Saturday, August 28


Professor Cole ha his usual insights, this time into the subject of an Israeli spy in the Pentagon:

So, passing a few confidential documents over is a minor affair. Pro-Likud intellectuals established networks linking Defense and the national security advisers of Vice President Dick Cheney, gaining enormous influence over policy by cherry-picking and distorting intelligence so as to make a case for war on Saddam Hussein. And their ulterior motive was to remove the most powerful Arab military from the scene, not because it was an active threat to Israel (it wasn't) but because it was a possible deterrent to Likud plans for aggressive expansion (at the least, they want half of the West Bank, permanently).

It should be admitted that the American Likud could not make US policy on its own. Its members had to make convincing arguments to Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush himself. But they were able to make those arguments, by distorting intelligence, channeling Ahmad Chalabi junk, and presenting Big Ideas to men above them that signally lacked such ideas. (Like the idea that the road to peace in Jerusalem ran through Baghdad. Ha!)

It was these WINEP and AIPAC-linked US Likud backers in the Defense Department who had the Iraqi army dissolved as soon as Saddam was overthrown. This step threw Iraq into chaos and led to the deaths of nearly a thousand US servicemen so far, since an Iraq without an army would inevitably depend on the US military. But with the Iraqi army gone, and with Egypt and Jordan neutralized, Syria was left the only country anywhere near Israel that could make active trouble for Sharon if he completely screwed over the Palestinians. And Syria was now weak and isolated. So Sharon has had a free hand in his expansionist aggression. And, because the US public has been preoccupied with Iraq, the Likud could pursue its annexation of West Bank land and its expropriation of even more Palestinians without anyone over here even noticing. It is the best of all possible worlds for the heirs of Ze'ev Jabotinsky.

The Likud policies of reversing Oslo and stealing people's land and making their lives hell has produced enormous amounts of terrorism against Israel, and the Likudniks have cleverly turned that to their political advantage. Aggression and annexation is necessary, they argue, because there is terrorism. Some of them now openly speak of ethnically cleansing the Palestinians, using the same argument. But when the Oslo peace process looked like it would go somewhere, terrorism tapered off (it did not end, but then peace had not been achieved).
Where Israel is in the right, this situation obviously is innocuous. The United States should protect Israel from aggressive attack, if necessary. United Nations members are pledged to collective security, i.e. to protecting any member nation from aggression at the hands of another. But given that Israel is a nuclear power with a vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction; given that Egypt and Jordan have long-lived peace treaties with Israel; and given that Syria and Lebanon are small weak powers, there is not in fact any serious military threat to Israel in its immediate neighborhood. In contrast, Israel launched wars against neighbors in 1956, 1967, and 1982 (all of which it won so easily as to bring into question the necessity for the wars in the first place if they were defensive), and has since 1967 been assiduously colonizing Palestinian land that it militarily occupied--all the while attempting to avoid becoming responsible for the Palestinian populations on that land. This latter policy has poisoned the entire world.
If I had been in power on September 11, I'd have called up Sharon and told him he was just going to have to withdraw to 1967 borders, or face the full fury of the United States. Israel would be much better off inside those borders, anyway. It can't absorb 3 million Palestinians and retain its character, and it can't continue to hold 3 million Palestinians as stateless hostages without making itself inhumane and therefore un-Jewish. And then I'd have thrown everything the US had at al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and frog-marched Bin Laden off to justice, and rebuilt Afghanistan to ensure that al-Qaeda was permanently denied a base there. Iraq, well, Iraq was contained.
[emphasis mine]

Friday, August 27


Oh no. It's much worse than I feared. Via Corrente:

I published a compendium of 56 documented cases in which voting machines got it wrong.
How do voting-machine makers respond to these reports? With shrugs. They indicate that their miscounts are nothing to be concerned about. One of their favorite phrases is: "It didn't change the result."?

Except, of course, when it did:

This is where George Soros et al should be spending some of their billions of $. What good will it do to get out the vote, to persuade the American electorate to vote Kerry-Edwards, if the election gets stolen all over again? Every local Democratic organization needs to be filing suit to force their local elections system to demonstrate that election votes can be reliably counted and validated.


