kolmapäev, juuni 30, 2004

Daily Froomkin

Laura Bush's interview with a Turkish television station:

Q In your words, what does Ataturk mean to you -- have you had a chance to read up on --

MRS. BUSH: Yes, of course. I've read about him. I've read some histories of Turkey before I came, because this is my first visit, and so I wanted to read about Istanbul and about Ankara and about Turkey. And I know that he's the father of modern Turkey, and that what he brought, which I think is very, very important, is a tolerance for the diversity that is Turkey -- a tolerance for every religion, a secular state that allows each religion to flourish in any way that they want to. And I think that's really important.

That's also a very important value of the United States of America. You know, we're very diverse. We're made up of people, immigrants from every country and members of every religion. And we pride ourselves on that, because we think that adds to the diversity and to the richness of the fabric of our country.

Q Absolutely. And he also stressed the importance of having women --

MRS. BUSH: That's right.

Q -- be close to the men in education, wives were in the work force, so that this is how our country would develop, as we have seen in the United States.

MRS. BUSH: Which we think is, of course, so obvious. It should be obvious that if you leave out half of your population, it's really hard to be successful.

Just so we're clear, I think her answer is perfectly acceptable. The question, however, I find ridiculous.
Yester-Daily Froomkin

Let Freedom What?

It was the scribble read 'round the world. At the bottom of that note from Rice, Bush wrote with his big fat black Sharpie pen: "Let Freedom Reign."

Did he mean "Let Freedom Ring?"


On the Bush administration's hypocrisy and absurdity.

Read it.

"The country's culture is changing from one that has said, 'If it feels good, do it.' "
-- President Bush, May 14.

"I expressed myself rather forcefully, felt better after I had done it."
-- Vice President Cheney, on his bracing Senate-floor language, June 25.

And in yesterday's Times, we see that Kerry has actually put together a fairly effective response tying Cheney's dickheadery to the Bush campaign's Hitler ad:

"They have a picture of Hitler in an ad with me?" Mr. Kerry said. Laughing, he linked the advertisement to Vice President Dick Cheney's use of an expletive in a testy encounter on the Senate floor last week with Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont.

"I guess they're getting desperate," Mr. Kerry said, citing Mr. Cheney's use of that profanity and adding that "they're going on the Internet with wild ads.''

"They've spent $85 million in negative, distorting, misleading ads over the course of the last months," the senator said.

"I intend to keep talking about the things that are important to America, not going down into the mud," he said. "And I'm sorry they are."

Well said.

esmaspäev, juuni 28, 2004

Cleveland Still Rocks!

Getting bogged down with work and running out of time. This'll probably be my last post until Wednesday. Until then, amuse yourselves in other ways.

I would suggest you go fuck yourselves.

Man, I gotta get me a Dick Cheney puppet that says that.
Daily Froomkin

Ron Reagan, no fan of President Bush, is also no fan of the vice president.

From an interview with Deborah Solomon in the Sunday New York Times Magazine:

Q. "How did your mother feel about being ushered to her seat by President Bush?"

Reagan: "Well, he did a better job than Dick Cheney did when he came to the rotunda. I felt so bad. Cheney brought my mother up to the casket, so she could pay her respects. She is in her 80's, and she has glaucoma and has trouble seeing. There were steps, and he left her there. He just stood there, letting her flounder. I don't think he's a mindful human being. That's probably the nicest way I can put it."

Given Vice President Fuck Yourself's actions last week, that certainly is the nicest way to put it.

Froomkin's also got a couple of quotes from Bush and McClellan shrugging off the Vice President telling a leading member of the opposing party to go stick his penis up his own ass. Not even a word about protecting the sanctity of marriage from self-fuckers.
Damn You, Isikoff

Via Atrios, we get Craig Unger's letter to Newswek and the magazine's reply.

Now, I'm not someone who particularly cares about those flights. I think it was a mistake for Moore to make them central to his argument. They're a little odd, but they seem to have been legit. Still, nothing Moore and Unger say in the movie about it is untrue. It does seem slightly misleading, but there may be a rather strange error in Newsweek's response to Unger's letter.

Unger cites, first of all, specific evidence that Isikoff simply misrepresented his comments both in the film and in an interview. This is no surprise. Isikoff is a worthless hack. Then he provides evidence of a single flight that occurred while flights were still restricted. Newswek's response:

The Tampa flight in question was a domestic flight to Lexington, Ky., that took off late on Sept. 13 after restrictions on flying had already been lifted and Tampa International Airport had reopened for business.

In the article Unger cites, however:

The plane first entered the airspace from the south, possibly from the Fort Lauderdale area, sometime after 3 p.m. and landed for the first time at 3:34 p.m. It took off at 4:37 p.m., headed north. It returned to Tampa at 8:23 p.m. and took off again at 8:48 p.m., headed south.

3 pm doesn't seem that late in the day. But okay, maybe that's fine. Or not:

Most of the aircraft allowed to fly in U.S. airspace on Sept. 13 were empty airliners being ferried from the airports where they made quick landings on Sept. 11. The reopening of the airspace included paid charter flights, but not private, nonrevenue flights.

"Whether such a (LearJet) flight would have been legal hinges on whether somebody paid for it," said FAA spokesman William Shumann. "That's the key."

So no, all restrictions on flight hadn't been lifted. And the restrictions on this flight in particular may not have been lifted. It's unclear whether that flight was paid for. So it seems Newsweek is wrong to state definitively that everything was okay.
And the Different View Would Be Where?

This Bush campaign response to F9/11 is odd:

Bush-Cheney campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel had no comment on the box office numbers, but suggested that those wanting another view visit www.GeorgeWBush.com and see a compilation of clips titled "Kerry Coalition of the Wild-Eyed." In general, the campaign has said it did not want to take on Moore because it would lend him credibility.

Yes. Another view. Because after watching two hours of Michael Moore ranting about Bush, you'll be shocked to watch this campaign ad and discover 3 seconds of Michael Moore ranting about Bush.

Also several perplexing images of Hitler.

What other view is that supposed to be?
Cleveland Rocks!

Posting will probably be light today and entirely non-existent tomorrow. Leaving for a business trip to Cleveland this afternoon and I've got a bunch of actual work to do before then. Should be back to normal Wednesday or Thursday.

I'll still try to post my thoughts on Fahrenheit 9/11 today.


So I saw the movie tonight. I'll probably have more reaction in the morning, but I just want to point to something I haven't heard mentioned yet. Toward the end, there's a shot of Condi Rice on a TV show saying "There is definitely a link between Saddam and what happened on 9/11." Why hasn't this quote been picked up anywhere? Why isn't anyone using it to discredit the administration's claim that they never tried to connect the two? What am I missing?

pühapäev, juuni 27, 2004

Denounciation Update

The Bush campaign is still lying. They've added a disclaimer saying the ad contains "remarks made by and images from ads sponsored by Kerry supporters." This is a flat-out lie. The contest entries were not in any way sponsored by Moveon.org.

Also, Jesse at Pandagon has begun compiling a longer list of Bush supporters making Nazi references. So here's where we stand:

The New York Post and others comparing Michael Moore to Nazi propagandists
Michael Savage calling Bill Clinton's book Mein Kampf
Bill O'Reilly calling Michael Moore, Al Franken, and liberal celebrities Nazis
Many, many Bush supporters calling Hillary Clinton Hitlery
Many Republicans comparing Bill Clinton to Hitler
Republicans comparing John Kerry to Hitler
Ralph Peters calling Howard Dean supporters "brownshirts"
Everything Ann Coulter has ever said
Grover Norquist comparing the estate tax to the Holocaust
Kathleen Parker endorsing the position that Democratic candidates should be lined up and shot
Rush Limbaugh comparing Dick Gephardt to the Gestapo for his health care proposals
Rush Limbaugh calling feminists "feminazis"

Almost 24 hours and no denounciation yet. Clearly, this means Bush agrees with every single one of these positions.

Any more additions?
Double Standards

Why does the media concern itself with every slight misrepresentation by Michael Moore but never bother to fact check Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, and Coulter for being even more dishonest every day. How is Moore's one-sided argument any different from those put forth by conservative pundits?

Moore, for example, has never falsely claimed a prominent Senator took action on his behalf. But no, let's just talk about whether the fat liberal left out some inconvenient information.

laupäev, juuni 26, 2004


The Bush campaign's "Democrats and Nazis" ad story has hit the mainstream media. It's not clear yet how this one will play out, but based on this Newsweek story, it ain't looking good for Bush. Note that the Kerry campaign has denounced anyone using Hitler references, implictly including Democrats. And since no actual representative of the Kerry campaign has done so, it's tough to pin it on him. And the article makes the dishonesty of using the moveon contest submissions pretty clear, with an incredibly weak retort from the Bush campaign.

