Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Three strikes and you're out?

Time for a new team: "For a long time, anyone suggesting analogies with Vietnam was ridiculed. But Iraq optimists have, by my count, already declared victory three times. First there was 'Mission Accomplished' - followed by an escalating insurgency. Then there was the capture of Saddam - followed by April's bloody uprising. Finally there was the furtive transfer of formal sovereignty to Ayad Allawi, with implausible claims that this showed progress - a fantasy exploded by the guns of August....

Here's another thought. President Bush says that the troubles in Iraq are the result of unanticipated 'catastrophic success.' But that catastrophe was predicted by many experts. Mr. Cordesman says their warnings were ignored because we have 'the weakest and most ineffective National Security Council in post-war American history,' giving control to 'a small group of neoconservative ideologues' who 'shaped a war without any realistic understanding or plans for shaping a peace.'

Yesterday Mr. Bush, who took a 'winning the war on terror' bus tour just a few months ago, conceded that 'I don't think you can win' the war on terror. But he hasn't changed the national security adviser, nor has he dismissed even one of the ideologues who got us into this no-win situation. Rather than concede that he made mistakes, he's sticking with people who will, if they get the chance, lead us into two, three, many quagmires."

Monday, August 30, 2004

ties that blind

It is understandable that the Bush folks want to bury as fast as possible the reveleation by Ben Barnes that he was the official who pulled strings for Junior allowing him to jump to the front of the line for the Texas Natl guard and avoid service in Vietnam... but do they really think they can simply paint him as a "partisan Democrat" when Barnes still has ties to prominent Republicans?

Guess who just...

...said "uncle" to Al Qaeda? : "Can we win? I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the -- those who use terror as a tool are -- less acceptable in parts of the world."

Too weird by half

The story of the exposure of Israeli spies in the top offices of the current administration gets weirder as you read it. Here is Juan Cole: "Here is my take on the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal in the Pentagon.

It is an echo of the one-two punch secretly planned by the pro-Likud faction in the Department of Defense. First, Iraq would be taken out by the United States, and then Iran. David Wurmser, a key member of the group, also wanted Syria included. These pro-Likud intellectuals concluded that 9/11 would give them carte blanche to use the Pentagon as Israel's Gurkha regiment, fighting elective wars on behalf of Tel Aviv (not wars that really needed to be fought, but wars that the Likud coalition thought it would be nice to see fought so as to increase Israel's ability to annex land and act aggressively, especially if someone else's boys did the dying)...."

Check out Cole's latest posts for more, including this quote: "when Tom Clancy and [Gen.] Zinni were running around flogging their book, they were on Deborah Norville. [During the show, Norville] asked Clancy of his impression of Wolfowitz. 'Is he working for our side?' [Clancy] replied."

There is more from Josh Marshall et al on the ties between Iranian dissidents, Israel, and Italian fascists... sounds like a plot dreamt up by Umberto Eco, but remember the old saying "truth is stranger than fiction." So, if things continue to unravel, we may find out that Wolfowitz was fronting for/using several governments in the pursuit of his fevered dreams of middle east conquest.

A sober view

Newsweek takes a look at the dry drunk: "...President Bush has shown great sureness of purpose, even courage, rallying his country from its worst day ever. He has faced down fear, disciplined what he once jokingly described to his sister Doro as his 'inner fat boy,' and emerged resolute in his life and manner.

'But not without struggle and, almost surely, at a cost. Behind his calm and outward patience there is an edginess that can seem prickly, resentful. At times, he appears so determined to stay the course and stick to his convictions that he seems too rigid, fixed in his ways, unable to adjust. One cannot help but wonder: At some level, is he afraid that the slightest wavering might fatally crack his whole hard-earned, painfully constructed persona? Is admitting a mistake for Bush like an ex-drunk's taking just one drink? Bush can be empathetic, emotional and even (dread word) sensitive. But he can also be surly and impatient with weakness. At these moments, he seems more dogged than enlightened, his life more a triumph of will than of understanding..."

Thanks to Dan Froomkin

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Kerry and the swifties

Well, we all know by now that the swifties are serial liars. But that is not nearly enough. Time to go on the offense, as Josh Marshall mentioned some days back. Time to highlight the pattern of misleading the public, deliberately and through the use of retainers, that Bush has used throughout his career.

The swifties are only the last example, but other examples included misleading on WMD, on the desire to invade Iraq generally, on the budget, on the desire for screwing with the tax code, for "healthy forests" or "clear skies." Heck, in being selected pres to begin with.

In each and every case retainers have lied, misled and done dirty deeds to fool the public. Time to tie it all together and wrap it with a bow for the public. Time to indict Bush as an enemy of open govt, and hence of any govt of the people, by the people and for the people. This election is about democracy and the future of our type of society -- either open or cloaked in bolshevik lies a.k.a. the republican party line.

Kerry needs to make this clear and make this the case: this election is about Bush and the way he conducts "business."