Garrison Keillor:

The Union is what needs defending this year. Government of Enron and by Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the same as what Lincoln spoke of. This gang of Pithecanthropus Republicanii has humbugged us to death on terrorism and tax cuts for the comfy and school prayer and flag burning and claimed the right to know what books we read and to dump their sewage upstream from the town and clear-cut the forests and gut the IRS and mark up the constitution on behalf of intolerance and promote the corporate takeover of the public airwaves and to hell with anybody who opposes them.

Read the whole thing.


What Jackson Diehl said.

The latest official reports on the prisoner abuse scandal contain a classic Washington contradiction. Their headlines proclaim that no official policy mandated or allowed the torture of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that no officials above the rank of colonel deserve prosecution or formal punishment. But buried in their hundreds of pages of detail, for anyone who cares to read them, is a clear and meticulous account of how decisions made by President Bush, his top political aides and senior military commanders led directly to those searing images of naked prisoners being menaced with guard dogs.

An abbreviated tour of that buried narrative could begin on Page 33 of the report by the panel led by James R. Schlesinger. There it details how President Bush, on the advice of his White House counsel and attorney general, decided in February 2002 that the Geneva Conventions would not apply to captured members of al Qaeda and Afghanistan's Taliban. This, despite the objections of the State Department and "many service lawyers," who worried that the decision "would undermine the United States military culture, which is based on a strict adherence to the law of war."
The causal chain is all there: from Bush's February 2002 decision to Rumsfeld's December 2002 authorization of nudity, stress positions and dogs; to the adoption of those methods in Afghanistan and their sanction in Iraq by a commander looking back to Bush's decision; and finally, to their use on detainees by soldiers who reasonably believed they were executing official policy.

So why do the reports' authors deny the role of policy, or its makers? Partly because of the Army's inbred inability to indict its own; partly because of the desire of Rumsfeld's old colleagues, such as Schlesinger, to protect him. But there's another motive, too: a lingering will to defend and preserve the groundbreaking decisions -- those that set aside the Geneva Conventions and allowed harsh interrogation techniques. Schlesinger argues they are needed for the war on terrorism; he and senior Army commanders say they are worried about a "chilling effect" on interrogations and a slackening in intelligence collection.

The buried message of their reports, though, is that the new system is unworkable. Once the rules are bent for one class of prisoner, or one detention facility, or one agency, exceptional practices cannot be easily returned to their bottle -- and the chaos of Abu Ghraib is a predictable result. Just as the Army professionals foresaw, Bush's 2002 decision undermined "U.S. military culture" and its "strict adherence to the law of war." That is the headline the investigators ducked.


Preach on, Arianna.

The 2004 election is nothing less than a referendum on the soul of our country -- a political event with unprecedented significance for our lives and the lives of our children. The Kerry campaign cannot allow it to devolve into a debate over whether John Kerry bled enough to warrant a Purple Heart.

And since no one can doubt that more scurrilous attacks are coming Kerry's way, it is imperative that in the future the right answers to all wrong questions be offered immediately. And not for one moment should they cause the Kerry campaign to relinquish its attacks on the president's failures at home and abroad or cloud its alternative moral vision of what America can be with George Bush safely back in Crawford.

This is all the more important since, sadly, the media will continue to make no distinctions in the volume and content of their coverage between true claims and false ones.

Thursday, August 26


Quick! Click on this link.

Thanks, Susan.


Okay, let me see if I've got this right. Olympics officials are seething at a campaign ad for President Bush which, they say, hijacks the Olympic brand.

"We are following what is happening and hope this campaign will stop," said Gerhard Heiberg, head of the International Olympic Committee's Marketing Commission.

"We own the rights to the Olympic name and nobody asked us," he said while attending the Athens Olympics."

Olympic Officials Fault Bush Ad

The United States Olympic Committee has asked the Bush campaign to stop using the Olympic name in commercials. Federal law grants the U.S.O.C. exclusive rights to the name.

