Saturday, April 10, 2004


Get your hot fresh copy here.

Stupid Cliff May

How ignorant can these people be and still be given a paid platform. addition to Roosevelt's apparent post-WWII resurrection, May also flat out lies when he claims that Roosevelt's 1944 opponent, Dewey, "declined to criticize the president in regard to foreign policy during a time of war." The big part of Dewey's campaign was the claim that Roosevelt was "soft on communism." He also attacked Roosevelt's war preparations, and blamed his policies for the deaths of our troops. This stuff mostly came later in the campaign, but it was there.

God I hate these people. They're just liars.

...okay, to be fair to May (why?) Dewey's "soft on communist" stuff was more about Roosevelt letting the sneaky commies inside this country take over the country, and not precisely about foreign policy. But, the myth that Dewey didn't go after FDR at all about the war and foreign policy is just that - a myth.

...Eric from Wampum has more.


50-43 Kerry over Bush, in latest Newsweek poll.

Negotiating with Terrorists

I guess they're all insurgents now.

...just a comment. With posts like this I'm usually not criticizing the tactics, but rather highlighting the difference between rhetoric and reality with the Bushies and their apologists like Baghdad Brooks.

The civilian commanders are responsible for what's going on in Iraq.

Abizaid Asks for More Troops


WASHINGTON, April 9 (UPI) -- U.S. Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid has requested more forces for Iraq and was discussing plans Friday with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a senior defense official confirmed. snip

Whatever the military requirement, adding troops to the force in Iraq carries with it a poltical price. More than a year ago, then Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki told Congress the occupation of Iraq would require "several hundred thousand" troops. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz called that estimate "wildly off the mark." The Pentagon leaked the name of Shinseki's replacement months before his scheduled retirement, rendering him a lame duck.

In his farewell speech at his retirement ceremony last year, Shinseki warned the Army was being over-committed.

Les Aspin resigned in shame when 18 people died in Somalia. When is someone in this administration going to lose his/her job?

Operation Ignore

Drudge is right to bring up this May 19, 2002 article in the WaPo which shows how long the press has been giving the administration cover for their lies. Yes, I know that the story was reported, but it was reported and ignored.

New accounts yesterday of the controversial Aug. 6 memo provided a shift in portrayals of the document, which has set off a political firestorm because it suggested that bin Laden's followers might be planning to hijack U.S. airliners.

In earlier comments this week, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and other administration officials stressed that intelligence officials were focused primarily on threats to U.S. interests overseas. But sources made clear yesterday that the briefing presented to Bush focused on attacks within the United States, indicating that he and his aides were concerned about the risks.

Operation Ignore extended to the press, as well.


Would you tolerate thirty thousand dead Americans?

What do these numbers tell us about Iraq? For one thing, that the public may be less fearful of casualties than America's political and military elites assume -- and, indeed, less fearful than the elites themselves. In 1999 a massive opinion poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates for the Triangle Institute for Security Studies asked various groups what level of casualties they would be willing to tolerate in the event of war with Iraq. The survey found that military leaders consistently show less tolerance for casualties than civilian leaders, who in turn show less tolerance for casualties than the public at large. (In Iraq, the survey showed the public would tolerate, as a mean figure, 29,853 American fatalities; civilian elites would tolerate 19,045; and their military counterparts would tolerate 6,016.)

That's from the WaPo. Is that what they're expecting?

Friday, April 09, 2004



Washington, D.C., Nov. 3, 2000 ? The fire and smoke from the downed passenger aircraft billows from the Pentagon courtyard. Defense Protective Services Police seal the crash sight. Army medics, nurses and doctors scramble to organize aid. An Arlington Fire Department chief dispatches his equipment to the affected areas.

Don Abbott, of Command Emergency Response Training, walks over to the Pentagon and extinguishes the flames. The Pentagon was a model and the "plane crash" was a simulated one.

The Pentagon Mass Casualty Exercise, as the crash was called, was just one of several scenarios that emergency response teams were exposed to Oct. 24-26 in the Office of the Secretaries of Defense conference room.

NYT Goes for the Jugular

Toughest article yet:

WASHINGTON, April 9 ? President Bush was told more than a month before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that supporters of Osama bin Laden planned an attack within the United States with explosives and wanted to hijack airplanes, a government official said Friday.

The warning came in a secret briefing that Mr. Bush received at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., on Aug. 6, 2001. A report by a joint Congressional committee last year alluded to a "closely held intelligence report" that month about the threat of an attack by Al Qaeda, and the official confirmed an account by The Associated Press on Friday saying that the report was in fact part of the president's briefing in Crawford.

The disclosure appears to contradict the White House's repeated assertions that the briefing the president received about the Qaeda threat was "historical" in nature and that the White House had little reason to suspect a Qaeda attack within American borders.

Operation Ignore

by Al Franken. the book.

Eye On The Ball


WASHINGTON - On a trip to China next week to talk about high-stakes issues like terrorism and North Korea, Vice President Dick Cheney will have another task - making a pitch for Westinghouse's U.S. nuclear power technology.

At stake could be billions of dollars in business in coming years and thousands of American jobs. The initial installment of four reactors, costing $1.5 billion apiece, would also help narrow the huge U.S. trade deficit with China.

China's latest economic plan anticipates more than doubling its electricity output by 2020 and the Chinese government, facing enormous air pollution problems, is looking to shift some of that away from coal-burning plants. Its plan calls for building as many as 32 large 1,000-megawatt reactors over the next 16 years.

No one has ordered a new nuclear power reactor in the United States in three decades and the next one, if it comes, is still years away. So, China is being viewed by the U.S. industry as a potential bonanza.

Historical Document


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush's August 2001 briefing on terrorism threats, described largely as a historical document, included information from three months earlier that al-Qaida was trying to send operatives into the United States for an explosives attack, according to several people who have seen the memo.

