Monday, August 23, 2004

Politics: Bush vs. Bush

Brilliant. Too bad the real press sucks so hard.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Politics: CIA To Publish SciFi Book!

Are we sure Porter Goss (R-CIA) isn't already in charge? The CIA is about to make it's contribution to the Bush campaign...
WASHINGTON — Having failed to find banned weapons in Iraq, the CIA is preparing a final report on its search that will speculate on what the deposed regime's capabilities might have looked like years from now if left unchecked, according to congressional and intelligence officials.

The CIA plans for the report, due next month, to project as far as 2008 what Iraq might have achieved in its illegal weapons programs if the United States had not invaded the country last year, the officials said.

First installment of Bush's "October Surprise" is this hypothetical piece of speculative fiction. Hopefully enough people get out in front on this to make sure that when this report is released and Dick Cheney starts reading from it every time he crawls out of his hole, it's met with the derision it deserves.

The failure to find stockpiles of banned weapons has been a source of embarrassment to the CIA, as well as to the Bush administration, which made ridding Hussein of illicit arms the main rationale for a preemptive war against Iraq.

For that reason, some officials familiar with the CIA's plans for the final report said they thought it was politically motivated and designed to focus the public's attention on hypothetical future threats.

Ya think?
"The case made by the Bush White House was that [Iraq] was an imminent threat that must be dealt with today," said a senior congressional official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Coming out later and saying [Hussein] would have had the weapons in 2006 or 2008 … is basically a way to justify preemption."

Yeah, the CIA's been right about everything else, why don't we have 'em try and predict the future...?

Further down...
[Former U.S. Chief Weapons Inspector chosen by the CIA to head the Iraq Survey Group] David Kay was critical of the CIA during Senate testimony this week on intelligence reform proposals, saying, "Iraq was an overwhelming systemic failure of the Central Intelligence Agency."

He cited a "broken culture and management" as well as a "breakdown in analytical tradecraft." ...
The CIA disputes such criticism.

Kay is "knowledgeable about some of Iraq's [weapons] programs, but he now sees himself as qualified to make sweeping judgments on national intelligence," said Mansfield, the CIA spokesman.

"We welcome informed, constructive criticism; we could not welcome much of what Kay had to say."

David Kay. Phhfft. What the hell does he know? Of course if David Kay came up with results that the CIA and Bush wanted to hear, he might not have had to resign in disgust over the fiasco of an operation he was heading. I'd say he's more than qualified to offer whatever the hell "sweeping statements" he feels like.

Nah, nothing political going on here. Why else would the CIA be motivated to turn around a report for October that can be used to justify the War and frighten people at the same time. Whereas every report by any Commission that might possibly come up with unfavorable results for Bush has its deadline after November.

At what point does such brazen behavior ever start to cost these guys?

Will Dick Cheney collaborate with the Agency on any upcoming cookbooks?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Politics: Bush Wins Gold Medal in Freestyle Bullshit

At a speech in Beaverton, Ore., last Friday, Bush attached himself to the Iraqi soccer team after its opening-game upset of Portugal. "The image of the Iraqi soccer team playing in this Olympics, it's fantastic, isn't it?" Bush said. "It wouldn't have been free if the United States had not acted."

How is it that I can so vividly picture/hear these statements from our dear President, even though I am just reading it...? You know what I mean, you can imagine the "off-the-cuff", smirky, one-arm lean over the podium, cocky stance that equals "I'm talking out my ass."

Well, his ass was certainly doing the talking. This statement is clearly designed to leave the impression that "thanks to us, the Iraqis have a nice little soccer team there in the Olympics." Well who gives a shit about non-existent weapons of mass destruction as long as we're making the world safe for soccer?! The fact is that Iraq always has been in the Olympics, even under Saddam's regime. Bush's latest campaign ad strays a little closer to the truth on that point:
In those spots, the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan appear as a narrator says, "At this Olympics there will be two more free nations -- and two fewer terrorist regimes."

Oh, they're there as free nations now...I see. Last time those guys were a bunch of terrorist thugs just like their dictator masters? Just like the Russian gymnasts and hockey players in the 80s were actually evil too. The whole point of the Olympics is to leave borders, governments, politics and idealogies aside and let the athletics be the message. Far be it for our President to resist the temptation to politicize the event and take credit for stuff he had nothing to do with. The Iraqi soccer team has an even stronger reaction [my emphasis added]:
"Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," Sadir told through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. "He can find another way to advertise himself."