The campaign recently began running an ad that shows a swimmer, with flags of Afghanistan and Iraq. An announcer says: "Freedom is spreading throughout the world like a sunrise. And this Olympics, there will be two more free nations and two fewer terrorist regimes.''

"We're awaiting a reply," Darryl Seibel, a U.S.O.C. spokesman.

Well, they got their reply this evening. Bush-Cheney '04 will continue to run the ad until the end of the Olympics. Now, since Federal law grants the U.S.O.C. exclusive rights to the name, doesn't that make Bush and Cheney law-breakers? Sue the b******s!

527s, PACs and all that...

I realized tonight during a conversation with one of my sons that it might be helpful to some (I include myself) to have a refresher course in advocacy groups. Thanks to Open Secrets:

Types of Advocacy Groups

501(c) Groups – Nonprofit, tax-exempt groups organized under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code that can engage in varying amounts of political activity, depending on the type of group. For example, 501(c)(3) groups operate for religious, charitable, scientific or educational purposes. These groups are not supposed to engage in any political activities, though some voter registration activities are permitted. 501(c)(4) groups are commonly called “social welfare” organizations that may engage in political activities, as long as these activities do not become their primary purpose. Similar restrictions apply to Section 501(c)(5) labor and agricultural groups, and to Section 501(c)(6) business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards and boards of trade.

527 Group – A tax-exempt group organized under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code to raise money for political activities including voter mobilization efforts, issue advocacy and the like. Currently, the FEC only requires a 527 group to file regular disclosure reports if it is a political party or political action committee (PAC) that engages in either activities expressly advocating the election or defeat of a federal candidate, or in electioneering communications. Otherwise, it must file either with the government of the state in which it is located or the Internal Revenue Service. Many 527s run by special interest groups raise unlimited "soft money," which they use for voter mobilization and certain types of issue advocacy, but not for efforts that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a federal candidate or amount to electioneering communications.

Non-Federal Group – A group set up to raise unlimited contributions called “soft money,” which it spends on voter mobilization efforts and so-called issue ads that often criticize or tout a candidate’s record just before an election in a not-so-subtle effort to influence the election’s outcome. 501(c) groups and 527 groups may raise non-federal funds.

Political Action Committee (PAC) – A political committee that raises and spends limited "hard" money contributions for the express purpose of electing or defeating candidates. Organizations that raise soft money for issue advocacy may also set up a PAC. Most PACs represent business, such as the Microsoft PAC; labor, such as the Teamsters PAC; or ideological interests, such as the EMILY’s List PAC or the National Rifle Association PAC. An organization’s PAC will collect money from the group’s employees or members and make contributions in the name of the PAC to candidates and political parties. Individuals contributing to a PAC may also contribute directly to candidates and political parties, even those also supported by the PAC. A PAC can give $5,000 to a candidate per election (primary, general or special) and up to $15,000 annually to a national political party. PACs may receive up to $5,000 each from individuals, other PACs and party committees per year. A PAC must register with the Federal Election Commission within 10 days of its formation, providing the name and address of the PAC, its treasurer and any affiliated organizations.


Greg Palast breaks the great Mickey Mouse story:

Thursday Aug 26, 2004
[I couldn't make this up ... direct from the Republican National Committee website ....]
"NEXT WEEK, people who hate Republicans plan to release swarms of mice in New York City to terrorize delegates to the National Republican Convention.
"Republican-haters plan on dressing up as RNC volunteers, and giving false directions to little blue hair ladies from Kansas, sending them into the sectors of New York City that are unfit for human habitation.
"They plan on throwing pies and Lord knows what else at Republican visitors to the city. Prostitutes with AIDS plan to seduce Republican visitors, and discourage the use of condoms ...."
I do hope the RNC can stop these evil doings in the Big Apple: the idea of people dressing up as Republicans gives me the creeps. And denying Republicans condoms only encourages them to reproduce.
For GOP-gazers who want more pop-eyed paranoia in party hats, go to / rncresearch/ read.aspx?ID=4576 and click on "protesters supporting Kerry." [Alert! Thursday morning, the RNC took down the AIDS warning after thrill-seeking GregPalast-dot-commies cruised the Republican Party site. However, we kept a screen grab of it -- which we'll post today. And here's a link to the source of the Republican Mickey Mice attack info: a column in the New Hampshire Union-Leader: /Articles_show.html ?article=42692&archive=1


