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saturday, august 21, 2004

Chutzpah
 
We don't see a lot of campaign television ads here in the New York City media market. But this evening I caught this Bush campaign ad, in which President "My Pet Goat" Bush speaks to television viewers in the tri-state (New York/New Jersey/Connecticut) viewing area.
My most solemn duty is to lead our nation to protect ourselves. I can’t imagine the great agony of a mom or a dad having to make the decision about which child to pick up first on September the 11th. We cannot hesitate, we cannot yield, we must do everything in our power to bring an enemy to justice before they hurt us again.
Yeah, right. So how come you haven't caught Osama?
 
 

10:59 pm | link

Knockout 11:52 am | link

Attention
 
Some poor girl who identified herself as working for Republican Something or Other called me last night and wanted to know if I approved or disapproved of President Bush's policies.
 
As I said, some poor girl.
 
I wish someone would take a poll to find out what percentage of Americans are even aware of the terrible battle going on in Najaf this week. I bet it's way less than 50 percent. 
 
I've been watching more television news lately than I have been (that is, catching some television news while channel surfing, as opposed to avoiding it like the plague). Has there been much news about Najaf on television?
 
Right now NBC and cable affiliates are using resources to cover the Olympics. I don't mind this; I like watching Olympics. And the coverage overall has been much better than it has been in previous recent Olympics, IMO.
 
But with everything else going on, why did MSNBC News devote time last night to a Deb Norville interview with Suzanne Sommers? This seems surreal.
 
The most recent news stories say that Muqtada al-Sadr and his militia remain in control of the Imam Ali mosque, even though some reports yesterday claimed the standoff had been resolved. Juan Cole's most recent blog post says that fierce fighting in Najaf continues.
 
That's our American soldiers and marines fighting shia Iraqis, which are the very people we allegedly liberated from the nasty sunni Baathist Iraqis.
 
Of course, our Commander in Chief, President Bunnypants, is on vacation. But be assured, says Scott McClellen, that sometime next week Shrubbie will get together with Condi and Rummy and other nice folk, and they will sit around in Shrubbie's rumpus room in Crawford to decide what might be done about Najaf.
 
(They'll get around to this, oh, Monday or Tuesday. Or so. There's no rush, since the Olympics and the swifties are still doing a good job keeping Najaf out of the news. But week after next the Bushies might need a new diversion.}
 
And then they'll probably grill some steaks and watch a movie.
 
I wonder if the young woman from Republican Something or Other knows there is fighting going on in Najaf?
 

7:17 am | link

friday, august 20, 2004

Clever Me
 
I made an animated GIF! It's a little slow, but so am I.
 
vote.gif
 
Feel free to steal.
 

9:16 pm | link

Less Swift
 
The New York Times today published an exposé of the swift boat liars that's a must read. Kate Zernike and Jim Rutenberg show that the Bush campaign is behind the "swifties," beyond a doubt.

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

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

In fact, some of the swifties who today call Kerry a cheat and a liar lavished praise on him in the past, and in some cases the recent past. The Times reporters document that several of the swifties had lived lo these many years since Vietnam with a positive impression of Kerry. But then Republican operatives like Merrie Spaeth (who is not, I believe, a veteran) recruited them for the SBVfT and cleverly persuaded them that their own memories were wrong.

After which, the vets began to remember all sorts of things they had never remembered before.   

(It's very possible IMO that most of the swifties do not believe they are lying. Memory is a lot less reliable than video, and it's well documented that humans can be manipulated into "remembering" all sorts of things that never happened.)

In other swiftie news -- last night on "Hardball" the credibility-challenged Michelle Malkin claimed "the Boston Globe" backed the swiftie allegations against Kerry. So I did a keyword search ("swift boat") on the Globe web site for the past month. This search revealed that the enormous majority of Globe stories about the swifties were either straight news stories about the allegations -- no opinion offered as to veracity -- or opinion pieces backing Kerry

Today, by coincidence, one of the Globe's regular columnists, Scott Lehigh, weighs in with an op ed called "Kerry Comrades Have Credibility on Their Side."

