I am not yet prepared to think about a Kerry landslide, as Matt Stoller is, but it's hard to imagine how Bush will recover from his current meltdown.
Even the capture of Osama bin Laden or another terrorist attack on America would
not work in Bush's favor at this point, I believe. First, the Bushies have done too good a job re-directing focus from
Osama to Saddam Hussein, who is now old news. The capture of Osama at this point would just confuse the stupid and disgust
the rest of us who think Osama should have been captured more than two years ago.
I also believe that another terrorist attack in America between now and the election
would just reinforce the perception that the Bushies are utterly inept and have no clue what they are doing.
Cracks are forming within the administration itself. For example, the Department of Homeland Security has refused to sign on to John Ashcroft's recent threat warning, saying the agency had seen no change in the stream of threat
Even some Republican journalists are catching on. This staff writer at the Charlotte Observer is not exactly in the pocket of the evil libruhls --
Before accusing me of being a bleeding heart liberal, know this: I've been
a life-long conservative Republican and am a U.S. Army veteran of the Persian Gulf War. I also voted for George W. Bush in
-- but nails the Bushies solid--
Never have I seen such sorry leadership in Washington. Never have I witnessed
such a complete lack of accountability.
--and goes on to ask the question so many of us have asked lo these past three years:
For me, the most unsettling aspect of this is that Bush still has such a large
amount of public support, even in light of the continuing unrest in Afghanistan, the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal and escalating
violence in Iraq. How can that be?
I have a pretty good idea why: Many Americans still get their news from the
three big networks and Fox News.
The coverage is mostly shallow and, at times, misleading. For the most part,
the networks simply parrot the White House line. For example, last Thursday ABC News reported Bush's comments on why he isn't
willing to tap into the nation's petroleum reserve. He claimed that since we're at war in Iraq, such action would leave America
vulnerable to terrorism. Two words jumped out at me: Iraq and terrorism.
Do tell. Paul Krugman addresses the question of why the media was complicit in Bush's
propaganda game (you must read this column all the way through):
So why did the press credit Mr. Bush with virtues that reporters knew he didn't
possess? One answer is misplaced patriotism. After 9/11 much of the press seemed to reach a collective decision that it was
necessary, in the interests of national unity, to suppress criticism of the commander in chief.
Another answer is the tyranny of evenhandedness. Moderate and liberal journalists,
both reporters and commentators, often bend over backward to say nice things about conservatives. Not long ago, many commentators
who are now caustic Bush critics seemed desperate to differentiate themselves from "irrational Bush haters" who were neither
haters nor irrational — and whose critiques look pretty mild in the light of recent revelations.
And some journalists just couldn't bring themselves to believe that the president
of the United States was being dishonest about such grave matters.
Finally, let's not overlook the role of intimidation. After 9/11, if you were
thinking of saying anything negative about the president, you had to be prepared for an avalanche of hate mail. You had to
expect right-wing pundits and publications to do all they could to ruin your reputation, and you had to worry about being
denied access to the sort of insider information that is the basis of many journalistic careers.
Krugman isn't predicting that the press will wake up and do its job, finally,
and report the truth about Bush, but he thinks it might.
Predictably, the Bushies are launching a counter-attack at news media.
Confronted with this drumbeat of dismay, senior administration officials
are lashing out at American journalists, adding their official voices to the chorus of talk radio, conservative Web site and
newspaper columnists for whom there is no more filthy three syllable word than “media.” From seemingly casual asides in remarks
by President Bush to outright attacks and boycotts orchestrated by Bush administration allies, a strong subtext is being transmitted
with the normally optimistic line of the day — that the media is undermining support for the war. [Michael Moran, "Media Takes Heat from Administration Over Iraq," MSNBC, May 25, 3004]
But then there's the Kerry campaign, which so far has been less than impressive.
David Corn has a good roundup of the complaints about Kerry. And there is also the matter of voter fraud. We know the Bushies will stop
at nothing to steal elections. So we cannot be complacent. If the votes (the real ones) are close, the Bushies could pull
of a steal. But not even they could get away with a steal if Kerry is considerably ahead in the polls on election day.
Yesterday's speech by Al Gore at NYU is the hottest of hot links today.
Don't miss it.
Also, the Lizard has some startling things to say about the GOP: "... the current realignment cycle in American politics is nearing an end
after 36 years, with the Republican Party displaying symptoms of a nervous breakdown."
So let's join hands and sing:
You're the kind of person You meet at certain dismal dull affairs. Center
of a crowd, talking much too loud Running up and down the stairs. Well, it seems to me that you have seen too much in
too few years. And though you've tried you just can't hide Your eyes are edged with tears.
You better stop Look around Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes,
here it comes Here comes your nine-teenth nervous breakdown.
That sure beats "Kumbyah" out of its socks, don't it?
