Saturday, August 10, 2002

That Al Gore sure does sweat:

I expect Ceci and the rest of the Spite Girls to get all snide about this on Monday.
In the last few weeks, I believe Dick Armey has come out against the Cuban Trade Embargo, against TIPS, and in support of the notion that Congress needs to approve any military action against Iraq.

Wonder what's gotten into him, other than retirement.

Update: Just Noticed Jim Henley wonders why liberals aren't giving Dick credit for just these things. Well, just did!
Hey, David Frum forgot to put Iran on the axis of evil!

Here's another reason Congress needs to deliberate, and soon: The Bush crew may get around the Iraq debate by attacking Iran first. According to multiple national security sources, plans for a "preemptive" strike against Iran's nearly completed nuclear reactor at Bushehr have already been developed. According to one source familiar with the plan, the logic behind it calls for debate, too. "The hawks believe that because the Iranians have given Hizbollah small arms, they're going to give them radioactive waste to make dirty bombs. I'm sorry, but state sponsors of terrorism are very reluctant to give up control of that stuff to surrogates," he says.

Update: Public Nuisance takes issue with this article. And, he's right. I actually don't have a problem with taking out this reactor. I think Israel's similar strike on Iraq once upon a time was a good thing.

Update 2: Wait, he did! So many evil ones..
Tales of the Plush Cthulhu!

I often think it's comical
How Nature always does contrive
That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
--Gilbert and Sullivan, Iolanthe
Poor Man points me to this post in Istanblog.

Click the link to read the whole thing, but it brings us back to a forgotten point:

If war between the West and Islam is ignited, then the terrorists have truly won.

Digby on Marshall's appearance on today's Unreliable Sources:

There has been a civil but pointed back and forth between Marshall and Bob Somerby the last couple of weeks about how the "good guys" in the media do not call thewhores out on their Gore bashing. I thought that Marshall seemed sincerely chagrined by the fact that he could not produce any evidence that he had criticized the outrageous behavior of the press during 2002, and he did post a serious critique of Mickey Kaus' egregious turn to right wing hackery earlier this week.

Anyway, aside from all the inside-the-beltway back biting and arcane deconstruction of the MeanGirl media cliques, I am surprised that he and Milbank, both of whom are not even close to the same presstitution class as Panchito or MoDo-the-Cat-From-Hell, would be so blatently anti-Gore on national television. The liberal bloggers are going to go nuts.

They must put sycophantEcstasy in the coffee at CNN. Or maybe it's just a simple adolescent desire to kiss the ass of the most powerful media "critic" in Washington (and Bush busser extroardinaire) --- Mistah Kurtz. Which just proves, once again, that DC journalism as we knew it has become nothing more than legalized brothel for emotionally retarded sad sacks.

Only caught about half but that about describes what I saw. Maybe there are weird mind control devices in the TV cameras..
Iraq's Oil - Ours for the Taking?

I'm curious about how much play this idea is getting - either from other pundits or in the semi-reasonable corners of Blogistan (relatively speaking, of course).

I mentioned it before, but the transcript is now up. Here's Charles Krauthammer and friends:

MR. PETERSON: And what's it going to cost the economy? What was the Gulf War, about $61 billion?

MR. KING: Most of it picked up by foreigners.

MR. PETERSON: Eighty percent, right, by our allies?

MR. KING: Yes.

MR. PETERSON: This one we'll have to finance ourselves; won't we?

MR. KRAUTHAMMER: If we win the war, we are in control of Iraq, it is the single largest source of oil in the world, it's got huge reserves, which have been suppressed because of Iraq's actions, and Saddam's. We will have a bonanza, a financial one, at the other end, if the war is successful.

MR. KING: Do we go it alone, Charles? Do we go it alone or do what we tried to do in the Gulf War, and build a coalition to go in there.

MR. KRAUTHAMMER: You go with as many as you can, and that's how you do it.

MR. PETERSON: What if the military campaign spreads to Saudi Arabia? How will the generals feel about that?

MR. KRAUTHAMMER: That would be wonderful. I like it.

I included his unrestrained joy at the prospect of going after the Saudis, too, just for fun, but I want to focus on the notion that we can just seize Iraq's oil -- that is, changing this from a mission of "regime change" to one of outright conquest and plunder. Please bring other comments along these lines to my attention if you see them...

I've been gone so I'm behind on all the fun stuff I missed. Al Gore and free Springsteen tickets? Oh lordy they just can't stop Making Shit Up, can they...

Nyhan demonstrates that Krugman was right - they are liars.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

For the record: there was an attempt to smear Maria Cantwell by pretending she cashed out of Real Networks before they crashed. You know (grunting) Democrat... Dot Com.. Money... Crime.. .

Instapundit helped to start Yet Another Fake Scandal, but to his credit he corrected himself.

The truth is she borrowed against her stock, held onto it, and then ran into some serious financial difficulties when they crashed.