Most importantly, though, they talked to an expert:

NEWSWEEK asked an interactive content developer for a large New York City advertising firm to view the video and offer his professional opinion. After laughing out loud at the video, he said the picture of Hitler overwhelms any other message and that the entire advertisement seemed poorly conceived. “If you’re not aware of the MoveOn.org campaign, it seems like a ridiculous point. It’s picking up a spitball, polishing it, and throwing it back at them. It’s like saying: 'I’m like Hitler? No you’re like Hitler'.”


Still waiting for the Bush campaign to denounce the statements listed in my last post.

I just recieved my daily John Kerry fundraising email:

Yesterday, the Bush-Cheney campaign, losing any last sense of decency, placed a disgusting ad called "The Faces of John Kerry's Democratic Party" as the main feature on its website. Bizarrely, and without explanation, the ad places Adolf Hitler among those faces.

The Bush-Cheney campaign must pull this ad off of its website. The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong.

Good for them. It's a stupid, incoherent ad and Bush deserves to take a hit over it.

The ad is here.

Now, this has been bouncing around the internet for a couple of days. The Hitler pictures in question are from the two Moveon.org contest entries never endorsed or aired by anyone that compared Bush to Hitler. In the Bush ad, they just pop up next to John Kerry and Dick Gephardt and if you watch closely, you may notice that the Moveon.org logo appears at the end for one. Some on right have called this a manufactured controversy. They may be right. But you reap what you sow, bitches.

Perhaps the most ridiculous manufactured controversy of this election cycle was the RNC movement to get those Hitler ads into the mainstream media as somehow representing Moveon.org. It was an amazingly dishonest argument and the fact that the media let them get away with it is probably one of the strongest pieces of evidence against liberal media bias. I'll admit, this Bush ad does not seem to intend to equate Kerry to Hitler. It isn't entirely obvious, but the point is that Bush's critics are mean, or something. But it is incredibly decietful to include the Hitler ads in the first place. And especially to present them as representing Moveon.org, as the ad attempts to do. That's a lie, plain and simple. And it's presented so poorly that Kerry can claim Bush is trying to equate him with Hitler. And I have to say, that probably is the subliminal intent of it. Because those ads have no place there otherwise. None whatsoever. They represent no one. Bush is suggesting they do and that is a lie. So I say good for the Kerry campaign. Get the word out, go on TV, go everywhere you can and claim Bush is comparing you to Hitler.

Update: More on this over at Pandagon.

In response to the Bush campaign response linked to there, I ask when did the Bush campaign denounce:

The New York Post and others comparing Michael Moore to Nazi propagandists
Michael Savage calling Bill Clinton's book Mein Kampf
Bill O'Reilly calling Michael Moore, Al Franken, and liberal celebrities Nazis
Many, many Bush supporters calling Hillary Clinton Hitlery
Many Republicans comparing Bill Clinton to Hitler
Republicans comparing John Kerry to Hitler
Ralph Peters calling Howard Dean supporters "brownshirts"
Everything Ann Coulter has ever said

If you want to hold candidates responsible for every word uttered by their supporters, you know what John Kerry's going to say: Bring it on.

reede, juuni 25, 2004

Stop Lying

Please, people.

Stop trying to use the indictment of bin Laden to prove Clinton thought he had a relationship with Saddam. That count was removed later. Clearly, someone eventually figured out it wasn't legit. Give up on that one.

Also, Saddam broadcasting anti-Saudi propaganda really doesn't count either. Even if it is true, nobody can seriously claim that's the kind of relationship the Bush administration wanted us to go to war over. If that document is credible, the fact remains that the request for actual collaboration was ignored. That's the important part. The 9/11 staff report's conclusion is still accurate. It doesn't prove anything.
What a Dick

I'm sure I'm not the first to say it but go fuck yourself, Cheney.

At least have some class and admit it was over the top.

But no, apparently Republicans have now accepted that anything's okay as long as you feel better afterwards. Kind of takes the edge off their ridiculously hypocritical attacks on Democrats for incivility.

And takes Clinton off the hook for pretty much everything he ever did. Getting that blow job probably felt pretty good.

Last thought on this for now: Can I officially start the "the vice president has gone nuts" meme?
The Hell Is He Talking About?

I just saw the clip of that Bush interview with the Irish reporter. The bit where Bush loses it because the reporter supposedly isn't letting him finish. What? There was a pretty clear pause after the first sentence there. Just because Bush thinks slow doesn't mean the reporter is trying to cut him off.

It kind of reminds me of the old Dana Carvey routine about Perot in the debates, when he just kept saying "Can I finish?" over and over again but nobody else was talking.

Bush and Cheney have really put Clinton "losing it" in the BBC interview in perspective this week, haven't they?

UPDATE: I just saw the full interview. Yeah, she did interrupt him a bunch of times. Not the part I had seen before, where he says "Nobody cares about death more than I do" then sits silently. Then she speaks and he snaps at her. I've noticed this in a lot of interviews he does. He gets really angry when reporters try to bring him back to answering their questions.

How do things like this not bother Nader? Bush supporters are fighting to get him on the ballot so he can help Bush win. What the hell is wrong with the man that he doesn't get it?
Daily Froomkin

I remember being shocked that Bush actually managed to still get the name of the prison wrong and the Daily Show clip of it was extremely funny. Today, Froomkin brings us back to it and it's worth reading again:

Jon Stewart on Comedy Central Wednesday night lambasted Bush for -- once again -- not being able to pronounce the name of the Abu Ghraib prison. Stewart shows footage from Bush's photo-op with the Hungarian prime minister Wednesday, in which Bush calls it "Abu-gareff," and then looks sort of confused.

Says Stewart: "When you mispronounce the name of the prison that is at the center of the prison abuse scandal, it does give the public the sense that you don't [expletive-laced euphemism suggesting a lack of caring]."

Good News

Kerry is still interviewing VP candidates who aren't Dick Gephardt. So there's still a decent chance he isn't going to do something tremendously stupid.
What the [Expletive]?


The exchange ended when Cheney offered some crass advice.

"Fuck yourself," said the man who is a heartbeat from the presidency...

During the 2000 campaign, Bush pointed out a New York Times reporter to Cheney and said, without knowing the microphone was picking it up, "major-league [expletive]."

So "fuck" is okay to print but "asshole" isn't? I don't get it.

Also, take note of the Republican hypocrisy, going all nutty because Kerry cursed in a Rollingstone interview but defending Cheney on this because "he was being honest."


UPDATE: Just want to add what the Republicans actually said, because it's pretty incredible:

"The vice president is a tough human being, and he's very honest, and his integrity is his most cherished attribute,'' said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah. "I don't blame anybody for standing up for their own integrity.''

Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said, "I think the vice president said what he meant to say and felt better after he said it.''

Next time I see Lamar Alexander, I need to remember to tell him to go fuck himself. Apparently, he's okay with that as long as I feel better afterwards.

neljapäev, juuni 24, 2004

Potential Scandal Alert

As referenced in the Froomkin excerpt below, the city of La Crosse, Wisconsin is using a Homeland Security grant to pay for security for a Bush/Cheney campaign event.

How is that legal?
Daily Froomkin

Dan's got some info on the Bush campaign's forcing local governments to pay for its visits. You know, because they've got to save their $200 million for dishonest campaign ads.

Revolt of the Backdrops

It's very exciting when the president or the vice president swoop down on your town to make a campaign appearance, but what's left once they're gone are a lot of unpaid bills. Out in the heartland, some local officials aren't taking too kindly to that.

For instance, Cheney visited Lincoln, Neb., last week.

Nate Jenkins of the Lincoln Journal Star writes that now, no one wants to foot the $31,900 bill for his visit.

When Bush visited La Crosse, Wis., in May, he left behind $60,277 in unpaid security-related expenses incurred by the city.

Joan Kent of the La Crosse Tribune writes that the city plans to bill the Bush/Cheney campaign for some of it, and make up a bit more through a Homeland Security grant, but swallow the rest.

"'It's not whether it's a dollar or $60,000; I just do not think the city taxpayers should subsidize campaigns,' [Mayor John] Medinger said.

"He also said he thinks it is questionable whether Homeland Security money should be spent for security at events such as campaign rallies. . . .

"Elsewhere in the region," Kent writes, "Viroqua is billing Bush/Cheney $4,026, Dubuque, Iowa, $10,217, and Prairie du Chien, $9,598."

No Wonder They Were Giving It Away

At my metro station this morning, I thought it was a bit unusual that a girl was standing next to the Express people handing out the Washington Times apparently for free.

Then I saw this and I completely understood why nobody would ever pay for the thing. And, for that matter, why I didn't see anyone taking the free copies.
Who Let the Dated Pop Culture Reference Out?