Ahmed Manajid, who played as a midfielder on Wednesday, had an even stronger response when asked about Bush's TV advertisement. "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?" Manajid told me. "He has committed so many crimes."

...they also find it offensive that Bush is using their team for his own gain when they do not support his administration's actions in Iraq. "My problems are not with the American people," says Iraqi soccer coach Adnan Hamad. "They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are shootings on the road?"

"I want the violence and the war to go away from the city," says Sadir, 21. "We don't wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away."

Manajid, 22, who nearly scored his own goal with a driven header on Wednesday, hails from the city of Fallujah. He says coalition forces killed Manajid's cousin, Omar Jabbar al-Aziz, who was fighting as an insurgent, and several of his friends. In fact, Manajid says, if he were not playing soccer he would "for sure" be fighting as part of the resistance.

"I want to defend my home. If a stranger invades America and the people resist, does that mean they are terrorists?" Manajid says. "Everyone [in Fallujah] has been labeled a terrorist. These are all lies. Fallujah people are some of the best people in Iraq."

Just some more grateful flower-tossing by the Iraqis. I hope Bush doesn't show up for the Medal Ceremony if the Iraqis get that far, he'll leave it walking sorta funny.

UPDATE: Watching the ad, you'd think George W. Bush has been President since 1972, spreading Democracy all around the world, "In 1972, there were 40 democracies in the Olympics -- now there are 120..." And of course the swimmers featured are all white. Maybe you'd consider branching out and featuring a more international selection of athletes? I also notice the ad uses the old Iraqi flag, not the spiffy new crypto-Israeli/UN flag we forced on them this past spring...

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Links: Worth checking out

Paul Krugman is rightfuly worried about the integrity of the election in Florida.

Check out The Brains Thing by Matthew Yglesias. Three years of watching Bush makes the point: Intelligence matters more than “character.”

A great column on the striking down of the gay marraiges in San Francisco - lost the battle, but the war will be another story. Such a good column, I'll have to break it down further later on, plus, I still want to comment on Mayor Newsome's great speech as well.

Josh Marshall has an interesting analogy for looking at the pre-War debate -- baseball.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Politics: Kerry Brings Knife to Gunfight

That liberal media keeps helping Kerry out. USA Today headline on my homepage this morning:
Cheney slams Kerry's 'sensitive' war plea
Fri Aug 13, 7:11 AM ET
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY

Vice President Cheney mocked Sen. John Kerry's promise that he would lead a "more sensitive" war on terrorism Thursday.

"America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes [except me and my cabal of neocons, who have a few more lined up after our current war of choice], but not a one of them was won by being sensitive," Cheney, picking up the traditional running-mate role of leading attacks, said while campaigning in Dayton, Ohio.

"President Lincoln and General Grant did not wage sensitive warfare, nor did President Roosevelt, nor Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur," Cheney said.

"A 'sensitive war' will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans [as Jon Stewart pointed out, "Neither will invading Iraq."]," he said. "The men who beheaded Daniel Pearl and Paul Johnson will not be impressed by our sensitivity."

Last week, Kerry, speaking at a convention of minority journalists, said, "I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history."

Cheney said, "As our opponents see it, the problem isn't the thugs and murderers that we face, but our attitude. Well, the American people know better. ... Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. They need to be destroyed."

Kerry, asked by reporters in California to respond to Cheney's remarks, said [should have unloaded on Kerry, but instead gave this weak-ass response], "It's sad that they can only be negative. They have nothing to say about the future vision of America."

Phil Singer, a spokesman for Kerry's campaign, said the Democratic nominee's word had been taken out of context. He also noted that Bush once said America should be "sensitive about expressing our power and influence."

Ten senior military officials issued a statement saying, "George Bush and Dick Cheney have chosen to take their campaign to the gutter. We call on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to stop the irresponsible personal attacks and tell us where they want to take the country." The group was led by retired admiral William Crowe, who was chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. In June, Crowe signed a statement criticizing Bush's Iraq policy.