The so-called presidential daily briefing, or PDP, delivered to Bush on Aug. 6, 2001 — a month before the Sept. 11 attacks — said there were various reports that Osama bin Laden had wanted to strike inside the United States as early as 1997 and continuing into the spring of 2001, the sources told The Associated Press


And the final bullet told the president of a recent intelligence report indicating al-Qaida operatives were trying to get inside the United States to carry out an attack with explosives, the sources said. There was no specifics about the timing or target, the sources said.

The sources said the briefing memo did not provide the exact date of that intelligence but made clear it was in the 2001 time frame, and that FBI and other agencies were investigating it. The information had been provided to intelligence and law enforcement agencies well before Bush's briefing, the sources said.

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. government agencies issued repeated warnings in the summer of 2001 about potential terrorist plots against the United States masterminded by Osama bin Laden, including a possible plan to hijack commercial aircraft, documents show.

While there were no specific targets mentioned in the United States, there was intelligence indicating al-Qaida might attempt to crash a plane into the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. And other reports said Islamic extremists might try to hijack a plane to gain release of comrades.


Several Democrats on the commission claim the memo, called a presidential daily brief, or PDB, included current intelligence indicating a high threat of hijackings. It was titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

Consequences of War

I guess Big Brother has decreed we'll never see them.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...


On Saturday, Bush and his father were to go fishing at the ranch's bass pond with a crew from the Outdoor Life Network's "Fishing with Roland Martin."

The White House approached the network about coming to film Bush, who is eager to cultivate an image as a sportsman with the millions of voters who hunt and fish. The crew was to bring its own boat for the shoot on the small pond.

President Bush leads a tour of Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas with wildlife conversation leaders and sportsmen leaders, Thursday, April 8, 2004. Pictured with the President from left, are Jeffrey Crane, Director of Policy and Programs, Congressional Sportsmen Foundation, Bud Pidgeon, President, U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, and Michael Rogers, Safari Club International Senior writer. (AP Photo/White House, Eric Draper, HO)
AP - Apr 08 2:08 PM


We've lost control of Baghdad.

Our supply lines to the South may have been cut.

"Military age" men are not being allowed to leave Fallujah, as the death toll mounts.

...CNN confirming 2 soldiers and ? (missed it) civilians missing...

Nobody Told Me What To Do

Uh...Condi? You were in charge, remember?

Obama Over Ryan by 19 Points

Good news in Illinois.

Meanwhile, Back at Home...

Consumer confidence plunges.

WASHINGTON - Consumer confidence sank during the past month, weighed down by worries about job security and concerns about local economic conditions in the months ahead. The AP-Ipsos consumer confidence index dropped to 84.8 this week, from a reading of 97.7 in early March, when Americans' feelings about the economy had shown an improvement from the previous month.

The decline in consumer confidence comes as other recent economic indicators suggest the overall national economy is gaining ground and that the jobs market may be finally turning an important corner.

The AP-Ipsos index isn't the "standard" one. That honor goes to the Conference Board, which comes out near the end of the month. But, for all the trolls who like to try and impress us by informing us that unemployment is a lagging indicator... consumer confidence is a leading one.

A Plan is a Plan

Also over at TAPPED, Big Media Matt discusses the Bushies' MO about everything - do what they want and damn the consequences. Their approach to everything is "a hornet stung me so I have the right to wack its nest with a stick!" (Or, more recently, "a hornet might sting me so I have the right to wack its nest with a stick!") Now, either of those may be true from a moral perspective, but that doesn't mean that the practical consequences are ones we really want.

No matter how evil or bad or deserving of the worst sort of punishment our opponents are, sometimes finding a nonviolent solution to the problem is preferable. This isn't "appeasement" - it's just making the best out of a crap situation.

I think part of the problem is that we're in the mindset that the opposition in Iraq are "terrorists." It's more helpful to perceive them as an "opposition army." This isn't because I think they're "less bad" than terrorists, but rather it helps reframe the way we deal with them. And, to the extent that the opposition does have some nominal leaders, this isn't so far off the mark.

Let's submit that Sadr is a bad guy and his supporters are following a bad guy and a bad cause. If they, and he, are "terrorists," then we can't negotiate with them because you can't negotiate with terrorists because it just encourages more terrrorism. On the other hand, you can potentially negotiate a surrender with an opposition army. That's how battles and wars are generally ended, after all. I have no idea if negotiation is possible - maybe it isn't. Maybe there's no willingness on the other side. Maybe there's no solution but to keep blasting away. But, if we just assume that blasting away is the only option because bad guys are bad and we must kill them, then either the violence will continue to escalate or we'll be running a country with none of the "freedom" Dear Leader keeps babbling about, or likely both.

We need to find something that works. more thing. I know part of the reason the administration wants to call everyone bad "terrorists" is for the propaganda value. But, the thing is they actually believe it themselves. Anything bad is a terrorist, all the terrorists are allied with each other, and they're all against us.

Stern on Air America Radio

Nick Confessore suggests that the way to keep AAR afloat is to bring mega-money maker Howard Stern on board. As long as they could rebrand themselves as "Howard Stern in the morning, liberal radio all day..." that wouldn't be such a bad thing. But, the problem is that Stern is currently a target of a politically motivated effort to get him off the air (either to placate the Christian Right or to stop his Bush-bashing). That situation presumably wouldn't go away simply because he switches networks. And, in fact, would give the FCC the excuse to shut down a fledgling liberal network.

On the other hand, Stern could probably single-handedly revolutionize the radio business by switching to satellite - away, for the moment at least, from the oversight of the FCC.

Air America

For the record, Air America has two African-American primary hosts, not one. Out of 12.

Cut their Mics

If things are not going swimmingly in Iraq, it is not the fault of domestic critics. It is the fault of the people who sent in too few troops and failed to plan for the aftermath of the war.