So Malkin was lying. Big surprise.

See also Jon Stewart's commentary (video).

 

7:21 am | link

Action-Packed Video! 7:02 am | link

thursday, august 19, 2004

Hell Freezes Over II
 
Tweety on Hardball just shut down Michelle Malkin and told her the allegations about John Kerry's wounds being self-inflicted are irresponsible. 
 
Believe It, or Not.
 
PS Larry Thurlow will be on Scarborough's show tonight. I think I'll skip it.
 

8:16 pm | link

Citius, Altius, Fortius
 
The smear ads and false charges being spread by the Swift Boat Liars are working, says Matt Stoller at The Blogging of the President. There is evidence that many swing state voters who were leaning Kerry changed their minds after they saw the ad.
 
Moveon has created an anti-smear ad, and today they are taking donations to be able to air it. I'm not sure it's the best ad that could have been made, but airing it is way better than no response at all. So I sent them some money. Click here to view the ad and make a donation.
 
The "old media" newspaper establishment finally is taking notice of the swift boat smear. The New York Times speaks out against it in an editorial that manages to slam Democrats as well (gotta be objective, you know). And Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post reported that military records directly contradict some of the allegations made in the ad.
 
Particularly damning is a little anecdote about "swift boat" smearer Larry Thurlow, who claims John Kerry had not been under enemy fire during the incident for which he won a bronze star. There was no enemy fire that day, says Thurlow, who was in command of another swift boat involved in the same action. However, says Dobbs,
...Thurlow's military records, portions of which were released yesterday to The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, contain several references to "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire" directed at "all units" of the five-boat flotilla. Thurlow won his own Bronze Star that day, and the citation praises him for providing assistance to a damaged Swift boat "despite enemy bullets flying about him."
This story had been floating around the Left Blogosphere for several days, along with the suggestion that Thurlow return his bronze star. This may be the first mention of it in "establishment" media, however.
 
Today Kerry returned fire:
"This group isn't interested in the truth -- and they're not telling the truth. They didn't even exist until I won the nomination for president," Kerry told a few thousand firefighters at the International Association of Firefighters meeting here. "They're funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They're a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the president won't denounce what they're up to tells you everything you need to know -- he wants them to do his dirty work."   
A little more of that, please.
 
The lies are hurting a lot of people beside Kerry. August Keso writes in The Washington Dispatch:

Whether you support and believe the Swift Boat people or not, one thing is for certain: from now on, we veterans and our service to country will forever be in doubt.  From this day forward, no matter what is in your military record or mine can no longer be viewed as the definitive description of our time in service.

The relatively insane notion that the Swift Boat people have put forward concerning Kerry’s service, that what is in his records is all false and cannot be trusted will now apply to one and all veterans.  All that will be required to wipe out the honor, integrity and value of your service is for one, ten or two hundred people with an agenda to step forward and proclaim they, and not the military know the truth.  In the doing, everything you did that was documented will be null and void.

IMO, that's what Moveon should say in its ad.

1:20 pm | link

L'enfant terrible
 
Dahlia Lithwick writes in today's New York Times that we shouldn't be "infantilizing" President Bush. And I agree. He can infantilize himself very well, thank you.
 

9:20 am | link

wednesday, august 18, 2004

History Notes
 
Georgie Ann Geyer wrote an op-ed for Yahoo News discussing the sensitivities of wartime leadership. This is, of course, an answer to Dick the Dick's comment:
America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was ever won by being "sensitive." (Applause.) President Abraham Lincoln and General Grant did not wage sensitive wars. President Roosevelt and Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur did not wage a sensitive war.
As Geyer writes, in fact Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and MacArthur were successful because of their sensitivities toward their enemies.
 
My only quibble with Geyer is her remark about Ulysses S. Grant and "demon rum." The one thing most people think they know about Grant -- that he drank a lot -- is an old smear spread by Grant's military and political rivals. Grant's more recent biographers and scholars of the Civil War era don't believe he drank much at all.
 
