John Kerry's service record is being smeared, Democrats argue. So why
isn't he fighting back harder?
A Washington Monthly reader offers this tantalizing, zen-like
One of our problems is that we see doctors as gods. One of our other
problems is that many doctors see themselves as gods.
A third problem is that this applies to politicians as
For what it's worth, here's John
Kerry's latest ad
Kerry's campaign just began airing a TV ad consisting entirely of
John McCain's perspective on Bush attacks in the 2000 campaign...
"Let me tell you what really went over the line. Governor Bush had an
event and he paid for it and stood next to a
spokesman for a fringe veteran's group. That fringe veteran said that
John McCain had abandoned the veterans.
"Now I don't know if you can understand this, George, but that really
hurts. And so five United States Senators,
Vietnam veterans -- heroes, some of them really incredible heroes -- wrote
George a letter, saying: apologize.
"You should be ashamed."
Colorado as Florida?
On election day, Colorado will also vote on
to divide their electoral votes proportionally among the
candidates - instead of giving all 9 to whichever candidate got the
"A decision on election day to change the way electoral votes are cast
could easily change the outcome if 2004 is as tight as 2000," notes
the "Nonplussed" blog. "The fellow on
the losing end would be certain to challenge the date for implementing the
new Colorado law...."
The new political documentary
Outfoxed offers activists an inspiring prediction about the domination
of corporate-controlled media.
"As soon as we rise up it collapses like a house of cards."
Matthew Yglesias, blogger with a
I've had enough. Can we all agree to talk about nothing besides why the
about cheese and why the media won't cover it for days and
days and days until his campaign is finally forced to admit that, yes, the
president of the United States is so desperate to be loved that he will
lie about cheese and then we can all scream -- "see, he admitted it, he's
a liar, a damn dirty cheese-eating liar!" I mean, really, who lies about
cheese? Can you trust this man?
Later he calls him "George 'Cheez Whiz' Bush'"...
Recently the Florida Republican Party sent
out a brochure urging supporters to use absentee ballots to make sure
their votes are counted.
The party claims that was a mistake - but it
in fact, good advice. Voters should use paper ballots where they are
available, and if this means voting absentee, so be it.
Flawed electronic voting booths prompted this warning in the New York
Times from columnist Paul
officials will be furious about the increased workload," he adds, "but
brought this on themselves."
Picture from the official Kerry-Edwards
"The great thing about America is everybody should vote."
-- George W. Bush, December
Ben (of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream) has written a book called "50 Ways You
Can Show George The Door." Besides the Bush-ism above, it
offers suggestions for aspiring activists. (I personally liked "Pets for Regime
Change") And, helpful organizing hints. (Like a list of swing states!)
Did you know Maine and Nebraska DON'T have a winner-take-all contest
for their electoral votes?
Bumper sticker seen today:
Bush is Sauron.
Save the Shire.
Norman Mailer is elegantly quotable.
New York Metro sent his son to interview him. And the results are
candid conversation about protest, George Bush - and the hidden
The state of the nation, in
On his way to the picnic, Bush's motorcade passed opposing groups of
demonstrators on the way to the picnic, one group shouting "Four more
years!" the other shouting, "Three more months!"
See also: the
A new book criticizing John Kerry's war record relies on affidavits signed
by Lieutenant Commander George Elliott, former commanding officer of John
But according to The
Boston Globe today, "Elliott said in an
interview that he had made a 'terrible mistake' in
signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star."
"I knew it was wrong . . . In a hurry I signed it and faxed it back.
That was a mistake."
John Kerry's swift boat crew remember a "hellacious firefight" - but a
political action group is, bizarrely, claiming that "there was
no fire coming from any direction."
Larry Thurlow is one man making this
claim - though, strangely, he earned a Bronze Star that day, according
History" magazine, for dragging a wounded soldier out of the water
New information, meanwhile, shows that George W. Bush not only skipped
five months of National Guard duty. He never, as he claimed, made up
Al Franken's radio show is huge in Portland.
The radio station
broadcasting it reports an 825% increase in
And every other talk radio station lost about 20% of their listeners.
Is there something fishy about the "Orange Alert" terror warning?
Here's some people who think so.....
federal officials investigating the threats.
("The U.S. financial institutions identified in a recently disclosed
al-Qaeda surveillance operation are not believed to be at imminent risk
of attack, two federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of the
investigation said Tuesday." -- USA Today)
("Information gleaned from a prominent al-Qaeda leader arrested in
Pakistan last week did not provide sufficient evidence of an imminent
terrorism threat in the US, senior Pakistani officials familiar with the
case said yesterday...")
(And the police department, and the supposed target, Bank of America.)
According to a local newscast, they
all insist the FBI didn't even warn them San Francisco's landmark B of A
building might be targetted for
a full 24 hours.
Tomorrow. ("Bush and company have manipulated the war on terror.
If President Bush seems dummer now than he did in the 90s,
James Fallows wants to know why.
"To me the more plausible explanation is
the sheer change in scale from being governor of Texas to being President
of the United States..." he writes in The Atlantic Monthly.
"In Washington he still has the people skills, but he has given no signs
mastering issues. Thus his stalling, defensive pose when put on the
George Bush was an eloquent speaker in the 90s, James Fallows
reports in The Atlantic
Examining why Bush's
speaking skills degenerated,
U.C. Berkeley linguist George Lakoff came to believe
"that the change was intentional.
"As a way of showing deep-down NASCAR-type manliness, according to Lakoff,
Bush has deliberately made himself sound as clipped and tough as John
Wayne. Moreover, in Lakoff's view, the authenticity of this stance
depends on Bush's consistency in presenting it.
"So even if he is
capable of speaking with easy eloquence, he can't afford to let the mask
Fallows notes that Bush speaks with a Texas twang "shared by none of
Capitol Hill Blue isn't the only one speculating about the President's
A Density-land reader writes:
I too think Prez. Bush is keeping some kind of drug or alcohol use on the
Have u seen Manchurian Candidate? See it, then think about the fact that
several members of the BUSH administration and some in Congress, etc.,
mysteriously had a curious, "coincidental" rash of facial Bandaids....
including Bush, Cheney, and a bunch others...