Friday, August 27, 2004

reminds me of a guy I know

This guy is a real debater, but if you manage to corner him with facts he always takes refuge in the "well you could be right, I could be right, there is no way to tell" malarky. In other words, there is no truth, just various opinions which can't be assessed on the basis of validity.

What is even more amazing, this guy is a scientist by training!

Well it seems that I am not alone as Josh Marshall has encountered the same phenomenon:

"...Republicans seem to have such a hard time distinguishing between ads with a factual basis and ones that include malicious falsehoods. It's such a mystery. I have to assume it's another example of the GOP's embrace of epistemological relativism -- all truths are equal, there is no truth, only opinion masquerading as truth, etc."

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Blumanthal tells it like it is: "There was no 'imminent threat' to the United States from Iraq. Then there was no strategy for building a new Iraq.'Hubris and ideology' ruled. Now, 'Iraq is more dangerous to the US potentially than it was at the moment we went to war'.

These are the reluctant judgments of one of the key US officials who participated in the highest levels of decision-making of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Both interviewed by me and in a forthcoming article in Foreign Affairs journal, Larry Diamond offers from the heart of the Green Zone an unvarnished first-hand account of the unfolding strategic catastrophe...."

Attack Formation

another brilliant satire from Fiore

Where does the buck stop?

A Failure in Leadership
Reports undercut claims that abuses were "aberrations."

aiding and comforting the enemy: the SCLM

SCLM stands for So-Called Librul Media. Read an expert takedown of their role in setting the topic of the campaign: "...Campaign Desk has written many times about the perils of 'he said/she said' journalism, the practice of reporters parroting competing rhetoric instead of measuring it for veracity against known facts. In the wake of the first SBVFT spot early this month, cable news programs for the most part offered viewers two talking heads, one on each side of the issue, to debate the merits of the claims. Verifiable facts were rarely offered to viewers -- despite the fact that military records supporting Kerry's version of events were readily available. Instead of acting as filters for the truth, reporters nodded and attentively transcribed both sides of the story, invariably failing to provide context, background, or any sense of which claims held up and which were misleading. And sometimes even that was asking too much. According to Media Matters, the Aug. 4th editions of FOX News Channel's 'Hannity & Colmes' and MSNBC's 'Scarborough Country' both reported and aired the ad without mentioning (1) that despite the ad's claims, those featured in it did not serve on Kerry's boat, (2) that the SBVFT was wrapped in Republican ties, dating all the way back to former Nixon protege John O'Neill, or (3) the fact that the doctor who claims to have treated Kerry in the ad was not the medical official who signed his medical records.

Why was the press complicit in keeping afloat a story so easily debunked?..."

Thanks to Atrios

PS -- you gotta love this bit at the end of the piece:
"...The most telling comment on that front may well have come from the unlikely duo of Jon Stewart and Ted Koppel, who shared a telecast during the Democratic convention. Koppel, by way of introducing his own viewers to Stewart, complained that 'a lot of television viewers -- more, quite frankly, than I'm comfortable with' -- get their news from Stewart's 'Daily Show' on Comedy Central. Stewart, almost as if trying to reassure Koppel, responded that his fans were watching him not for news per se, but rather for a 'comedic interpretation' of the news. Koppel was unmoved. People watch Stewart 'to be informed,' Koppel insisted gloomily. 'They actually think they're coming closer to the truth with your show.'

With that, Stewart pounced. 'Now that's a different thing, that's credibility; that's a different animal.'

Yes, it is."

GOP -- why do they hate America so much?

From the New York Post Online Edition: "New Yorkers yesterday slammed House Speaker Dennis Hastert for claiming the Big Apple was guilty of an 'unseemly scramble' for cash after Sept. 11 -- and one city councilman demanded he return his FDNY cap.

'I want to let Hastert know we want our FDNY cap back,' fumed Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., referring to the baseball cap given to Hastert three years ago when the powerful Illinois lawmaker toured Ground Zero shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

Vallone, along with a slew of other officials and residents, blasted the Republican leader's claims in his new book, 'Speaker,' which were reported on the front page of yesterday's Post.

Hastert wrote that at the time of the attacks, it was impossible to calculate the cost, continuing, 'but already we heard voices asking, 'Who's going to pay for this? How much will it cost?' '

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx) labeled Hastert's remarks 'really sad.'

'Hastert is not complaining about the cost of rebuilding Iraq, yet he complains about rebuilding New York?' Serrano said."

Thanks to Daily Kos and Dave Sirota, who has a bunch of other quotes from the GOP ripping on NYC's supposed "culture of waste..."

Florida wants reconstruction money after Charley, does that reflect a "culture of waste"? Or is it only when New Yorkers need reconstruction? Those NYers are such slackers, after all, they do pay more in fed taxes than they receive back.

