat Training Slashed in Half

This is rather depressing. The Marines are cutting their final combat training time in half.

Politically Motivated

In a report which hasn't yet gotten much attention, yesterday NPR's John McChesney reported that:

And over the weekend, another swift boat Veteran, William Rood, also broke 35 years of silence to support Kerry's version of how he won a silver star. Rood is now an editor with the Chicago Tribune. The Bush campaign denounced Rood's article in the Tribune as politically motivated.


If this is true, this is absolutely astounding. The Bush campaign denounced an article by someone defending Kerry's military record?

I'm pretty sure the reporter just got this one wrong. I contacted him, hopefully I get a response...

These Charges Are False

LA Times:

The technique President Bush is using against John F. Kerry was perfected by his father against Michael Dukakis in 1988, though its roots go back at least to Sen. Joseph McCarthy. It is: Bring a charge, however bogus. Make the charge simple: Dukakis "vetoed the Pledge of Allegiance"; Bill Clinton "raised taxes 128 times"; "there are Communists in the State Department." But make sure the supporting details are complicated and blurry enough to prevent easy refutation.

Then sit back and let the media do your work for you. Journalists have to report the charges, usually feel obliged to report the rebuttal, and often even attempt an analysis or assessment. But the canons of the profession prevent most journalists from saying outright: These charges are false. As a result, the voters are left with a general sense that there is some controversy over Dukakis' patriotism or Kerry's service in Vietnam. And they have been distracted from thinking about real issues (like the war going on now) by these laboratory concoctions.

It must be infuriating to the victims of this process to be given conflicting advice about how to deal with it from the same campaign press corps that keeps it going. The press has been telling Kerry: (a) Don't let charges sit around unanswered; and (b) stick to your issues: Don't let the other guy choose the turf.

At the moment, Kerry is being punished by the media for taking advice (b) and failing to take advice (a). There was plenty of talk on TV about what Kerry's failure to strike back said about whether he had the backbone for the job of president — and even when he did strike back, he was accused of not doing it soon enough. But what does Bush's acquiescence in the use of this issue say about whether he has the simple decency for the job of president?

Dionne

Link:

The media have to do more than "he said/he said" reporting. If the charges don't hold up, they don't hold up. And, yes, now that John Kerry's life during his twenties has been put at the heart of this campaign just over two months from Election Day, the media owe the country a comparable review of what Bush was doing at the same time and the same age.

If all the stories about what Kerry did in Vietnam are not balanced by serious scrutiny of Bush in the Vietnam years, the media will be capitulating to a right-wing smear campaign. Surely our nation's editors and producers don't want to send a signal that all you have to do to set the media's agenda is spend a half-million bucks on television ads.

This is also a test of John McCain. When he ran against Bush four years ago, McCain was smeared mercilessly. When McCain protested to Bush about the attacks at one of their debates during the 2000 primaries, Bush brushed him off. "John," Bush said, "it's politics."

McCain snapped back, "George, everything isn't politics."

Questions about Bush's Service Unanswered

In USA Today.

• Why did Bush, described by some of his fellow officers as a talented and enthusiastic pilot, stop flying fighter jets in the spring of 1972 and fail to take an annual physical exam required of all pilots?

What explains the apparent gap in the president's Guard service in 1972-73, a period when commanders in Texas and Alabama say they never saw him report for duty and records show no pay to Bush when he was supposed to be on duty in Alabama?

• Did Bush receive preferential treatment in getting into the Guard and securing a coveted pilot slot despite poor qualifying scores and arrests, but no convictions, for stealing a Christmas wreath and rowdiness at a football game during his college years?

Objective Journalism

Daryn Kagan on the new swift boat ad "They're not just attacking the medals that Kerry might have won."

daryn.kagan@turner.com

Krugman

Go read.

