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October 22, 2004
Sound of one hand slapping forehead
Three out of 4 self-described supporters of President George W. Bush still believe that pre-war Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or active programs to produce them. According to a new survey published Thursday, the same number also believes that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein provided "substantial support" to al Qaeda.
October 21, 2004
Don't tell O'Reilly
Liegirls: phone sex for deluded conservatives.
(For the inevitable one percent of the audience which will somehow manage to miss the point--it's a joke. I think.)
October 20, 2004
I've got a new ad up, over to the right, from Three Rivers Press, which is publishing the latest book from my friend Peter Kuper. Now, of course, I would always urge you to do a little click-through on all my advertisers (and those of you aren't bothering should really take the time, because it is quite literally the least you can do to help keep this site afloat). But I especially urge you to check this one out. Peter Kuper is one of the most talented artists it has ever been my privilege to know, and if you are not familiar with his work, you owe it to yourself to take a look.
The founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition said Tuesday he told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties, but the president told him, "We're not going to have any casualties."
Yet another outrage
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the Congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
Extraordinary. An entire column on fearmongering--by Democrats. The day after Dick Cheney once again invokes the spectre of nuclear terrorism.
They--and by "they" I mean Bush supporters in general--honestly do seem to believe they can just create their own reality, that saying something makes it true. It would be laughable if the consequences weren't so tragic.
Just so you know
I'm juggling a lot of plates these days and feeling kind of overwhelmed from time to time, and in a low moment awhile back I suggested that this blog may not continue in its present form after the election. Well, I really wasn't fishing for compliments, but I do truly appreciate the avalanche of email this little comment inspired. At any rate, I'm having fun with it right now. At some point I'll probably cut back for a little while, or maybe take a little break, but I'm feeling less inclined to shut the place down entirely.
October 19, 2004
Why we love Bob
An entry from Bob's new blog, lifted whole:
Bob Rumson, er, Dick Cheney is at it again.Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday evoked the possibility of terrorists bombing U.S. cities with nuclear weapons and questioned whether Sen. John Kerry could combat such a threat...
A reader points this one out:
The Selective Service has been updating its contingency plans for a draft of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in case of a national emergency that overwhelms the military's medical corps.
I guess if I were a 44 year old doctor, I might be a little bit nervous too.
Gen. Tommy R. Franks climbed out of a C-130 plane at the Baghdad airport on April 16, 2003, and pumped his fist into the air. American troops had pushed into the capital of liberated Iraq little more than a week before, and it was the war commander's first visit to the city...
If all went as expected.
Attack poodle Brooks loyally regurgitates the talking points
Kerry's third attack is the whole Mary Cheney thing. That's been hashed over enough. But remarkably, Kerry has not apologized. You use somebody's daughter to attack the father and his running mate. The parents are upset. The only decent thing is to apologize. If anything, an apology would make Kerry look admirable. But Kerry, in his permanent attack dog mode, can't do the decent and politically advantageous thing.
Okay, deep breath. Reality check time. Here's that horrible "attack" in which John Kerry so ruthlessly attempted to use the daughter against the father, thereby upsetting decent godfearing folk everywhere:
"We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."
For the last time: that's only an insult if you think that being a lesbian is something to be ashamed of. Or if you are an achingly banal New York Times columnist in way, way over your head.
* * *
In that same column, Brooks pooh-poohs talk of a draft.
The administration, which hasn't even asked for trivial public sacrifices in a time of war, does not want to bring back the draft. The Pentagon does not want to bring back the draft. The Republican Party does not want to bring back the draft. Given the nature of military technology, it doesn't make sense to bring back the draft. There may be some in the bureaucracy taking precautions, but it is hard to imagine an attack with less basis in fact.
And that's the extent of the argument: there won't be a draft, shut up, don't worry about it.
Happily across the page, Paul Krugman looks at the issue from a reality-based perspective:
Those who are worrying about a revived draft are in the same position as those who worried about a return to budget deficits four years ago, when President Bush began pushing through his program of tax cuts. Back then he insisted that he wouldn't drive the budget into deficit - but those who looked at the facts strongly suspected otherwise. Now he insists that he won't revive the draft. But the facts suggest that he will.
All I know is, if I were twenty five, I'd be damned nervous.
October 18, 2004
Atrios is wondering what it's going to be. One thing to remember is that the original October Surprise happened behind the scenes, and, like dark matter, could only be deduced by a lack, rather than a presence. As it is alleged, certain Republicans, including the current President's father, made contact with Iran and cut a deal so that the hostages would not be released until after the election. (They were released on the day of Reagan's inauguration, shortly after his acceptance speech--and I distinctly remember thinking, at that moment, that the fix had been in.)
