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August 06, 2004

Oil at record highs; job growth 86% below expectations

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

In Bush's words, the economy has turned a corner.

So did John Dillinger.

How Dr. Evil bought a U.S. president for... one million dollars, then armed our enemies while the White House looked the other way

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

OK, this might sound nuts to people who don't know what a player Sun Myung Moon really is. So let's back up for a second.

He's no Rupert Murdoch, but a Moonie-run company does give him control over the Washington Times, UPI, Insight magazine, and several other publications, and in that capacity (as Atrios pointed out the other day) this means the self-proclaimed Messiah has Andrew Sullivan, Jonah Goldberg, and a host of other right-wing pundits on his payroll.

Moon also paid millions of dollars to George H.W. Bush when he embarked on a Moon-sponsored speaking tour shortly after leaving the White House. (Bush was apparently OK with working for a guy who would call America "Satan's harvest;" ironically, Moon may be the only enemy of the U.S. who actually does hate us specifically for our freedom. And the bastards try to smear John Kerry as having foreign influences...)

Matter of fact, Moon's pull is such that a few months ago, he actually got a mind-blowing coronation ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, attended by a bunch of not-too-bright, possibly evil-minion members of Congress.

(For regular updates on Moon's rise to evil-overlord status, check in with John Gorenfeld regularly. The North Korean propaganda poster, in which a soldier takes arms with the U.S. Capitol in the crosshairs, is particularly fine summer reading.)

So how big of a news topic would it be if a self-proclaimed enemy of the United States had the president's father on his payroll? Apparently, none.

And how big of a scandal would it be if Jane's Defense Weekly reported this week that the nuclear missile technology this bug-brained maniac sold to North Korea potentially poses a grave security risk to the United States -- all while the White House seems to have simply looked the other way?

Our friends over at FAIR think it's a big deal. In an email just now, one of their higher-ups compared it to Iran-Contra. But if you think about it, that didn't result in the creation of a direct menace to the United States. This is arguably much, much bigger.

In short: convicted felon with a declared hatred of the United States buys widespread influence, then sells nuclear technology to another avowed enemy, endangering the United States, while the president acts like there's no problem.

In a sane world, the impending scandal would discredit the entire Bush crime family for good.

Needless to say, you ain't gonna see this on Fox.

Maybe Robert Greenwald's crew will take on Rev. Moon one of these days...

Outfoxed

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Just returned from a sneak preview of Outfoxed, the exposé of Fox News directed by Robert Greenwald.

See it. It's good. I've been deconstructing media for part of my living for almost twenty years, and there were a few things that surprised even me.

If it's not shown in your area, you can order it for ten bucks on DVD and share it with a few friends. Check out the take action page, too.

Incidentally, that page lists one of the film' partners as the Consumers Union, the folks behind Consumer Reports magazine. I mention this because it's an instant rebuttal to the inevitable charge that the movie is serving some liberal bias. Nope; it's a truth-in-advertising, consumer protection, public interest agenda, even if a number of liberals are involved.

Lying to a news consumer is no more honest or defensible than lying to a consumer of medicines, safety equipment, or baby food. Fox News is a reckless, dishonest, corporate scam artist. And it's time the rest of America starts treating them that way.

Getting Outfoxed in front of numerous eyeballs is good start.

--------------------

August 05, 2004

Limping along

Just want to say thanks to Bob Harris for his continuing contributions to this site. As most of you know, I moved to a new city last month, and then three weeks later took a week off to go to Boston. So I'm still working out a lot of the basic details of my new life, which hasn't left me a lot of time for blogging.

Hideous liars

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

A day late on these, but still, if you haven't heard:

Florida she-demon Katherine Harris (to whom I am not related, but who comes to mind whenever the clown-disease episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force is on) decided to act all in-the-loop during a speech, talking about her classified knowledge of a terror plot in Carmel, Indiana. Oops. Security breach. Very bad -- except it seems fairly clear that she, in the words of Kos, just made shit up to look like one of the cool kids.