Silly Specter

Even Scaife's rag goes after him:

A small slice from the corpulent creature called the Arrogance of Power:

Sen. Arlen Specter is a busy and important man. So beyond the pale of ordinary humans, according to a report by John Shumway of KDKA-TV, that his aides skirted security regulations at Pittsburgh International Airport in order to speed the senator's departure from the erstwhile Steel City.

How? By getting his boarding pass with the help of authorities so Mr. Specter could breeze on his way to accomplish even more important things.

Someone tipped off Mr. Shumway, who arrived at the airport and talked to an indignant Specter -- who asserted he would personally obtain his pass per our wartime airport security protocols.

Specter did not answer the underlying issue, to wit: How dare he seek special treatment. Indeed, Specter's unbecoming attitude was more like: How dare Shumway ask me an embarrassing question.

Shumway's approach -- polite, persistent and professional -- was not entirely dissimilar from someone of our acquaintance when he asked Teresa Heinz Kerry to explain herself. Specter, however, was better behaved than Mrs. Heinz Kerry.

Specter did disclose to Shumway that he is not a security risk. That's a relief. But the millions of ordinary Americans who undergo the inconvenience of establishing their bona fides at the airport also present no danger to the traveling public.


You can watch the video here (Scroll down to "Did Sen. Arlen Specter's Aides Try To Bypass Airport Security?")

Monday, August 23, 2004

Incompetent

Goss:

President Bush's nominee to be the director of central intelligence, Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), sponsored legislation that would have cut intelligence personnel by 20 percent in the late 1990s.


Goss, who has been chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for the past eight years, was one of six original co-sponsors of legislation in 1995 that called for cuts of at least 4 percent per year between 1996 and 2000 in the total number of people employed throughout the intelligence community.


The legislation, part of a wide-ranging budget-cutting measure that included abolishing the Energy Department and privatizing the air traffic control system, never received a vote. But the nine-year-old legislation, exhumed by Democrats, presents a political hurdle for Goss.

The Bush reelection campaign has been blasting Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry as deeply irresponsible for proposing intelligence cuts at the same time. A Bush campaign ad released on Aug. 13 carried a headline: "John Kerry . . . proposed slashing Intelligence Budget 6 Billion Dollars."

But the cuts Goss supported are larger than those proposed by Kerry and specifically targeted the "human intelligence" that has recently been found lacking. The recent report by the commission probing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks called for more spending on human intelligence.

Get Up Get Up Get Get Down

CNN's a joke in your town.

It is really true. MSNBC has become a better news operation during the day. MSNBC.com has always been pretty good. The evening lineup is pretty much six of one, half a dozen on the other. On CNN you have Anderson Cooper (good, but too frivolous), Paula Zahn (atrocious), Larry King (horrible), and Aaron Brown (whatever good is demolished by his smugness). And, on MSNBC you have Hardball (horrible with an occasional ray of truth shining through), Olbermann (pretty good), Norville (okay), and Scarborough which is so bad it's probably, in the net, good.

More on the War

One of the interesting things which is floating around now is that, with hindsight, the "best argument against the war" was the "this gang is just to goddamn incompetent to do anything right" argument. I find that interesting, because at the time it was the argument which, aside from pithy-anti-war-slogan-protest-sign-arguments, was the one which was inevitably met with the most derision. Embracing that one was the sure route to being tarred as a "partisan" who just "hated Bush" and would "put politics ahead of national security" because you "liked Saddam more than Bush."

I never really understood (nor do I now) the idea that "anti-war" people needed to make profound arguments against the war -- that burden, it seems, was on the pro-war people. Frequently we heard "where are the serious anti-war arguments?" as if that were somehow meaningful. I didn't need to make a case against war -- its supporters needed to make a case for it. The fact that the argument was poor, ever-changing, and in many cases obviously fraudulent should have been enough.

But, yes, for me too... what little feeling I had that this war could be the right thing, overall, was beaten back by that general idea - that these people were too incompetent and/or corrupt to do it right.