So, to my good friend Chris the commentor -- try again buddy!
Before I go, here are some warm fuzzies from our right wing friends.

In case the FBI might be interested in this, here's his home page.

UPDATE: It seems to be gone.
Take the Money and Run

Thanks to those who added a few dollars to the Eschaton Charitable Fund for Underpriveleged People everywhere Eschaton booze fund (it's never too late!). I'm off until Saturday or Sunday...see you then!
Waiting for West Nile to be blamed on the Iraqi bioweapons program...
Apparently MCI has gotten very sophisticated with their telemarketing (snort). The phone bill is in my wife's name, an Asian (but not Chinese) name. The geniuses at MCI have decided that all Asian names are Chinese, so the telemarketer began the spiel with "do you speak Chinese?"

Keep trying.
I love it when they're honest.

"The lingering economic slowdown, combined with the crash on Wall Street, is sending Washington's books back into deficit. Good. Maybe this will provide an excuse to hold down spending for a while, allowing more communities to rediscover the virtues of self-sufficiency."

I agree. I wish those tax dollar sucking Red-States-And-Republican-Congressional-Districts would discover the virtues of self-sufficiency.

Court Halts Effort to Get Pregnancy Test Records

Some good news.

(via Two Tears)
Brad DeLong on the four stages of becoming a rhinoceros.

The first stage is to hold that the flaws--the mighty flaws--of the center-left in American politics are important enough to more-or-less balance the flaws of the right. The second stage is to start making desperate and implausible excuses for Republican politicians and functionaries. The third stage is to lose contact with the substance of public policy issues, and focus instead on intellectual and rhetorical "errors" made by those left of center. And the fourth stage is to start acclaiming right-wing political hacks as noble thinkers, and right-wing office holders as bold and far-sighted leaders with a plan to guide us to utopia.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Rackjite is back with a right wing taxonomy.

Conservative Voters - 8/7/02

Classic Conservative - Example - Barry Goldwater/Ronald Reagan - Their main issue is supporting big business over the working class. Often referred to as Country Club Republicans. These people are mainly concerned with their wallets and little else. Some can be swayed to vote outside their party for overriding social issues.

Neo-Conservative - Example - Newt Gingrich/Rush Limbaugh - Their main issue is hating all things liberal on an intense personal level. Right-wing ideologues mostly concerned with self aggrandizement and accumulating personal power. Though they give religion a nod for the support it gains them from those they consider morons, they do not give a rat's ass about it. Can never be swayed to vote outside the party line.

Libertarian - Example - Ron Paul/John Stossel (ABC 20/20 reporter) - Main issue is hating all things liberal on such an intense personal level it puts even neo-conservatives to shame. This is our Godless extreme Right-wing. Central issues are full legalization of all drugs, total elimination of all income taxes, a gungoonery so intense it puts even the NRA to shame, the elimination of most if not all economic and environmental regulations and rescinding civil rights laws. Will only vote Libertarian or Republican. They want to make the Mad Max movies our reality.

Religious Right - Example - Pat Robertson/Tom Delay - Their main issue is hating all things liberal and denying the right of women to choose to have an abortion. Seeped in overwhelming intolerance and bigotry and so susceptible to indoctrination, they allow their leaders to lead them blindly to vote only in regards to their religious beliefs. Even though Republicans kick these mostly blue collar poorly educated people in the head economically, they cannot be swayed to vote outside their conservative religious ideology. I have come to give this group a little slack, for unlike the Neo-conservatives and Libertarians, they really don't have the education or intellectual capacity to know any better.

I think he gives an overly simplistic view of the Neo-Cons, whose Family Tree is so complicated that even the best of us screw it up sometimes, but otherwise it's spot on..
Thanks to all who visit. I'm up to about 1500 "unique visits" on an average weekday. While I do this mostly for fun and the occasional conceit that a butterfly flapping on my blog may actually be able to cause a hurricane somewhere, it would ALSO be nice to have it pay for a round of drinks now and then. You know what to do...
Invaluable poster Tresy documents Saletan's real-time campaign criticism, as opposed to the revisionism he's engaged in now.

Here's Saletan talking about his beloved Joe Lieberman, 8/15/00:

"If it works, this integration of cultural conservatism with economic progressivism [earlier referred to as "populism"] will convince independent voters that Gore and Lieberman are serious about battling cultural rot, while reassuring mainstream Democrats that this battle is guided and limited by the party's values. Explaining the connection will take some time. Lieberman made a good start yesterday by appearing on all five weekly talk shows."

Next week Saletan had this to say
about Bush:

"By portraying Gore as a [class] warrior and associating his warfare with the major policy battles of the past six years, Bush undercut his whole game plan on the most important weekend of the campaign....

"This is a debate Bush can't win. Politically, the Clinton position has beaten the Gingrich position every time... They thought "class warfare" was another character issue. It isn't. It's about class. And the Bush people themselves have unwisely identified it with all the health-care and retirement-security debates on which Democrats keep whipping Republicans. " )

(Recall that Saletan this week sneers at Gore's alleged misappropriation of Clinton rhetoric.)