Someone please tell me this didn't really happen:

At the union convention, Mr. Kerry was welcomed with a modified version of a rap song, "Who let the jobs out? Bush, Bush, Bush, Bush," and a confetti-laden parade.

kolmapäev, juuni 23, 2004

Daily Froomkin

A few interesting perspectives on Bush and those 7 minutes:

Good Morning America called more attention yesterday to those seven excruciating minutes -- you know, the ones during which Bush sat in a classroom, after hearing that America was under attack.

Jake Tapper told Diane Sawyer: "It was just a few minutes. But Democrats hope seeing them will make voters uncomfortable, not just with the scene, but with the President himself."

There's a sound bite from filmmaker Michael Moore, who uses video of that scene in his new movie. "He looks frightened and lost and you almost feel sorry for him," Moore said of Bush.

There's a sound bite from White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr.: "I think there was a moment of shock and he did stare off, maybe for just a second."

George Stephanopoulous then blames Card. "You have to wonder why Andy Card didn't pull him out at that moment," he tells Sawyer.

Sawyer concludes: "It's become this litmus test for a lot of people about how you feel about President Bush."

I'm with Stephanopoulous. Why did it take 7 minutes for one of Bush's aides to realize they should get him out of there?
Useful Information

The story of John Kerry's return to DC for a vote that never happened yesterday because of stupid, immature Republican games (aren't you glad our tax dollars pay for them to do this crap?), is being reported by the New York Times, CNN, and the Washington Post.

Why is it, though, that the Post appears to be the only one of the three to reveal this tidbit of mind-numbing hypocrisy from Bush and his supporters:

Kerry campaign operatives fired back that President Bush, while campaigning for president in 2000 as Texas governor, was out of the state five times longer than he was there during the primaries.

I believe that's checkmate, Mr. President.

teisipäev, juuni 22, 2004

Order John's Package

I just watched the new John Kerry ad titled "Paperwork." It basically just Kerry saying we can save money by cutting down administrative paperwork in health care. Small issue, simple message, not terribly interesting. But I can't help thinking that Kerry very strongly reminds me of Don Duprie, the guy who sells the get rich quick schemes in infomercials.

You know the guy. "Place tiny classified ads in newspapers all across the country and you could make literally millions and millions of dollars." There's just something about the way Kerry says "we could save billions of dollars", I don't know. I feel like he's about to tell me I can find out his secret to saving money on health care by sending him three easy payments of $29.99.

What? I thought it was a funny observation.
Rape Hell

Today's New York Post cover has a picture of Bill and Hillary Clinton next to the huge headline "Rape Hell". Above that, there's a small headline about Clinton's book. Different stories, but you have to think the juxtaposition was intentional.
Note: There used to be a rather incoherent rant here about Clinton and lying under oath. It made no sense. I may return to it later.

My bad.
Daily Froomkin

Pretty slow news day, other than conservative bloggers going nuts because some judge said something mean about Bush. But there is this, which is interesting:

The Daily Kos blog publishes e-mails apparently from assistant White House press secretary Pamela Stevens to a network TV producer, trying to book new Iraqi interim prime minister Ayad Allawi.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the actual emails, Kos's comments, and the note that nobody actually wanted the guy on. If you read that, it becomes a little more interesting. Not much more, but I promised Daily Froomkin so you're getting Daily Froomkin.
And the War on Relevant Criticism continues...

John Kerry now has the support of 48 Nobel laureates. Sounds like trouble for Bush, right? Oh, no. See, they've got a response to that:

Mr. Schmidt answered the attack by pointing out that 22 of the 48 Nobelists who signed the pro-Kerry statement also signed a statement in January 2003 opposing war in Iraq, and 16 had given money to Democratic candidates.

Damn. Can't be honest and oppose the war in Iraq. And contributing to Democrats? Did the Bush campaign figure out they favored Democrats before or after they endorsed the Democratic nominee for president? Next time, Kerry needs to find some Republican-supporting scientists to endorse him.

One can only assume that we can now dismiss the endorsement of any Republican or Iraq war supporter who ever said anything nice about Bush.

"Only John Kerry would declare the country to be in scientific decline on a day when the country's first privately funded space trip is successfully completed," Mr. Schmidt said in a statement, referring to the rocket plane SpaceShipOne's journey 62 miles from earth and back.

Yes. This privately funded research program is the strongest evidence possible that federal R&D is going just fine. No holes in that logic.

Mr. Schmidt said the administration had increased the budget for research and development 44 percent since 2001, to $132 billion next year, and pointed to the president's plans to develop hydrogen fuel cells, promote clean coal technologies and modernize the electricity grid.

The budget for R&D has increased 44%. The budget for SCIENCE R&D, however, has not. Which is why John Kerry was criticizing Bush's SCIENCE R&D policies.

Now, this last distinction is actually kind of important. If you just read the article, it sounds like John Kerry is lying. What could be wrong with Bush's R&D policy if he increased R&D by 44%? Wilgoren of course doesn't tell you. A less "liberal" newspaper might inform you that the vast majority of that increase was for defense and homeland security and that much of the increase that did occur in science R&D was due to a Clinton era decision to double the NIH budget over five years.

(Ezra and Jesse at Pandagon both see the problem here too.)

Update: Just in terms of actual figures, I've thrown this together from a quick look at my 2005 budget analysis: Of that $132 billion in 2005, only $60 billion goes to federal science and technology. $28.6 billion of that is for NIH, completing its 5-year doubling that began before Bush took office. Which leaves a little over $30 billion for S&T R&D Bush had real control over. All areas of R&D outside defense, homeland security, and the NIH are flat or declining and Bush's budget projections for the next few years are even worse.

Ahmad Hikmat Shakir=Hikmat Shakir Ahmad? Eh, Close Enough

In today's Wall Street Journal, a review of Stephen Hayes' book hits us with definitive proof that Saddam Hussein was working with al Qaeda. I mean, irrefutable, air-tight evidence:

Last month the Journal's Review & Outlook column broke the news that multiple Iraqi documents now in U.S. custody list someone named Ahmed Hikmat Shakir as having been an officer of the Saddam fedayeen.

Wow. That sounds pretty bad, right? I mean, there's no other explanation.


"By most reckoning that would be someone else" other than the airport greeter, said the administration official, who would speak only anonymously because of the matter's sensitivity. He added that the identification issue is still being studied but "it doesn't look like a match to most analysts."
Same As It Ever Was

I've come to the conclusion that the only difference between me and Howard Kurtz is that he gets paid to do this. Also, I don't have a receding hairline. In today's column:

The former president, of course, wants to talk about the Oslo accords and Kosovo and a balanced budget and the creation of 20 million jobs. And the rest of the world wants to talk about Monica. In fact, I was surprised by how much of "60 Minutes," which was boiled down from more than four hours of interviews, was devoted to Lewinsky-related matters.

There's a certain role reversal here, as my Post colleague John Harris has observed. When Clinton was in office, he and his allies wanted everyone to "move on" and stop obsessing on his personal life. Now that he's selling a book, he's the one talking about his sexual "demons" and moral error and sleeping on the couch and anger at Ken Starr. Which, of course, gives Clinton's critics a free pass to do the same.

Try to follow Howie's logic. Clinton wants to talk about policy. Dan Rather speaks with him for four hours, covering all aspects of his presidency. Rather then cuts the interview so that about a third of the hour that actually airs is devoted to sex. And Bill Clinton is somehow responsible for that. It's "role reversal" because Clinton didn't want to talk about sex as president and now...well, as noted in the previous paragraph, Clinton still doesn't want to talk about sex.

This fact is made even more evident by Clinton's reported rant in a BBC interview when the reporter wouldn't shut up about Lewinsky. Meanwhile, the right is pulling out the exact same lies they used for eight years. So really nothing's changed at all. Otherwise, spot-on analysis there, Howie.

esmaspäev, juuni 21, 2004

Ann Coulter Gets It Right

No, I'm not drunk.

As odd as it seems, I'm giving Ann some credit because she seems to understand who the right target is. Unlike the Bob Novaks of the world, Ann is able to understand that Nancy Reagan is the one leading the charge to change the federal policy on stem cell research. For that, and nothing--and I mean absolutely NOTHING she has ever done--else, I applaud her.

Daily Froomkin

Today's briefing points us to this interesting little piece that ran over the weekend. It's one of those stories about Bush's 7 minutes in the classroom on 9/11. There are two comments I would make on this.

1) The story seems to accept the false dichotomy that Bush set up: Either you sit calmly and do nothing or you jump up screaming "Oh God, oh God, we're all going to die!" and dive out a window. Needless to say, there was another option, the one Bush finally took 7 minutes later at the urging of an aide: politely excusing yourself and leaving.

2) This may be another one of those consequences of having an incurious president. First, take Bush's claimed initial reaction to the attacks. The moment the first plane hit the tower, both George Tenet and Bill Cliton thought "We're under attack. It's bin Laden." Bush said "Boy, that's one bad pilot."

