Thursday, September 30, 2004

Politics: The "Debate"

Mitch Albom said it best on the radio on the way home today; "With all these restrictions, this event could take place with one candidate in this city, and the other guy in another country. How can you call this a debate? It's a joint press conference."

I'm not sure whether I'll get to watch live tonite or not (ask my two-year-old if she'll let me), but at this point I almost don't even care. There is some suspense as to which persona or style each guy will employ tonite, but other than that, I don't have very high expectations.

We've likely heard it all before...

Monday, September 27, 2004

Politics: I Know What CBS Stands For...

Complete BullShit.

Fire Dan Rather? Screw that, fire the whole damn news department. Anyone associated with this decision needs to find a new line of work:
The Story That Didn’t Run
Here’s the piece that ‘60 Minutes’ killed for its report on the Bush Guard documents
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
Updated: 5:24 p.m. ET Sept. 22, 2004

In its rush to air its now discredited story about President George W. Bush’s National Guard service, CBS bumped another sensitive piece slated for the same “60 Minutes” broadcast: a half-hour segment about how the U.S. government was snookered by forged documents purporting to show Iraqi efforts to purchase uranium from Niger.

The journalistic juggling at CBS provides an ironic counterpoint to the furor over apparently bogus documents involving Bush’s National Guard service. One unexpected consequence of the network’s decision was to wipe out a chance—at least for the moment—for greater public scrutiny of a more consequential forgery that played a role in building the Bush administration’s case to invade Iraq.

[...] But just hours before the piece was set to air on the evening of Sept. 8, the reporters and producers on the CBS team were stunned to learn the story was being scrapped to make room for a seemingly sensational story about new documents showing that Bush ignored a direct order to take a flight physical while serving in the National Guard more than 30 years ago.

Okay, set aside the complete bungling of the Bush/National Guard memo story and its questionable sources/evidence. What jackass at CBS decided that it was more important to air a basically irrelevant story about a thirty year old string-pulling for George W. Bush, instead of exposing what may be the most damaging blow to the credibility of the Administrations case for the war we are in right now, and soldiers are dying in right now, and the current election can actually effect!!?? Even if both stories were backed up by ironclad, indiputable evidence including video confessions by President Bush, they still chose the wrong story to air. What does it take for people (Terry McAuliffe I'm looking at you) to understand that the the National Guard story is a nice appetizer, but the Niger documents are the fucking main course? This is the story that matters!
“This is like living in a Kafka novel,” said Joshua Micah Marshall, a Washington Monthly contributing writer and a Web blogger who had been collaborating with “60 Minutes” producers on the uranium story. “Here we had a very important, well-reported story about forged documents that helped lead the country to war. And then it gets bumped by another story that relied on forged documents.”

Some CBS reporters, as well as one of the network’s key sources, fear that the Niger uranium story may never run, at least not any time soon, on the grounds that the network can now not credibly air a report questioning how the Bush administration could have gotten taken in by phony documents. The network would “be a laughingstock,” said one source intimately familiar with the story.

Heads up, CBS, your network is a laughingstock. Shelving another viable news story because you blew a different one is not going to help you regain credibility. If you don't have the balls to run the Niger story, give it to someone else—or padlock your news department. It's now worthless.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum sums it up perfectly:
So not only was Dan Rather (with an assist from Bill Burkett) responsible for effectively killing the National Guard story for all time, but the resulting debacle has now convinced CBS that they shouldn't air any negative stories about George Bush for the next six weeks — even if they're true. That's some courageous journalism for you.

If this is the liberal media, conservatives can have it.

And Atrios:
One wonders if CBS will realize that two wrongs do not actually make a right. I guess they've bought into the New Journalism, in which the facts themselves are partisan, and thus shouldn't be reported.

AMERICABlog has links and contacts to let CBS know how you feel. Go to the comments (below) to read the email I sent...

Politics: Hey O'Reilly, Spin this...