More Saletan of Yore on Gore's "losing populist strategy":

On a Gore campaign commercial: "It's an aggressive pitch to the center: economic populism tempered by cultural conservatism. ...

"Gore is no big-government liberal. He wants tax cuts, but he wants them for you, not for the rich. How does he propose to achieve these goals? Fight, fight, fight....

"The formula is interesting: Attract conservative Democrats by embracing military patriotism, family values, and welfare reform. Meanwhile, pry them away from the GOP by championing Social Security, confining tax cuts to "working families," and assailing polluters and "big drug companies." Repudiate the counterculture in order to rekindle the politics of economic justice. "

And the last Slate piece by Saletan that discusses Gore's populism: "I'm struck by the weird triangular dynamics among these commercials. The DNC ad is obviously trying to polarize the issue. It draws two battle lines: populism and universality. ...This is consistent with Gore's general strategy of exaggerating policy differences in order to focus voters' attention on issues where Democrats hold the advantage."

Yeah, it was all so clear that Gore was going to lose (by negative 600,000 votes) even then. Why didn't Gore listen to Saletan? How different history would be today.

TAPPED gets Kaus again.

Minuteman's suggestion to Kaus that Krugman should do a piece on Jon Corzine's tax returns is bogus. He describes Corzine "opining about corporate reform," but references an article from nearly two months ago in which Corzine is talking about accounting reform -- specifically, a bill that forbids accounting firms from selling consulting services to their auditing clients. Corzine's old company, Goldman Sachs, does not provide auditing services. So it would be impossible for Corzine to be earning profits (via his shares in Goldman Sachs) from the same kind of arrangement that he's trying to outlaw. On the other hand, if any reporter can find Corzine getting on his high horse about off-shore tax havens for rich people and such, whilst discovering that some of Corzine's own considerable personal wealth is stashed in the Caymans, that might be a good story. But you need a more specific charge to make the hypocrisy angle stick. You can't just blather vaguely about "corporate reform" and "tax and accounting schemes" and then demand Corzine's tax returns. And since 97 senators voted for the Sarbanes bill, you should really be asking for a whole lotta tax returns... [posted 2:25 pm]

This is the final proof that Kaus is what I've always thought he was. He's now down to the kind of groping in the dark that characterized the Great Clinton Cockhunt, and whose logic still pervades the average dittomonkey brain. I now picture him typing with one hand, Ann Coulter poster on the wall, grunting Corzine...Wall Street...Tax Return.... Terry MacAuliffe...Global Crossing..Options... Hillary...Satan... Rubin...Citigroup..Something... , as he works himself into a feverish climax targeting Democrat after Democrat with bizarrely senseless charges.

Diane, regarding this point:

Also, exactly which Muslim organization forcefully denounced 9/11 without reservation, and without mitigating references to "US crimes in the Middle East, US support for Israel's crimes..."? Really, I'd love to know.

From the U.S. State Department:

Washington -- Muslim American groups quickly denounced the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

The leaders of nine Muslim American groups said in a joint letter to President Bush September 11, "American Muslims, who unequivocally condemned today terrorist attacks on our nation, call on you to alert fellow citizens to the fact that now is a time for all of us to stand together in the face of this heinous crime."

"We hope that the perpetrators of these crimes will be apprehended immediately and swiftly brought to justice. Muslims stand with all other Americans who, on this sad day,
feel a sense of tremendous grief and loss," the Muslim American leaders added.

The letter was signed by the leaders of the American Muslimm Alliance, the American Muslim Council, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim Alliance in North America, and American Muslims for Jerusalem. These groups represent most of the seven million Muslims in the United States.

Another note to Diane:

Also, given that right-wing lunatic anti-Semitic racists have a habit of hating Israel, don't you think it is kind of strange for leftists to form a coalition of interests with them?

Um, sure, and vice versa?

Diane: I haven't seen one anti-Israel leftist ever denounce the Jew-hatred in the Arab world. Can you cite me a few sources to prove that there is a trend? Or are you saying that because I haven't heard this, I'm a corrupt bigoted idiot? Is that why you compared me to Jerry Falwell?

No I wasn't implying you were a corrupt bigoted idiot, I just felt like insulting Jerry Falwell, sorry the two things got conflated. As for the former - James Zogby did last night, although doubt he's leftist, other than the fact that all "anti-Israel" people seem to get classified that way these days.

As for the double standard, well perhaps you should think on that some more. While David Duke is marginalized, Buchanan and Novak are not.

You want me to give you a benefit of the doubt, yet you've put the burden of proof on an entire very large ill-defined group of "leftists" to defend themselves, or other people you associate with them, or something.

As for myself, I don't think I'm in the group of people you're directing your challenge to, so I find myself under no obligation to answer it.

Remember how in-your-face Bill Clinton was all the time...always on TV, and how Bush was going to change all that?