Then, after being told about the second plane, Bush determines that it's more important to keep these 20 or so schoolchildren calm than to deal with a terrorist attack that has already killed hundreds.

Way to weigh your priorities there, Dubya.
Another Fair and Balanced View of John Kerry's Weekend

An update on the cost of John Kerry's vacation thanks to the good folks over at Pandagon and ultra-liberal AP correspondent Nedra Pickler.

In case you couldn't pick up on John Kerry's blatant hypocrisy from the cost of his dinner (although Nedra chooses to highlight the slightly less expensive Tempura of Maryland Soft Shell Crabs at $33), we get not one, not two, but seven paragraphs at the top of the piece making it more explicit. See, John Kerry's got a lot of money. How much money? Glad you asked. Let's run it down, because, you know, this is much more important than actual policy debates:

$500 million Heinz food fortune
nearly $5 million home in affluent Ketchum, Idaho
his wife's $9.1 million, five-bedroom waterfront home on Nantucket
aboard her own private jet
Tempura of Maryland Soft Shell Crabs cost $33
two $8 bike tubes Sunday
gentleman's fishing vessel said to cost about $150,000
sautéed yuzu-dusted day boat sea scallops go for $36
kite-surf, a dangerous combination of waterskiing and parasailing with basic equipment costing about $2,500

Did I miss anything?

Just an aside here. It was Father's Day. Now, I'm a man who makes $29,000 a year and I'm going to graduate school next year, but when Valentine's Day came around, I took my girlfriend to a nice restaurant where entrees did cost around $30. Special occassions call for special meals. If the Bushes ate out on Father's Day, I'm sure they would have spent quite a bit too. But then, they have an entire team of private chefs at their disposal, so who knows.

The $2,500 kite-surfing, however, yeah, that's a bit excessive. I got no defense for that one, other than, you know, that it's utterly and completely irrelevant.

More importantly, note the odd similarity in details between the two stories. The way they use the exact same costs of the exact same items. Especially the "which of these is not like the others" reference to $8 bike tubes. How does that fit in? I smell RNC opposition research. And two very dumb reporters who decided to transcribe it.
Dick Cheney's a Liar

Not exactly news, I know. But from today's Al Kamen column, we get this little gem:

No Longer So 'Well Confirmed'

Noted without comment.

June 17, 2004. Vice President Cheney talking to CNBC's Gloria Borger.

Borger: "Well, let's go to MohamedAtta for a minute, because you mentioned him as well. You have said in the past that it was, quote, 'pretty well confirmed.' "

Cheney: "No, I never said that."

Borger: "Okay."

Cheney: "Never said that."

Borger: "I think that is . . . "

Cheney: "Absolutely not. What I said was the Czech intelligence service reported after 9/11 that Atta had been in Prague on April 9th of 2001, where he allegedly met with an Iraqi intelligence official. We have never been able to confirm that nor have we been able to knock it down."

On Dec. 9, 2001. Cheney talking to NBC's Tim Russert.

Cheney: "Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that -- it's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack. Now, what the purpose of that was, what transpired between them, we simply don't know at this point, but that's clearly an avenue that we want to pursue."

Damn Liberal 9/11 Commission Spokesman

Have I pointed out how great Dana Milbank is yet?


In fact, commission spokesman Al Felzenberg on Friday confirmed that the commission was addressing the broader relationship. "We found no evidence of joint operations or joint work or common operations between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government, and that's beyond 9/11," he said.

As a follow-up to my post on Safire, I would like to submit this as exhibit B in my case that the media did not report that story inaccurately.
66% is Higher than 63%

Howard Kurtz makes this mind-boggling observation in today's Media Notes column:

Some obvious caveats: Reagan, despite the Iran-contra scandal, left office a popular figure; Clinton's departure came two years after he was impeached and was clouded by his wave of last-minute pardons.

How Much Did Bush's Dinner Cost on Saturday?

It's very important that voters know exactly how much John Kerry pays for scallops. This information will have a very significant effect on who I vote for. I have always stood by the principle that I will never vote for a man who spends more than $35 on scallops in a restaurant. So I must thank Jodi Wilgoren for her valuable service to this country. From her breathtaking account of John Kerry's weekend, we discover:

"The wind died," Mr. Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, told reporters as he cruised by on the 32-foot Contender, a gentleman's fishing vessel said to cost about $150,000.

Mr. Kerry and his family did dine out Saturday night at the Pearl, where sautéed yuzu-dusted day boat sea scallops go for $36, with his fellow senator from Massachusetts, Edward M. Kennedy, his wife, Vicki, and her parents. But on Sunday afternoon, he canceled a beachside brunch at one of the island's most expensive restaurants, with aides explaining that his two adult daughters preferred a quiet meal at home...

Mr. Kerry made a brief stop on Sunday afternoon to buy two $8 tubes for his Serotta road bike. "It's one of the reasons they come here."...

Mr. Kerry has been coming here regularly since at least 1995, when he married the ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz at the three-story, five-bedroom house she owns on Brant Point, where the clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger also has a home and H. Wayne Huizenga, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, recently sold one. Valued at $9 million in 1995, the house...

Though some Democrats were concerned about the image of their wealthy candidate frolicking among the fabulously wealthy here on an island where the average home sells for $1.4 million, Mr. Kerry insisted not only on coming, but also on trying to kite-surf, a dangerous combination of waterskiing and parasailing with basic equipment costing about $2,500.

Why must the New York Times be so damn liberal?

Why can't it publish more nonsense stories of no journalistic value that serve only to reinforce negative Republican charicatures of John Kerry? Only running two or three a week just is not fair to Bush.

This is an RNC press release, not a news story.
Thank You, Bill Safire

I have to say, I'm impressed by today's William Safire column. Or at least the first two-thirds or so of it. Eventually, he drives back into crazytown. But for a moment, he's the most honest conservative commentator in politics.

Instead of blaming the "liberal media" for its coverage of the 9/11 commission's staff report, which the media reported on completely accurately, he understands why there's a disconnect between what commission members are saying and what the report says. And he is quite rightly perplexed by it.

Note, I said "staff report." Ben-Veniste and Lehman made this point on Meet the Press yesterday. The report is the conclusion of the commission staff, not the commissioners. It does not reflect their own conclusions. So the report can and does say that there was no credible evidence of a relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda. This is in no way a reflection of John Lehman or Tom Kean's feelings on the issue. It is not the media's fault that it reported the story accurately and the White House went a little nutty over it.

pühapäev, juuni 20, 2004

Breaking News

AP: John Kerry Did Absolutely Nothing Wrong

So somebody who donated to Kerry was arrested and Kerry is now giving the money back.

Yeah, that's news.

laupäev, juuni 19, 2004

9/11 Commission to Cheney: Fuck You

Well done, commissioners. Well done.

I love these guys.

reede, juuni 18, 2004

More Daily Froomkin

Sorry. This one's just to good to let go:

With Bush, it's easy to tell when he's trying to telegraph his optimism, for two reasons.

One, these days, he's always trying to telegraph his optimism.

Two, rather than just describing an optimistic vision or expressing optimism, the primary way Bush does it is by repeating the word optimism (or optimistic) over and over again.

Here's the text of his speech to the National Federation of Independent Businesses yesterday ("That's why I'm so optimistic about the future. . . . " "It was based upon my optimism. . . . " "See, I'm optimistic about our future. . . . ")

And here's the text of his remarks at a fund-raiser in Spokane last night. ("[W]e've got optimistic plans to make this country safer, stronger, and better.")

Even in those brief remarks after his Cabinet meeting, he got one in: "There's a sense of optimism around this table. . . . "

I've noticed it too. This is what we get for electing the style-over-substance president.
Daily Froomkin

Today, Dan gives us an exerpt from yesterday's press briefing where a reporter tries to make the same point my last post did:

A central issue, as indicated earlier, is whether there were "contacts" between al Qaeda and Hussein, or something more -- like "links" or a "collaborative relationship." The first is indisputable. The latter, quite disputable.

John Roberts of CBS News tried fruitlessly to get press secretary Scott McClellan to address this specific issue, even going so far as to use a close-to-home analogy. Here's an excerpt from the text of yesterday's briefing.

"Q But here's where the two positions diverge, and that is that the 9/11 Commission says, yes, there were these contacts, but they did not result in any kind of collaborative relationship. It means the same thing as you and I contact each [other] all the time, but I don't think anybody here at the White House would [accuse] you of having --

"MR. McCLELLAN: John, we made it clear a long time ago --

"Q -- a collaborative relationship with me."

Well said, Mr. Roberts.
Again With the Lying

Knight Ridder continues to show the big boys how it's done. This time, the news service trakcs numerous statements made by Bush and Cheney that "systematically sought to justify an invasion of Iraq by connecting Saddam with the perpetrators of the bloodiest terrorist strikes in U.S. history."