If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might be paranoid that some of our
leaders have had microchips implanted in their tiny peabrained heads!
There are some other theories. A comment
on Kevin's blog
remembers a recent article in The Atlantic.
"[T]he writer compared the way Bush speaks now to the way he spoke when he
governor. Videos show that his speaking style has changed dramatically.
The slurring, malapropisms, and confusion are new."
"The suggestion that he has had a stroke is not without basis."
In March of 2003, a Washington Post columnist wondered whether
President Bush had been "medicated"
White House press conference.
Describing the President as "foggy," Tom Shales wrote that
"Occasionally he would stare blankly into space during lengthy pauses
between statements -- pauses that once or twice threatened to be
"[I]t hardly seems out of order to speculate that, given the particularly
heavy burden of being president in this new age of terrorism...the
may have been ever so slightly medicated."
On the "Corrente" blog they speculate cruelly about whether President Bush's past acts of
clumsiness may be related to the wild rumor about powerful
(Using that logic, every Bush mis-step could look suspicious.
Falling off Segway scooters, choking on pretzels, forgetting the words
"fool me twice, shame on me"...)
Corrente also notes that in May on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,
described an incident in 1977 when future President Bush drove
into a wall.
A disturbing bit of trivia. 40 years ago, future First Lady Laura
Bush killed a 17-year-old while
running a stop
You don't associate drug abuse with conservative Republicans - but it has
Bush administration use of powerful prescription drugs drew
the Washington Post quoted Colin Powell's response to a question
jet-lag: "Everybody here uses Ambien."
Ambien use "should generally be limited to 7 to 10 days of use..." doctors
"The habit-forming potential is high. Psychological
and physical dependence is possible.
"Because persons with a history of addiction to, or abuse of, drugs or
alcohol are at increased risk of habituation and dependence, they should
be under careful surveillance when receiving [Ambien]...."
It's not clear who else - besides Powell - uses Ambien. But one man who
bought alot was the personal physician of Vice President Dick Cheney.
Gray Malakoff "has a history, going back to 1997, of abusing prescription
narcotics," the New Yorker reported.
Yet he remained Dick Cheney's physician for nine years, according to the
magazine, and between June of 1999 and December of 2001, spent
"at least $46,238 on internet purchases of Stadol, Xanax, Tylenol with
codeine and Ambien."
There's a wild story on the "Capitol Hill Blue" site. Generally
acknowledged as unreliable, the site nonetheless alleges that
President Bush is using powerful drugs to control "erratic behavior".
Claiming White House sources, the blog states that President Bush stormed
off a stage three weeks ago, screamed obscenities backstage at an aide -
and has since begun taking "powerful" anti-depressants to control his
They were building on an earlier
article in June alleging that the President "goes from quoting the
one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others
that he classifies as 'enemies of the state'."
"Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge,
increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public
that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home."
Today another article includes quotes attributed to an unnamed campaign
advertiser who says
the President is "moody,
distrustful and withdrawn," then claims that "campaign advisors are
worried the depressed President may not be up to the rigors of a tough
There's also an unnamed GOP consultant in the mix who's said to be
Congressional Republicans to distance themselves from Bush.
"We have to face the very real possibility that the President of the
United States is loony tunes," he says sadly. "That's not good for my
candidates, it's not good for the party and it's certainly not good for
A radio ad in Orange County warns that one Representative candidate is
like those liberals "in San Francisco and Los Angeles."
Then goes on to say she's representing the "wackadoo" wing of the party.
Why, she was one of twelve [just twelve!] candidates that
Howard Dean chose to support. And we all know who Howard Dean
"We're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan!
And then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House!
The ad doesn't get into specifics. It just keeps coming
back to that
nonsense word "wackadoo" - repeating it again after the Howard Dean
It's the latest form of political advertising.
It's not really an argument. It's more of a play to people's visceral
Howard Dean clip courtesy of Married Adults.com, home of Movies
without Nudity and
For anybody who wants to know about pets, or goats, or simply wants to
avoid the responsibilities of national leadership, My
Pet Goat is a "Must Read"!
Amazon hoaxsters submit sarcastic reviews for the notorious
school-children's book that
President Bush continued
reading after he'd been informed of the 9/11 attacks.
"Dick and Laura said it was safe to read as long as I
wasn't trying to
anything at the same time."
This is a cute idea. It gives you the current Homeland Security Terror
Alert Level -
enhanced with Muppets.
Blogger Digby opines about "undemocratic"
governing - and not just in the Bush administration.
[T]his is an ongoing, serious problem of the modern Republican
Party in general. They are congenitally opposed to compromise which
leads inevitably to rule by force....
It's not tin-foil kookiness and it's not partisan angst. It's real.
The "Mahablog" fears an even
We must always treat the Bush Regime as a revolutionary power, and we
must assume that all of its policies are about power -- keeping and
increasing the scope of its power; paying off the complicit; maintaining
If terrorists attack the U.S. in November, Rush Limbaugh says postponing
the elections is "a bad idea."
"In that case there must be something right about the idea," says
one Density-land reader.
"Or no, wait... by having Limbaugh oppose it they want us to
a good idea...
"Or no, wait..."
In April an article on Buzzflash
asked "Will the 2004 elections be called off?"
The article summarized some predictions that terrorists would strike the
U.S. in the next six
months - and noted that conservative pundits Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity
and David Brooks were all simultaneously voicing concerns that the
would affect the Presidential elections.
"If we are attacked before our election like
Spain was," Sean Hannity
reportedly said, "I am not so sure that we should go ahead with the
We had better make plans now because it's going to happen."
The article then cited former White House staffer Richard Clarke's
warning that there are "dozens of people,
in the White House...writing talking points, calling up conservative
columnists, calling up talk radio hosts,
telling them what to say..."