Retired general Wesley Clark, who ran against Kerry for the Democratic presidential nomination, issued a statement saying, "Today, Dick Cheney took the lowest road in politics - it was a cheap shot unworthy of the office of vice president."

First of all, that headline is complete bullshit. "Cheney slams Kerry's 'sensitive' war plea." I like the way Cheney gets "Slam" and Kerry (that effete French pussy) gets "plea." There was no fucking "plea" about Kerry's statement. He was assertive. Using the patented thumb-pointing fist-pump, Kerry assailed the President and announced how he would run the War differently. Never was he crying to his audience, whimpering "I wish big, mean President Bush would take it easy on these terrorists, he can catch more flies with honey..." But that's what that headline would have you believe. And you better read down past four paragraphs of Cheney's crap before you get Kerry's complete quote, and you'll get no real description or context for it, even then.

Kerry and the Democrats need to start going "nuke-u-lar" on this crap. If Kerry himself needs to stay above the fray somewhat , I'll accept that, but only if somebody else of prominence is going to get down in the gutter with Cheney and give him a curb-job (watch 'American History X' if you don't know what I mean). **

Here's the problem. You want to run on "hope" and "positive message for America's future." That's great. But, if you're going to choose Mr. Nice Guy as your VP, you need somebody out there hitting back. Putting your arms up isn't good enough. I don't want Phil "Who the fuck am I?" Singer, one of a team of interchangeable spokesnobodies offering the response to Dick Fucking Cheney. He's the sitting Vice President, and he just took a cheap shot at you. Hit back, hard, and with a fist people know. If Kerry won't say it (and Edwards can't), than Wes Clark needs to. Something like this:
"Only a man who's never been anywhere a battlefield would say something like that. It takes more than tough talk. It takes more than indiscriminant fire, and it takes more than military superiority to win this War on Terror.

John Kerry understands that we need to use every resource and every ally to be successful. It takes resolve, it takes strategy, it takes planning and even more planning. It takes alliances and diplomacy. To win this War on Terror does take sensitivity.

We are an occupying force in a foreign land. We need to be sensitive to the vast majority of innocent people who have to live in a battle zone chosen by this President. You cannot burn the village in order to save it. You cannot "Kill 'em all, and let God sort 'em out." This is hard work for our soldiers, sorting out who your enemy is in a foriegn land is sensitive work.

John Kerry learned those lessons, the hardest way possible. Under fire. Fearing for his life and for the lives of his men. On the battlefield. John Kerry is ready to win this War, John Kerry knows how to do it, and how to do it right. It's east to talk tough in front of a carefully-vetted audience of supporters, but if President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Rumsfeld and all the rest, aren't prepared to do the hard work, the delicate work, and the sensitive work, they should never have started this War."

Or something. Kick some fucking ass. When Cheney takes a swing at you, you grab a pool cue and teach him a lesson.

This isn't fisticuffs, this is a streetfight, and it's only August. We cannot be content to let Bush and Cheney dictate the news cycle with this front-page garbage, while we sit back content with page A12 editorial responses.

If you want the American public to believe you can defend the country as well as the Republicans, start by effectively defending yourself.

[UPDATE] I just found Clark's complete statement, and it was pretty good, but it needs to be front and center on the news not hidden on the Kerry website. Kerry, Clark and every possible Dem capable of making it (ie: served in the military) needs to be shouting this stuff to the rooftops. That's what the Republicans do. They assign a talking point and send out the army of loudmouths to bludgeon the press with it. Stop bringing a knife to a gunfight.

**[UPDATE] Yikes. I just stumbled into 'American History X' on IFC, literally during the exact scene I referenced above. Suffice to say, it is one of the most disturbing moments of screen violence I can think of, and I just want to state, clearly, that I was speaking colorfully and rhetorically, and it was probably a bit too gruesome to be so callously tossed in there as an analogy for fighting back against the Right. Good God...

Friday, August 13, 2004

Politics: Rumsfailed

(via Eschaton) Yet more extraordinary incompetence and failure from the Bush Administration on the morning of 9/11. This time from Mr. Twin Cobra Fist himself.
How is it that civilians in a hijacked plane were able to communicate with their loved ones, grasp a totally new kind of enemy and weaponry and act to defend the nation's Capitol, yet the president had "communication problems" on Air Force One and the nation's defense chief didn't know what was going on until the horror was all over?