Why does the GOP hate America so much?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

A Chill in Florida

Bob Herbert stays on the trail of the stealing of Florida: "'...A Democrat can't win a statewide election in Florida without a high voter turnout - both at the polls and with absentee ballots - of African-Americans,' said a man who is close to the Republican establishment in Florida but asked not to be identified. 'It's no secret that the name of the game for Republicans is to restrain that turnout as much as possible. Black votes are Democratic votes, and there are a lot of them in Florida.'

The two ugly developments - both focused on race - were the heavy-handed investigation by Florida state troopers of black get-out-the-vote efforts in Orlando, and the state's blatant attempt to purge blacks from voter rolls through the use of a flawed list of supposed felons that contained the names of thousands of African-Americans and, conveniently, very few Hispanics...."

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Ain't it the truth?

"There is the fog of war and then there is the fog of cable.

Over the last few weeks, 24-hour news networks have done little to find out what John Kerry did in Vietnam, but they have provided a different kind of public service: their examination of his war record in Vietnam illustrates once again just how perfunctory and confusing cable news coverage can be. Facts, half-truths and passionately tendentious opinions get tumbled together on screen like laundry in an industrial dryer - without the softeners of fact-checking or reflection....

CNN showed less relish over the Swift boat clash, but it was not much more helpful in separating fact from friction. Wolf Blitzer's interview with the tart-tongued Mr. Dole made a lot of news on Sunday, but CNN allowed him to make misleading assertions without pointing out where he was in error....

That kind of air-kiss coverage is typical of cable news, where the premium is on speed and spirited banter rather than painstaking accuracy. But it has grown into a lazy habit: anchors do not referee - they act as if their reportage is fair and accurate as long as they have two opposing spokesmen on any issue...."

Thanks to Josh Marshall

File under "why am I not surprised"

Rumsfeld, Officers Share Blame, Panel Says
Experts' Review Finds Abu Ghraib Abuses Not Limited to a Few

twisting words

"The 2004 presidential campaign sometimes resembles the children's game of "telephone." Here are some quotations as they came out of Democratic nominee John F. Kerry's mouth -- and how President Bush and Vice President Cheney later recounted them...."

Deja vu

"Four years ago, as George Bush struggled in the polls, supporters of his bid for the Republican presidential nomination unleashed a ferocious attack on rival John McCain, questioning his commitment to veterans and his fitness to serve.

After the charges took root, Bush distanced himself from the veterans group that made the attacks, called the Arizona senator's service 'noble' and cruised to a nomination-saving victory in the South Carolina primary.

Monday, in a series of events that some observers say are eerily familiar, Bush distanced himself from a veterans group running fierce attacks on John Kerry's military record and called his rival's service in Vietnam 'admirable....'"

thanks to Dan Froomkin

My commentary? You know what they say about slugs, they always leave slime in their trail.

The Rambo Coalition

must read column from Krugman, where he gives some compelling insight into "Rambo patriotism": "...One of the wonders of recent American politics has been the ability of Mr. Bush and his supporters to wrap their partisanship in the flag. Through innuendo and direct attacks by surrogates, men who assiduously avoided service in Vietnam, like Dick Cheney (five deferments), John Ashcroft (seven deferments) and George Bush (a comfy spot in the National Guard, and a mysterious gap in his records), have questioned the patriotism of men who risked their lives and suffered for their country: John McCain, Max Cleland and now John Kerry.

How have they been able to get away with it? The answer is that we have been living in what Roger Ebert calls "an age of Rambo patriotism." As the carnage and moral ambiguities of Vietnam faded from memory, many started to believe in the comforting clich├ęs of action movies, in which the tough-talking hero is always virtuous and the hand-wringing types who see complexities and urge the hero to think before acting are always wrong, if not villains...."

objectivity = he said/she said?

Click here for funniest analysis of swift boat media scandal

moral cowardice

A must read post from Josh Marshall on Bush's moral cowardice and how the Dems need to hammer on the issue, both as a means of playing defeinse and converting it to a potent offense: "...The current debate about these two men's military service has put the spotlight on physical courage. But that really is a side issue in this campaign, if we're talking substance. The real issue isn't physical bravery but moral cowardice.

President Bush is an examplar of that quality in spades. And it cuts directly to his failures as president. Forget about thirty years ago, just think about the last three years...."

Monday, August 23, 2004

swift boat lies abetted by Wash Post headline

Josh Marshall is right on target disputing the misleading headline in the Post falsely asserting that both sides have something to hide: "...the headline of the piece -- and some of the editorial remarks in it -- tried to give the impression that the Kerry camp had omitted key information, when the article itself provides no evidence of that at all.

Considering the piece a bit more, though, it strikes me just how clear an example this is of the poverty of what passes as journalistic objectivity -- the effort to find a point of balance when the facts themselves provide no basis for it....

If this were a civil suit, and this was accusers' evidence, it wouldn't even pass the laugh test. And yet the Post portrays the two 'sides' as if they have equal standing. As though it were he said, she said."