One should not have to have been "pro-war" to be a critic of what's going on. I'm tired of people prefacing their criticisms with phrases like "as someone who supported this war..." Well, you were wrong. Why should we listen to you now? There were plenty of reasons to be against the war, but the only one which was necessary was the fact that the people in charge were utterly incompetent - that people opposed to "nation building" had no real desire to carry it out. Once their incompetence was clear, no other reasons were necessary. Even Tom Friedman recognized this was a risky venture, but he failed to understand that you do not support risky ventures run by inept lunatics.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Daily Show

Priceless. Perfect. Make sure you catch the repeat.

A Letter from Iraq

Chris Lehmann posts a letter from a contractor working in Iraq.


So, as expected Michael Powell's FCC proposed about a half million in fines for radio stations for the Howard Stern show. But, apparently the fines are only being levied against Clear Channel stations that run Stern's show (and no longer do). Stern was only on a few CC stations - most of the ones he's on aren't. Why aren't they getting fined?

Rule of Law

I think it's time to lock up Condi for perjury. From CAP:


"There really was nothing that looked like it was going to happen inside the United States...There was nothing demonstrating or showing that something was coming in the United States."

Source: - Condoleezza Rice, 4/8/04


Page 204 of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 noted that "In May 2001, the intelligence community obtained a report that Bin Laden supporters were planning to infiltrate the United States" to "carry out a terrorist operation using high explosives." The report "was included in an intelligence report for senior government officials in August [2001]." In the same month, the Pentagon "acquired and shared with other elements of the Intelligence Community information suggesting that seven persons associated with Bin Laden had departed various locations for Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States."

Source - Joint Congressional 9/11 Inquiry, 12/02


Is it just me or have the nets really really been holding back about reporting anything about what's going on in Iraq right now. According to this report it's totally FUBAR in Fallujah.


Finally, a wee bit of potential justice in California.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal grand jury on Thursday returned an indictment charging a unit of energy company Reliant Resources (RRI.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and four of its officers with manipulating the California energy markets.
The indictment charged Reliant Resources unit Reliant Energy Services and four officers: Jackie Thomas, a former vice president of Reliant's Power Trading Division; Reggie Howard, a former Director of the trading division; Lisa Flowers, a term trader for the trading division; and Kevin Frankeny, Reliant's manager of western operations.

The company and officials were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and commodities manipulation; wire fraud; and manipulation and attempted manipulation of the price of a commodity in interstate commerce.

The indictment alleged that in June 2000, Reliant Energy Services and its officers and employees intentionally drove up the price of electricity in the state by shutting off its power generation to create the false appearance of a shortage.

Newsweek 9/13/01

Could the bombers have been stopped? NEWSWEEK has learned that while U.S. intelligence received no specific warning, the state of alert had been high during the past two weeks, and a particularly urgent warning may have been received the night before the attacks, causing some top Pentagon brass to cancel a trip. Why that same information was not available to the 266 people who died aboard the four hijacked commercial aircraft may become a hot topic on the Hill. In testimony to the Intelligence Committee earlier this year, CIA Director George Tenet said bin Laden posed the most immediate terrorist threat to Americans around the world and was capable of "multiple attacks with little or no warning." "There is a giant accountability issue starting today," says former Afghanistan CIA station chief Milt Bearden, "and in the midst of legitimate accountability there will be a lot of scapegoating. They're going to start looking for the modern-day equivalent of General Short and Admiral Kimmel [the armed-forces commanders at Pearl Harbor], and they're going to find them."

That was before the Operation Unquestioning Patriotism kicked into full swing, and all such questions were forgotten.


You know, I was really pretty astounded by Franken's interview with Howard Fineman just now. First of all, I want to say that I think that Franken is proving himself to be a master interviewer, something I hadn't expected. But, secondly, how much of a whore is Howie?

When he first came on the show he was pretty defensive of Condi, or at most offering very mild criticism. By the end he was basically calling it a political disaster for Bush.

Franken kicked the ball, and Howie ran after it...

More Lies

The CAP has fact-checked the rest of her testimony. I don't have a link yet, but here's part of it:

CLAIM: "I was certainly not aware of [intelligence reports about planes as missiles] at the time that I spoke" in 2002. [responding to Kean]

FACT: While Rice may not have been aware of the 12 separate and explicit warnings about terrorists using planes as weapons when she made her denial in 2002, she did know about them when she wrote her March 22, 2004 Washington Post op-ed. In that piece, she once again repeated the claim there was no indication "that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles." [Source: Washington Post, 3/22/04]


CLAIM: There was "nothing about the threat of attack in the U.S." in the Presidential Daily Briefing the President received on August 6th. [responding to Ben Veniste]

FACT: Rice herself confirmed that "the title [of the PDB] was, 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.'" [Source: Condoleezza Rice, 4/8/04]

Historical Document

One of the weird distinctions Rice tried to draw was by claiming the August 6th PDB was a "historical document." I, along with the rest of the sentient population of the United States, have no idea what that's really supposed to mean. But, in any case that characterization, for what it's worth, is completely undercut by what she said just a few minutes later. From Kautilyan:

RICE: You said, did it not warn of attacks. It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.


KEAN: This is the last question, Senator.

KERREY: Actually it won't be a question.

In the spirit of further declassification, this is what the August 6th memo said to the president: that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking.

That's the language of the memo that was briefed to the president on the 6th of August.

RICE: And that was checked out and steps were taken through FAA circulars to warn of hijackings.

In other words, it was a historical document that reported no new threat but nonetheless we responded to it as if it was a new threat.

as Franken would say...


August 6 PDB

For those who are a little fuzzy on their recent history, the timeline goes something like this:

August 6, 2001: Bush gets briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside US."

August 7, 2001: Bush begins month long vacation in Crawford, TX.

You probably remember the rest. And, every editorial page in the country should be calling for the full release of that memo.