Politics: Bush: "Oh Crap!"

This isn't telling me anything I didn't already know, but there are apparently still some folks who believe his bullshit. Bush can't be happy that his tax scam is getting exposed by his own Congress before the election. As kos points out:
This isn't a study by a left commie pinko outfit. It's a non-partisan government agency working for the Republican Congress and run by a Republican economist. How does the Bush campaign respond? By pointing out that Democrats requested the report.

Good thing his brother ordered up that hurricane to blow it off the headines... Ha ha ha. Seriously, it's another one of those bad news / late Friday announcements. Get back to me next week if it still has legs in the "liberal" media.

More here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Politics: The Boss

Bruce Springsteen kicks ass!

Well, the new politically active Bruce, anyway.

I've never been the biggest Springsteen fan. I've got no problem with him, and I like much of his music, but I just never caught the fever or grasped the intense obsession of his fans (same for the Dead among others). I've gone as far as to say he's overrated. That's certainly an unfair comment stemming more from my ignorance and lack of appreciation of Springsteen than an actual analysis of his talent or contributions to music.

I have a lot of respect for an artist willing to take a chance and alienate some of his fans to stand up for something he thinks is important. And I'm happy that it's coming from a guy as articulate as Springsteen. His NYT Op-Ed is a must-read. Since the above link will probably turn into a pay-to-read archive after a while, I am going to paste the letter into the comments.

Am I gonna go see him on tour? No. But I think I owe his music another shot. Going to the library to grab some CDs on the way home today.

[UPDATE] Did those "liberals" at Nightline edit Bruce in his interview with Ted Koppel to tone down his endorsement of Kerry/Edwards? Sure seems like it. Robert Mackey has the short version at Altercation here. Long version at his own blog here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Politics: National Bushit Month

Just in time for this year's election [it's official]:
National Preparedness Month-September 2004

Throughout September 2004, the US Department of Homeland Security, American Red Cross, American Prepared Campaign, the National Association of Broadcasters, the US Department of Education and other partners, will host a series of events to highlight the importance of citizen emergency preparedness.

During National Preparedness Month, coalition partners will promote the basic steps all Americans can take to prepare for emergencies through a variety of activities. You are encouraged to heighten your awareness and preparedness. For a good resource on personal and family readiness, visit, or Great information is available and should be accessed to Get a Kit, then Make a Plan and Be Prepared.

Should you have any questions about personal preparedness and also what GSA is doing to help this agency be prepared, contact your regional Emergency Coordinator or the Office of Emergency Management at (202) 501-0012.

No, the Department of Homeland Security "doesn't do politics" at all. Here is their press release on this Propaganda Bonanza.

Crap like this makes it nearly inpossible to believe there is ever any motive that's not pure politics (as opposed to, say, actual policy) coming from this Administration. Oh, and I'm glad to see the Democrat's Ranking Sucker Sen. Joe Lieberman is along for the parade.

This Modern World hits it on the head:
This is transparently a continuation of the Bush campaign by other means, financed with everyone's tax dollars, out of funds that could be used, say, to hire more actual first-responders, Pushtun translators, or troops to replace the exhausted guardsmen.

Bush should be called out on this, and now, by journalists, by the Kerry campaign, and by everyone who prefers actual security over campaign propaganda.

The media's gonna eat this shit up. The only way Bush could get more free publicity is for him to link Scott Peterson to al queda.

Oh, and before Tom Ridge resigns due to extreme financial hardship, I need to say I'm going to miss having the old b/w Superman as Mr. Homeland Security. Faster than a speeding bullet.. No wonder we haven't had any attacks.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Politics: President Sitcom

Keep in mind that this is not a stand-up routine, and the laughter you'll hear is actually a roomful of reporters laughing at the President as he fumbles his way through a non-answer to a serious question.


Politics: Swift Boat Vets Counterpoint

I'm combining [and adding to] two comments from a thread at Digby's into the perfect response to all this Swift Boat Vets Against Kerry nonsense:
Kerry volunteered, he went, he served [two tours of duty], he got wounded [three times] and earned a Silver Star for Bravery. He then came home to try and tell the truth about the war, risking his war-hero political capital.