That article left a paranoid "what if" hanging over the
coverage of election planning. For instance, on July 8,
the AP ran
a story about how security needed to be tightened
because of fears the election would be disrupted, citing sources in the
White House - even though
"U.S. officials do not have specific knowledge about where, when or
how such an attack would take place."*
It's against this background that Democrat Senator Barbera Boxer
"To even consider postponing our elections, the most ardent
symbol of American democracy, because of threats made by
terrorists would be nothing short of allowing fear to rule our
country. America is too great and too strong and too brave for
Amazingly, even Rush
Limbaugh spoke out today against any postponement of the election. "I
think this is a bad idea. I think they need to stop talking about
*A later version of the article changed the attribution from "sources in
the White House" to
"America's need has never been so desperate.
Locked in the iron grip of the Bush administration, the United States is
crying out for
"And who better to fulfill the promise of freedom than the wholesome and
resilient lasses our men have fought for?"
Babes Against Bush hawk their $12.00
calendar. "Because hot chicks hate him too."
"It's time to put the liberal back into politics."
When John Kerry picks his running mate - and possibly the next vice
president - "The folks who are going to learn first...are
going to be the people on JohnKerry.com."
They'll receive Kerry's email announcement, he says,
"They're the people who've helped carry this campaign. They're the folks
who've been part of our effort across the nation. And they'll be the
first to know what my decision is."
John Kerry also tries to address Bush's charge of "pessimism" at a campaign stop in Minnesota...
"They say this is the best we can do. They've even called us pessimists.
Well, I say, the most pessimistic thing you can say is that America can't
"Don't tell us losing 1,300 dairy farms in Minnesota is the best we can
"In 2004, we have to bring back our mighty dream again. We have to
make America all that it can become."
"I thought that was an effective commercial for the Kerry
campaign," one web surfer
"I pretty much agreed with everything Al Gore and Michael Moore said.
guess I'm not the target audience."
Kerry's campaign has released their own statement on Bush's controversial new ad...
"The fact that George Bush thinks its appropriate to use images of
Adolph Hitler in his campaign raises serious questions about his fitness
to spend another four years in the White House. Adolph Hitler
slaughtered millions of innocent people and has no place in a campaign
that is supposed to be about the future and hope of this nation."
A Bush campaign
video mixes footage of Adolf Hitler
with footage of John Kerry, Al Gore, Howard Dean, and Michael Moore.
The images of Hitler came from a home-made political advertisement - one
of over 1500
to the liberal activist site MoveOn.org for a January contest.
At the time the Republican National Committee chairman
clarify that "they want no affiliation with anyone who would engage in
of vile tactics."
Friday the Bush campaign used the same images for their montage. A
title card identifies them as "the faces of John Kerry's Democratic party"
and "the coalition of the wild-eyed."
At the end of their 77-second ad, the Bush campaign delivers its
It's the wrong time for "pessimism" and "rage"
Billy Graham's son says "I don't think God is a Republican or a Democrat."
"He's no Democrat, Reverend!" says Sean Hannity of Fox
Maybe God's voting for Nader.
Michael Moore delivers
a passionate message to the media.
On the Today show, he tells his interviewer...
"If one of you--any of you--and I don't mean this to you personally--but
just if anyone here had just said, 'Wait a minute. These are our children.
You're not sending them to war unless you prove to us that our nation is
under threat of attack....'
"My film is a silent plea to all of you in the news media to do your
job. We need you..."
George Bush will pick up nine electoral votes in Colorado. Er, no, wait
-- John Kerry will get four of those, leaving Bush with just one
more electoral vote...
That's the scenario predicted if a Colorado ballot
measure passes before the November election.
And they already have 67,799 signatures...
Meg Ryan, Jon Bon
Jovi, and James Gandolfini and Steve Buscemi from The Sopranos were
the celebrity attendees at a fund-raiser for John Kerry.
raising $1 million, the Presidential candidate told the crowd he was
flying to address an AFL-CIO convention the next day in Atlantic City.
"I know it makes a lot of you nervous, the idea of my coming here to a
fund-raiser, leaving at 8:30 with a million dollars
and then 11 o'clock I'm on the news at the blackjack table in Atlantic
"I promise I will not gamble with your money the way George Bush
gambled with the money of this country."
Washington Monthly cites
a 1985 anecdote from a critique of Ronald Reagan called "The Clothes Have
60 Minutes interviews Berkeley professor Michael Rogin, who posits
the theory that [Reagan] honestly can't tell the difference between movies
The evolution of a Reagan anecdote is traced from the point where he
credits it as a movie scene to the point where
he tells it as if it really happened.
Viewer response proves this to the one of the least popular segments in
the program's 17-year history."
Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry asked (Republican) Senator
McCain to be his running mate.
And McCain said no.
At least, that's how two Democratic officials are telling
it to the Associated Press...
Reagan and Gorbachev discussed Reagan's "Star Wars" missile defense plan
According to notes
the Soviets declassified six years
later, Gorbachev didn't believe it when Reagan offered to
share the technology. But Reagan replied...
"If I thought that [the missile defense technology] could not be shared, I
would have rejected it myself."
Ronald Reagan was not America's most popular President, Kos
In fact, Gallup polls for the last ten Presidents
rank Reagan's cumulative
approval ratings at sixth -- just
above Nixon -- scoring lower than Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, George
Here's the complete list.
Don Asmussen's comic strip "Bad Reporter" critiques
the dummed-down spin that politicians feed the mass media...
DEMS CALL 'HOP ON THE BUS, GUS, DON'T NEED TO DISCUSS MUCH' AN
EXTREMELY VAGUE EXIT STRATEGY
George Bush loses to John Kerry by 15 points in a national
poll...if John Kerry's running mate is John
One advantage for Kerry that's not being discussed:
also holds a Republican seat in the Senate, which he'd have to relinquish
to become Vice President....
successor would be picked by the
governor of Arizona - allowing the Democrats to easily pick up a Senate
Since the Senate is currently split 51-49, that one seat could
determine which party controls it!