Sidney Blumenthal writes in the Guardian that the FBI is investigating
prominent neocons to find out who gave Ahmed Chalabi classified information about the plans of the US government and military.
Washington, just weeks ago in the grip of neoconservative orthodoxy, absolute
belief in Bush's inevitability and righteousness, is in the throes of being ripped apart by investigations. Things fall apart:
the military, loyal and lumbering, betrayed and embittered; the general in the field, General Sanchez, disgraced and cashiered;
the intelligence agencies abused and angry, their retired operatives plying their craft with the press corps, seeping dangerous
truths; the press, hesitating and wobbly, investigating its own falsehoods; the neocons, publicly redoubling defence of their
hero and deceiver Chalabi, privately squabbling, anxiously awaiting the footsteps of FBI agents; Colin Powell, once the most
acclaimed man in America, embarked on an endless quest to restore his reputation, damaged above all by his failure of nerve;
everyone in the line of fire motioning toward the chain of command, spiralling upwards and sideways, until the finger pointing
in a phalanx is directed at the hollow crown. [Sidney Blumenthal, "The Bush Orthodoxy Is in Shreds," The Guardian, May 27, 2004]
Possibly the longest sentence Sidney Blumenthal ever wrote, and
I'd like to dedicate our next musical number to all the neocons
as they listen for the knock on the door.
You have many contacts Among the lumberjacks To get you facts When
someone attacks your imagination But nobody has any respect Anyway they already expect you To just give a check To
tax-deductible charity organizations
You've been with the professors And they've all liked your looks With great
lawyers you have Discussed lepers and crooks You've been through all of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books You're very
well read It's well known
Because something is happening here But you don't know what it is Do you, Mister
Yesterday the New York Timesadmitted (on page 10) that coverage of issues and events leading up to the Iraq War was "not as rigorous as it should have been."
The Times didn't name names, but others did. Salon even published Judith Miller's picture.
The reporter on many of the flawed stories at issue was Judith Miller, a Pulitzer
Prize-winning reporter and authority on the Middle East. The Times, insisting that the problem did not lie with any individual
journalist, did not mention her name. The paper was presumably trying to take the high road by defending its reporter, but
the omission seems peculiar. While her editors must share a large portion of the blame, the pieces ran under Miller's byline.
It was Miller who clearly placed far too much credence in unreliable sources, and then credulously used dubious administration
officials to confirm what she was told.
And of all Miller's unreliable sources, the most unreliable was Ahmed Chalabi
-- whose little neocon-funded kingdom came crashing down last week when Iraqi forces smashed down his door after U.S. officials
feared he was sending secrets to Iran. [James C. Moore, "Not Fit to Print," Salon, May 27, 2004]
But now it's time for our big final production number, dedicated
to New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller:
We starve, look at one another short of breath Walking proudly
in our winter coats Wearing smells from laboratories Facing a dying nation of moving paper fantasy Listening for
the new-told lies With supreme visions of lonely tunes.
Somewhere, inside something, there is a rush of greatness Who knows
what stands in front of our lives I fashion my future on films in space Silence tells me secretly everything, everything
Let the sunshine Let the sunshine in, the sunshine in ...
--"The Flesh Failures/Let the Sunshine In," Ragni/Rado
The Neocons are standing by their man. Today's Wall Street Journaleditorializes that Ahmed Chalabi provided valuable "intelligence" (their word) to the United States, but that "someone in the U.S. government clearly wants to damage him."
The story passed around by military officers at the Defense Department is
that Ahmad Chalabi, outraged by the arrest of his associates and the raid on his home by U.S.-authorized Iraqi police, quickly
got on the phone to the Pentagon. ''Get me Wolfowitz!'' Chalabi is alleged to have demanded. But it was too late for Deputy
Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz or anybody else to save the erstwhile American favorite in Iraq.
In fact, Wolfowitz, widely identified as a leader of Pentagon ''neo-cons''
who sponsored Chalabi, had signed off on cutting ties with the designated leader of a future democratic Iraq. Defense Department
civilians had brought Chalabi to power there against the wishes of the State Department, the CIA, prominent Republican senators
and the king of Jordan. Nearly two weeks ago, Chalabi's sponsors gave up on him and quietly canceled his U.S. subsidies. Iraqi
police raids were sanctioned by the Pentagon-sponsored Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. [Bob Novak, "No Lack of
Warning on Chalabi," The Chicago Sun-Times, May 24, 2004]
The Reptile goes on to say that a great many people warned the
Pentagon suits who sponsored Chalabi that they would get burned, but the suits did not listen. Others not listening include Flaming
Idiot Extraordinaire David Frum, who wrote in last Thursday's National Review Online:
Suppose it turns out to be true that Chalabi has been building a patronage
empire. Suppose individuals close to him have been positioning themselves to get rich in the new Iraq – hell, suppose he himself
is the “crook” that his detractors always say he is.