Bush got every possible advantage [skipped to the front of a waiting list for a guaranteed safe stateside unit], and then went AWOL [blowing a million dollars worth of pilot training], and avoided all consequences.

If someone can explain why I should think about it any other way, I'd love to hear it.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Politics: President Flip-Flop

"Today, because America and our coalition helped to end the violent regime of Saddam Hussein, and because we're helping to raise a peaceful democracy in its place, the American people are safer. (Applause.)" Remarks by the President on the War on Terror, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The speech. Analysis.

"We're still not safe," said Bush, who was spending the weekend at his family's oceanfront compound in Maine to attend the wedding of his nephew, George P. Bush, the son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Wait a sec... I thought only Democrats had ritzy oceanfront family compounds.

I'm a war president.  I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind.  Again, I wish it wasn't true, but it is true." President Bush, “Meet The Press With Tim Russert” The Oval Office, February 7, 2004

Bush: 'I Want to Be the Peace President'
Tue Jul 20, 4:37 PM ET - CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (Reuters) - After launching two wars, President Bush said on Tuesday, "I want to be the peace president," and took swipes at his Democratic rivals for being lawyers and weak on defense.

With polls showing public support for the war in Iraq in decline, the Republican president cast himself as a reluctant warrior as he campaigned in the battleground state of Iowa against Democrat John Kerry and his running mate, former trial lawyer [and current Senator? Former Presidential rival? Damn liberal media...] John Edwards. Bush lost the state in 2000 by only a few thousand votes.

"The enemy declared war on us," he told a re-election rally. "Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president."

Now, in fairness to Bush, he did "reluctantly" claim the mantle of 'War President' both times. Even when bragging about it on MTP, he "wishes it wasn't true." Of course we all know he thanks Karl Rove for the War strategy every night, and this is all they have to run on. But alternately trumpeting yourself as the 'War' or 'Peace' President based on polls or the news from Iraq is a pretty dubious. And then, in the same speech, he goes back to this well again...
Despite a surge in attacks in Iraq and U.S. warnings that al Qaeda is plotting another major strike, Bush said U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had already made America safer, and that his re-election would let him finish the job.

"For a while we were marching to war. Now we're marching to peace. ... America is a safer place. Four more years and America will be safe and the world will be more peaceful," Bush said.

Well, give it a couple weeks, because we're not safe anymore, and he's the "War President" again.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Politics: Welcome to Citicorp, Mrs. First Lady

Great post on the Terror warnings. My agreement is wholehearted.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Politics: Does Bush Really Want to Go There?

After a slow start, Matthew Yglesias' column at The American Prospect offers some devasting responses to Bush's latest strategery: attacking John Kerry on his Senate record and supposed lack of accomplishments.

I'm excited Bush and Rove have already decided to abandon the logic that the incumbent should be able to run on his own record, not against his challenger's. This plays perfectly into Kerry and the Dems portrayal of the republicans as the negative campaigners.

"After 19 years in the United States Senate, my opponent has had thousands of votes, but very few signature achievements." says Bush, with his wierd cocky hunch over the podium and trademark smirk.

Yglesias counters:
Which is not to say that Kerry's been doing nothing all this time. Many of those thousands of votes were important. And Kerry's made some tough -- and correct -- calls on controversial issues like the Graham-Rudman deficit reduction bill, the 1993 budget deal, and the 1996 welfare reform act, all of which were controversial within his party and often unpopular in his home state... Kerry was one of a very small number of senators with the guts to vote against the appalling Defense of Marriage Act; did some solid work on investigative committees in the 1980s... was a key player [with John McCain--Mr F.] in normalizing relations with Vietnam... Last but by no means least, one can leap to Kerry's defense by noting that major accomplishments are rather rare (that's what makes them major) so having "very few" of them isn't all that surprising.

You want to talk Intelligence? It is the buzzword these days:
[Bush says] Kerry "has no record of reforming America's intelligence-gathering capacity?" Maybe, but at least he hasn't spent years leaning on the intelligence community to overstate Iraq's WMD capacity, then misstating the community's findings, then trying to blame the problem on the CIA, then getting duped by his Secretary of Defense into actively obstructing intelligence reform. But to call attention to the president's record of letting his intellectual failings and the fanaticism and corruption of his advisors endanger the lives of people all across the world is to be a bit too kind.