As anyone who lived through the Vietnam War era can tell you (notice I say CAN, not WILL), it was a well-documented fact that some American troops committed terrible acts of inhumanity while there. In fact, my beloved retired-fighter-pilot brother-in-law makes the argument that there would have been more, and that they would have been justified, if he'd been on the ground instead of in the air. One of my cousins who served a tour in Vietnam also confirmed that he participated in such acts, as did others of my acquaintance.

We lived with the war during those days in a manner not to be believed by TV watchers today -- it filled the news every night, and it wasn't a bunch of talking heads yammering at each other but reported by real-live actual REPORTERS who risked their lives to take us right into combat with them. The Medina and Calley trials familiarized all of us with the atrocities. And while we were repulsed, many of us were, like John Kerry, more angry with the leaders who put our "innocent American boys" into a situation they couldn't, and shouldn't have had to, handle. When John Kerry gave his famous testimony before Congress in 1971 he wasn't ACCUSING his fellows of atrocities, he was REPORTING what they had told him -- they wanted him to! They wanted him to tell the whole world just what was really going on in that terrible, immoral conflict.

If anyone today tries to pretend that there were no atrocities committed in Vietnam, he/she is a liar, ignorant or a faith-based historian.

But then, these people lie like they breathe.

As Media Matters for America has noted, in addition to Hill's admission, there are detailed reports of atrocities committed by American forces in Vietnam. Besides well-documented accounts of the infamous My Lai massacre, three Toledo Blade reporters recently won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism for a series of articles titled "Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths," which uncovered atrocities committed by Tiger Force, an elite U.S. Army fighting unit in Vietnam. And in an August 3 appearance on Hannity & Colmes, retired General Tommy Franks referred to Kerry's 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which Kerry related other Vietnam veterans' personal stories about atrocities committed in Vietnam, saying, "I'm not sure that -- that activities like that didn't take place. In fact, quite the contrary. I'm sure that they did."

UPDATE: Am watching former Congressman Pete McCloskey (R) on Hardball. Watch for the transcript tomorrow! What an honorable guy. Winner of a Navy Cross in Vietnam, he testified about war crimes before Congress at almost the same time as did John Kerry. He reiterated their reality just now ("...and we WERE committing crimes"). He also said presidents such as John F. Kennedy and George H.W. Bush (and a future president Kerry) are always war-as-a-last-resort fellows because "if you've been shot at, you don't want it to happen again." Asked by Tweety to speculate on the motives of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al, McCloskey said, "I don't know...whether it's trying to prove their manhood or something else."


Robert E. Lambert doesn’t plan to vote for John Kerry.

But the Eagle Point man challenges claims by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that there was no enemy fire aimed at the five swift boats, including the one commanded by Kerry, on March 13, 1969 on the Bay Hap River in the southern tip of what was then South Vietnam.

Lambert, now 64, was a crew member on swift boat PCF-51 that day. The boat was commanded by Navy Lt. Larry Thurlow, a now-retired officer who questions why Kerry was awarded a Bronze star for bravery and a third Purple Heart for the March 13 incident.

"He and another officer now say we weren’t under fire at that time," Lambert said Wednesday afternoon. "Well, I sure was under the impression we were."

Lambert’s Bronze Star medal citation for the incident praises his courage under fire in the aftermath of a mine explosion that rocked another swift boat on that day 35 years ago.

"Anytime you are blown out of the water like that, they always follow that up with small arms fire," he said.