What these great military leaders, including Grant, understood is that there is no true victory if the war doesn't end with a lasting peace. Therefore, achieving peace must be factored into grand strategy. Even as battles were being fought, Lincoln, Grant, Roosevelt, etc., were thinking about how to treat civilian populations and establish good relations with postwar governments.
 
(Regarding the ending of military "phases" -- compare the way Grant treated Robert E. Lee at Appomattox to Shrubby's little victory prance on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.)
 
Bush and his neocon cohorts couldn't be bothered about planning for peace, which is why there isn't any.
 
Of course, it's easy for grand champion chickenhawk Dick the Dick to stand behind his secret service agents and talk tough. It's easy for him to sneer at Vietnam vet John Kerry and play the role of Big Bad Warmonger. One suspects, however, that if Dick the Dick weren't a flaming coward himself, he'd be a bit more sensitive ...
 
________
 
Regarding this post, I want to add that everything said about Abraham Lincoln by the fictional journalists is true, but that Stephen Douglas wasn't that big a jerk. A racist and a slave-owner, yes, but he had a principle here or there.
 

11:31 am | link

What's Up With This?
 
Check out this side-by-side comparison of the Bush-Cheney and Kerry-Edwards campaign sites.  (Warning: big graphic.)
 
Follow up questions: Which campaign is serious about addressing the critical issues facing our nation? Which campaign is being run by 12-year-olds?
 

10:26 am | link

tuesday, august 17, 2004

The New Lincoln-Douglas Debates
 
Recently, a researcher uncovered a previously unpublished transcript of one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Although historians are still arguing about its authenticity, The Mahablog is pleased to jump the gun and publish it, anyway. 
 
MODERATOR: Hello, and welcome. We're coming to you live from Jonesboro, Illinois, to bring you the third in a series of hard-hitting debates between Senate candidates Stephen Douglas, Democrat, and Abraham Lincoln, of the new Republican party.  With us also are Ezra Fox of the Chicago Defender and Theodore Turner of the Springfield Gazette.
 
[APPLAUSE]
 
These debates have captivated the nation, as two champion contenders take the gloves off and pound each other over today's hot-button issues. We also may be looking at a preview of the 1860 presidential campaign.
 
Gentlemen, let me explain the rules. All answers to direct questions will be given 60 seconds and just 60 seconds.  Any response or rebuttal, at the my discretion -- I am supposed to add right here -- will be given 30 seconds. When time is up, someone on our staff will blow this whistle [SOUND OF WHISTLE; LAUGHTER] to let you know. So let us begin.
 
Mr. Lincoln, most people thought your political career was over nearly a decade ago when you vacated your seat in the House as representative from Illinois. Isn't it true that your constituents turned against you because of your opposition to the Mexican War?
 
LINCOLN: President Polk had failed to persuade me that war with Mexico was unavoidable, so ...
 
MODERATOR: But look at the results! The United States gained the California and New Mexico territories! Mexico relinquished claims to Texas! If you had known then what we know now, would you still have opposed the war?
 
LINCOLN: We also know that thirteen thousand of our soldiers died in that war, which was initiated before diplomatic solutions had been exhausted.
 
[MR. DOUGLAS CHUCKLES]
 
MODERATOR: Are you saying the United States should not have responded to Mexican aggression?
 
LINCOLN: Many Mexican War veterans have testified that General Taylor's army incited the initiation of conflict ...
 
DOUGLAS: ... blame America first ...
 
MODERATOR: Mr. Douglas?
 
DOUGLAS: Unlike my opponent, I do not believe that all the evils of the world are the fault of Americans. Also unlike my opponent, I support our brave troops who fought honorably in Mexico. What they achieved was a great service to the nation.
 
LINCOLN: I have always supported ...
 
MODERATOR: Time is short, gentlemen, and we have to keep moving. The next question belongs to Mr. Fox.
 