From the John Stewart interview on the "O'Reilly Factor":
O'REILLY: OK. You know what's really frightening?


O'REILLY: You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary.

STEWART: If that were so, that would be quite frightening.

O'REILLY [classy, as always]: But it is. It's true. I mean, you've got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night, OK, and they can vote.


O'REILLY: You can't stop them.

STEWART: Yeah, I just don't know how motivated they would be, these stoned slackers.

O'REILLY: Yeah, it just depends if they have to go out that day.

STEWART: What am I, a Cheech and Chong movie? Stoned slackers?

O'REILLY: Come on, you do the research, you know the research on your program.

STEWART: No, we don't.

O'REILLY: Eighty-seven percent are intoxicated when they watch it [whaaa????!!]. You didn't see that?

STEWART: No, I didn't realize that.

O'REILLY: Yeah, we have that there.

Now, I don't know what bullshit "research" O'Reilly was citing...but someone did some real research on the "Daily Show" and smoking dope must make you pretty damn perceptive. From the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Survey:
No Joke: Daily Show Viewers Follow Presidential Race
Sep 21, 2004 12:20 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA -- Viewers of late-night comedy programs, especially The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on the cable channel Comedy Central, are more likely to know the issue positions and backgrounds of presidential candidates than people who do not watch late-night comedy, the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey shows...

...The Annenberg survey found that people who watch The Daily Show are more interested in the presidential campaign, more educated, younger, and more liberal than the average American...“In fact, Daily Show viewers have higher campaign knowledge than national news viewers and newspaper readers -- even when education, party identification, following politics, watching cable news, receiving campaign information online, age, and gender are taken into consideration.”

If "Daily Show" watchers are "stoned slackers," what does that make his viewers? Jackass.

UPDATE: There's a movement afoot to have John Stewart officially endorse Kerry. Sign the petition here if you agree. I personally don't care one way or the other, I think Stewart's opinion is clear, and if an offical "endorsement" lends creedence to call from the right of liberal bias and such, it's not worth it. But the site did offer this link to what is perhaps the best moment in journalism of the last year.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Politics: Powerful

[via Eric Alterman] Novelist E.L. Doctorow:
But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man.

He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the 1,000 dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life . . . they come to his desk as a political liability, which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that, rather than controlling terrorism, his war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice.

He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.

Yet this president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing -- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends.

Read the whole thing here.

Politics: Thank You, President Bush

The best thing to come from Bush's folly with the Gay Marraige Amendment has been the turning of Andrew Sullivan. While he can't seem to quite endorse Kerry, his preference is now clear, and his is a welcome voice from a largely forgotten "moderate" strain of Republican/Conservative. Sullivan's a good writer, and speaks from some good pulpits (the back page of TIME among others). Not everyone who reads Sullivan will realize he's gay and that's primarily why he abandoned Bush, but it doesn't matter. He's not shy about admiting disenchantment with the whole spectrum of Bush's awful policies and offers a nice template to people who are tempted to drop Bush, but aren't sure if they should. Welcome Andrew, we'll take help wherever we can get it.

His blog is chock full of less-shrill-than-those-from-the-Left Bush critiques like this one, and here's a nice column with some valuable advice I hope Kerry follows.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Misc: That'll Teach You to Re-Release 'Peace Train'...

Thank God, Homeland Security is keeping us safe from '70s peace activist, easy listening musicians! A flight from London to D.C. was diverted to Maine when DHS found out Cat Stevens was on board. The name Yusuf Islam (as Stevens is now known) is on the Watch List (seemingly along with any other possible combination of those or similar names--I'm no expert on Islam, but that sounds like the Muslim equivilent of John Smith to me...), so the plane was diverted to the nearest airport en route.
`He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds,'' said Homeland Security spokesman Dennis Murphy. He said the man would be put on the first available flight out of the country Wednesday.

Care to elaborate on that? He's a national security threat? Were his papers not in order? Is he a U.S. citizen? What the hell?