Lambert contacted the Mail Tribune after reading a lengthy article from the Washington Post examining the controversy. That article, carried in the Tribune, indicated that Lambert was a witness to the event but declined to comment.

Although noting he was never contacted by the Post, Lambert stressed that he believes the swift boat controversy has no place in the presidential election.

"This is being blown out of proportion," he said. "It’s absolutely unnecessary and irrelevant, as far as I’m concerned. All of this is nothing but a distraction. It doesn’t have anything to do with what is going on today."

A registered independent, Lambert said the presidential debate ought to be on the future, not the past.

"They should be focused on our exit strategy from Iraq," he said.


Robert E. Lambert doesn’t plan to vote for John Kerry.

But the Eagle Point man challenges claims by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that there was no enemy fire aimed at the five swift boats, including the one commanded by Kerry, on March 13, 1969 on the Bay Hap River in the southern tip of what was then South Vietnam.

Lambert, now 64, was a crew member on swift boat PCF-51 that day. The boat was commanded by Navy Lt. Larry Thurlow, a now-retired officer who questions why Kerry was awarded a Bronze star for bravery and a third Purple Heart for the March 13 incident.

"He and another officer now say we weren’t under fire at that time," Lambert said Wednesday afternoon. "Well, I sure was under the impression we were."

Lambert’s Bronze Star medal citation for the incident praises his courage under fire in the aftermath of a mine explosion that rocked another swift boat on that day 35 years ago.

"Anytime you are blown out of the water like that, they always follow that up with small arms fire," he said.

Lambert contacted the Mail Tribune after reading a lengthy article from the Washington Post examining the controversy. That article, carried in the Tribune, indicated that Lambert was a witness to the event but declined to comment.

Although noting he was never contacted by the Post, Lambert stressed that he believes the swift boat controversy has no place in the presidential election.

"This is being blown out of proportion," he said. "It’s absolutely unnecessary and irrelevant, as far as I’m concerned. All of this is nothing but a distraction. It doesn’t have anything to do with what is going on today."

A registered independent, Lambert said the presidential debate ought to be on the future, not the past.

"They should be focused on our exit strategy from Iraq," he said.


Josh Marshall points us to this story:

If you had any thought that the first presidential campaign after 9/11 would be especially sober and responsible, give it up.

There are a million angles to the saga of John Kerry and his swift boat enemies and none of them reveal anything virtuous about politics. But one element that is missing from this story is surprise.

Any student of Bush family campaigns could have seen the swift boat shiv shining a mile away. This old family has traditions – horseshoes, fishing, bad syntax and having the help do the dirty work in campaigns as well as the kitchen. And they are very good at getting jobs done without leaving fingerprints, without compromising their patrician image and their alleged character.

Even the audaciousness of this year’s episode is not surprising. Who would have believed that George Bush, with all the trouble over his National Guard service, could get John Kerry in hot water for his combat duty and medals in Vietnam? Well, anyone who saw what George Bush did to former POW John McCain in the 2000 primaries, which was even more outrageous.


I can't help it, I'm addicted to Mark Kleiman. Who else can fire off such pithy lines as this and this?


I extend heartfelt condolences to
on the loss of his father. What a lovely legacy is his son!


I love it. Ed Gillespie just told Judy Woodruff that the new Census Bureau report is evidence that we should continue George W. Bush's "pro-growth" economic policies.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced Thursday that the number of citizens living in poverty and without health insurance rose in 2003.

The government agency says the poverty rate rose from 12.1 percent of the population, or 34.5 million, in 2002, to 12.5 percent, or 35.8 million last year. The poverty rate for children under the age of 18 also increased from 16.7 percent, or 12.1 million in 2002, to 17.6 percent in 2003, or 12.9 million.

The number of citizens without health insurance coverage rose by 1.4 million last year for a total of 45 million people. The percentage of uncovered citizens rose from 15.2 percent in 2002 to 15.6 percent in 2003.


You must watch this.


You must watch this.


Late but not forgotten: this week's DU Top 10 Conservative Idiots. Be sure and read Number 9.