Scott Rosenberg has some good comments on Gore v. the Media.

The Saletan piece is the kind of classic inside-the-Beltway analysis that, too often, we get, not only from Slate but from the Washington Post and the rest of the political media. Saletan, a smart and insightful writer, seems to have no interest (as Josh Marshall points out today) in even exploring whether Gore was right or not. Right or wrong is irrelevant. Gore is chastised for even caring about whether he was right or wrong. All that matters is tactics. Did Gore find the precise point on the rhetoric dial to press the electorate's buttons or not? Well, he didn't win the election, so obviously he didn't. (Though, actually, he did win a majority of the votes, but Saletan, like the rest of the Beltway world, won't even think of going there --rehashing the contested 2000 election is so tiresome and unpatriotic in these days of the War on Something or Other.)

Although, the press endless rehashes the election, but only through their obsessive-compulsive fixation on Gore's every movement.
Hesiod over at Counterspin makes an excellent point - that many a Warblogger have been swatting at straw flies by targeting their arguments for invading Iraq against squishy Lefties, peaceniks, and other 5th column types.

However, they should really direct their arguments against people in power - specifically those within the military who, through various means, have communicated their serious reservations about the whole endeavour.
Hey Diane, not all Lefties are "anti-Israel."

Nor is such a stance limited to those on the left.

And as for this question:

"Why do I never hear any of you denounce it? Why do you not forcefully declare that you will have nothing to do with a movement that in any way uses the vocabulary of anti-Semitism, or in any way advances its ideology?"

This is very reminiscent of the time Jerry Falwell was on a talk show opposite the leader of a Muslim-American group saying "why haven't any of you denounced 9/11?" To which the guy responded "we have repeatedly." To which Falwell responded "but I haven't seen these denouncements," proving once and for all that if a tree falls in the woods, and Jerry Falwell isn't there to hear it, he's still a corrupt bigoted idiot.

Point being - put your big wide brush away and get a smaller one out if you wish to have a serious debate with people.

Maybe TAPPED has been busy, but their hearts just haven't been in blogging lately. Hey, guys, I work cheap!
God, angered by attempts by judges to control woman's uterus, takes things into his own hands.

Even though Tanya Meyers won her legal battle to have an abortion, the 22-year-old was still undecided if she would end her 10-week pregnancy, her mother said.She won't get the chance to make that final decision.

Hours after a judge cleared the way for Meyers to have the procedure, Meyers suffered a miscarriage and her unborn child died, said Tracey Curry, Meyers' mother.

I guess "unborn child" has been successfully entered into acceptable journalistic style.
And, welcome Beyond Corporate, who was brought to my attention by Two Tears in a Bucket.
Welcome Monchie Monchum to the Blogosphere.

Monchie brings up a "This American Life" show about some kids who got a rude awakening to the media's ability to shovel shit. Poor kids, I didn't get that rude awakening until about 1998 or so, when I was already XX years old.

One of the interesting aspects of this affair is that Connolly's and Seelye's lies went completely unchallenged in the mainstream media -- with the sole exception being a segment on a Public Radio International program called "This American Life," which is not a news program, but rather more of a cultural magazine show, and has no connection with NPR or NPR's news division. "This American Life" keeps up a web archive, so you can hear for yourself the story about the high school kids who got very ticked off when the media lied about what President Gore said, in order to smear him as a liar. Just go to the 2000 archive, scroll way down to the January 28, 2000 episode (#151), and it's about six minutes into the program, the first story after the prologue. You can also watch a video of President Gore's unedited remarks, which proves conclusively that Connolly's and Seelye's quotes were misrepresentations and lies.

Marshall takes on Kaus:

The only explanation I can see is that since it's the Bush administration (and Paul Krugman on the other side) Mickey wants to hold open every door, make every excuse, refuse to draw any adverse conclusion. Precisely the opposite of what we see him do in the other case involving Bill Clinton. When it comes to the Bush administration, Mickey is so permissive you'd think he were Peter Edelman (that's a little welfare reform humor, there). The contrast is blinding.

Yes, and it isn't just Mickey, it is the whole goddamn media.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Check out Slannder! A thorough look through Ann Coulter's footnotes.
Ethel the Blog has some interesting things to say about the "humiliate Islam" memette.
TAPPED says (regarding Kaus & Krugman):

Did we just spend ten minutes of our too-short lives participating in this not-extremely-important debate? Um, yes. Yes we did.

I say:

That's what Kaus does best! Causing people to waste time on nonsense.

And, contrary to the conventional wisdom out there in Blogistan, no one has crushed Krugman.

Eric M. follows the trail of the Humiliate and Defeat Islam line much parroted in autoerotic frenzy by many a Warblogger:

There's a line in the neo-con circles about defeating Islam. Basically that with a really crushing defeat, Islam will then realize how wrong and misguided it has been, and reform itself into constitutional democracy.