Go read up on the insane ravings of this US-hating threat to civilization as we know

UPDATE: Even the presumably "non-partisan" AUDIO/VIDEO REVOLUTION magazine is fired up about this. they regurgitate the same old story/bio on Islam (Stevens), but throw this bit of op-ed in at the end:
Questions about security on planes still abound. If Islam was on a terrorist watch list for whatever reason – right or wrong – how the hell was he able to board a United flight? Three years after 9/11 and just months after terrorists took out two planes in Russia, airport security is still a pathetic joke that allows terrorists easy access to $50,000,000 missiles filled with fuel and loaded with innocent people. With over 300 billion dollars a year going to fight a war that is proving to be hard to win in Iraq, one wonders what a small fraction of those funds would do to improve airport security and international intelligence?

Pretty much sums up my position. I don't know the particulars with Stevens and any connections he might have to the wrong people, it doesn't matter. The "no-fly list" is a crock. If he's got ties to terrorism, arrest him. Don't just ground him from flying. And if he's on a no-fly list, why the hell did he get to fly? They want to act like this is an example of our bad-ass DHS cracking down, but it really demonstrates what a joke our porous security is.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Politics: Do As I Say

Will Saletan has a good column (it's been a while) up at Slate today. He talks about the contrast between Bush's Guard days and today's Guard, and how Bush is screwing the Guard over much worse now than he did during Vietnam. Go check it out.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Politics: Bush in 1973

Somebody has finally come forward to talk about Bush in 1973! No, not someone from his unit in the TANG, no one can seem to remember him there, but he sure made an impression on his Harvard Business School professor...

Politics/War: Gray Lady Down

(via Atrios) Salon has a bitter indictment of the role the New York Times, and specifically Pulitzer Prize winner-turned-Chalabite hack Judith Miller, played in the deception of the American people leading up tho the War in Iraq. It's called 'Not Fit to Print' and is worth reading if you feel like your blood pressure can handle it. Here's the conclusion:
The fact that Chalabi was able to feed disinformation to America's most widely recognized publication and have it go relatively unchallenged as the electorate was whipped into a get-Saddam frenzy ought to be keeping Times editors awake all night. Nobody wanted a war against Iraq more than Ahmed Chalabi -- and the biggest paper in the U.S. gave it to him almost as willingly as the White House did.

[...]The New York Times wire service distributed Miller's report to dozens of papers across the landscape. Invariably, they gave it prominence. Sadly, the sons and daughters of America were sent marching off to war wearing the boots of a well-told and widely disseminated lie.

Of course, Judy Miller and the Times are not the only journalists to be taken by Ahmed Chalabi. Jim Hoagland, a columnist at the Washington Post, has also written of his long association with the exile. But no one was so fooled as Miller and her paper.

Russ Baker, who has written critically of Miller for the Nation, places profound blame at the feet of the reporter and her paper. "I am convinced there would not have been a war without Judy Miller,"[yikes!] he said.

The introspection and analysis of America's rush to war with Iraq have turned into a race among the ruins. Few people doubt any longer that the agencies of the U.S. government did not properly perform. No institution, however, either public or private, has violated the trust of its vast constituency as profoundly as the New York Times.

I prefer to spread my blame around a little more... but my anger at the times and their lackluster mea culpas since is profound. I expect lies from a President with a clear agenda and a track record of bullshit, I expect the "so-called liberal media" to act as a brake, not a nitrous burst of acceleration.

On an unrelated but also disgraceful note, a Federal judge has ordered Miller to answer a subpeona and reveal the source of conversations that led to the outing of CIA operative or go to jail. Since we'll likely get that name from someone else, I'm hoping Judith holds out (not likely) and spends some unusually unpleasant time behind bars. She's earned it.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Politics/War: Guess Who Said This?

"Whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show our macho? We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying power -- America in an Arab land -- with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous."