Then Matt opens a can of Whoop-Ass and just pours it all over the President:
"While John Kerry was serving as an officer in the United States Navy, leading men in a shooting war and winning an armful of medals in the process, Bush was a male cheerleader and fraternity president at Yale. He later went on to use family connections to land a spot in the Air National Guard, duty from which he took ample time off to run losing political campaigns. Kerry became a leader in an influential movement, a candidate for office, a successful prosecutor, the Lieutenant Governor of a medium-sized state, and then a U.S. senator during a period when Bush was letting alcoholism nearly wreck his marriage, doing something with drugs he refuses to answer questions about, and running a variety of businesses into the ground, losing his dad's friends a bundle of money in the process.

Kerry didn't do much as a senator besides read bills other people wrote and decide how to vote on them. The president, meanwhile, doesn't read the newspaper. Or his daily intelligence briefings. Or the reports of government commissions. Not even the executive summaries!"

Ouch! As both Bush and Kerry like to say, "Bring It On!"

Misc: EW's 12 Completely Forgettable Movie Lines

Entertainment Weekly has 'Top 12 Best Movie Lines Ever' as chosen by Rob Reiner. Well, no, actually chosen by a reader survey, but since the first four are inexplicably all from 'The Princess Bride' I figure he must have been stuffing the ballot box or the sample for this poll consisted of the movie's cast... I'll let the "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." line stay. But the best line in that movie is this exchange with Cary Elwes/Andre the Giant, "No more rhymes now, I mean it." "Anybody want a peanut?"

The rest of the list is atrocious. I mean, Anna Chlumsky in 'My Girl' makes the cut?

The EW Editors then add five of their own, and go (maybe) 3 for 5. The lines from 'On the Waterfront' and 'The Graduate' are a given.

If I were making this list it would be half from 'Midnight Run' and 'The Outlaw Josey Wales', but that's just me. But for classic lines, where's 'Dirty Harry' or 'The Godfather' or 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Gone With the Wind' for crissakes? An awful job all around.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Politics: Esquire - Bush, Yay or Nay?

Ron Reagan has an op-ed column in the new Esquire, and he unloads both barrels at Bush. He then drops the shotgun and picks up a machine gun and just holds the trigger... The excellent Tom Junod takes on the task of making 'The Case For George W. Bush'. With Esquire's tiny text format, and the excessive length of the pieces, both are tedious reads at times, but worth checking out.

Esquire might still be the best magazine out there. I sure thought so four or five years ago, but I stopped buying/subscribing to Esquire a couple years ago, partly just the subscription running out, but mostly because its great articles and writing were being packaged with Maxim photo shoots and other crap. The David Granger era has produced magazines that are too damn good for me to throw out, featuring the very best authors and commentators alive - but he (or his bosses) has sadly sold-out to the lad magazine, sex sells mentality of much lesser competition. Sigh.

Politics: Take That Berger Off the Grill

I never got around to the whole flap about Sandy Berger smuggling top secret documents to al queda in his socks... Seriously, in the interest of fairness and balance, I meant to follow-up on that and take Berger to task for his actions, as I surely would have been all fired up if Condi Rice did the same thing.

Well, it look like I missed my opportunity, because it was all much ado about nothing. The Wall Street Journal (whose Editorial Page lit and stoked this story) reports:
Officials looking into the removal of classified documents from the National Archives by former Clinton National Security Adviser Samuel Berger say no original materials are missing and nothing Mr. Berger reviewed was withheld from the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Several prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, have voiced suspicion that when Mr. Berger was preparing materials for the 9/11 Commission on the Clinton administration's antiterror actions, he may have removed documents that were potentially damaging to the former president's record.

The conclusion by archives officials and others would seem to lay to rest the issue of whether any information was permanently destroyed or withheld from the commission.

Berger still has to answer for some notes and copies that should never have left the review room, but as far as any obstruction or nefarious wrong-doing as implied by the Republicans, he's free and clear. The fact tht he didn't actually steal or destroy anything just sort makes the whole thing even more unusual... Was it an honest mistake as he said all along? With no apparent motive, it might seem so. You really have to wonder what the hell he was thinking, or was he thinking at all? Either way, I don't think Berger will be getting too many jobs dealing with classified info or national security anymore.