In other words, Bush is lying.

Just so we're clear, there is no way in which the 9/11 commission's report validates what the Bush administration has said about ties between Saddam and al Qaeda. Several meetings leading to no cooperation is not a "relationship" of any significance. It is also very clearly not what Bush meant to imply when he made such allegations. And even if it was, he and Cheney made many other statements that went much further.

As this article points out, those statements had no basis in reality. And the State Department and CIA tried to tell Bush that. As always, they were ignored.
Depends on Your Definition of "Conventional"

Today's Wall Street Journal features an editorial that claims the 9/11 commission's report disproves the "conventional wisdom" that Iran didn't support al Qaeda. I have to ask, was that the conventional wisdom? It's certainly not what I thought. I thought Iran's support for all kinds of terrorists was pretty clear and that there had been reports of senior al Qaeda operatives hiding out there. So is the WSJ just grasping for anything to criticize the left for because they can't defend Bush on the Iraq-Saddam links? Yeah, probably.

neljapäev, juuni 17, 2004

And Another Thing

Okay, I have to ask. What was Dick Cheney doing by constantly referring to the meeting between Atta and the Iraqi intelligence agent if he wasn't asserting a connection between Iraq and 9/11? What other conclusion were Americans supposed to draw from that?

I mean other than that Cheney is a liar and a horrible, horrible human being.
Damn Nancy Reagan 2

Today's Robert Novak column, which for some reason isn't linked on the Washington Post website, makes him the latest conservative to blame Democrats for Nancy Reagan's campaign to save stem cell research. John Kerry is only backing her up. He's not leading the charge. If you're going to complain about someone politicizing Reagan's name, well, complain about the Club for Growth. If you're going to complain about politicizing it for stem cell research, though, you have to complain about Nancy Reagan, not John Kerry.
Dana Milbank's the Man

And Walter Pincus is alright too.

The response of the Bush administration and its allies to yesterday's 9/11 report has been to argue that Bush only said al Qaeda and Saddam had "contacts", "links", or "ties" and that this did not imply cooperation. Well, first of all, "links" and "ties" do imply cooperation and anybody who says otherwise is either lying or completely blinded by partisanship. Or they're so stupid that they actually think we went to war with Iraq because it refused to support al Qaeda after being contacted.

This is where Milbank and Pincus come in. The accompanying article contains more references, including:

In late 2001, Cheney said it was "pretty well confirmed" that Sept. 11 mastermind Mohamed Atta met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official before the attacks, in April 2000 in Prague; Cheney later said the meeting could not be proved or disproved.

Bush, in his speech aboard an aircraft carrier on May 1, 2003, asserted: "The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We've removed an ally of al Qaeda and cut off a source of terrorist funding."

In September, Cheney said on NBC's "Meet the Press": "If we're successful in Iraq . . . then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

Speaking about Iraq's alleged links to al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attacks, Cheney connected Iraq to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing by saying that newly found Iraqi intelligence files in Baghdad showed that a participant in the bombing returned to Iraq and "probably also received financing from the Iraqi government as well as safe haven." He added: "The Iraqi government or the Iraqi intelligence service had a relationship with al Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the '90s."

Shortly after Cheney asserted these links, Bush contradicted him, saying: "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th." But Bush added: "There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties."

In January, Cheney repeated his view that Iraq was tied to al Qaeda, saying that "there's overwhelming evidence" of an Iraq-al Qaeda connection. He said he was "very confident there was an established relationship there."

The commission staff, in yesterday's report, said that while bin Laden was in Sudan between 1991 and 1996, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer made three visits to Sudan, and that he had a meeting with bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden was reported to have sought training camps and assistance in getting weapons, "but Iraq never responded," the staff said. The report said that bin Laden "at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan."

As for the Atta meeting in Prague mentioned by Cheney, the commission staff concluded: "We do not believe that such a meeting occurred." It cited FBI photographic and telephone evidence, along with Czech and U.S. investigations, as well as reports from detainees, including the Iraqi official with whom Atta was alleged to have met. On the 1993 trade center bombing, the staff found "substantial uncertainty" about whether bin Laden and al Qaeda were involved.

In other words, anyone who tells you the 9/11 report doesn't contradict Bush's statements is quite simply lying to you. Kick them in the nuts.

Also, read that last sentence of the excerpt again. We're not sure al Qaeda was behind the first WTC attack? Shouldn't that be bigger news?

More on the lying here, here, here, and toward the very end of this.

And with that, I say fuck you, Glenn Reynolds.
So Very Dishonest

I'll get to the quotes about the link in a minute, but first this response from the Bush campaign to John Kerry's criticism over the issue:

A Bush campaign spokesman countered that Kerry himself has said Hussein "supported and harbored terrorist groups."

I hate these people. I really do. Do they have no respect whatsoever for the intelligence of the American people? Of course Saddam supported terrorist groups. Nobody ever denied that. And Kerry didn't criticize Bush for saying it. Kerry criticized Bush for saying Saddam supported Al Qaeda specifically. This is not true. And Kerry has never said it was. So the Bush campaign response is glaringly irrelevant. But to a casual observer, I'm sure it looks like another flip-flop. And who really cares if the American people know the truth about the president's dishonesty anyway?
Daily Froomkin

Alright, it's official. I've got a new feature. Since I quote him almost every day anyway, I'm announcing that I will be posting my favorite bit from the day's White House Briefing column every weekday from here on out, barring fires, explosions, or syphillis.

And today's winner is:

But today's prize may belong to Mimi Hall of USA Today, who simply reminds her reader: "In a letter to Congress on March 19, 2003 -- the day the war in Iraq began -- Bush said that the war was permitted under legislation authorizing force against those who 'planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.'"

I believe that's check and mate, Mr. Bush.

I expect to be posting more quotes from Bush and Cheney via Dana Milbank, still America's best political reporter, soon.
Light Posting

Again. Busy with the work. I've got two posts I'm planning taht should be up within a few minutes. After that, don't expect anything else this afternoon.

kolmapäev, juuni 16, 2004

Can I Get a Reciept?

Coming at you with your daily Froomkin:

Thomas M. DeFrank writes in the New York Daily News: "White House aides advancing President Bush's Normandy visit ordered the Pentagon to erect a $100,000 platform for his entry into a U.S. military cemetery, well-placed sources told the Daily News.

"American taxpayers picked up the six-figure tab for the red carpet, walkway and artificial island hurriedly built over a memorial pool so that Bush and French President Jacques Chirac could walk in style to the dais for last week's ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings."

Well, that was certainly money well spent.

It's been said many times before, but it's still a valid point: Imagine if Clinton did this.

Bush on Al Qaeda and Saddam.

The 9/11 commission on Al Qaeda and Saddam.

Well, I imagine this must be somewhat embarassing.
Club for Dumbasses

Ok. Now that I've sufficiently calmed down from my whole Club for Growth fury, I'm actually thinking about this ad and I have to say, what the hell are they thinking? Bush has the base locked up, so the only purpose of any of this has to be to appeal to moderates. Can anyone really believe that exploiting a freshly dead corpse and 9/11 in the same ad is going to do that? It's been less than a week since the man was buried. Is there any way to look at this as not being in very bad taste? It's just fundamentally offensive. And after the response to Bush's first ad with the very brief, rather ambiguous 9/11 image, how are people going to react to this?

More importantly, voters don't understand campaign finance laws. They won't understand that this ad isn't endorsed by Bush in any way. Casual viewers are going to think Bush is exploiting Reagan. Combine that with an increasingly vocal Ron Reagan Jr. and a Reagan family that generally doesn't seem to like Bush very much, and this is going to make him look awful. Bush obviously was going to try to connect himself to Reagan, but he'd have done it subtly. It would have come through surrogate statements and the Reagan tribute at the RNC convention. It would have pissed people like me off, but he probably would have done it somewhat tastefully. This ad throws a major hurdle into that plan.

Also, under campaign finance laws, can Bush ask the Club for Growth to pull the ad? I mean, wouldn't that be coordinating with an outside group? It would certainly be more direct contact than what Republicans have accused Kerry of with the 527s.
Pretty Crazy for a Dead Guy

Did you ever notice how Richard Nixon sounds exactly like William Safire?

It's uncanny. Right down to the obsession with Hillary Clinton and her devious scheming.

teisipäev, juuni 15, 2004

Get Out the Vote, Get a Free Comic Book

This is a great idea. Not that, you know, there are more than a couple hundred thousand comic book readers left, but it's innovative.

And let me tell you, Brian K. Vaughn can write. Really, really well. Ex Machina is getting phenomenal reviews and his last two new creations, Runaways and Y: The Last Man, did too. Even if you're already registered, you should check it out. It's not what you think of when you think of comic books. The first issue comes out tomorrow. Seriously, take a look at it.
Oh, Fuck You

This is just indefensible. It's disgusting. Fuck the Club for Growth. I really can't even elaborate on this right now, I'm so disgusted.