The warbloggers usually point to Stephen Den Beste as the originator of this idea, that Islam had to be defeated to the extent Japan and Germany were:

Now the warbloggers are all happy that the Defense Policy Board, headed by Richard Perle, is considering their crazy ideas to humiliate Islam by occupying the country with the Islamic holy places:

The thing is, the idea did not originate with Stephen Den Beste. As far as I can find, the idea appeared in print in Feb 2002 issue of Commentary (sorry it's pay):

.. by none other than neo-con grand-daddy Norman Podhoretz, who advocating smashing five or six Muslim countries (the exact number didn't really matter) in order for the Muslim World to get the message. The connection? Perle and Podhoretz are like peas in a pod. Bob Woodward also reported how Perle's protege Paul Wolfowitz took the opportunity of Sept. 11 to approach Bush with a proposal to bomb six or seven Muslim countries immediately.

Warbloggers see affirmation of their views in the Defense Policy Board in July. I doubt Perle would stoop to cite warbloggers as a source of anything, but perhaps in their own way, they have helped spread this poisonous idea. The groundwork was laid long before. It's simply come full circle. Certainly the path of this idea on-line offers us psychological documentation of how propaganda works. People are provided with certain facts as the code, and all they are have to do is unconsciously run the program and marvel at their creative and original output.

Aside from squishy liberal civil libertarian concerns, abuse of government power can also be extraordinarily counterproductive in the War on Terra.
Listened briefly to someone on NPR discussing campaign finance. Forget who at the moment. But, he was arguing that mere disclosure hasn't provided any check on politicians -- people don't know or care who gives money to whom by and large. He's right, I suppose, but I blame the media for this. All corporate donors know that they have to split their donations across parties in order to appear clean, which is enabled by our media who are willing to parrot the line that Corporation X gave "equally" to both parties, when that "equal amount" is often 65-35%.

What the Salon article doesn't make clear is whether or not the FBI is paying America's Most Wanted to receive all those calls about 'my neighbor Habib..'
While I'm all for recognizing that the Saudi government is 'bad people,' what is with this recurring theme of oil field seizure...

Everyone else has commented on this gem by Nick Denton:

One could point at the examples of Japan and Germany after the Second World War. But the Muslim world provides its own case study. Ottoman Turkey only began to pay attention to Western science and organization after its first serious military defeats at the hands of Austria and Russia in the 17th and 18th centuries. The US needs to destroy Saddam Hussein's regime because he's a bad man, sure, because he may conceivably be connected with Al-Qaeda, because he's developing weapons of mass destruction, because a friendly Iraq would alter the balance of power in the Middle East, sure, because of all of that. But the US needs to destroy Saddam Hussein's regime mainly because the West needs to humiliate the Arab world, and dispel the Islamic millenial fantasy.

I'm starting to wonder if he's just staging an elaborate hoax -- seeing how rabid he can get and still have people scream "Yes! Yes!"

Has anyone bothered to check what year it is on the Islamic calendar? Maybe he meant something else by millenial fantasy....

But, in any case, I realize that the post-traumatic stress disorder suffering armchair warriors, equipped with their mighty keyboards and militant mice, really have started to confuse their verbal bombardment with the real thing.

Look out! It's a humiliation bomb!


(via Level Gaze)
Yes. Partisanship is good. Read, Democrats, and obey.

A telling and pitiful moment along these lines arrived on Thursday, June 27, a week before the Harken news. That's when a piece of campaign literature was published by the National Conservative Campaign Fund, which donates to and makes expenditures on behalf of GOP candidates nationwide. It delivered the staggering claim that Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle presented a "far greater danger" to the republic than American Taliban member John Walker Lindh. One might have thought that such an outré attack on their leader would embolden Democrats to stand as one and answer back. Well, they did stand as one -- literally: Poor Harry Reid of Nevada was the only Democratic senator to respond. Why weren't 15 of them up there, with a list of every dollar the fund had donated to GOP candidates in the last two election cycles, demanding that those same candidates -- a lineup that includes, speaking of cutthroat partisan politics, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris -- return their donations and that the White House denounce the flier and distance itself from the group?

You can bet that if a liberal fundraising organization had essentially called Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott a traitor, his colleagues would have damn well known what to do with it. Exploiting such opportunities, after all, is the sort of thing Republicans have been doing to Democrats for years now, from Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich to Dick Cheney and Bush consigliere Karl Rove. They've done it extremely well. Democrats have done it miserably. In fact they haven't done it at all. As a result, domestic politics for much of the last 20 years has looked like a boxing match in which, under a new set of rules that permits kicking and throwing punches below the belt, one pugilist voluntarily tells the ref he'll just play by the old rules, thanks. Republicans, for all their caterwauling about how they're outnumbered in Washington, how nasty liberals are and how beastly the media is, recognize that spewing out a lot of hooey about those dominant Democrats keeps the blood percolating among the true believers, so they keep doing it. But privately, how they must chortle about this state of affairs! They've been fighting a one-armed man.