From the Wall Street Journal:

Progress for America plans to begin airing ads today in two battleground states, Wisconsin and Iowa, says Mr. McCabe. The ads question whether Sen. Kerry would have adequately handled the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

One of the commercials opens with the smoky ruins of the Twin Towers and moves to several pictures of Mr. Bush with New York firefighters and other rescue workers. A narrator praises Mr. Bush's leadership, and asks: "But what if Bush wasn't there? Could John Kerry have shown this leadership?" [emphasis mine]

Excuse me? He almost disappears from public view during one of our nation's greatest emotional crises, then a great photo opportunity rears its head and he's suddenly a great leader?

Real men don't mind if their feet get muddy -- they turn their Swift Boats into the enemy's beachhead. Mind, I said THE ENEMY's beachhead, not some neighbor's who didn't fire on them but made a better "target-rich environment."

Let's make this a meme: George W Bush is a wimp, a pantywaist, a girly boy. Maybe we'll get more white male votes.

Wednesday, August 25


My brilliant nephew Auguamire (who holds a responsible position with the campaign of Kerry-Edwards'04, but I won't reveal what, since his side of the family is in the Republican slot and I love them a lot) responds to my recent post about politicking among family members:

I just wanted to make a few comments or notes here.

It seems to me that family members are always the toughest to speak with when it comes to politics. No matter what side you are on, even if you have no side. We are always caught with a dilemma in this situation. It is similar to evangelizing the lost, except tougher in some ways. We are attempting to have our family join our beliefs but without offending them in such a way that we damage our relationship with them.

If you hope to be successful in this endeavor (IMHO), all you can ever do, in either situation, is to present the information in an unbiased as possible form and then trade on your relationship (Stephen Covey would call this your "emotional bank account") in hopes that the other person will open up their mind long enough to see things from your perspective.

You may have heard that "all politics are local". And that is true. I would like to give you another saying that I believe to be true. All politics are emotional. Unless a candidate can appeal to your emotional belief, they have no shot of getting your vote. NONE. You may challenge me on this point (and as always I encourage this as long as it is not solely for the sake of argument), but I think that no matter what issue you choose, it all comes back to your emotion. How do I feel about millions of Americans losing their overtime pay? Sure I "think" it's wrong, but unless I "feel" that there is an injustice I will never be motivated to do something (such as getting out to the polls) about it.

Thus, logical arguments or statements only hold up to influence us emotionally. And I feel that this is where we miss the boat most of the time. We have to set up logical thought processes that lead to emotional responses or we will accomplish nothing in our bid to, as many religious people would say "show them the way."

I was a Bush fan in the last election. I have never voted for the Democratic ticket. I will vote for Kerry in this election. I can see only two reasons why people will vote for the incumbent. 1. Americans are not educated enough about what is happening in the current administration to have the necessary emotional response or 2. We don't want to take the time to learn (thus we believe - emotional - that President Bush is God's appointed man).

I want to leave you with this final thought about America today. In this post you noted an attitude stirring in this country "love it or leave it" that harkens back to the Vietnam era. I had hoped that we learned our lesson back then, and that my generation wouldn't make the same mistake. Alas, that is not the case. However, here is the thought from one of my Gator message board alums - If the founding fathers of our country were "politically correct”, to this very day, we would all be subjects of the British Crown.

UPDATE: "Gator" refers to the University of Florida; we're Seminoles (Florida State University). Even much-loved family members aren't perfect...

Falwell and Bin Laden

In case you forgot what Jerry Falwell said just after September Eleventh here it is once again:

Falwell appeared on the Christian Broadcast Network's "700 Club," hosted by Robertson. "God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve," Falwell said. What beneficent, loving God does this? With such friends as Falwell and Robertson speaking on his behalf, God can look back nostalgically on his encounters with the devil.