He's been in the ground for five days.

I really want to hit something.
Economic Statistics

Kerry needs to start preparing for this now. He can't keep pretending the economy's in trouble. He should latch onto studies and expert analysis that shows the limited effect of the Bush tax cut and the fact that a better structured tax cut would have done more. He can keep talking about the future problems set up by the deficit. Right now, though, he's just racing the clock hoping the election comes before people realize things are improving. It is interesting, just from an observational perspective, that all of the statistics cited by both Bush and Kerry are accurate and paint a completely different picture of the economy. But it's only a matter of months before the public starts to see Bush's side more. If it takes less than five months, Kerry's going to have a problem.
The Wrong End?

I've read this over a couple of times and I'm pretty sure Christopher Hitchens is suggesting that many people have fantasized about forcing Osama bin Laden to sodomize a pig.

Many, many people must have fantasized about getting Osama Bin Laden into some version of an orange jumpsuit and then shackling him for a while to the wrong end of a large pig. It's not very far from that mass reverie to "Hey, Mustapha, you're gonna get to really know this porker" and similar or worse depravities.

Am I misinterpreting this? And am I alone in not sharing that fantasy?
Bizarro World

I believe Mickey Kaus (ugh) may be the only man alive who thinks that Elizabeth Bumiller (who I feel WorldNetDaily has sufficiently proven is sleeping with Bush) and Jodi Wilgoren have a pro-Kerry bias.

I didn't comment on this Wilgoren gem over the weekend, but you can find analysis here and here. Overall, it isn't a pure hit piece, but Wilgoren does go out of her way to look down on Kerry's use of big words and classical guitar playing.

In Kausland, however, the story is ridiculously pro-Kerry because Wilgoren talks to some people who say Kerry is very interested in policy and carefully revises his speeches. Now, everyone who has ever worked with Kerry, including Republicans, agrees that he analyzes policy more deeply than pretty much anyone else in the Senate. Kaus is of course right that it's an idiotic article with no journalistic value, but it also plays directly into RNC talking points. Kaus doesn't mention that, or the bizarre analogy between Kerry and a hamster. Only a complete moron could consider it a positive portrayal. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised Kaus read it that way.

He's also angry that Elizabeth Bumiller pointed out in her column yesterday that Bush is not exactly like Reagan. Now, Bumiller isn't exactly a deep thinker, as evidenced by her hard-hitting columns on Bush's sleeping and bike-riding habits. So it's not surprising that she reaches for the most surface-level differences. She does, after all, note that Bush goes to sleep earlier than Reagan. But Kaus seems to believe all of this is a sign that there is no substantive difference. It's actually just a sign that Bumiller's an idiot. There are many differences, as other articles point out.

And in other RepubliKaus news, Mickey's taking the word of PJ O'Rourke over Kerry. Why? Because it's an incident in which Kerry may have straddled an issue. And because Kaus has a strange Fatal Attraction-like obsession with Kerry. Kaus repeats this smear with no evidence. Just like a good journalist would.

esmaspäev, juuni 14, 2004

Framing Issues in Incredibly Dishonest Ways

Scott McClellan on stem cell research:

"The president doesn't believe we should be creating life for the sole purpose of destroying life."

Well, yeah. But stem cell research creates life for the sole purpose of saving life. It's not like we're tossing all of our stem cells into a barn and lighting it on fire. We're using them to do research that will save lives. To say the "sole purpose" of stem cell research is to destroy life is pretty reprehensibly dishonest, especially coming from an administration that professes such admiration for a man whose life could have been saved or prolonged by it.
Lame Jokes

Dan Froomkin's got Bush's knee-slapper from his father's birthday party. Get ready for some funny:

Here comes the big joke:

"You're probably wondering how I got to be the family spokesman. (Laughter.)

"Well, we polled the family. And rumor has it, somewhere in our large family, the tiebreaking vote for tonight's speaker was cast by a fourth cousin by the name of Chad. (Laughter and applause.)

"While holding his son above the crib, Chad's father reports that the lad burped, and it sounded like, "George W." (Laughter.)

Wait for it...

"Once again, my life was affected by a dangling chad. (Laughter and applause.)"

Get it? Dangling chad! Froomkin's also got a request:

Has Bush ever told a worse joke? Really? Send it to me at froomkin@washingtonpost.com.

Help a brother out, y'all.
A Tankful of Cool

USA Today on Vin Diesel. You really should read the whole thing. A few highlights:

"Riddick is so misrepresented. He is always described in the first act as evil by other people. In Pitch Black, we never heard what he thought. He never defended himself." And he throws a curveball. "Like Joan Allen in The Contender."

"I told another reporter he was like Bogart in Casablanca,"

The actor also might re-explore his drag-racing Dominic Toretto from The Fast and the Furious. Not in a sequel, but in a movie spinoff, but only if the story captures Toretto's need "to be competitive and victorious," Diesel says.


I'm usually not a big fan of following the outlandish adventures of eccentric billionaires, but this is awesome.

pühapäev, juuni 13, 2004

Church and State

President Bush is asking the Vatican to help him coordinate attacks on Kerry on moral issues. Shouldn't this be bigger news?

laupäev, juuni 12, 2004

Bush Has No Shame


"Our 40th president wore his title lightly, and it fit like a white Stetson," said Bush, who is wearing such a hat in the main photo on his campaign Web site."

That's some good reporting. When I heard that line, I did think it was an attempt to connect Reagan to Bush's image, but I didn't think it would be quite so blatant. Apparently, they've since taken the picture down. Yeah, that's classy.

How can anyone still like this jerk? I really don't get it.

reede, juuni 11, 2004

Whole Lot of Hate

The Reagan-haters are coming on pretty strong over at this Washington Post chat. Nearly every question is along the lines of "Why isn't anyone mentioning (insert horrible thing done by Reagan) at all this week?"

A couple of commenters are offended by this. To them, I would say, it's Reagan's admirers' own fault for refusing to acknowledge any of his mistakes in their efforts to rewrite history and make Reagan a hero. As Kaiser's answers make clear, he didn't save the world. It's not even fair to say he won the Cold War. Doing so is an insult to Gorbachev and all of the people who were living over there and fighting for change.

Bush at his press conference yesterday:

"Q Thank you, Mr. President. You do have now the personal gun of Saddam Hussein. Are you willing to give it to President al-Yawar as a symbolic gift, or are you keeping it? (Laughter.)

"THE PRESIDENT: What she's referring to is a -- members of a Delta team came to see me in the Oval Office and brought with me -- these were the people that found Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, hiding in a hole. And, by the way, let me remind everybody about Saddam Hussein, just in case we all forget. There were mass graves under his leadership. There were torture chambers. Saddam Hussein -- if you -- we had seven people come to my office. Perhaps the foreign press didn't see this story. Seven people came to my -- they had their hands cut off because the Iraqi currency had devalued. And Saddam Hussein needed somebody to blame, so he blamed small merchants. And their hands were chopped off, their right hand.

"Fortunately, a documentary film maker went to Baghdad and filmed the -- filmed these seven men. And their story was picked up around the nation, particularly in Houston, Texas, where a person named Marvin Zindler, who runs a foundation, took great sympathy and flew them over and had new hands put on. The latest prosthesis were put on their hand -- were put on their arms. And their hands worked. I remember the guy signing 'God Bless America' with his new hand in the Oval Office.

"So this is the person. So needless to say, our people were thrilled to have captured him. And in his lap was several weapons. One of them was a pistol. And they brought it to me. It's now the property of the U.S. government. And I am -- I am -- it -- I'm grateful for their bravery. I'm also grateful that that part of the mission was accomplished, for the good of the Iraqi people."

I dare you to try to make sense of that answer. Or, for that matter, to find an answer to that extremely straight-forward yes-or-no question anywhere in there.
Respect for the Dead

Of all of the Reagan porn that has floated across my desk in the last week, by far the most bizarre to me is the material where conservatives try to remind us that the press wasn't always as kind to Reagan as they are now that he's dead.

Wow. What an insight.

First of all, pieces like this make me question the central thesis that the media was ever tough on Reagan. But more importantly, of course people are being respectful. The man is dead. His death was a tragedy. He was loved by many Americans. Those of us who didn't like Reagan very much are just being tasteful and allowing you your moment of grief. How do you repay us? By trying to make us look like hypocrites. Fuck you.

In one of the most disgusting actions ever taken by the RNC, and that's saying something, they began within a day of Reagan's death to circulate stories about criticism of Reagan in the 1980s by John Kerry and other Democrats. Huh. Democrats criticizing a Republican president. How dare they? They didn't waste even 24 hours before trying to exploit his death for political gain. What scum. Really. What awful, awful human beings they must be.