Sadly, though, I had no idea. I really had no clue just how incompetent they could be (corrrupt doesn't much surprise me, though the media's continuing willingness to not care about billions of dollars thrown away does surprise me).


...in comments, old fashioned patriot gives us yet another choice Rice flashback, down the media's memory hole:

So Ambassador Bremer has been talking about a seven-step plan: constitution, followed then by elections and then by the transfer of sovereignty. And it makes perfectly good sense to do this as soon as possible, but to do it in a way that is responsible. And I think that the -- as all of us have said, the French plan, which would somehow try to transfer sovereignty to an un-elected group of people, just isn't workable.

Sweet Sweet Blue

Latest Zogby Battleground.

Those Evil 527s

From Tapped.

MORE ON THOSE 527s. My colleague Matthew Yglesias rightly notes that President Bush's denunciation of 527s is hypocritical and self-contradictory. This is especially true given (let me add some more examples) that the campaign finance law the president signed just a few years ago deliberately avoided closing the 527 loophole; that Bush beat Sen. John McCain (R-Ari.) during the 2000 primary in part with the help of a 527 run by his supporter Sam Wylie; that Bush's own campaign manager, campaign counsel, and political guru (Ken Melhman, Ben Ginsburg, and Karl Rove, respectively) have attended fundraising and organizational events for Progress for America, a 527 founded by Bush's political director from the 2000 campaign, Tony Feather; that GOP chairman Ed Gillespie and Bush campaign chairman Mark Racicot recently issued a statement designating PFA and yet another GOP 527, the Leadership Forum, as a good place for Republicans to give money to; and that the second-biggest 527 in the U.S. is the Republican Governors Association, a group spun off by the Republican National Committee two years ago specifically to collect and harness soft money for state and local GOP candidates.
If President Bush is opposed to 527s, somebody better tell his senior campaign staff, and quick.

Plame Rumors

From Kos.

Ban Them All

Please can some reporter get to the heart of why Bush doesn't think that the Oregon Grocery Association should be allowed to run ads, why he thinks he does and should have the power to stop them, and why the hell he keeps saying he thought he already did ban them?

And, then, maybe, you can ask him just what he has against the National Federation of Republican women and why it is that he wants to silence them?

"I saw the blood."

Sanduksy tells Dole to suck it.

Crewmate Sandusky said today, "I was there when he got wounded. I saw the blood. I don't care what Dole said."


What a sad, sad moment in the life of Bob Dole, mocking a wounded soldier.

Free Speech - Bad for the System

So says Bush. Now, as I've said before, I'm a tepid supporter of some campaign finance initiatives, but can some reporter please nail down just what the hell Bush is talking about. Can he really be saying that all outside ads should stop because "they're bad for the system." Should political parties be the only ones who are allowed to engage in political speech? Or, is his objection to disclosure requirements? If so, the media should start learning just what disclosure laws are, which groups are complying with them, how, and whether they're doing it in a timely fashion.


Here's what Bush said when he signed McCain-Feingold:

However, the bill does have flaws. Certain provisions present serious constitutional concerns. In particular, H.R. 2356 goes farther than I originally proposed by preventing all individuals, not just unions and corporations, from making donations to political parties in connection with Federal elections.

I believe individual freedom to participate in elections should be expanded, not diminished; and when individual freedoms are restricted, questions arise under the First Amendment.

I also have reservations about the constitutionality of the broad ban on issue advertising, which restrains the speech of a wide variety of groups on issues of public import in the months closest to an election. I expect that the courts will resolve these legitimate legal questions as appropriate under the law.


Perhaps a reporter can get Our Dear Scotty to unsnarl this little bit of rhetorical fun?


...kick the ball, and they run after it. Sad little press.


...for the reporters who are slow:


All ads are not the same.

Not all negative ads are unfair.

Not all negative ads contain explicit lies or are designed to be explicitly misleading.