FOX: Mr. Lincoln, in June you made a speech in Springfield in which you said, in reference to the institution of slavery, "A house divided against itself can not stand." Was this a threat to slave property owners?
 
LINCOLN: No, of course not. I said that I do not believe the country can remain as it is, half slave and half free; eventually it will have to be all one thing or all the other. I cannot say how this conflict will be resolved.
 
FOX: Mr. Douglas? Where do you stand on the slavery issue?
 
DOUGLAS: Unlike my opponent, I stand firmly for the rights of property owners to their property. Although my state is not a slave state, I can assure my constituents that I will support slavery, in the states and wherever it might spread in the territories.
 
THEODORE TURNER: Mr. Lincoln, haven't you pledged to abolish slavery?

LINCOLN: I never said that.

TURNER: ... and you want the "house" to unite as a free-soil nation?

LINCOLN: I never said I would abolish slavery. I never said that at all.

I was asked a question about the abolition of slavery, and I answered by saying I am not pledged to abolish slavery in the slave states, or in the District of Columbia. What I have said is that Congress has a right and a duty to prohibit slavery in all the United States Territories.

TURNER: Mr. Douglas, would you care to respond?

DOUGLAS: Thank you. My opponent refuses to take a firm position, but I say it’s simple — either you’re for Southern property rights, or against them …

[APPLAUSE]
 
Why the territories and not the states? You say Congress has a duty to keep slavery out of the territories. But if slavery is wrong in the territories, why is it all right in the states?
 
LINCOLN: May I respond?
 
MODERATOR: You have thirty seconds.
 
LINCOLN: My opinion is based on those powers reserved to the states by the United States Constitution. My personal belief is that slavery is immoral. However, the Constitution does not give the federal government authority to reach into state law ...
 
MODERATOR: [WHISTLE] Time's up, Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Douglas?
 
DOUGLAS: My opponent is a flip-flopper. He says he's against slavery, then he says he supports slavery. People can't trust him to take a clear stand. ..
 
[Here several pages of transcript have been lost, probably from water damage. The next legible part of the transcript is of post-debate commentary.] 
 
FOX: I wonder what the Republican Party was thinking, letting Lincoln run for this Senate seat. Three years ago he won a seat in the Illinois legislature, only to resign 20 days later to run for a Senate seat, and then he dropped out of that race. The guy's a flake.
 
MODERATOR: The Republicans are a new party with no track record of electing candidates. Are we seeing growing pains?
 
TURNER: Maybe so. But if the Republicans can't find some serious candidates, the party won't last another election cycle.
 
FOX: Lincoln is a loser. His friends say he's smart, but we've found people who say he's gone off his rocker in the past -- even threatened suicide -- and as you've seen he just can't seem to get both of his feet on the same side of an issue.
 
TURNER: Some say his real problem is his wife. She's from a family of Kentucky slaveowners ...
 
MODERATOR: You don't say?
 
TURNER: He probably can't come out and say he wants to end slavery without spending ten years in the doghouse.
 
MODERATOR: Do you think Mary Lincoln is a liability?
 
FOX: No question. She's a snotty little shop-a-holic.
 
MODERATOR: Others have said she's a devoted mother and gracious hostess.
 
FOX: But, look, she came from a wealthy family. We know Lincoln married her for her money. But why did she settle for him? He's not much to look at [LAUGHTER] and that accent. Couldn't she find a husband who grew up in civilization, and not the backwoods?
 
MODERATOR: So what's your verdict, gentlemen? Who won this debate?
 
FOX: Oh, Douglas, without a doubt. He drew blood; Lincoln couldn't get a glove on him.
 
TURNER: Agree. Lincoln needs to stick to being a lawyer for rich railroad tycoons.
 
MODERATOR: There you have it, gentlemen. Mr. Douglas looks like the next Senator from Illinois ...
 
[END OF TRANSCRIPT]
 

10:04 am | link

monday, august 16, 2004

Florida, Again?
 