Here's another good take on that lame Wash Post article

Thanks to Atrios

Bush bad for jobs

yet another lost job due to Bush

Thanks to Dan Froomkin

Saturday, August 21, 2004

This is worth a read

It's easy for the Bushes to stay gallant. They delegate the gutter....

must see tv

You just have to see this new ad by the Kerry/Edwards campaign... it hits Bush hard, fairly but hard!

I agree with Josh Marshall though, this is a necessary first step, but only a first step. Kerry et. al. need to put Bush on the defensive and hit him even harder. And we all know, there is no shortage of areas on which to hit Bush and put him on the defensive.

Thanks to Atrios

Atrios is on a roll: click here to read Kerrys 1971 testimony before congress.

Click here to read an account of a swift boat commander present during the action in 1969 who has broken his silence after 35 years because of the lies and smears of the Bush campaign.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Democracy at risk?

Sure sounds like it in Florida...

"The smell of voter suppression coming out of Florida is getting stronger. It turns out that a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation, in which state troopers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando in a bizarre hunt for evidence of election fraud, is being conducted despite a finding by the department last May 'that there was no basis to support the allegations of election fraud....'"

Bush -- no talk and no walk

"Today in Iowa President Bush said the other side, meaning Kerry and Edwards, just "talks a good game." Well at least nobody can accuse Bush of that." - Jay Leno

Swift boat liars exposed

Shocking, I know, but the press (in the case the New York Times) actually decided to do a little independent reporting (i.e., checking to see if statements square with the facts). And -- lo and behold -- it turns out that the swift boat liars are just that: liars.

"...A series of interviews and a review of documents show a web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove.

Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family - one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice. And the group's television commercial was produced by the same team that made the devastating ad mocking Michael S. Dukakis in an oversized tank helmet when he and Mr. Bush's father faced off in the 1988 presidential election.

The strategy the veterans devised would ultimately paint John Kerry the war hero as John Kerry the 'baby killer' and the fabricator of the events that resulted in his war medals. But on close examination, the accounts of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' prove to be riddled with inconsistencies. In many cases, material offered as proof by these veterans is undercut by official Navy records and the men's own statements.

Several of those now declaring Mr. Kerry 'unfit' had lavished praise on him, some as recently as last year...."

And just in case you don't want to wade through the prose (although you really should, the degree of specificity in exposing the lies is breathtaking) here's a handy graphic that demonstrates the relationships of the liars to Bush and the GOP. The criss-cross of "ole boy" ties -- fully discussed in the article -- makes Enron look like a charity run by nuns.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

GOP Bitch-Slap theory

Regarding the "swift boat vets for 'truth'" slime attacks, Josh Marshall hits the nail on the head with his description of the effect of the GOP bitch-slap tactics: "...Hitting someone and not having them hit back hurts the morale of that person's supporters, buoys the confidence of your own backers (particularly if many tend toward an authoritarian mindset) and tends to make the person who's receiving the hits into an object of contempt (even if also possibly also one of sympathy) in the eyes of the uncommitted.

This is certainly what Bush's father did to Michael Dukakis and, sadly, it is what Bush himself did, to a great degree, to Al Gore...."

But if you click on the link, you'll see that Kerry ain't gonna let them make it three outta three. He's hitting back, and hitting back in just the right way -- at Junior and his silent complicity in vile falsehoods:
...Of course, the President keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: “Bring it on.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

can you feel the heat?

"What was it? Like 92 today? People are sweating like President Bush looking at the latest job figures." - Jay Leno

the real question

Mike Taibbi is exactly right regarding the NY Times and Wash Post mea [not so] culpas: "...The problem with these newsprint confessions is not that they are craven, insufficient and self-serving, which of course they are. The problem is that, on the whole, they do not correct the pre-war mistakes, but actually further them. The Post would have you believe that its 'failure' before the war was its inability/reluctance to punch holes in Bush's WMD claims.

Right. I marched in Washington against the war in February 2003 with about 400,000 people, and I can pretty much guarantee that not more than a handful of those people gave a shit about whether or not Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. That's because we knew what the
Post and all of these other papers still refuse to admit--this whole thing was never about weapons of mass destruction. Even a five-year-old, much less the literate executive editor of the Washington Post, could have seen, from watching Bush and his cronies make his war case, that they were going in anyway....

The story shouldn't have been, 'Are there WMDs?' The story should have been, 'Why are they pulling this stunt? And why now?' That was the real mystery. It still is."

Thanks to Atrios

What else is at stake in November?

How about free speech...?

Thanks to Dan Froomkin

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Krugman on polling booth chicanery

"Everyone knows it, but not many politicians or mainstream journalists are willing to talk about it, for fear of sounding conspiracy-minded: there is a substantial chance that the result of the 2004 presidential election will be suspect...."