Today, the phrase October Surprise has come to mean something which is sprung upon the public in the waning days of the campaign--the surprise capture of Osama, a last minute presidential visit to Baghdad, that sort of thing. But--to quote Saint-Exupery completely out of context--sometimes the thing that is important is the thing that is not seen. An October Surprise could have just as much to do with what they try to keep from us as what they try to shove in our faces.
Note for Mr. Safire
If you conservatives are so incredibly offended that John Kerry would mention the mere fact that Mary Cheney is a lesbian--and let's remember that this is hardly a state secret, given that Mary Cheney has been out of the closet for years and was in fact once employed as the lesbian and gay community liasion for Coors Brewing--but if that's such an outrage, I'm assuming that you guys must be really really offended by what another politician recently said about Mary:
After saying homosexuality is "selfish hedonism," (Alan) Keyes was asked if that makes Mary Cheney "a selfish hedonist." "Of course she is," Keyes told Signorile. "That goes by definition."
I eagerly await your principled denunciation of Mr. Keyes.
I missed Jon Stewart's appearance due to the Ohio trip, but it sounds like he really outdid himself.
STEWART: See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations. And we're left out there to mow our lawns.
* * *
STEWART: I would love to see a debate show.
* * *
STEWART: You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.
* * *
CARLSON: What's it like to have dinner with you? It must be excruciating. Do you like lecture people like this or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture them; they're not doing the right thing, that they're missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?
* * *
CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just my opinion.
Full transcript here.
...or you can watch it here.
Greens for impact
David Segal is a Green Party City Councilman in Providence, Rhode Island, and Chair of Greens for Impact. If you're considering voting for Nader or Cobb this year, you should really pay him a visit.
2004 is not 2000. And if you refuse to acknowledge and adapt to a changing situation--well, gosh, does that remind you of anyone else we know?
More on this story, from a reader:
Hersh didn't just tell his story at Berkeley. He also told it on "The Diane Rehm Show," which NPR syndicates. The day Hersh was on the show (Friday, October 1) it was guest hosted by Steven Roberts.
October 17, 2004
Just in case you missed it, cont'd.
Our leaders are bent on convincing us that everything is O.K. America is not afraid. Our spirit is unbroken, although this was a day that will live in infamy and America is now at war. But everything is not O.K. And this was not Pearl Harbor. We have a robotic President who assures us that America still stands tall. A wide spectrum of public figures, in and out of office, who are strongly opposed to the policies being pursued abroad by this Administration apparently feel free to say nothing more than that they stand united behind President Bush. A lot of thinking needs to be done, and perhaps is being done in Washington and elsewhere, about the ineptitude of American intelligence and counter-intelligence, about options available to American foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, and about what constitutes a smart program of military defense. But the public is not being asked to bear much of the burden of reality. The unanimously applauded, self-congratulatory bromides of a Soviet Party Congress seemed contemptible. The unanimity of the sanctimonious, reality- concealing rhetoric spouted by American officials and media commentators in recent days seems, well, unworthy of a mature democracy.
That's from the essay by Susan Sontag that ran in the New Yorker shortly after 9/11, the essay that inspired Andrew Sullivan to spend the next couple of years giving his self-righteous little "Sontag Awards" to anyone who struck Little Roy (as Eric Alterman nicknamed him) as a fifth columnist, a traitor insufficiently worshipful of Dear Glorious Leader.
And you know what? Reading it from this perspective, it seems a hell of a lot wiser, and more prescient, than anything Andrew Sullivan has had to say over the past few years.
In addition to the article mentioned below, don't miss this month's Atlantic Monthly. I'm a new and enthusiastic convert on the basis of this single issue, which has an extraordinary article on life inside the Green Zone, as well as this detailed look at Karl Rove's usual m.o.
I spent some time on airplanes this weekend, as you might have guessed.
Just in case you missed it
Extraordinary stuff in Ron Suskind's article in the NY Times Magazine this week:
Some officials, elected or otherwise, with whom I have spoken with left meetings in the Oval Office concerned that the president was struggling with the demands of the job. Others focused on Bush's substantial interpersonal gifts as a compensation for his perceived lack of broader capabilities. Still others, like Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat, are worried about something other than his native intelligence. ''He's plenty smart enough to do the job,'' Levin said. ''It's his lack of curiosity about complex issues which troubles me.'' But more than anything else, I heard expressions of awe at the president's preternatural certainty and wonderment about its source.
And then there's this:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
When the people running the country consider being "reality-based" a negative thing...that's when you know you're in trouble.
The whole article is here. It's an easy, not to mention lazy, blogger's copout to lift a quick excerpt and say "read the whole thing"--but I truly mean it here. You really, really want to read this article.
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