...the Center for American Progress does a bit of factchecking. Wow, it's really damning. What a liar. Here are a few examples:

CLAIM: "We decided immediately to continue pursuing the Clinton Administration's covert action authorities and other efforts to fight the network."

FACT: Newsweek reported that "In the months before 9/11, the U.S. Justice Department curtailed a highly classified program called 'Catcher's Mitt' to monitor al-Qaida suspects in the United States." Additionally, AP reported "though Predator drones spotted Osama bin Laden as many as three times in late 2000, the Bush administration did not fly the unmanned planes over Afghanistan during its first eight months," thus terminating the reconnaissance missions started during the Clinton Administration. [Sources: Newsweek, 3/21/04; AP, 6/25/03]

CLAIM: "The strategy set as its goal the elimination of the al-Qaida network. It ordered the leadership of relevant U.S. departments and agencies to make the elimination of al-Qaida a high priority and to use all aspects of our national power -- intelligence, financial, diplomatic, and military -- to meet this goal."

FACT: 9/11 Comissioner Jamie Gorelick: "Is it true, as Dr. Rice said, 'Our plan called for military options to attack Al Qaida and Taliban leadership'?" Armitage: "No, I think that was amended after the horror of 9/11." [Source: 9/11 Commission testimony, 3/24/04]

CLAIM: "We bolstered the Treasury Department's activities to track and seize terrorist assets."

FACT: The new Bush Treasury Department "disapproved of the Clinton Administration's approach to money laundering issues, which had been an important part of the drive to cut off the money flow to bin Laden." Specifically, the Bush Administration opposed Clinton Administration-backed efforts by the G-7 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that targeted countries with "loose banking regulations" being abused by terrorist financiers. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration provided "no funding for the new National Terrorist Asset Tracking Center." [Source: "The Age of Sacred Terror," 2003].

I'm too lazy to add in all the links, but if you click over there it's all sourced.

Condi Thread II

Old one too long.

...take the poll.

Thursday is New Jobless Day!

Congratulations to the 328K new unemployed! Lucky Duckies, every one!

Why Does Charles V. Peña Hate Our Troops?

How dare he encourage the people that are attacking them and lower their morale?

The uprising has also raised questions about past military decisions in the yearlong invasion and occupation of Iraq. snip

"It's time to bail out," said Charles V. Peña, director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute, a conservative Washington think tank. "If it wasn't obvious beforehand, it ought to be more obvious now that we are in a situation that is no longer in control, and we can't make the fairy tale outcome that we would like to see happen in Iraq."

Condi Thread

And Neal Pollack is blogging it.

I can't bring myself to watch.

...okay, I broke down and started to listen to a bit of it. That I can handle. Just now Condi said that there was no way they had enough time to "harden" cockpits or do similar things in the 3 months following the beginning of the threat spikes. Sure, it wouldn't have necessarily been enough time to accomplish everything you might want to do. But, it sure would have been enough time to begin to implement such reforms.

Cut and Run

From uber-patriot, and lying liar, Bill O'Lielly:

Some people simply will not embrace freedom. We have millions of Americans in this country who are being abused one way or another and refuse to do anything about it. Freedom is never free. Freedom is hard.

The Bush administration must come to grips with the true character of Iraq and begin to change strategy. The safety of the American military must become the top priority. The interest of the Iraqis themselves second. Unlike Afghanistan (search), where the majority of people seem to be cooperating with America, the Iraqis lay back, perhaps traumatized by decades of Saddam's oppression.

Understandable, but not acceptable. If these people won't help us, we need to get out in an orderly manner. If, come next October, Iraq continues to be a big mess, President Bush might very well lose the election. Mr. Bush and his advisers must know that. And that's why there's still a chance that the Iraqi radicals will be beaten. But time is running out, both for Iraq and for the Bush administration.

I don't even know what the hell he's talking about in the 1st paragraph. Maybe we should abuse Mr. O'Lielly and see if he does something about it. But, he's basically saying that Bush should pull out of Iraq to win the election. Why does Bill O'Lielly hate freedom?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

So Sad

I wish I could gloat, but this is all just so horrible and so sad. No matter what one believed about the rightness of the war, this bunch has been so utterly incompetent as to defy belief.

The United States has asked more than a dozen countries to join a new international military force to protect the United Nations in Iraq, a proposal critical to persuading the world body to return there after two massive suicide attacks against its Baghdad headquarters last year, State Department officials said.

Washington has approached France, which led opposition to the war in Iraq, as well as India, Pakistan and other nations that were reluctant to join the U.S.-led coalition that invaded Iraq, U.S. and European officials said. The list includes "a good global mix," said a State Department official familiar with the proposed force. But no Arab countries or neighbors of Iraq are on the list, with Turkey notably absent.

Jeebus. Begging the French. I wonder if they're still called "Freedom Fries" in the House cafeterias.


Thanks Arianna.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Al Franken takes them on.


Latest Rasmussen tracking poll for generic congressional ballot.

Perhaps George will be a uniter after all.



An official in the occupation authority said Wednesday that allied and Iraqi security forces had lost control of the key southern cities of Najaf and Kufa to the Shiite militia, conceding that months of effort to win over the population with civil projects and promises of jobs have failed with segments of the population.

"Six months of work is completely gone," the official said. "There is nothing to show for it."

He cited reports that government buildings, police stations, civil defense garrisons and other installations built up by the Americans had been overrun and then stripped bare, of files, furnishings and even toilet fixtures.

Radio Free Eschaton

I'll be on Majority Report in a bit.


You know, we've joked about this before but Bush's new photo album of "compassion related" pictures is really disturbing.

Joe Hoeffel Wednesday!

Hoeffel needs just a few more grand to reach their quarter fundraising goals. Click here to donate...

Stewart on Franken

They make a great pair. Funny. Anyone Stewart just said that the best metaphor for the media was 6 year olds playing soccer. The ball pops up, and they all run towards it. I think that's most of the story - but, the other part of the story is that the right wing slime machine is pretty good at popping that ball up and sending it in the direction they want.