"Ladies and gentlemen, the Bushism has returned. The malapropisms that adorned Bush's 2000 campaign before going into remission during much of his presidency have reemerged to garnish his reelection bid."

more sensitivity training

Juan Cole has some historically grounded observations regarding the role of sensitivity in fighting a successful war: "...Roosevelt and Eisenhower had their successful landing in North Africa precisely because they were entirely willing to bend over backward to be sensitive to French feelings.

And that is the big difference between Cheney and Bush as wartime leaders on the one hand, and on the other Roosevelt and Eisenhower. Cheney and Bush are diplomatically tone deaf, projecting nothing but arrogance and being all too willing to humiliate traditional allies. They have no sensitivity. And it is for that reason that they have the U.S. stuck in Iraq with only one really significant military ally, the U.K...."

presidential playboy

"President Bush is back in Washington, D.C. That’s where he goes when he wants to get away from his ranch in Texas for a few weeks." - Jay Leno

Monday, August 16, 2004

Florida: banana republic?

Bob Herbert reveals a "police investigation" that apparently targets black voters for intimidation:

"...Florida is a state that's very much in play in the presidential election, with some polls showing John Kerry in the lead. A heavy-handed state police investigation that throws a blanket of fear over thousands of black voters can only help President Bush.

The long and ugly tradition of suppressing the black vote is alive and thriving in the Sunshine State."

Dubya flogging a dead horse

Sidney Blumenthal adds some sorely needed historical perspective on what is shaping up to a epochal defeat for the GOP:

"The drama of Richard Nixon's resignation 30 years ago this month has long overshadowed his political achievement. Nixon's criminal White House seemed an aberrant episode rooted in only his pathologies. But Nixon was the father of the modern Republican party....

George Bush did not make a new coalition or offer a refreshed Republicanism, despite the trope of 'compassionate conservatism'....

In Illinois, a former presidential bellwether, the Republican party has fallen off the map.... the state Republican party has imploded: unable to find a credible Senate candidate against the star of the Democratic convention, Barack Obama, it has now come up with its own African-American, Alan Keyes. A screeching religious right fanatic, Keyes, who has worn a lapel pin featuring the feet of a foetus, is Jerry Falwell as played by Little Richard....

The party that Nixon built is crumbling. Bush is the candidate of canned talking points and a party whose instincts have become rote and often counterproductive....

Can Bush dump Cheney without being seen as desperate and repudiating his entire term? Bush's father owed his political career to Nixon's patronage; now the son is in danger of inheriting the wind."

always with a little humor...

"While [in NYC] the Republicans are going up to visit Grant's Tomb to see what a two term Republican president looks like." - David Letterman

Saturday, August 14, 2004

A follower, not a leader

Thanks to Froomkin for drawing my attention to this joke by Jay Leno: "'Is it me or is Bush going everywhere Kerry goes? So far in the past week, President Bush has followed John Kerry to Davenport, Iowa; New Mexico; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; and he follows him to Portland, Oregon. The only place he never followed John Kerry was Vietnam.' "

Who pays?


Dan Froomkin provides a public service (see Leonard Downie, it isn't that hard) by juxtapositioning Junior's stump speech with some facts as follows: "Here's an excerpt from the text of Bush's speech in Las Vegas yesterday:

'Just be careful -- all I ask you is be careful about all this talk about taxing the rich. You know how that goes. The so-called rich hire accountants and lawyers to maybe not pay as much, and therefore, in order to meets all these promises guess who gets to end up stuck with the bill?


'THE PRESIDENT: The working people.'

Well, it turns out that Bush is certainly right about who gets stuck with the bill -- but the credit doesn't go to the accountants and lawyers. It goes to his tax cuts...."

What follows are several links to evidence, including the GOP controlled Congress, showing how Bush's "tax cuts" have in reality resulted in a tax increase for the middle class. Click and see. And read the rest of the Froomkin's article, which holds Bush's feet to the fire with regards to several other attempts to engage in revisionist history.

Great article on Rumsfeld, Bush "leadership"

Rumsfeld and Bush Failed Us on Sept. 11: "'...Two planes hitting the twin towers did not rise to the level of Rumsfeld's leaving his office and going to the War Room? How can that be?' asked Mindy Kleinberg, one of the widows known as the Jersey Girls, whose efforts helped create and guide the 9/11 commission. The fact that the final report failed to offer an explanation is one of the infuriating holes in an otherwise praiseworthy accounting.

Rumsfeld was missing in action that morning — 'out of the loop' by his own admission. The lead military officer that day, Brig. Gen. Montague Winfield, told the commission that the Pentagon's command center had been essentially leaderless: 'For 30 minutes we couldn't find' Rumsfeld....

How is it that civilians in a hijacked plane were able to communicate with their loved ones, grasp a totally new kind of enemy and weaponry and act to defend the nation's Capitol, yet the president had 'communication problems' on Air Force One and the nation's defense chief didn't know what was going on until the horror was all over?

The failures of 9/11 were not inherent in the system; they were human failures. Yet, so far, no one has been fired, which leaves the 9/11 families -- and all of us -- in a conundrum.