Given that, as In These Times makes clear, the gang Katherine wants to ride with makes shit up on a regular basis, blowing through scores of billions of dollars and destabilizing much of the planet, this can't be a surprise.

And it's official: while Dick Cheney was in charge, Halliburton wildly misreported its income, issued "materially misleading" financial statements, and led police on a nationally-televised ten-hour chase through nine states, culminating in a boozed-up Cheney running out of gas near Galveston, dashing in his underwear through a series of back alleys, and finally, surrounded by SWAT units and helicopters, sprawling on the pavement, inexplicably shouting "I am the eggman! Executive privilege! I am the eggman!" before being placed on 24-hour blown-stent watch in the Huntsville supermax.

OK, I made that last part up. But the first two happened. The third would just be really, really appropriate.

Cheney's lawyer, however, insists his "conduct as C.E.O. of Halliburton was proper in all respects," although he also wouldn't deny that Cheney knew exactly what was happening.

I mean, that would be as hard to believe as the underwear chase.

At least the chase could still happen. We still have three months before the election.

(Edited for spelling: Cheney was originally running through his underwear through a series of allies. Which is also a good visual, just a different one. What I get for writing at 1:30 in the morning.)

--------------------

August 04, 2004

Financial Times on the Orange Alert

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

As noted by several readers, this piece in yesterday's Financial Times gives just a slightly different view of the Orange Alerts:

Information gleaned from a prominent al-Qaeda leader arrested in Pakistan last week did not provide sufficient evidence of an imminent terrorism threat in the US, senior Pakistani officials familiar with the case said yesterday.

Last week's arrest created speculation that Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian wanted in connection with the 1998 attacks at two US embassies in east Africa, might have provided fresh information on al-Qaeda's operational plans.

According to one report, a Pakistani minister claimed that e-mails retrieved from Mr Ghailani's computer revealed new plans for attacks in the US and UK.

"There is a lot of unnecessary speculation making the rounds," a senior Pakistani official said. "The fact is that Ghailani may have been on the run for so long that there can be no basis for assuming that he was central to the planning in Europe and the US."

Pakistani authorities yesterday also denied media reports that a valuable al-Qaeda suspect had been in government detention since mid-July. The suspect was reported to have been the source of information leading to the heightened security alerts in Washington and New York City.

The interior minister denied a computer expert who managed an e-mail communication system for key al-Qaeda figures was arrested last month. "We have not arrested anyone like this, I can tell you categorically," Faisal Saleh Hayat told the FT.

There's more, but you get the idea.

Scorecard: they were asleep at the wheel before 9/11. They attacked a country unrelated to Al-Qaeda. They opposed any investigation of what went wrong, and to this day not one person has been fired. Now they're using the war to try to keep themselves in power.

These people should GFY™ in a big, big way.

--------------------

August 03, 2004

Kerry up by 118 in the electoral college

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

No bounce for Kerry? Wrong.

Remember, we don't have an election in November. We have 51 of them, and they're all winner-take-all. Anyone who cites horserace numbers -- which is to say, almost everyone -- is missing the point at best, if not misleading you outright.

35 of these races are fairly settled. 16 of them are the battleground. And according to the latest Zogby numbers, Kerry is now leading in 13 of the 16.

Perhaps this more fully contextualizes the obvious desperation of Team Chimpy, as described below.

Bush manipulates the war for his own gain. Again.

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Let's review. Given that:

a) Bush's approval rating among undecided voters is a stunningly low 32 percent, and

b) the war on terrorism is the only topic on which Bush has a majority favorable rating

... you can see why Bush must play the "nation in danger" card to absurd lengths to stay in power. (Obviously, the danger exists; the urgent question is whether it's being confronted honestly.)

A month ago, several members of Pakistan's security services warned that the Bush White House was planning to distract the U.S. media from John Kerry's moment in the national spotlight by delivering a well-timed Al-Qaeda arrest during the convention.

Obviously, if it turned out the Pakistanis were telling the truth, this is prima facie evidence that Bush manipulates the war for his own gain, which disqualifies him not just from holding public office, but from the respect of any decent American.

