As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, June 11, 2004

We're Winning the War on Memos

Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the Bush Administrtation used a faulty report to claim a political victory. How many times have we seen this happen? It's as if the Bushies don't even expect the media to fact check any drivel they shovel out. And given the last few years, I don't have a lot of faith in the media either.

This latest outing of a big Bush lie concerns last month's State Department Report on Counterterrorism, which claimed that acts of terror around the world had declined in the past year. That report has been proven overly optimistic:

The State Department acknowledged Thursday it was wrong in reporting terrorism declined worldwide last year, a finding used to boost one of President Bush's chief foreign policy claims -- success in countering terror.

Instead, both the number of incidents and the toll in victims increased sharply, the department said. Statements by senior administration officials claiming success were based "on the facts as we had them at the time. The facts that we had were wrong," department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Why do the facts hate America? Because they only compiled incidents from a portion of 2003. In other words, if last year only has 7 months in it, then yes, there were less terror attacks last year.

You know, these constant after-the-fact admissions of guilt (like in the case of faulty accounting in the Medicare Bill, for example) are too damn late. This is the MO of this Administration: get the initial report on Page A1, and a month or so later, print the retraction on Page B14. It's disgusting, and it needs to be recognized. One of John Kerry's big lines on the campaign trail has been calling this Presidency "the most say-one-thing, do-another Presidency in history." Well, there's plenty of ammo to support that, it's time to get specific. You could have a month of "Big Lies" with a new one every day, practically. That's the way to fight liars: with their own lies.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

"Islam is evil," she purred.

Brigitte Bardot's book "Un cri dans le silence" has landed her in hot water with the French courts. Faced with the prospect of a year in jail, Bardot and her publishing house, Editions du Rocher, got off with a piddling fine of $6,050 apiece. Just what salacious, saucy details did the star of "Et Dieu... Créa la Femme" indulge in to get her in all this trouble? Why, racial hatred of course.

Although the courts claimed that the picture she drew of Muslims in the book is one of "invaders, cruel and barbaric," one imagines her, stepping off the screen from "The Girl in the Bikini" tossing her hair to whisper her claim, "I never knowingly wanted to hurt anybody. It is not in my character. "

Or perhaps, bounding along a beach giggling while talking of the "infiltration" of France by Muslims.

Without having read the book it's a little difficult to judge whether her targets were, indeed, terrorists, and a personal aversion to the ritual slaughter of sheep (she is, of course, an outspoken animal rights activist and vegetarian, two qualities that earned her "Why she might be annoying" points on Which points are cited in her favor, you ask? "She ranked # 9, in Empire Magazine's 100 Sexiest Movie Stars of All Time... # 49, in Empire Magazine's The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time... she posed nude in Playboy." Oh yeah, guys! We forgot to mention that she's a breast cancer survivor! Put that under "Playboy").

But we'll give this living legend the last word: "Among Muslims, I think there are some who are very good and some hoodlums, like everywhere," she said at the May trial, quite possibly throwing her hair back and biting playfully on her little finger.


You just can't trust these terrorists

I'm getting tired of Reagan posts (but seriously, you have to check this out), and so many other bloggers are all over this growing torture memo story. But The New York Times today ran what I think is the definitive story on how gullible and stupid this administration is.

Muammar Qaddafi is a terrorist from the old school. Before bin Laden even became disillusioned, Qaddafi was bombing innocent people. He suddenly had this very conspicuous change of heart last year, and started renouncing terrorism, and giving up his country's WMD. I wonder if that had anyting to do with the eventual lifting of UN sanctions against Libya. Qaddafi must have known that all you have to do to get the US government on your side is tell them what they want to hear. You can still BE a terrorist, mind you. Just tell us you aren't.

Because today it was revealed that Libya has been plotting to assassinate the ruler of Saudi Arabia. I know, it's The New York Times, but Judith Miller didn't write this one. Here:

While the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, was renouncing terrorism and negotiating the lifting of sanctions last year, his intelligence chiefs ordered a covert operation to assassinate the ruler of Saudi Arabia and destabilize the oil-rich kingdom, according to statements by two participants in the conspiracy.

Those participants, Abdurahman Alamoudi, an American Muslim leader now in jail in Alexandria, Va., and Col. Mohamed Ismael, a Libyan intelligence officer in Saudi custody, have given separate statements to American and Saudi officials outlining the plot.

That's two separate sources, which is rare for the Times, I know. But it makes it somewhat credible. Amazingly, despite the fact that Qaddafi is "with us" and not with the terrorists, he's still plotting acts of terrorism! This is actually a case between two brutal dictatorships that, for various reasons, are now on our side. Ou friends the Saudis always trump other allies, however, so look for some major distancing from the "Libyan miracle" soon. In fact, I'm waiting for the press conference where Bush claims not to have known who Qaddafi or where Libya is.

Actually, I'd believe he doesn't know where Libya is.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Sorry no post yesterday

I'm sure the uproar on the Web was, um, uproarious, but I was nowhere near an Internet terminal yesterday.

And I've been so swamped at work, I haven't heard much to report upon today, although it seems to me CNN is carrying the water for this Reagan legend thing WAAAY too much, even compared to Fox News. On Inside Politics today, literally one of the headlines to a story read, "Kerry and Bush Learning From the Master." Since when was Reagan anointed the master of anything? Where is all of this coming from? Because they're doing the things politicians have done for the last 100 years (staying optimistic, "believing" in the people of America), they're all suddenly Reaganites? Another headline read "Reagan Barely Mentioned on Campaign Trail So Far." Yeah, and I don't see Millard Fillmore getting a lot of mentions either! Why are our leaders ignoring him? And how can they get through a stump speech without invoking the name of Martin Van Buren?