Monday, August 05, 2002

Appeals judge returns control of uterus to woman.
OMB takes a page from Andy Sullivan's playbook.

Now for the fun part. The O.M.B. reacted angrily, and published a letter in The Times attacking me. It attributed the misstatement to "error," and declared that it had been "retracted." Was it?

It depends on what you mean by the word "retract." As far as anyone knows, O.M.B. didn't issue a revised statement, conceding that it had misinformed reporters, and giving the right numbers. It simply threw the embarrassing document down the memory hole. As Brendan Nyhan pointed out in Salon, if you go to the O.M.B.'s Web site now, you find a press release dated July 12 that is not the release actually handed out on that date. There is no indication that anything has been changed, but the bullet point on sources of the deficit is gone.

Every government tries to make excuses for its past errors, but I don't think any previous U.S. administration has been this brazen about rewriting history to make itself look good. For this kind of thing to happen you have to have politicians who have no qualms about playing Big Brother; officials whose partisan loyalty trumps their professional scruples; and a press corps that, with some honorable exceptions, lets the people in power get away with it.

Lucky us: we hit the trifecta.

This is Not an Onion Article

Operation TIPS volunteers being directed to America's Most Wanted.

Aug. 6, 2002 | When Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the formation of Operation TIPS, a planned army of tens of millions of American volunteers charged with ferreting out terrorists in their neighborhoods, plenty of pundits questioned whether Americans spying on Americans was a good thing. Very few people asked exactly how it would work, and the Justice Department didn't offer any clues.

To find out, I went to the Citizen Corps Web site, then to the Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS) page, and signed up as a volunteer. I quickly discovered that TIPS is having a devilish time getting off the ground. After an initial welcome from the Justice Department, I heard nothing for a month. When I finally called two weeks ago to ask what citizens were supposed to do if they had a terror tip, I was given a phone number I was told had been set up by the

But instead of getting a hardened G-person when I called, a mellifluous receptionist's voice answered, "America's Most Wanted." A little flummoxed, I said I was expecting to reach the FBI. "Aren't you familiar with the TV program 'America's Most Wanted'?" she asked patiently. "We've been asked to take the FBI's TIPS calls for them."

Some things don't require much comment.
More from my conservative pal Snotglass:

Al Gore, the failed Democratic Party candidate in 2000, took a break from fund raising at a Buddhist temple to write a stiff, wordy article complaining about the ozone layer and inciting class warfare by using inflammatory rhetoric, social security scare tactics and cheap marketing gimmicks, assisted by bearded trial lawyers and the liberal media elites dressed in earth tones.

Our elected President is valiently rallying the country to liberate the oppressed people of Iraq. The liberal media, assisted by opportunistic socialist politicians, is trying to smear him and obstruct the will of the American people by twisting the President's words and meanings. In the latest example of media spin, the President's words,spoken to King Abdullah, have been taken out of context and parsed by the liberal talking heads of cable TV.

As a devout and pious man of faith, the President has a constitutionally guaranteed freedom to call every other religion "false." Recent studies released by the Elmer Gantry School of Divinity at Hillsdale College reveal that Hell is populated entirely by believers in false religions. Noted theologian Jonah Goldberg has also stated that the President, as a duly elected protector of the constitutional Freedom to Worship, has a moral obligation to ensure that all Americans to exercise their freedom to worship and contribute their tithes at a church representing a true religion.

Our country is engaged in a struggle with the forces of evil, which often masquarades as a false religion. You liberals should be grateful that our elected President has the divine acumen to perceive and shared the revealed truth.

I saw Glenn Loury on Booknotes last night as I was falling asleep. That last part is a deliberate about how much I was paying attention, but it was nonetheless interesting - perhaps more for what was left unsaid than what was said. Loury has an interesting history - Harvard Economist, African American darling of the Right, prominent member of AEI. He ran into some problems first with a drug bust at which point he left Harvard (not forced to IIRC) and then subsequently a falling out with the Right.

His decision to separate himself from AEI came after he read, and panned, D'Souza's racist screed The End of Racism , which was being highly touted by his circle at the time. It was at this point that he realized, as any honest and sane person in his position would, that at best his colleagues were uninterested in the "conservative" approach to racial issues they claimed. And, most likely, the widespread approval of the sneering condescension in D'Souza's bigoted book made him recognize just what that "conservative approach" stemmed from.

What was left unsaid had to do with the fact that his non-communication with his former pals, including Clarence Thomas, has nothing to do with an "intellectual evolution," but the simple fact that he quit the "movement."
Interesting column in the Washington Post.

Consider this: Income per person in Latin America grew by 75 percent from 1960 to 1980. From 1980 to 2000 it grew by 7 percent, or hardly at all. Africa fared even worse, with a decline -- some 15 percent -- in income per person during the past two decades.

Of course, there are some important exceptions: China registered the fastest growth in world history during the past 20 years. But even including China, weighted by its enormous population of 1.3 billion, the developing economies as a group have grown at half the rate they had achieved during the previous two decades.