Falwell then revealed his peculiar faith in diversity, for he left few off his enemies list. "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their faces and say, 'You helped this happen.' "

For the whole sad story: Brothers in Faith: Osama bin Laden and Jerry Falwell

Not so swift coverage

It's no wonder the press loves gw. They're on roughly the same intellectual level. How the hell the press can report that Bush specifically condemned the Swift boat adds blows my mind. Check this out: Not so swift coverage

The bush natural disaster

I thought bush was supposed to be protecting the homeland?(Nuance is lost on me) I think Kerry will be a fine president but he's got his work cut out for him. Democratic administrations of the future are hardly going to have time for anything other than fixing the messes left by Republican administrations. But hey, that's probably the idea: The Bush Natural Disaster


Dana Milbank of The Washington Post has an interesting "White House Notebook" where he prints some quotations as they came out of Democratic nominee John F. Kerry's mouth -- and then demonstrates how President Bush and Vice President Cheney later recounted them. It ends with a "killer" note for the White House Press Corps:

Now for an update on the White House's ongoing effort to kill the press corps. The White House travel office signed a contract last week with an airline called Primaris to fly the press corps to Bush events. The two-month-old company has only one airplane. True, media representatives gave their blessing to the deal. But that was before they learned that the company's president twice had his pilot's license revoked related to his flying of an "unairworthy" aircraft, that the chief executive flopped in his last attempt to start an airline and that the 15-year-old plane itself was damaged in a hailstorm a decade ago and spent most of the past two years mothballed in France.


This editorial in the L.A. Times has the (I wish) FINAL WORD:

In both cases, the candidates are the reason the groups are in business. There is an important difference, though, between the side campaign being run for Kerry and the one for Bush. The pro-Kerry campaign is nasty and personal. The pro-Bush campaign is nasty, personal and false. [emphasis mine]

No informed person can seriously believe that Kerry fabricated evidence to win his military medals in Vietnam. His main accuser has been exposed as having said the opposite at the time, 35 years ago. Kerry is backed by almost all those who witnessed the events in question, as well as by documentation. His accusers have no evidence except their own dubious word.

Not limited by the conventions of our colleagues in the newsroom, we can say it outright: These charges against John Kerry are false. Or at least, there is no good evidence that they are true. George Bush, if he were a man of principle, would say the same thing.


Somebody please explain to me why this isn't above-the-fold news:

Missing: one-third of the Pentagon's equipment and $1.9 billion of Iraqi money. Guess who has it?...In over a year, the CPA had managed to spend just 2 percent of the $18.4 billion earmarked for the immediate reconstruction of Iraq. And not a penny was spent on the two areas where the Iraqi people were suffering the most: healthcare or water and sanitation.

So what is really going on?

Record-breaking deficits, not enough money to fully fund No Child Left Behind or equip our fighting men and women properly, but Halliburton will get its up front and by no bid!

Read the rest on AlterNet.

Tuesday, August 24


Go ahead. You know George W. Bush is a dummy and it drives you crazy that he's the darling of the media and a whole swath of the electorate. So read this. It's great and it's pleasurable.


Will, in the future, Paul Krugman be given the credit he deserves for being the most consistent voice in American journalism for reason and clarity during these troubling times?

After 9/11, Mr. Bush had a choice: he could deal with real threats, or he could play Rambo. He chose Rambo. Not for him the difficult, frustrating task of tracking down elusive terrorists, or the unglamorous work of protecting ports and chemical plants from possible attack: he wanted a dramatic shootout with the bad guy. And if you asked why we were going after this particular bad guy, who hadn't attacked America and wasn't building nuclear weapons - or if you warned that real wars involve costs you never see in the movies - you were being unpatriotic.

As a domestic political strategy, Mr. Bush's posturing worked brilliantly. As a strategy against terrorism, it has played right into Al Qaeda's hands. Thirty years after Vietnam, American soldiers are again dying in a war that was sold on false pretenses and creates more enemies than it kills.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Mr. Bush - who must defend the indefensible - has turned to those who still refuse to face the truth about Vietnam.

All the credible evidence, from military records to the testimony of those who served with Mr. Kerry, confirms his wartime heroism. Why, then, are some veterans willing to join the smear campaign? Because they are angry about his later statements against the war. Yet making those statements was itself a heroic act - and what he said then rings truer than ever.