Yet another media outlet discusses
possibility of Republican John McCain becoming John Kerry's running mate.
it in perspective...
Yesterday, on Fox News Sunday, Senator Hillary Clinton said she would
support John McCain as the John Kerry's running mate. Great. But we're
sure that what she's really hoping for is that magical Kerry-Batman ticket
(Gotham City's in a swing state, right?), which is, of course, just as
Empty trucks were driven back and forth across Iraq -- and then a
Halliburton subsidiary billed
the U.S. taxpayers for it.
Once the 300-mile supply route was driven by a convoy of 27 empty trucks.
A 28th truck did carry supplies -- on a single four-foot pallet.
Link found on Atrios.
General Wesley Clark suggests
bringing in European troops to give
a stabilized Iraq time to democratize.
"Freedom and dignity spring from within the human heart. They are not
"...if the events of the last year tell us anything, it is
that democracy in the Middle East is unlikely to come at the point of our
A sweet moment from Nick Berg's diary. Shortly before his gruesome death
in Iraq, he was a "tower
nerd," gushing that Mosul's VHF tower "has more steel per vertical
foot than any tower I've ever been on..."
Corrente - the blogger who spotted this - notes that at one point Berg
wanted to take a hike
past a beautiful riverside -- but he hitched a ride with some "ultra gung
ho" security contractors....
An amazingly thoughtful
formative events in the life of George
There's his wasted college days, his troubled relationship with
father, his reformed alcoholism -- and then his presidency.
The author argues that at some point a rebellious and lonely
young man chose to eschew learning, debate, and discussion. In effect:
he "chose stupidity."
These women are on a
mission: "[T]o discretely provide US troops shipping out overseas with the
most sensually pleasing departure possible."
And, they have a web site.
"Operation Take One For the Country..."
Yes, this has "hoax" written all over it....
UPDATE: Boing Boing agrees.
If elected, says John
Kerry, "I will hold a full press conference at least
once a month."
Be wary of newspaper Op-Eds, says The
"I was upset to learn that the 'by' in a scholar's byline may well be a
ruse, a duplicitous means of inducing a lobby-authored, lobby-funded
piece into print and onto the public agenda."
President Bush's press conference, analyzed by the
red clip-art cartoon people at "Get Your War On"...
And people say Americans are afraid to criticize their President.
"His mind is like one of those spinning cages where you pull out the
winning lottery numbers -- but there's only four goddamn little balls in
his cage: "Freedom," "Democracy," "Terror," and "Stay the Course."
opens his mouth, one of the balls drops out. That's not a conversation,
"Listen, man -- What part of 'Democracy Freedom Stay the Course Terror
Terror' don't you understand?"
President Bush assembled $200 million to fund his re-election campaign.
But his negative TV ads didn't improve his poll numbers, as John Kerry
"They're out 50 million bucks and got
nothing to show for it."
Meanwhile, Kerry launched his own fund-raising drive to counter Bush's
negative TV ads with paid
"What the Republicans were counting on was a nominee they could
easily define. For the first time we have the power of having a
Democratic nominee who has the ability to talk back, to actually fight
And now for something completely different.
Political commentary from
A poll by CNN/Time found that President Bush's approval rating
has sunk to "a record low."
Just 49 percent of Americans surveyed approved of his performance.
"A vote for George Bush is a vote against the troops."
-- Janeane Garofalo
Air America Radio
While U.S. troops confront growing unrest in Iraq, George Bush is on vacation, John Kerry points out....
The month before September 11, President Bush was vacationing in Texas.
he returned -- shortly before the attacks -- he told reporters he'd been
working on national security issues. But specifically: the "menace" of
"...we need to keep him in check, and
will. He's been a menace forever, and ... he needs to open his country up
for inspection so we can see whether or not he's developing weapons of mass
Budget-busting proposals by Republicans have spawned a "dirty dozen" -- conservative Congressmen willing to vote with the Democrats to reign in spending.
This maneuver works because the House of Representatives is so evenly
split, one congressman explains. "Given the numbers in the House today,
if you have a dozen Republicans willing to oppose a rule, that's all it takes."
A thought-provoking story about doctors who chose an alternate path. Healthcare is becoming a political issue, so
it's an excellent time to ask: are these doctors happier without the
health insurance bureaucracy?
Just in one cash-only doctors organization, "Membership has grown to 22,000 patient members and 1,500 doctors...."
- "An obstetrician-gynecologist in Salt Lake City...recalled times when
he believed managed care rules prevented his patients from getting the best
- One doctor "said she would have to double her patient load to
make ends meet if she relied on insurance -- something she can't imagine.
'How can you possibly talk about prevention of cancer and heart disease when
you're seeing patients every 12 minutes?'"
- "Accounts receivable is zero."
Now you can watch the controversial footage of George Bush "invigoriating" a twelve-year-old boy.
The next day CNN claimed Letterman had doctored the footage -- and OverSpun.com links to Letterman's reaction. "That, ladies and gentlemen, is an out-and-out, sure as I'm sitting here, 100 percent lie."
"Who you gonna believe -- me or CNN?
"When you cast your votes in November, just remember that the White House was trying to make me look like a dope."
Later the White House denied denying it.
Al Franken excoriates George Bush for back-tracking on his image-enhancing space initiative.
the nation you're sending a man to Mars is not like telling the kids you're
taking them to Applebee's. The kids get all excited, looking forward to the
curly fries. If you stay home, yes, they're disappointed, but it's not that
big a deal. Mars is different.
Franken is making a larger point about right-wing media.
Bush got a pass on this, as he's gotten a pass on so many
other things, because there's no liberal echo chamber in this country. But
starting today at noon, there will be one.
David Letterman, CNN, and a twelve year old boy all gang up to make George Bush look stupid.
"Liars!" cries the Bush administration. "Oh wait -- we never said that...."
Or something like that...
"People are going to buy this book, even though it's really bad."
The Vice President's wife wrote "a bodice-ripping romance
set in the 19th century Wild West," according to a publishing-industry newsletter.