New Kerry Staff

Zack Exley of Move On is taking over Kerry's online communications/organizing. Let's hope he improves things a bit over there...


He concludes his WaPo piece with this:

The only unequivocally good policy option before the American people is to dump the president who got us into this mess, who had no trouble sending our young people to Iraq but who cannot steel himself to face the Sept. 11 commission alone.

Red Alert

Rasmussen tracking has Kerry at 48-42.

I'm not sure why I'm giving unsolicited advice to the Bush campaign, and unlike when conservatives do it (Lieberman is your best chance!), I'm dead serious - but Bush really should pull one of the ads he's running against Kerry. You know, the really "wacky" one with the wacky announcer talking about Kerry supporting gas tax increases. Given the seriousness of events right now, it just makes Bush look like a total tool. It may succeed in driving Kerry's negatives up, but it probably isn't doing much for Bush's.

Put a Blogger In Government

Mary Beth of Wampum is running for a spot in the Maine state government. She's having a very very modest fundraiser. Go help her out.

...the donation button is on the main page here. Give Mary Beth a little turkee!

Franken on Blitzer

Blitzer had Al Franken and d-list bottom feeder hate radio host Michael Graham. The contrast was incredible. The transcript doesn't do it justice, but go take a look (Scroll down).

The Iraq War

Point/counterpoint from the Onion.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Open Thread


It Never Ends

More crap:

Senior U.S. officials told CNN on Tuesday that they now believe fugitive terrorism suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi did not have a leg amputated in Iraq, as the Bush administration had previously said.

Although the administration pointed to Iraq's medical assistance to al-Zarqawi as evidence of a link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's regime, it's now believed that al-Zarqawi still has both legs.

12 Marines Killed

In al Ramadi.

...Murdoch's Sky says up to 130. Let's hope they're full of shit. ... I think for the moment at least we can assume it isn't true.

...Murdoch's Fox saying at least 18. saying 12.

Holy Crap

Sometimes they go even too far for me to comprehend:

BACK AT BUSCH: A somewhat hostile crowd complained mightily about the problems the presidential motorcade caused with regular fans trying to get into the park. A Cards employee tipped moi that the team was so concerned about Bush being booed that they piped in fake applause when he strode out to the mound. Lamping flatly denied it.

Bush in California

I believe with all of my heart that these poll numbers do not accurately portary the massive potential support Bush has in California. No matter what the liberal media and their corrupt pollsters tell you, California is the most important battleground state in the nation. Let's hope that Bush doesn't realize this. Otherwise he might spends tens of millions there and win it.

President All About Him


It was a mouthwatering menu. Not that you'd expect less for $2,000 a plate.

Seered beef tenderloins with golden tomatoes on an herb-encrusted baguette. Grilled garlic chicken with smoked gouda on a honey wheat wrap. Fruits and gourmet olives and crudite. A gourmet luncheon with only one thing missing: something to eat it with.

The explanation was at the bottom of the menus distributed at President Bush's $1.5 million Charlotte fund-raiser Monday.

"At the request of the White House, silverware will not accompany the table settings," it said in discreetly fine print.

No silver. No plastic.

The lack of utensils might have been why many plates went virtually untouched.

The reason: So the tinkle of silver wouldn't disrupt the president's speech.

Worse than Watergate

It's out. You can buy it here.

Educating the Dittoheads

Al's dittohead friend just said that Republicans never criticized war tactics during WWII. Here's a brief excerpt from Clare Booth Luce's keynote speech to the Connecticut State Republican convention in September, 1942.

The fact remains that while the Administration and many of its appointees have talked a tough war, so far, unhappily, they have fought a soft one. A soft war is an improperly conducted one.

I'm sure there are more. That took 2 minutes to find.'s Republican Congressman Hamilton Fish, after winning re-election in Roosevelt's home district in 1942:

"Every American is for an all-out war to final victory," Mr. Fish remarkeed, "but they demand the right to criticize the incompetency and blunders that impair our war efforts."

Cheney Loves High Oil Prices

And high gas prices.

Let us rid ourselves of the fiction that low oil prices are somehow good for the United States.

He said this after introducing legislation in 1986 which would set a tax an oil imports to ensure the minimum price per barrel of $24. Indexed for inflation, that's about 48 bucks - much higher than the current price of oil.

There are ways to decrease our dependence on foreign oil which don't rely on soaking poor consumers and putting a big drag on the economy for the benefit of domestic oil producers. A revenue neutral hike in the gas tax, which included offsetting cuts and credits for low income individuals, would be one way. In fact, President Bush's CEA head Greg Mankiw has endorsed something similar.

Najaf Falls

Crap. Don't want to think about what's next - for our soldiers or for the people caught in the crossfire.

More Polls

Bush at 49.

Generic congressional ballot 42D-36R.

When Snotballs Attack

The rodents from LGF* are going after Nathan Newman now.

*apologies to fine rodents everywhere.


Bill Schneider actually did a pretty nasty piece on CNN about how testifying with Cheney makes Bush look like someone who doesn't know enough to testify by himself.

Roll Call Vote

Roll call is doing a silly contest for Speaker of the House. But, it's always fun to win silly meaningless contests. Email to them with the subject line "Future Speaker" and then write in the message, ""I vote for Jan Schakowsky for Speaker" (her opponent is Blunt).

Click here to mail

C&P this into your message:

I vote for Jan Schakowsky for Speaker

(from the Stakeholder)

No, Really?

The Blair government notices that the CPA is just an extention of the Bush election campaign.:

British officials say that while they are sympathetic with the daunting management task that Americans have undertaken, they also believe that the Coalition Provisional Authority under Mr. Bremer has become too "politicized," meaning that events are orchestrated and information controlled with the American political agenda uppermost in mind.