Bob Herbert writes in today's New York Times that state police officers are being used (already!) to intimidate elderly and African-American  citizens from voting.

State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.

The officers, from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which reports to Gov. Jeb Bush, say they are investigating allegations of voter fraud that came up during the Orlando mayoral election in March.

Remarkably, the "random sample" of voters under investigation not only includes mostly black, elderly citizens, but a number of them are active in the Orlando League of Voters. The League has an impressive record of mobilizing black voters.

Remarkable that a "random sample" would have turned out like that, huh?

Yesterday, Molly Ivins reviewed more of Jeb Bush's efforts to keep blacks from voting, such as the "felon" purge that worked so well in 2000.

This year, same song, second verse. Jeb Bush tried to purge 47,000 supposed ex-felons. A Miami Herald investigation of the new list found that it wrongly listed 2,100 people whose right to vote had already been restored through a clemency process.

The Tampa Tribune produced an even more startling discovery: While half of those on this year's list are black, the list contains the names of few Hispanics. Hispanics in Florida tend to be Republican-leaning Cuban-Americans. Gosh, Jeb Bush was just astonished about the no-Hispanics thing -- except that the state had been repeatedly warned about it.

Florida finally withdrew the list on July 11. Then, on July 14, the 1st District U.S. Court of Appeals in Tallahassee ruled that the state must help felons fill out the form that they need to win back the right to vote after serving their time. Instead, Bush eliminated the form.

If it weren't for those pesky voting rights acts that force states to comply with the 15th Amendment, poor Jeb wouldn't have to do all this twisting and turning to steal the Florida vote for his bro'. Such a trial.

8:26 am | link

sunday, august 15, 2004

Bush Lucks Out
 
Between coverage of the Olympics and Hurricane Charley, you'd hardly know there was a war going on in Iraq. Fortunately, Juan Cole is plugging away to bring us actual information. Like the fact that "Thousands of Shiites are streaming toward Najaf in hopes of forming a human shield around Muqtada al-Sadr, according to al-Hayat."
 
No way is this going to turn out well (Fred Kaplan explains why catastrophe is inevitable in Iraq.), but maybe when the crash comes the Phelps kid will get 87 gold medals and dominate news coverage.
 
I was wondering what some of the warbloggers had to say about Iraq. Predictably, not much.
 
Glenn Reynolds is still obsessed with UNscam, which Jeanne d'Arc exposes as a nonstory here. His only acknowledgment of the current crisis is to link to a site which may or may not be that of an anti-Shiite Iraqi. (Didn't the Shiites use to be our friends? . . . Never mind.)
 
Stephen Green of VodkaPundit links to the same Iraqi blogger Glenn Reynolds linked to. I guess it's the only source they could find putting a positive spin on the Najaf crisis. Otherwise, according to VodkaPundit, everything in Iraq is just peachy.
 
Andrew Sullivan lets us know that there are 920 candidates from Najaf competing for seats in the Iraq National Assembly (notice the sloppy writing; Sully appears to locate Najaf in Afghanistan) but says not a word about the fighting there.
 
The only current Iraq news on A Small Victory is about the Iraqi soccer team.
 
My buddy the Nice Doggie seems to be ignoring Iraq entirely.
 
You get the picture.
 
Meanwhile, over at The Nation, Christian Parenti exposes the "good news" about Iraq reconstruction as the fable it is. Short version: Contractors like Bechtel and Halliburton are lining their pockets with taxpayer money but somehow Iraq is not getting reconstructed. Do read the article (you don't have to be a subscriber) to get the details. They makes the UNscam allegations, even if true, look like peanuts.
 
Elsewhere in the news: Thomas Oliphant explains why the Dems won't (and shouldn't) fight the nomination of Peter Goss to run the CIA.
 
Kevin Drum explains John Kerry's position on Iraq.
 

7:49 am | link


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The Loyalties of George W. Bush

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"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

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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.

[Mark Twain, 1905]

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