The 1981 pulp romance contains "[L]ots of turgid prose, heaving bosoms,
female characters who are proto-feminists and practice safe sex with multiple
partners--and a juicy lesbian subplot...."
And it's going to be re-issued just as the Bush-Cheney ticket seeks re-election....
"Republicans have accused Democratic U.S. House candidate Stephanie
Herseth of maintaining A SECRET WEB PAGE to receive campaign donations raised
from ads on liberal groups' Internet sites." (!!!!!!)
That's from the Aberdeen News, via Daily Kos. "Thanks to the secret technology called Google," writes Kos, "I was able to FIND the secret page!"
The Executive Director of the South Dakota Republican Party warns Dakotans
that "There's a reason she's got that secret site. She doesn't want to advertise
the fact she's doing this...."
"It amazes me that a man can be in his 50's and have such idealism," says Ben Stein. He's talking about Al Franken.
The New York Times ran
a great profile of Franken shortly before he launches his new radio show.
''I think of Al as a kind of comedy version of Howard Dean," says
Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, "in that he
wants to show people how to fight back."
"[Rush] Limbaugh, through a spokesman, declined to be interviewed for this
article, as did Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity..."
I finally got around to watching this clip of liberal author Eric Alterman
baffling Dennis Miller.
Too good to pass up... Lynne Cheney's pulp romance novel, Sisters.
Blogger Wonkette displays one of the many steamy excerpts from the early 1980s book....
"I'm Al Franken, and you're listening to the O'Franken Factor!"
Newsweek profiles Al Franken's new radio show, the cornerstone of a new network for liberal talk radio.
President Bush bars imports from the country of Myanmar.
Then he sells Bush-Cheney campaign t-shirts imported from Myanmar...
September 12, 2001...
Rumsfeld said, "There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.''
White House terrorism advisor Richard Clarke appears on 60 Minutes this Sunday...
I said, "Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with [the 9/11 attacks]..."
Blogs are growing in influence, according to CNN.
Most political reporters now read blogs - just as they listen
to conservative talk radio - so news coverage is also shaped by the online
chatter. America has 20 million "online political citizens," a study
from George Washington University reports, and in that group Democrats have
a 2:1 majority over Republicans.
"Blogs are a real force; they're not just for geeks any more."
Thanks to my pal Lego-man for the link!
Bush's credibility may determine whether he wins a second term.
Film's questioning that credibility are appearing at MoveOn.org....
Now a newspaper advertisement by the same group shows an intense photograph of the president over the headline: "He knew."
- A 50-second movie catches Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld claiming on Face the Nation
that he never said Iraq was an "immediate threat," that "it's become kind
of folk-lore that that's what happened..." A quote of him saying just that
is read back to him -- and then another.
- Dramatic footage shows a polygraph test
beeping wildly as President Bush claims Iraq has an advanced nuclear weapons
program, that Iraq sought uranium from Africa, and that Iraq aided al Qaada
"Before the war, the president was repeatedly told there
was no definitive evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
He knew Iraq was not a nuclear threat. He knew there was no Iraq connection
A man who knows something about film-making comments on the newscast/lobbying scandal.
"If tax dollars paid for those Bush advertorials," Roger Ebert emails Romenesko's media news, "shouldn't the government bill the Bush campaign for the production costs?"
But here's a scandal that is true. According to the Democratic party's blog,"Kicking Ass"...
"Apparently, the Bush administration paid actors to pose as real-life journalists and under that guise praise the benefits of the new Medicare law."
The faked news interviews were later spliced into 53 local newscasts
on 40 different stations across America. This may be illegal; the General
Accounting Office launched an investigation into whether this constitutes
President Bush wants to run questionable ads to convince senior voters
that a bad Medicare bill is good for them," says Ted Kennedy, "then his campaign should pay
for it, not the American taxpayer."
Wonkette has the last word. Apparently the Bush administration
"decided that they could afford to spring a portion of that $160 million
war-chest for some real firefighters after all...
"Newsweek, on the other hand, might consider investing in
some real... What do you call those? That's right:
Nothing to see here, folks, move along...
own original back-and-forth...
No wait! They were real firemen! Newsweek has corrected their...
No wait! Newsweek just altered it back!
Atrios's commenters suspect that someone tried conning Newsweek's editors about Bush's fake, hired-pretend fire-fighters...
The firemen in George Bush's campaign ads? "Where the hell did they get those guys?" *
So why did Bush's ads
replace real American heroes with paid actors?
"Mainly, It's cheaper and quicker."**
..* Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters
** A Bush media adviser
George Bush may have been AWOL from National Guard duty in the early 70s. Blogger Orcinus chastises the press for not investigating the story for definitive answers.
He also points out that the real journalism on the story was done by: internet bloggers.
Some Republicans in Congress wonder if they'd be better off with Democrat John Kerry as President, columnist Robert Novak writes...
The Republicans expect they'd still maintain controlling majorities in both the House and the Senate, whereas
"If Bush is re-elected, Democrats are likely to win both the House and Senate in a 2006 midterm rebound."
But otherwise, even if the Republican President is defeated Republicans
expect they'd pick up still more seats in the next Congressional elections
Novak blames the dissatisfaction on Bush's emphasis on fund-raising and
organization, "with deficiencies in communicating and leadership." Novak's
conclusion? "The president is in political trouble, and his disaffected
supporters who should be backing him aggressively provide the evidence."
"Click here for our live election night blog," promises the web site for San Francisco's Bay Guardian.
But California primary voters who followed the link discovered a strange message....
blah, blah, blah
This was nearly two hours after the Super Tuesday
polls closed - though apparently it was just a test of the blog that went
live later that night. (Strangely, the test posts are still archived - and appear to have been on the site for three hours.)
I archived my own copy of the wacky web-blog-that-wasn't. But I'm still having a problem with their
"Ongoing coverage" link on their main elections page...
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Bizarre. During one of John Kerry's last debates with John Edwards, he was asked by New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller...