The young John Kerry spoke of leaders who sent others to their deaths because they wanted to seem tough, then "left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude." Fifteen months after George Bush strutted around in his flight suit, more and more Americans are echoing Gen. Anthony Zinni, who received a standing ovation from an audience of Marine and Navy officers when he talked about the debacle in Iraq and said of those who served in Vietnam: "We heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. I ask you, is it happening again?"

Read this. It says it all.


Just returned from a festive gathering of relatives from Florida, Alabama and Washington state. Everyone is for Bush, with the exception of my rock musician nephew from Seattle (you'd know his band if you're between 30 and 50 -- a couple each of gold and platinum albums, at least one MTV award that I can remember, and they still record and tour), who thinks both presidential candidates are crap, but that Kerry wins his vote on the issues. But his wife is a Bushie. (My son and daughter-in-law, also Florida residents, are voting for Kerry, but they don't count here -- my daughter-in-law is from upstate New York, her mother loves her Senator Hillary, and my son was raised by us...they're both in college and see the dangers to themselves in rising tuition costs, reduction in Pell Grant funding, and general loss of safety net programs so important to young struggling families trying to better themselves.)

I tried to get into the heads of all those Bushies without causing a family ruckus.

(1) There is a GREAT DIVIDE. George Bush is a hero for protecting us from further terrorist attacks. He's decisive, doesn't put up with any guff from anybody. Kerry is a wimpy war protestor, he brought the current controversy about his service upon himself and is fair game. His Vietnam War-era protests invalidate his military service record even if it was what he says it was, which it probably wasn't since wimp war protestors couldn't possibly also be heroic on the battlefield. He probably paid off his Swift Boat-mates with his wife's billions.

(2) Nothing is George Bush's fault. EVEN MY TWO NEPHEWS WHO ARE RECENTLY BACK FROM IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN support him without reservation. The lousy things that were done to them (one --aged 38 -- was recalled even though his Guard recall duty period was up) are the fault of Congress, not Bush, in their minds. The other nephew, a career Air Force MSGT in intelligence, retired upon his homecoming and now hopes to get a job as a military contractor. He actually said to me, "A lot of people blame Bush for the things that have gone wrong, but they don't realize that it's actually Congress that passes the law enabling expansion of troop numbers, appropriations for supplies, etc. If anyone is to blame, it's Congress."

(3) Their pastors believe Bush has been anointed by God to lead the USA during these troubling times, to restore a Christian perspective to government. Therefore, they believe the same thing.

(4) This is just like the heady days of Vietnam, it's "America, love it or leave it," or in this case, "Love Bush or leave America."

These people (also MY people) are Bush's base. Obviously, there's no point in spending time or money trying to persuade them differently. He's invulnerable as far as they're concerned. Boy is Bush smart to refute the idea that he's ever made a mistake -- they love him for it! The co-opting of fundamentalist churchgoers has been a brilliant strategy. My family voted solidly Democratic for my entire life until anti-abortion/gay rights screeds became a focus of Republican rhetoric during the time of Ronald Reagan.

But one lesson I took away from this time is that John Kerry MUST strike back, and strike hard, against attacks on his service. I've been almost completely out of touch with the news for the past week, but I gather from what little I've been able to glean around Olympics coverage, which I DID see, that he has begun to do just that. It's way past time to start focusing again on George Bush's military non-service. The press is having a heyday on this Swift Boat Veterans thing -- they're the ones keeping it alive (who else? it's not exactly a groundswell of common-man hysteria since the ads only ran initially in three states and didn't have much of an impact there until the press jumped on the issue). Feed them the juicy details of Bush's service records (since they're too lazy to do their own work). Put our surrogates on every TV program willing to accept them (and only the best and most articulate surrogates, ones with impeccable military service records, people like JOHN HURLEY of Veterans for Kerry).

It's not for the confirmed Bushies I suggest this, but for those swing voters who might be influenced by them...