No matter what your general belief about campaign finance laws, Bush has apparently adopted the extreme position which would deny any "outside group" the right to make any political ads, in contrast to his previous positions on this subject.

Many "outside groups," such as the MoveOn PAC, are subject to stringent disclosure rules.

Bush has also admitted that he didn't read and/or understand the recent campaign finance law, which he signed.

Wow, Some Truth From Kurtz

In today's WaPo chat Kurtz correctly informs us that Move On's Bush ads are being financed through their PAC, which of course is subject to full disclosure laws. How many media outlets have equated the "shadowy" Move On ads with the "shadowy" Swift Boat ads, even though these things are in no way the same...

Other Priorities

This Tomasky article is just great. Go read the whole thing, because I don't know which part to excerpt, but I'll pick this one mostly at random:

But The Washington Post won't do that, because there exists no Vietnam Veterans for the Truth About Deferments, financed by wealthy Democratic donors and out peddling its wares. Which is the moral of the story. Our media can sort through the facts in front of their nose and determine, at least some of the time, who's lying and who's not. But they are completely incapable of taking a step back and describing the larger reality. Doing that would require making judgments that are supposedly subjective rather than objective; but the larger reality here is clearer than clear. Just imagine if the situation were reversed: The same people now questioning Kerry's "character" would have worked to establish Bush as a war hero long ago. They would have labeled Kerry a coward. If by chance a liberal-backed group came forward to question Bush's wartime actions, they would have been called traitors and worse. And the mainstream media would be following the agenda they set every step of the way.

You'd think a press corps that has now officially acknowledged that it was had by this administration on the pre-Iraq war propaganda would think twice before letting itself get used one more time. You'd think, for example, that if the editors of the Washington Post were planning 2,700-word takeouts, they might have given priority to an investigation into ties between the White House and the Swift Boat group. If the conventions of mainstream journalism prevent our media from letting readers, viewers, and listeners examine the full truth in its broadest context, then it's time to reexamine those conventions. Until that happens, people who are willing to say anything, and who have the money to back them up, will be setting the agenda, and the media -- once upon a time, a guardian of our democratic traditions -- will be following them.

Shadowy Groups

So, if donors to a group are all disclosed are they still "shadowy?" Then does the president think they should be able to lie without condemnation?

Strange, really.

Our Media

So, will nurses be eligible for mandatory overtime? They report, and we have no idea...

More Like This

A newspaper editor takes the time to fact-check an op-ed published in the paper. Better it was done beforehand, but at least it was done.

Who Cares

Not the liberal media, that's for sure. A bunch of people are about to take a serious hit to their paychecks, and it's apparently more important to focus on the number of ounces of blood that dripped from Senator Kerry's leg when the shrapnel, which is still making its home there, came to pay him a visit.

More Dole History

NYT, 8/7/68:

Mr. Dole, who served four terms in the House, and Mr. Avery, who served five House terms before being elected Governor in 1964, both called for a cease-fire or truce in Vietnam with strict United Nations supervision.


NYT, 1/23/69:

9 Senators Offer Bill to End Draft [including Dole]


NYT, 8/12/76:

"Let there be no confusion at to President Ford's position on this issue. It is unequivocal, and applies equally to draft evaders and deserts, no blanket pardon, no blanket amenesty, no blanket clemency."

...

"Today, we have those who would signal weakness and generate strife by declaring that those who served this nation in her armed forces deserve no greater consideration than those who turned their backs and scurried away."

...

In his legion speech Mr. Dole recalled that four wars in this century had been fought under Democratic Presidents.

"We know that wars become self justifying once they've begun," he said, "but once the harsh light of histroy reveals that they rarely begin for reasons that are self justifying, but rather because of weakness, wishful thinking and bad leadership.

"No one hates war more than those who have had to fight. And none have a greater right to insist upon leadership that understands how to prevent war, to protect liberty, and to preserve peace, than those who have had to fight."