"Is God on America's side?" How do you answer
that? The bizarre-o question stemmed from President Bush's implication that
the almighty backs his foreign policy. Though it also looks designed to
lure the Democrats into alienating religious voters...
Glorying in the question's unanswerable abstractness, blogger Matt Welch suggests some alternate questions. Like...
"What if the whole universe was like a single speck on the fingernail of some dude sitting in a Starbucks or something....?"
Blogger Orcinus runs a thought-provoking endorsement of John Edwards.
Meanwhile, another blogger asks... If George W. Bush is re-elected, will he re-instate the draft?
George Bush has an "inflated" biography on six government web sites.
the President flew for barely two years while serving in the National Guard,
"the biography of Bush on the US State Department's website credits him with
almost six years."
So says the Boston Globe.
Link found on Smirking Chimp.com
How desperate is George Bush for votes?
Political blogger Kos has endorsed a candidate. And it's not John Kerry...
I want someone who symbolizes the future of our party. Someone
who's rhetoric inspires, rather than bores. Someone who has run a positive
campaign worthy of praise, rather than someone who has used slash and burn
campaign tactics against members of his own party. Someone who people actually
like, rather than support for some bizarre notion of "electability".
Vice President Dick Cheney could be dumped from the ticket when George Bush runs for re-election.
12 years ago, Vice President Quayle looked like he might be dumped from the ticket when George Bush (Sr.) ran for re-election.
Defending Quayle in 1991 in the Washington Post was...
And Bush wasn't re-elected. The end.
Link from the blogger-turned candidate in
Vermont's election for a new state representative.
George Bush promises 2.6 million news jobs this year. Then backs off the optomistic prediction.
The White House Press Corps is furious...
In fact, today's whole press briefing went pretty badly
Q I want to revisit a question I asked you last week and you didn't
have the answer -- you may have it now. Did the President ever do community
service while he was in the National Guard?
MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, you had said that this was relating to a rumor that
you heard, and I think there's a difference between rumor-mongering and journalism.
And so I'm just not going to dignify those kind of rumors from this podium.
I think the records have been released and you have -- all the information
is available to you publicly.
Q So you don't really know?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I said this was relating to some trashy rumors that
are circulating out there, and I'm just not going to dignify them from this
Q It's a very simple question. ...
"There was an embarrassing moment in the White
House earlier today. They were looking around while searching for George
Bush's military records. They actually found some old Al Gore ballots."
great collection of jokes about Bush's national-guard controversy. Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Craig Kilborn all weigh in....
Did President Bush go AWOL? The Associated Press is clearly suspicious....
...trying to end doubts about President Bush's Vietnam-era military record, [the White House] released documents Tuesday that it said proved he had "met his requirements" in the Texas Air National Guard despite long, unexplained gaps in his service...
White House officials were careful to stop short of claiming that the records
proved definitively that Bush had shown up for all the Guard duties he was
George Bush released some military records. And there's this weird 6-month gap in 1972 between April and October...
At the CalPundit blog, Kevin Drum discusses the gap with a retired National
Guard pilot who's been following the controversy. Drum summarizes it like this...
As we all know, Bush failed to show up for his annual
physical in July 1972, he was suspended in August, and the suspension was
recorded on September 29. He was apparently transferred to ARF [the Air Reserve
Force] at that time and began accumulating ARF points in October.
Even this isn't the most rigorous duty, according to Drum's research...
ARF is a "paper unit" based in Denver that requires no drills
and no attendance. For active guard members it is disciplinary because ARF
members can theoretically be called up for active duty in the regular military,
although this obviously never happened to George Bush.
But even with that -- there's still that earlier six-month gap....
Where memes are born. Here's what President Bush said while trying
to defend his military service record.
"What I don't like is when people say serving in the Guard ... may not be a true service."
No one's saying that. Bush is just hoping to confuse people into thinking
he's being attacked for performing National Guard service.
He's being attacked for not performing it...for failing to show up!
Reuters notes a new poll showing that 36% of Americans think charges Bush went AWOL are "definitely or probably true."
If the election were held today, John Kerry would take 50 percent of the vote to Bush's 45 percent, reports Newsweek. Maybe the Bush administration has "jumped the shark"?
By the way, the Bush administration is 76.18 percent over.
"...George Bush's handlers are suddenly so nervous
about his re-election prospects that the interview-shy President is to make
a rare, hastily arranged appearance this morning on a leading talk show."
A not-so-smirky President Bush is on the offensive.
This isn't true, but it sounds nice. Salon interviewed a military law attorney
who noted that local commanders have great leeway to ignore missed service.
"Somebody could have missed a year's worth of Guard drills and still end
up with an honorable discharge." UPDATE: John Kerry is now making headlines raising the same point. "Just because you get an honorable discharge does not in fact answer that question."
- Bush stammers his way through a question about whether he'll testify
before the committee investigating bad information used to justify war on
Iraq. ("This commission?! Well, I don't -- testify?! I mean, I'd be glad to visit with them....")
- Bush tried to address doubts that in the 70s he performed military service with the
National Guard in Alabama. Asked why reporters couldn't find
any records for the military service, Bush said, "They're just wrong."
- Bush also says "There may be no evidence, but I did report; otherwise, I wouldn't have been honorably discharged."
Reuters sounds even more cynical. "Bush said he would 'absolutely' authorize the release of any documents
relating to his Guard service during that period -- 'if we still have
them.' He said the records are kept in Colorado and have already been
If it turns out the records do exist, will Bush still be willing to authorize their release?
...the longtime Republican dirty-tricks operative
who led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount and helped make
George W. Bush president in 2000, is financing, staffing, and orchestrating the presidential campaign of Reverend Al Sharpton. From today's edition of the Village Voice.
My friend Mike points out a Republican Bush supporter is propping up Howard Dean's campaign in Mississippi, too.
The AP notes Kerry's two chief rivals racked up delegates Tuesday...
But Howard Dean is still running second in the total delegate count...