Yes, us liberals are trying to restrain criticism of Reagan. We feel it might be seen as offensive to do otherwise at this moment. Any criticism we do make, we try to do so tactfully. We would expect the same from you when our idols die. And yet you still jump down our throats for any negative word about Reagan we allow to slip into our discourse. And you constantly remind us that we have criticized him in the past. You want to embarass us by showing that our respectful deference to your grief is not driven by a genuine love of the man? We talk about the few things we did respect about the man and you question us for it?

I hate these people.
Damn Nancy Reagan

The nerve of that woman. Reagan's national security adviser William Clark tells us that Reagan would have opposed stem cell research. He is very critical of those who have attempted since Reagan's death to convince President Bush to change his position on it just because stem cell research might have saved Reagan's life. You know, people like Nancy Reagan. Can you believe Nancy Reagan would be so shameless?

I don't know how Ronald Reagan would have felt about stem cell research. I don't know if his position on it changed after he left office and contracted a disease that might (although apparently not that likely) be treated or cured by it. But my guess is that Nancy Reagan would know. If nothing else, her incredibly classy rejection of efforts to but Reagan's face on money or name a university after him shows that she is very careful about people exploiting him. She was with him for all of those years as his mind slipped away. If anyone knows what he wanted, it's her. So why is William Clark telling her what to do in her own husband's name?
Ignoring the Point

Bush on torture:

"What I've authorized is that we stay within U.S. law,'' Bush told reporters at the close of the G-8 summit in Georgia.

Asked whether torture is ever justified, Bush replied, "Look, I'm going to say it one more time. ... The instructions went out to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you.''

Well, okay. But isn't the whole point of the controversy over these memos that you had lawyers investigating ways to construe torture as legal? These memos are an effort to approve of torture without breaking the law, aren't they? That's my understanding. So what the hell is Bush talking about and why should it comfort us?

neljapäev, juuni 10, 2004


Can we please stop being outraged by alleged comments, people? Can we at least wait until a comment is confirmed to have been made before we get upset?

And yes, I'm also talking to all of you jackasses (Bill O'Reilly) who jumped on Clinton for allegedly being upset because he couldn't speak at Reagan's funeral. Still unconfirmed. Grow up or shut up. Now.
What a Dick!

Michael Barone:

GREENBERG: [Referring to a recent study his polling firm conducted] He [Reagan] was actually still, before his death, still polarizing. That is, the Republicans were overwhelmingly, you know, favorable [toward Reagan], independents were in the middle, and Democrats were still negative.

BARONE: Yeah, well, the MoveOn.org folks were cheering when they heard of Reagan's death.


BARONE: Yes they were.

GREENBERG: That's utterly tasteless.

KAPLAN: Let's try to keep the tone civil.

BARONE: Well, it's tasteless of them [MoveOn.org].

"In my head, they're cheering Reagan's death. Although it isn't happening in reality, it offends me. How very tasteless of them to do something they didn't actually do but that I am imagining them doing. Yes, I am an idiot."

Setting aside the craziness of this statement for a moment, how stupid do you have to be to think that a group of extremely passionate Bush-haters would welcome Reagan's death? Do you think they want Republicans out there linking Bush to Reagan constantly with Reagan's name being passed around the news all day every day for weeks? Do they look forward to the bump in polls Bush will get from the eulogy?



kolmapäev, juuni 09, 2004

Who'd Have Guessed?

Michael Moore was right.

Via Josh Marshall, we now discover that TSA is no longer denying that Saudis were flown around the country while the airlines were grounded after 9/11.

It seems all those people who have discounted Moore's film entirely on the basis of their disbelief in that assertion owe him an apology. Or at the very least they need to find a different reason to ignore him.

He is fat. They could just go with that.
The Hidden Costs of Defeat

From today's Bulletin:

While appearing outwardly confident President Bush will win reelection, some White House and House and Senate aides this week privately conceded that they are worried about the Republicans kepping control of the White House. As a result, many are beginning to look around for private sector jobs to beat what would be a rush of Republican aides this winter if Bush is replaced by Sen. John Kerry.

And so Bush will leave office as he served...with many, many job losses.

Two other fun tidbits in the Bulletin:

1) If the election were held today, Kerry would win the electoral vote 296-242, according to a new Zogby poll. That can't be making the Bushies happy.

2) Kerry's aides are requesting hundreds of newspaper columns written by Tom Vilsack. He's looking more and more like the frontrunner for VP.
Dizzying New Heights of Republican Dishonesty

In Alaska. See if you can diagram this one out. Democratic candidate supports drilling in ANWR. Other Democrats oppose it. Republicans run ads criticizing him for the other Democrats' positions, clearly linking him to their opposition despite his support for it. And the Republicans' explanation:

Dan Allen, a spokesman for the Republican group, said last week the ad was designed to counter a biographical ad by Knowles.

So Knowles runs a biographical ad. The only possible response is a misleading attack ad. Love that Republican logic.

Also, what exactly is the point being made about Kerry, Kennedy, and caribou? That Kerry and Kennedy are trying to protect them and that's somehow bad? Idiots.
What I Meant

There's a $10,000 bill? How the hell did Salmon Chase get on it? I'm not big on Reagan, but he must deserve it more than that guy.

Anyway, the LA Times says what I was saying yesterday, only much better and without the profanity. Now is not the time to take political advantage of a man's death to advance an agenda. Republicans who are doing so truly should be ashamed.

teisipäev, juuni 08, 2004

I'm an Idiot

I say this because it took me until just a moment ago to realize something. President Bush pulled his ridiculously dishonest Patriot Act ad this week, supposedly out of respect for Reagan. Because, you know, it's so much more respectful to run a different negative ad. But it only now hits me why this was really done. The ad Bush is running instead, supposedly because it's not quite as negative, is about Bush's optimism and Kerry's alleged pessimism.

Huh. Which former president who died over the weekend who Bush is desperate to connect himself with was known for his optimism?

Give Me a Break

I can't believe these pathetic jackasses. Reagan's body isn't even in the ground yet and they already want to use the nation's grief to push this ridiculous petty agenda to put Reagan's face on every goddamn thing the US government produces. This is just sickening. Trying to shove this shit down our throats while your opponents can't respond without seeming insensitive? While the rest of us are graciously pretending your hero was perfect? We're all trying to be respectful and you pull this bullshit? Fuck you.

If this works, I'm going to find a Republican and beat the crap out of them every time somebody gives me a Reagan $10.

One of my favorite musicians, Jesse Malin, makes a very interesting observation here about second albums:

Writing on the road is why so many second records are really weird. It’s a travelling salesman’s view of away from home.

Malin's second album hits the US at the end of the month. Buy it.
The Wall Stupid Journal

In one of the more asinine arguments for liberal media bias I've seen in a while (and given the things they've been saying about the not-admiring-enough coverage of Reagan, that's saying something), the Wall Street Journal editorial board brings us the shocking news that two top officials in Iraq's new government have publicly thanked the US. They then throw in a snide comment about how the media isn't telling us that. Well, I imagine the reason they haven't told us that is, so fucking what? I mean, really, how should we expect the people we've put into power to react. We removed a dictator and gave these two men control of a country. It would be news if they didn't thank us. They aren't democractically elected, so there's no claim to be made that they speak for the Iraqi people. They're just two men who now have enormous power because of what we did. Of course they're grateful. Did somebody somewhere say they weren't?

Personally, I'm a lot more interested in reading about how the Bush administration sought ways to get around laws against torture. But the WSJ ed board doesn't seem to care as much about that.

esmaspäev, juuni 07, 2004

Addicted to Amar 7

So stupid. So very stupid.

Amar weighs in with one of the downsides of gay marriage you probably haven't thought of yet. You know, because it's several degrees beyond retarded. It is a new angle on the gay marriage=incest argument, though. Now, there are a lot of reasons this is tremendously stupid. To note one, gay couples are already adopting. Is there any actual evidence that the ability to say that they're "married" instead of "life partners" will actually increase their interest in adoption? More importantly, though, in a lesbian adoption of this kind, the mother is known. The father is not. In a normal straight adoption, neither parent is known. So why would a gay adoption be more likely to lead to incest than a straight one? Because Amar's an idiot.
And the NYT is the Dumb One?


NYT to Kerry Camp: Spin Us! We're Dumb for You! If Kerry's wise, all-powerful inner circle was dead set against his delayed nomination idea, then why (as is widely believed) was he actually planning to do it, until it leaked? Or is the New York Times once again playing the gullible spinnee, suspending normal journalistic skepticism to retell a story in a way highly convenient to the Kerry campaign?