NYT, 10/26/1976:

Senator Robert J. Dole, the Republica Vice-Presidential candidate, withdrew today his content that World War II and the Vietnam conflict were "Democrats wars," but he contended that American weakness contributed to one and American indecision led to the other.

...

"American weakness contributed to World War II and American indecision gave us the nightmare that was Vietnam."

Morning Thread

Enjoy.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Open Thread

Chat away.

Bob Dole History

March 6, 1971, about most of the potential Democratic nominees for 1972:


They are the new Chamberlains in what they hope will be another era of peace through appeasement.


In same speech, regarding genuine war hero George McGovern:

He named only Senator George S. McGovern... who has come, Mr. Dole said, "as close as anyone has yet come to urging outright surrender"...


5/12/71, UPI:

But Senator Dole expected Nixon's Vietnamization program would allow withdrawal of all but a residual American force and eliminate casualties.


1/21/72, NYT:

The Kansas Republican said that the "present crop of Democratic hopefuls" had gone along with the war's escalation in the mid-1960's, adding that it was two-faced of them now to criticize President Nixon's position on the issue.

...

Last June, Mr. Dole denounced the press for printing the Pentagon papers, saying that their disclosure had left heads of state "at the mercy of sensation-seeking newspapers."

5/13/72, UPI:

The Republican National Chairman, Senator Robert Dole of Kansas, denounced today what he called an "attempted media sabotage" of President Nixon's Vietnam policies and said "it could cost the lives" of American soldiers.


More later...gotta go...

....But, while I'm away, Josh Marshall has more.

oy

oy

Wow

Little LuLu doing her part to jeopardize national security. Why does she hate America?

Meanwhile

Jeebus.

Things The Media Needs to Explain

Why are the Swift Boat Liars and Move On "two sides of the same coin." Move On is an established organization which has been around for years and which has a very large small donor base (and, a few large donors as well). Swift Boat Liars came into being just recently to lie about John Kerry's record.

Why are the Swift Boat Liar ads and Move On's ads equivalent? On one hand we have proven liars contradicting existing Navy records and 35 years of public comment, and on the other hand we have legitimate questions, raised by many prominent news organizations, about whether George Bush bothered to show up for national guard service as he was required. There are many legitimate questions about Bush's failure to fulfill his duty, including his failure to take a required flight physical, as well as the fact that Bush lied about his military record in his autobiography. Kerry has Navy records to back up his claims, Bush does not.

Why is Move On a "far left" organization? Can you point to these extreme positions they've taken on some issues? Any issue?


... and, one more thing. If they're "the same," why are the swift boat liars on every news show and Move On people are not?

Debt

Matthew Yglesias raises the question which isn't raised enough. As he points out, our large deficit and trade deficit are largely sustained because of the willingness of the Chinese (and Japanese) governments to buy up lots of T-Bills. In both cases, it isn't precisely clear that they are doing so for purely economic reasons, but rather for some other "geopolitical" purposes. I'm not sure what the magnitude of the interest rate spike (and currency devaluation) would be if China and/or Japan suddenly stopped buying our lovely bonds, but I imagine it would be rather large.

Questioning the Record

The Boston Globe editorial is pretty good (aside from the "Clinton/draft dodger" comment - Clinton was no more a draft dodger than Dick Cheney. Where are the "Cheney/draft dodger" snide remarks?).

IMAGINE IF supporters of Bill Clinton had tried in 1996 to besmirch the military record of his opponent, Bob Dole. After all, Dole was given a Purple Heart for a leg scratch probably caused, according to one biographer, when a hand grenade thrown by one of his own men bounced off a tree. And while the serious injuries Dole sustained later surely came from German fire, did the episode demonstrate heroism on Dole's part or a reckless move that ended up killing his radioman and endangering the sergeant who dragged Dole off the field?
The truth, according to many accounts, is that Dole fought with exceptional bravery and deserves the nation's gratitude. No one in 1996 questioned that record. Any such attack on behalf of Clinton, an admitted Vietnam draft dodger, would have been preposterous.