The inaction of both the president and the Defense chief under the ultimate test offer little reassurance to a nervous nation under the shadow of new terror warnings. Before we attempt to revamp the entire security system, shouldn't our government look first at why the people in charge failed to communicate or coordinate a response to the catastrophe?"

heads they win, tails we lose

This report by Fred Kaplan: No Way Out - Is there any hope of avoiding catastrophe in Iraq? will not hold any surprises for any of us who have actually been paying attention to the Bush fiasco in Iraq but it is a good summary nonetheless with at least one telling insight -- "the U.S. military--the only force in Iraq remotely capable of keeping the country from falling apart--finds itself in a maddening situation where tactical victories yield strategic setbacks. The Marines could readily defeat the insurgents in Najaf, but only at the great risk of inflaming Shiites--and sparking still larger insurgencies--elsewhere."

priorities, priorities

"Well the "L.A. Times” reports that al Qaeda terrorists have been traced to Iran, and President Bush is talking tough – in fact today he said he will attack the minute he has evidence his approval rating is under 45%." - Jay Leno

Friday, August 13, 2004

Crisis in Iraq deepens

Professor Juan Cole tells us: "Muqtada al-Sadr was wounded by US bombardment of Najaf on Friday morning, according to Reuters.

Sadr spokesman Ahmad al-Shinabi told Reuters, 'Sayyed Moqtada was wounded in American bombing. He suffered three injuries to his body.' The wounds are not considered life threatening, and are being treated at the Imam Ali Mosque....

My guess is that if Muqtada is killed, and maybe also if he is captured and imprisoned, that will tip the Sadr movement into conducting a long-term low-intensity guerrilla war, similar to what Sunni radicals and Arab nationalists have done in the Sunni heartland for the past 16 months. The south had been much quieter than the Sunni Arab areas, but I suspect that calm can no longer be taken for granted. The question is what happens to the Iraqi government if it faces two major guerrilla insurgencies going on at the same time."

Sensitivity training

courtesy of Rumsfeld, Gen. Myers, Wolfowitz, etc.

Promoters of public discourse or perpetrators of public disservice?

The slacktivist gives a tour de force in examining the excuses and self-justifications of the media's own lack of principles or a work ethic:

"...according to some of the [Washington] Post's editors, sources and evidence are not a newspaper's job. Newspapers don't have an obligation to ferret out the actual facts, only to repeat what people in power say. As reporter and former assistant managing editor Karen DeYoung says:
'We are inevitably the mouthpiece for whatever administration is in power.... If the president stands up and says something, we report what the president said.'
Got that? So if an elected official stands up and says the moon is made out of green cheese, a newspaper is not obliged to challenge this assertion....

Downie [Leonard Downie Jr., the executive editor of the
Post] thinks his job is only to repeat to us what others have said, not to try to find out whether or not it's true. That's not journalism. That's gossip."


"Today president Bush said he's working hard to cut off al-Qaeda's finances. He says he wants to bankrupt them. And believe me, he’s the man to do it. He drove three companies into bankruptcy, what’s one more?" - Jay Leno

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sad but true

Another Fiore cartoon -- Live & Let Leak -- on the latest BushCo screw-up... blowing the cover of yet another undercover agent (this one in al-Qaeda) for minor political gain.

Don't miss...

...the Daily Howler today. Bob Somerby exposes more media-types spinning untruths about Kerry's war record and his stance towards Iraq.

Funny ad

From the DNC: Turned the Corner

Bush's amnesia

Dan Froomkin notes how infrequently Junior has mentioned "The Unnamed Enemy":

"...Reader Frank Grunder e-mailed me a while back to ask: Just when was the last time Bush did actually speak about bin Laden explicitly?

So I did some research (using the very handy and highly recommended Compilation of Presidential Documents database.)

And what I found is that Bush treats bin Laden a lot like those wizards in the Harry Potter books treat He Who Must Not Be Named.... "

celebrity journalists: "don't blame us"

Atrios does a masterful job dissecting the lame excuses of the Washington Post on why they plugged the war so hard and why it wasn't their fault they did so. You won't believe the blarney they spout... except that they do it all the time and are used to getting away with it. Just like an abusive boss: no sense of responsibility, no repercussions.

And the media-types wonder why regular Americans despise them?

Did you know that...

Kerry saved a fellow senator's life?

No, but you have probably heard about his hair cuts....

And folks in the media wonder why they are despised by regular people.

"Just four months" BS

Atrios exposes the falsity of such claims regarding Kerry's service record.

Making policy off the cuff

"Bush: flippity floppity steady leadership"

ba dum dum dum

"John Kerry told George Stephanopoulos Sunday that he has a secret plan for Iraq. But he said he can’t reveal it unless he’s elected president. Bush has a plan too, he just can’t talk about it either until he’s really "elected” president." - Jay Leno

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Happy Birthday to all Leo's

Sometimes the press forgets that everyday is somebody's birthday. So, to make up for it here is a great big Happy Birthday to all those forgotten Leos. Cheers and have a good one.