Here’s my question: When did America’s standards for our Middle Eastern
allies get so excruciatingly high?
I mean, what's a little larceny and corruption among friends, eh? Indeed,
in the neocon mind the real villain is the CIA.
Richard Perle told this reporter Tuesday that the gloves were off. He said
that the raid on Chalabi's home and offices in Baghdad last week was "the worst abuse of government power I have ever seen."
Chalabi deserved better, Perle went on, citing Gen. Richard Meyers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying Chalabi's
intelligence saved American lives.
Perle has no doubts that some of the attacks on him are coming directly from
the CIA, in order to cover their own exposed rears, attacking Chalabi's intelligence to distract attention from their own
I believe that much of the CIA operation in Iraq was owned by Saddam Hussein,"
Perle said. "There were 45 decapitation attempts against Saddam -- and he survived them all. How could that be, if he was
not manipulating the intelligence?"
We can pause now to wallow in the irony of Perle's remarks about CIA "mistakes."
Go re-read David Corn's May 2002 interview with Perle, an oldie but a goodie, then come back, and we'll march on to the next paragraph in the Martin Walker column, which
When this was put to one CIA source, the reply was mocking: "That's what
they always do. As soon as these guys get any criticism, they scream Israel and anti-Semitism, and I think people are finally
beginning to see through that smokescreen."
Speaking of which,
check out this article in FrontPage, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zinni." The author, Richard Baehr, manages to be anti-semitic and
pro-Israel at the same time. It's classic. All of the opposition to the Iraq War, including Gen. Anthony Zinni's recent criticisms, can be dismissed because they are all part of a Vast Anti-Israel Conspiracy.
For another knee-slapper, skip back to the Wall Street Journal and
read "What Europe Doesn't Understand," in which Zachary Selden sings the praises of neoconservatism and using the power of America for moral purposes.
Be prepared to scrape your jaw off the floor.
... we have, installed in our oval office, a man who is so unfit for the
duties - by reason of a pathological dishonesty and complete disregard for the welfare of the citizens of this country - as
to demand that we remove him, and his party, from power - and then use every law and organ of government to investigate the
nakedly criminal underpinnings of that party. And exact precisely the punishments that they have so gleefully inflicted upon
Yikes! Even Tom Shales of the Washington Post said Bush looked bored with his own speech, and pointed
out that none of the major broadcast networks carried the speech, opting instead to run their sweeps programming.
The Post has already written the speech off, and the New York Times trashes Bush and goes so far as to recommend that Bush follow the lead of John Kerry and
the Center for American Progress. My, my, we are a long way from stenography now, aren't we?
The most newsworthy story related to the incredible shrinking _resident's
speech last night is that the three major networks didn't televise it live. It was billed as a very important speech, it was
a prime-time speech, it was being positioned as one that would be carried by the networks -- just as the incredible shrinking
_resident's recent embarrassing press conference was broadcast live. So what happened? Were they doing the White House a favor
by NOT broadcasting it? Did Rove get second-thoughts? Or has the US electorate distrust, disapproval and disappointment in
the incredible shrinking _resident soared so high that the networks are thinking about their own damaged credibility or more
like their ratings? It was, afterall, one of the last "sweep" nights. It's the Media, Stupid.
The central problem in Bush's approach to Iraq from the beginning
has been a tendency to believe the best would happen and not plan for the worst. This president doesn't want to give bad news
or admit any mistakes. But the American people are losing confidence in his judgment about Iraq. They deserved a more forthright
assessment than they received last night, even given his warnings of more violence there.
A stable and eventually democratic
Iraq is in this nation's interest. Nobody should want Bush to fail. The consequences of chaos in Iraq are too frightening.
But nothing Bush said last night gives us confidence that his administration knows what it's doing there - other than keeping
its fingers crossed until Election Day.
In press conferences, television ads, and interviews this year, President
Bush has manifested a series of psychopathologies: an abstract notion of reality; confidence unhinged from facts and circumstances; and a conception of credibility that requires
no correspondence to the external world. Tonight, as he vowed to stay the course in Iraq, Bush demonstrated another
mental defect: incomprehension of his role in history as a fallible human agent. Absent such comprehension, Bush can't fix
his mistakes in Iraq, because he can't see how—or even that—he screwed up.
It's gonna be a real shock to the boy when he loses in November,
ain't it? But he will have to face reality when the moving van pulls up to the White House ...