Who knew George H.W. Bush was a fortune-teller? That's from a speech in 1998 before veterans from the first Gulf War. It also contained this gem:
"Three times when I was president, I was called upon to make a decision that only the president can make, and it's the toughest decision any president can make ... when you're going to send somebody else's kid into harm's way."

He said that, perhaps because of his own service in the military, the decision was never easy. He said it should never be easy for any commander-in-chief.

Gee, you'd think this guy was working the circuit for Kerry...

What I wouldn't give to trade our "new model" Bush in for this comparatively stellar "old" Bush.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Politics: Barnes-Burner

Why did former Texas Lt. Governor keep quiet all these years after slipping GWB into the Guard? Well, seems he has twenty-three million good reasons...

Forget about typewriters and superscripts, Dan Rather needs to get Barnes back in front of a camera and ask him about this!

UPDATE: Ezra at pandagon is fired up, and wants the word spread on this. The mainstream media will really need to be pushed into covering this story after the blowback CBS got last week.

Politics: We Don't Need No Stinking Judges

Or, It's Good to Know the Governor, Part II.
Florida OK's Nader's Name on Election Ballot
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's name can appear on Florida ballots for the election, despite a court order to the contrary, Florida's elections chief told officials on Monday in a move that could help President Bush in the key swing state.

The Florida Democratic Party reacted with outrage, calling the move "blatant partisan maneuvering" by Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's younger brother, and vowed to fight it.

"I'm in disbelief," said Scott Maddox, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. "This is blatant partisan maneuvering on the part of Jeb Bush to give his brother a leg up on election day."

Purging voter rolls, extending filing deadlines, defying court injunctions... what won't they do for big brother down in JebWorld?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Politics: It's Good to Be King (and to know the Governor...)

President Bush missed the filing deadline to be on the ballot in Florida.
Florida Democratic Party chairman Scott Maddox said he knew the president's certificate of nomination did not reach the state until Sept. 2, but he said he decided not to make an issue of it.

"To keep an incumbent president off the ballot in a swing state the size of Florida because of a technicality, I just don't think would be right," Maddox said.

Somehow I don't think the Republicans would do the same for us in the reverse.

Granted, his inclusion on the ballot as the incumbent President really should be an automatic. But this really says something about the way things operate in Florida. If they bend the rules on this, how are we supposed to trust anything else that goes on during the election? The Republicans knew about this problem in Florida and other states when they planned their Convention to be as late as possible to coincide with the 9/11 Annivesary. They should have had an "offical, behind the scenes" nomination before the Convention to get the paperwork in on time. Or, God forbid, maybe they should have forgotten about capitalizing on a national tragedy and just had the Convention in July when everyone else always has...

Just keep little things like this in mind later on when we hear about recounts, ballot irregularities, votor suppression and roll scrubbing down in Florida...

Baseball: SI Jinx

Man, the Sox are screwed.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Politics: The Bashin' of the Christ

What if Bush were running against Jesus?

Politics: You call that a forgery?

If CBS was going to air a story with fake documents, why not go all the way?

Politics: Don't Assault My Intelligence

Congress Won't Renew Assault Weapons Ban
Friday, Sept. 10, 2004
WASHINGTON — Congress will not vote on an assault-weapons ban due to expire Monday, Republican leaders said yesterday, rejecting a last-ditch effort by supporters to renew it.

"I think the will of the American people is consistent with letting it expire, so it will expire," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.*

The 10-year ban, signed by President Clinton in 1994, outlawed 19 types of military-style assault weapons. A clause directed that the ban expire unless Congress specifically reauthorized it.

Some Democrats and several police leaders said President Bush should try to persuade Congress to renew the ban. Bush has said he would sign such a bill if Congress passed it.**

"If the president asked me, it'd still be no ... because we don't have the votes to pass an assault-weapons ban and it will expire Monday and that's that," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said later.***

DeLay said the ban was "a feel-good piece of legislation" that does nothing to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals.****

Appearing at a news conference, chiefs of police from the District of Columbia, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Seattle predicted an increase in violent gun crimes if the ban expires.