It wouldn't have just been preposterous, it would've backfired politically and lost Clinton the election. Why? Not because the Amurkan people would have been "outraged," but because fifty thousand attack poodles would have run on the air screaming bloody murder. It would have gone on for weeks and weeks and weeks. Every editorial page in the country would have freaked out the moment it started.

I mean, remember all the yipping that occurred when Michael Moore, standing on stage with Clark, called Bush a "deserter." Sure, it did finally cause another look at Bush's record, but the instant reponse by the Cokie-Judy-Matthews-Greenfield-Brown set was one of shock and horror. yip yip yip.

The media are not passive participants in these things, and they need to accept and come to terms with that.

Touchy

So, following a few trackbacks I see I've offended some tender sensibilities. It all begins with this post where I highlighted Tim Noah's comment:

What this man was saying was that it was better to have been wrong about Iraq than to have been right. That's the prevailing (though not always conscious) consensus in Washington, and it's completely insane.

and added:

And, basically, this is because a bunch of liberal-to-moderate hawks considered support for the Iraq war to be a testosterone test - whether or not you had the cojones to kill a few people and send someone else's kids off to war for the good old USA.


To which ogged responds:


Ok, fuck Atrios already. He's been relentless in hounding liberals who supported the war, and some gloating is fine, but enough's enough.

This has nothing to do with "gloating." This is about a phenomenon that existed during the run-up to the war and, as Tim Noah points out, insanely still exists today. Anti-war voices were entirely marginalized by the mainstream media, the Bush War Marketing Team, and, yes, liberal hawks - at least the ones who had any kind of platform. The attitude of many prominent liberal hawks was that anti-war people were just knee-jerk pacifists whose opinions should be discounted, and many of those people, as Tim Noah points out, still feel that way today. Was that the attitude of all people who supported the war? Of course not, and I never made that claim. But Noah's point, was that amazingly the people (again, not ogged, but the liberalforeignpolicyestablishmentinWashingtonandthemedia), who were those liberal hawks who supported the war still find support for the war, however wrong it was, as one's entrance key to the debating room.

Likewise, Jack O'Toole responds:

Does Dr. Black really believe for a moment that people like me -- people who've spent our lives fighting for the same progressive ideals that he holds dear -- could possibly think that way? Or is he just so damned angry about the whole situation that he's completely lost his sense of perspective? I honestly don't know. But I do know this: When demagogues like Andrew Sullivan challenge the motives (i.e., the patriotism) of the liberal wing of the Democratic party, I stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends. And I'm not about to stop just because one those friends appears to have (temporarily, one hopes) lost his way.


Again, I was responding to a specific article by Tim Noah about the fact that the very people who excluded and marginalized anti-war people from the beginning are continuing to do so, and that the consensus in Washington is "it was better to have been wrong about Iraq than to have been right," and I offered my assessment of why that is. If ogged and O'Toole lump themselves in the category of people who believe that even if the Iraq war was wrong, that somehow their support for it demonstrates that their judgment is more sound than those who opposed it, then, yes, I suspect there's something to my suggested reason.

As for being angry? Well, yes, I'm angry. No matter what war one imagined was going to be fought, whether it was "Ogged's war" or "Tom's war" or "Jack's war," this was the Bush administration's war. They cynically used it it as a political ploy for election 2002. They went after everyone who opposed it. They still sell "Freedom Fries" in the House cafeteria. Their lies for justifying the war were dissolving in realtime, even as they came up with more. Yes, I am angry that otherwise intelligent people climbed aboard this twisted and nakedly cynical endeavor which was clearly a fraud from start to finish. But, no, I don't question the motives of all who did - just the ones who believe that by being wrong they were proven right.