Andy vs. Andy

April 5:

We could be losing the ball-game right now, guys: ... This sounds like civil war to me.

April 6:

If you want to see how the anti-war crowd will spin this, check out the headline in the Guardian today: "On the Brink of Anarchy." They wish

(thanks to reader j)

Radical Islam

From Fox News:

Deeply conservative and anti-American, Fallujah has a population of some 200,000, all of whom are members of Islam's mainstream Sunni Muslim sect. Some subscribe to radical interpretations of Islam, finding behavior by American troops like raiding homes and detaining men in front of wives and children as deeply offensive.

(thanks to reader ss)

...apparently it's an AP article.

7 More Dead

God this is getting depressing.

One Way

Troop rotations cancelled:

WASHINGTON — A decision by the Pentagon to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq is a reversal of its plan to steadily reduce the U.S. force level there.
Since the war began a year ago, senior military leaders have given frequent assurances to troops and their families that Iraq duty would be no longer than a year.

Now, those assurances have met the reality of Iraq, where military leaders are planning for the possibility that anti-U.S. violence will spread. U.S. troops are stretched thin around the world, and the Pentagon has few options to increase the force in Iraq if necessary.

On Monday, a senior official with U.S. Central Command said that the return home of about 24,000 U.S. troops who were scheduled to leave in the next few weeks would be delayed as their replacements arrive. Central Command's responsibility includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Monday, April 05, 2004



Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy on Monday accused President Bush of having created at home and abroad "the largest credibility gap" since the Watergate scandal forced Richard Nixon from the White House 30 years ago.

Kennedy, a key backer of fellow Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's campaign for the party's presidential nomination, also charged Iraq has become "George Bush's Vietnam," the war that divided the United States and helped drive Lyndon Johnson from the presidency.

In addition, Kennedy said, Iraq has "diverted attention from the administration's deceptions here at home -- especially on the economy, health care and education."


"Sadly, this administration has failed to live up to basic standards of open and candid debate," Kennedy said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

They repeatedly invent 'facts' to support their preconceived agenda -- facts which administration officials knew or should have known were not true," Kennedy said.

The senator said, "As a result, this president has now created the largest credibility gap since Richard Nixon," who was forced to resign as president in 1974 as a result of the Watergate scandal that exposed abuses of power


Iraq. Jobs. Medicare. Schools," Kennedy said. "Issue after issue. Mislead. Deceive. Make up the needed facts. Smear the character of any critic."

"It is undermining our national security, undermining our economy, undermining our health care ... undermining our very democracy," Kennedy said. "We need change. November can't come soon enough.


Wow. I thought the traitor Freeh had succeeded in evading responsibility. Perhaps not, after all. According to Drudge:

Intrigue surrounds Ashcroft and former FBI Director Louis Freeh testimony at 9/11 hearings; to follow Condi, next week... Developing...

NYT: Commission officials said that evidence gathered by the commission showed that Freeh had become so personally involved in managing a handful of criminal investigations and in other struggles with the Clinton White House that the potential for a domestic terrorist attack by al-Qaida got relatively little attention...

Commission officials said their evidence showed that Ashcroft had taken little interest in counterterrorism before Sept. 11...

Kos on AAR

Sometime between 8-11.


Josh Marshall has an excerpt from the Nelson Report which is quite frightening. It suggests that Bush, even more than the rest of them, is completely unaware of what's going on in Iraq.

I think the really scary part is that it's really starting to look like the only thing they've had since this began is the Tinkerbell Maneuver - "Clap Louder!" They kept waiting for things to just get better. People are getting killed because of their goddamn incompetence and because of their goddamn enablers in the media.

When the hell are they just going to wake up and scream ENOUGH.


Awhile back quite a few of you emailed to complain that suddenly you couldn't access the comments. I'm not sure if this is still a common problem, but if it is I think it might be your firewall. Check your settings in Zonealarm or whatever you're using.

Air America on Sirius

So, you can take back the XM equipment you just bought and go for Sirius.

Miserable Failures

Josh Marshall:

They've never copped to that misunderstanding, even to themselves. That team can't save the situation.

Indeed. It's reprehensible what they've let happen. And, it's reprehensible that every editorial page in the country isn't calling for all of their resignations.


Ouch that's gotta hurt. From Pew:

Public support for war in Iraq has been unaffected by the murders and desecration of the corpses of American citizens in Falluja. However, continued turmoil and violence in Iraq may be taking a toll on President Bush's approval ratings. More Americans now disapprove of the way he is doing his job than approve, though by only a slight margin (47% disapprove vs. 43% approve). Just four-in-ten approve of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, his lowest rating ever and down from 59% in January. Bush's evaluations on other issues ? the economy, energy and even terrorism ? have fallen as well. And by a wide margin (57% to 32%) the public does not think he has a clear plan for bringing the situation in Iraq to a successful conclusion.


Oops he did it again:

The self-described enemy of political spin, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly, appears to have been overstating his charitable efforts on behalf of Israel. During a March 10 appearance on the Don Imus radio show, O'Reilly said, ‘I did a benefit in L.A. four weeks ago where we raised millions of dollars for Israel.’ O'Reilly and his publicist told Business Week media editor Tom Lowry that the benefit he "chaired" in Los Angeles had raised $40 million for Israel. But a few inquiries into the event in question raise questions about the account given by O'Reilly, who routinely refers to his television show as the ‘no spin zone.’ It turns out that O'Reilly was the paid keynote speaker, not the volunteer chair, of a February dinner that raised $3 million for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

4 More Stations

Air America picks up 4 more. Details to come...

Falling Apart

Let's hope that what appears to be the beginning of a complete disintegration in Iraq isn't actually that. But, really, I'm at a complete loss. I have no idea what Bush or Kerry can/should/will do to fix this mess.


This is not good:

"Two Apaches opened fire on armed members of the Mehdi Army," said Showla resident Abbas Amid.