First of all, "widely believed"? In other words, not exactly true. It's not a fact. It's an impression garnered from inferences in news articles. So what you're really asking is, "Why did I think he was planning to do it until it leaked?" You're entire entry and insult against a major newspaper is based on your assumption and not fact? And, well, this seems obvious to me, but maybe that's just because I don't have to labor under the pressure of being a Republican pretending to be a Democrat, but that's probably exactly why it leaked. Which is to say, they were against it, they thought it would be a bad idea, so they leaked that they were considering it. That way, they could find out what the reaction would be without committing to it. I've said it before, I'll say it again. They were throwing up a test balloon. They were dangling their feet in the water. The reason they leaked that they were debating it and not that they were doing it was because they weren't sure if they were going to do it. Obviously someone didn't think it was a good idea or it wouldn't have been leaked.


And I'd also add that there are several good reasons why Kerry wouldn't choose McCain even if he was willing to accept. For one, there's the fact that he's a Republican and doesn't agree with Kerry on many issues. He's a very vocal Republican, which would mean plenty of mixed messages coming out of the Kerry/McCain White House. If there weren't, McCain wouldn't be McCain, so what would be the point? A lot of liberals would be turned off by his conservatism, which is very strong, and might defect to Nader. Moderate Republicans might be uncomfortable with McCain jumping the fence. It sends a bad signal about the Democratic party if he needs to go outside to find a viable running mate. I love the notion of a unity ticket, of symbolizing bipartisanship. I think it would be great for this country. And I have tons of respect for McCain. But I'm not so numbingly stupid that I can't see why Kerry wouldn't be 100% behind the idea.

Kaus, on the other hand, is that stupid.
Light Posting

I will be posting lightly in the coming days in remembrance of President Ronald Reagan, who also did not post often on the internet.

Also, I have a lot of work to do.

pühapäev, juuni 06, 2004


Light posting. Smoking some pork and writing a report on climate change policy.

laupäev, juuni 05, 2004

Well Played, Mr. Kerry, Well Played

Kerry's statement on Reagan's death is perfect. Tasteful, respectful, positive without seeming fake, and subtly referencing Kerry's own campaign slogan while providing unspoken contrast to the Bush campaign's heavily reported negativity. Smooth.
Reagan's Dead

I got nothing against the guy and it's certainly sad, but boy, do I not want to spend the next two weeks listening to conservatives tell me how great he was.

reede, juuni 04, 2004

Yet Another Kerry Flip-Flop

President Kerry invites Jacques Chirac to visit his Texas ranch.

In the run up, both sides have been professing their desire to let bygones be bygones. Mr Kerry, in an interview with Paris-Match, even invited M. Chirac to "come and see some cows" - thus extending the rare honour of an invitation to his ranch at Crawford, Texas.

The half-jocular tone of the President's remarks is in contrast to a year ago, in the aftermath of the French/US clash at the UN, when Mr Kerry angrily said M. Chirac would not be coming to Crawford "anytime soon."

Note that President Kerry also said in that interview that he was never angry at Chirac.

Man, is there no issue President Kerry won't take both sides of?
If You Only Count the Black Votes as Three-Fifths of a Vote...

Josh Marshall on one of those stupid things Republicans and those in the "liberal media" do. Did you know that if Democrats didn't vote, Republicans would win almost every election?

Yes, this passes for political commentary. These people are like Scooby-Doo villains. "I'd have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those pesky Nergoes..."

And why is it that Bill Schneider never makes the obvious follow-up point? If white people hadn't voted, Al Gore would have won in 2000 by a landslide.
Not Again

I don't doubt John Kerry is absolutely right about this, but didn't he learn anything from the "foreign leaders" experience? He's just asking for trouble now.
He's a Self-Made Liar

My main thought in response to conservatives who defend Ahmad Chalabi by claiming these allegations are all part of a CIA plot to discredit him is: Do you honestly think he needed someone else's help to get himself discredited? I thought all the bad intelligence and dishonest defectors already took care of that one.
Another Kerry Flip-Flop

To follow up on my last post, President Kerry's proposal to cut funding for NOAA's abrupt climate change research and paleoclimate research is in direct contradiction to the priorities of the Climate Change Science Plan President Kerry released in 2002.

Man, that President Kerry, he just keeps saying one thing and doing another.

Yes, I am actually talking about Bush, but it's high concept comedy. Dig it!
Pop Quiz

The Pentagon has produced a report suggest that abrupt climate change could lead to, among other things, perpetual global war and the end of humanity. What do you do?

If you're the Bush administration, you propose eliminating the government's abrupt climate change research program in your 2005 budget, of course.

Yeah, how dare the Bush administration turn its back on a man who leaked classified information to our enemies and provided us with inaccurate intelligence from discredited defectors?

That just ain't right.

neljapäev, juuni 03, 2004

Smart Move, CNBC

Hire Al Sharpton. That's right after "Hire Dennis Miller" on the list of ways for a network to earn respectability and credibility.
Bush's Lawyer

Via Froomkin, we find that Bush's lawyer represented one of the Iran/Contra defendants:

"Jim Sharp -- He's not part of the very high-profile group of Washington lawyers," Toobin said. "He is a well-known Washington lawyer, however. . . . I knew him because in the late '80s in the Iran/Contra investigation he represented Richard Secord. . . . He's had a successful white collar crime practice for a long time, very solid lawyer. Not flashy, not famous, but not a huge surprise that the president would hire someone like him."

Secord. How many of you remember that name? A retired Air Force general, Secord was the chief operative for then-Marine lieutenant colonel Oliver L. North, back when North, working out of the basement of Ronald Reagan's West Wing, engineered covert sales of arms to Iran, with some of the proceeds being covertly used to provide arms to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, and the rest covertly going into Swiss bank accounts.

Doesn't really mean anything. Just an interesting connection.

UPDATE: More on Sharp from the Center for American Progress: The Progress Report did its own unofficial search in an effort to uncover more details about the lawyer for the president. A search of the DC Bar website lists a James E. Sharp as an active member. A search of court documents shows an attorney named James E. Sharp represented his "good friend" Joe Harry Pegg who was indicted as "one of several individuals who conspired to import marijuana into the United States in 1988 and 1989." During James E. Sharp's representation of Pegg, one of Pegg's alleged co-conspirators said Sharp "helped him concoct a false story to help exculpate Pegg." After sentencing, Pegg appealed his conviction on the ground that "his attorney had a conflict of interest that deprived him of his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel." The 11th Circuit decision in the case reports that the government did "not deny that Sharp labored under an actual conflict of interest."
A Bit of Advice

Completely seriously, politics aside, wouldn't Richard Clarke make a strong replacement for Tenet at the CIA? I can't imagine him voluntarily subjecting himself to Bush's "leadership" again, but he's smart, honest, direct, and deeply obsessed with terrorism. Ain't gonna happen, but it's just a thought.
George Tenet Resigning

Wow. Is that accountability? I don't remember what it looks like anymore.

In all seriousness, whatever the reason, this is a very good thing for national security. There were of course other factors that he couldn't control, but the man presided over two of the biggest intelligence failures in US history (9/11 & Iraq's WMD). It's certainly not clear at this point whether he resigned on his own or he was asked to by Bush. Given Bush's history of not holding anyone responsible for anything, my guess would be that Tenet got tired of being blamed by the public and Congress for the aforementioned failures. Of course, he largely deserved that blame, but these can't have been a pleasant three years for the guy. I can see why he would want to disappear.

We can only hope Bush replaces him with someone competent.

Um...maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.
"Don't Worry, Mr. President. We'll Have Somebody Drive You Home"

Insert clever comment about Bush being drunk here.

What does it say about Republicans that they would rather not pass a budget than seriously propose making permanent a tax cut that they support? For all their whining about Kerry's "political opportunism", what do you call that? And of course, they're not giving up the tax cuts. They're just going to wait until after the election to spring them on the public. Because doing it honestly and directly wouldn't be popular enough. Obviously, there's no other choice, then, but to mislead the country.
I'm Probably Asking Too Much, But...

When can we expect the right wing to launch into outrage over President Bush using churches for political purposes?

After all, on the basis of an unconfirmed anonymous quote from an alleged "Kerry aide" calling a church visit a photo op, somebody went to the trouble of creating this. One can only assume they'll be setting up a similar site any day now for Bush. Right?

I also have to question how one can run a "grass roots" campaign on $200 million largely provided by upper class elites.

kolmapäev, juuni 02, 2004


Not entirely sure what to think about this, but I don't see any way it makes Bush look good.
Two Thoughts

1) Finally got around to watching the second episode of Freaks and Geeks today. Wow. That show really was as good as critics say.

2) With people like Zell Miller whining about Democrats being mean to the president, I have to wonder what would have happened if a Democratic president was caught paying an Iranian intelligence ally to decieve the US. Given all the right wing crap about Clinton allegedly selling secrets to the Chinese or whatever the hell they were accusing him of, I imagine it would be something like impeachment cranked up to 11. But I don't expect Zell Miller to recognize that. He's not even smart enough to realize he's a Republican.

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