Al Sharpton: 1
Still, it takes 2161 to win, which puts it in perspective. Kerry is
11.4% of the way there, versus Howard Dean's 5.5%. And copy-cat
voters are expected to follow the perceived front-runner. (Whereas
many of Dean's delegates came from "super-delegates" who
had already pledged their votes before the primaries...)
But Howard Dean's campaign still has $9 million in funds - more
than any other candidate. If he can sink it all into winning
some upcoming states, they'll be surprise wins.
That could help him pick up some momentum.
The Daily Show's Stephen Colbert talks to Jon Stewart about David Kay's
conclusion that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction
"The first unjustified military action is always the hardest."
10% of Republican voters didn't vote for Bush in the primaries in Oklahoma and Arizona.
They voted for Los Angeles t-shirt retailer Bill Wyatt!
Last week Senator Joseph Lieberman told CNN his candidacy was gathering steam -- because he had "Joe-mentum."
Turns out it was a big Joe-k.
In 1961 an amateur rock band played at local dances, and pressed 500 copies of an album to sell to their fans.
43 years later, the bass player is running for President. As John Kerry works his way through a crowd, he sees someone waving a copy of the album. And Kerry was delighted...
Link discovered at Wonkette
In today's Doonesbury, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld puts it all in perspective.
"Should anyone care that when he had chemical weapons, I didn't oppose them,
but now that he doesn't, I do? It depends on how you define '9-11'."
That last line is an on-target critique of something I've noticed the Bush administration doing -- pushing for their agenda with
emotional appeals to an unrelated tragedy...
"Starting today and continuing through next year's election,
the answer to any question posed to this White House will be 9/11."
Meanwhile, columnist Josh Marshall remembers that the Bush administration
the CIA for intelligence supporting war against Iraq. But now that there's
bi-partisan calls for an investigation, the Associated Press makes this observation.
"By setting up the investigation himself, Bush will have greater control over its membership and mandate."
- A British newspaper says U.S. officials have known Iraq had no WMD since May.
- The same month the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense implied
that even before the invasion, WMD had never really been their primary justfication
for war on Iraq, according to a quote in Vanity Fair.
"For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction,
because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."
You can almost see the White House developing a spin that will exonerate them before the investigation even starts.
"It's the CIA's fault. No, no, I fully support an investigation. Of the CIA....."
Marshall makes the same point. "They want to wall off the investigation so it only scrutinizes
their political enemies at the CIA and the rest of the Intelligence Community...."
John Kerry made a cameo in the comic strip Doonesbury.
Thirty-two years ago.....
"Democrats are more energized and angry than at any
time since Lyndon Johnson's presidency...That probably translates into higher
turnout and more Democrats at the polls [next fall]."
USA Today reports 22% more voters in New Hampshire's primary this year than in 1992....
John Edwards is getting a little testy about press feelers on whether he'd settle for being Vice President.
"No, no. Final," he told the Associated Press. "I don't want to be vice president. I'm running for president!"
But the inevitable hypothetical is tantalizing Democrats hungry for a dream ticket -- including this clever young college editorialist...
"Together, the senators possess the two qualities absolutely necessary
for a successful Democratic presidential bid, which is best expressed in
an easy-to-remember rhyme: Must be Southern (Edwards), please not McGovern
The Democrat's presidential candidates and their cartoon equivalents.
From Waxy.org's side-bar links
In April of 1971, John Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about soldiers in Vietnam.
"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
The question could be put to the Bush administration about their expensive
and unsuccessful hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Kerry's experience in Vietnam may become unusually relevant.
Wonkette's political observation of the day...
"First Madonna, now Drew. What is it with the slutty blondes and Clark?"
That's Drew Barrymore. (And Wesley Clark....)
Good political commentary on Daily Kos...
You can think of the beltway...as a biosphere with a different
atmosphere. The air is hotter, the wit is drier and the altitude is thought
of as higher. It's like Vulcan in Star Trek, except everything is done by
illogic and no one's telepathy works.
I love this site's fresh writing on politics. And you see it in the readers' comments, too...
"Kerry is a proven stumbler - he did it this spring, and again in the fall..."
CNN's Robert Novak got physical with a heckler, according to the web-blog "Take Back the Media."
is the reporter who exposed a CIA agent's identity after it was leaked to
him by a Bush administration official. The heckler reportedly expressed
satisfaction about his incident with Novak because "The guy is dirty - he
knows he did something wrong."
"The cost of bringing Helium from the Moon will be a fraction of the price of electric power generated today at nuclear plants."
A Russian newspaper also theorizes that President Bush's moon plan is to monopolize its
rare helium 3 isotopes.
A juicy campaign diary of campaign volunteers in Iowa.
Made extra poignant by the fact that they were working for Howard Dean's ill-fated campaign....
Enjoy the refreshingly sassy political commentary of...
Also from the side-bar at Waxy.org
Remarks by the President to the Press Pool
Nothin' Fancy Cafe
Roswell, New Mexico
THE PRESIDENT: I need some ribs.
Q: Mr. President, how are you?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm hungry and I'm going to order some ribs....
Link from the side-bar at Waxy.org
A fascinating glimpse of President Bush in a candid setting -- glad-handing a local restauranteur while deflecting the press.
Here's a handy site rounding up news about our favorite global hot spot.
Iraq News online...
A good parody of a
Dean-o-phobic pundit from Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.
"It's been widely reported! And that makes it fact-esque."
Howard Dean in Iowa.
The crowd cheers as he shouts the names of upcoming primary states, and Dean's making the point that
supporters have contributed millions of dollars, which keeps his campaign viable.
I think it's unfair for the media to describe this as a "rant" or "tirade" -- he's trying to pump up a crowd that's disappointed by his third-place finish in Iowa.
"They worked their hearts out for three weeks," Dean told the Associated Press. "I thought I owed them everything I had, and I gave it everything I had."
But Dean's surprising success has brought extra scrutiny -- and any moment of oddness plays into pre-existing fears.
In that light, it's almost re-assuring that internet mix-masters have re-mixed the Howard Dean yelp into their own peppy music montages.
What does President Bush want from the moon?