Be sure to read "Jingoes and the Fascist Impulse" at Orcinus. I was especially taken with this part, discussing the book The Anatomy of Fascism by historian Robert O. Paxton:
Paxton cites a passage from Alexis de Tocqueville as a "glimmer
of premonition" about the darker impulses that shadowed democratic societies, particularly "the majority's power to impose
conformity by social pressure, in the absence of an independent social elite":
The kind of oppression with which democratic peoples are threatened will
resemble nothing that had preceded it in the world; our contemporaries would not find its image in their memories. I myself
seek in vain an expression that exactly reproduces the idea that I form of it for myself and that contains it; the old words
despotism and tyranny are not suitable. The thing is new, therefore I must try to define it, since I cannot name it.
Paxton suggests that it finally took a name
in the 20th century: fascism. He sums up neatly the essence of fascism as a political force: "dictatorship against the Left
amidst popular enthusiasm."
I think what really creeps people out about
fascism is that it allows the mob to oppress others, either inside or outside the state, willingly. The mob runs amok and
controls itself and others in service of some ideal like national honor or virtue or glory. For the sake of these ideals,
the mob votes away its freedoms. The state doesn't need to supress dissent, at least initially, because the mob only too happily
does it for itself. It really is like a democracy that has suddenly mutated and turned cancerous, its institutions rampant
and without its usual curbs.
Even if he wanted to, Bush (or anyone else) couldn't do it himself. It would require
a mass movement. Organized intimidation would have to keep dissenters from participating in society. The spread and validation
of the ideology is a step towards such a mass movement, but the movement would still have to happen, and it would have to
be more than a couple hundred freepers.
Yes, but there are more than
a couple hundred freepers, aren't there? And what is the real motivation behind Faux News and Wingnut Radio and just
about anything coming out of the White House? Is it not propaganda to inflame the mob against anyone who dissents? And
libruhls in general?
On the other hand, there is good news about Shrub's
poll numbers. James K. Galbraith, writing in Salon, suggests that Bush's recent personal-worst approval ratings are not necessarily the result of bad news
coming out of Iraq. With the exception of spikes following three exceptional events: 9/11, the beginning of the Iraq War,
and the capture of Saddam Hussein, Bush's poll numbers have been drifting steadily downward, month after month, through his
Apart from them, Bush's approval showed
a remarkably stable declining trend, which averaged 1.6 percentage points every month.
Tick, tock -- no matter what Bush said or did, Americans seemed to come to
their senses about him at a steady rate. Except, of course, in the presence of a galvanizing foreign event or crisis. ...
Bush's rate of decline in recent weeks has been consistent with the decline
in his numbers since he took office -- with the exception of the three spikes.
Makes you wonder what they'll try to pull to get him "re"-elected, huh?
I didn't watch Bush speak tonight. I believe there was something more compelling on,
like a "Law and Order" episode from three years ago. Hate to miss those. I'll read a transcript tomorrow and find out if he
actually said anything. In the meantime, get early reviews in this open thread at Eschaton.
I find that Mahablog is reviewed on a Brazilian web page, in (I assume) Portuguese. I pasted the review into an online translation service, and this is what it says:
Who knows blogs - modern versions, in the InterNet, of the old di?rios of
adolescent - knows that n?o h? criterion some in such a way in that it says respect? form as to conte?do of this type of p?gina.
The case of the Mahablog, however, it is different. Instead of being counting of enfadonha form what it made in the day or
as he was?ltima visit? house of the cousins of the interior, the author dedicated its knowledge internéticos? confec??o of
a directed vestibule to patrol administra??o of George W daily. Bush. In war times, the site is brought up to date constantly
and brings diverse well bacanas articles, as one intitled `` As Bush plays of pol?tica with our lives ' '.
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the
president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is
morally treasonable to the American public." --Theodore Roosevelt, 1918
The War Prayer
I come from the Throne -- bearing
a message from Almighty God!... He has heard the prayer of His servant, your shepherd, & will grant it if such shall be
your desire after I His messenger shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say its full import. For it is like
unto many of the prayers of men in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause & think.
"God's servant & yours has prayed his prayer. Has
he paused & taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of
Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken & the unspoken....
"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered
part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you
in your hearts -- fervently prayed, silently. And ignorantly & unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these
words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is completed into
those pregnant words.
"Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also
the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our
hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved
firesides to smite the foe.
"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody
shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown
the thunder of the guns with the wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire;
help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their
little children to wander unfriended through wastes of their desolated land in rags & hunger & thirst, sport of the
sun-flames of summer & the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of
the grave & denied it -- for our sakes, who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter
pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded
feet! We ask of one who is the Spirit of love & who is the ever-faithful refuge & friend of all that are sore beset,
& seek His aid with humble & contrite hearts. Grant our prayer, O Lord & Thine shall be the praise & honor
& glory now & ever, Amen."
(After a pause.) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire
it, speak! -- the messenger of the Most High waits."
· · · · · ·
It was believed, afterward, that the man was a lunatic,
because there was no sense in what he said.