And, of course, this is precisely what happened, when the arrest of what was called a "most wanted" Al Qaeda member (despite his having no known relationship to 9/11) was announced just hours before Kerry's acceptance speech (despite the arrest having taken place several days earlier), perfectly putting a Bush-is-winning-the-war story on the wires side-by-side with news of Kerry's speech.

So, you conclude, the Bush campaign is using the war for their own ends. Appallingly so.

Ah -- but wait. Bush's people then called up an Orange Alert, which just happened to keep the White House's preferred Bush-as-fearless-leader meme alive while the Kerry campaign has momentum. The timing, however, couldn't be political (Team Bush claimed), because the new alert resulted largely from the arrests in Pakistan, which led to information requiring urgent action.

The Orange Alerts, in essence, help demonstrate that the Thursday announcement wasn't just politics. The two are irrevocably tied. And this is consciously, openly intended to be understood by the press and public as proof that Bush is indispensible, as explicitly stated by Tom Ridge just yesterday:

But we must understand that the kind of information available to us today is the result of the President's leadership in the war against terror.

If the Orange Alerts are fully legit -- and the media spent the last 24 hours doing a fine job of buying in -- then maybe Bush is A-OK, and the Pakistani intelligence figures who predicted Bush's well-timed PR stunt with uncanny accuracy were just, I dunno, lucky.

But if not, then Bush and his crew are again revealed as contemptible liars, manipulating the war on terror for their own gain, of late on a near-daily basis.

There's really no middle ground. Either they told the truth, or they didn't.

And now we learn... yes, kids, they exaggerated wildly:

Much of the information that led the authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was three or four years old, intelligence and law enforcement officials said on Monday. They reported that they had not yet found concrete evidence that a terrorist plot or preparatory surveillance operations were still under way.

Much of the information actually pre-dates 9/11 itself.

Keep in mind that most of the unnamed officials work for the executive branch, so they're casting the best light on the alerts as possible... and there's still stunningly little new, specific, or particularly (dare I use the word) imminent here, as someone not identified with the administration points out:

Another counterterrorism official in Washington said that it was not yet clear whether the information pointed to a current plot. "We know that Al Qaeda routinely cases targets and then puts the plans on a shelf without doing anything,'' the official said.

So... Bush and company have manipulated the war on terror. Again.

Not for our safety. For their own political gain, using fear to manipulate the vote, at an untold cost in law-enforcement response, productivity in the affected cities, and the actual defense of this nation, which seems frighteningly incidental to the enormous dumbshow we're being served.

Of course, this same crew sold us the Iraq war on the basis of wild exaggerations, instead of fighting Al-Qaeda full-force. We can't pretend to be surprised.

Bush does not deserve one more minute in the White House.

He deserves scorn. Shame. Contempt. And with any luck, impending unemployment.

--------------------

August 02, 2004

Just sayin'

If you go to Drudgereport.com and scroll down, there's a "news tips" box--anonymity guaranteed.

You kids know how to copy and paste a link, right?

http://www.thismodernworld.com/weblog/mtarchives/week_2004_07_25.html#001662

Jesus Christ on a crutch

Looks like Hersh had it right once again:

The new classified military documents offer a chilling picture of what happened at Abu Ghraib -- including detailed reports that U.S. troops and translators sodomized and raped Iraqi prisoners. The secret files -- 106 "annexes" that the Defense Department withheld from the Taguba report last spring -- include nearly 6,000 pages of internal Army memos and e-mails, reports on prison riots and escapes, and sworn statements by soldiers, officers, private contractors and detainees. The files depict a prison in complete chaos. Prisoners were fed bug-infested food and forced to live in squalid conditions; detainees and U.S. soldiers alike were killed and wounded in nightly mortar attacks; and loyalists of Saddam Hussein served as guards in the facility, apparently smuggling weapons to prisoners inside.

As Jon Stewart once asked, why do the facts hate America?

You can read the rest here.

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