* What country is Frist living in? "Polls show that Americans strongly favor renewing the ban on these weapons. In late 2003 an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 78 percent of adults nationwide expressed support for renewing the federal ban. A University of Pennsylvania National Annenberg Election Survey found in April 2004 that even 64 percent of the people in households with guns favor the law."

** This is total bullshit move by Bush. It allows him to campaign as if he supports the Ban (because he, unlike Frist, realizes that people support it), but behind the scenes he can work to scuttle it. He knows he won't have to sign it because the Republicans in Congress won't put it on his desk. If he really supported it he would push it. He is deliberately sitting idly by as it expires.

*** They don't have the votes because the Republican majority is united on this. The Republicans are overreaching on this one. It is clear that the Americans want this ban renewed, and they are going against the will of the people. I hope it bites them in the ass in November.

**** Just DeLay being his usual a-hole self. What do the nation's police chiefs know about gun crime anyway? Who cares about making the cops "feel good." Those pussies.

Assault weapons have no place in American society. These are military-style weapons, with rapid-fire capabilities and large-capacity magazines capable of holding dozens of rounds of ammunition, not hunting or sporting weapons. They are designed for just one thing: shooting people.

Go NOW to the Stop The NRA site and sign the petition.
Then go to the Brady Campaign site to notify your Congressperson.

[UPDATE]: My sister sent me a transcript of Weasel McClellan trying to cover for the President's bogus position on this the other day. All the lying that guy has to do for these clowns has got to be taking a toll... Check the comments to read the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Politics Fear-Mongering Propaganda: Total Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney is a goddamn maniac.
Cheney Warns Against Vote for Kerry
Cheney Says 'Wrong Choice' of Kerry Risks Terrorist Attack
The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa Sept. 7, 2004 — Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday warned Americans about voting for Democratic Sen. John Kerry, saying that if the nation makes the wrong choice on Election Day it faces the threat of another terrorist attack...

"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told about 350 supporters at a town-hall meeting in this Iowa city.

The curb-job is back on! At least Cheney stopped beating around the bush [ugh] and came right out and said what they've been alluding to all along. I don't get paid to come up with effective responses to shit like this, and I don't have one. I'm so pissed I can barely type straight. Damn.

This is the defining moment, Kerry. You want to be President? Dick Cheney is calling you out. If you, Edwards and the roomful of paid response-writers you have, can't come back and blowtorch the flesh off this evil fucking cyborg of a Vice President, you're gonna lose. And you're gonna deserve it.

Baseball: Yankees are Girlie-Men

The George W Bush's of baseball want a little assistance from the Commissioner's office to hold off the resurgent Red Sox:
Yanks Seek Forfeit Because of Late D - Rays
NEW YORK (AP) -- Tampa Bay's hurricane-delayed trip from Florida had fans waiting for a day doubleheader that became a single night game and had the New York Yankees asking unsuccessfully for the commissioner's office to award them a forfeit victory.

...because the Devil Rays were late leaving Tropicana Field on Monday due to Hurricane Frances, the commissioner's office told the teams to play one game at 7 p.m. and said it would decide later on when to reschedule the second game.

..."The rule states that if your team is here and ready to play, and the other team isn't here and not ready to play, there should be a forfeit, and we believe there should be a forfeit,'' Yankees president Randy Levine said.

...While the Yankees asked to be given a forfeit win for the unplayed game, commissioner Bud Selig has no intention of doing so.

"Given the stage of the season we are in, and the exciting pennant races, it is critical that we do everything to decide the championship on the field,'' he said in a statement.

Maybe Steinbrenner should call James Baker to take care of this.