The Feeling of Security

The feeling of security is something we all desire at a deep fundamental level. I was reminded of this when I read this post by Kevin Drum. Kevin points out that although many of us Americans are doing well right now, we feel that we are living on the edge and any mis-step will send us into the (financial and other stability) abyss. As I read it, I immediately thought of three people very close to me who have or nearly have fallen over and I realized again how close we all are. It seems that it is again an employers market and they know how we really "need" those jobs.

I hope that Kevin is correct when he writes:
This is likely to be the eventual downfall of modern conservatism. Human beings have a deep desire for a certain minimum level of stability and security in their lives, and eventually they'll rebel against a party that refuses to acknowledge this. Life today is so much better than it was in the 30s that people have forgotten the basic New Deal ethos that made it that way. But if conservatives have their way, it won't be much longer before they start remembering.

Battle of Najaf

Cemetery Fight Haunts Some U.S. Troops: "...Soldiers involved in the fighting described how many of the most recent graves are marked by photos, which crumble when U.S. forces shell the cemetery walls to reach the militiamen hiding within.

'Wives, daughters, husbands,' said Sgt. Hector Guzman, 28, of the 1st Cavalry Division's 5th Regiment. 'You just know you're destroying that tomb.'

The Houston native shook his head. 'It doesn't feel right sometimes....'"

meanwhile in the real world

As professor Juan Cole reminds us: "The US military pounded Mahdi Army positions in the vast cemetery of Najaf again on Tuesday, with artillery and aerial bombardment. The Americans also began asking the civilian population (ordinarily nearly half a million strong) to leave the city, spurring fears that the US planned another massive assault. The suqs or traditional markests of downtown Najaf have already been reduced to rubble by US bombings.

The US military actions in the holy city of Najaf are deeply offensive to Muslims throughout the world. Although many might also criticize Sadr and his militia for using the holy sites as cover, the strongest condemnation inevitably is reserved for the foreign troops, seen as imperialists...."

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Not a good time...

...to be looking for work: Krugman on how "...apologists for President Bush's economic policies are frantically spinning the bad news. Here's a guide to their techniques...."
Dan Froomkin brings this to our attention: "From the 'Tonight Show With Jay Leno', via the Associated Press: 'First Lady Laura Bush said that people shouldn't be saying that the benefits from stem cell research are 'right around the corner' because it gives people false hope. Then later her husband said that the economic recovery is 'right around the corner.' '"

Monday, August 09, 2004

"Shove it!"

pw: philadelphia weekly online: "Republicans have portrayed Heinz Kerry's 'shove it' quote as a sign of volatility, the aggressive act of a woman too impolitic to be first lady. The national media have replayed the exchange with McNickle almost as much as they did Dean's overhyped scream--without once putting the moment in full context.

So here goes: Colin McNickle writes for perhaps the most strident and myopic editorial page in the country--the product of one man's blurry vision. And that paper--Richard Mellon Scaife's paper--has a long history with Heinz Kerry."

Thanks to Atrios

Torture in Iraq?

to quote Kos : "We replaced one brutal dictatorial regime with another brutal dictatorial regime. And in the process lost 1053 allied and thousands of Iraqi lives, and counting."

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Herbert cuts to the chase

Failure of Leadership: "...Does the administration have any real sense of what motivates the nation's enemies? Does it understand the ways in which American policies are empowering its enemies? Does it grasp the crucial importance of international alliances and coordinated intelligence activity in fighting terror? And is it even beginning to think seriously about lessening our debilitating dependence on Middle Eastern oil?

The United States is the greatest military and economic power in the history of the planet. But it lacks a unifying sense of national purpose at the moment, and seems uncertain, even timid, as the national security challenges continue to mount. That is what a failure of leadership can do to a great power."

Thursday, August 05, 2004

an interview with an....

honest boss

Moqtada arrest attempt fallout

Rebel Cleric Declares 'Revolution' in Iraq: "BAGHDAD, Aug. 5 -- Rebel cleric Moqtada Sadr declared a 'revolution' against U.S.-led security forces in Iraq on Thursday after a fragile month-long truce in the holy city of Najaf ended with clashes that brought down a U.S. helicopter....

'This is a revolution against the occupation force until we get independence and democracy,' Sadr's spokesman, Ahmed Shaybani said in a telephone interview."

Media liars exposed

Submerging the truth about Swift Boat Vets on Hannity & Colmes, Scarborough Country

headphones time

Bush finally comes clean

All you need to know...

About the slimebags in the white house:

McCain Condemns Ad Criticizing Kerry's Military Service: "Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry's military service 'dishonest and dishonorable' and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it as well.

The White House declined....

"'I deplore this kind of politics,' McCain said. 'I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat (Kerry) commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. I think George Bush served honorably in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War....'"