It is of course difficult to isolate the causes of such a protracted, geographically widespread economic failure, but there are some prime suspects. Higher interest rates, often enforced by the IMF, have slowed growth throughout much of the developing world. This trend was reinforced by the central banks of the developed countries, further slowing the developing economies by reducing worldwide growth.

Before the 1980s, it was common for low- and middle-income countries to pursue a country-specific development strategy. This has been replaced, in most cases, with a formulaic set of principles involving opening up to international trade and financial flows, privatization of state-owned industries and other deregulatory measures. These "Washington Consensus" policy prescriptions have not fared well in practice, and they have led to a number of economic disasters in recent years. The Asian economic crisis of 1998, for example, was brought on by reckless opening to "hot money" from abroad. Financial and economic crises in Mexico, Russia, Brazil and Argentina also have taken their toll on global economic growth.

Searching for good news, partisans of the Washington Consensus (such as the World Bank) point to countries such as China and Vietnam as successful "globalizers." But China's banking system is mostly state-owned, its domestic markets highly protected and its capital flows strictly controlled. Most of Vietnam's investment is undertaken by the state.

These Washington economists do not seem to notice the irony in their argument: "Our brand of neo-liberalism seems to have failed, but the Commies are doing great!"

The conclusion should not be that neo-liberal reforms per se are a bad idea, but the devil is of course in the details.
I'll refrain from captioning this Andy Sullivan photo.

(permalink broken, scroll down...)
Screw you Paul Gigot and your "bourgeois riot." Bought and paid for thugs. But we knew that:

After the Miami "Brooks Brothers Riot" - named after the protesters' preppie clothing - no government action was taken beyond the police rescuing several Democrats who were surrounded and roughed up by the rioters. While no legal charges were filed against the Republicans, newly released documents show that at least a half dozen of the publicly identified rioters were paid by Bush's recount committee.

The payments to the Republican activists are documented in hundreds of pages of Bush committee records - released grudgingly to the Internal Revenue Service last month, 19 months after the 36-day recount battle ended. Overall, the records provide a road map of how the Bush recount team brought its operatives across state lines to stop then-Vice President Al Gore's recount efforts.

The Miami protesters who were paid by Bush recount committee were: Matt Schlapp, a Bush staffer who was based in Austin and received $4,276.09; Thomas Pyle, a staff aide to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, $456; Michael Murphy, a DeLay fund-raiser, $935.12; Garry Malphrus, House majority chief counsel to the House Judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice, $330; Charles Royal, a legislative aide to Rep. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. $391.80; and Kevin Smith, a former GOP House staffer, $373.23.

Three of the Miami protesters are now members of Bush's White House staff, the Miami Herald reported last month. They include Schlapp, who is now a special assistant to the president; Malphrus, who is now deputy director of the president's Domestic Policy Council; and Joel Kaplan, another special assistant to the president. [See Miami Herald, July 14, 2002]

The Bush committee records show, too, that Bush's operation paid for the hotel where the Republican protesters celebrated after the Miami riot at a Thanksgiving Day party. At the party, the activists received thank-you phone calls from Bush and Cheney, and were serenaded by crooner Wayne Newton, singing "Danke Schoen," German for thank-you very much. [Wall Street Journal, Nov. 27, 2000;'s "W's Triumph of the Will"]

President Bush, whose administration has done a lot to cut mine safety programs, is praising "first responders" in mining accidents.

Will the press call him on this?

Will the Real Robert Rubin please stand up?

Hesiod has a funny article on the RNC's get Rubin strategy. Oh the shame of all who peddled this particular load of crap.
Bush meeting with rescued miners, GOP donors, signing fetus rights bill

Actual headline of this A.P. article.

Forget the notion that when the Supremes overturn Roe v. Wade this will get thrown to the states. It won't. It will be federal law.

The transcript isn't up yet, but people have informed me that on the most recent Inside Washington, Charles Krauthammer suggested that the cost of going it alone with Iraq wouldn't be so bad, as after we conquered them we could use their oil to pay for it.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

I managed to miss this great letter from Charles Pierce to Eric Alterman:

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newtonville, MA

Eric —
Sorry, I’ll start again.
I know that you and Mickey Kaus occasionally run into each other in the fleshpots down by the docks in Blogistan, so maybe you could ask him what’s, ah, going on with this passage from last Monday:

“You don’t have to be on welfare, or poor, or black to be influenced by the welfare-conditioned culture of the urban poor — any more than you have to be poor or black to be influenced by the ghetto-based ideas of NWA and other rappers whose music fills headphones in Scarsdale or Montecito.”

OK, so let’s cut him some slack because there’s no earthly reason why Mickey Kaus should know that NWA hasn’t released a record in a decade, or that it hasn’t been a viable band since Ice Cube left in 1989. But what’s this other swill? “Welfare-conditioned culture?” “Ghetto-based ideas”? And what is the affirmative difference-rhetorically, critically, or morally — from what, say, the White Citizens Councils used to say about Ray Charles.
Personally, I’m more worried that my kid may one day meet Al From.