Politics: Republicans are Wussies Too

James Wolcott has a great little post about liberals and the wimpy-ass horse they (we) rode in on. [my emphasis added]:
If the Freedom Marchers had been as easily a-sceered as today's liberals, they would have looked at the poll numbers favoring segregation and cancelled their bus trip to Mississippi. Labor organizers would never have voted to go on strike for fear of someone taking it the wrong way and complaining to the maitre'd.

Someone once explained to me that the reason modern liberals are such squeamish daffodils is because the Democratic party has detached from its worker roots and has become the party of deskbound yuppies (who, me?)who have been pampered and overprotected ever since they were escorted from the womb.

Perhaps. But it's not as if conservatives are roughneck characters with rugged mileage in their life experience. Their hands are as Palmolive soft as any liberal's as they preciously peck at the computer and die a little each day under the flourescent lights.

He's 100% right. Conservatives aren't any "tougher" than we are, they're just louder and don't care what people think. That's the thing about bullies. Bloody their nose and they go right down. It has never been more true than it is right now. Bush is the ultimate false tough guy, and Kerry is the quintessential liberal who qualifies every stance. Time to put up.

Politics: Best Picture

Well, we'll see if the esteemed members of the Academy have any balls. Michael Moore is nominating "Fahrenheit 9/11" for Best Picture and bypassing the Documentary category...
Moore to Pursue Best Picture Oscar
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Michael Moore says he won't submit ``Fahrenheit 9/11'' for consideration as best documentary at this year's Academy Awards. Instead, he's going for the bigger prize of best picture...

..."For me the real Oscar would be Bush's defeat on Nov. 2,'' Moore told The Associated Press during a phone interview Monday from New York...

...In the midst of the presidential campaign, Moore's announcement is a strategic move for his Oscar campaign. Documentaries and animated films have their own categories, but the conventional wisdom in Hollywood is that those niche awards can limit a film's appeal in the overall best picture class.

Moore said he and his producing partner, Harvey Weinstein, agreed ``Fahrenheit 9/11'' would stand a better chance if they focused solely on the top Oscar.

The best news? Right here. This would be awesome:
Moore also hinted in a recent interview in Rolling Stone he would like the movie to play on television before the presidential election. According to the rules of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, playing on TV would invalidate its contention in the documentary category, but not for best picture. With the movie coming out on DVD Oct. 5, it's not clear whether the TV deal would happen.

Oh, man that would be amazing if he can pull it off. Screw the DVD sales, they've already made a fortune on this film. Get it on the air! I'm not sure how much it would hurt sales anyway. I'm sure it would hurt Blockbuster, but I cannot care about that.

A Sunday October 31st 'Movie of the Week' on a major network would have a tremendous effect on the election. So much so that I cannot imagine a network having the courage to do it. Moore will probably end up on a premium channel (HBO, Showtime, etc.) or perhaps a basic cable USA, TNT instead. Anything that gives further exposure is bad for Bush and good for us. It might not convince everyone to vote for Kerry, but I'm sure it will erode votes from Bush.

Misc: On the Air

It's finally here in Ann Arbor. Air America radio that is. My wife pointed out an ad in sunday's paper for "Ann Arbor's Liberal Talk Radio" and I wondered what that entailed. Well, I checked it out in the car this morning. WLYB 1290 AM is now Air America radio.

Too bad my office is in some kind of radio and cell phone cone of silence...

Monday, September 06, 2004

Politics: White House-cleaning

USA Today has an article speculating what the turnover would be in the Bush Cabinet if he's reelected. Let's hope they're all out on their asses come January, but reading this article just makes me wonder how low are the expectations set and how high is the scandal bar set on these chumps? These are the only people who have "lost" their jobs in this Administration...
Only four Cabinet-level figures - Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, CIA Director George Tenet, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman - have left the administration.

O'Neill, replaced by John Snow, left in December 2002 under fire for a series of media gaffes (Media gaffes? You mean, telling the truth? Being honest about economic news and tax cuts? Loyalty over honesty and public service cost him his job.)and amid tepid economic growth. (Yeah, that was all his fault.)