Just a random thought.


Monday, June 07, 2004

Finally, someone gets it

You see, if you really want to honor a fallen President, you don't just go on CNN and wax poetically about his unbelievable greatness. You do something else:

Senators seek looser stem cell rules

June 7, 2004  |  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fifty-eight senators are asking President Bush to relax federal restrictions on stem cell research, and several said Monday that the late President Reagan's Alzheimer's disease underscored a need to expand the research using human embryos.

The senators' letter to Bush was sent Friday, before Reagan died after a long struggle with Alzheimer's.

In case you're wondering, John Kerry did sign the letter. So did both of California's senators, and Hillary, and also Arlen Specter, Orrin Hatch, and Lamar Alexander. In all, 42 Democrats, Jim Jeffords (the Senate's lone Independent), and 15 Republicans. I wonder, if you plotted the relationship between non-signees to that letter, and appearances on Reagan tribute shows, what would you get? Don't answer, I think we all know.

Anyone in this country who dares to deny the furthering of stem cell research on whatever grounds and in the same breath praise Reagan as a great American should be ashamed of themselves. This, in the end, is the biggest problem of the conservative "revolution": its utter hypocrisy. Nancy herself has come around on this issue, fund-raising for stem cell research as recently as last month.

By the way, one of those hypocrites is our current President, currently preparing to deliver a eulogy for a dead man whose suffering could have been avoided:

White House spokesman Ken Lisaius said Bush stood by his stem cell policy.

"The president remains committed to exploring the promise of stem cell research but at the same time continues to believe strongly that we should not cross a fundamental moral line by funding or encouraging the destruction of human embryos," Lisaius said.

"The president does not believe that life should be created for the sole purpose of destroying it. He does believe we can explore the promise and potential of stem cell research using the existing lines of stem cells."

Just as Reagan failed in his health policy to disastrous results, mainly because of allegience to his Christian base, so is Our Chimp, blinded by meaningless "sanctity of life" rhetoric from genuinely helping the sick.

By the way, you all know that upon leaving office, Reagan claimed that his one regret was not overturning Roe v. Wade. And then there's this stunner of a story from Z Mag:

The most memorable Reagan AIDS moment was at the 1986 centenary rededication of the Statue of Liberty. The Reagan’s were there sitting next to the French Prime Minister and his wife, Francois and Danielle Mitterrand. Bob Hope was on stage entertaining the all-star audience. In the middle of a series of one-liners, Hope quipped, “I just heard that the Statue of Liberty has AIDS, but she doesn’t know if she got it from the mouth of the Hudson or the Staten Island Fairy.” As the television camera panned the audience, the Mitterrands looked appalled. The Reagans were laughing. By the end of 1989, 115,786 women and men had been diagnosed with AIDS in the United States—more then 70,000 of them had died. 


Go read this

Juan Cole, a professor from my alma mater (The University of Michigan), has an excellent summary of the Reagan years. It's not exactly what you'd hear on CNN. Like this gem:

I remember learning, in the late 1960s, of the impact Michael Harrington's The Other America had had on Johnson's War on Poverty. Harrington demonstrated that in the early 1960s there was still hunger in places like Appalachia, deriving from poverty. It was hard for middle class Americans to believe, and Lyndon Johnson, who represented many poor people himself, was galvanized to take action.

I remember seeing a tape of Reagan speaking in California from that era. He said that he had heard that some asserted there was hunger in America. He said it sarcastically. He said, "Sure there is; they're dieting!" or words to that effect. This handsome Hollywood millionnaire making fun of people so poor they sometimes went to bed hungry seemed to me monstrous. I remember his wealthy audience of suburbanites going wild with laughter and applause. I am still not entirely sure what was going on there. Did they think Harrington's and similar studies were lies? Did they blame the poor for being poor, and resent demands on them in the form of a few tax dollars, to address their hunger?

I am saddened to see a man suffer, but he's not St. Ronald, people.


Sunday, June 06, 2004

Ronald Reagan, RIP

He was the first President I can remember, as I was a little young for Carter. I'm a little taken aback by some of the despairing among progressives that news of his death, at 93, will somehow spur Bush and the GOP in this election. A man died. I wouldn't look at it politically.

I'm not surprised that Republicans venerate this man, who was a little dim, but smiled a lot and made people laugh. His legacy to my generation, however, is not the fall of Communism, or Reaganomics, or his personality. It's the fact that it took seven long years for him to say the word "AIDS," after thousands of people had already died, and hundreds of thousands more were infected. It's debatable whether there would be the global plague there is today if Reagan had shown some leadership on this issue. Surely millions of lives would have been saved, and that's a conservative number. Apparently, the news media is deciding to honor Reagan's legacy by also not mentioning the word "AIDS" during their hundreds of hours of tribute coverage. Flip on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, whatever, and you'll hear "it's morning in America," "There you go again," the "golden years" of the 80s, and the end of the Cold War (as if the Russians didn't fall on their on sword). I seem to remember AIDS in there as well.

In addition, let's not forget Iran-Contra (which every supporter is quick to point out occurred unbeknownst to the President), and massive deficits, and an utter contempt for the poor. With Reagan it was all about the packaging, no matter what he was selling. But in the end, this was a frail old man dying of a mysterious disease called Alzheimer's, which (quite ironically) might have also been prevented if a sitting President showed leadership on a medical issue (in this case, stem cell research, for which Nancy Reagan herself has raised funds and lobbied furiously). That's another thing that should be remembered amongst all the talk of this man's life and work.