The fighting erupted when five trucks of US soldiers and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) tried to enter the district and were attacked by Sadr supporters, Amid said.

Coming under fire, the ICDC, a paramilitary force trained by the Americans, turned on the US soldiers and started to shoot at them, according to Amid.

The [American] soldiers fled their vehicles and headed for cover and then began to battle both the Mehdi Army and the ICDC members, he said. Their vehicles were set ablaze.


Anyone else hear Cokie's inane coverage this morning? I mean, I know it's always inane but this was even worse. It was something along the lines of "If not for Richard Clarke Bush's polls would be high because Kerry's polls are lower."

I couldn't follow it.

More of the Same

Bush announces job initiative, which consists of nothing:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush, his reelection bid bolstered by robust job growth in March, will unveil a new jobs initiative on Monday aimed at doubling the number of Americans enrolled for skills training under a Clinton-era work-assistance measure, officials said.

During a speech at a Charlotte, North Carolina, community college, the Republican president will outline his plans to generate $300 million for new job training under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, or WIA, by reining in the costs and duplicate services of existing programs

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Jeff Seemann for Congress

So far, me likey what me see.

Seemannn wants to raise 10 grand. Let's make it 100.

...Kos has some comments.

...I have no idea how competitive this race is. But, the district only went 53% to Bush in '00. Not proof a challenger will win, but proof it's within reach.

Kill the Children

We shouldn't do it, but, well, it'd sure be nice. From Kathleen Parker:

I suppose it would be considered lacking in nuance to nuke the Sunni Triangle.

But so goes the unanimous vote around my household - and I'm betting millions of others - in the aftermath of what forevermore will be remembered simply as "Fallujah."

Wouldn't it be lovely were justice so available and so simple? If we were but creatures like those zoo animals we witnessed gleefully jumping up and down after stomping, dragging, dismembering and hanging the charred remains of American civilians whose only crime was to try to help them

...ummm...just so I can provide the decoder ring to the wingnuts, let me suggest you consider the meaning of the word "unanimous."

...and, for more context, consider the thought process. We're considering nuking a city of 250,000 (and all the associated damage elsewhere) because four people were killed and desecrated. If this is really how millions think we're fucked.

But please, please, spare the embryos...

On the Other Hand...

Josh Marshall thinks this passage about the 9/11 commission could be evidence that ED Zelikow isn't a total Bush tool:

Last Monday morning 9/11 commission executive director Philip Zelikow faxed a photograph to the White House counsel's office with a note saying that if the White House didn't allow national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice to testify in public before the commission, the photograph would" all over Washington in 24 hours," Newsweek has learned. The photo, from a Nov. 22, 1945, New York Times story, showed presidential chief of staff Adm. William D. Leahy, appearing before a special congressional panel investigating the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The point was clear: The White House could no longer get away with the claim that Rice's appearance would be a profound breach of precedent.

Josh assumes Zelikow was strong-arming the White House. An alternative, and probably more realistic, interpretation is that Zelikow was giving them the heads up about what other commission members were planning to circulate to the press.


I was hunting for this earlier, but couldn't find it. Here's Crazy Andy Sullivan's opinion of our military:

I'm sorry but I pay for those soldiers to fight in a volunteer army. They are servants of people like me who will never fight. Yes, servants of civil masters. And they will do what they are told by people who would never go to war. That's called a democracy.

Then and Now

Instapundit, 1/25/03

It's pretty hard to be more radical than a group whose key members think that the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre, are both just fine.

Michael Friedman, 3/17/04 (CORRECTION, a guest blogger)

As I promised Mike, I will write about one of the biggest wounds in Chinese history. But instead of the standard condemnation that this was wrong and it was the Chinese army vs. helpless students crushing democracy, I will try to give another more balanced perspective based on what i have heard from others as well as from what I know from my own experience.

For the record, I'm neither a fan of ANSWER nor do I agree that that the Tiananmen Square Massacre was "just fine." But, Friedman's position is essentially identical to ANSWER's (and the Worker's World Party) as far as I can tell - that the Chinese government was far far far less to blame for what happened than Western media reported, that the escalation to violence was caused by both sides - protesters and military - and that many in the military died as well.

(thanks to Kynn for the catch)

...just for some context. The role of ANSWER in organizing many of the anti-war demonstrations was used to by the neo-McCarthyites as a way to discredit the entire anti-war movement. One of the main talking points was that ANSWER and the WWP were apologists for the TSM massacre.

...and, for the record, my characterization of Friedman and the WWP's position is just that - a characterization of their position. Not an endorsement.

...Friedman writes in and says it wasn't him he wrote that, but a guest blogger.

They Get Letters

To the Editor:
A woman I had dinner with the other night said to me that the atmosphere in this country since the Persian Gulf war is like that at a party in a beautiful home, with everybody being polite and bubbly. And there is this stink coming from somewhere, getting worse all the time, and nobody wants to be the first to mention it.


March 27, 1991, to the NYT.

Which NYT Columnist Are You?

Apparently I'm Paul Krugman. Go take the test.

And, after that, you can figure out which Town Hall columnist you are.

7 Killed

This news report contradicts itself, as it appears to be a "breaking news in progress" sort of thing, but it appears that 7 more US soldiers were killed today.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Seven U.S. soldiers were killed in clashes with supporters of a leading Shiite cleric in a Baghdad neighborhood Sunday, military officials told CNN.

The killings in the Shiite majority Sadr City came on a day that saw deadly clashes between protesters and coalition forces in the holy city of Najaf, fighting in Baghdad and a car bombing in Kirkuk.

Many more wounded. Upwards of 40 perhaps, though the reports are mixed. And, as we know "wounded" mostly means missing limbs or head injury. I think it's an appropriate time to honor a true American patriot, Cher, by remembering her phone call to Cspan.

...looks like 9 total today. Crap.