Tenet cited personal reasons when he resigned earlier this year. But his departure came amid criticism for a variety of intelligence controversies, including the CIA's incorrect prediction that stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq. (Tenet's personal reason was for removal of the sword he volunteered to fall on)

Martinez, who left to run for the Senate in Florida, was replaced by Alphonso Jackson. Whitman also cited family reasons, but was seen as too moderate for the administration's conservative (extreme? radical? corporate rape of the environment?) views on the environment. She was replaced by former Utah governor and anti-environment extremist Mike Leavitt.

Two of those officials (O'Neill and Whitman) were basically forced out for actually trying serve the public by putting the brakes on this Administration's radical agenda, or at least daring to ask questions. Tenet deserved to lose his job long ago, but for some reason Bush stuck by him until he needed a scapegoat this summer, and Tenet stepped up for the chopping. But, Tenet does not really deserve the blame for intel failure as much as the Administration deserves blame for abusing the intel they received. Martinez is really the only guy who left on an "up" note.

The article continues:
The potential staffing jigsaw puzzle is not something administration officials talk about publicly because of its sensitivity, but many believe key Bush advisers such as national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft will be among those who exit.

That's really a who's who list of the Bush cabinet. Who the hell cares about Elaine Chao and whatever cabinet posts are left? More:

The most prominent scenarios:

NSA: Rice has broadly hinted that she will leave her post if Bush is re-elected, but there are no clear indications of what she might do next. Some friends think she'll return to California and pursue a political career there. Others think she would accept a Cabinet post, possibly Defense or State. (By all rights Rice should have been the first person fired for 9/11. She should have been fired again in absentia for her incompetence in the State of the Union / Niger fiasco. The fact that she is considered for promotions, never mind still drawing a paycheck, is astonishing to me. She is emblematic of everything wrong with this Administration. Delegation without any accountability. As far as her future, she shouldn't be trusted to run for dogcatcher, but she'll probably end up the junior Senator from California in a few years...)

Potential successors mentioned most often: Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley (the only person more incompetent than Rice, Hadley is the fool who actually "lost the memo on his desk" about the SOTU address.); Lewis "Scooter" Libby (if he's not in jail for disclosing the identity of a CIA operative), chief of staff to Vice President Cheney; Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz or National Security Council Iraq expert Robert Blackwill (Yeah, those are two guys who've earned a promotion. What exactly have Wolfowitz, Blackwill and the "experts" actually gotten right about Iraq?)

SOS: State Department officials say that Powell is a virtual certainty to leave government along with his chief deputy and longtime friend, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Potential successors mentioned most often: United Nations Ambassador John Danforth, a former Missouri senator; former chief U.S. administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer (another guy who did a bang-up job)and Rice.

DOD: Rumsfeld is viewed as likely to leave, though some administration officials and defense experts say he could hang tough for a while in order to defy Democratic calls for his resignation over the Iraqi prisoner scandal and the Iraq war.

"If he were to leave, his reputation would be tarnished by how badly the Iraq mission has gone," says Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy and military expert at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "To vindicate his place in history and to recover from that setback, there would be a powerful pull for him to stay." (Ah, how noble. Reputation first. National security and country second, if at all.)

Wolfowitz is an unlikely successor, given his unpopularity on Capitol Hill and the likelihood of a bruising Senate confirmation fight. (Then how exactly does he become a likely replacement for Rice?)

Potential successors mentioned most often: Rice, Ridge or Arizona Sen. John McCain.

I was going to go right on down the list, but after the musical chairs of undeserving, incompetent jackasses that will be competing for our country's most vital security positions, it's just to damn depressing / infuriating. If this were Russia, these guys would be manning landfills in Siberia.

How is it that all these clowns, most of which should have long ago lost their jobs if not been brought up on charges, will get a choice to resign to cushy private sector jobs they arranged for themselves while in office or promotions to even more important roles. Each of whom will be replaced by their often more corrupt or incompetent colleagues or assistants.