Saw over at MKUltraWatch.
On a more serious note, we can now say with reasonable certainty that if not for Scalia and pals, the tragic events of September 11th would have never happened. Presiden Clinton would have implemented the plan and President Gore would have continued the process.
Andrew Stuttaford, the second most amusing (and most predictable) member of The Corner says:

ELTON FOR RENO [Andrew Stuttaford]
The news that Elton John will be performing at a benefit for the Janet Reno campaign is remarkable indeed. I could easily be wrong, but so far as I know, Sir Elton is neither a green card holder, US citizen nor a resident of Florida, so what exactly is it about the Sunshine State's politics that have drawn him to its gubernatorial race?

Comeon Andy, say what you're really thinking:

Is it because Elton is a disgusting perverted homo and Reno is a big ugly dyke ???

Here's the news story regarding my post below:

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine- It was a quick shift from angry statesman to Sunday golfer.

Bush rose before dawn for a round of golf with his father, but was "distressed" to learn of another suicide bombing in Israel.

"There are a few killers who want to stop the peace process that we have started. We must not let them," he said, wagging his finger for emphasis, just as his cart pulled
up to the first hole at the Cape Arundel Golf Club.

The six-sentence statement complete, Bush thanked reporters, then smirked and ordered: "Now watch my drive."

Sorry, Stranger, kept forgetting!
Josh Marshall on the latest Time article:

The authors of this Time article go to great lengths to be fair to the Bush administration. But the upshot of the story is still pretty devastating. In the early months of the War on Terrorism we heard a heroic tale: the Bush administration had inherited a dawdling and feckless anti-terrorism policy from their predecessors. Through 2001 they were in a headlong rush to bring the country up to speed but couldn't quite make up all the lost time before the terrorists struck.

Let's call this the Andrew Sullivan version of events.

The truth was rather different. By definition some things didn't get done that should have been done in the late 1990s. But the out-going administration left its successors with a fairly detailed action plan for attacking al Qaida. Presidential transitions are unavoidably disorienting affairs. But there were more specific reasons the plan didn't get acted upon. The Bush team a) was more concerned with missile defense than terrorism and b) was unwilling to adopt a Clinton era plan until six or seven months hadbeen spent repackaging it as a Bush-era plan. And therein lies a tale.

Read the rest. He also addresses the idiotic Blame Rubin saga. He mentions Novak trying to bug Carl Levin with this -- what he doesn't mention is the absolutely priceless expression on Novakula's face when Levin threw the name Wendy Gramm back in his face. Novak looked like someone had strapped him down, taped open his eyelids, and subjected him to 24 hours of hot interracial man-on-man porn.

(that last phrase sure will increase my search engine hits).
Amen, Brother!

Calling the Times a "liberal rag" just because it publishes the Molly Ivins column is quite a stretch. You can't form an intelligent opinion if you only look at an issue from one angle.

The myth of the "liberal media" is just that. The so-called liberal media are owned by large conservative corporations that dictate control over biased news reporting in major newspapers and on major television networks. The media are conservative just like their owners and sponsors. You're getting the "News" the way that they want you to see it. Consider who owns what is referred to as the liberal media:

CBS, Country Music TV, The Nashville Network, all owned by Westinghouse Elec., who also operate four government-owned nuclear power plants in the US.

ABC owned by Disney Corp., who also owns 11 major local newspapers.

NBC, CNBC both owned by General Electric Corp.

Fox Networks and 132 major newspapers, owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Do you think any of the above could be regarded as liberal?

Finally, calling Clinton a draft-dodging, pot-smoking liberal is a bit hypocritical considering the present selected occupant is an AWOL draft dodging alcoholic cocaine sniffer.

Kenneth Fogarty

Walnut Creek
The eggman has a Time scoop.

It's about how Bush shelved Clinton administration plan to get Al Qaeda for about one two many months.

This is key:

Submarines were ready to attack bin Laden: For all of 2000, Clinton ordered two U.S. Navy submarines to stay on station in the northern Arabian sea, ready to attack bin Laden if his coordinates could be determined, sources tell TIME.

If I remember correctly, those submarines were ordered to stand down when Bush took office.

coo coo ca choo.

Actually, from my quick scan most of this isn't actually new. It's come out in drips and drabs in foreign papers.

I get tired of reading these big scoops and going "but we already knew that!"

Bush to reporters just now from the golf course, immediately after condemning the latest bombing in Israel:

Now watch this drive.
Please, someone, give John Derbyshire a blowjob.

And they say liberals are gloomy.

UPDATE: Somewhere around the net I saw a poster refer to this as:

The Apocalypse According to Ignatius Reilly

ha ha

UPDATE2: Oh No! The Derbyshire Family spent the day at the water park.

This guy has some serious issues...