Potent helium 3 isotopes? Space-based warhead defenses? Beating the Chinese to it?
Reuters evaluates the possible "militarization" of space.
Guess where I'm going? I'm going to Mars! Please
don't ask me why... I'm confused!
The all-red comic strip "Get Your War On" comments on
New tax rules, new jobs -- and new energy sources.
The man who would be President leaps ahead in the polls from Iowa. He's John Kerry, who travelled from "war veteran to peace activist to politician," according to the Des Moines Register. And his front-runner status here gives a grandeur to his otherwise ordinary statements.
"What you need to do in these next hours, obviously, is find out who could be president, who is ready to be president...."
I enjoyed the aside by New York Times colulmnist Paul Krugman about President Bush and his fondness for photo-ops.
Money-saving suggestion: let's cut directly to the scene where
Mr. Bush dresses up as an astronaut, and skip the rest of his expensive,
pointless-- but optimistic! -- Moon-base program.
Daily Kos is my favorite web-log about politics. Thursday the San Francisco Chronicle ran a good profile of Kos himself!
Apparently Kos has 70,000 readers. "The blogosphere is going to play a huge role in this election," he tells the Chronicle. "A lot of bloggers say we're not that important. I say we're that important...."
I've lost track of which form of Iraqi government I'm supposed to be rooting for.
The U.S.-backed "Iraqi Governing Council" just removed some of the most lenient rules
in the Muslim world for women -- reverting to strict Islamic laws that allow
marriages below the age of 18 and favoring men over women for property inheritance
and child custody.
"It will allow men to have four or five or six wives," one activist predicted....
Great commentary about President Bush's new space program.
And don't miss the cartoon above it.
Summarizing the Bush administration with a funny cartoon. It's one of the winners in MoveOn.org's political ad contest.
At the awards ceremony Monday night, a special guest made the following announcement.
"I'm Al Franken. I'm here to present the funniest ad award.
"I'm a last-minute substitution. Former Treasury Secretary Paul
O'Neill was supposed to be the presenter, but unfortunately he was murdered."
Lid Blown Off O'Neill/Suskind Hoax
Now, here's how my friend Mike read that article."
"Laurie Mylroie sent out an email about Paul O'Neill's appearance on 60
Minutes last night; she notes what appears to be a major error in Ron Suskind's
book, which casts doubt on the credibility of both Suskind and O'Neill.
And then he forwards me this enlightening link..
"The first two words of that bullshit obviate the need for further reading. "
Mylroie, for those who haven't come across her before, has long been kind of the "crazy aunt" of Iraq policy.
with the idea that Saddam Hussein was behind most of the world's evil, Mylroie
has spun an astonishing web in a series of articles and a very odd book to
"prove" that Iraq was behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing - as well
as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (you may have thought it was Timothy McVeigh,
but hello - pay attention, okay?), the 1997 Luxor attacks in Egypt, the Cole
bombing, the anthrax attacks, and the cancelation of Firefly (well, maybe
not that last one, but he probably *wanted* Firefly canceled)....
In her brand new book, "Bush vs. the Beltway: How the CIA and the State Department Tried to Stop the War on Terror" (yes, you read that title right), Mylroie goes even farther, entering into tinfoil hat-country.
to Mylroie, Iraq was responsible for September 11 - not working with al-Qaeda,
not coordinating with al-Qaeda, but actually responsible for it, while cleverly
setting al-Qaeda and bin Laden up to take the fall.
It's a sign of the times. The only small-arms manufacturing plant in the U.S. is running three eight-hour shifts, six days a week. Some bullets the U.S. military now buys overseas.
Meanwhile, the AP reports that Pentagon auditors who perform internal reviews spent 1139 hours altering their own reports
in order to pass internal reviews.
Contradicting David Brooks, former Defense Policy Board chairman
Richard Perle suggested last week on the Charlie Rose show that Syria shouldn't
feel secure from an invasion.
With the release of "An End To Evil" by Perle and David Frum, Lutz Kleveman,
author of The New Great Game, also remembers an interview last year in which
Richard Perle declared "I don't see why our success in the war on terror is dependent on the goodwill of the Afghan or the Pakistani population."
The Boston Globe remembers Perle's 1992 spy novel, in which a security advisor dissuades the President from disarmament negotiations with news of a hidden weapons cache.
General Wesley Clark cites the claim that 9/11 was un-preventable as one of "two big lies" being circulated 00 along with the belief that future terrorist attacks are inevitable.
is going to hurt this country...if we stay united and move together and have
a vision for moving to the future the right way."
Political strategist Kevin Phillips argues that the Bush family's unusual relationships with Middle Eastern royalty "helped bring about 9/11 and then distorted the U.S. response to Islamic terrorism."
he opens his Los Angeles Times Op-Ed "There is no evidence to suggest that
the events of Sept. 11 could have been prevented."
37,000 e-mail messages have been sent to newspaper editors from the Bush-Cheney re-election site, some containing the site's "pre-written blocks".
By the way, did you know the White House is now seeking the power
to control the declaration of health, safety, and environmental emergencies,
and to manage scientific and technical evaluations of government rules and proposed regulations.
Friday the White House was urged to withdraw the proposal by a nonpartisan group of 20 former White House officials...
While he was at Esquire magazine, Ron Suskind interviewed John DiIulio, the former Bush domestic policy adviser who complained about Karl Rove's influence on policy.
Suskind also drew memorable quotes from Bush chief of staff Andrew Card, who called the April 2002 departure of White House adviser Karen Hughes "a turning point..." in Rove's influence.
In fact, President Bush targeted Saddam Hussein soon after taking
office. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's revelation has been confirmed by another National Security Council official.
Not only did the war plans precede the attacks on September 11. O'Neill says they never saw any evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
the escalating costs of large tax cuts were ignored, too. Vice President
Cheney told O'Neill that the Reagan administration proved deficits "don't
matter," and that "We won the midterms. This is our due."
"If we re-elect Bush in 2004 we endorse the Bush doctrine and we will have to live with the consequences."
-- George Soros
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