Politics: That's Rich

Forbes has a little article on the richest U.S. Presidents. The headline proclaims that "Kerry Would Be Third-Richest U.S. President." In the article it acknowledges that Bush is also rich, but fails to mention, or show in the accompanying graphic (which only shows the Top Five) where he places on the list.

You need to click the a link to watch a slideshow of biographies, there you'll find out Bush is the 10th-Richest President. I wonder how he scrapes by...

In a related story of struggling public servitude, Tom Ridge is considering resigning and entering the private sector so he can pay to send his two kids to college. As a Cabinet Secretary, Ridge makes $175,000 a year and he can't figure out how to pay for college!!?? Just more proof that Republicans either don't know how to handle money or they are completely out of touch wtih the plight of average Americans. Take your pick.

Politics: With friends like the NYT...

With favorable coverage from the "liberal media" like this, Kerry can't lose (link via Digby):
Mr. Kerry borrowed from Mr. Reagan's eulogy at his father's funeral in confronting what he suggested was Mr. Bush's attempt to draw differences between the senator and the president on values and religion.

"In this campaign, we welcome people of faith: America is not us and them," he said. "I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my religion on my sleeve.

"But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday,'' he said. "I don't want to claim that God is on our side.''

That's it. The second, and important, part of that statement is left out of the article. People who watched (or remember a President named Lincoln) know the rest:
"As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side."

That creative editing comes form the New York Times main political writer (hack) and thorn in Kerry's side, Adam Nagourney. Way to chop the quote to make Kerry look like some kind of God-hatin' athiest Commie. It's like not giving you the punchline for a joke, but worse, because Nagourney doesn't let on that your missing anything. They don't even give Kerry the benefit of an elipsis at the end to let you know he continued speaking.

Just remember this the next time somebody's bitchin' about the so-called liberal media. There is no liberal bias in terms of coverage of the Presidential race. It's in every media outlet's interest to keep this race close, and to knock down anyone who gets too far ahead. They won't even let Kerry bask in the actual content of his speech, never mind any glow...

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Baseball: Nomar No-more

I'm having a hard time sorting all of this out.

Let me start out by saying that the Matt of a few years ago would be really fired up one way or the other about the Sox trading away his favorite player. But in the whirlwind of a baby, new job, marriage, home ownership and just getting older there's less time in my life and room in my brain / heart for baseball these days. I simply can't follow it the same way anymore. Too much going on. I got right back into it last year during the playoffs, but after the crushing loss to the Evil Empire in the ALCS, it's just not the same for me anymore.

From my somewhat not-fully-informed-this-season standpoint, I don't think the Sox got enough back for Nomar. Trading away one of the Big Three (really Four, now) Shortstops for two guys each hitting .246 doesn't exactly knock me out. Matt Clement or Bret Boone might've made me feel a little better.

Cabrera had a nice season (last year) but he's a free agent, we coulda just signed him if Nomar left. Mientkiewicz (you better believe I copy-and-pasted that one) has a slick glove, but we already have two first basemen. And is leather at first really what's gonna push this team past the Yankees?

Maybe Nomar's damaged goods, maybe his situation's been a distraction in the clubhouse. One could argue he needed to be dealt, I suppose. Sports Guy's been down on Nomar all season, see here and here, but no official reaction to the trade from him yet. He's obviously been paying more attention than I have, so I'll be curious what he thinks.

There's just a natural disappointment when one of the guys you think will play his whole career for your team, doesn't. I'm not pissed at the Sox (yet), but I don't have tremendous sympathy for Nomar either. I mean, he did turn down $60 million to put himself in this position.

So, another one of my jerseys becomes a relic of a bygone era (my Nomar road jersey will look nice in the closet next to my Mo Vaughn and Bledsoe jerseys... and please, don't even remind me that I own a Ken Caminiti jersey...) What am I gonna wear when the Sox come to Detroit next week?

The other bygone era is the one where I have the disposable income to be dropping $140 a pop on jerseys. On the plus side, because of that era I already own a blank Cubs home jersey...

UPDATE 8/03: Bill Simmons finally has a column up on the trade.