We'll have to agree to disagree with that last point.

good analysis here

Did the Bushies overplay the latest al-Qaida threat?: "If President Bush is truly serious about preventing terrorist attacks, he has to ensure that these alerts, even when they're wrong, are at least perceived as sincere and untainted by political motive. By this standard, Tom Ridge last Sunday proved himself a dreadful homeland security secretary, and the Bush administration (by association, if not collaboration) diminished the trust that a president must inspire on such matters."

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

ding dong the witch is dead

Donna Brazille hits it OUT OF THE PARK: "I'm waiting on the transcript, but a moment ago Donna Brazille killed the 'John Kerry was an indistinguished as a Senator' meme.

In the 'rapid fire' section of Crossfire she said the following to a Republican Strategist...

'Dick Cheney was in the house for over a decade. How many bills did he pass?'"

parsing the polls

Warm Bread - Bush's grim poll numbers: "If you've read or watched news reports about polls taken since the Democratic convention, you've probably heard that John Kerry didn't get much of a 'bounce.' These reports miss the important data. Let's look at the numbers."

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Krugman strikes again

Reading the Script: "message to my fellow journalists: check out media watch sites like campaigndesk.org, mediamatters.org and dailyhowler.com. It's good to see ourselves as others see us. I've been finding The Daily Howler's concept of a media 'script,' a story line that shapes coverage, often in the teeth of the evidence, particularly helpful in understanding cable news."

News for All Catholics and Recovering Catholics

Kos has the details: Bush and Rove are courting all Catholics. But don't be fooled by these silver-tongued (oops, I mean slitted-tongued) devils, unless abortion is the one and only issue you have feelings about.
1. Abortion - Catholics who love the Pope love Bush's stand
2. Death Penalty - Here it is the Pope vs. G "Death Row"WB
3. Iraq War - Again, we have complete disagreement
4. Peace Protesters and Preemption - The Pope must think GWB is on crack.
5. International Law - The Pope believes in this, GWB believes in GWB

Kos forgot to mention which one of the two believes most that they are THE direct conduit to God...

T shirts Google doesn't want you to see:

T shirt Company Denied Google AdWords Campaign:
"'Recall Bush - White T-shirt (with radio control on head);
Dumb and Dumber White T-shirt - Bush and Blair: The Movie;
You're Fired - George W. Bush White T-shirt;
Dump Cheney White T-shirt - 'Halliburton' tattooed across head;
Miserable Failure T-shirt - George W. Bush;
Kerry sucks (too) - T-shirt.'"

W Throws Like a Girl

and here's the proof -- LOL

Monday, August 02, 2004

Krugman hits back at CBS

via Eschaton: "...a voter who gets his or her news from TV, even CBS with its 'issues' series, would have little or no idea of what Kerry is offering, or how it differs from Bush."

funny, but use headphones at work

Will Ferrell - A message from White House West: "After spending over $75 million on fraudulent attacks, Karl Rove is back to selling the true Texas cowboy. Throughout August, Bush campaign commericals will feature President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
Join ACT and our friend Will Ferrell for a behind-the-scenes look at 'White House West.' We promise it's the best commerical you'll see this election."

Sunday, August 01, 2004

more common sense from Daily Howler

Why Bob Somerby has to do the work that the media celebrities are paid to do is beyond me, but at least he does a crackerjack job: Kerry isn't the Senate's most liberal. And it's easy to explain that weird vote

Ron Reagan Jr on dubya

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

The Case Against George W. Bush: "...Does anyone really favor an administration that so shamelessly lies? One that so tenaciously clings to secrecy, not to protect the American people, but to protect itself? That so willfully misrepresents its true aims and so knowingly misleads the people from whom it derives its power? I simply cannot think so. And to come to the same conclusion does not make you guilty of swallowing some liberal critique of the Bush presidency, because that's not what this is. This is the critique of a person who thinks that lying at the top levels of his government is abhorrent. Call it the honest guy's critique of George W. Bush...."

The biases of the trivializers

Krugman is at the top of his form in this article -- Triumph of the Trivial -- where he dissects the idiocy and bias of today's "news":

"...Somewhere along the line, TV news stopped reporting on candidates' policies, and turned instead to trivia that supposedly reveal their personalities. We hear about Mr. Kerry's haircuts, not his health care proposals. We hear about George Bush's brush-cutting, not his environmental policies.

Even on its own terms, such reporting often gets it wrong, because journalists aren't especially good at judging character. ("He is, above all, a moralist," wrote George Will about Jack Ryan, the Illinois Senate candidate who dropped out after embarrassing sex-club questions.) And the character issues that dominate today's reporting have historically had no bearing on leadership qualities. While planning D-Day, Dwight Eisenhower had a close, though possibly platonic, relationship with his female driver. Should that have barred him from the White House?

And since campaign coverage as celebrity profiling has no rules, it offers ample scope for biased reporting...."