Some Changes

Recent events have made me rethink the way we do things around here. I think it's time for a few policy changes.

I've been doing this blog for almost two years. I've never, as far as I can remember, deleted a post, except for maybe a couple that I pulled down after being up less than a couple of minutes when I realized I'd gotten something totally wrong. Archived here and always searchable through Google are a lot of things I've written. I make frequent use of four letter words. At various times I've been accused of being homophobic, racist, anti-religion, anti-Semitic. I've regularly been lambasted for failing to be Patriotically Correct for not expressing the legislated degree of sympathy and/or outrage over whatever it is I'm supposed to be upset or outraged about that day. I've written some stupid things. I've expressed plenty of things in a too-sloppy fashion. And, hey, I'm sure sometimes I've just been dead wrong. I also have a mostly unmoderated comments section which is, uh, rather "lively." The point is there's plenty of ammunition out there.

I thought we were all grownups now. Years later, I thought we'd all figured out sort of how this magic new gizmo called the internet worked. I thought we all understood that a linking to website does not hold you responsible for all of the content there. I thought we understood that an ad placed on a media outlet - including blogs and other websites - was not an implicit endorsement of all of the content found on those sites. That isn't to say that there's no association between linker and linkee, or between advertiser and the content on a media outlet, but it's a fairly loose one. Meaning that it's reasonable to associate an advertiser with the overall tone and content of their chosen outlet, without making them responsible for every single word uttered.

I'm an activist. Right now I want the Democrats to take back at least one branch of government. For awhile it seemed that some complementarity between the independent "netroots" and campaigns and other organizations would serve everybody well. But, if these people are unable to find a way to not let themselves be tarred-by-association by anything I write, then these relationships just aren't helpful. And, from my perspective I don't want to worry about what I write for fear it's going to get a candidate in trouble simply because they posted up an ad on my website.

People can advertise with or not, and link to or not, any blog they want. But, if we haven't grown up enough to realize that one stupid retracted comment posted by a blogger in the comments section of someone else's diary post on that blog deserves absolutely no official written response by a campaign - no matter how offensive it is - then I don't think we're grown up enough yet to have blog/campaign complementarity. The Kerry campaign is now operating on the standard that they are responsible for the comments made by any blogger they link to, and in fact will allow themselves to be forced into commenting on any transgressions. They're trying to get their guy elected, and they're going to do what they think is necessary (I'll let others judge the wisdom), but it shows they're not ready to really have a blog and interact with the rest of the blog world. They should just pull down all their links.

So, here are the changes. First, I'm going to pull all my "special fundraising relationships." By that I mean dedicated donation pages or links which track donations from this site. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying to help candidates raise money, or make suggestions about where your money might be well-spent, but I will stop "taking credit" in any official way. Second, I'm going to stop taking any new ads from individual candidates. I'll still take ads from organizations, as they're probably "diffuse" enough to avoid this kind of controversy. Third, I'm going to request the Kerry campaign take down my link. I don't want to be a part of the next "Kerry controversy of the week."

Obviously, this is going to make doing this much less fun and possibly much less lucrative, but right now I think it's the appropriate thing to do. Dick Cheney goes on the Rush Limbaugh show, all politicians regularly chat with Don Imus and Mike Barnicle, and no one's demanding that they distance themselves from every single utterance they make or, for the most part, demanding they stop appearing with them. Brit Hume and others on the right regularly trivialize the deaths of soldiers in Iraq by (incorrectly) comparing their deaths with domestic crime rates, traffic accidents, etc... But, for some reason there are still different standards for this crazy thing called the internet - and once again we've proven that the Right can create a controversy out of nothing, and sadly much of the Left piles on with them. And, once again we've demonstrated there are different standards for Left and Right - a certain prominent blogger has mocked the deaths of UN workers in Iraq, called for collective punishment for Palestinians, and nudge-nudge wink-wink endorsed terrorism against Europeans. No advertisers yet pulled as far as I can tell.

Anyway, I may change my mind about all of this at some future date. But, we'll be playing this game once per week until November unless people wise up. I'd hope that eventually our team will realize that once they cave into the Right's fake outrage-of-the-week, they'll just keep coming back, but until they do....

Matt Stoller has more.

...Talk Left has more, though I don't think Jeralyn should fall for Instapundit's plausible deniability schtick... more thing - I don't think people should be angry at John Kerry about this. I truly hope that Kerry has better things to do than make decisions like this, and I doubt he's even heard of this little brouhaha.

Down the Memory Hole

John Gorenfeld notes that something has been pulled from a Washington Post article. I don't know if it was in any of the print editions or not, but here's the missing paragraph, pulled up from Nexis:

"The five great saints and many other leaders in the spirit world, including even communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin, who committed all manner of barbarity and murders on Earth, and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons. Emperors, kings and presidents who enjoyed opulence and power on Earth, and even journalists who had worldwide fame, have now placed themselves at the forefront of the column of the true love revolution. ... They have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."

-- Moon, founder of the Unification Church, in his address to a recent "Ambassadors for Peace Awards" ceremony at the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

It was in this article.



BAGHDAD -- American bodyguards in Iraq want to strengthen their weaponry with hand grenades and high-powered machineguns after four private security consultants were murdered in Fallujah last week.

Only coalition soldiers are allowed to carry explosives under existing regulations, leaving up to 20,000 civilian contractors working as guards outgunned by insurgents with rocket-propelled grenades and belt-fed machineguns.

The Coalition Provisional Authority is horrified by the contractors' plans to flout the rules, believing that such action could lead to a serious escalation in violence as the June deadline approaches for power to be transferred to the Iraqis.


Jerome Speak. You listen.

4 Dead

Four soldiers from El Salvador dead in Iraq.


Get one month of decent job creation and suddenly all the people who tell you that a president really can't control the economy are suddenly telling us the opposite.


Max Speak. You listen.