A special level of Hell reserved for this Administration isn't good enough for me. I want someone to pay for something, sometime while it still matters...

Politics: Bush/Swift Boat Liars Linked

[NOTE: Wrote this 8/20, posting tonite.]

Lead story on
Bush, his family have many ties to Swift Boat vets
Some who now rip Kerry previously praised him

MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 3:06 p.m. ET Aug. 20, 2004

The veterans behind the controversial TV ads that question Sen. John Kerry’s Vietnam war record have extensive ties to President Bush and his family, other high-profile Texas politicians and Bush’s chief political aide — ties that have raised questions about possible illegal coordination between Bush’s re-election campaign and the veterans.

Described as a “web of connections,” the links between the Bushes and the veterans were detailed in a Friday piece in the New York Times that also listed inconsistencies in the veterans' own public statements on their regard for Kerry.

[snip]..."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," the Times reported. "Several of those now declaring Mr. Kerry 'unfit' had lavished praise on him, some as recently as last year.

...Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said the charge that Bush was in league with the group criticizing Kerry’s war record “is absolutely and completely false. The Bush campaign has never and will never question John Kerry’s service in Vietnam.” But the Bush campaign has, in fact, refused to specifically disavow the Swift Boat veteran’s ad.

More from the NY Times front page:
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.

Tied to Bush or not, they're also full of shit...
...on close examination, the accounts of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' prove to be riddled with inconsistencies. In many cases, material offered as proof by these veterans is undercut by official Navy records and the men's own statements...

...Several of those now declaring Mr. Kerry "unfit" had lavished praise on him, some as recently as last year.

In an unpublished interview in March 2003 with Mr. Kerry's authorized biographer, Douglas Brinkley, provided by Mr. Brinkley to The New York Times, Roy F. Hoffmann, a retired rear admiral and a leader of the group, allowed that he had disagreed with Mr. Kerry's antiwar positions but said, "I am not going to say anything negative about him." He added, "He's a good man."

In a profile of the candidate that ran in The Boston Globe in June 2003, Mr. Hoffmann approvingly recalled the actions that led to Mr. Kerry's Silver Star: "It took guts, and I admire that."

George Elliott, one of the Vietnam veterans in the group, flew from his home in Delaware to Boston in 1996 to stand up for Mr. Kerry during a tough re-election fight, declaring at a news conference that the action that won Mr. Kerry a Silver Star was "an act of courage." At that same event, Adrian L. Lonsdale, another Vietnam veteran now speaking out against Mr. Kerry, supported him with a statement about the "bravado and courage of the young officers that ran the Swift boats."

"Senator Kerry was no exception," Mr. Lonsdale told the reporters and cameras assembled at the Charlestown Navy Yard. "He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers."

Those comments echoed the official record. In an evaluation of Mr. Kerry in 1969, Mr. Elliott, who was one of his commanders, ranked him as "not exceeded" in 11 categories, including moral courage, judgment and decisiveness, and "one of the top few" - the second-highest distinction - in the remaining five. In written comments, he called Mr. Kerry "unsurpassed," "beyond reproach" and "the acknowledged leader in his peer group."

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Politics: Bush country?

Good news...after my impromptu survey of yard signs and bumper stickers while in Western and Northern Michigan (supposed Bush country) over a four day weekend, I am pleased to report NO* Bush yard signs vs dozens of Kerry/anti-Bush, and bumper stickers were a Kerry blowout as well.

The local weekly's cover story was the record protest (thousands) that greeted Bush last week in Traverse City. We all know Commander Chickenshit only shows up where he will be warmly recieved, so it seems they miscalculated on that one...

Hopefully an indication Kerry walks away easily with this "battleground state."

There's a glimmer of hope for humanity after all.

* I can hardly belive it myself, I mean, there's a BUSH '04 sign across the street here in "liberal" Ann Arbor... but I swear, I did not see a single one, and we probably drove 700-800 miles.